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Horatius Bonar

(139 posts) Click here to read Discerning Reader (?) reviews of this author.

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.
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Same Old Errors, Different Century

Wednesday··2008·07·02
While postmodern “Christians” insist that they are, like, so totally not whatever anyone says they are, and definitely not anything like the liberals (or anyone else) of the past, I keep seeing them pop up whenever I read the objections of dead theologians to the errors of their day. Consider these words from Horatius Bonar (1808–1889): Some well-meaning theological literateurs, or rather amateur theologians, who patronize religion in their own way, are fain to warn us of the danger of not “keeping abreast of the age,” as if we were imperiling Christianity by not by not being quite so learned in modern speculations as they are. We should like, certainly, to keep abreast of all that is true and good, either in this age or any other; but as to doing more than that, or singling out this age as being pre-eminently worthy of being kept abreast of, we hesitate. To be “up to” all the errors, fallacies, speculations, fancies, mis-criticisms of the age, would be an achievement of no mean kind; to require us to be “up to” all this under threat of endangering Christianity, or betraying the Bible, is an exaction which could only be made by men who think that religion is much beholden to them for their condescending patronage; and will only be accepted by men who are timid about the stability of the cross of Christ if left unpropped by human wisdom; and who, besides, have three or four lifetimes to spare. We may be in a condition for believing, and even for defending the Bible, without having mastered the whole deistical literature of the last century, or the present. We may be qualified to accept the doctrine of sacrificial substitution even though we are not “up to” everything that has been spoken against it . . . In attempting to “keep abreast of the age,” there is some danger of falling short of other ages; and we are not sure but that the object of those who shake this phrase so complacently in our faces, both as a taunt and a threat, is to draw us off from the past altogether, as if the greater bulk of all its literature were rude lumber, a mere drag upon progress. . . . Old theological terms and Scripture phraseology are set aside . . . Sharp adhesion to old doctrines is imbecility; and yet defined expression of the new is avoided, the mind of the age being in a transition state, unable to bear the whole of what the exact and honest exhibition of “advanced” Christianity would require to utter. . . . They shrink from bold and definite statements of Reformation doctrine, lest they should be pronounced “not abreast of the age”—stereotyped, if not imbecile. Indefinite language, mystical utterances, negative or defective statements, which will save the speaker’s or writer’s orthodoxy without compromising his reputation for “intellect” and “liberality”—these are becoming common. —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 31–32. Sound familiar?

Holiness and Peace

Thursday··2008·07·03
It is evident that in proportion to our holiness will be the abundance of our peace. Not that we are to draw our peace from our holiness. That cannot be. Personal holiness can never be the foundation of our peace. But still in may be perfectly true that as our holiness increases our peace will deepen and grow more intense. The light of the body does not come from the eye, though it comes through the eye. It comes from the sun. The eye merely admits it. But if the eye be dim there will be less light admitted; and just as the eye becomes clearer more light will be let in. Yet still it is true that the light does not come from the eye but from the sun. So with holiness. In proportion as the soul becomes holy, in that proportion does it admit new peace, and in that proportion is it in a fitter condition for enjoying peace. A healthy body enjoys the beauties of the bright scenes of earth, more than a pained or sickly one, and just as it is healthy, so has it a capacity for the enjoyment of these things. Even so with the soul and holiness. While we utterly disclaim the Christ-dishonouring thought, that our holiness is the foundation of our peace, or forms any qualification on account of which peace is conferred upon us, it is yet true that just as we become holier men, we shall be the more abundantly filled with the peace of God that passeth all understanding. —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 55–56.
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Bonar on Prayer

Saturday··2008·07·05 · 2 Comments
Be much alone with God. Do not put Him off with a quarter of an hour morning and evening. Take time to get thoroughly acquainted. Converse over everything with Him. Unbosom yourself wholly every thought, feeling, wish, plan, doubt to Him. He wants to converse with His creatures; shall His creatures not want to converse with Him? He wants, not merely to be on “good terms” with you, if one may use man’s phrase, but to be intimate; shall you decline the intimacy, and be satisfied with mere acquaintance? What! Intimate with the world, with friends, with neighbors, with politicians, with philosophers, with naturalists, or with poets, but not with God! That would look ill indeed. Folly, to prefer the clay to the potter, the marble to the sculptor, this little earth and its lesser creatures to the mighty Maker of the universe, the great “All and in all!” —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 62–63.
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Christian, dwell alone!

Monday··2008·07·07 · 2 Comments
Christian, dwell alone! Seek not the society of the world. Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? If you have any sympathies with the world—if it contains attractions for you—if God and the things of God are not enough for you—there is something wrong. Love not the world! Seek not its society. Seek the things above. Beware of the fascinations of company,the spells which gaiety throws over the young. Stand your ground. Be not whirled away into the tossing current of gay society on any pretext whatever. Church of the living God, be separate—dwell alone! That is your security, your strength, your influence. Let the world see that you are not of it; that you do not need it. And you will serve it best by dwelling alone. Not by coldness, sourness, distance; but by love, geniality, gentleness, patience, by all acts of benevolence and words of peace. These are things which are only to be found by “dwelling alone.” —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 83–84.
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No Grace without Sovereignty

Tuesday··2008·07·08
There can be no grace where there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom he will and you deny his right to save whom he will. Deny his right to save whom he will, and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any desert or fitness in man, seen or foreseen, grace is at an end. . . . Men may call these speculations. They may condemn them as unprofitable. To the law and to the testimony! Of such speculations, the Bible is full. There man is a helpless worm, and salvation from first to last, is of the Lord. God’s will, and not man’s, is the law of the universe. If we are to maintain the gospel—if we are to hold fast to grace—if we are to preserve Jehovah’s honor—we must grasp these truths with no feeble hand. For if there be no such being as a Supreme, pre-determining Jehovah, then the universe will soon be chaos: and if there be no such thing as free electing love, every minister of Christ may close his lips, and every sinner upon earth sit down in mute despair. —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 83–84.
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Christ Our Substitute

Wednesday··2008·07·09 · 1 Comments
It is not by incarnation but by blood-shedding that we are saved. . . . If Christ be not the Substitute, He is nothing to the sinner. If He did not die as a Sin-bearer, He has died in vain. Let us not be deceived on this point, nor misled by those who, when they announce Christ as the Deliverer, think they have preached the gospel. If I throw a rope to a drowning man, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more than that? . . . The very essence of Christ’s deliverance is the substitution of Himself for us, His life for ours. . . . He did not redeem us by a little loss, a little sacrifice, a little labour, a little suffering, “He redeemed us to God by His blood;” “the precious blood of Christ.” —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 83–84.
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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.
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Buy the Truth

Monday··2008·07·14
It is truth that makes us free, for all error is bondage. If, then, you would be free men, grasp the truth tenaciously, bravely, calmly; bind it round you as a girdle, treasure it in your heart of hearts. “Buy the truth and sell it not;” that is, get it at any cost, part with it never. Error is sin, for which every man shall give an account to God; and sin is no mischance or misfortune that claims pity only, but not condemnation or punishment; else what means the fiery law? What means the cross of the sin-bearer? What means the great white throne? What means the everlasting fire? . . . Let neither your words nor your lives give any uncertain sound. Every man to whom the Bible comes is responsible for believing all the truth which the revelation proclaims, and for rejecting all the error which it condemns. Cleave, then, to the Word of the living God; and sit, as teachable disciples, at the feet of Him who has said, “Learn of me.” —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 109–110.
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“his head contains a creed of error”

Tuesday··2008·07·15
There is a tendency among some to undervalue doctrine, to exact morality at the expense of theology, and to deny the importance of a sound creed. I do not doubt that a sound creed has often covered an unsound life, and that “much creed, little faith,” is true of multitudes. But when we hear it said, “Such a man is far gone in error, but his heart is in the right place; he disbelieves the substitution on the cross, but he rests on Christ Himself,” we wonder, and ask, “What then was the Bible written for?” it may be (if this be the case) a book of thought . . . , but it is no standard of truth, no infallible expression of the mind of an infallible being! The solemnity with which that book affirms the oneness of truth, and the awful severity with which it condemns every departure from the truth, as a direct attack on God Himself, shows us the danger of saying that a man’s heart may be in its right place though his head contains a creed of error. —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 115.

True Spiritual Discernment

Wednesday··2008·07·16
I have come to the conclusion that Horatius Bonar could never have written a book called A Generous Orthodoxy*. Be discriminating. Do not call error truth for the sake of charity. Do not praise earnest men merely because they are earnest. To be earnest in truth is one thing; to be earnest in an error is another. The first is blessed, not so much because of the earnestness, but because of the truth; the second is hateful to God, and ought to be shunned by you. Remember how the Lord Jesus from heaven spoke concerning error: “which thing I hate” (Rev. 2:6–15; 1 Tim. 6:4, 5). True spiritual discernment is much lost sight of as a real Christian grace; discernment between the evil and the good, the false and the true. “Beloved, believe not every spirit; but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). This “discernment,” which belongs to every one who is taught of God, is the very opposite of that which is called in our day by the boastful name of “liberality.” Spiritual discernment and “liberal thought” have little in common with each other. “Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good” (Rom. 12:9). The “liberality which puts bitter for sweet. And sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20), is a very different thing from the “charity which thinketh no evil” (1 Cor. 13:5). Truth is a mighty thing in the eyes of God, whatever it may be in those of men. All error is, more or less, whether directly or indirectly,. A misrepresentation of God’s character, and a subversion of his relation (Rev. 22:18, 19). —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 123–124. * Read reviews of A Generous Orthodoxy by Tim Challies, Albert Mohler, Gary Gilley, Bob DeWaay, Randy Brandt, and John Hendryx.
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A Bible for Himself

Thursday··2008·07·17
More evidence from the pen of Horatius Bonar that there is nothing new under the sun: Man is now thinking out a Bible for himself; framing a religion in harmony with the development of liberal thought; constructing a worship on the principles of taste and culture; shaping a god to suit the expanding aspirations of the age. The process of evolution on all these points is so satisfactory and so well advanced that disguise is no longer needful. Faith and certainty, in things outside our senses, are, in the meantime at least, not to be taken into account. . . . Amid all this dazzling confusion, it is well to keep in mind that the way leading to life is narrow, the way leading to death is broad. The danger arising from want of spiritual discrimination is more serious than many think. For one authentic light there are a thousand spurious ones. The false christs are many, the true Christ is but one; and whilst glorying in the vitality of truth we must stand in awe of the marvelous fecundity of error. Discrimination is not censorious. —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 125–126.
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Dogma and Life

Tuesday··2008·07·22 · 4 Comments
These words by Horatius Bonar, though written around one hundred and fifty years ago, have never been more true than they are today. While those who would call themselves “the church” today are always looking for something fresh and innovative, they continually fall back on the same errors that have been common in ages past. The good news, then, is that we need no fresh answers. The saints who have gone before us and, indeed, Scripture itself, have said all that needs to be said. Christianity, say many among us, is a life, not a dogma; and they reckon this the enunciation of a great and unappreciated truth. It is, however, a mere truism, or it is an unmeaning antithesis, or it is an absolute falsehood. It sounds oracular and great; it is only pompous. Christianity is both life and dogma; quite as much one as the other. But it is a dogma before it is life; it cannot be the latter till it has been the former. It is out of the dogma that the life emerges; not the dogma out of the life; and the importance that is attached in Scripture to knowledge—right knowledge—should make us cautious in disparaging doctrine, as if it were harmless when wrong, and impotent or uninfluential when right. The mystics of different ages have tried hard to depreciate doctrine, to praise what they call “the spirit” at the expense of “the letter’; And it is somewhat remarkable that infidelity has generally taken their side . . . . . . doctrine in general, at least if precise and defined, is inconsistent with liberty of thought and expansion of intellect. “Life” is a pliable thing; it is unfenced and common; it may mean anything a man likes to call it or to fancy it; there is no imperiling of human liberty in calling Christianity a life; the men of “progress” and “freshness” are safe in making their standard; for Christianity = life may mean just Christianity = 0; at least it is an equation capable of being manipulated as to bring out any result which the theological algebraist may desire. And then there is the advantage of having a popular and high-sounding watchword. “Christianity a life, not a dogma” sounds noble. . . . it is an axiom rather than a proposition. It takes largely; it convinces hundreds without further inquiry or argument . . . it would enable us to believe anyone to be pious—Moslem, Hindoo, Romanist, Pantheist, or Sceptic—who could produce a worthy and earnest life. . . . Religion without creed, religion without truth, religion without the Bible, religion without Christianity, religion without Christ—is set down now, not simply among things possible, but amongst things desirable. . . . “Unconditioned” religion is to be accepted as not inconsistent with philosophy or liberty, but conditioned or defined religion is to be regarded as imbecility. —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 145–146.
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The one true resting-place

Wednesday··2008·07·23
This one true goal or resting-place where doubt and weariness, the stings of a pricking conscience, and the longings of an unsatisfied soul would all be quieted, is Christ Himself. Not the church, but Christ. Not doctrine, but Christ. Not forms, but Christ. Not ceremonies, but Christ. Christ the God-man, giving his life for ours; sealing the everlasting covenant, and making peace for us through the blood of His cross; Christ the divine storehouse of all light and truth, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” [Col 2:3]; Christ the infinite vessel, filled with the Holy Spirit, the enlightener, the teacher, the quickened, the comforter, so that “out of his fullness we may receive, and grace for grace” [John 1:16]. This, this alone is the vexed soul’s refuge, its rock to build on, its home to abide in till the great temper be bound and every conflict ended in victory. —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 171.
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Living Sacrifices

Friday··2008·07·25 · 1 Comments
Learn self-denying Christianity. Not the form or name, but the living thing. “Even Christ pleased not himself” [Romans 5:3]. Let us in this respect be His true followers; bearing burdens for Him; doing work for Him; not grudging effort, or cost, or sacrifice, or pain; spending and being spent for Him; abjuring the lazy, luxurious, self-pleasing, fashionable religion of the present day. A self-indulgent religion has nothing to do with the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; or of that cross of ours which He has commanded us to take up and carry after him, renouncing ease and denying self. Our time, our gifts, our money, our strength, are all to be laid upon the altar. We are to be “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). —Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Darrin R. Brooker & Michael Haykin (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 197.
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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.
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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.
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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 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 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

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

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 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 (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)], 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 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 (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)], 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 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 (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)], 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 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 (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)], 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 43, 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 (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)], 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 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 (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)].
continue reading Lords Day 3, 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 (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 Lords Day 9, 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 (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. 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continue reading Lords Day 16, 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 (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 Lords Day 23, 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 (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 Lords Day 28, 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 (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 36, 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

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 (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. 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continue reading Lords Day 15, 2011

Lords Day 23, 2011

Sunday··2011·06·05
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Word Made Flesh. Horatius Bonar (18081889) The Son of God in mighty love, Came down to Bethlehem for me; Forsook his throne of light above, An infant upon earth to be. In love, the Fathers sinless child    Sojourned at Nazareth for me; With sinners dwelt the undefiled,    The Holy One in Galilee. Jesus, whom angel-hosts adore,    Became a man of griefs for me; In love, though rich, becoming poor,    That I through him enriched might be. Though Lord of all, above, below,    He went to Olivet for me; There drank my cup of wrath and woe,    When bleeding in Gethsemane. The ever-blessed Son of God    Went up to Calvary for me; There paid my debt, there bore my load,    In his own body on the tree. Jesus, whose dwelling is the skies,    Went down into the grave for me; There overcame my enemies,    There won the glorious victory. In love the whole dark path he trod,    To consecrate a way for me; Each bitter footstep marked with blood,    From Bethlehem to Calvary. Tis finished all; the veil is rent,    The welcome sure, the access free; Now then we leave our banishment,    O Father, to return to thee! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). If youve been following these Lords Day posts, you know that weve finished The Gospel of John with J. C. Ryle. Now I need to decide on something else to fill this space. Suggestions are welcome.
continue reading Lords Day 23, 2011

Lords Day 25, 2011

Sunday··2011·06·19 · 1 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. " />We Know Not When Christina Rossetti (18301894) We know not when , we know not where,    We know not what that world will be; But this we know: it will be fair       To see. With heart athirst and thirsty face    We know and know not what shall be: Christ Jesus bring us of His grace       To see. Christ Jesus bring us of His grace,    Beyond all prayers our hope can pray, One day to see Him face to Face,       One day. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). Romans 1:14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Paul has many names for himself; none of them lofty, all of them lowly; the highest, simply an apostle. Sometimes it is Paul the servant of Jesus Christ; sometimes, Paul the aged; sometimes, Paul the prisoner; sometimes it is less than the least of all saints; sometimes, the chief of sinners. Here it is another, a debtor. It is then of Paul the debtor we are to speak. It is himself that takes the name; he proclaims his debts; no man lays them to his charge; God does not accuse him. It is some profound, inexpressible feeling that leads him to cry out, I am debtor. I. To whom is he a debtor? Not to self; not to the flesh; not to the law. He owes nothing to these. We might say, he is debtor to God; to Christ; to the cross. But these are not now in his mind. It is to Greek and Jew, wise and unwise; men of all nations; the whole fallen world, that he feels himself a debtor. He seems to stand on some high eminence, and looking round on all kingdoms, and nations, and tongues, with all their uncounted millions, he says, To all these I am debtor, and I must pay the debt. They have done nothing for him indeed; they have persecuted, stoned, condemned, reviled him; yet that does not alter his position or cancel his debt. Do to him what they like,hate him, imprison him, scourge him, bind him,he is their debtor still. His debt to them is founded on something which all this ill-usage, this malice cannot alter. He loves them still; pities them, pleads with them, beseeches them to be reconciled to God; confesses himself to be their debtor in spite of all. We speak of the world being a debtor to Paul; so, in one sense, it was; but in another, Paul is a debtor to the world. Yes, a Christian is debtor to the world,not to his family only, or his nation,but to the whole world. Let this thought dwell in us, and work in us; expanding and enlarging us; elevating our vision; throwing back our horizon, delivering us from all narrow heartedness on the one hand, and all false liberality on the other. We speak of the world being debtor to the church; let us never forget that according to Pauls way of thinking, and to the mind of the Holy Spirit, the church is debtor to the world. II. When and how he became a debtor. Even as a Jew he was a debtor; for he possessed something which the world did not; and the moment I come into possession of something which my neighbor or my fellow man has not, I become debtor to that fellow man! This is Gods way of reckoning, though it is not mans; for Gods thoughts are not our thoughts; and it is love only that can teach us to feel and reason thus. Yet it is true reasoning, it is divine logic. It was when Paul became possessed of the unsearchable riches of Christ that he felt himself a debtor to the world. He had found a treasure, and he could not conceal it; he must speak out; he must tell abroad what he felt. He was surrounded by needy fellow men, in a poor empty world: Should he keep the treasure to himself? No. As the lepers of Samaria felt themselves debtors to the starving city, so did Paul to a famishing world. But there is much more than this,a higher when and how. Who had done all this for him, and made him to differ? It was God,Christ Jesus. It is to God, then, that in the first place he feels himself an infinite debtor in the fullest sense. To God Himself he cannot pay this debt directly, but he can indirectly, by pouring out the God-given treasure upon others. His debt directly is to God; but then, indirectly, it is to the world. Thus the Christian man feels his debt,his obligation to the world because of his obligation to God. But then a man must know that he has the treasure himself before he can be quickened into a feeling of his responsibility to others. The love of Christ must constrain us; a sense of what we owe to him must impel and stimulate us. Do you know yourself to be the possessor of this infinite treasure? and under the expanding pressure of this, are you roused to feel your infinite debt to all? III. How he pays the debt. By carrying to them that gospel which he had received. That gospel, or the gift which that gospel reveals, has enriched himself infinitely, he takes these riches to others; and so he endeavors to pay his debt to God by enriching the world. He goes to Corinth,doing what? Paying there a part of his infinite debt. He goes to Athens, to Thessalonica, to Rome,doing what? Paying in each place part of the infinite debt which he owes to God, for his love, his pardon, and the hope of the glory. He is a rich man, and can afford to give! We pay our debt, (1.) By making known the gospel to others. Speak out the glad tidings, wherever you go. You are debtors. Thus pay the debt. (2.) By prayer for others. We can reach millions by prayer, otherwise inaccessible to us. Pray for others; not your own circle only, but the world. Go round the world. Embrace all nations in your intercessions. (3.) By our givings. In giving let us remember what we are doing, paying our debt to God. Shew your sense of his love, his gifts, by your generosity. (4.) By our consistent life. This, at least, is expected of us. Do not misrepresent the gospel. Be a true and faithful witness for God. Yes, you are debtors to all. Shew that you feel this. Be constrained by a loving sense of your infinite obligations and responsibilities to Him who loved you. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 26, 2011

Sunday··2011·06·26
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Continual Repentance O God of grace, Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute, and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegrooms robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness. I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for thou dost always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, Father, forgive me, and thou art always bringing forth the best robe. Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the days work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun. Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. It is of great moment to know the proper value of a thing before we either praise or dispraise it. Let us beware of either overrating or underrating anything of which we are called to speak. Of the gospel the apostle speaks as one who knew its value. Do we so know its value as to say, What shall it profit me to gain the world and lose the gospel? The apostle so knew it as to be able to say, I am not ashamed of it; just as elsewhere speaking of the cross he says, God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was not ashamed of it at Jerusalem, or Athens, or Rome. Many things were there to make him ashamed of it; Jewish prejudice and Gentile pride. But these prevailed not. In spite of contempt and hatred he held it fast. We are apt to be ashamed of it. It looks weak, foolish, unintellectual, unphilosophical. It lags behind the age. It has become obsolete! It is beginning to be supplanted by learning and eloquence! Men are apt to shun the gospel as a feeble, childish thing, that has done its work in time past, but is giving place to something higher and more in accordance with the deep instincts of humanity. There were some places in which the apostle might have been specially tempted to be ashamed of the gospel, or afraid of preaching it. At Jerusalem, for there the whole strength of Jewish ritualism rose against it; at Athens, for there it was confronted by the power of Grecian wisdom; at Ephesus, for there the dazzling subtleties of heathen magic rose against it; at Corinth, for there the torrent of human lust and pleasure rushed against it; at Rome, for there was time concentrated energy of earthly idolatry. Yet none of these things moved him. He was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, though all that was intellectual, and eloquent, and sensual, and refined, and powerful in humanity protested against it, or mocked it as folly. We are tempted in our day to be ashamed of the gospel. It is thought to be bare, unintellectual, almost childish by many. Hence they would overlay it with argument and eloquence, to make it more respectable and more attractive. Every such attempt to add to it is being ashamed of it. The old apostolic gospel seems so bald that before we can avow connection with it, we must introduce something like philosophy into it! This is not treating it as Paul did. Some mistake it, others reject it, others are indifferent to it. But there are others who are ashamed of it. If any might have been ashamed of it, Paul much more. His education, his life, his teachers, his companions were all such as to make him turn aside from a thing so plain. But, rising above all, he protests that he is not ashamed of that which so many of his former friends and teachers scorn. But why was the apostle not ashamed of it? Had it been the feeble, childish thing which men said it was, he would have been ashamed of it. But it was not so. It was mighty; mightier than philosophy, or argument, or eloquence. It was power. Many apologists for the gospel have, in their defense of it, assumed somewhat different ground from that of the apostle here. They defend it because it is noble, philosophical, reasonable, benevolent. It is all this, and more. Yet such are not Pauls reasons for glorifying in it. He has fathomed mans infinite need and misery; he has, with divinely opened eyes, looked into mans present condition and his prospects. He sees in that gospel that which meets mans great necessity as a lost being; and it is this glorious suitableness that makes him prize it so much. He is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God unto salvation. Had it been less than this, however intellectual and philosophical, he would have been ashamed of it. No other excellence, however great, however appreciated by the human intellect, could compensate for the want of this. To be the wisdom of man, the wisdom of the world, the wisdom of words, was nothing to him. In thus listening to Pauls reasons for not being ashamed of the gospel, let us learn what he thinks of that gospel, and what he understands it to be. (1.) It is the embodiment of Gods power for the salvation of the sinner; (2.) it is the revelation of Gods righteousness to the sinner. This is the sum of his reasons for glorying in the gospel of Christ. I. It is Gods power unto salvation. Men were lost. Nothing but a great salvation could deliver; a salvation which embodied omnipotence. We may say it is a gospel preceded by omnipotence, succeeded by omnipotence, accompanied by omnipotence, containing omnipotence. Gods power was needed. Where has God placed it? In the gospel! Out of that gospel it goes forth to save the sinner. In that gospel omnipotence is wrapped up. Out of that gospel omnipotence goes forth to save. The power that is needed for the salvation of a sinner is that which is contained in the gospel. The gospel alone contains this saving power, and as such the apostle is not ashamed of it. But every one is not saved, even by this mighty gospel. Who, then, are saved by it? Only they who believe. Into all who believe, this mighty gospel comes with saving power, working in them and for them the reversal of all that made them lost; the whole of that which God calls salvation. It is in believing this gospel that we are saved; saved at once, freely, completely, forever. This gospel is wide as the world. It embraces all kindreds, and nations, and tongues. It goes first to the Jew; it begins at Jerusalem; but it does not end there. It goes round the earth; it takes in all men, the Greek as well as the Jew,barbarian, Scythian, bond and free. To every man this mighty gospel comes and says, Believe and be saved. There is salvation for thee; not by working, or waiting, or praying, or reforming, but simply not by believing. He who believes is saved, whoever or whatever he may be. II. It is the revelation of Gods righteousness. This mighty gospel saves in a righteous way. Its power unto salvation consists in its being a revelation of the righteousness of God. This righteousness is not that which we call the attribute of God. Nor does it merely mean Gods method of justification; though it is indeed such. It is that righteousness which was displayed in Him who is the righteous One, whose name is Jehovah our righteousness. It is a righteousness planned by God, provided and prepared by God, exhibited and unfolded by God to the sinner. (1.) It is a righteousness revealed. No longer concealed, or but darkly unfolded; but fully and brightly displayed by God in Christ. (2.) It is a divine righteousness. Not merely human, yet still human; human, yet divine; the righteousness of Him who was both God and man. (3.) It is a righteousness by faith. This is the meaning of the words. Therein is that righteousness of God, which comes to us by believing, revealed to be believed. We get the whole of this glorious righteousness in accepting Gods testimony to it and to Him who wrought it out. (4.) It is righteousness presented to us to be believed. God holds it out to us. He says, Take this from my hand; and if you ask, How am I to take it? the answer is, Believe what God says to you concerning it, and straightway it is yours. (5.) It is the same righteousness which was possessed by the Old Testament saints. The just shall hive by faith, or the just by faith shall live, are the words of the ancient prophet, not merely predicting what shall be, but what has been and what is. It was Pauls favorite text. It was also Luthers. We become, or are constituted just, by or in believing; and we live by and in believing; for both these propositions are contained in the passage. One justification from the beginning, one faith, one life! The patriarchs lived by believing in Him who was to come; we live by believing in Him who has come. But it is one Saviour, one salvation, one cross. Gods testimony to this righteousness is very full and explicit. He tells us what kind of righteousness it is, whose it is, and how we get it. It is divine, perfect, glorious, suitable; begun, carried out, completed by Christ during His life and death below: For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. He who believes the divine testimony gets the righteousness. It becomes at once the property of him that believeth,not of him that worketh. He that believeth is justified from all things. All the evil that is in us passes over to Christ, our surety; all the excellence that is in Him passes over to us as soon as we accept time testimony. He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. The power of the gospel is wholly saving; it is armed with power,just in order to save. There is nothing else in our world that can save but this. This gospel contains in it all that is needful to save. It reaches and reverses the condition of the lost. Nothing else does this. It saves, heals, comforts, gladdens, brings out of darkness into light. Salvation! This is its object. Nothing less than this. Not merely to reform, or elevate, or refine; but to save. Whatever it does less than this is in vain. It is salvation that we preach in preaching the gospel,present, immediate, sure, eternal salvation! What then has the gospel done for you? Has it saved you? If not, it has come to you in vain. If it has only made you moral, or kept you moral, it has fallen short of its end. It is through believing that this salvation is realized. We are saved when we believe the gospel. A gospel not believed will do nothing for us, but condemn. A believed gospel saves; and saves as soon as believed. That gospel is the Holy Spirits testimony to Gods free love, and to the finished propitiation of the cross. The reception of that divine testimony is salvation. Has this salvation, O man, found its way into you? Or is it still resisted? Is the evil heart of unbelief still shutting it out? Is it still appealing to you in vain? Is it still telling to you the old story of the love of God, the love of Christ, but telling it in vain? Have you not yet discovered the good news which it brings to you! Are you still unsaved? Unsaved, because rejecting this gospel, and refusing the free gift it brings. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 27, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·03
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 57. (c. m.) Original sin. Rom. v. 12, &c.; Psa. li. 5; Job xiv. 4. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Backward with humble shame we look On our original; How is our nature dashd and broke In our first fathers fall! To all thats good averse and blind, But prone to all thats ill What dreadful darkness veils our mind! How obstinate our will! [Conceived in sin, O wretched state! Before we draw our breath The first young pulse begins to beat Iniquity and death. How strong in our degenrate blood The old corruption reigns, And, mingling with the crooked flood, Wanders through all our veins.] [Wild and unwholesome as the root Will all the branches be; How can we hope for living fruit From such a deadly tree? What mortal power from things unclean Can pure productions bring? Who can command a vital stream From an infected spring?] Yet, mighty God! thy wondrous love Can make our nature clean, While Christ and grace prevail above The tempter, death, and sin. The second Adam shall restore The ruins of the first; Hosannah to that sovereign power That new-creates our dust! from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer . . . Romans 1:28 They quickly forgot His works . . . Psalm 106:13 God has well remembered man; remembers him every day. God might easily forget man; he is so insignificant, worthless, unloveable. But He does not. He has never done so. This world, evil as it is, has been truly, what one has called it, His well-beloved world,His well-remembered creation. Each of us, however poor, however sinful, is a fragment of that world, that race which He has never forgotten: Thou shalt not be forgotten of me. Each moments mercies are tokens of the divine mindfulness. He ever retains us in His knowledge and memory. God desires to be remembered by man. He has taken unspeakable pains to keep Himself before His creatures, so as to make forgetfulness on their part the greatest of all impossibilities. In everything that God has set before our eyes or ears, He says, Remember me. In every star, every flower, every mountain, every stream,in every joy, every comfort, every blessing of daily life,God says, Remember me. How affecting this desire of God to be remembered by man! Yet how has man responded to it? We shall see. The worlds history, and Israels history not less, have shewn how Gods wish to be kept in affectionate remembrance by the creatures He has made has been met. They gave me hatred for my love. They did not like to retain Him in their knowledge. It is not, however, merely a deity, a divine being, that is to be remembered. It is the one living and true God. Every departure from this is idolatry and dishonour. This true God wishes to be remembered, (1.) Reverently. He is great and glorious; to be had in reverence of all creature hood. Reverence and godly fear are His due. (2.) Confidingly. His character is such that He deserves to be trusted. Trustful, childlike remembrance, is what He expects of us. (3.) Joyfully. Not by constraint, or through terror, or hope of profit; but with the full and happy heart. (4.) Lovingly. We love Him because He first loved us. Loving remembrance He would fain have. Nothing less will do. (5.) Steadfastly. Not by fits and starts; at certain devotional seasons, but always. Perpetual remembrance is what God asks,everlasting remembrance. This God, whose name is Jehovah, is worthy to be remembered, He is so infinitely glorious, and good, and great, and loveable. The wonder is, how one so great should ever for a moment be forgotten. That He should forget us, so insignificant, would not be surprising; but that we should forget Him, so great and mighty, is inconceivably marvelous. We may suppose a creature, an atom of the dust, sitting alone and admiring this great Being, and saying, He may not think of me, or notice me, who am such a grain of sand, but I cannot help continually thinking of Him, looking up to Him, praising Him, loving Him, whether He cares for me or not; whether I am overlooked or not,if He will only allow me thus to praise and love. But can we suppose the opposite? the worm of the earth never thinking of this great God at all, and yet this God continually thinking of Him! Yet man forgets God! He hears of Him, and then forgets Him. He sees His works, and then forgets Him. He acknowledges deliverances, and then forgets Him. Thus it is that man deals with God. For his fellow men mans memory serves him well, but towards God it is utterly treacherous. Israel is frequently charged with such things as these: (1.) They forgot His words. All that He had spoken, in grace or righteousness, as warning or as love, they forgot. His words were to them as idle tales. Thus we treat our God. (2.) They forgot His works. Miracle on miracle of the most stupendous kind did He for Israel, in Egypt and in the desert, as if never wearied with blessing them, yet the work was no sooner done than it was out of mind. They sang His praise, and then forgot His works. (3.) They forgot Himself. Yes, Himself! Their God, their Redeemer, their Rock, their Strength! They thrust Him out of their thoughts and memories. He and they were to live apart; to have no intercourse with each other. They were to live in His world, and forget Himself; to enjoy His gifts, but not Himself; to breathe His air, bask in His sunshine, drink His rivers, climb His mountains, sail over His wide sea in storm or calm, and forget Himself? They did not like to retain God in their knowledge. Forgetfulness of God is Gods charge against His creatures. He does not exaggerate their guilt, or bring out into view the gross and hideous crimes of the race. He simply says, You have forgotten me. That is enough. My people have forgotten me. It is they who forget God that are turned into hell. This may seem to some a small sin, a negative evil, a sin of omission; but God places it in the foreground of iniquity. Consider this ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces when none can deliver (Psalm 50:22). God lays great stress upon remembering Him and His works. Often did He use that word to Israel, Remember. Remember the way that the Lord led thee. Remember the commandments of the Lord. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Remember thy Creator. In the New Testament the words of the Lord himself must occur to every one, This do in remembrance of me; amid the response of the church, We will remember Thy love more than wine. Forget not, O man, the God that made thee. He has given thee no cause to forget Him. He ever keeps thee in mind; keep Him in mind. Amid all thy forgetfulness let not Him be forgotten. Amid all thy remembrances let Him be ever uppermost. His remembrance will be joy and peace, fragrance, and refreshment, and strength. Retain Him in thy knowledge; root Him in thy memory; fix Him in thy heart forever. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 28, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·10
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXII. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, &c. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Jesus, God of love attend, From thy glorious throne descend; Answer now some waiting heart, Now some hardend soul convert: To our advocate we fly, Let us feel Emanuel nigh: Manifest thy love abroad, Make us now the sons of God. Hover round us, King of kings, Rise with healing in thy wings; Melt our obstinacy down, Cause us to become thine own: Set, O set the captives free, Draw our backward souls to thee; Let us all from thee receive Light to see and life to live. Prostrate at thy mercy seat Let us our beloved meet; Give us in thyself a part, Deep engraven on thine heart: Let us hear thy pardning voice, Bid the broken bones rejoice; Condemnation do away, O make this the happy day! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Join to seek and save the lost: Raise some sinner to thy throne, Add a jewel to thy crown! Are we not, without thy light, Darkend with Egyptian night? Light of light, thy powr exert, Lighten each benighted heart! Prayer can mercys door unlock; Open, Lord, to us that knock! Us the heirs of glory seal, With thy benediction fill: Holy Spirit, make us his, Visit evry soul in peace; Give our vanquishd hearts to say, Love divine has won the day! Give the heavy laden rest, Christ make known in evry breast: Void of thee we quickly die, Turn our sackcloth into joy: Witness all our sins forgivn, Grant on earth a glimpse of heavn; Bring the joyful tidings down, Fit us for our future crown. Let us chaunt melodious hymns, Loud as those of cherubims; Join with heart and tongue to bless Christ our strength and righteousness: All our praise to him belongs, Theme of our sublimest songs; Object of our choicest love, Thee we laud with hosts above. Thee we hail with joint acclaim, Shout the glories of thy name; Ever may we feel thee thus, Dear Immanuel, God with us! Prince of peace, thy people see, All our thanks we aim at thee; Deign our tribute to receive, Praise is all we have to give. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:11 This cannot mean that God makes no difference between man and man. He does make a difference; and not one, but many. Our world is a world of differences; nor would it be the fair, orderly, and goodly world it is, were it not for these. Heights, depths, colors,mountain, valley, rock,sea, forest, stream,sun, moon, and stars,one star differing from another star in glory: these are some of the material or physical differences that make our world what it is. Then in man there is race, nation, color; gifts of body and mind; riches and poverty; fame and obscurity; ranks, degrees, circumstances, sorrows, joys, health, sickness: these in themselves constitute a vast variety, and then they subdivide themselves into minor varieties, which increase, ad infinitum, the differences between man. God has given to every man something of his own, in respect of mind, body, parentage, possessions, gifts, feelings, country, age, health, constitution, which belongs to no other. Thus in many respects He does make a difference between man and man. Nor can this mean that He treats men at random, without reason or plan; irrespective of character, or doings, or believings, as if His dealings were all chance dealings, blind and arbitrary. No. His treatment of His creatures is sovereign, for He is God; but they are not unreasonable; nay, they are most just, wise, and reasonable,infinitely so. Nor does it mean that He has no fixed plan, but takes every man as he comes, allowing each to do as he pleases, and accepting every one because of sincerity, or earnestness, or amiableness, irrespective of error or unbelief. These are the things which men have often assumed; on which they have acted; on which they presume that God acts. These are the things on which the unbelief of the present day lays great stress; resolving every difficulty as to truth, and righteousness, and judgment to come by the reiteration of the text, God is love. Whether such men really believe in a God at all may be questioned; at all events, the God in whom they believe is not the God of the Bible; the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Lord of the New; the God of the deluge, the God of Sinai, the God of the great white throne, the God of the second death; but a God who plays fast and loose with law, and morality, and truth, and holiness; whose pardons are the result of mere indifference to sin,if there be such things as pardon at all; whose coming assize of judgment will be a mere form or mockery, perhaps the proclamation of universal amnesty to men and devils, with the abolition of hell itself as the summing up of the whole. But let us consider what the apostle means by saying that God is no respecter of persons. It means two things. 1. That God has no respect to the outward appearance or circumstances of a man in dealing with him. God takes him for what he is, not for what he seems. The word translated, person, means mask or face covering; that which disguises a man, and makes him look different from what he is. God regardeth not the person or appearance of a man. To God the man is just what he is exactly, and neither more or less. False pretences or disguises are vain. The crown of the king is no thing to him; the gems of the wealthy add nothing to the mans acceptance; the power of the statesman does not overawe the Judge of all; the Briton is not favored because he is such, nor the Chinese disfavored because he is such. In regard to all these externalisms, or shows, or masks, there is no respect of persons with God. 2. That in regard to justice and grace, God does not follow mans estimates at all, either outward or inward. God has His own standard, His own estimate, His own way of procedure in treating the sinner, whether for condemnation or acceptance. The usual elements which decide mans judgment have no place in Gods. (1.) Gods estimate or rule in regard to justice, is that the doers of the law, the whole law, the unmodified law, shall live by it. So that if any man, whoever he be, Jew or Gentile, Briton or African, can come to God, and shew that he has kept the whole law, he shall be accepted without any abatement made in consideration of outward circumstances whether national or personal. (2.) Gods estimate or rule in regard to grace, is that any man, whoever he be, who will consent to be indebted to the Son of God and His work for acceptance, shall be accepted. This is the way in which grace shews itself to be no respecter of persons. He that has a personal claim, shall have that claim fairly considered and weighed; he that has none, but is willing to take instead the claim of another, even of Christ, shall be received according to that divine claim; whatever he may be, or may have been, in respect of sin, or demerit, or nation, or intellect, or circumstances. The apostles object is to declare these three things: 1. Gods purpose of dealing with the sons of men. He is not going to let them alone, nor to allow them to have their own way. 2. Gods plan of dealing with them. He does so as God, sovereign and righteous, yet gracious. He will be fair and reasonable in all His dealings. He will not respect mens persons, whether high or low. 3. His willingness to receive any. He has provided a method of reception; and He invites them. He is willing, infinitely willing, to receive any one of Adams sons and daughters, whoever or whatever he may be. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 28, 2011

Lords Day 29, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·17
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Assistance and Influence of the Blessed Spirit Philip Doddridge (17021751) Tis not in my weak powr alone, To melt this stubborn heart of stone, My soul to change, my life to mend, Or seek to Christ, that genrous friend. Tis Gods own Spirit from above Fixes our faith, inflames our love. And makes a life divine begin In wretched souls, long dead in sin. That most important gift of heaven To those that ask and seek is given; Then be it my immediate care With importunity of prayer, To seek it in a Saviors name, Who will not turn my hopes to shame. God from on high, His grace shall pour, My soul shall flourish more and more. Press on with speed from grace to grace, Till glory end and crown the race. Since then the Father and the Son, And Holy Spirit, three in one, Glorious beyond all speech and thought, Have jointly my salvation wrought; Ill join them in my songs of praise, Now and through heavens eternal days. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets Romans 3:21 It is of sin and righteousness that the apostle speaks so fully and so minutely throughout this whole epistle. Up to the verse from which our text is taken, he has been settling this point, that man is a sinner, and needs a righteousness, else he cannot stand before God. Circumcision cannot give a righteousness; it merely tells us that a righteousness is needed, no more. The law cannot give a righteousness; it is merely a declaration of what righteousness is, and that the unrighteous shall not stand before God. It condemns, it cannot justify. By the law is the knowledge of sin, and thus every mouth is stopped, and the whole world brought in guilty before God. But, notwithstanding this, there is a righteousness; a righteousness which meets the case of the unrighteous in every part; a righteousness which can reverse even the verdict of the law against the unrighteous; a righteousness on the footing of which we can stand with boldness in the presence of the holy God without either shame or fear. It is of this righteousness that he proceeds to speak in the words of our text. Let us hear what he affirms regarding it. I. First, it is the righteousness of God. It is a divine, not a human righteousness. That righteousness which we had lost in Adam was, after all, but a human thing, finite hike him who lost it; but that which we gain is a divine righteousness, and by being divine, forms an infinite compensation for that which Adam lost for us; and we, in receiving it, are made partakers of a most glorious exchange. It is called the righteousness of God, because it is a righteousness provided by Him; a righteousness which was conceived by Him, set on foot, and carried out in every part by Him, entirely and by Him alone; a righteousness, in the providing of which we had nothing to do, even in thought or in desire, far less in execution; a righteousness, the origin and accomplishment of which are wholly and purely Gods, not mans at all. Again, it is called the righteousness of God, because it is a righteousness founded on the sufferings of the Son of God. It behoved Him, who is the only-begotten of the Father to take flesh and suffer, ere the very first step towards the providing of that righteousness could be taken. And He has suffered, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God; and thus the foundation of a divine righteousness has been laid. Again, it is called the righteousness of God, because it is a righteousness made up of time doings of the Son of God. It is not merely with His sufferings that this righteousness has to do, but it is with His doings as well. These two things enter into its composition, so that, without both of them, it would be imperfect. What He did on earth in magnifying the law and making it honourable; what He did on earth in obeying the Fathers will in every jot and tittle, makes up this righteousness. These doings of His were infinitely pleasing to the Father, infinitely glorifying to the Fathers holiness, and infinitely honouring to that law which our unrighteousness had violated and dishonoured. Further, it is called the righteousness of God, because it provides such a compensation for human unrighteousness, that it not only takes it all away, but brings in a new and far higher and surer footing for the sinner to rest on. It introduces a new standing of acceptance, so that the man who becomes a partaker of this provided righteousness becomes divinely accepted, divinely righteous, divinely blessed. It is not a mere simple righteousness that God sets forth; it is a super abounding one, an infinite one, one which can leave no room for doubt on our part at all, one that is most amply sufficient to meet our case were we the very guiltiest on whom the sun has ever shone. II. Secondly, it is a righteousness without the law. He does not mean that it is in any sense an unlawful righteousness,a righteousness not based on law,a righteousness, in providing which, law has been set aside in any sense; but it means a righteousness which, in so far as we are concerned, has nothing to do with law at all. It is not a righteousness which asks any doing, or working, or obeying, on our part, in order to complete it, in order to make it what it isthe righteousness of God; for did it require anything of this kind on our part, it would cease to be what it is here represented to be, the righteousness of God, and would become, to a large extent at least, the righteousness of man. This righteousness does not send us to the law in order to be justified; it does not throw us upon our own works, either in whole or in part; it proceeds from first to last upon such principles as these, announced elsewhere in this epistle, and in the Epistle to the Galatians: By time deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. And again, as it is written To him that worketh not, but believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. In no sense, and at no time, does it say to us, Do this, and thou shalt live; do this, and thou shalt be saved. In no sense does it give us the idea of a thing far off, but of a thing nigh, at our very side; not of a thing to be toiled for, a thing to be waited for on our part. In no such sense has this righteousness anything to do with law, or with our doing of the law. For what is the whole of the Epistle to the Galatians but a protest against the idea that this righteousness of God has anything to do with the law, in so far as the sinner is concerned? In so far as God is concerned, in so far as the Son of God is concerned, it had everything to do with law; but in so far as we are concerned, it has nothing to do with it; it is a righteousness without the law. Let us, brethren, hold fast then this truth of the gospel, this foundation truth; righteousness without law, righteousness founded in no sense upon our keeping of the law; but wholly and absolutely upon this fact, that another has kept the law for us, and that other no less than the Son of God Himself. III. Thirdly, This righteousness has been manifested acceptance. Now, he says, the righteousness of God is manifested; it has been clearly brought to light, so that there can be no mistake concerning it, and no mystery in it. It is not a thing hidden, wrapped up, reserved, held back, veiled from our view. It is a thing clearly brought out today, and shone upon by Gods own light, so that the difficulty seems to be, not how to see it, but how to miss seeing it, how to keep ourselves from apprehending it. It has been clearly manifested. God has been at infinite pains to bring it forward to view, both on our own account, and on account of Him whose righteousness it is. In every way He has sought to guard it against the possibility of being mistaken by man. In every way has He taken precautions against this being hidden from view, or darkened by the words of mans wisdom. He has set this righteousness as a star in the firmament above us, that every eye may see it, that no mountains of earth may come between us and the heavenly vision; He has made it peculiarly bright, that every eye may be attracted to it. He has removed other stars from around it, that it may not be mistaken, but stand alone in its brilliance. It is to this star we point the eye of each sinner here; the Star of Bethlehem, the brightest in Gods firmament, the bright and morning star, the star which God has set there as His light to the world. He presents it to each one of you, that on recognizing it you may not walk in darkness, but have the light of life, and that, knowing it as it has been manifested, you may no longer stand in doubt as to your relationship with God, as to your personal acceptance. He so puts this righteousness at your disposal that you may come to Him in confidence, using it as if it were entirely your own. IV. Fourthly, This righteousness is a righteousness to which the law and the prophets bear witness. By this expression, we understand the whole of the Old Testament. It is not something (he means to tell us) now come to light for the first time, not understood in the ages gone by; it is something which has been proclaimed from the beginning hitherto. To these oracles the eye of every saint, from Abel downward, has been directed; on this righteousness the feet of every saint from the beginning have stood; of this righteousness every prophet has spoken; to this righteousness every type has borne witness; and this righteousness every sacrifice has set forth. It is this Star which shone down upon the pilgrimage of Old Testament worthies, and in the light of which they walked. It is this Star which sheds light on every page of their history; it was to this Star that they, with one consent, age after age, pointed the eye of all around. They knew none but this; they cared for none but this; to them, as to those who believe now, Christ was all and in all On this righteousness they rested, in it they rejoiced. It is no new righteousness which we preach. It is no new foundation of which we tell. It is the old one, the well-proved one. It has been abundantly sufficient in past ages, and it has lost none of its efficiency now in these last days. It was enough for the saints in former ages, it is enough for us now. They who found salvation, ages and generations ago, found it here; and he who finds salvation now finds it also here. V. Fifthly, This righteousness is a righteousness which is by the faith of Jesus Christ: Even the righteousness of God, which is by the faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference. He means to say by this expression, that it is a righteousness which comes to us by believing in Jesus Christ. It is not our faith that is our righteousness; it is not our act of believing that justifies. If your faith were your righteousness, then faith would be just reduced to the level of all other works, and would be itself a work. If it were our faith, our act of faith, that justified, then should we be justified by our own acts, by our own deeds. The expression, then the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, means simply that it is a righteousness which passes over to us, and becomes available for us, by believing in Him whose righteousness it is; that is, by believing the Fathers testimony concerning Jesus Christ. It is by believing that we are identified with Him, so that His doing becomes our doing in the eye of God, and in the eye of the law; His suffering becomes our suffering; His fulfilling of the law becomes our fulfilling of the law; His obedience to the Fathers will is our obedience to the Fathers will. Such is the position into which we are brought by being made, in believing, one with Him. Thus the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, is presented to us, that in believing on Him, He may become ours. Righteousness is here laid down at our feet. It is there, whether we receive it or not. It is there, whether we believe it or not; whether we reject it or receive it. Your receiving it does not create it; your receiving it does not complete it; it is all created, it is all completed, it is all free, it is all at our feet, whether we take it or thrust it away; and our condemnation hereafter, if we be lost, will be not that there was no righteousness, not that we refused to complete a righteousness which had been begun, but that we rejected the righteousness which was completed, and which was so presented to us by God himself. It is in believing, or, as the apostle expresses it, by faith in Jesus Christ, that this righteousness, with all its privileges, and with all its results, passes over to us. For in believing, what are we saying but just this: I have no works to bring to God; I am a sinner, but I take this work of the Son of God, and I ask to be dealt with by God according to its value, and just as if I had done the work, and not He. Or, it is just as if we were saying, I have no righteousness, seeing I am wholly a sinner; but I take this righteousness of the Son of God, and I draw near, expecting to be treated by God, just as if I and not He were the righteous person. I cannot present any suffering to Him in payment of penalty; bat I take this suffering of the Son of God, and I claim to have it reckoned to me as payment of my penalty. Thus it is, Christ is the end of the law, for righteousness to every one that believeth. VI. Sixthly, This righteousness is a righteousness for the unrighteous. It is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. It is righteousness for the unrighteous. It is not righteousness for the good, but for the evil. It is not righteousness for the worthy, but for the unworthy. It is our unrighteousness that fits us for this righteousness. It is the evil that is in us that fits us for the excellency that is found in it. How foolish, then, to say as men, when convinced of sin, or when going back into former iniquity, are sometimes found saying, I am too great a sinner to be for given. Why, if you were not such a sinner, you would not need such a righteousness. It is the extent of your unrighteousness that fits you for a righteousness so infinite, so divine. If the righteousness were not the righteousness of God, if it were a human and not a divine righteousness, if finite and not infinite, your fear would be natural; but seeing it is divine not human, infinite, not finite, can anything be more foolish, more presumptuous, more profane, than to say, My unrighteousness is too great for the righteousness of the Son of God? This righteousness for the unrighteous is said by the apostle to be unto all. It is a righteousness which is like the sun in the heavens. It is one sun; yet it is enough for every one, it is free to every one. God works out a righteousness, and then sets it down on this fallen earth, that every one may avail himself of it. We are, therefore, not to say, Is this righteousness provided for this one or for that one, for many or for few? but there it is, there is the righteousness, go and take it. That is the gospel. Looking at the natural sun, do you ever think of asking, Is it for me, for this man or for that, the many or the few? You open your eye and enjoy its beams without asking any questions. Your making such inquiries would indicate a very unhealthy state of body; and so your asking such questions regarding Gods intention as proposed in this righteousness, indicates an unhealthy state of mind. To every sinner here, we preach the good news of this righteousness; a righteousness not only suitable and sufficient, but glorious and free; righteousness for the unrighteous; righteousness for the most unrighteous of the children of men. Again, it is a righteousness which is upon all them that believe: It is unto all; but it is only upon them that believe. The moment that we believe through grace, we are accepted in the Beloved, redeemed from condemnation and from wrath. Till then the wrath of God abideth upon us. It is in believing that this righteousness is put upon us; and in believing what? In believing what God has testified concerning this righteousness, and concerning Him whose righteousness it is. Again, the apostle affirms regarding this righteousness for the unrighteous, that there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is no difference as to its fitness for the sinner, whatever his sin may be; and there is no difference as to the fitness of the sinner for the righteousness. There is this twofold fitness: the fitness of the righteousness for the sinner, and the fitness of the sinner for the righteousness. There is no difference; there is no man more fit than another; all are equally fit or equally unfit, equally qualified or equally unqualified, for all have sinned; and it is this that brings down all to the same level, and down to this level it is that the righteousness comes. For it is not a righteousness which has only come down to a certain level,which has lighted upon earth, but only upon some of its highest peaks; it is a righteousness which has come down to the very lowest valleys, a righteousness which may be found out without climbing, and even beside our very dwellings. No one, then, can say, I deserve it, therefore it is for me; and no one, on the other hand, can say, I do not deserve it, therefore it is not for me. There is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Thus it suits the case of all; so that no one can put it away, and say, It does not suit my case, but it may suit others. Nay, friend, if you are not an unrighteous man it will not suit you, I grant; but if you are an unrighteous man it must suit you. There is no question as to the kind of your unrighteousness, the length of time, the amount or degree; there is no question about that, the simple question is, Are you an unrighteous man? Then it suits your case. And it is a righteousness near to each one of you; it is not afar off: it is not in heaven above, so that you have to climb to the seat of God to obtain it; and it is not down so low that you must dig to earths center to find it: it is near, it is at your very side; and if you reject it, it cannot be because of its distance. God has brought it near. He ells you it is near. I bring near my righteousness. God says that; and who are you that you should say, It is far off? Nay, more, it is free,Without money and without price. There is no payment asked; no payment can be taken. The very idea of payment is insulting to the righteousness, and insulting to Him whose righteousness it is. Yet many seek to buy it,not perhaps by their gold and silver, but by other things equally worthless. Some would buy it by their penances and fastings, some by their confessions; some would buy it by their repentance, some by their prayers, some by their self-mortification and privations, some by their fair lives and excellent deeds. It is righteousness for the unrighteous that we proclaim, the righteousness of God, a righteousness which has come down from heaven to earth on very purpose that it may be presented to you. It is Gods wish that you should take it. Do you refuse it? He hinders not. Where then lies the hindrance? In you, not in Him. The refusal will not be on His part; it must be on yours; and if you perish, you perish, not because He would not be reconciled to you, but because you would not be reconciled to Him; not because there was not a provided righteousness, but because you rejected it; not because there was not sufficient love in God to give you that righteousness, but because you willfully put away from you both the righteousness and the love. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 30, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·24
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Voice from Galilee. Horatius Bonar (18081889) I heard the voice of Jesus say, Come unto me and rest; Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon my breast. I came to Jesus as I was, Weary, and worn, and sad; I found in Him a resting-place, And He has made me glad. I heard the voice of Jesus say, Behold, I freely give The living water: thirsty one, Stoop down, and drink, and live. I came to Jesus and I drank Of that life-giving stream; My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, And now I live in Him. I heard the voice of Jesus say, I am this dark worlds light, Look unto me, thy morn shall rise, And all thy day be bright. I looked to Jesus, and I found In Him my Star, my Sun; And in that light of life Ill walk, Till travelling days are done. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness Romans 4:35 Justification by faith is a very old doctrine,one of the oldest dogmas on record. It is as old as Abraham; as old as Abel. The patriarchs knew it well, and lived thereby. It was as believing men that they were justified. The old pagans had not so much as a glimpse of this. It required a divine revelation to communicate even the idea or possibility of it, much more the actual thing. The apostle goes back to Abraham for his illustration of this free justification, and reminds us that his faith was counted for righteousness, that is, his believing was reckoned instead of his working, in the great question of acceptance. He took God at His word, and in thus honouring Him, pleased God. Hence the apostle thus strongly puts the matter,To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. I. Who justifies? It is God that justifieth. The Judge, the Lawgiver, is the Justifier. Self-justification is as useless as it is impossible. To acquit myself is of no avail, unless the law and the lawgiver do the same. I must have my sentence of acquittal or justification from God Himself. It is only His verdict that can satisfy me now, or can avail me in the day of the great reckoning. Not guilty from my own hips or from mans lips, will profit nothing; not guilty from His lips is altogether sufficient; I need no more to set my soul at rest, and to give me peace of conscience, tranquility of soul. II. What sort of justification does He give? Mans ideas of justification are vague and low; we must recognize Gods thoughts upon the question. His justification is, (1.) Righteous. The adjustment of the question between us and God is a righteous adjustment. Its basis is righteousness. Nothing but this would satisfy God or ourselves, or make us feel safe in accepting it in our dealings with a holy God. This righteousness is secured by the full payment of the penalty by a surety or substitute. He does what we should have done; He suffers what we should have suffered; He lives our life, He dies our death, He descends to our grave. Thus He exhausts the penalty, and so makes justification a righteous thing; and our justification is that of men who have suffered the laws full penalty for our sins; our pardon is that of men who, in the person of their substitute, have undergone all that they deserved eternally to undergo. The Just One suffering for the unjust makes the justification of the unjust a just and righteous thing. (2.) Complete. It extends to our whole persons; to our whole lives; to every sin committed by us. The whole man is justified. It is no half-pardon, no semi-acceptance, that we receive, but something complete and divine; perfect as God can make it; so perfect as to satisfy conscience here, and to stand the test of the judgment seat hereafter. Nothing in us or about us that goes to make up our character as sinners, is left unjustified. (3.) Irreversible. No second verdict can alter our legal position. God is not a man that He should lie. Pardoned once, then pardoned forever. Who is he that condemneth? Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? (4.) Divine. It is a justification worthy of God; a justification which shall place the justified on a far higher level than the first Adam stood upon; a justification which can only be likened to that of the Son of God Himself when He rose from the dead, being justified in the Spirit (1 Timothy 3:16). III. For whom is it? For the ungodly. Yes; for such alone. Righteousness for the unrighteous is that which the Righteous One came to bring. In this matter of pardon and acceptance, the principle is not, To him that hath shall more be given, but to him that hath nothing shall all be given. It is not partial or incipient godliness that attracts this justification to an individual. The only fitness or qualification is our need, our ungodliness, our unrighteousness, total and complete, without one particle of goodness or deservingness. It was for the ungodly that Christ died. It was for the ungodly that this righteousness was provided; and he who thinks to have it on any other footing save that of simple need or in any other character save that of unrighteousness or ungodliness, cannot possibly obtain it. The good news which we bring concerning this righteousness is that it is for the ungodly,for the ungodliest; and he who would qualify or explain away that word ungodly, subverts and denies the whole gospel of the grace of God. IV. How we get it. By believing. In accepting Gods testimony to the righteousness,in crediting His word concerning this justification,we are justified at once. The righteousness becomes ours; and God treats us henceforth as men who are righteous, as men who, on account of the righteousness which has thus become theirs, are entitled to be dealt with as righteous, out and out. Of Abraham it is said, His faith was counted for righteousness; that is, God counted this believing man as one who had done all righteousness, just because he was a believing man. Not that his act or acts of faith were substituted as equivalent to work, but his believing brought him into the possession of all that working could have done. Thus, in believing, we get the righteousness. Our believing accomplishes for us all that our working could have done. The apostles words are very bold, and the comparison between the working and believing which they embody, brings out the great distinction between mans thoughts and Gods, mans ways and Gods, To him that worketh not, but believeth. We are so apt to mix up the two together, the believing and the working, the believing and the feeling, that it is needful to have a strong statement like this thoroughly to clear up our thoughts, and to prevent confusion. The expression here, believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, is another way of expressing the truth, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ; for it points us to God, who laid our sins upon His Son, that by this bearing of them, in the person of a divine surety, God might be just, and the Justifier of him who believes. Come and be justified, is His message to the sinner. Credit my testimony, and be freely pardoned! For our gospel is not, Do this or that, but, Come, reap the fruits of what another has done. Come, and, without working, or waiting, or praying, or feeling, enter into the complete justification of him who believeth! Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 31, 2011

Sunday··2011·07·31
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn LVIII. O Lord, I will praise thee! Isaiah xii. William Cowper (17311800) I will praise thee every day Now thine angers turned away! Comfortable thoughts arise From the bleeding sacrifice. Here in the fair gospel field, Wells of free salvation yield Streams of life, a plenteous store, And my soul shall thirst no more. Jesus is become at length My salvation and my strength; And his praises shall prolong, While I live, my pleasant song. Praise ye, then, his glorious name, Publish his exalted fame! Still his worth your praise exceeds, Excellent are all his deeds. Raise again the joyful sound, Let the nations roll it round! Zion shout, for this is he, God the Savior dwells in thee. Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account. Romans 4 The apostle asks, How was Abraham justified? He answers, By believing. Then he asks, How was David justified? And he answers, By believing. In both cases by the righteousness of God; a righteousness without works; a righteousness without law and yet a righteousness witnessed by the law and the prophets; a righteousness in accordance with all true law and government; a righteousness for the unrighteous. Again, the apostle raises the question, What makes a blessed man? And he refers to Davids announcement respecting blessedness, and its cause or root. The blessed man is the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works. To a sinner this is absolutely essential; it is a sine qua non, indispensable. There can be no blessedness in any other way. After the imputation has taken place, there are innumerable sources of blessedness, all pouring in their joy and peace; but this is the beginning. No blessedness without this divine reckoning of righteousness; but with this a mans blessedness commences. Heaven is begun within him, the heaven that David tasted, and which he so often speaks of: in His favor is life. (Psalm 3:5.) There is, then, blessedness on earth, even to a sinner,true blessedness,that which God calls by that name. In spite of weariness, sorrow, conflict, cares, fears, burdens, there is such a thing as blessedness. And this blessedness God freely presents to each unblessed, sorrowful, burdened son of Adam, without money and without price. The apostle, in quoting the words of David, thus prefaces and interprets them: David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Righteousness without works was that which David enjoyed. He obtained righteousness without working for it at all; righteousness by simply taking it from another, and using it as if it were his own. We must have a righteousness, else we cannot stand before God; we cannot have a religion. God must deal with us, and we must deal with God, on the footing of righteousness; not simply of grace; for He is the righteous as well as the gracious God. When we go to Him we must do so with a righteousness in our hand, either our own or anothers. Our transactions with God must all be of this nature. They must be righteous transactions; dealings between a righteous God and men who are, at the same moment, in His eye, both righteous and unrighteous, and therefore needing both grace and righteousness. A personal righteousness on our part is an impossibility. We cannot work for it; and we cannot get it by working. In going to God we must begin, not encl with righteousness; so that we must have it before we can please God or do any good thing; in other words, it must be free, and it must come to us at once, and it must satisfy both God and our own conscience. Only the righteousness of another can do this; righteousness without works; righteousness which does not depend on our doing, or feeling, or praying, or repenting, but which comes to us at once from God, as the root and fountainhead of all working, and goodness, and holiness on our part. The prodigal did not work for the best robe, but got it all ready-made from his fathers hands; Joseph did not work for his coat of many colors, but received it as the gift of his fathers love; Adam did not work for the skins with which the Lord God clothed him: so is it with the sinner in his approaches to God, and in Gods approaches to him. Righteousness without works is given him; nay, put upon him as a raiment, a divine raiment, to fit him for drawing near to God. There are three things noted here as making up this blessedness, and indispensable to its existence: I. Iniquities are forgiven. It is transgression in the original Psalm. This is one kind of sin, and generally denotes the worst. There is then transgression or iniquity; but it is forgiven (or borne, as the word means); for there is forgiveness with God, that He may be feared; a complete, free, divine forgiveness; such as God delights to give, and the sinner to receive. He forgiveth all our iniquities; He forgives without reserve, or stint, or uncertainty. He removes our iniquities from us as far as east is from the west. He retains not one; He blots out all. II. Sins are covered. There is, and there has been, sin; but it is no longer visible; it is buried; it is covered; it is put out of sight, as if God himself no longer saw it. It is God who covers, not man; He covers by means of the blood of atonement; He covers by burying it in the grave of Christ. Thus our sins are completely covered, hidden, forgiven. They are first borne, and then buried. Could any words more completely express forgiveness? III. Sin is not imputed. There are three words in this passage expressive of sin, as in Gods first full announcement of Himself as the great forgiver (Exodus 34:6.); transgression, iniquity, sin; meaning every kind and form of sin. And there are three words used in reference to the putting away of sin,forgiving (bearing), covering, not imputing. This last,the non-imputation,is said specially to be Jehovahs doing. This non-imputation is without works; it is free; it is divine; it is perfect; it is sure; it comes as the consequence of believing. Thus there are three foundation stones laid for the sinners blessedness; each of them ample; all of them together fully sufficient. On these he must rest. Without these he can have no joy. His belief of Gods testimony to these is that which connects him with this threefold foundation, and with the blessedness. He believes, and becomes a blessed man. The grace or free love of God, contained in these three things, is that which pours blessedness into his soul. The Psalmist adds, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Forgiveness makes him a guileless man; it takes away all temptation to speak or act untruly and deceitfully with God, or with man, or with himself. He becomes an Israelite indeed. Pardon has made him such. Being fully forgiven, he has no longer any motive to conceal the very worst of himself. Gods forgiveness frank and ample has superseded the necessity of any palliation or excuse; has delivered him from the temptation to make the best of his case and of himself. He thinks, feels, acts, speaks honestly. He confesses sin, and he finds God faithful and just to forgive his sins. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lord���s Day 32, 2011

Sunday··2011·08·07
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Tune Me, O Lord Christina Rossetti (1830���1894) Tune me, O Lord, into one harmony With Thee, one full responsive vibrant chord; Unto Thy praise all love and melody, Tune me, O Lord. Thus need I flee nor death, nor fire, nor sword. A little while these be, then cease to be, And sent by Thee not these should be abhorred. Devil and world, gird me with strength, To flee the flesh, and arm me with Thy word: As Thy Heart is to my heart, unto Thee Tune me, O Lord. ���Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. ���Romans 5:2 Let us note here���(1) The grace; (2) The introduction into it; (3) The abiding, or standing; (4) The rejoicing. I. The grace.���It is here called ���this grace,������a well known, most suitable, and sufficient grace, or free love; the free love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is ���the true grace of God���; free love in the heart of God to the ungodly, to the unloving and unloveable. This grace, or free love, is absolute and unconditional; considering not our deservings or qualifications, but simply our need. It looks at us not as good, but as evil; not as sensible, but insensible; not as penitent, but impenitent; not as good in any sense or degree, but as wholly evil. It is not created or awakened by our amendments, or good feelings, or love, or prayers, or regeneration. It regards us simply as sinners, ungodly, needing God���s favor and help. It is this free love that begins, carries on, and consummates a sinner���s deliverance. The knowledge of this divine free love is life eternal. Out of this fountain, ever full and flowing, there comes to us pardon, and joy, and health, and consolation, and light. He that knows that free love, knows that which saves him, and draws him into happy fellowship with God. He that knows it not, is still afar off; the child of darkness, and the worshipper of an unknown God. We can neither be happy nor holy till we know it. It is the good news of God���s free love that we preach. This is ���the ministry of the reconciliation���; this is our mission and commission, ���to testify the gospel of the grace of God,��� and to tell that it is ���by his mercy that he saves us���; to speak of ���the exceeding riches of the grace of God.��� II. The access, or introduction.���We do not create or awaken this free love by any goodness or qualification of our own. It exists independent of these. Nor did Christ, by His coming and death, create that love. This love existed before; it was this that sent Christ. ���God so loved the world, that He gave his Son.��� Yet, without Christ, this love could never have reached us. It would have been a distant and inaccessible well, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. It is through Him that this free love has found its way to us. He brings it to us, and us to it. He gives access, and entrance, and introduction; for the word implies all these, and is used elsewhere to signify the bringing or introducing one person to another (Luke 9:41; Acts 16:20); and is employed not simply in reference to the grace of God, but to God himself (1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:18, 3:12). Our outward or objective Introducer and introduction is Christ himself; our inward or subjective introduction and introducer is faith. Jesus brings us to time Father and the Father���s grace, but He does so by producing faith in us. Without, or apart from Christ, the grace cannot come to us; and without faith, Christ and we are kept at a distance from each other. God has given us His true testimony, both as to His grace and as to His Son; and we, in believing that testimony, become connected with both. The grace is deposited in Christ for us; and we, in coming to Him, get the grace that is in Him. The grace that is in Him, He has received for men, even for the rebellious; and this was the grace which He manifested when here on earth, both in his words and deeds. He was the gracious One, and, as such, the representative of the Father. We go to Him to get His own and the Father���s grace, the free love of Godhead. III. The standing, or abiding.���In this grace, or free love, we have stood since we were introduced into it; and in it we are standing, and shall stand. ���We stand in it!��� This is a believing man���s true position. He takes his stand on the free love of God. This raises him up and holds him up; keeps him from fainting, or falling, or sliding. This free love is to him���(1) abiding peace, (2) abiding strength, (3) abiding security. This free love is to him���(1) sunshine, (2) rain, (3) food, (4) water, (5) medicine, (6) wine. At this well he stands and drinks, in this sun he basks, to this storehouse he comes for everything. Have we used this free love as we ought? Are we using it constantly? Do we use it for strengthening our faith, for quickening our daily life, for increasing our holiness, for dispelling our doubts, for ministering consolation? In the constant recognition of this love, there is provision for a close walk with God, and for a useful, zealous life. Are we thus employing it? Are we using it pure and undiluted; love���true, free, unmingled, unmerited love? Or are we diluting it,���polluting it, by mingling something of our own with it; making it less pure, and heavenly, and generous ; less absolutely, and unconditionally, and entirely free? Let us remember how much our steadfastness and progress depend on our constant recognizing of, and living on, this free love. Apart from it, all is weakness, bondage, darkness, and instability. O free love of God, what a fountain of life and strength thou art to the weary, helpless sinner! IV. The rejoicing.���This grace is not merely stability for us, but joy, and hope, and glory. Standing in this grace, we are filled with joy. This joy comes not merely from the past and present, but from the future; not merely from the knowledge that we are beloved of God, but from the knowledge of what that love is to do for us hereafter. We rejoice because our future is filled with hope,���the hope of the glory of God. Joy comes, then, from hope; hope from the God of love; hope sure and steadfast; hope that maketh not ashamed; everlasting hope. Glory is ours in prospect,���the glory of God; and so great is it, that we reckon that the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed,���the ���exceeding and eternal weight of glory.��� It is the glory of the new heavens and earth, the glory of resurrection, the glory of the kingdom, the very glory of Christ. And it is all ours, simply as those who have known and believed this free love of God. Hence the apostle���s prayer, ���The God of (the) hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.��� Take these lessons: 1. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.���It is on this we plant our feet; it is this that makes us strong. This love is our strength. 2. Rejoice in the Lord.���Ours should be a full and constant gladness; for, both before and behind, we are compassed about with that which gladdens. 3. Abound in hope.���It is bright, blessed, and glorious. It is the hope of reigning with Christ. It will sustain and sanctify. It will animate and cheer. Thus do we glorify the God of hope. 4. Realize the glory. Keep the eye steadfastly fixed upon it, till its brightness fills our whole being. ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 33, 2011

Sunday··2011·08·14
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Confession and Petition Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find thy mind in thy Word, of neglect to seek thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, But I bless thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do thou rule over me in liberty and power. I thank thee that many of my prayers have been refused I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with thy patient work, answering no to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to thy rule. I thank thee for thy wisdom and thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross. No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction. Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of thy grace in me, Everything that prevents me taking delight in thee. Then I shall bless thee, God of Jeshurun, for helping me to be upright. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; Romans 5:24 How simply does the apostle put the good news in the conclusion of the previous chapter! It was not written for his (Abrahams) sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered because we had sinned, and was raised because we were justified. Then in the fifth chapter he thus continues,Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom we have access (introduction) by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we even glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience (?, approval after trial,approval by God; perhaps here a sense of approval), and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed (will not disappoint), because the love of God is shed abroad (poured out of one vessel into another) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Thus, then, all true religion begins with our being justified; this justification is immediate,by believing; then follows inseparably, peace with God; and this peace is through Jesus Christ, who is our peace, and who has made peace by the blood of His cross. This Jesus who has effected the peace has brought us at the same time into a state of favor, and placed us on a new footing, namely, of grace or free love, so that all our intercourse and transactions with God henceforth proceed on this new footing; God deals with us in free love, and we count on being dealt with at all times in free love; we expect nothing save from free love, and from it we expect everything. This fountain of Gods free love, thus opened for us, and to which, we are brought by Jesus Christ, is all we need for the fullest supply of our innumerable wants. Let us give all credit to the divine testimony concerning it; and act upon it continually; so shall we be kept in peace, and strength, and liberty. But let us look at the second verse a little more closely. The two things which the apostle brings before us in connection with our justified condition, are the grace and the glory. Let us take up these two subjects. I. The grace. This means, of course, the state of favor with God; as when we read, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. It is that state in which we are dealt with by God in free love, and in free love alone; that state in which not law but free love regulates everything, gives everything; so that keeping this in mind, we may live, and act, and pray as those who are entitled to feel themselves absolutely sure of everything that free love can bestow. The apostle refers to two things in our connection with this state, our introduction or access into it, and our abiding in it. (1.) Access or introduction. It is Christ that introduces us into it, places us in it,Christ himself; for through Him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Christ is the revealer of the Father, the embodiment of the Fathers free love. Christ takes us by the hand, and leads us in to the Fathers presence; and thus led in by Him, we find there nothing but grace, favor, love. There is no other Introducer but He; there is no other introduction or recommendation but His blood. He leads us in, saying, Father, here is one who is willing to be indebted to me for everything, to my blood for cleansing, to my righteousness for covering, to my merit for acceptance, receive him graciously, love him freely. Thus by Christ we are introduced into the favor of God. (2.) Abiding in it. It is a state of permanence, unchanging permanence. It is not free love today and law tomorrow, but free love perpetually henceforth; we are not under the law but under grace; where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded. We are not in favor one hour, and out of favor the next, according to our frames; but always in favor, through Him who has introduced us into a state, out of which we can never be cast. There may be much inconsistency, much conscious evil, much that is in itself fitted to separate us from God, or draw His frown upon us; but we are now in a state of favor,and God deals with us now only in free love. This free love faith realizes; keeping us ever under a sense of it, rooted and grounded in love. Out of the happy consciousness of this, nothing but unbelief can drive us or keep us. Let us, then, know our privilege as believing men, and stand in this free love; let us be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. It is often hard so to abide; to realize Gods free love in the midst of much conscious evil; but that is the condition of every one who has believed in Jesus; and on this free love he ever falls back when Satan would prompt him to despond, or lead him to self-righteousness. The remembrance of this free love will alone keep him in perfect peace. Nothing else will avail. II. The glory. It is the glory of God; not the essential glory of the divine character, but the glory conferred on us by God; the glory of His kingdom; the glory of His glorious heaven; the glory of resurrection, when that which is sown in dishonour shall be raised in glory; the glory of the inheritance of the saints in light. Connected with this glory there is first joy, and then hope. (1.) Joy. The word is more properly to triumph, or boast, or exult. It is the expression of the souls exuberant fullness at the tidings of such a glory. It is joy more than sufficient to counterbalance all earthly sorrows, as well as to eclipse all earthly joys. We glory in the glory. We triumph every time we think of what God has promised to us, and will ere long bring to pass. (2.) Hope. This glory is expressly given us as a hope, as something for hope to feed upon; an object large enough and bright enough to gladden the hoping eye, and fill the hoping soul. It is preeminently the thing hoped for, the blessed hope. We are men of hope. We are saved by hope. We love by hope. We are comforted by hope. We are sustained and sanctified by hope. It is a hope that maketh not ashamed. It will not fail nor disappoint. It will, when realized, prove itself to be worthy of the joy which it gave us here; worthy of that God who prepared it for us, of that Christ who bought it for us. The root of all this is faith,faith beginning at the cross and stretching forward to the throne; faith which brings us into the possession of the divine favor, and keeps us in perfect peace, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God. Let us live the lives of believing men; at peace with God; rooted and grounded in love; free, happy, earnest, self-denied; never losing hold of the free love of God, and never losing sight of the glory to be revealed; walking not only in the love of God, but in the law of God, which is holy, and just, and good, keeping our eye continually on the statutes, and judgments, and testimonies, and commandments of the Lord our God, knowing that great peace have they that love this law, and that it is to this that we are called,that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 33, 2011

Lords Day 34, 2011

Sunday··2011·08·21
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 62. (c. m.) Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, worshipped by all the creation. Rev. v. 1113. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Come, let us join with cheerful songs With angels round the throne; Ten thousand thousand are their tongues, But all their joys are one. Worthy the Lamb that died, they cry, To be exalted thus: Worthy the Lamb, our lips reply, For he was slain for us. Jesus is worthy to receive Honor and power divine; And blessings more than we can give, Be, Lord, for ever thine. Let all that dwell above the sky, And air, and earth, and seas, Conspire to lift thy glories high, And speak thine endless praise. The whole creation join in one, To bless the sacred name Of him that sits upon the throne, And to adore the Lamb. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5 There are four distinct facts or events given us here, on which the argument of the passage builds itself. Two of these have reference to the history of the sinner, and two of them to tile history of the sinners deliverer. The first two are, mans enmity and mans reconciliation; the last two are, the Saviours death and the Saviours life. Out of these four facts the apostles argument is constructedan argument as profound as it is simple, as convincing as it is natural. It is apparently but one argument, and yet it divides itself very easily into three quite separate parts, rising out of these two classes of facts. The first argument isIf God did so much for us when enemies, what will He do for us when friends? The second isIf Christs death has done so much for us, what will His life do? The third argument isIf Christs death did so much for us when enemies, what will his life do for us when friends? Such is the argument of our text,threefold in its construction, and yet each part not merely linked to the other, but most naturally and simply rising out of the other, so that a person in possession of the facts could not help following time steps of his reasoning, and acquiescing in his triumphant conclusions. But before proceeding to consider these, there is a truth which may be brought out here, and kept in mind as we pass along, being implied in and illustrative of time argument. It is this If Gods thoughts were gracious before sending His Son, they cannot be supposed to be less so after He has been sent. Now, we know that His thoughts were thoughts of peace and grace from all eternity. Had they not been so, He never would have sent His Son. And we know that it is written: God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son; God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while ye were yet sinners, Christ died for us; Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. There having been in His infinite bosom this exceeding love before He gave His Son, it is wholly incredible that He should be less gracious now, less compassionate, less loving, less willing to bestow all needed gifts. For (1) that gift did not exhaust His love. It did not empty the heart of God, nor dry up the fountain of His grace. Gods love is not like mans love, ebbing and flowing, bursting forth and then subsiding. No. The gift, though unspeakable, was not the exhaustion but the manifestation of the love, demonstrating it to be an infinite love, and shewing the infinite lengths to which it is willing to go. So far from having made God unwilling to do more for us, it has proved that there are no limits to His willingness to do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. (2.) That gift has not thrown any hindrance in the way of Gods love. It is not now a more difficult thing for God to love us; nay, if we can say so, it is easier than ever. All hindrances have now melted away. That gift which displayed the love, contained in it provision for the removal of all barriers that stood in its way. There are now no breaks nor barriers to stay its course. It is at liberty to roll on unhindered in its amplest fullness. It is now a righteous thing in God to love, to pardon, and to bless. And will He love less now that there exist no longer any obstacles to check the course of love? Will He love less when His love is no longer pent up, but has free course; when He is free to love; nay, to give vent to it, even to the uttermost;nay, when in doing so, He magnifies His law, glorifies Himself, and puts honour on His Son? Instead, then, of Gods loving us less, we should be led to conclude, that, if that were possible, He must love us immeasurably more! Having thus briefly noticed this important truth, we now pass on to consider time three special heads of argument. 1. If God did so much for us when enemies, what will he do, or rather, what will He not do, for us now that we are friends? He is speaking, of course, in the name of those who have entered into reconciliation over time blood of the great sacrificewho, in believing, have found peace with God, and have exchanged enmity for friendship, hatred for love. Speaking in their name, he reasons If, when we were enemies, He reconciled us to Himself, much more now, when reconciled, will He bless us. Our enmity did not hinder His blessing us, much less surely will our reconciliation. Our enmity, great as it was, did not hinder His bestowing such an unspeakable gift; what is there, then, within the whole circle of the universe, which we may not count upon, now that that enmity has been removed, and we have entered into eternal friendship with Him? Nothing was too costly for us when we were enemies; can anything be too costly now that we are friends. The great difficulty of our enmity being surmounted, what is there that remains to hinder the fullest outflow of His hove? Nay, what is there that will not tend to draw out that love in larger and larger measures? He loved and blessed us when enemies; will He not much more love us when friends? He loved us when we hated Him; will He not love us more when we return His love? He loved us when aliens, strangers, prodigals; will He not love us more when we have become sons, and, as sons, have returned to the parental home, and have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father? He loved us when unrighteous,when we had not even so much as a creatures righteousness,will He not love us unspeakably more when we stand before Him in righteousness, and that the righteousness of His only-begotten Son? He loved us when unholy; will He not love us now when His Spirit has taken old timings away, and made all things new? He loved us when there dwelt in us only the spirit of the world, nay, the very god of this world himself; will He not love us when His own Spirit dwells in us, making us temples of the living God? He loved us when we were heirs of wrath; will He not love and bless us more when we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ? There may be said to be three stages in this love, at each of which it rises and increases:First, He loved us when enemies. Secondly, He loves us more when friends, even in this imperfect state of still-remaining sin. Thirdly, He will love us yet more when imperfection has been shaken off, and we are presented without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The first stage of this love is, when we were heirs of perdition; the second is, when we become heirs of the kingdom; the third is, when we actually get possession of the kingdom, and are seated with Christ upon His throne. Here, then, is love in which we may assuredly triumph. It was love which expressed itself by an infinite gift. It did so when we were afar off when we were enemies; what expression, then, will it give, or rather, what expression will it not give to itself now when we have been brought nigh to God, and have entered into covenant with Him? Nay, more, what a portion must be ours hereafter, what a sum of blessedness, what an exceeding and eternal weight of glory! Especially when, in giving vent to His love to us, He is getting vent to His love towards His Son; when, in honouring and glorifying us, He is honouring and glorifying His Son! Being, then, justified by faith, not only have we peace with God, not only have we access into this grace wherein we stand, but we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We reason thus: If God has lavished on us such a love when we knew Him not, what will He not do for us now that we know Him? If He is loving us and blessing us here, oh! will He not love us and bless us in the day when we take possession of the provided inheritance? II. If Christs death did so much for us, what will not His life do? If a dying Saviour did so much for us, what will not a living Saviour be able to do? The expression saved used here, denotes the whole blessing which God has in store for uscomplete deliverance in every sense of that worda complete undoing of our lost estatethe full possession of every blessing. Salvation, in Gods sense of it, takes in the very widest compass of blessing, from the forgiveness of the first sin to the possession of the eternal glory. Of this salvation, reconciliation was the commencement. In being brought nigh to God through the blood of the cross, our salvation began. Its consummation is, when Jesus comes the second time without sin unto salvation. The apostles argument rests on the fact of the existence of these two opposite states of beingthe two opposite extremities of being, death and life. Death is the lowest pitch of helplessness, lower even than the feebleness of infancy. It is the extremity of weakness. It is the utter cessation of all strength. Life is the opposite of this. It is the full possession of being, with all its faculties and powers. It is the guarantee for the forth putting of all the vigor and strength which belongs to the individual in whom it dwells. And it is thus that the apostle reasons: If Christ in His lowest state of weakness accomplished such marvels for us, what will He not be able to do for us now that He is in the full exercise of His almighty strength? If when reduced to the very extremity of helplessness, He did so much for us, what will He not do for us now when He can say, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth? If, when going down into the tomb, He yet wrought such achievements for us, what will He not do when rising from the tomb, nay, ascending on high? If when under the power of His enemies, and nailed in helpless agony on the tree, He yet prevailed in our behalf how will He not prevail now that He has triumphed over all? If when made a little lower than the angels, He did so much for us, what will He not do when raised far above principalities and powers, and every name that is named? If, when subjected to the dominion of him who had the power of death, He yet conquered for us, and won such glorious spoils, what will He not do now when He has led captivity captive, and completed His mighty victory? If the cross and the tomb have done so much for us, what will not the throne secure? How perfect the reasoning! How blessed the conclusion! Resting on such an argument, we may stand unshaken and unruffled. Using this as our shield, what fiery darts of the wicked one may we not repel? And shall we not ply it to the utmost in dispelling our darkness, in banishing our doubts, in making us thoroughly ashamed of our fears? Using it as time apostle does, and reasoning with ourselvesIf a dying Saviour did so much for us, what will not a living Saviour do? let us say, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? still trust in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. III. If Christs death did so much for us when enemies, what will not His life do for us when friends? In other words, If a dying Saviour did so much for us when enemies, what will not a living Saviour do for us when friends? This is the conjunction of the two previous conclusions. It completes the whole argument by thus putting the two into one. It is a double argument; double in its structure, and double in its strength. It is an argument of resistless power, making us feel the perfect and absolute security which we have for everything included in that word salvation. If enemies have tasted such love, and received such blessings, at the hands of a dying Saviour, what may not friends receive at the hands of Him who is not only alive, but liveth for evermore? If, in the extremity of His weakness, and in the extremity of our alienation, such wonders were wrought for usin spite of that weakness on His part, and that alienation on ourswhat may we not expect now that He is invested with the perfection of all power, and when we have not simply been reconciled, but have been made friends and sons, nay, taken to His bosom as His chosen bride? If a father, in the midst of poverty and weakness, will do much for a prodigal child, what will he not, in the day of his riches, and power, and honour, do for a reconciled son? Here, then, are two truths which, in assuring us of pardon, assure us of everything. Jesus died, and Jesus liveth,these are the truths which contain everything for us. Jesus died!that contains everything that we need for reconciliation and peace: Jesus liveth!that contains everything pertaining to the promised inheritance. In knowing the former, I enter into friendship with God; in knowing the latter, I get hold of a security for all heavenly blessing, which takes away the possibility of a suspicion arising in my soul, even in my most troubled hours, as to my joy and glory for eternity. Jesus diedJesus liveth! The simple knowledge of these simple truths is salvation, forgiveness, peace, eternal life. All that the death and life of Christ combined can accomplish is ours! All that can come forth from His grave, or down from His throne, all that a dying and a living Saviour can do, is ours! All that is embraced in the wide compass between the lowest depths of the tomb of Jesus and the infinite heights of His eternal crown, all is ours! Many were the wonders which His death achieved for enemies; many more will be the wonders yet to be accomplished for His friends! Hear how Scripture speaks of His life. When He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. His appearing as our life shall bring with it all that blessedness and glory which pertain to Him as the living Oneas our life. Because I live ye shall live also. He cannot die; He liveth forever. He is the resurrection and the life; therefore life, and all that life comprises, shall be ours. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. He lives as if just on purpose to intercede for us; and oh, what will not the intercession of this ever living One secure for us! Fear not, He says, I am He that liveth and was dead; and am alive for evermore; and have the keys of hell and death. What more can we need, not simply to dissipate all fear, but to call up in us the most assured hopenay, to fill us with the joy unspeakable and full of glory? Of what, then, is it that this life of Christ gives us the assurance? Of salvation says the apostle: We shall be saved by His life. Reconciliation is the result of His death; salvation, of His life! But what does this salvation include? It is, as we have already seen, the entire reversal of our lost estate. And this includes much. It is, in the very largest sense, a manifold salvation. It is deliverance from the wrath to come, from the horrors of an eternal hell. Of this, His death gives us the assurance; His life, much more; for hell itself, with all its powers and potentates, cannot prevail against Him who has subdued its prince. It is deliverance from guilt. However infinite that guilt may be, there is entire salvation from it all, salvation sure and irreversible. It is deliverance from sin. It assails sin in its very citadel, the inmost soul, and casts it out. No amount of corruption can withstand it. Self gives way, the flesh is crucified; the old man dies; the inward man is renewed day by day. It is deliverance from death,the death both of body and soul, the first and second death. The Saviour has shaken the grave, and flung open its gates. Life,life beyond the tomb, life in resurrection,is what He has secured for us. I am the resurrection and the life; Because I live ye shall live also; I have the keys of hell and death. Thus he speaks to us assuring us of redemption from the power of the grave. It is deliverance from want. His fullness takes away the possibility of any want, from the moment that our connection with Him began. Want from that time became impossible; for all His riches became ours. His fullness was always at command. It is deliverance from enemies and perils. Many and mighty as these might be, they could not affect us. We were beyond their reach. They might aim at us, but they could not harm. Our victory over them was sure. And as we are thus assured not only of reconciliation but of salvation from all evil in every form, so are we put in possession of every good. All things become ours: for He who saves us makes full provision for His saved ones. All that a dying Saviour could secure for us is freely given; nay more, all that a living Saviour possesses for Himself becomes also ours. Joy, glory, dominion, royalty, priesthood, and a boundless inheritance,all these are ours, and all of them made irreversibly sure to us from the fact that Jesus liveth. He was dead and is alive; yea, and He liveth for evermore. This is our pledge for the perpetuity of our possession. He lives; and all that a living Saviour can do for us shall be done. He ever liveth to make intercession for us: what more do we need to assure us that things present, things to come, life and death, all are ours; for we are Christs, and Christ is Gods? If His death made such a glorious commencement for us when we were enemies, what will not His life carry out and consummate for us now that we are friends? Here, then, let us rest, for surely the resting place is a sufficient one. With arguments such as those of the apostle, let us confront Satan, breaking all his snares, overthrowing all his might; and disentangling ourselves from his subtlest sophistries. On grounds such as these, let us cast aside the various processes of doubting through which so many seem to think it necessary to pass; not listening to the whispers of unbelief, but meeting them all with the resistless argument of our text. Here, too, let us greatly rejoice, turning this argument into a song of triumph; for surely it is both. It is as much the latter as it is the former. And more especially let us do so in these last days, when we are looking for the return of this same living Saviour. The prospect of His speedy arrival seems to impart to it double edge and force. Carrying out the argument we can say, If an absent Saviour has done so much for us, what will not a present Saviour do? If, when afar off, He has done such things for us, what will He not do when He is nigh? If the Man of Sorrows did so much for us, what will not the mighty Conqueror do? If, when put to shame, He did such great things for us, what will He not do when He is glorified? If, upon the cross, He so blessed and befriended us, what may we not expect when He sits upon His throne? If when He appeared on earth without form or comeliness, He wrought such wonders for us, what may we not look for when He comes in His beauty as the Churchs Bridegroom? If, when He came as the son of the carpenter,the despised son of Mary,He achieved such victories and won such honours for us, what may we not anticipate when He comes in glory as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 35, 2011

Sunday··2011·08·28
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXIII. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Come from on high, my King and God, My confidence thou art; Display the virtue of thy blood, And circumcise my heart. From heavn, thy holy place, on me Descend in mercy down; Water of life, I thirst for thee, To know thee for my own. Rend, O rend the guilty veil, That keeps me from my God; Remove the bar, and let me feel That I am thine abode. O might this worthless heart of mine The Saviours temple be! Emptyd of evry love but thine, And shut to all but thee! The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 19 . . . the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8 The name, sons of God, is not exclusively applicable to the church. Angels are called sons (Job 38:7); so is Adam (Luke 3:38); so is Israel (Hosea 1:10). Yet the redeemed get that name in a deeper, fuller sense, by reason of their higher standing and their closer connection with the Son of God (1 John 3:1; Romans 8:17, 29; Revelation 21:7). There are thus outer and inner, higher and lower, circles of sonship; Christ the one center; and His redeemed occupying the innermost circle or region nearest to Himself, and nearest to the Father. The history of these sons,these heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, the redeemed from among men,divides itself into the following parts or epochs: I. Their past eternity. They had a history ere they were born; not conscious to themselves, but truly in the eye and purpose of God. (Roman 8:29; Ephesians 1:3, 5; 2 Timothy 1:9; Revelation 17:8.) In these passages the history of each saint and of the church of God is traced to that eternity in which God only existed. Even then they were sons of God by anticipation; sons of God in the Fathers purpose, and in the everlasting covenant. How marvelous, how glorious their history! II. Their unregenerate life on earth. They were born no better than others; shapen in iniquity; children of wrath; able to claim kindred only with the first Adam, only with the flesh and with earth; not a vestige of the second Adam about them; no trace of heavenly sonship; no lineament of their Father in heaven; walking according to the course of this world; hateful and hating one another; their hearts enmity against God. III. Their adoption. In Gods purpose this adoption stood from eternity; but it was seen when they actually passed out of the family of the evil one into that of God. When they were begotten again they became sons, receiving the name, privileges, legal rights of Sons. Let us note the different statements of Scripture as to these things: (1.) They are begotten again. (1 Peter 1:3.) They are born of time Spirit (John 3:3), born from above. (2.) They believe. (Galatians 3:26.) They pass out of the region of unbelief into that of faith. In believing they become sons. (3.) They receive Christ. (John 1:12.) They accept the Fathers testimony to Him as the Son of God, and the Christ of God. (4.) They get the name of sons. (1 John 3:1) They are now called sons of God. This is their new name, given by God himself. (5.) They receive the spirit of adoption. (Galatians 4:5,6.) A new spirit fills them; the spirit of sonship; and, Abba, Father, is their cry. (6.) They are led by the Spirit. (Roman 8:14.) They are not their own guides; nor do they trust in human guidance; but are led by Him. (7.) They are chastened. (Hebrew 12:7.) Discipline is their lot; and chastisement is the badge of sonship. (8.) They are brought to glory. (Hebrew 2:10.) To this are they redeemed and called. Whom He justified, them He also glorified. (9.) They are made like Christ himself. (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2.) Conformity to the Son of God is their destiny and their privilege: We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. IV. Their time of obscurity. For a season they are hidden; mens eyes are holden so that they do not recognize them; they are in disguise; the world does not believe that they are what they claim to be, or that their prospects are so very glorious. Their life is hid with Christ in God. It doth not yet appear what they shall be. They do not wear the raiment either of kings or of sons. They are strangers and pilgrims. This is the day of their obscurity and non-acknowledgment by men. As it was with their Lord, so with them. He was unknown and unrecognized; nay, despised and rejected. This is the discipline through which they are passing; this the manner in which they glorify the Father upon earth; this the trial of their faith, and this the touchstone of the worlds willingness to own their Lord. Are we content with obscurity? V. The manifestation. The obscurity does not last always; nay, not long. The day is coming when the disguise shall drop off, and their royal robes display themselves; when He who is their life shall appear, they shall appear with Him. Then shall they be like Him to whom they adhered in the day of sorrow and gloom. But let us see, (1.) What this manifestation is. (The word is the same as in 1 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:7, 13; 4:13.) It is revelation, or outshining, or transfiguration. They are in this conformed to their Lord. They were like Him in their obscurity; they shall be like Him in their manifestation. It shall be transfiguration glory; resurrection glory; royal glory; bridal glory; priestly glory. What a contrast between the obscurity and the manifestation will be presented in that day of unveiling, when they shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. What a future is ours! how unlike our present! (2.) When shall the manifestation be? In the day of Christs appearing; not in the day of death. The soul of the saint is blessed when he dies; he is with Christ in Paradise; but still the glory is not full, and the body is still in the grave; the grave is part of our obscurity. But when time Lord descends from heaven, then the dead in Christ shall rise; then this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and death be swallowed up in victory. (3.) How long shall the manifestation be? Forever. A whole eternity of glory. Our obscurity was but a day; our glory is everlasting. We are to shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars forever and ever. What a blaze of splendor will break forth from the glorified church, in the day of manifestation! What, in comparison with this, is the brightness of the sun or stars? Let us walk worthy of our prospects; content with present obscurity and shame; passing the time of our sojourning here in fear. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 36, 2011

Sunday··2011·09·04
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Riches of Gods Word Samuel Stennett (17271795) Let avarice, from shore to shore, Her favorite god pursue; Thy word, O Lord, we value more Than India or Peru. Here mines of knowledge, love, and joy, Are opened to our sight; The purest gold without alloy, And gems divinely bright. The councils of redeeming grace, These sacred leaves unfold; And here the Savior’s lovely face Our raptured eyes behold. Here, light descending from above Directs our doubtful feet; Here, promises of heavenly love Our ardent wishes meet. Our numerous griefs are here redrest, And all our wants supplied; Nought we can ask to make us blessed, Is in this book denied. For these inestimable gains, That so enrich the mind, O may we search with eager pains, Assured that we shall find! Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. Romans 8 When the night is darkest, and the stars are hidden, and the clouds are black, then we think most of the clear fair day, and long for its dawn. When the storm is roughest, with the waves and wind roaring round the labouring vessel, then we are troubled, and look eagerly out for the glad and sunny calm. When winter binds earth in its chain of frost, and wraps it in snow and ice, then we begin to ask for spring, with its flowers, and songs, and verdure. So with the saint, as represented by the apostle here. This is night, and storm, and winter to him; he is ever thinking of the day, and the calm, and the spring. Like one sitting amid the ruins of the earthly Jerusalem, lie sighs for the glory of the heavenly city. From banishment she more and more, Desires to see her country dear; She sits and sends her sighs before, Her joys and treasures all be there.(Old Hymn.) The weariness, and conflict, and sufferings of this present life, call up in the apostle the wonderful thoughts contained in these verses relating to creation and to the Church of God, to the wretchedness of this evil world and groaning earth, and the perfection of that world that is to come,that new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. We thus interpret the whole passage, beginning, as it ought, at the middle of the seventeenth verse:If indeed we suffer together, it is that we may be also glorified together; for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us, (which reaches towards us, ??). For the earnest expectation of creation waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God; for creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but on account of the subjecter (God), who (for His own purposes), hath subjected it in hope, because creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of the corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans together and travails together until now. And not creation only, but we ourselves also, (although) possessing the first fruit of the Spirit, (the Spirit as a first fruit), even we groan in ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body; for (moreover) by this hope we are saved; (the things of this hope are no doubt unseen, otherwise it would not be hope) but a hope that is seen is not a hope. But if we do not see, and yet hope, then we wait in patience. Such is the meaning of the passage; let us now learn in detail what the apostle reveals as to creation, and as to the church. I. Creation. Here (as in Matthew 10:6, from the beginning of the creation,) (the word signifies the earth and the fullness thereof (1 Corinthians 10: 26), or that which the Holy Spirit describes in the first chapter of Genesis, and pronounced good and very good. For matter (no less than spirit) is Gods handiwork, and therefore precious in His sight. Let us read and understand Genesis 1; Psalms 8:19, 148:; Proverbs 8. (1.) Its subjection to vanity. Vanity means that which is vanishing, liable to change and decay, vanity of vanities. It means evil in opposition to good, emptiness in contrast with fullness. This material creation was made good and stable; but mans sin let in evil upon it, brought on it the curse, made it crumble down and wither, till it not only decays and waxes old, but is ready to vanish away. To this vanity the Creator has subjected it, in consequence of its connection with man: Cursed is the ground for thy sake (Genesis 3:17). This passage in Genesis contains the act or sentence of subjection, as putting it under the power of vanity,decay, corruption, disease, death. Not its own sin but mans was the cause: for thy sake.[8] (2.) Its earnest expectation. The word signifies the eagerness expressed by the head bent forward and the neck outstretchedintense and anxious longing. Such is the feeling figuratively ascribed to creation, as in Psalm 96:2, when it is called on to be glad, and rejoice, and clap hands, in expectation of its coming Deliverer and King. This, then, is creations attitude as seen and interpreted by God. He looks down on creation, and regards it as expecting, waiting, watching, longing, just as He is said to hear the cry of the young lions for food. (3.) Its groans and travail-pangs. It is hike a sick man racked with pain, and crying out for relief; it is as a woman in labour, suffering the pains of childbirth, and longing for the moment when she shall be delivered. All nature sighs as if conscious of imperfection, as if bowed down under the curse. Blight, decay, death, storms, earthquakes, lightnings, are all the groans of creation, and perhaps still more, the sufferings of the beasts of the field, and fowls of the air; for their case seems unspeakably sad, suffering at the hands of man in a thousand ways not by any fault of their own. Perhaps also the labour pangs of earth may not simply be to shake of the corruption with its bondage; but especially to be delivered of the millions and millions of bodies which it contains. Does it not travail in pain to be delivered of the dust of the saints which it has carried in its womb for ages? and of earth also shall it not be said, in the beauties of holiness from (more than) the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth (Psalm 110:3)? (4.) Its deliverance. This is the day of creations bondage, in which corruption (the corruption or old curse) holds it; the day of its liberty,the liberty of the glory,is coming, the times of the restitution of all things; the revocation of the curse; the bestowal of the long deferred blessing; the renewal of the heavens and earth which are now. Creation is represented as knowing this its glorious destiny, and looking forward to it, as simultaneous with the manifestation of the sons of God, the day when these sons shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Father; for, when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. Thus all creation looks forward to its perfection, groaning under imperfection; anticipating the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Bright hope! Sweet consolation to us when moving about each day amid the vanity of a sin-laden earth, and listening to its groans and pangs! Rest for a weary world, tarry not! Earths days of weariness are now drawing to a close. These long ages of suffering and vanity have surely been enough to demonstrate the exceeding sinfulness of sin. II. The church. It is described as we who have the first fruits of the Spirit,as the sons of God. It is composed of the redeemed from among men from him by whom the curse and the vanity were brought in, to the last of His redeemed sons; a glorious church,whose members are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,the general assembly and church of the firstborn,Gods kings and priests, prepared for His everlasting kingdom. What, then, says the apostle here of this churchof its present and its future. Mark, (1.) Its sufferings. He calls them the sufferings of this present time; sufferings with Christ, as well as sufferings for Christ. There are fightings without, and fears within; enemies all around; tribulation on every hand,in body, and soul, and spirit; weary limbs, weeping eyes, drooping hands, feeble knees, fainting spirits, aching heads, broken hearts: even when outward persecution assails not. Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God. I fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ. (2.) Its groans. We ourselves groan within ourselves, sometimes articulately, and sometimes with the groanings that cannot be uttered. As Jeremiah says, Our sighs are many, and our heart is faint. The churchs groans are in unison and sympathy with a groaning creation. An absent King, a present usurper, a cursed soil, overflowing evil, disease, sorrow, death: these make it groan even in the midst of its joy unspeakable. (3.) Its waiting. Waiting,patient waiting,hoping,this is the churchs attitude, in harmony with creation. The feeling and attitude of the church intimates that the inheritance is yet to come. Not now, not yet; but soon and surely; therefore we wait, may be said to be its language. It waits now, in accordance with the saints of all ages past, for deliverance from the bondage of the corruption, and for the liberty of the glory, for the reversal of all the evil which the first Adam introduced, and for the in bringing of all the good and the glory which the second Adam has purchased. (4.) Its adoption. Even now are we the sons of God; we have already received the Spirit of adoption, crying, Abba, Father. But as it was resurrection that manifested (Romans 1:4) Christs own Sonship (though He was the eternal Son), so by resurrection is our sonship or adoption to be manifested. The day of adoption is here called the day of the redemption of the body. For this fullness of divine, and visible, and proclaimed adoption, we wait in hope and patience. (5.) Its manifestation. It doth not yet appear what we shall be. As Christ is hidden, so are we just now. We are sons, and kings, and heirs, in disguise. But the day of revelation comes; when He who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory. If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. The day of His recognition and crowning shall be ours also. (6.) Its liberty. In one sense we are free, Christ bath made us free. In another, we are sharers of the bondage of the corruption; we groan within ourselves; we cry, O, wretched men, who shall deliver us; we are carnal, sold under sin. The day of full freedom is at hand, eternal and glorious. (7.) Its glory. This is the glory to be revealed; it is the day of the glory for heaven and earth, of which it is said, The wise shall inherit glory,Christs glory, the churchs glory, creations glory,glory such as that described in the two last chapters of Revelation, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. See then, 1. The power and poison of sin. It was one sin that ruined man, and marred creation, and introduced death. The effects of that one sin are still felt; they have lasted nearly six thousand years, and are as terrible as ever. What must sin be! 2. The completeness of the deliverance. Not man only, but mans earth, shares this; not mans soul alone, but mans body too; it will be the undoing of the wrongs, and sorrows, and groans, of ages. The second Adams triumph will be complete. His blood will not only give white raiment to His saints, but will wash creation white. 3. The unbelieving mans loss. He loses his soul; he loses heaven, and God, and glory, and the resurrection unto life; the incorruptible inheritance; the blessedness of the eternal rest, and the liberty of the glory, the joy and brightness of the manifestations of the sons of God. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lord���s Day 37, 2011

Sunday··2011·09·11
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� This Do in Remembrance of Me. Horatius Bonar (1808���1889) Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face; Here would I touch and handle things unseen; Here grasp with firmer hand the eternal grace, And all my weariness upon Thee lean. Here would I feed upon the bread of God; Here drink with Thee the royal wine of heaven; Here would I lay aside each earthly load, Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven. This is the hour of banquet and of song, This is the heavenly table spread for me; Here let me feast, and, feasting, still prolong The brief bright hour of fellowship with Thee. Too soon we rise; the symbols disappear; The feast, though not the love, is passed and gone. The bread and wine remove, but Thou art here, Nearer than ever, still my Shield and Sun. I have no help but Thine; nor do I need Another arm save Thine to lean upon. It is enough, my Lord, enough, indeed; My strength is in Thy might, Thy might alone. I have no wisdom, save in Him who is My wisdom and my teacher, both in one; No wisdom can I lack while Thou art wise, No teaching do I crave, save Thine alone. Mine is the sin, but Thine the righteousness; Mine is the guilt, but Thine the cleansing blood; Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace, Thy blood, Thy righteousness, O Lord my God. I know that deadly evils compass me. Dark perils threaten, yet I would not fear. Nor poorly shrink, nor feebly turn to flee, Thou, O my Christ, art buckler, sword, and spear. But see, the Pillar-cloud is rising now. And moving onward through the desert-night; It beckons, and I follow, for I know It leads me to the heritage of light. Feast after feast thus comes and passes by; Yet, passing, points to the glad feast above, Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy, The Lamb’s great bridal feast of bliss and love. ���Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; ���Romans 8 It is with the Holy Spirit that we are here brought face to face; or set side by side. As Christ does the whole work for us, so the Holy Spirit does the whole work in us. He is not visible, nor audible, nor palpable; but not on that account the less real and personal. He is infinitely real and personal; and His work is like Himself. Though He is specially ���a Spirit,��� yet all that He is, and says, and does, is thoroughly real. His presence is real; His indwelling is real; His words are real; His voice is real; His touch is real; His mode of operation, though not sensibly felt apart from the truth which He presents to us, is yet real and true; nay, perfect and divine; the very work of Him who created the heavens and the earth. Here, it is His way of dealing with us and our infirmities that is particularly referred to. We are described as feeble men, bearing on our shoulders a burden too heavy to be borne; He comes up to us; not exactly to take away the burden; nor to strengthen us under it; but to put His own Almighty shoulder under it, in the room of (���?�ь?), and along with (�ɜ֌?) ours; thus lightening the load, though not changing it; and bearing the heavier part of it with His own Almightiness. Thus it is that He ���helpeth��� (�ɜ֌?���?�ь?�������挱�?���ь��?) our infirmities; making us to feel both the burden and the infirmity all the while that He helps; nay, giving us such a kind and mode of help, as will keep us constantly sensible of both. This is especially true in regard to our prayers. Here it is that His ���help��� comes in so effectually and so opportunely; so that we are made to ���pray in the Holy Ghost��� (Jude 20); to ���pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit��� (Ephesians 6:18). We neither know the things we ought to pray for; nor, when we know these, do we know how to pray for them. The apostle here seems specially referring to the latter of these; the right way of praying. For this we need the Holy Ghost. Ah, what a thing is prayer! The simplest��� form of speech,���such as even a child could utter,���yet the highest and divinest of all utterances; such as the Holy Spirit alone can enable us to give forth. So entirely does the Spirit identify Himself with us, that our desires are reckoned His, and His desires ours. He not only helps our infirmities, but He comes into us, unites Himself, as it were, to us, makes Himself one with us; fills us, joins His desires to ours, His voice to ours, His cries to ours, so that they come both up as one before God. Thus He is ���intercessor,��� one who falls in with us,��� ���takes up our case,��� ���intercedes for us,��� over and above (���Č��?) the intercession of Christ. Our heart is cold; He infuses His warmth. Our desires are poor, He infuses His own full, rich longings. Our voice is feeble, He joins His voice to ours, and gives strength, and tone, and vigor, and loudness, so that thus filled with His, transfused with His, it goes up with power, and reaches the very heaven of heavens. But that which He is said specially to call up, or produce, or create in us, is ���groanings that cannot be uttered.��� Not simply words; nay, not words at all. Not simply desires, but groans���desires of the deepest and most earnest kind; groans so full, and deep, and fervent, that they cannot get vent in human words. They are divine longings, though coming out of the heart and lips of a man, and as such, cannot get themselves clothed or embodied in earthly words. Let us, then, learn, 1. True prayer is from the indwelling Spirit. It is He that wakes up prayer in us, both as to its matter and its manner. We knew not what or how to pray. He alone can teach us both; and He does this by coming in to us, and filling our whole being with Himself; so that while our longings are really ours, they are as really His. God receives them as both. 2. True prayer takes the form of a divine intercession. We have Christ in heaven on the throne, and the Spirit on earth in our hearts, interceding; Christ pleading for us as if we were one with Him, the Spirit pleading in us as if we were one with Him, and He with us. Intercession in the case of the Spirit, means His taking us up, undertaking for us; infusing Himself into each petition, so that He becomes the petitioner, the pleader. Thus He pleads both for us and in us. He throws Himself into our case; He seizes hold of us in our weakness; He bears us up as one who has come to our help; He drowns our cries in His, so that God hears not us but Him. 3. True prayer often takes the form of groans. The longings produced in us by the indwelling Spirit are such as cannot get vent to themselves in words. Our hearts are too full; our voice is choked; articulation is stifled; we can only groan. The groan is the truest part of true prayer. It seems to us sometimes the most imperfect part. We try to pray; our hearts are too full; we cannot; we break down; it may be with sorrow, or ignorance, or the intensity of our feelings, or the soreness of our trials, or the multitude of our longings. Yes, we break down before God; we become dumb; we can only groan. But the groan is true prayer. Man could not interpret it; we ourselves do not fully understand it. But God does. ���He knows the meaning of the Spirit���s ���groans������ (Baxter). He accepts it; yes, accepts it as prayer; as the best of prayer; the fine gold of prayer; the sweetest of the sweet incense that goes up from earth to heaven. These broken, stifled cries, thus dictated by the Spirit, and sent up on the wings of His own voice; or, as we may say, these cries of the Spirit, expressive of our longings, and sent up on the wings of our voice,���these groanings which cannot be uttered,���are well-pleasing to God. For thus we groan with the rest of a groaning creation; and all these groans are at length to be heard and fully answered. (1.) Put yourself into the hands of the Spirit, for prayer and everything else. (2.) Grieve not the Spirit. He is willing to come to you, and take up your case; but beware of grieving Him. (3.) Pray much. Pray in the Spirit. Delight in prayer. Cherish the Spirit���s groans. ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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 37, 2011

Lords Day 38, 2011

Sunday··2011·09·18
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn LIX. The Refuge, River, and Rock of the Church. Isaiah xxxii. 2. John Newton (17251807) He who on earth as man was known, And bore our sins and pains; Now, seated on th eternal throne, The God of glory reigns. His hands the wheels of nature guide With an unerring skill; And countless worlds extended wide, Obey his sovreign will. While harps unnumberd sound his praise, In yonder world above; His saints on earth admire his ways, And glory in his love. His righteousness, to faith revealed, Wrought out for guilty worms, Affords a hiding place and shield, From enemies and storms. This land, thro which his pilgrims go, Is desolate and dry; But streams of grace from him oerflow Their thirst to satisfy. When troubles, like a burning sun, Beat heavy on their head; To this almighty Rock they run, And find a pleasing shade. How glorious he! how happy they In such a glorious friend! Whose love secures them all the way, And crowns them at the end. Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8 This is inspired logic; yet it is most simple and natural reasoning. It goes straight down to understanding, heart, and conscience. It is irresistible. It contains, moreover, the whole gospel of the grace of God. It announces to us that perfect love which casteth out fear; and shews us the gracious character of God, as interpreted and illustrated by the gift of his Son. It says, herein is love, and what will that love not do for you? here is the measure of that love, and does not that measure take in all you need? Let us put the statement in this waythe one gift, and the many gifts,or the one great gift, and the many lesser gifts flowing out of it, and pledged to us by the love which gave it. I. The one gift. It is the unspeakable gift, of which it is said, God so loved the world that he gave his Son. Our text thus expresses it, he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all. It is then of his Son, his own Son, his only begotten Son, his beloved Son, that the passage speaks. And regarding him it says, that he spared him not. He might have spared him; he did not need to do otherwise; it was an infinite sacrifice; yet he spared him not, that he might spare us. It was not want of love to him, but it was love to us that led him not to spare him. How shall I give thee up? he said to rebellious Israel, how much more to his obedient holy Son, How shall I deliver thee up? How shall I nail thee to the cross, and lay thee in the grave? My heart is turned within me, my repentance is kindled together. This one great gift He freely gave. He spared not his Son, but delivered Him up for us all. To lowliness, to shame, to weariness, to banishment, to sorrow, to hunger and thirst, to agony and death, He delivered Him up. He spared not Him, that He might spare us; he delivered Him up, that He might not deliver up us. The gift is one, but it is infinite. There is none like it; none; nor can be. It is the great gift, the gift of gifts. But the delivering up, is that which so greatly enhances the giving and the gift. He was delivered up (1) not to honour, but to dishonour; (2) not to joy, but to sorrow; (3) not to the blessing, but to the curse,nay, was made a curse for us, was made sin for us; (4) not to angels to worship, but to devils to tempt; (5) not to a throne, but to a cross; (6) not to life, but to death. How immense then the gift! Though but one, it transcends myriads; nay, all other gifts gathered together. It was a test of love such as nothing else could have been. How real, how true, how vast must that love have been. Here is its sincerity demonstrated. Here are its dimensions measured. What is its height? The answer is, He spared not His Son. What is its depth? He spared not His Son. What is its length? He spared not His Son. What is its breadth? He spared not His Son. Nay, He delivered Him up. Nay, He laid our sins upon Him; He made Him a curse for us. The more that we meditate on this one gift, the more does its greatness display itself. It passeth all measurement and all understanding. Such a gift for such creatures! Such a gift for sinners; for those whose portion was wrath and condemnation! II. The many gifts. These are the all things of which the apostle speaks. His argument is, He who has given you His Son, will He deny you anything? We cannot possibly need or ask anything half so precious as that which He has already given, and therefore we need not fear obtaining anything. He who has given a whole ocean, will He refuse a drop? He who has given all earth and heaven, will He refuse an inch of land? His willingness to give, and to give to any extent whatever, has been so manifested in the gift of His Son, that we cannot doubt. That one great gift was given freely, will He not give all other things as freely? That one gift was given unasked, will He not give all others for the asking? That one gift cost Him much, these others cost Him nothing but the delight of giving. That one gift was sent to us when we were turning away from Him, will He not bestow these lesser gifts on those who are turning towards Him? That one gift came when there was no intercessor, what, then, may we not expect when there is such an Intercessor as He who is Himself both gift and intercessor? When the great gift was sent there was no blood, no righteousness, no sacrifice; what may we not count upon as to the lesser gifts, now that blood, and sacrifice, and righteousness have come? We are thus thrown upon Gods character as interpreted by His great gift, and we are taught how to reason from that gift, how to draw our confidence towards God from that gift, respecting all things. Among these all things, let us note the following: (1.) Forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness,complete, and free, and unchangeable,for the chief of sinners; regarding which we reason, as did the apostle, He that spared not His own Son, will He not forgive my sins? will He not give me peace of conscience, and a sense of acceptance, and deliverance from condemnation? (2.) Light and love. These are what He delights to give; and they have been purchased for the sinner. There is now no hindrance to His giving these. For the darkest mind there is light; for the coldest heart there is love. He that spared not His own Son, will He refuse us these? (3.) Renewal in the whole man. He who spared not His own Son, will He not renew us in the spirit of our mind? Will He not take out of us the stony heart, and give the heart of flesh? (4.) The Holy Ghost. He that gave His Son, will He refuse His Spirit? It cost Him much to give His Son; but it costs Him nothing to give His Spirit. Will He not give Him when we ask? He that spared not His Son, will He not give us all things? Will He not quicken, and comfort, and heal, and bless, and cheer, and save? Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 39, 2011

Sunday··2011·09·25
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXIV. I know that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Lord, is not all from thee? Is not all fulness thine? Whateer of good there is in me, O Lord, is none of mine. Each holy tendency Did not thy mercy give? And what, O Saviour, what have I That I did not receive? I cannot speak a word, Or think a thought thats good, But what proceedeth from the Lord And cometh forth from God. Jesus, I know full well, What my best actions are: Theyd sink my grievous soul to hell, If unrefind they were. Myself and all I do, O sprinkle with thy blood; Renew me, Saviour, ere I go, To stand before my God. I of myself have nought, That can his justice please; Not one right word, nor act, nor thought, But what I owe to grace. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 33  Who will bring a charge against Gods elect? God is the one who justifies; Romans 8 One of the churchs names is elect of God; and each of its living members is one whose name is written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8). Of these chosen ones the history is thus summed up: Whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified (Romans 7:30). The state in which each one of these is born into the world is that of condemnation; the state into which each one is brought, in believing, is that of no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Forgiveness of sinspresent, conscious, complete forgivenessis that into which faith introduces us, and out of which unbelief alone can keep us. Justification from all thingscertain, immediate, and unchanging justificationis our portion here. It is respecting us, as men forgiven and justified, that the apostle asks, Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? On believing the gospel of forgiveness, they were placed beyond the reach and risk of any charge or impeachment whatsoever; they are brought by God into such a state as to render condemnation an impossibility; for the forgiveness is irreversible, and the righteousness in which they stand is divine. Not that they cease to be sinners. But they cease to be treated as guilty. Iniquities prevail; but there is continual forgiveness to cancel these, and a perfect righteousness to cover these, and the ever-flowing blood of the everlasting covenant to wash all guilt away as it comes up, and to prevent their peace with God from being broken. They do sin; but they have an Advocate with the Father; and who can demand the execution of the penalty in their case? Who shall condemn? Who can do it? Who dare do it? Who has the right to do it? Not angels. They are too glad to welcome back the sinner, and to take the side of those whose sight God has taken. Devils would, if they could. But they cannot. The prey is taken from the mighty, and placed beyond their grasp. The law might have done it; but it has been satisfied; nay, magnified. It has therefore no claim, and could gain no object by accusing us; for our acquittal is a righteous onean acquittal in which law itself rejoices. Mark, then, how complete and how satisfactory the challenge is; for the words of our text are not so much a question as a challengea challenge thrown down before the universe! I. It is a righteous challenge. It is not the challenge of one who, through might, had baffled right, and triumphed over law. It is that of one who sees all righteousness fulfilled, and all good confirmed, by that very sentence which acquits himself; who, unable to contribute aught toward his own acquittal, has recognized Gods righteous way of justifying the unrighteous, and in doing so, has found deliverance from condemnation. It is a challenge so righteous, that every righteous being responds to it; so righteous, that his own conscience, even when most fully awakened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, rests satisfied and unalarmed; so righteous, that none can undertake to answer it, save those who are prepared to reject Gods way of saving the lost, and forgiving the condemned. II. It is a holy challenge. it is not that of one who was seeking to sin that grace may abound, but of one who saw that this is Gods way of delivering him from sin, and making him hate sin. Gods way of forgiveness brings out all the loathsomeness of sin, shews it to be the enemy both of God and of the sinner. Thus the man who says, Who shall hay anything to my charge? who is he that condemneth? is the man who is also saying, Now I have some hope of being holy; now I shall be delivered from sin; now sin has received its death-blow; and now love and a free pardon will do what terror and uncertainty, and an unsatisfied law, could never have done. Being delivered from the first and great matter of seeking a forgiveness, by having got that question for ever laid to rest, I am free to attend undistractedly to the one question, How shall I be holy, and by a holy life serve and glorify God? III. It is a joyful challenge. The question, and the way of putting it, shew the exulting gladness of the soul. It is the joy of a soul delivered from an infinite fear; from overwhelming foreboding of wrath; from the uncertainties of the future, and the dreaded vengeance of an angry God. What gladness is this! To be forgiven all sin, and clothed with an infinite righteousness! To be as thoroughly assured of the favor of God, as formerly of His displeasure! To see the dark cloud of wrath which had wrapped the soul round rise upwards, and pass away, leaving the wide azure clear and bright, with not a mist to intercept the light of reconciliation and love, pouring down from the heaven of heavens! What joy unspeakable and full of glory is this! IV. It is an unanswerable challenge. It is boldly put, and with no muffled voice. It is spoken aloud, that all may hear, and answer if they can. But no one can take it up. There is silence in heaven, and earth, and hell. It is Pauls challenge to the universe. Nay rather, it is the Holy Spirits challenge. Who shall answer Paul? Who shall answer the Holy Ghost? Who shall condemn us? Who shall lay anything to our charge? Who shall trouble our conscience or break our peace? We ask aloud; we repeat the challenge to the devil and all his legions. But no answer is given. We hear only the echo of our own voice. It is unanswerable even now; for from the first moment that we believed, we were entitled to take it up. It shall be no less unanswerable when we go down to the tomb; and we may make the caverns of the dead re-echo with it. It shall be unanswerable in the day of the Lord; so that, even when standing before the judgment seat, surrounded with angels, or surrounded with devils, we may lift up our voice and say, Who shall lay anything to my charge? Nor is there anything presumptuous in this challenge. It is one of simple faith. It is meant for every believing man; and there is something lacking in that faith which falters here. A believed gospel ought to lead him who believes it to adopt this bold and blessed attitude. For a believed gospel is meant to assure the believing soul of forgiveness and eternal life. It is a challenge which God himself will own. He does not reckon it too bold or too decided. He puts it into our lips, and He will acknowledge it. In our believing, we set our Amen to His testimony; and in His giving us this challenge, He is setting His Amen to our faith. Nay, not only will He own it, but He will take it up out of our lips, and Himself proclaim it through the universe, Who shall lay anything to the charge of my elect? Our right to take up this challenge is simply our having believed the gospel. It is not our graces or evidences that embolden us thus to speak. It is not as holy men, or old Christians, or deeply humbled souls, that we have a warrant to do so. Our warrant is simply our having believed the gospel. How much we lose from not seeing the sure and high standing into which a believed gospel brings us, long before we have time to consider our own selves, or number up our graces! It would indeed be presumption to rest an assurance like this, or a challenge like this, upon our own graces; but it is no presumption to rest this on the gospel of the grace of God. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 40, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·02
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Efficacy of Gods Word Philip Doddridge (17021751) With reverend awe, tremendous Lord, We hear the thunders of Thy Word; The pride of Lebanon it breaks; Swift the celestial fire descends, The flinty rock in pieces rends, And earth to its deep centre shakes. Arrayed in majesty divine, Here sanctity and justice shine, And horror strikes the rebel through, While loud this awful voice makes known The wonders which Thy sword hath done. And what Thy vengeance yet shall do. So spread the honors of Thy name; The terrors of a God proclaim; Thick let the pointed arrows fly, Till sinners, humbled in the dust, Shall own the execution just, And bless the hand by which they die. Then clear the dark tempestuous day. And radiant beams of love display; Each prostrate soul let mercy raise; So shall the bleeding captives feel, Thy word, which gave the wound, can heal, And change their notes to songs of praise. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 37  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Romans 8 Within the six verses preceding this, we have no less than six most striking questions; some apparently abrupt, but all of them very expressive: (1.) What shall we say to these things? (2.) Who can be against us? (3.) How shall He not give us all things? (4.) Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? (5.) Who is he that condemneth? (6.) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? At the close of these questions mention is made of seven evils, all which were more or less the portion of the saints: (1) tribulation; (2) distress; (3) persecution; (4) famine; (5) nakedness; (6) peril; (7) sword. And to shew that such was the lot of the saints even under the New Testament, Paul quotes a psalm referring to Old Testament saints, thus assuming the oneness of the church in all ages, even in suffering and in consolation; the oneness of the church in battle and in victory. One faith, one covenant, one blood, one church, from the beginning! Here are two things: (1) the victory; (2) How to win it. I. The victory. Our life is a warfare. (1.) The good fight. It is to battle that the church is called; not to a mere parade, or review, or display of arms; each saint is to war a good warfare; for the moment we take our stand on Christs side, our enemies gather to the assault. (2.) The victory. Conquerors! Yes; not merely warriors but conquerors. This verse links itself with the seven promises to the seven conquerors in the churches of Asia. To him that overcometh, is the message sent. (3.) The abundant victory. For this is the meaning of the word (Č???錺?). It corresponds to Peters expression as to the abundant entrance into the kingdom (2 Peter 1:2). It is not a mere victory, no morea bare overthrow of the enemies, but a complete and glorious victory. It is not being saved so as by fire,mere salvation and nothing beyond, but a marvelous and perfect salvation. Yes, that which we win is an abundant victory. (4.) The victory over all the sevenfold evils. We are made to triumph over them,every one of them. They assail us, we meet them face to face. Each is in itself an evil, a sorrow, a pang; or rather a series,a long series it may be of such,but over each of them in succession we triumph: Thou shall tread upon the lion and the adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot (Psalm 91:13). Thus evil becomes good, and time bitter sweet. (5.) The victory through means of these sevenfold evils. For this I suppose to be the real point of the passage;Nay, it is in all these things (or rather by means of as ? very often signifies), that we win an abundant victory. We not only conquer these, but we take them up and make use of them as our weapons for overthrowing our other enemies. These seeming evils are the very instruments of victory. They seem dragswe make them ladders for ascending, wings for raising us above things seen and temporal. Thus we glory in tribulations (Romans 5:3). This is the last and noblest use of trial; which we are apt to lose sight of. It is not always easy thus to use tribulation, and to convert it into a means of triumph; yet certainly it is to this that we are called. Say not, I will submit, I will not murmur, I will try to fight. All this is right; but thou art called to much more than this. So use thy sorrows as to make them the very means of conquer; so use them, as that thou shalt say at last, Had it not been for these tribulations my victory had been a poor one,but half a victory; thus out of the eater there shall come forth meat, and out of the strong shall come forth sweetness. We must learn how to use affliction; not passively, but actively; nay, aggressively. II. The way in which it is won. Through Him that loved us,yes, Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood. (1.) He provides the strength. Weakness is ours; and we begin time fight with the acknowledgment of this. But all power is given to Christ for us; and out of that fullness of power we receive. The power of Christ rests (pitches its tent over us), on us (2 Corinthians 12:9): My strength is made perfect in weakness; so that when we are weak then we are strong. Anothers strength, as well as anothers righteousness, is placed at our disposal. (2.) He provides the weapons. Our weapons are from a divine arsenal,the tower of David builded for an armory. Spear, sword, buckler, girdle, and helmet, are all of His making and bestowing. (Ephesians 6:11-15.) (3.) He provides the battlefield. The skillful general chooses his battlefield. So does our Captain. It is not the choice of the enemy; or of self; still less is it taken up at random, or by chance. It is carefully selected by Him that loved us. The time of battle, the nature of the battle, the duration of the battle, the intensity or peculiarity of the assault, all these are chosen by Him. Each sorrow, each tribulation, each peril, is of His appointment in every item and detail. (4.) He provides the battle cry. As at Trafalgar, the word that Nelson sent through each vessel and every heart, was, England expects every man to do his duty; so our Captain gives His battle words. They are such as these: The love of Christ constraineth us; Who is he that condemneth? fight the good fight of faith; behold I come quickly. (5.) He provides the rewards. Of these, seven are named in the epistles to the Asian churches. These are representative rewards, as the churches are representative churches. Each reward is glorious; and each corresponding with the battle and the victory. O Christian! fight bravely. Face every enemy, small or great. Turn the guns of the enemy against himself. Seize the hostile batteries, and man them. It is an evil day; a day of yielding and compromise. Stand fast in the faith, and in the Lord. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 40, 2011

Lords Day 41, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·09
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Shadow of the Cross. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Oppressed with noon-days scorching heat, To yonder cross I flee; Beneath its shelter take my seat; No shade like this for me! Beneath that cross clear waters burst, A fountain sparkling free; And there I quench my desert thirst; No spring like this for me! A stranger here, I pitch my tent Beneath this spreading tree; Here shall my pilgrim life be spent; No home like this for me! For burdened ones a resting-place, Beside that cross I see; Here I cast off my weariness; No rest like this for me! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 13  for Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10 Pauls gospel was the good news of a righteousness for Gentile as well as Jew,the righteousness of God,good news of the righteousness of Him who is our God and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1),good news of the righteousness of Him who is Jehovah-Zidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. There is a remarkable statement in the previous chapter (verse 30): That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith,that is, the Gentiles, who were seeking no righteousness at all, have got the very best; just as the prodigal son received the best robe in the house. This righteousness was offered to Israel first, but rejected by them; and it is of this rejection that the tenth chapter speaks. In speaking of it, Paul first proclaims Christ as the end of the law (the great fulfillment or fulfiller of the law) for righteousness to every one that believeth. Then he contrasts the two kinds of righteousness, namely, that which comes by working, and that which comes by believing. The former assumes that all is yet to be done; the latter, that all has been done, and that no doing (for obtaining pardon) is needed,nothing more of any kind whatsoever than is done by a man when he listens and lets in the word by his ear into his heart (verse 8). This word of faith, or word spoken in order to be believed, is the burden of his preaching. It is that which Isaiah calls our report. He thus describes it If thou shalt confess Christ (as He has enjoined, Matthew 10:32), believing in Him, and in God who raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; for with the inner man we believe so as to be justified, and with the mouth we make that confession which issues in salvation, and because of which Christ will confess us in the great day. Then in the thirteenth verse come the words of our text, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. We may take calling on the name of, as meaning (1) the recognition of Jehovah as the true God; (2) as the acting on that recognition, and going to Him for salvation. It resembles Hebrew 11:6: He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hear then, O man, the gospel which Paul here preaches to thee, whether Jew or Gentile! It is the gospel or good news of salvation. Believe his report and live. Faith cometh by hearing. I. The nearness. The word is nigh; the gospel is nigh; the salvation is nigh,as near as the sounds are which enter into the ear of a man. The whole provision made on the cross for sinners is brought nigh to us. We have not to stir,not to move a hairbreadth in order to get at it. It is already at the side of every sinner to whom the gospel has come. It is like the manna which fell around Israels tents; it is like the water of that rock which followed them. As near as it is possible for one thing to be to another, is all this fullness of divine grace. We need not climb to heaven, that would be to deny its nearness, and to act as if Christ had never come down. We need not descend into the earth, that would be to deny its nearness, and to say that Christ had not come up, and needed to be brought up by us. No. All things are ready; all things are near. II. The freeness. A free gospelabsolutely without condition or price; a free salvation, to the obtaining of which man contributes nothing, by his money, or his works, or his sufferings, or his prayers and tears. All is absolutely free; as free as the sunlight or the common air. No merit, no money, no purchase, no previous qualification. The gift of God is that which we see in every part. Freely. freely, are the blessed words in which God promulgates the terms on which man is to be permitted to obtain the blessings of the cross. Freely, freely, is the burden of our message. Price, whether direct or indirect, small or great, is refused. We must take it freely or not at all. III. The speed. The gospel comes at once, the blessing tarries not. Like the touching of the electric wire, so the acceptance of the gospel brings instantaneous acceptance of our persons. No waiting, no interval, no distance, no hesitation. What God does, He does quickly. Swift as lightning the blessing comes to us. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. It is not, shall get some deliverance, or hope of deliverance, but, shall be saved. We go at once, and at once we are saved. IV. The simplicity. Yes, all is simple here; no mystery, no labyrinth, no toil. Oh how unlike the complex works of man, Heavens easy, artless, unencumbered plan. All is profoundly great, yet unutterably simple; majestic in its own simplicity. Call on the Lords name and be saved, that is all. As our Lord said to the woman of Sychar, Thou wouldest have asked, and He would have given. The simpler the liker God; the simpler the more suitable for helpless man. The gospel is simple; and the great salvation is the exhibition of the simplest plan for saving and for blessing that can be conceived. Too simple to have been devised by man. It is the simplicity of God. It is this simplicity which makes it intelligible to a little child. To ask and to get,that is the whole. V. The certainty. There are no ambiguities nor peradventures in it. All is the most absolute assurance: Shall be saved! God always deals in certainties in His treatment of the sinner,the certainties of eternal life or death: He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned. Christ and His cross are certainties; and he who credits Gods testimony to these, becomes identified with certainties; is at once and certainly blessed, forgiven, saved. And if we know that the acceptance of this testimony brings certain salvation; how foolish, how sinful to say, Oh I accept the testimony, but I dont know whether I am saved. If thou givest credit to the divine word concerning the Son of God thou art saved. Of this there can be no doubt; for God is not a man that He should lie. VI. The universality. All are not saved, nor washed, nor pardoned, nor redeemed; but to all the good news come. Whosoever is Gods wide word of invitation. Who shall say, The tidings are not for name unless I can prove my election? The gospel is to the sons of men (Proverbs 8:4). God in it is coming up to each sinner and saying, Here is life,believe and live; here is the cup of salvation, drink and be saved; here is the writ of pardon, take it and be forgiven. Round and round the world this word of reconciliation goes; and to each sinner, as it passes on, is the reconciliation presented. Be thou reconciled to God, is the special and personal message to each. Call on the name of the Lord, is Gods urgent proclamation; call, and thou shalt be saved! Go straight to God for salvation, a present and immediate salvation. Dont say, as some do, Ill go to Him first for faith, and repentance, and feeling; and then when Ive got these, Ill go boldly and ask salvation. Go at once, and go boldly for salvation,for nothing less than this,and thou shalt get it; for God is true. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 42, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·16
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. That Where I Am, There Ye May Be Also. Christina Rossetti (18301894) How know I that it looms lovely that land I have never seen, With morning-glories and heartsease and unexampled green, With neither heat nor cold in the balm-redolent air? Some of this, not all, I know; but this is so; Christ is there. How know I that blessedness befalls who dwell in Paradise, The outwearied hearts refreshing, rekindling the worn-out eyes, All souls singing, seeing, rejoicing everywhere? Nay, much more than this I know; for this is so; Christ is there. O Lord Christ, Whom having not seen I love and desire to love, O Lord Christ, Who lookest on me uncomely yet still Thy dove, Take me to Thee in Paradise, Thine own made fair; For whatever else I know, this thing is so; Thou art there. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). 16  However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report? Romans 10 Let us observe four things here: I. The report. The gospel mentioned in the first clause of this verse is the same as the report in the second. It is short and simple. It is thoroughly true. It is divine and perfect. It is well authenticated, so that doubt seems an impossibility. It is altogether glad. It is for the sons of men. It is the very report, concerning the very things which sinners need. It is truly suitable. It is the story of Jesus of Nazareth. II. Mans rejection of it. Who bath believed? Who? As if there were none who had accepted it! Not one! God has spoken; but men have neither believed nor listened. God has loved; but men have refused His love. Men are not asked to do, but to take; yet they will not. They are not asked to save themselves, but to accept salvation; yet they turn away. Gods words are as the idle wind. His love is the last love they will ever turn to. His truthfulness is time thing which they question most; as if to make Him a liar, and His words of little worth, were no sin at all. This is mans treatment of God and of His Son! God is not to be believed on any account, and least of all when He speaks in love! Christ is preached only to be slighted; and His gospel flung aside as not true; or, if true, still as a gospel which brings no certain pardon, no assurance of salvation; nay, which may be believed without making a man happy, or making him a child of God; which may be believed for years without giving peace, or light, or liberty. III. The prophets disappointment. Lord, who hath believed our report. He expected something very different. He thought men would all receive it at once; that he would be surrounded with believing crowds! But no man receiveth his testimony! He is sorely perplexed, disappointed, confounded. Ah, it is in the very bitterness of disappointment that these words are spoken. He is grieved in spirit; troubled because of the dishonour done to God, and to His truthfulness; sad because of the ruin which men were bringing on themselves. He is like Jeremiah: Oh that my head were waters! He is like Paul, Having sorrow in his heart. He is like Christ weeping over Jerusalem. Such is a ministers disappointment. He expects to be believed; and he is not! He expects God to be believed; and He is not! And were it not that he knows that Gods purpose concerning the many called and few chosen is now fulfilling, he would be a thoroughly disappointed man. IV. The prophets appeal to Jehovah. Like Micah (7:7) in the midst of abounding iniquity, he says, I will look unto the Lord. Like the Lord, he says, Even so, Father. He turns from man to God. He does not upbraid man with unbelief; but turns to God. This is his refuge. Here he stays his soul. Into the bosom of his God he pours out all his griefs. It is a heavy burden; but he casts it on the Lord. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 43, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·23
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Contrition O thou Most High, It becomes me to be low in thy presence. I am nothing compared with thee; I possess not the rank and power of angels, but thou hast made me what I am, and placed me where I am; help me to acquiesce in thy sovereign pleasure. I thank thee that in the embryo state of my endless being I am capable by grace of improvement; that I can bear thy image, not by submissiveness, but by design, and can work with thee and advance thy cause and glory. But, alas, the crown has fallen from my head: I have sinned; I am alien to thee; my head is deceitful and wicked, my mind an enemy to thy law. Yet, in my lostness thou hast laid help on the Mighty One and he comes between to put his hands on us both, my Umpire, Daysman, Mediator, whose blood is my peace, whose righteousness is my strength, whose condemnation is my freedom, whose Spirit is my power, whose heaven is my heritage. Grant that I may feel more the strength of thy grace in subduing the evil of my nature, in loosing me from the present evil world, in supporting me under the trials of life, in enabling me to abide with thee in my valleys, in exercising me to have a conscience void of offence before thee and before men. In all my affairs may I distinguish between duty and anxiety, and may my character and not my circumstances chiefly engage me. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). 21  But as for Israel He says, All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. Romans 10 Let us mark here, first, Gods treatment of man; secondly, mans treatment of God. I. Gods treatment of man. It is of Israel specially that the apostle is speaking; but what is true of them in this case, is true of all. God in His dealings with man shews us that His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. As the heavens are to a grain of sand, or as the ocean to a drop, so are His thoughts to ours; wider, fuller, larger, higher, deeper; like Himself and He is love. In all Gods words to Israel in the Old Testament, the good news of His wide and free love come out very simply. The New Testament formula, Believe and be saved, is not there; but the gracious character of Jehovah is fully unfolded, and so presented to sinners, as if it had been said, Whoever owns the true God is saved; whoever is willing to come to Him is welcome; and whoever calls on Him shall not be put to shame. Herein is love. (1.) Long suffering. He stretches out His hands; He does so all the day long. We may take this as simply meaning the whole of each natural day of our lives; or the whole of the day of salvation. In either case we see the same longsuffering; God not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Here we see Him waiting to be gracious; pitying the sinner; not cutting him off in his sins; not easily provoked; merciful and gracious; forbearing anger and judgment; not putting forth His power, but waiting long and patiently; not visiting transgression, nor dealing sharply with the transgressor. (2.) Earnest desire to bless. There is much more in the words than mere longsuffering or forbearance. There is the exhibition of the most intense yearning over the sons of men. There are no words spoken; it is the attitude that marks the earnestness and the longing. Jesus wept over Jerusalem; God stretches out His hands to sinners, like one pleading with them, like one trying to save them, like one beckoning to them, like one expressing by signs feelings too strong for utterance. How shall I give thee up! I have no pleasure in your death! Why will ye die! Come, now, and let us reason together! How often would I have gathered you! Ye will not come to me! O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Turn ye, turn ye! Come unto me! These are the feelings expressed by the posture in which God is here represented as standing,looking down from heaven upon men, yearning over them, beseeching them to be reconciled. Earnest He is in this thing,honestly, sincerely earnest, for He knows the worth of the soul which He has made, He knows the greatness of the joy or sorrow which must be its portion, He knows what the loss of heaven will be, and what the everlasting darkness will be,and what the unchangeable eternity will be to which they are passing. Yes, Gods desire to bless the sons of men,the chief of sinners amongst them,is sincere and true, earnest and deep and warm; however difficult it may be to reconcile this with the fact of there being an endless hell; however impossible for us fully to answer the question so often put by unbelief within and without, Why then does He let any one perish since He has the power to save? II. Mans treatment of God. Mans thoughts and ways toward God, are the reverse of Gods thoughts and ways toward man. He walks after his own thoughts is Isaiahs expression (65:2). Mans actings and thinkings and feelings toward God may be set out as follows: (1.) Indifference. Occupied with himself and his own world of pleasure and business, man treats God and His claims, whether of law or love, with disregard. God is not in all his thoughts. He tries not to think about God at all; to preoccupy his mind with other objects, so as to induce forgetfulness and indifference. The absence of God, and the want of His favor, are not things which concern him, or make him unhappy for a moment He can do without God! (2.) Unbelief. Man in so far as his fellows are concerned is no unbeliever. He is quite ready to receive the testimony of men; nay, he is often credulous, and believes without evidence or against evidence. But in the things of God he is thoroughly an unbeliever; both as to God Himself, and as to the truth and testimony of God. He disbelieves and he distrusts. He has no confidence in God, or in His word. Faith in God is wholly alien to him. (3.) Disobedience. In Isaiah (65:1) it is called rebellion; walking in a way not good. Gods will is a hateful thing to man; so is Gods law, which is the declaration of that will. To obey God save through terror is what he never thinks of; and even then it is mere outward compliance. Mans heart never obeys God till renewed. His whole life is consistent and deliberate disobedience, sometimes more open and daring, and sometimes less. (4.) Gainsaying. Man speaks against God; he acts against God. In both senses he is a gainsayer. He has no good word to say of God or of his Christ; he sets himself against both. Here we have such things as the following: (a.) Captiousness. He is perpetually finding fault with God; with His word, and ways, and dispensations; with His actings toward individuals and the world at large. Why doth he yet find fault, for who hath resisted His will, is one form of human fault finding with God. If we pine away in our iniquities, how shall we then live? (Ezekiel 33:10) is another form. There are many forms of captious gainsaying or murmuring; this discontent and repining, and charging God either with injustice or unkindness. (b.) Obstinacy. Stout-heartedness and stiff-neckedness are Gods frequent charges against Israel; no less against us. We are stubborn and self-willed; preferring our own way and wisdom to His. We are like the horse or mule; like the bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. We will neither be led nor driven. We resist; we kick against the pricks. (c.) Refusal of blessing. Yes; man refuses to be blest. This is the most unaccountable part of mans gainsaying. He thrusts away the love of God, and the blessing which that love holds out. He does not like (1) the blessing itself; (2) the terms on which it is given; (3) the giver; (4) the effects which would follow receiving it,a holy life. Thus man deals with God, setting himself against Him in all ways and things. Yet thus does God continue to deal with man in unwearied love and patience. He still bends over him to the last, as Jesus did over Jerusalem, yearning, pitying, longing to bless! Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 43, 2011

Lords Day 44, 2011

Sunday··2011·10·30
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 81. (l. m.) A song for morning or evening. Lam. iii. 23; Isaiah xl. 7. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) God, how endless is thy love! Thy gifts are every evening new; And morning mercies from above Gently distil like early dew. Thou spreadst the curtains of the night, Great guardian of my sleeping hours; Thy sovereign word restores the light, And quickens all my drowsy powers. I yield my powers to thy command, To thee I consecrate my days; Perpetual blessings from thine hand Demand perpetual songs of praise. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 12  . . . devoted to prayer Romans 12 Prayer takes for granted that God is full, and we are empty; that He is infinitely full, and we unspeakably empty. I do not say infinitely empty, because God only is infinite. The creature is finite, alike in evil and in good. Time emptiness or evil of any creature, or a whole universe of creatures, can never be infinite. Else what would become of us? Infinitude belongs to Godhead; finitude to creature hood. And here is the first ray of hope to us. Our poverty and want must ever be a mere nothing in comparison with the fullness of Him who filleth all in all. We are sometimes alarmed at the thought of His greatness. Foolish alarm! Were He not so great, so full, so infinite, what would become of us? Prayer takes for granted that there is a connection between this fullness and our emptiness. The fullness is not inaccessible. It is not too high for us to reach, or for it to stoop. It is not too great for us, nor too distant, so as to be incommunicable. There is a connection, and it has been established by God himself; it is a divine medium of communication: Ask, and ye shall receive. It is as righteous as it is divine. Prayer takes for granted that we are entitled to use this channel, this medium; and that, in using it, there will be a sure inflow of the fullness into us. Every one that asketh receiveth. It is men, not angels, who are invited to use this medium. It is to sinners that the gate is thrown open; for them is the access provided. Free, yet righteous access for unrighteous men. Gods love has made it free; the blood of His Son hath made it righteous. It takes for granted Gods willingness to receive every applicant. His willingness is like His fullness, infinite. Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out, applies to prayer; but still more does John 4:10, If thou knewest the gift of God, thou wouldest have asked, and He would have given. He makes no exceptions, He does not bid the sinner qualify himself, or ascertain his election, or get up some preliminary preparation, or make sure of the quantity or quality of his faith; He throws open wide His gate and His throne to any applicant, the unworthiest of the human race. His willingness to receive each coming one is infinite. Prayer is not meant to create or produce willingness; to move the heart of an unwilling God. It assumes this willingness, and acts upon it. It is not tentative; it does not go in order to make an experiment on Gods willingness. To experiment upon it is in reality to deny it; and to act upon such an experimenting principle is to deal with an unknown God. Prayer takes for granted expectation on our part. This is in a measure implied in the willingness of God; but it needs special notice; for it is that to which Paul referred when he wrote without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Length will not do; nor repetition; nor regularity; no, not even earnestness; nay, earnestness is often the mere expression of unbelief, and the indication of a secret feeling on our part that God is not wholly willing, but requires our earnestness to make Him so. If, then, we examine our prayers, and strip them of all that is not prayer, how little remains? Take away the vain words,the mere meditative parts; the mere expression of solemn feeling; the mere sentimentalism; the mere utterance of petitions, because urged by conscience and a sense of duty; the requests not accompanied with expectation,and how little remains in the best of our prayers! What multitudes of prayers are ascending on this day. How much of these will God recognize as prayer? What a small residuum would remain if divested of all prayerless accessories. I cannot compare it to the amount of grain when the chaff is winnowed away, nor of gold when the dross is purged off; but to the tiny gem or little crystal which you pick out of some great rock, after breaking it in pieces, and sifting its endless fragments. Let us mark such things as the following in reference to this kind of prayer: 1. The irksomeness of non-expecting prayer. Sometimes there may be such an amount of natural feeling as may make what is called devotion pleasant. But in the long run it becomes irksome, if not accompanied with expectation, sure expectation. It is expectation only that can produce and keep up truly devotional feeling; expectation founded on Gods infinite willingness to give, and on His promises to the applicant. 2. Time uselessness of non-expecting prayer. It bears no fruit; it brings no answer; it draws down no blessing. It is expectation that honours God, and that God will honour. The answer always runs in this form, According to thy faith be it unto thee. It is non-expectation that, more than anything else, ruins and nullifies prayer. 3. The sinfulness of non-expecting prayer. The utterance of petitions is nothing to God; it does not recommend the petitioner. Many seem to think so; and to suppose there is some secret virtue or influence, if not merit, in all prayer, however unbelieving. It is not so; nay, there is guilt, deep guilt, in every unbelieving petition; for thus God is dishonoured, His willingness is denied, His Son is set aside, His Spirit is grieved, and He is addressed both as an hard master and an unknown God. Oh the guilt involved in the religion of religious men; men whose prayers are as regular as the rising or setting sun! Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lord���s Day 45, 2011

Sunday··2011·11·06
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Hymn LX. Zion, or the city of God. Isaiah xxxiii. 27, 28. John Newton (1725���1807) Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God! He, whose word cannot be broken, Form���d thee for his own abode: On the rock of ages founded, What can shake thy sure repose? With salvation���s walls surrounded Thou may���st smile at all thy foes. See! the streams of living waters Springing from eternal love; Well supply thy sons and daughters, And all fear of want remove: Who can faint while such a river Ever flows their thirst t��� assuage? Grace, which like the Lord, the giver, Never fails from age to age. Round each habitation hov���ring See the cloud and fire appear! For a glory and a cov���ring, Showing that the Lord is near: Thus deriving from their banner Light by night and shade by day; Safe they feed upon the Manna Which he gives them when they pray. Blest inhabitants of Zion, Wash���d in the Redeemer���s blood! Jesus, whom their souls rely on, Makes them kings and priests to God: ���Tis his love his people raises Over self to reign as kings And as priests, his solemn praises Each for a thank���off���ring brings. Savior, if of Zion���s city I thro��� grace a member am; Let the world deride or pity, I will glory in thy name Fading is the worldling���s pleasure, All his boasted pomp and show; Solid joys and lasting treasure, None but Zion���s children know. ���Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. ���Romans 13 Often throughout Scripture is the figure of clothing or putting on, used, both in reference to good and evil. It is man who first tries the thing with his fig leaves; but he fails. Then God steps in and clothes man with skins. After this the figurative use of clothing is very frequent. Judges 6:34, ���The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon��� (so it is in the Hebrew); 2 Chronicles 6:4���, ���Let thy priests be clothed with salvation���; Job 7:5, ���My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of the dust���; Job 29:14, ���I put on righteousness, and it clothed me���; Psalm 35:26, ���Let them be clothed with shame���; Psalm 93:1, ���The Lord is clothed with majesty, the Lord is clothed with strength���; Psalm 132:9, ���Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness���; Isaiah 61:10, ���He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation���; Isaiah 59:17, ���He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing���, and was clad with zeal as a cloak���; Isaiah 52:1, ���Put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem���; Luke 15:22, ���Bring forth the best robe and put it on him���; Romans 13:12, ���Let us put on the armor of light���; 1 Corinthians 15:53, ���This corruptible must put on incorruption���; Ephesians 4:24, ���That ye put on the new man���; Ephesians 6:2, ���Put on the whole armor of God���; Colossians 3:52, ���Put on bowels of mercies���; Colossians 3:14, ���Put on charity.��� These passages shew us the use of the figure in Scripture. Something in addition to what we had before, or to what we possess in ourselves, is supposed to be taken on as a garment; something which makes us to appear and to act differently from what we did before; something suited to a peculiar office, or service, or action. The king puts on his royal robe, the priest the priestly robe, the captain his military robe; the robe thus, as it were, altering for a season the individual, and investing him with another character, or office. Clothing is not merely to cover or conceal uncomeliness and shame, but to beautify; to give weight and dignity to our person and our actings; to represent an office. I. What this is that is put on. It is Christ himself that we put on; not one thing merely, such as righteousness, but everything which makes us comely and acceptable to God. Christ himself is here described as a robe. The figure is not of His giving us a robe, but of His being that robe. It is Himself as our robe, that we are to put on. ���As many of you as are baptized unto Christ, have put on Christ.��� ���We are complete in Him.��� He covers us so that no part of our former selves is seen. In looking at us, God sees not us, but Christ himself; and He treats us according to what He sees in Him; He blesses us according to the completeness which we possess in Him; He will recompense us hereafter according to the worthiness and perfection which belong to Him. Christ���s person represents ours before God as the high priest represented Israel. His work is the substitute for us, and for all work of ours in the matter of acceptance, so that we get according to what He did on earth, and not according to what we do. His righteousness comes in room of ours, so that it is on His righteousness, and not on ours, that the great questions turn in regard to which we deal with God; for He is the end of the law for righteousness. His whole life comes in place of ours, His sufferings in place of ours, His death in place of ours; and in regard to every one of our transactions with God, we may plead what He is, not what we are; what He did and suffered, not what we do or suffer. It is not an infusion or transfusion into us of His goodness or perfection. It is the legal reckoning of these to us by God in all His dealings with us, so that in every transaction between us and God, the question is not, what we deserve, but what Christ deserves. Thus we put on Christ, and are ���found in Him���; treated as if He and we were identical or interchangeable. It is a whole Christ whom we put on; it is with a whole Christ that God deals in dealing with us. II. How this putting on is done. The link by which we become personally connected with Christ is our own believing. ���Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.��� We put on Christ simply in believing. Our reception of the Father���s testimony to the work and person of Christ is the ���putting on.��� There is no other. Full and large is that testimony. It is the declaration of what the Father sees Christ to be; and whoever comes to be of one mind with Him in regard to this Son of whom He testifies, is regarded by Him as clothed with Christ. There is nothing mystical about this putting on, nothing unintelligible, nothing laborious. Men may dislike or reject the idea that a man is saved by believing the divine testimony,���that a man puts on Christ by believing what God says about Him,���but Scripture leaves us in no doubt at all. ���Believe,��� and straightway thou art clothed with Christ. He covers thee from head to foot. Not according to thy works, or prayers, or feelings, or convictions, but according to the simplicity of thy faith,���thy acceptance of the Father���s testimony to the person and work, the death, and burial, and resurrection of His only begotten Son,���thou art, from head to foot, clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ; and in the great day of the Lord thou shalt be ���found in Him.��� III. What is the effect? There are two aspects or sides which are to be regarded in this: (1.) God���s side; (2.) the believer���s. (1.) God���s side. God looks at us and sees us as if we were His own Son. He sees not our deformity and imperfection, but His beauty and perfection; not our sin, but His righteousness; not our unworthiness, but His worthiness. ���Thou art all fair,��� He says; ���there is no spot in thee.��� He loves us accordingly, and deals with us accordingly. (2.) Our side. (1.) Our consciences are completely satisfied. Not only have we the blood to purge the guilt, but we have the perfection to cover all imperfection, so that we feel that God ���sees no iniquity in Jacob, and no transgression in Israel.��� (2.) Our bands are completely loosed. The certainty of possessing God���s favor in such surpassing measure gives the fullest liberty. (3.) Our joy overflows. Such love! Such favor! Such nearness! Such dignity! Such glory! Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us! ���That the love wherewith thou hast loved me maybe in them.��� (4.) Our motives to a holy life are increased. What manner of persons ought we to be who are so regarded by God, so beloved of Him! (5.) Our zeal is quickened. Loved with such a love, and treated in so divine a way, what is there that we are not willing to do for Him? Our whole life is to be a daily putting on of Christ. Put on, put on! And regarding the sinner He says, ���Bring forth the best robe and put it on him.��� ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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 45, 2011

Lords Day 46, 2011

Sunday··2011·11·13
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXV. Refuge in the Righteousness of Christ. Augustus Toplady (17401778) From thy supreme tribunal, Lord, Where justice sits severe, I to thy mercy seat appeal, And beg forgiveness there. Tho I have sinnd before the throne, My advocate I see: Jesus, be thou my Judge, and let My sentence come from thee. Lo, weary to thy cross I fly, There let me shelter find: Lord, when thou callst thy ransomd home, leave me not behind! I joyfully embrace thy love To fallen man reveald; My hope of glory, dearest Lord, On thee alone I build. The law was satisfyd by him Who flesh for me was made: Its penalty he underwent, Its precepts he obeyd. Desert and all self-righteousness I utterly forego; My robe of everlasting bliss, My wedding garment thou! The spotless Saviour livd for me, And dyd upon the Mount: Th obedience of his life and death Is placd to my account. Canst thou forget that awful hour, That sad, tremendous scene, When thy dear blood on Calvary Flowd out at evry vein ? No, Saviour, no; thy wounds are fresh, Evn now they intercede; Still, in effect, for guilty man Incessantly they bleed. Thine ears of mercy still attend A contrite sinners cries, A broken heart, that groans for God, Thou never wilt despise. Love incomprehensible, That made thee bleed for me! The Judge of all hath sufferd death To set his prisoner free! The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15 It will be good to take this apostolic prayer to pieces, and mark each separate part and truth. I. The hope. It is of the things hoped for that the apostle is speaking. It is not to hope, or to a hope, but to the hope, that he is pointing. It is not that thing called hope, as springing up in our breasts, that he would have us dwell upon; it is the glory to be revealed, the hope which is laid up for us in heaven. This is the bright star on which he fixes our eye. The inheritance, the kingdom, the glory, the new heavens and earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; these make up what the apostle announces as the churchs hope, her one resplendent hope, which is to be realized when her Lord appears. This is the hope that fills up her future, and sheds brightness on her present, even amid all her heaviness through manifold temptations. II. The God of the hope. Of that hope He is the beginning, the middle, and the end; the center and the circumference; its root, and stem, and branches; its seed, its blossom, and its fruit. There is not one of these things hoped for but is to be traced to Him as its sole fountain head. Hence its peculiar blessedness and glory; hence also the security which we have for its realization when the fullness of the time is come. That hope cannot fail us, because the God of the hope is faithful and true. He will most surely introduce us into its glory; or rather, He will make that glory rise on us like the glory of the rising sun. III. Fill you with all joy and peace. There is joy; joy unspeakable and full of glory; but it is not of earth. It comes down from heaven. There is peace; the peace which passeth all understanding; but its fountain is above. It is God who gives these; and He does so as the God of the hope. The author of the hope is the provider of the joy and the peace; so that we may be sure these will be like Himself, and like the hope. They will be like the hope, and the hope will be like them; they the earnest of the hope; and the hope their consummation and fullness. This God of the hope not only gives the joy and peace, but He fills us with them; nay, He fills us with all joy and peace, leaving out no part of the joy and the peace, and leaving no part of us unfilled! Blessed and glorious petition, the God of the hope fill you with all joy and peace! IV. In believing. This joy and peace, though heavenly in their origin and nature, were not miraculous. They did not gush up into the soul like water springing from the sand by some supernatural touch. They found their way into the soul by a very natural, very simple, but very effectual channel,the belief of Gods good hews about His only begotten Son. They were not the reward of believing; they were not purchased by believing nor did they come in after believing: they were obtained in believing. Faith did nothing but hand in its report to the soul. That report was both glad and true. As soon then as the report thus found its way in, all was changed. The joy and the peace which that report contained filled the soul. And as it was thus that the joy and peace came in, so it is thus that they continue in. They began in believing, and they are maintained in precisely the same way; so that if at any time they are interrupted, we must have recourse to the same report which gladdened us at first, and which is still as sufficient to gladden us again. The thing that gladden us was the thing which we believed. Not our way of believing it; not the quality nor the quantity of our faith; but simply the thing believed the glad tidings of great joy concerning Him who died, and was buried, and rose again. If the thing believed proves ineffectual to gladden, no considerations as to the satisfactory nature or composition of our own faith will prove sufficient. The attempt to believe in our own faith instead of believing in Christ must be abortive both in itself and in its results; and the incessant efforts of some to get up a faith worthy of being believed in, and capable of recommending them to God, are the dictate and the development of as hateful a self-righteousness as was ever exhibited by ancient Pharisee or modern Romanist. No. When the God of the hope fills us with all joy and peace, He does so by presenting us with objects full of joy and peace, so that, in believing, we are filled with the blessedness which they contain. V. That ye may abound in the hope. The hope not only fills, but overflows, as the word abound might be rendered. It comes in and lights up the soul with its heavenly brightness; but it does more. It is so glorious and so boundless that the soul cannot contain it. We fix our eye on it; and as we gaze it expands, and enlarges, and intensifies. It grows brighter, and more real, and more excellent as we continue to dwell upon it. Our faith becomes more and more the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. VI. Through the power of the Holy Ghost. He comes in and dwells in us; thus working in us from within, not from without. He comes in as the Spirit of power, and love, and of a sound mind. He comes in as the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of faith, the Spirit of joy and peace, the Spirit of Christ. He comes in as the seal by which we are sealed unto the day of redemption; Gods own seal which stamps us as Gods property. He comes in as the witness, witnessing with our spirits that we are the sons of God. He comes in as the earnest of the inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession. He comes in, not in feebleness, but in power; in almighty power, to work a work in us and for us, which but for Him must remain unaccomplished forever. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 47, 2011

Sunday··2011·11·20
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Ministers a Sweet Savor, Whether of Life or Death Philip Doddridge (17021751) Praise to the Lord on high, who spreads his triumphs wide! While Jesus fragrant name is breathed on every side. Balmy and rich, the odors rise, And fill the earth, and reach the skies. Ten thousand dying souls, its influence feel and live; Sweeter than vital air, the incense they receive: They breathe anew and rise and sing Jesus the Lord, the conquering King. But sinners scorn the grace that brings salvation nigh; They turn their face away, and faint, and fall, and die. So sad a doom, ye saints, deplore, For, Oh, they fall to rise no more. Yet, wise and mighty God, shall all thy servants be, In those who live or die, A savour sweet to thee; Supremely bright, Thy grace shall shine, Guarded with flames of wrath divine. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 20  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Romans 16 Let us note here, I. Satans overthrow. The whole history of the world is interwoven with the doings of him whom Scripture calls the serpent (2 Corinthians 11:3); the old serpent (Revelation 12:9); the God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4); the great dragon (Revelation 12:9); the wicked one (Matthew 13:19, 1 John 5:18) ; the devil (Matthew 4:8); the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2); the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10); the adversary (1 Peter 5:8). He is a living person,originally connected with heaven, now with earth, once associated with angels, now with men, full of malice, a murderer and a liar, a deceiver. His dealings first with Eve, and then with Christ, are the two great specimens of his nature, his tactics, and his aims. The first promise announced a battle between him and the seed of the woman. This battle has been going on without intermission, between him and Christ, and between him and the members of Christs body. With them it is warfare, with the rest of mankind it is friendship. The warfare has been fierce as well as long, open as well as secret, outward as well as inward. In all his assaults and stratagems he has to a certain extents succeeded, but always in the end been baffled. It is to this ultimate baffling or bruising that the apostle here alludes. In four ways has this final bruising been manifested, or is to be manifested: (1.) In Christ Himself. He seemed for a while to conquer; he succeeded in stirring up men against Him; Judas to betray Him, and His disciples to forsake Him. He specially seemed to triumph over Him on the cross. There He bruised his heel. But that was the means and commencement of his defeat. His bruising began at the cross. There he received his deadly wound, his death stroke, which is to be completed at His second coming. Christs personal victory over Satan by Himself and for Himself is yet to be manifested. (2.) In the Church. Satan has bruised the churchs heel, but the church is yet to bruise his head. Each age of the church has shewn this double process more or less; but the last age is to shew it fully; when Christ comes to deliver her from her oppressor forever. (3.) In each saint. We wrestle with principalities and powers. Each of us has a daily battle with Satan. In this we are often worsted, yet in the end we overcome. We resist, and he flees from us. We pursue, and the God of peace enables us to overtake him and to bruise him under our feet. (4.) In the world. He is prince of this world, and he has long exercised dominion therein. But the day is coming when he will be bound with the great chain and cast into the bottomless pit,and after that into the lake of fire. That shall be his final bruising and binding; that shall be earths deliverance from his power,the end of the reign of evil, and the beginning of the reign of good and righteousness. II. The saints deliverance. We have briefly alluded to this already; but let us notice still further the peculiar expression used in reference to this. It is evidently of individual Christians that He is speaking when He says, the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. (1.) He shall bruise, that is crush, grind to powder, overwhelm. (2.) Satan, as the adversary, as the tempter, as the inflicter of pain, and him who has the power of death,not merely his head, but himself. (3.) Under your feet. He shall place your feet upon his head and neck, as in the case of a conquered foe,as if you had won the whole battle yourself, and triumphed over the enemy. (4.) Shortly. It will not be a long warfare in any sense. A short work will God make of this. Thus shall the saint be delivered; thus shall he conquer; thus shall he triumph; thus shall all his enemies be put under his feet. It will not be long! Hold fast, O saint; hold out! Resist, contend, use the whole armor, smite with the sword of the Spirit; for no other weapon will avail in the conflict with such a foe. Fight! For God is on your side. III. The victory of the God of peace. It is as the God of peace that He wins the victory for us, and bruises Satan tinder our feet. It is as the bruised one that He bruises. He whom Satan smote, is He who smites Satan. The God of peace has made peace; and having made peace by the blood of His cross, He proceeds to destroy all that had once marred the peace,all His enemies and ours,giving us complete victory and triumph. It is on the basis of the reconciling blood, the peace-giving work on the cross, that the operations against Satan are carried on. It is under the banner of the God of peace that we fight. He is our captain, and the peace which He has made is that which secures the victory to us. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb,the blood that has made our peace. It is the righteous peace made on the cross that makes it a righteous thing in God to bruise Satan under our feet; for, to bruise (or punish) him is one thing, and to do so under our feet is another. It is one thing to triumph over him, and another to make us triumph over him,to make us conquerors,more than conquerors,to make us sharers of the honour and the spoils of victory; for with us He divides the spoil. In fighting for us and with us, God has respect to this blood made and blood bought peace. We in maintaining the fight have our eye constantly on it. We fight and conquer as men who know the God of peace, having believed His testimony to the work which has produced the peace. We fight and conquer as men who have obtained the peace, and by that peace are nerved and animated for the conflict, as men who know that God is with us. The peace within, and the consciousness of friendship with God, emboldens us and rouses usmakes us brave and invincible. What consolation, too, in that word shortly. It will not be long. Take the word as referring to the saints simply, or to the church, the victory is near. Behold I come quickly. Fight on. Resist the devil. Wrestle with the principalities and powers. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lord���s Day 48, 2011

Sunday··2011·11·27
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Christ Our Peace. Horatius Bonar (1808���1889) I thought upon my sins, and I was sad, My soul was troubled sore and filled with pain; But then I thought on Jesus, and was glad, My heavy grief was turned to joy again. I thought upon the law, the fiery law, Holy, and just, and good in its decree; I looked to Jesus, and in Him I saw That law fulfilled, its curse endured for me. I thought I saw an angry, frowning God, Sitting as Judge upon the great white throne; My soul was overwhelmed; then Jesus showed His gracious face, and all my dread was gone. I saw my sad estate, condemned to die, Then terror seized my heart, and dark despair; But when to Calvary I turned my eye, I saw the cross, and read forgiveness there. I saw that I was lost, far gone astray, No hope of safe return there seemed to be; But then I heard that Jesus was the way, A new and living way prepared for me. Then in that way, so free, so safe, so sure, Sprinkled all o���er with reconciling blood, Will I abide, and never wander more, Walking along in fellowship with God. ���Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. ���Romans 16 What a doxology! What a burst of praise! Full of divine melody; full of grace and truth! Glory to God in the highest is here, yet also peace on earth, and goodwill to man. The great Jehovah, the wise, the mighty, the good, the loving God, is the theme. Let us look at the contents of this glorious hymn of praise, this rapturous hallelujah of a redeemed man, this utterance of marvelous song. I. The Stablisher. He is the Creator; it was He who spake and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast; who laid the foundation of earth and heaven. (1.) He is the mighty God. He is ���of power��� (literally, ���able���) to stablish you. He is the Lord God Almighty, infinite in might, whose is the ���strength,��� and the ���power,��� and the ���dominion,��� and the ���greatness,��� and the ���majesty��� (1 Chronicles 29:2; Revelation 4:2). Let us notice the different connections in which this power is introduced in Scripture: (1.) ���God is able of these stones to raise up children��� (Matthew 3:9); (2.) ���Thou canst (art able to) make me clean��� (Matthew 8:2); (3.) ���Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above,��� &c. (Ephesians 3:20); (4.) ���He is able to subdue all things to Himself��� (Philippians 3:21); (5.) ���He is able to succor them that are tempted��� (Hebrew 2:18); (6.) ���He is able to save to the uttermost��� (Hebrew 7:25); (7.) ���To Him that is able keep you from falling��� (Jude 24); (8.) ���To Him that is of power to stablish you��� (Roman 16:25). What comfort to the feeble, and weary, and Satan-tempted, in this truth! He who strengthens and stablishes us is the mighty God. (2.) The fountainhead of the mystery of hidden wisdom. The mystery (or secret) now revealed in Christ and His cross (that ���God so loved the world,��� &c., John 3:16), which had been kept secret (hidden) in ���the eternal ages,��� was God���s everlasting purpose concerning His own, His saints, His chosen ones, His church of all ages. It is out of this purpose and this Purposer that our establishment flows. This eternal Purposer, the birthplace and well head of all being, and truth, and blessedness, is He who worketh in us according to the good pleasure of His will. He had sketched His great secret, His purpose of grace, in the prophets, giving us in them the outline and shadow of the good things to come; but not till the Word was made flesh, and the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, had declared Him, was the glorious revelation made. (3.) He is the everlasting God. ���From everlasting to everlasting thou art God��� (Psalm 90:1). He is ���the King eternal, immortal, and invisible��� (1 Timothy 1:17); ���with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning��� (James 1:17). It is not with mortality, and finitude, and change, and corruption that we have to do, but with the immortal, the infinite, the unchangeable, the incorruptible. He who stablishes us is ���the everlasting God.��� (4.) He is the God only wise. Wisdom is His in its widest, highest sense; wisdom without weakness, or one sidedness, or imperfection. The perfection of wisdom is His. The God only wise is His name. Such is our Stablisher! Can we fear or be discouraged? Shall our weakness, or frailty, or the number of our foes appal us? Greater is He that is for us than all that are against us, without or within! Let us stand fast, and not be moved, or shaken, or terrified. II. The stablishing. The word expresses steadfastness, fixture, and strength (see Luke 9:51; Romans 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:2,13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17, 3:3; James 5:8;1 Peter 5:10). It assumes that on our part there is weakness, wavering, changeableness; that there is peril for us on every hand from snares and assaults, from wiles and enmity, and that we are constantly liable to be uprooted and overthrown. We are without strength; compassed about with infirmities; apt to be carried about with every wind of doctrine; ready to be moved from the faith, or made to err from ways of uprightness. The process of stablishing is what we need so much; it is more than being ���kept from falling,��� and we require both. While this stablishing, in one sense, comes directly from the eternal Stablisher, in another, it comes through present means and influences, such as the gospel (���my gospel��� [10]), and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, and the revelation of the mystery. Through means of these, God establishes us, by the power of the Holy Ghost, working in us according to His mighty power. The gospel (1) says to us, ���Be steadfast���; (2) it shews us what steadfastness is; (3) it supplies us with the means of steadfastness. In clasping that gospel, we are holding that which alone can keep us from being moved. Let us lean on the cross; let us grasp it as the shipwrecked sailor grasps the life buoy, or is lashed to the mast to prevent his being washed overboard. The cross is thus everything for steadfastness. It stands firm, and it keeps firm all who keep hold of it. It is our prop; our resting place; our foundation; our anchor; our strong tower. The true stablishing (whether in faith, or love, or hope, or truth, or holiness) goes on only here. Apart from it, or away from it, all is instability, and feebleness, and destruction. III. The stablished. These are, first of all, the saints at Rome, ���called,��� ���beloved of God,��� whose ���faith was spoken of throughout the whole world.��� They needed ���stablishing,��� though apostles were their pastors and teachers; not once, but all through; day by day; they needed to be ���rooted and grounded in love���; to be ���made perfect, stablished, strengthened, settled.��� And if these noble Roman Christians needed stablishing (men of faith and love, beyond us!), how much more we! For is not the, church of God in these last days far from steadfast? Is she not an unanchored, uncompassed, unballasted vessel, carried about with every wind of doctrine or speculation, departing from old beliefs as obsolete and fossile; rushing after what is new and fascinating; in love with change, and ���progress,��� and ���development,��� and ���breadth,��� and liberality,��� according to modern phraseology proudly disdainful of what she calls ���bigotry,��� and intolerance,��� and ���stereotyping,��� and old-fashioned dogmas and theologies. Surely the church of the last days needs stablishing even more than the church of the first age; there are so many half-and-half disciples now, the mixed multitude that led Israel astray. Let each believing man give heed to this, lest he fall from his steadfastness. Be strong in the Lord; be steadfast and immoveable; hold fast that which thou hast received. This peculiar doxology, at the close of such an epistle, connecting such a song of praise with the steadfastness of the saints of God, is very striking, and fraught with deep lessons to us. The glory of the God only mighty, and eternal, and wise, is connected with our being stablished; and the process of stablishing us depends on His being what He is here represented to be. Let us feel that we have much to do with Him as the God of power, and wisdom, and eternity. ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lord���s Day 48, 2011

Lords Day 49, 2011

Sunday··2011·12·04
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Humiliation Sovereign Lord, When clouds of darkness, atheism, and unbelief come to me, I see thy purpose of love in withdrawing the Spirit that I might prize him more, in chastening me for my confidence in past successes, that my wound of secret godlessness might be cured. Help me to humble myself before thee by seeing the vanity of honour as a conceit of mens minds, as standing between me and thee; by seeing that thy will must alone be done, as much in denying as in giving spiritual enjoyments; by seeing that my heart is nothing but evil, mind, mouth, life void of thee; by seeing that sin and Satan are allowed power in me that I might know my sin, be humbled, and gain strength thereby; by seeing that unbelief shuts thee from me, so that I sense not thy majesty, power, mercy, or love. Then possess me, for thou only art good and worthy. Thou dost not play in convincing me of sin, Satan did not play in tempting me to it, I do not play when I sink in deep mire, for sin is no game, no toy, no bauble; Let me never forget that the heinousness of sin lies not so much in the nature of the sin committed, as in the greatness of the Person sinned against. When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me, by showing me that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but that in Christ I am reconciled, made alive, and satisfied; that I am feeble and unable to do any good, but that in him I can do all things; that what I now have in Christ is mine in part, but shortly I shall have it perfectly in heaven. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: 3Grace 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"); 4I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 1 The Saints True Posture. At Corinth there was a large and noble church. It was not perfect; there were errors and divisions in it; there was gross sin in it. Yet it was not only a true church, but one of high attainment. The Corinthian saints were enriched in all utterance and all knowledge. They had gifts as well as graces; manifold gifts; all gifts; they came behind or were deficient in no gift; they abounded in them. They were an advancing church; a church of true progress in knowledge, gifts, and holiness. Thus there may in a church be much evil in the midst of much good. Even when there are divisions and inconsistencies, there may be life and fruit. It is progress at which we are to aim; each church, each Christian. We must first start,start in the right direction,for the walk or the race. We must begin with believing; we must be rooted and grounded in love. And then progress, true progress begins; not till then. Having begun, we go on unto perfection; we increase and abound in wisdom, truth, holiness, hatred of sin, love to the brethren, pity for the world. Onward, upward, is our motto. But along with these gifts there was one thing specially noticeable in these Corinthians: they waited for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us mark here, I. The person. He is not here designated Son of man, or Son of God, King, or Master, or Bridegroom, but Lord Jesus Christ; His fullest, longest title, and one which the apostle delights to repeat at full length, as if never weary of it. He is (1.) Lord; nay, He is Lord of lords; He is Lord in the sense of God; He is Jehovah, for this is His Old Testament name. (2.) Jesus. Jah, the Saviour, He who saves us from our sins; a divine Saviour. (3.) Christ; Messiah, the anointed one; filled with the Spirit without measure; the vessel of infinite and divine fullness. These three names declare His glory, and also reveal His grace. In them we read, God is love; God so loved the world; herein is love. II. The event. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word is properly the apocalypse, or revelation, or manifestation. He is now hidden; unseen; within the veil. But this concealment is not always to last. God bath appointed a day for revelation. Then He shall be visible; every eye shall see Him. His first coming is the greatest event in earths past history; His second coming is the greatest in its future. He shall come! Behold the Lord cometh. He comes in glory, in majesty, with clouds, with all his saints, to destroy Antichrist; to deliver creation; to bind Satan; to convert Israel and the Gentiles; to execute vengeance; to raise His, saints; to judge and to reign. For these things He comes. He is only waiting for the time appointed by the Father. Then He shall appear in His glory, no longer the man of sorrows, but the Conqueror, the Bridegroom, the crowned King. III. The posture. Waiting (see Roman 8:19, 23), as the servant for the master; the traveler or mariner for the morning; the bride for the bridegroom. In all these there is eager and earnest expectation. The event is infinitely desirable; the person is the object of our love. We have heard of Him; we long to see Him and to hear His voice. His absence is sadness and gloom; as Rutherford says, It is like a mountain of iron on our heavy hearts. All seems to go wrong in that time of absence. In such a case, waiting is a necessity; we cannot but wait. (1) We wait in faith; (2) in hope; (3) in patience; (4) in desire; (5) in love; (6) in watchfulness. Such was the churchs posture before Messiahs first coming; such is it before His second. It is the posture of the church and of each saint. They are waiters and watchers. There must be no forgetfulness, no indifference, no sloth, no sleep; all wakefulness, eagerness, and longing. Many things tend to hinder this, and to throw us off our guard. Let us beware, and hold fast. Let us not sleep as do others; but watch. IV. The connection between this posture and the gift. It is close, vital, and mutual. The gifts cherish the waiting, and the waiting the gifts; the one helps the other. The more we wait, the more the gifts will grow; and the more they grow, the more will we wait. (1.) The gifts are all from Christ, out of His fullness; and the more we possess of the gifts, the more shall we desire to know the giver; the more copious and pleasant our draughts of the stream, the more shall we long for the fountainhead. (2.) The gifts are the gifts of the Spirit, and He is the witness of Christ; the more that we are filled with Him, the more shall we wait, and look, and long for Him to whom He testifies, and whom His office is to glorify. Thus they both are inseparably linked together. We cannot be growing Christians without waiting for Christ; and we cannot wait for Christ without growing. (1.) Press on. Stationary saintship is as poor as it is perilous. Advance; advance! Make this your motto. Be progressive Christians; belong to the advanced school of theology and holiness in the true sense. (2.) Beware of stumbling and backsliding. The tendencies both within and without are all against us. Snares and stumbling blocks are in our path. Be on your guard. Look to your feet. Dread one retrogressive step. Watch against coldness and formalism. (3.) Wait for the revelation of Christ. Be this your posture constantly; not theoretical, but practical. Let nothing come between you and a crucified Christ; a risen Christ; a glorified Christ; a coming Christ. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 50, 2011

Sunday··2011·12·11
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 84. (l. m.) Salvation, righteousness, and strength in Christ. Isa. xlv. 2125 Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Jehovah speaks! let Isrel hear; Let all the earth rejoice and fear, While Gods eternal Son proclaims His sovereign honors and his names. I am the last, and I the first, The Savior God, and God the just; Theres none beside pretends to show Such justice and salvation too. [Ye that in shades of darkness dwell, Just on the verge of death and hell, Look up to me from distant lands; Light, life, and heavn are in my hands. I by my holy name have sworn, Nor shall the word in vain return; To me shall all things bend the knee, And every tongue shall swear to me.] In me alone shall men confess Lies all their strength and righteousness; But such as dare despise my name, Ill clothe them with eternal shame. In me, the Lord, shall all the seed Of Isrel from their sins be freed; And by their shining graces prove Their intrest in my pardning love. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 8who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1 Eternal Blamelessness. There are several words used to declare what a Christian man should be. He is to be blameless (1 Thessalonians 3:13), unrebukeable (Philippians 2:15), without spot (1 Peter 1:19), faultless (Jude 24), undefiled (Song of Solomon 5:2). All these words are to be more or less realized in every Christian,in measure here, in all fullness hereafter. They are chiefly negative; in the Greek, remarkably so; describing a Christian not so much by what he is, as by what he is not. But this is striking and full of meaning; inasmuch as it reminds him of the sin out of which he was taken, and from which he is called to be separate. It reminds him of that evil world from which he has been delivered, and from which he is to keep himself unspotted. He was a sinner once, nothing but a sinner. From sin, wrath, pollution, ungodliness he is taken, and from them must keep aloof. These characteristics may be divided into three kinds judicial, priestly, personal. I. Judicial. The word used in our text is the judicial one. It means one that cannot be challenged, or accused, or impeached in law. It is another form of the same word as is used in Romans 8:33, Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? A Christian is one against whom there is not only no condemnation, but no accusation. He is a sinner yet no man, nor angel, nor devil, may accuse him, or mention his guilt to God. This is the footing on which we stand,unaccusable! Blessed footing to one who feels that he is the chief of sinners. The chief of sinners, yet beyond the reach of all accusation! How is this? Because there was one who was accused in his stead; who owned the accusation as if it were His own; who allowed sentence to pass against Himself; and was condemned for anothers guilt,the Just for the unjust. II. Priestly. I might call it sacrificial. The word used in such places as Ephesians 1:4 is the same as that in 1 Peter 1:19, the Lamb without blemish, and without spot. This unblemishedness has special reference to our fitness for worship and service. And this we derive from the unblemished Lamb himself, and specially from His blood. It is His blood that cleanses and fits us for entering Jehovahs courts, and ministering as His priests at His altar; for we have an altar. I speak of the priesthood of believers, the priesthood which a sinner enters on when he believes on the Son of God. Let ns make constant use of the Lamb and His blood to keep ourselves unblemished for sacrifice or service; for we are to present even our bodies as living sacrifices unto God (Romans 12:1). III. Personal (Philippians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:13), We are forgiven and delivered from wrath that we may be personally holy; holy in heart and life; saved from sin, conformed to Christ. We are delivered from wrath, from Satan, from self; from the world, from sin, from vanity, from ignorance, from the lust of the flesh and eye. We are made like the second man (1 Corinthians 15:47), the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), in Gods image. We delight in the law of God; we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our life is spiritual, our character, our conversation, our joys, our pursuits. Everything is spiritualized in character, aim, and tone. All true religion is personal, not a thing of proxy; a real inward thing, not a form, or a creed, or a shadow, or a rite. It penetrates the entire being, pervading the whole life, and influencing everything about the man, great or small. Holiness is to be everywhere in and about the man. If, then, you call yourself a Christian, consider how much is expected from you; how much God expects from you; how much Christ, how much the angels, how much the church, how much the world. All eyes are on you, and great expectations are formed of you. Consider, (1.) Your names. They are saint, Christian, redeemed from among men, follower of the Lamb. Do not these call you to holiness, to blamelessness! (2.) Your designations. You are the lights of the world, the salt of the earth; pilgrims, strangers, virgins, cross bearers, kings and priests; a temple, a habitation of God. (3.) Your calling. You are called with a holy calling. Everything connected with your calling is holy,its past eternity, its present working, its everlasting prospects. You are called to glory, honour, and immortality. (4.) Your hopes. They are sure and bright,a holy kingdom, an undefiled inheritance, a pure and splendid city, into which nothing that defileth shall enter. (5.) Your companionships. They are all heavenly and pure. Your ties have been broken with this present evil world. Old friendships are severed, and new ones formed. Of your new companions the chief are God, and Christ, and tile Holy Spirit, and the saints that are on the earth. Holy companions should make a man holy, for as evil communications corrupt good manners, so do good communications elevate and purify evil ones. If you are Christians then, be consistent. Be Christians out and out; Christians every hour, in every part, and in every matter. Beware of half-hearted discipleship, of compromise with evil, of conformity to the world, of trying to serve two masters,to walk in two ways, the narrow and the broad, at once. It will not do. Half-hearted Christianity will only dishonour God, while it makes you miserable. There is abundance of Christianity, so-called, in our day. Who does not call himself a Christian? But who cultivates the holiness, the blamelessness, the devotedness, the calm consistency of a follower of Christ? Who hates sin as it ought to be hated? Who separates from the world as he ought? Who follows Christ as He ought to be followed? Who walks in the footsteps of the holy Son of God? The day of Christ here spoken of, is coming. How soon we know not. Year after year is bringing it round. It is the day of decision. It ends the finite and begins the infinite; it ends the temporal, and begins the eternal. It is the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is Satans day, mans day, the worlds day; that is the day of Christ. And it is to that day we look, for it we prepare. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lords Day 51, 2011

Sunday··2011·12·18
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn LXI. Look unto me, and be ye saved. Isaiah xlv. 22. John Newton (17251807) As the serpent raisd by Moses Heald the burning serpents bite; Jesus thus himself discloses To the wounded sinners sight: Hear his gracious invitation, I have life and peace to give, I have wrought out full salvation, Sinner, look to me and live. Pore upon your sins no longer, Well I know their mighty guilt; But my love than death is stronger, I my blood have freely spilt: Tho your heart has long been hardned, Look on meit soft shall grow; Past transgressions shall be pardond, And Ill wash you white as snow. I have seen what you were doing, Tho you little thought of me; You were madly bent on ruin, But I saidIt shall not be: You had been for ever wretched, Had I not espousd your part; Now behold my arms outstretched To receive you to my heart. Well may shame, and joy, and wonder, All your inward passions move; I could crush thee with my thunder, But I speak to thee in love: See! your sins are all forgiven, I have paid the countless sum! Now my death has opend heaven, Thither you shall shortly come. Dearest Savior, we adore thee For thy precious life and death; Melt each stubborn heart before thee, Give us all the eye of faith: From the laws condemning sentence, To thy mercy we appeal; Thou alone canst give repentance, Thou alone our souls canst heal. Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. 9God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1 Sonship And Fellowship. Gods faithfulness is our resting place. His true and unchanging love is our security. From first to last it is with a faithful God that we have to do. The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. There is none like the God of Jeshurun,the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. It is this faithful God who calls us; saves us; blesses us; keeps us. It is He who begins the good work in us, and will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. He will keep what we have committed to Him. This calling of His is often referred to. That which He calls us out of is noted: Who bath called you out of darkness (2 Peter 2:9). That to which He calls is also noted: Called unto liberty (Galatians 5:13); called to glory (2 Peter 1:3); called you unto his kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12). That by which He calls us is also noted: Called by grace (Galatians 1:15); called by our gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14). But in the passage before us it is simply said that we are called into the fellowship of His Son. What does this mean? Fellowship does not merely mean friendship, or converse, or sympathy; it means partnership, sharing what belongs to others,all that I have is thine. Thus the word is used, Luke 5:10, which were partners with Simon. There is not merely partaking of something as a gift, but sharing, as common property, what another possesses. It is business partnership; family partnership; filial partnership; conjugal partnership; the partnership of adoption or heritage. Our text embraces all these, when it speaks of our being called to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ; just as elsewhere it is said that we are made partakers of Christ (Hebrew 3:14). So that intercourse with Christ is only part of the boundless privilege which fellowship implies. Let us consider this fellowship or partnership with Christ in the following aspects, I. Partnership with Him in what He was. He was crucified, He died, was buried, rose again. In all these we have part. Not that we helped Him to do His work and to bear His cross; not that we were joint sin-bearers, assisting Him to save us. In all this He was alone, suffering the wrath alone. But still we are said to be crucified with Him, to have died with Him, to be buried with Him, to have risen with Him. One cross, one death, one grave, one resurrection. Such is our fellowship with Him, that God looks on us as one with Him in all these things; treats us as having passed through what He did, as if we had actually paid the eternal penalty, and were entitled to the eternal righteousness. In believing we enter on this partnership, and into all the benefits of His death and resurrection. As one with Him, all these are ours. II. Partnership with Him in what He is. He has not only risen, but He has ascended; He has been seated on the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. We share His present dignity; for we are said to be seated with Him in heavenly places, and are treated by God as such. His ascension is ours; His dignity and glory are ours. We are still no doubt here on earth; but we are called to feel, and act, and live as those who are already at the right hand of God. Simple forgiveness is not all our portion. We are raised higher than this; raised into high favor with God, and made to share in the fullness which belongs to Christ as the risen and ascended and glorified Son of man. Besides all this, we share His name, and are called sons of God. We share the Fathers love,that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them. We share His offices;we are prophets, priests, and kings; heirs of God and joint-heirs of Christ Jesus. III. Partnership with Him in what He shall be. Much of His glory is yet in reserve; for now we see not yet all things put under Him. The day of glory and dominion; the day of the crown, and the throne, and the royal robe is coming; and in all these we are to have fellowship with Him; as one with Him; members of His body, sharing the glory of the head; as the bride of Christ, sharing the glory of the Bridegroom; one with Him in all His honour throughout eternity. Thus, then, there is complete fellowship with Christ. It is to this that we are called by a faithful God; and is it not a high and glorious calling? Fellowship in His cross, His grave, His resurrection, His throne, His glory! All this faith secures to us; and of all this the Holy Spirit bears witness to us. Believing, we are reconciled, saved, accepted, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. Let us walk worthy of it; as men who really believe it; happy, holy, unworldly, zealous, generous, loving. Let us carry the consciousness of our calling into every thing,great or small; into business, daily life, recreations, reading, education, everything; maintaining our true position before men; manifesting our proper character; letting the world know our prospects, and doing nothing inconsistent with what we profess to be now, and with what we shall be when the Lord comes. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2011

Lord’s Day 52, 2011—Christmas Day

Sunday··2011·12·25
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Hymn 12. (c. m.) Christ is the substance of the Levitical priesthood. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) The true Messiah now appears, The types are all withdrawn; So fly the shadows and the stars Before the rising dawn. No smoking sweets, nor bleeding lambs, Nor kid nor bullock slain; Incense and spice of costly names Would all be burnt in vain. Aaron must lay his robes away, His mitre and his vest, When God himself comes down to be The off’ring and the priest. He took our mortal flesh, to show The wonders of his love; For us he paid his life below, And prays for us above. “Father,” he cries, “forgive their sins, For I myself have died;” And then he shows his open’d veins, And pleads his wounded side. —from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book II: Composed on Divine Subjects (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. style="margin: 0 0 1em 0; text-align: right;">—Hebrews 10 The Imperfect And The Perfect Priesthood. It is to the contrast between Christ and the ancient priesthood that I ask your attention; between the priesthood of the earthly and of the heavenly temple. It is this contrast that brings out the true nature and character both of Christ and of His work. I. The many priests and the one.—‘Every priest,’—‘this man,’ or ‘this priest.’ The Old Testament priests were many. Not one of them fully accomplished the priestly work. A continual succession was needed; and even by these many the work was not done. It remained at the last just where it was at the first. For these many were, after all, not doers of the work, but symbols or prophetical representatives of the great Doer of it all who was to come. They said, ‘The work shall yet be done; it shall be done completely; God shall be approached; the conscience shall be purged; but not by us; the Doer shall come; He will accomplish what we can only foreshadow.’ These many passed away, and in their stead there came the one—one to do the work which hundreds and thousands of priests and Levites could not do. Yes, one Doer; one work; one sacrifice; one blood shedding; one atonement. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many. What a contrast! The whole tribe of Levi for ages; the tens of thousands of sacrifices; the rivers of bloodshed, and all incomplete! And, on the other, the one single Man, taking up the incomplete work of these thousands, and doing it all at once! This Man! This Priest! But what a Man! What a Priest! The High Priest of the good things to come! The others might do their symbolic work well; but the real priestly final work was beyond their power. That consummation was reserved for the greater than Aaron or Moses, the Son of God Himself. O finished work, how sufficient! O perfect High Priest, how glorious and complete! II. The many sacrifices and the one sacrifice.—In two senses were the sacrifices many. They were many (1) as to number, almost innumerable; (2) as to kind, burnt offering, trespass offering, sin offering, meat offering, drink offering, peace offering. Christ’s sacrifice was one, in both of these aspects. Only one sacrifice, once offered; and all the various kinds of sacrifice gathered, in Him, into the one sacrifice, which by its fullness satisfies the utmost need of the worshipper in every case. One full, complete, perfect sacrifice! ‘It is finished;’ ‘by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.’ His one sacrifice did the whole work. ‘By Himself He purged our sins;’ by His blood He purged our consciences. Let that one sacrifice do its work for us. We need no more. III. The many ministries and the one ministry.—Besides the offering of sacrifice, there were many duties connected with priestly ministry, some smaller, some more important. Each day and hour had their ministries or services. In a hundred different ways they ministered. Priest and Levite ministered in the various parts of the manifold temple worship. But now Christ has taken up all their various ministries into Himself. All the little or great things which we need as the sinful or the helpless, are ministered by the one priestly servant. Through His hands alone come to us the numerous blessings which we need every hour. Let us deal with Him about these. He is exalted a Prince and Saviour to bestow these. We have not to deal with many priests, nor are we perplexed with many ministers. All the channels and instruments through which blessings come to a sinner are now found in Jesus only. His one ministry has superseded all the rest. It is with His one priesthood that we have to do. IV. The daily and the everlasting work.—It is the daily many, and the everlasting one that are contrasted. Oh, what a routine of endless sacrifice and service for ages,—daily, daily,—yes, almost every hour! Always doing, never done! Each hour a repetition of past hours, without prospect of end! But the daily ceased, and the ‘for ever’ came at length. Everlasting salvation; eternal redemption! Once and for ever! Once for all! No second sacrifice; no daily repetition. How unsatisfactory that daily work; how satisfying, how pacifying, how perfecting that one everlasting atonement! Yes, it is for evermore! He has offered it once for all! What a gospel is brought out to us in the contrast between the daily and the forever! A pardon that lasts for ever! A peace that lasts for ever! A salvation that lasts forever! A reconciliation that lasts forever! V. The effectual work and the ineffectual.—What was daily offered up could never take away sin; it could not purge the conscience, nor give us confidence in drawing near to God. But the one true work was ‘for sin;’ i.e. it was meant to take away sin. The other sacrifices could not. This could and did. It was truly and fully sin bearing. Nothing else can avail but this. Guilt but half borne, half exhausted, will avail nothing. Sin laid on any one save the appointed priest and sacrifice, will not be taken away. It must remain. The one Sin bearer is He ‘who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.’ He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He has finished transgression and made an end of sin. VI. The standing and the sitting down.—The priests and Levites all stood. From morn to night they stood. There was no time for sitting down, for at any time they might be called on to offer a sacrifice; so that their work was never done. There was no place for sitting in any part of the temple where the service was going on, and. the sacrifices were offered. There were rooms at the side for sitting, but not in the courts of the altar and laver. There the priests must stand or move about. Theirs was perpetual and unfinished work, as their posture indicated. The king might sit when ruling and judging. The prophet might sit when giving his message. But the priest must stand. What a symbol was the priestly posture! What a truth was embodied in it! The one Priest sat down. As soon as He had finished His sacrifice He sat down. And this said, in language beyond mistake, both to heaven and earth, ‘It is finished!’ He sat down’ (1.) On the throne of grace.—The mercy seat was His throne. He sat down to dispense the free love of God to sinners. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace. (2.) On the seat of honour.—The throne of grace is the throne of heaven. It is the seat before which the ‘many angels’ as well as the ‘elders’ and ‘living creatures’ bow, singing, ‘Blessing, and honour, and glory’ (Revelations 5:11, 12). (3.) On the place of power.’The Father’s right hand is the place of power. Seated there, He is, in every sense, ‘able to save to the uttermost.’ (4.) On the height of expectation.—His throne is a ‘glorious high throne.’ From it He looks down on earth, sees its iniquity and rebellion, and calmly waits for the time, when His enemies shall be made His footstool, and earth become His glorious kingdom. Are we, too, looking for this? “Sit Thou at my right hand,’ is the Father’s word to the Son. In answer to that He sat down, and He is now sitting. That throne He occupies for us. From that throne He dispenses the gifts which, as the glorified Christ, He has received for the rebellious. All that belongs to Him of excellence and fullness is there; it is there for us. The glory of His person, the riches of His varied offices, the suitableness of His great propitiation, and the love of His gracious heart, are all there,—available for sinners, and that to the uttermost. Such is their value, and such their efficacy, that no amount of evil in us, of whatever kind, can in the least obstruct that availableness. It may be the evil of long and dark transgression, or of obduracy and stout-heartedness, or of backsliding and inconsistency and worldliness, or of imperfect faith and feeble repentance; it may be evil committed before our connection with this High Priest, or evil after our connection with Him, or evil in our deficient way of apprehending His work, or evil in our want of love and confidence, evil in our defective sense of sin and guilt, the evil of a hard and stony heart,—it matters not. None of these evils in us can exceed the boundless value of the expiation or the Expiator; nor surpass the divine perfection of the finished work either as bearing upon God or man; nor neutralize the preciousness of the blood of the Lamb; nor prevent the great burnt offering from sheltering the sinner beneath its wide shadowing and impenetrable canopy; nor repel the free love that comes out from the cross to the unworthiest of the sons of Adam; nor render less potent the fragrance of the sweet incense that is continually going up from the golden altar of ‘the more perfect tabernacle not made with hands.’ The fullness of the finished work covers all deficiencies, were they a thousand timed greater than they are or can be. Nothing but our rejection of that fullness, and our preference for something else, can prevent our being saved by it. Its sufficiency is infinite; its suitableness is perfect; its freeness unconditional; its nearness like Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being. Such is the provision made for the taking away of our sin, and for our drawing near to God. Such is the great love of God. There is nothing like it for greatness, either in heaven above or in the earth beneath. Truly He has no pleasure in the sinner’s death. He is not seeking occasion to destroy him; He is not trying to find out reasons for rejecting him or for disregarding his cries; He is not waiting for further amendment and repentance, or greater earnestness or bitterer remorse. He is stretching out His hands to him, just as he is. He is most sincerely desirous to bless even the worst. His compassions are infinite; His bowels yearn over His prodigals; He wants them to come back to His house. He knows what hell is, and He wants to save them from it; He knows what heaven is, and He wants to win them to it. His grace and pity are beyond all measure; and he who, on the credit of the divine testimony to them, given in the word of the truth of the gospel, goes to Him for pardon and life, shall be welcomed and blest, receiving not only what he goes for, but exceeding abundantly, above all he asks or thinks. —Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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");

Lords Day 2, 2012

Sunday··2012·01·08
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXVI. For Pardon of Sin. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Jesus, thy feet I will not leave, Till I the precious gift receive, The purchasd pearl possess: Impart it, gracious Lord, while I With supplications humblest cry, Invest the throne of grace. Baptize me with the Holy Ghost; Make this the day of Pentecost, Wherein my soul may prove Thy Spirits sweet renewing powr, And show me in this happy hour, The riches of thy love. Thou canst not always hide thy face, Thou wilt at last my soul embrace, Thou yet will make me clean: My God, is there not room for me? Ill wait with patience, Lord, on thee, Till thou shalt take me in. Remember, Lord, that Jesus bled, That Jesus bowd his dying head, And sweated bloody sweat: He bore thy wrath and curse for me In his own body on the tree, And more than paid my debt. Surely he hath my pardon bought, A perfect righteousness wrought out His people to redeem: O that his righteousness might be By grace imputed now to me: As were my sins to him. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 11For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each mans work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each mans work. 14If any mans work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15If any mans work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3 The Foundation, The Building, And The Testing. It is of himself and of Apollos that Paul is specially speaking here; or more generally, of ministers of Christ; stewards of the mysteries of God (4:1); the planters, the waterers, the labourers, the tillers, the builders (3:7, 9). Yet the great truth here taught is for all, Christians. The special doctrine here is that there may be a right foundation and a wrong building. If the foundation be right, though the superstructure be faulty, all will not be lost; yet the loss will be great. The warning both to ministers and Christians is, to beware of building wrongly upon a right foundation. I. The foundation. This is Christ alone. Other foundation can no man lay. Foundation stones are vast and massive; like those we see at Jerusalem, let into the solid rock of Moriah, as we see from the recent excavations. God has laid the foundation Himself (Isaiah 28:16.) Both the foundation and the laying of it are His doing. It is finished; the stone has been laid; once for all. When Paul says, as a wise master builder (or architect) I have laid the foundation (verse 10), he means that he took the great foundation-stone laid in Zion with him wherever he went to preach the gospel, and laid it as the foundation for all the different churches,Corinth, Ephesus, Antioch, or Rome. His proclamation of Christ was his laying the foundation-stone; for this is the one stone; the one living stone, chosen of God, and precious, on which a church can be built or a soul rest. II. The building. Ye are Gods building, says the apostle, speaking of the Corinthian church. As he says in verse 6, Paul planted, and Apollos watered; so here he means to say, I laid the foundation, and others are building on it. But there are two ways of building; the one right, enduring, precious; the other wrong, perishable, worthless; the one gold, silver, precious stones; the other wood, hay, stubble. Both are on the true foundation; but the one is like Solomons temple on Mount Moriah; the other like the present mosque of Omar on the same site. Applied to ministers, it points either to their actual teaching, or to the effects of their teaching; if to their teaching, it refers to the truths or errors taught by them in connection with the one truth of Christ; if to the effects of their teaching, it refers to their rearing a church made up of true saints or of formal professors. During the dark ages there might be some godly men in the ministry; but, cleaving to their superstitions, they taught much error, and built up churches full of superstitious formalists; mere wood, hay, and stubble; mere professors, who had no Christianity about them save the name. At the Reformation we see Calvin, Luther, Knox, Cranmer laying anew the foundation stone throughout Europe, and building on it gold, silver, and precious stones. Subsequently we find the PortRoyalists in France, though retaining the one foundation, building wood, hay, and stubble. So is it with individual Christians. Let them take heed how they build. Let them not say, We have got the right foundation. That is not enough. Look to the whole of your creed, lest you be connecting falsehoods or fables with the cross of Christ. Look to your lives, lest your lives should be made up of most worthless materials. What a description is this of the life of some who perhaps, after all, are Christians! Wood, hay, stubble; nothing more. No gold, no silver, no precious stones; nothing that will come up to Gods estimate; nothing that will stand the fire. III. The testing. A day is coming when the building shall be tried. The foundation stone was tried, and it stood the proof; it is the tried stone (Isaiah 28:16, 2 Peter 2:6.) But the day of trial for the superstructures is yet to come; and the process of fire which is to try them is not yet begun. But it will come. The fire shall devour the stubble, and the flame consume the chaff (Isaiah 5:24.) The day is coming that shall burn as an oven (or furnace, Malachi 3:12.) He is coming whose eyes are as a flame of fire; who is a consuming fire. That is the testing day. Sometimes we read of the fan (Matthew 3:12), and sometimes of the fire; but both processes are for similar ends, sifting, searching, separating (whether by wind or flame) the real from the unreal, the true from the false. Till then both are together. Man is not allowed to try his hand at separation; Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come; let both (tares add wheat) grow together until the harvest. The sifting time is coming. Nothing will then be taken for granted. All will be subjected to the fiery ordeal; every one shall be salted with fire (Mark 9:49.) This, then, is the question with regard to all we believe and all we do, Will it stand the fire? It may look well, it may be praised by men, it may have public opinion on its side; but will it stand the fire? O man, will your life stand the fire? Will your religion, your creed, your politics, your plans and works, stand the fire? Soon will all be made manifest. The day shall declare it, because it (or rather He) shall be revealed by fire. Do all in anticipation of the day of fiery sifting. IV. The result. If the work done stands the fire, and be proved to be gold and silver, then shall the doer not only be saved, but he shall receive a reward; he shall have an abundant entrance into the kingdom (2 Peter 1:11) If it wont stand the fire, but proves wood, and hay, and stubble, then the doer, if he be on the foundation, shall be saved; he shall not perish with his work, but he gets no reward; he is barely saved; saved so as by fire, like one escaping merely with life out of a burning house, like Lot out of Sodom. (1.) The importance of a right foundation. There is but one rock, one stone, laid in Zion; one cross, one Saviour. (2.) The difference between a right foundation and a right building. There maybe the former without the latter. A false life has sometimes been connected with a true creed. (3.) The difference between the salvation and the reward. There is such a thing as being barely saved, like the thief on the cross. There is such a thing as a starless crown,a low place in heaven,deliverance from hell, without the recompense and the glory. There is such a thing as a saved soul, but a wasted life. (4.) The importance of seeking the reward as well as the salvation. Some are all their lives occupied with the latter. They never get beyond it; and, not having got the great question settled between them and God, they are not in a condition to aim at the reward. Let us at once get the matter of personal forgiveness settled, and press toward the mark (or along the line or mark, (ጱь ɜĜ?, Philippians 3:14) for the prize of the high calling (the above or heavenly calling, ьƜ ? ጪƜɌ), laying up treasures in heaven, seeking to attain to the resurrection of the dead, with all its glories. (5.) Time ditty of judging ourselves now, that we may not be judged hereafter. Anticipate the day of the fire. Have all in readiness for it. Get quit of the wood, and hay, and stubble; all false doctrine; all unbelieving works or corrupt worship. Get the gold, and the silver, and the gems. (6.) The awfulness of being unsaved. If to lose the reward be so terrible, what must it be to lose the salvation itself; to be lost; not to be saved even so as by fire, but to perish in the fire? Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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continue reading Lords Day 2, 2012

Lords Day 3, 2012

Sunday··2012·01·15
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. A Song of Praise for Gospel ministry Philip Doddridge (16451694) Fair are the feet which bring the news of gladness unto me; What happy messengers are these, which my blessed eyes do see! These are the stars which God appoints for guides unto my way, To lead me into Bethlehem-town, where my dear Savior lay. These are my Gods ambassadors , by whom His mind I know; Gods angels in His lower heaven, Gods trumpeters below. The trumpet sounds, the dead arise, which fell by Adams hand; Again the trumpet sounds, and they set forth for Canaans land. The servants speak, but Thou, Lord, dost a hearing ear bestow; They smite the rock, but Thou, my God, dost make the waters flow. They shot the arrow, but Thy hand doth drive the arrow home; They call, but Lord, Thou doest compel and then Thy guests do come. Angels that fly and worms that creep are both alike to Thee; If Thou make worms Thine angels, Lord, they bring my God to me. As sons of thunder first they come, and I the lightning fear; But then they bring me to my home, and sons of comfort are. Lord, thou art in them of a truth, that I might never stray, The clouds and pillars march before, and show me Canaans way. I bless my God, who is my Guide; I sing in Zions ways; When shall I sing on Zions hill, Thine everlasting praise? Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 17If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. 1 Corinthians 3 The Holiness of Gods Temple. I do not dwell upon the figure or picture which these words suggest. The magnificent emblem here employed is no mere sentimentalism or transcendentalism, but thoroughly practical. It is not for description or painting, but for the guidance of our Christian life, in its common rounds as well as in its nobler elevations and aspirations. Mans symbols are often mere poetry or sentimentalism, Bible-symbols are all practical. These are words of weight and solemnity,Ye are the temple of God; the Spirit of God dwelleth in you; the temple of God is holy; ye are the temple of the living God; A habitation of God through the Spirit; Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; Ye are built up a spiritual house; I will dwell in them, and walk in them; We will come unto him, and make our abode with him; His Spirit that dwelleth in you; God dwelleth in him, and he in God. Take the figure in connection with any of the kinds of habitation spoken of in Scripture,(1) the home; (2) the tent; (3) the palace; (4) the temple,it exhibits a most comforting truth to us. To be Gods home or dwelling, His tent or tabernacle, His royal palace, His chosen temple, of which that on Moriah was a mere shadow, how solemn the admonition as to personal holiness conveyed to us by this! In Gods temple there is the blood, the fire, the smoke, the water, the lamps, the incense, the shew bread, the cherubim, the glory,all consecrated things, and all pertaining to what is heavenly! These symbols have gone, but the realities have come, the heavenly things themselves! If, then, we are Gods temple, if even our bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness! It is this practical use of the inspired figure or symbol that I wish specially to bring before you. If you are Gods temples, what then? How searching and solemn the question! I. What intimacy with God. Acquaintanceship with Him who has made our heart His home is the least which could be expected. He must be no stranger to us. There must not merely be reconciliation,for that may consist with some degree of distance,but intimacy, peaceful friendship, loving acquaintanceship; He seeing into our heart with all its evil, and we into His with all its goodness, and longsuffering, and paternal, yet holy gentleness and love. If God be our inmate, how intimate ought we to be with Him in all respects; yet with a holy, reverend, solemn intimacy; an intimacy which expels fear, and which yet casts out all irreverent freedom. He asks for entrance, and He asks for intimacy: Behold I stand at the door and knock, &c; We will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23). Of an old Scottish minister it is said (as the finishing stroke in his character), He was one very intimate with God. So let it be said of us. II. What calmness of spirit. In all false religion there is excitement, in true religion calmness. The more of God, the more of the inner and abiding calm. The coming of the Spirit of God into a soul calms it. The indwelling of God preserves that calm. Man is never more truly and deeply calm than when filled with the Spirit of God. The tendency of much that is called religion in our day is to agitation, bustle, noise, unnatural fervor. In many revival-scenes there has been an amount of excitement which is of the flesh or of Satan; certainly not of God. The presence of Christ in the ship calmed the sea, so His presence in a human heart produces calm; and one evidence of His presence is the tranquility which reigns there. His words, His looks, His presence, all tend to calm, not to excite. The temple of God should be the calmest spot in the universe. No breath, no jar, no ruffle there. No storm, nor earthquake, nor war, nor tumult, can reach it. We see this in Stephen when before the council; his face was like that of an angel. God keeps His temple in perfect peace. III. What solemnity of soul. If God be inhabiting us as His temple we ought surely to be solemn men,called to a solemn life, speaking solemn words, manifesting a solemn deportment. We are not to be austere, sour, morose; these are Satans caricatures of holy solemnity; yet we are to shun flippancy, frivolity, levity in word or deed. Should the worlds rude laughter echo through the aisles of the divine temple? or its uproarious mirth ring through the holy of holies? Should the worlds idle or unhallowed songs be sung under the sacred roof of this living cathedral? Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, is Gods injunction, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. IV. What recollectedness of thought and feeling. With God dwelling in us, shall we allow wandering thoughts or forgetfulness of the divine presence to prevail. Let us gather up our thoughts, and keep them gathered. Let not the ashes of the sacrifice, or the water of the layer, or the incense of the altar, or the fragments of the shew bread, be scattered to the ends of the earth. Let us be self-recollected in the presence of the holy Inhabitant. V. What spirituality and unworldliness. God is a Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. We need no rites, no dresses, no postures, no candles, no crosses,these are the mockeries and gew-gaws of a dark materialism. We need the spiritual heart, shutting out the world from a shrine which Jehovah has entered and made His own. If we are temples of the Holy Ghost, and if His temples are holy, then are not such things as the following shut out? (1.) Vanity. What! Vanity in Jehovahs temple! Vanity of life, or word, or dress, or ornament, or deportment! How inconsistent! If the Holy Spirit comes in, these must go out; if these come in, He must depart. (2.) Pleasure. Can a lover of pleasure be a temple of the Holy Ghost? Can a frequenter of the ballroom, a lover of the dance, a haunter of time theatre, a slave of lust or luxurya pleasure-seeker have God dwelling in him? How do the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, suit the songs or the incense of the holy place? (3.) Politics. What have the poor party politics of this world to do with the worship of this glorious temple? Can the smoke and dust of the world commingle with the incense of the golden altar? Shall parties strive for majorities under the very shadow of the cherubim and the glory? (4.) Covetousness. Absorption even in lawful business is inconsistent with our being temples of God. We must have business, but let us take heed how we bring our merchandise into the house of God. Take these things hence, is Gods rebuke to the man who tries to be both a worshipper of mammon and a temple of the Holy Ghost. The Lord of the temple comes with His scourge, sooner or later, to drive the buyers and sellers from His courts. He will not allow it to be a market for merchants, any more than a den of thieves. We have a temple! As the apostle said, We have an altar, so we can say more, We have a temple; nay, we are a temple; nay, we are the temple of the Holy Ghost, the temple of the living God. Not some believers only, who are more advanced than others, but every one who has God for his God, who has credited the divine report to Jesus the Son of God; he becomes a son, an heir, a saint, a temple. Let us not grieve that Spirit whose temple we are. Let us allow Him to fill us wholly, and to cast out all that is unbefitting the holiness and glory of his habitation. If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy. Awful words! Let us stand in awe, and seek to live as men who know what it is to be temples of God. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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continue reading Lords Day 3, 2012

Lords Day 4, 2012

Sunday··2012·01·22
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Childs Prayer. They that seek me early shall find me. Proverbs 8:17 Horatius Bonar (18081889) Holy Father! hear my cry, Holy Saviour! bend Thine ear, Holy Spirit! come Thou nigh: Father, Saviour, Spirit, hear. Father, save me from my sin, Saviour, I Thy mercy crave, Gracious Spirit, make me clean: Father, Saviour, Spirit, save. Father, let me taste Thy love, Saviour, fill my soul with peace, Spirit, come my heart to move: Father, Son, and Spirit, bless. Father, Son, and Spirit,Thou One Jehovah, shed abroad All Thy grace within me now; Be my Father and my God. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 8You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. 1 Corinthians 4 22And He said to the disciples, The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. Luke 17 The Saints Joy And Sorrow. I place together these two verses, the words of the disciple, and the words of the Master, as breathing the same spirit. They speak of present pressure and trouble; they point to a day of deliverance and triumph; they indicate the feelings of Christs church, in this evil day and evil world. Paul means to say I wish the time of reigning were really come, as ye seem to think, for then should we share in that glory, instead of being the off scouring of all things; as if feeling most deeply present trial, and longing for the day when the glory shall be revealed. The Lord means to say, days are coming when ye shall long, even for one of the days of the Son of man; pointing to approaching tribulation, and intimating that under the pressure of this, they would long for even one days relief. Both these passages are written for us. I. The pressure of present evil. There is evil in the world; and there will be till Christ come. There is evil in the church. There is sin, confusion, darkness, pain, affliction in many forms, bereavements, persecutions, anxieties, cares, vexations, poverty, hatred, contempt, with many more such evils. They come on us daily. They press hard on us and weigh us down. Each disciple has his own special lot, and peculiar trial. Paul felt his deeply; and we must all feel ours, for we are not made insensible to sorrow by our becoming believers. The Head felt His sorrows, and prayed let this cup pass from me, so the body in all its members feels its sorrows, and desires one of the days of the Son of man, or desires to depart and be with Christ, or longs that the day of reigning were come, or wishes to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. O wretched man that I am, we crying reference to the inner conflict. Woe is me that I dwell in Meshech, we cry concerning the fightings and storms without. II. The anticipation of coming good. This good is called by our Lord the days of the Son of man, in contrast with the present days, which are simply days of man, or mans day, this present evil world. It is called by the apostle the time of reigning, in contrast with the present time of down-treading and persecution. These good days are coming, and we fix our hope upon them. They are blessed, and glorious, and endless. They shall reverse every thing that is evil now, whether pertaining to soul or body, to man and mans earth, to the church and to the world. It is resurrection that we look for; the times of restitution; a kingdom; new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Then all shall be holy, happy, peaceful; the body glorified, the earth renewed, Satan bound, Antichrist overthrown, sorrow turned into joy, the cross exchanged for the crown, the tents of Kedar for the New Jerusalem, the wilderness for Canaan, the weariness of the pilgrimage for the everlasting rest. III. The desire of relief. Pauls words express this desire, and Christs prediction intimates the same thing. We are not expected to be satisfied with pain and sorrow, so as not to long for their removal. We long for deliverance; nay for the most temporary respite, even for one of the days of the Son of man. The burden is at times so heavy that we cry out under it, and wish that the present days were shortened, and the glory hastened. One days respite would be a great thing for us, when overwhelmed at times with evil. But the respite comes not; patience must have her perfect work. There is no sin in the desire; only let it not be impatient. Not my will but thine be done. IV. The frequent disappointment. The sky seems for an hour to clear; and then the clouds return after the rain. The sunshine promises, and then passes away. We seem to come within sight of Canaan, and then another range of desert mountains rises up between. The day seems almost breaking, but it breaks not; the shadows seem just departing, but they depart not. Often we say, the long road is ending, the next turn will bring us to its termination; and then instead, another long stretch of road lengthens out before us. Often we say, Surely this darkness cannot last, this evil must have spent itself, but in vain we thus think. The time is not yet. Often we say, Surely Christ is coming, the reign of crime is ending, the era of holy peace is at hand, the kingdom is going to begin; and then the prospect darkens again; and we seem to hear the voice, Not yet, not yet. Often we cry, How long, and the answer is Wait, be patient, stablish your hearts; it will not be long. V. The kingdom at last. These are sure things. They will come at last, though on the back of many disappointments. He that shall come will come and will not tarry. The signs of the times have often cheated us, but at length they shall be found true. They will introduce the kingdom and the rest. The glory shall break forth; the Son of man shall be revealed; He who is our life shall appear. The ransomed of the Lord shall return with songs; the days of our mourning shall be ended; sorrow and sighing shall flee away. VI. The connection between present evil and future good. Our present light affliction worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Present evil is that out of which the coming good is to spring. Light is sown for the righteous; but it is sown in darkness. It is out of sickness and darkness that our immortal health and strength are to come. The grave is the birthplace of incorruption. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. Thus God shall overcome evil with good; out of sin educing holiness; out of our brief sorrow the eternal joy. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 4, 2012

Lords Day 5, 2012

Sunday··2012·01·29
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. " />Leaf from Leaf Christina Rossetti (18301894) Leaf from leaf Christ knows; Himself the Lily and the Rose: Sheep from sheep Christ tells; Himself the Shepherd, no one else: Star and star He names, Himself outblazing all their flames: Dove by dove, He calls To set each on the golden walls: Drop by drop, He counts The flood of ocean as it mounts: Grain by grain, His hand Numbers the innumerable sand. Lord, I lift to Thee In peace what is and what shall be: Lord in peace I trust To Thee all spirits and all dust. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). 11Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6 The Past, Present, And Future Of A Christian Man. These words describe a Christians past, his present, and his future. In the past he was all unrighteousness. In the present he is washed, sanctified, justified. In the future he possesses the kingdom. I. His past. It is one of sin, utter sin. It may, or it may not be marked by those horrid sins which the ninth verse describes; but it is all unrighteousness; from beginning to end, unrighteousness. The past of these Corinthians had been fearful. In outward sin among the worst of heathendom; the chief of sinners; scarlet and crimson sins; overflowing with abominable crimes. We may not have reached the same pitch of daring wickedness; but we have been unrighteous, and that is enough; transgressors of the law. The rest is simply a question of degrees; a little more or a little less. One might say, I was not an idolater, or a fornicator, or a drunkard. Be it so. You were an unrighteous man, and that is enough. You may have done good deeds, spoken good words, borne a good character, lived a good life, yet you were an unrighteous man; and if you do not know this, you are no Christian, You know nothing of yourself. II. His present. It is the complete reversal of the past. Not reformation merely, but transformation; such a transformation as God only could accomplish; so complete, that he who has undergone it could hardly know himself again. It is Gods work; it is through the name of Jesus; it is by the Spirit of God. And he who describes the change was one who knew it by experience; one who had been a blasphemer, a persecutor, a murderer, but who can now tell of his washing, his sanctifying, his justifying; and who can say, our God. The transformation is threefold: (1.) Ye are washed. Or it may be, Ye washed off these. The figure here is not that of baptism, but of the ritual washings, the Levitical purgations, which David referred to when he said, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than the snow; to which Ezekiel referred when he said, Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you; to which Zechariah referred when he spoke of the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. The man is turned from an unclean into a clean thing. His filthy garments are taken off. Now ye are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you. This is the cleansing with the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:26). (2.) Ye are sanctified. This is more than the washing. It is something to which the washing is preliminary. It refers specially to consecration or setting apart for the service of God. As the vessels of the sanctuary were first washed, and then set apart with blood,the blood of consecration,so is it with us. We are first washed, and then the blood is sprinkled on us for consecration or sanctifying. With this setting apart for God begins the inward work of sanctification; for the two things are inseparable. Formerly we were vessels dedicated to the worlds service, or Satans service; now to the service of the living and holy Lord God. (3.) Ye are justified. This is yet another step. It is the stamping of these consecrated vessels with a far higher value than they possessed. We are not only consecrated to Gods service, but made righteous with the righteousness of God,justified, raised up to a higher level, because of our oneness with the righteous One. First of all, we are clean as He is clean; then, we are set apart as He is set apart; then, we are righteous as He is righteous. Cleansed, sanctified, justified, these are the three conditions or privileges into which a believing man is brought. All this in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. The name washes, sanctifies, justifies. It is a name of power, containing everything in it that a sinner needs. He who consents to use it gets all that it contains or can procure! The Spirit washes, sanctifies, justifies. He has His part to do in all these; and He does it as the Spirit of Omnipotence! Oh the transformation which that name and that Spirit can accomplish! III. His future. It is the possession of a kingdom. The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but they who are washed, sanctified, and justified shall! They are kings and priests, and shall sit upon the throne of Christ, and inherit the kingdom that cannot be moved. It is (1.) The kingdom of God. His in every sense and aspect; Gods kingdom; Christs kingdom; the kingdom of heaven. (2.) An eternal kingdom. It cannot be moved, but shall stand for ever,unchangeable, incorruptible. (3.) A holy kingdom. Into it nothing that defileth shall enter. No sin, no imperfection, no death, no evil thing pertaining either to soul or body. (4.) A glorious kingdom. There the glory dwells, illuminating it in all its circuit. No night there; no darkness; no shadow. All glorious; the King, his princes, his subjects, his palace, his dominions everywhere. Glory dwelleth in Immanuels land! Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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 5, 2012

Lords Day 6, 2012

Sunday··2012·02·05
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Mortification O divine Lawgiver, I take shame to myself for open violations to thy law, for my secret faults, my omissions of duty, my unprofitable attendance upon means of grace, my carnality in worshipping thee, and all the sins of my holy things. My iniquities are increased over my head: My trespasses are known in the heavens, and there Christ is gone also, my Advocate with the Father, my propitiation for sins, and I hear his word of peace. At present it is a day of small things with me, I have light enough to see my darkness, sensibility enough to feel the hardness of my heart, spirituality enough to mourn my want of a heavenly mind; but I might have had more, I ought to have had more, I have never been straitened in thee, thou hast always placed before me an infinite fullness, and I have not taken it. I confess and bewail my deficiencies and backslidings: I mourn my numberless failures, my incorrigibility under rebukes, my want of profiting under ordinances of mercy, my neglect of opportunities for usefulness. It is not with me as in months past; O recall me to thyself, and enable me to feel my first love. May my improvements correspond with my privileges, May my will accept the decisions of my judgement, my choice be that which conscience approves, and may I never condemn myself in the things I allow! The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). 22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lords freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christs slave. 1 Corinthians 7 The Servant And The Freeman Of Christ. A Christian is one who is called, not by self or man, but by God. The voice that calls him is almighty, irresistible. He must needs obey. He is born of the will of God. He is called in the Lord. This refers not so much to his being called by the Lord, as to his being called to be in the Lord. Christ in him and he in Christ, this is his standing. As once he was in the world, and in himself, so now he is in the Lord. He is not of any one nation. According to the flesh, he may be a Jew or a Gentile, a Greek or a Roman, a barbarian, a Scythian, an African, an Indian, or a Briton. According to the Spirit, his nationality is not of earth; his citizenship is in heaven. He is not of any special condition or rank. He may be a servant or a master, a peasant or a monarch, a merchant or a ploughman, a man of learning or a half-witted beggar. Yet these two things are common to each,he is called, and he is in the Lord. The other things connected with him are unessential and unenduring. These two only are important and abiding. Keeping this in mind, the apostle takes up the two great conditions of society in his day,master and slave,in order to bring out the true and high bearing of Christianity on these. If you be a servant, what then? If a master, what then? These are the two questions he answers. The answers to these two questions are contained in these two statements. A Christian is the Lords freeman; a Christian is Christs servant. I. A Christian is the Lords freeman. This expression means the following things: (1.) He was once a slave. He was not born free. He did not free himself. Like Israel in Egypt, he was delivered. (2.) He was set free by the Lord. The name of his liberator is a glorious one; one betokening power and authority. His former masters were sin, the flesh, the devil. From these this mighty Lord hath set him free. (3.) As a free man he still belongs to Christ. Nay, he belongs more to Him than ever; more to Him than to his former masters. A new tie has been formed between him and the Lord; the tie of liberty; the tie of love; the tie of gratitude. (4.) His life is one of liberty. There is no return to bondage. All is the joy of freedom, Christs own freedom; true, heavenly liberty; liberty in every part; perfect throughout; yet not the liberty of self-will. (5.) His is liberty which earthly service cannot affect. He may be a slave or a prisoner, he is still the Lords freeman. Hands, and feet, and body may be in chains, he is as free as ever. No earthly bondage can intermeddle with or neutralize this liberty. But how and when does all this begin? In what way is it carried on? (1.) Ye are bought with a price. A ransom has been paid for our liberation; and the spring of all our liberty comes from this ransom. Christ hath redeemed us. We are redeemed not with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ. (2.) If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Our liberty is the direct work of the Son of God. He unbinds us and disimprisons us. He became a bondman for us. He took our chains and prison that we might have his liberty. (3.) The truth shall make you free. The truth revealed in Christ contains in it all liberating elements and ingredients. It neutralizes and undoes all that made us slaves. And from the moment that we know it we are free! Our belief of this liberating truth sets us at full liberty. II. A Christian is Christs servant. Freed from one service which is bondage, he enters another which is liberty. Though free, he is a servant! Free because a servant! A servant because free! Such is the wonderful yet happy contradiction. As Messiah is the Fathers servant, come to do His will, so are we Messiahs servants, engaged to do His will. Thus we are both freemen and servants, truly both. And we begin our liberty and our service at the same time and in the same way. That truth which sets us free, introduces us into service. The two, so far from being incompatible, are harmonious and helpful to each other. If we are Christs servants, then we wear His livery; we dwell in His house; we do His work; we fix our eye on Him; we merge our wills in His; we get His wages, His reward,Well done good and faithful servant. Let us then realize and act out both our freemanship and our service faithfully and fully; at all times; all places; all conditions. Freemen, yet servants always! Servants, yet freemen always. Let us close with the apostolic use of this truth. Are we masters? Let us remember we are Christs servants, and only masters under Him; let this keep us humble and kind. We have a good, kind Master; let us be good and kind. Are we servants? Let not this trouble us or make us fretful. We are the Lords freemen! That makes up for all. Though we were chained, imprisoned, exiled, like Paul at Rome, or John at Patmos, we are free! Nothing on earth can interfere with this privilege, or rob us of this honour; we are free indeed. Ours is glorious liberty. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 7, 2012

Sunday··2012·02·12
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 85. (s. m.) Salvation, righteousness, and strength in Christ. Isa. xlv. 2125 Isaac Watts (1674-1748) The Lord on high proclaims His Godhead from his throne: Mercy and justice are the names By which I will be known. Ye dying souls that sit In darkness and distress, Look from the borders of the pit To my recovring grace. Sinners shall hear the sound; Their thankful tongues shall own, Our righteousness and strength is found In thee, the Lord, alone. In thee shall Isrel trust, And see their guilt forgivn; God will pronounce the sinners just, And take the saints to heavn. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 1 Corinthians 7 True Service And True Freedom. There is a liberty which no human bondage can affect or curtail,If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed; and there is a bondage which no high sounding words about liberty can break or loosen,They promise them liberty, while they themselves are the servants of corruption. Where the truth reigns in the soul there is liberty; where error prevails there is bondage; for truth liberates, error enslaves. The great words of our day, liberty, liberal, and liberalism, may come from hearts in bondage to sin, and may be perhaps the worst indications of that deep hatred of God, which cannot tolerate any holy restraints either upon their opinions or their lives. Liberalism is often the worst form of intolerance. But let us look at the Apostles line of argument with these Corinthian saints. Were you called to Christ when a slave? he asks. Dont concern yourself about that, he answers; only if you may be free, avail yourself of the opportunity. He who is called while a slave, is not the less Christs freeman; and he that is called while free, is not the less Christs servant. In whatever state you are, bond or free, remember to abide with God; His fellowship sanctifies and sweetens every condition of human life. Mark the fullness of His statement: (1.) Ye are bought. The price has been paid down. Previous ownership is dissolved. (2.) Ye are bought with a price. That means with a good large sum; not for a trifle. (3.) Ye are bought by Christ. Jesus is the purchaser. He wanted you for His property, and so he paid the full and heavy price. (4.) Ye are bought for Christ. Not for another. Not to be sold again. His forever. (5.) Ye are bought for a kingdom. Not to be servants, but kings. Heirs of God. If these things are so, how incongruous, how degrading, to be the servants of men! This exhortation is very needful; for Christians are too prone to forget their true liberty and dignity; nay, to sell these,to despise their birthright for some earthly consideration, some poor mess of pottage. Be not the servants of men! Ye who are Christs blood-bought freemen,do not stoop to such bondage and degradation. Be not the servants of (1.) Custom. Earths customs and manners too often come between us and our birthright. Be on your guard. (2.) Pleasure. Slaves of pleasure,of lust, of vanity, of gaiety, of folly,how inconsistent with Christs freemen! (3.) Business. Yes, even of lawful business, men are often slaves. Shall Christs freemen be so? (4.) Opinion. We fall into what is called public opinion, and shrink from independent thought and action. (5.) Routine. The course of this world is often our only reason for a certain line of action. We do as others do; we allow our time to be broken up by worldly calls, parties, dinners, meetings, when as Christs servants we ought to be doing His work. The routine of the world is carried into the church; and the routine of the religious world is weariness and slavery. Do not be hangers on of the great, or rich, or influential, either in church or state. Do not be subservient to the leaders of party, or the representatives of public opinion, or the politicians of the day. Quit you like men. Be independent. Act on your own judgment, and follow out your own honest conclusions. Be not carried away with the excitement of controversy, or the enthusiasm of partisanship. Do not be obsequious, trimming, or facing both ways. Be upright before God and man. One is your Master, even Christ; follow Him. To follow others is to bring ourselves into bondage; to make ourselves servants of men. Be calm, be steadfast and unmovable, with your eye upon the great day of sifting, when the Judge shall reckon with you as to your fidelity to Himself Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ bath made us free. Be not carried away either with the fear of the many. Be not overawed by the fear of man, which bringeth a snare, or influenced by the love of his approbation, which is no less ensnaring. To your own Master you stand or fall. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 7, 2012

Lords Day 8, 2012

Sunday··2012·02·19
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn LXVI. Trust of the wicked, and the righteous compared. Jeremiah xvii. 58. John Newton (17251807) As parched in the barren sands Beneath a burning sky, The worthless bramble withring stands, And only grows to die. Such is the sinners aweful case, Who makes the world his trust; And dares his confidence to place In vanity and dust. A secret curse destroys his root, And dries his moisture up; He lives awhile, but bears no fruit, Then dies without a hope. But happy he whose hopes depend Upon the Lord alone; The soul that trusts in such a friend, Can neer be overthrown. Tho gourds should wither, cisterns break, And creaturecomforts die; No change his solid hope can shake, Or stop his sure supply. So thrives and blooms the tree whose roots By constant streams are fed; Arrayd in green, and rich in fruits, It rears its branching head. It thrives, though rain should be denyd, And drought around prevail; Tis planted by a rivers side Whose waters cannot fail. Olney Hymns. Book I: On Select Passages of Scripture. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. 1 Corinthians 7 A Vanishing World. In the midst of counsels and exhortations about the relationships of life, the apostle stops abruptly, and interposes an emphatical announcement bearing upon all these relationships, but this I say, brethren, as if lifting up his voice more loudly, and interrupting the line of discourse, by the proclamation of these three parenthetical verses, a proclamation importing this, but after all brethren, these are but the little things of earth, the transient and temporary arrangements of our brief life below; let them not be exalted or magnified beyond their due; they are but the arrangements of a day; not to have any stress laid on them or importance attached to them, seeing they shall so soon end, and the world of which they form a part shall so speedily vanish away. Mark (1) the two special truths which begin and end this emphatic announcement; (2) the conclusions to be drawn from these. I. The two special truths. For we take the commencing and concluding declarations as linked together; forming either one great and solemn truth or two kindred truths, bearing both on certain duties and on our estimate of the importance of the things of our daily life. These must be measured by the shortness of time, and the length of eternity. (1.) The time is short. It is cut short or contracted; it is the time referred to by our Lord (Romans 13:12) the night is far spent, or foreshortened. It is short for (1) So much is already spent and little remains; (2) Our individual life is brief, even at the longest; (3) The worlds history is drawing to a close; (4) The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Truly the time is short; and each ending year and setting sun says to us, the time is short, it is becoming shorter and shorter. What is our life? It is but a vapor (James 4:4). Our days are swifter than a weavers shuttle (Job 7:6). Man that is born of a woman is of few days; he cometh forth as a flower and is cut down, he fleeth as a shadow and continueth not (Job 14:1-2). The end of all things is at hand (2 Peter 4:7). (2.) The fashion of this world passeth away. The outward form, or scene, or figure of this world is passing, or is just about to pass away. This fashion is what the Apostle John refers to in warning us against the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life (or glorying in the good things of life); and of this he says the world passeth away. Yes; like a flower; like a mist; like a shadow; like a dream; like a rainbow; like a vision of the night it passeth away; that which we admire in it, and call beautiful, that which men have all along been fascinated by, its glory, its pomp, its glitter, its splendor, its gaiety, its beauty and excellency and grandeur, shall pass away; its songs, and jests, and mirth, and ringing laughter; its shows, its spectacles, its concerts, its balls, its theatres, its operas, with all its haunts of uncleanness and debauchery, its revellings, and banquetings, surfeitings and idolatries of the flesh, all shall pass away. These are not enduring things. Even at their best and purest they are the things of an hour. They fade as a leaf. They are crushed as a flower. They die away like the breeze. A short life is that of the world at its longest; shorter still that of the men of the world; and shortest of all is the frail and shifting fashion of the world. Vanity of vanities! All is vanity! II. The lessons to be drawn from them. The substance of these lessons is that all earthly things are of minor moment, and ought not to be lifted out of their place, so as to engross us too much, or to be estimated at too high a rate. They are not eternal. They vanish with a vanishing world, and ought to be estimated accordingly. The seen and the corporeal never can be placed beside the unseen and the eternal. (1.) Earthly relationships are of lesser moment. It remaineth (or henceforth during the contracted space that is left) that both they who have wives, be as though they had none. The nearest human relationship will soon be dissolved; the closest earthly tie will soon be snapped. Let us not then over estimate it, or give it undue prominence. Let us keep even it, in its proper place. It is, after all, among the things that are seen and temporal. Husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, child, will soon remove; and each soul, unrelationed, unlinked with others, pass from earth alone, into the presence of God. (2.) Earthly sorrows are of lesser moment. Sorrow is in itself no trifle. Tears are real things. We do not weep for nothing; nor shall we find that a needless piece of kindness that God shall do for us, when He shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. Still tears are among the things seen and temporal. They are unknown in heaven. Our weeping time is so short, that we must not make too much of times sorrows. The vale of tears is not a long one. We shall soon be beyond it; and we shall wonder why we gave way to a sadness that was so soon to end, and to be exchanged for the perfect gladness and the everlasting song. (3.) Earthly joys are of lesser moment. Joy is a real thing. Our hearts were made for gladness. We ought not to despise joy; nor indeed can we afford to do it. We are warranted in making much of joy; only let it not be too much. Let us keep our joys in their proper place; calmly taking them when they come, or as calmly foregoing them when they come not. For the time is short, and the joys we have here will soon be done. The fashion of this world passeth away; let us not then overvalue joy; but take it as if we had it not; sitting tranquilly loose to all that we can gain or lose. (4.) Earthly business is of lesser moment. Our buying and selling will soon be done. Our merchandize will ere long disappear, for it is part of the fashion of that world which passeth away. Let us be diligent in business, but let us not overrate its importance, nor be engrossed by it. We shall soon buy no more; and sell no more; and make gain no more; and possess no more. Why so eager in business, as if it were eternal? Why so anxious to lay up treasure on earth, where the moth will corrupt it, and the thief break through and steal? Is it worth our while to be so much in earnest about the things that perish with the using? (5.) Earthly gratifications are of lesser moment. They that use this world as not abusing it (or rather as not using it at all). We must use this world while we are in it; we must use its meat, and drink, and raiment; its comforts, its money, its friendships, its necessary recreations, and gratifications. But we are to sit loose from all these; not setting our heart upon them; but holding them as if letting them go, using them as if not using them. They are not sinful, and need not, therefore, be rejected; but they must be kept in their proper place, not coveted nor idolized. For the time is short, and the fashion of this world passeth away. Let the world be no world to us, in comparison of the glory and beauty, the magnitude and the eternity, of the world to come. Thus, then, is our whole earthly life, in all its parts, to be regulated by the magnitude of the eternal. Things present must be subordinated to those which are to come, the seen to the unseen, the earthly to the heavenly. It is by the light of the coming glory that we must walk while here. It is from the clock of eternity that our time is to be always taken. Arrange your business, your recreations, your duties with reference to the invisible and unending future. Live, speak, work, move, as those who believe that the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 8, 2012

Lords Day 9, 2012

Sunday··2012·02·26
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXVIII. Phil. ii. 5. Let this mind he in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Lord I feel a carnal mind That hangs about me still, Vainly tho I strive to bind My own rebellious will; Is not haughtiness of heart The gulf between my God and me? Meek Redeemer now impart Thine own humility. Fain would I my Lord pursue, Be all my Saviour taught, Do as Jesus bid me do, And think as Jesus thought: But tis thou must change my heart, The perfect gift must come from thee: Meek Redeemer now impart Thine own humility. Lord, I cannot, must not rest, Till I thy mind obtain, Chase presumption from my breast, And all thy mildness gain; Give me, Lord, thy gentle heart, Thy lowly mind my portion be: Meek Redeemer now impart Thine own humility. Let thy cross my will control: Conform me to my guide; In thine image mould my soul, And crucify my pride; Give me, Lord, a contrite heart, A heart that always looks to thee: Meek Redeemer, now impart Thine own humility. Tear away my evry boast, My stubborn mind abase; Saviour, fix my only trust In thy redeeming grace: Give me a submissive heart, From pride and self dependance free; Meek Redeemer, now impart Thine own humility. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 4Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. 1 Corinthians 8 The Many Gods And The One God. The meaning of this passage might be more fully expressed thus: As concerning the things sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is a nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one; but even were there those beings that are called gods, either in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are gods many and lords many (gods and demigods as they are called), yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him (for His service and glory, ?? and ? contrasted); and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him. It is like Joshuas as for me (Joshua 24:15). Here are (1) the worlds many gods; (2) the saints one God; (3) the saints one Christ. I. The worlds many gods. To make gods for himself has been mans great object all along. Every nation has had its gods, and every age. Assyria had its gods; Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome. Men multiplied gods without number. Everything or anything that could be a substitute for God, in any shape, animate or inanimate, men set up and worshipped. They were never tired of god-making. All of them vanity; things that profit nothing; vain helpers in the time of need. O world! what will become of thy many gods in the day when Jehovah arises to shake terribly the earth? And what profit will these gods afford the millions who have fled to them for refuge? Is there no god-making still, even in our day? Money, business, pleasure, lusts, luxuries! Are not these thy gods, O world? And are these better than the gods of Greece? Will they prove more helpful in the day of trouble than Baal, or Jupiter, or Buddha? Will they forgive, and save, and comfort? II. The saints one God. Yes; one only, the living and the true God. Jehovah is His name. With undistracted eye the Christian looks but to One, not many; with undivided heart he fixes on One, not many; His heart was made for only One, and that one sufficient to fill his whole heart, and soul, and being. How the thought of that one God,infinite, eternal, and unchangeable,makes all that are called gods to vanish utterly away. One infinite Jehovah, King eternal, immortal and invisible, He is our portion. Jehovah is my portion, saith my soul. We need no other; we need no more. This God is our God. Whom have we in heaven but Him, and whom on earth do we desire besides Him? One God, Jehovah, King of kings, and Lord of lords, Creator of heaven and earth, who filleth all in all, this is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death (Psalm 48:14). III. The saints one Christ. To us there is but one Lord Jesus Christ. As there are many beings who go under the name of God, so are there many who go under the name of Christ, yet there is but one Christ, not two, nor many. The tendency of the present day is to multiply Christs. A Christ as the impersonation or representative of humanity is quite in accordance with the spirit of the age. But every one wants to have his own Christ, just as each heathen wanted to have his own god; the Christ that suits his own fancy, or his own philosophy, or his own intellect, or his own circumstances. So that there are many Christs in the world even among those who profess to take the Bible as their instructor; still more among those who reject it; for even among those there is a groping after a Christ, and the cry goes up, Ecce Homo! Some want a Christ who is not God; others a Christ who is not a sacrifice; a Christ without a cross, and without blood; a Christ who will teach but not expiate sin; a Christ whose life and death are an example of self-surrender to the utmost, but not an atonement; a Christ who is not a judge, nor a law-giver, nor a priest, and only a prophet in the sense of teacher. Thus in the present day there are many Christs. It has been so all along; only the apostle John calls them not Christs but Antichristsmany Antichrists. To us there is but one Christ. He who was announced as the womans seed; He of whom Abels sacrifice spoke; He of whom Enoch prophesied as the avenger; He who was revealed to Abraham as his seed; He of whom Job spoke as the Redeemer; He of whom Moses spoke as the Prophet; of whose work the whole book of Leviticus is full; He of whom David sang, as the sufferer, yet the King; He of whom Isaiah and all the prophets sang; He who proclaimed Himself as come to seek the lost; to whom John the Baptist pointed as the Lamb of God; who hung on the cross, and died in anguish, yet rose again and ascended on high; He is the one Christ whom we recognize. If thus, then, there is but one Christ, then there is but (1.) One cross. Only one; the cross in which Paul gloried, and on which our Surety hung. To acknowledge that one cross is life; to reject it is death. (2.) One Priest. Jesus, our great High Priest, whose is the one unchangeable and everlasting Priesthood; Jesus, who suffered the just for the unjust, and now ever liveth to make intercession for us! (3.) One altar. The altar of the great burnt-offering is the one altar for us. If there be many Christs, there may be many altars; if one Christ, then but one altar. (4.) One sacrifice. Only one! No victim but the one Christ. No blood but that of the one Christ. All self appointed, self-made sacrifices are vain. They cannot take away sin. The one offering can. (5.) One way to the kingdom. There is but a single gate, and a single way; yet these suffice. We need no more. I am the way. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 9, 2012

Lords Day 10, 2012

Sunday··2012·03·04
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. A Song of Praise for Answer to Prayer John Mason (16451694) What are the heavens, O God of heaven! Thou art more bright, more high? What are bright stars, and brighter saints, To Thy bright Majesty? Thou art far above the songs of heaven, Sung by Thy holy ones; And dost Thou stoop and bow thine ear, To a poor sinners groans? God minds the language of my heart, My groans and sighs he hears; He hath a book for my requests, A bottle for my tears. But did not my Saviors blood First wash away their guilt; My sighs would prove but empty air, My Tears would all be spilt. Lord, thine eternal Spirit was My Advocate within: But O, my smoke joined with thy flame, My prayer was mixed with sin. But then Christ was my Altar, and My Advocate above; His blood did clear my prayer, and gained An answer full of love. It could not be that Thou shouldst hear A mortal sinful worm; But that my prayers presented are In a more glorious form. Christs hands took my requests, And turned my dross to gold; His blood put warmth into my prayers, Which were by nature cold. Thou heardst my groans for Jesus sake, Whom Thou dost hear always; Lord, hear through that prevailing name, My voice of joy and praise. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 1For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 1 Corinthians 10 The One Church Of God. The apostles argument here may be thus paraphrased: Moreover, brethren, let me remind you of some well known incidents in the history of our fathers; let me remind you of the cloud and of the sea; how our fathers marched under that cloud, and through that sea; how by that cloud and sea they were pledged to Moses as their leader (as we by the baptismal water are to Christ); how they did all eat the same spiritual meat, and drink the same spiritual drink as we do (in their symbolic manna and water); how all of them were put in possession of the same divine privileges in Christ as we; yet they incurred Jehovahs displeasure, and died in the wilderness. See what happened to them! Be warned. Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (See Hebrew 3:719, 4:1, 2.) The passage has many aspects. It brings Christ before us, the same yesterday, today, and forever. It exhibits the church of all ages,its dangers, temptations, apostacies, unbelief, unfaithfulness. It illustrates the divine purpose and plan in the history of Gods chosen and called ones here. The basis of the apostles statement in it is a fragment of Israels history,a history all full of meaning, a history meant for us in these last days, a history which whether in parts or in whole, is a divine picture for the study of the Gentile church, and of every saint in every age. Let us take the passage in its exhibition of the church. I. The oneness of the church. Israel was but a fragment of one great whole, one single vein of Gods infinite mine. Even in Israels days Gentiles were brought into this whole, and became part of the church; but before Abraham was the church of God existed. As Messiah in Isaiah calls the church his body (Isaiah 26:19), so in the Psalms He calls it the church of the saints (Psalm 149:1). One church from the first believing soul down to the last,redeemed from among men; the church of whose members the eleventh of the Hebrews gives us some instances. One, because (1) bought with one price; (2) washed with one blood; (3) clothed with one righteousness; (4) filled with one Spirit; (5) animated with one life; (6) loved with one love. These things belong to the saints of all ages and nations; all one church in Christ. II. The oneness of the bread. It is on bread that this body, the church, is fed and nourished; but this is no earthly bread; no mere manna, nor even corn of Israels fields. It is the true bread; the bread of God; the bread which came down from heaven; the living bread; the bread which Israels manna only figured or symbolized. It is the same bread for all ages and nations; for all churches and all saints: They did all eat the same spiritual meat. The fathers from the beginning had but one table, one feast, one bread. Thus they were nourished up unto life eternal. That which a redeemed sinner is to feed upon must be the same in every age; for that which is to be nourished is the same, the appetite is the same, and the strength and stature into which they are to grow is the same. Sometimes it was typified by the flesh of the sacrifice; sometimes by the shew-bread; sometimes by the manna; sometimes by the fruits of the garden (Revelation 2:7). But all these pointed to the one heavenly bread,Jesus, the Christ of God; to His broken body; to His flesh, which is meat indeed; to His whole person as the very and true bread of God, on which the church has been feeding from the beginning, and will feed to the end. This is the one bread which has satisfied the churchs hunger all along; which sharpens even while it appeases the appetite; which suits itself to the thousand varied cases and constitutions; which creates as well as nourishes spiritual life; which invigorates the churchs strength, and knits together the various members of the one body; producing a unity, and sympathy, and identity between them all which nothing else could do. The bread on which Paul fed is the same on which Abel fed. What a link, what a fellowship is this! The bread on which we feed in these last days is that on which Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David fed. What a fellowship is this! One body and one bread! Christ the one true bread for the sustenance of the one church; even of all who have been purchased by His one precious blood, and made alive by His one mighty Spirit, the one Spirit of life, the one Spirit of adoption, the one Spirit of grace and of glory. There are not two bodies, but one, so there are not two kinds of bread, but one; and that one suffices for every age. It is everlasting bread. It is the eternal loaf, of which the whole family have eaten, and which yet remains undiminished and unchanged; still capable of feeding millions and millions more. III. The oneness of the water. They did all drink the same spiritual drink. The whole church,all saints; not only Israel, but the saints before Israel, and the saints since these days. They were all baptized into one Spirit, and all drank the one living water, out of the one eternal well. It was not one water for the Old Testament saints, and another for the New; but one for all. There was but one drink that could quench the thirst, and it was supplied abundantly from the beginning. The living water is the Holy Spirit, as we read in John (7:37, 38), where, after recording Christs proclamation of living water in the temple, the evangelist adds, This spake He of the Spirit. It is of this living water that Isaiah speaks (55:1); of it also it is that Jesus speaks to the woman of Sychar; of it also that John speaks in the Revelation (21:6, 22:17). In the passage before us it is specially connected with the Rock. It is not a well, or a river, or a fountain, but a rock,the rock of the desert,and that Rock was Christ. For it is Christ that contains the fullness of the Spirit for us. He is the Rock which holds the water; the Rock which, when touched by the rod of faith, pours forth its riches. One rock and one water from the beginning, for the one body, the one church; the rock of the desert, the rock which stands hard by the mountain of the law, yet which is not of it; the rock beside which faith stands, which faith touches, and which, to such a touch, yields its gushing fullness. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters! IV. The oneness of the way. It is through the desert. Israels desert was but a type of the churchs. Israels forty years marches and encampments were but specimens and illustrations of ours. Differences there have been and will be; yet substantially the way is the same, the perils the same, the difficulties the same, the sorrows the same. One way! Yes, one way from the first; sure and safe, yet rough, and hard, and dark. That way is not of chance, nor by the laws of nature or society; but directly of divine appointment. Each turn is arranged. Its beginning, duration, course, ending, are all divinely planned. God, in His pillar cloud, is our guide, protector, shade, security, so that we fear no evil. God in Christ is our companion, and friend, and comforter all through. It is His way, not ours; and it is good. We are strangers and pilgrims as were all the fathers,Abraham (Hebrew 11:13), David, all the saints of old (1 Chronicles 29:15). One way! Only one way to the one city for the millions of the saved. While, in one sense, we say that the wilderness is the way, in another, we say that Christ is the way: I am the way. What a truth for our day, when more than ever men are walking in ways of their own, and imagining that these ways are as numerous and as diverse as the feet that tread them, or the vain hearts that devise them. V. The oneness of the discipline. The way is that of discipline and education throughout. The road may be longer or shorter, darker or brighter, still it is on that way that God deals with His own in discipline. As there is a oneness in discipline, so is there a oneness in sin, and backsliding, and unbelief in the tendency to depart from the living God. The discipline is various, yet one; it is suited to the case of each, yet is, up to a certain point, the same in all. The church has always needed this; and the interval between her being called and her reaching the inheritance is the time during which it is exercised. God does it Himself. He appoints it, provides it, carries it out. Each days trials, each days work, each days business, each days crosses, each days cares and burdens,all these are discipline. They are, whether lighter or heavier, the rebukings and chastenings of Him into whose family we have been brought. He proves us, tries us, sifts us, empties us from vessel to vessel, tosses us up and down that the chaff may be blown away. He does not allow us to sit down, and say, This is my rest. He makes us feel that this is not our rest. Satan is here; sin is here; the flesh is here; pain is here; human passions are here; death is here; there cannot be rest. Thus God has dealt in past ages with His one family,His sons and daughters,His church; and thus He deals with them still. Israels discipline in the desert, is the churchs discipline till she enters Canaan. Through much tribulation she must enter the kingdom of heavens one rod, one hand, one wisdom, one love, for the one family, from the first. VI. The oneness of the inheritance. The inheritance is not mentioned in our passage; but it is assumed; for the wilderness does not last forever, and the issue of the churchs pilgrimage is glory. Israels journey was toward Canaan; her hope was the land flowing with milk and honey, and her eye was on that goodly mountain, even Lebanon. All her tribes and families had one hope; and with that one hope in view they pressed forward. So for us there is one hope; the hope of the saints from the beginning; the churchs heritage and kingdom; the glory to be revealed in the day of the Lords appearing. One hope, one recompense, one glory, one kingdom, one inheritance, one eternal throne for herself and for her Lord. An inheritance it is, incorruptible and undefiled; made up of many parts, as we see in the epistles to the seven churches, yet but one, the inheritance of the saints in light; the center of which is the new Jerusalem,the circumference, the illimitable universe of Gods wide and glorious creation. (1.) Learn our fellowship with all saints. Oneness with the church from the first day of salvation is our privilege. We stand side by side with them, see the same sights, hear the same sounds, use the same words, stand before the same altar, eat the same bread, drink the same water. We are made able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, what is the depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. (2.) Learn the common standing of all redeemed men. Their feet are on the one Rock of Ages. They are washed in the same blood. They are gathered round the one cross of Christ. Not one higher or lower; not the New Testament saints higher than the Old, but all alike occupying the same ground provided for sinners by the one Redeemer of the church. (3.) Learn the strength for a holy walk. There is food provided; there is spiritual drink; there is companionship on the way,all the saints are there; there is Christ himself our guide, keeper, light, life, strength. How inexcusable if we be inconsistent! And what a warning in the case of Israel! With some of them God was not well pleased. They turned aside, they disbelieved His word, they followed idols. Let us take heed. God expects us to be holy; and He has provided for our being so. Onward then, right onward, through rough and smooth, through sorrow and joy, till we rest in Jerusalem. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 11, 2012

Sunday··2012·03·11
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Heavenly Sowing. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Sower divine! Sow the good seed in me, Seed for eternity. Tis a rough barren soil. Yet by Thy care and toil. Make it a fruitful field, An hundred fold to yield. Sower divine, Plough up this heart of mine! Sower divine! Quit not this wretched field Till Thou hast made it yield; Sow Thou by day and night, In darkness and in light; Stay not Thy hand, but sow, Then shall the harvest grow. Sower divine, Sow deep this heart of mine! Sower divine! Let not this barren clay Lead Thee to turn away; Let not my fruitlessness Provoke Thee not to bless; Let not this field be dry; Refresh it from on high. Sower divine. Water this heart of mine! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 16Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. 1 Corinthians 10 The One Loaf. It is only in passing, and as an illustration of his argument on another subject that the apostle introduces the Lords Supper here; and yet how full his statement, how bright the aspect in which he presents it to us! The oneness of the worshipper, even in a heathen temple, with the whole religion or system of worship, and with the false god into whose temple he comes; this is his theme. It is in illustration of this that he reminds us of the Supper. Strange that in connection with a pagan altar and a temple of devils he should be led to give us one of the most striking of all his statements regarding the Supper. He takes the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils, places them side by side, and shews us the one from the other. There is an infinite difference; and yet there is a likeness; for there is a oneness in both between the worshipper and the god worshipped. On this dark canvas of a heathen temple he draws his picture of the holiest of Christian ordinances. In the Evangelists we are shewn the Supper from the Jerusalem upper chamber; in the eleventh chapter of this epistle we see it from a Christian church; here we are shewn it from a heathen temple. He speaks of the cup as symbolizing the body of our Lord which contained the blood or living wine. He puts the cup first, because in speaking of the heathen rites he had already made special mention of the cup first; perhaps also to shew that the order of the two symbols was of no consequence; and perhaps to prevent the possibility of Romish error in refusing the cup to the worshippers. Let us now meditate on the cup and the bread, or the cup and the platter, as set before us here. I. The cup. It may have been of gold, or silver, or brass, or wood; it matters not. It was made of earthly materials, as was the Lords body, and it was the vessel for containing the wine, as was the Lords body for containing His blood,that blood which was drink indeed, which was the new wine of the kingdom. (1.) Its name. The cup of blessing which we bless. All blessing is in Scripture connected with Messiah, His person, and His work. Hence that vessel which so specially points to Him receives this name. It contains blessing,the blessing,the long-promised, long-looked for blessing. The wine in that cup is impregnated with blessing. Every drop of it speaks of blessing,of that which God calls blessing,of that which is fitted to do us good and make us happy, to remove death and give life. The words, which we bless, are not priestly words, spoken to imply the consecration of the elements by a priests blessing. The we is all believers; and the word bless is literally, to speak well of; and the whole expression is, the cup of the well-speaking, of which we speak well, or praise; referring to the united praise and thanksgiving of the worshippers. And of that cup it is meet that we speak well. Though its literal contents are simply wine; yet that wine is the divine symbol of all blessing; so that we may say truly. Its contents are blessing,every drop fraught with blessing,blessing which faith receives, and in which hope rejoices. (2.) Its meaning. Is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? or, is it not communion with the blood of Christ? That wine is then the symbol of the blood; the blood of the new covenant, the everlasting covenant. That blood is the life; and that life is the payment of the sinners penalty: The soul that sinneth it shall die. In that cup there is both death and life,the death of the Surety, and the life flowing out of that death; our death flowing into Him, so that He dies; His life flowing into us, so that we live. Thus the cup is the cup of blessing for the sinner, because it contains both the death and the life. Of this blessing, symbolized by that cup and its contents, we become possessors when we believe on the name of the Son of God; for it is faith that opens up the communication between us and His fullness. But in the Lords Supper there is more visible, more palpable contact, though still of the same kind. Hence, the words of our text, the communion of the blood of Christ. The word communion is properly partnership,partnership in the blood of Christ; all that the blood contains for the soul becoming ours,the whole blood becoming the property of each believer. All its blessings,the paid ransom, the cancelled penalty, the forgiveness, the life, the joy, all becoming ours; we being partakers of Christ, partakers of His blood, partners in His death and life. He, then, that takes that cup is committed to all that it symbolizes; he is counted as one with it; the possessor of its contents; the partaker of its fullness. He is to reckon himself one with Jesus in His death; and God reckons him such. Nothing less. He has the whole, or lie has nothing! It is not a little strength, or healing, or refreshment from the blood which he is made partaker of; but the blood itself, and all that it contains. For the possession, the enjoyment of all that fullness, every communicant is responsible. If be a worthy communicant (a believing man), the blessing will flow in, and these symbols will help the inflow. If he be an unworthy communicant, he is not the less responsible for participation of all that fullness; and that will be his condemnation. He took into his hands the cup of blessing, he put it to his lips, and yet he did not drink one drop! II. The bread. The word more properly signifies the loaf or cake, intimating its original oneness or completeness. It is necessary to keep this in mind, as the point of the apostles argument turns on this. Let us consider. (1.) What the bread signifies. It is bread,the common Passover loaf, unleavened bread,made of the corn of earth; grown in our fields, cut down, gathered in, winnowed, ground, and formed into a loaf for the Passover table. Such was Christs body,our very flesh; born, growing up, ripening, cut down, prepared for our food. A thing by itself; unleavened and pure; free from sin; in all respects fit for the souls food. My flesh is meat indeed. It is Christs body that is thus symbolized and set before us as the whole food and nourishment of our souls. Except we eat His flesh, we have no life in us. (2.) What the breaking of the bread signifies. It points us to the cross; it speaks of a crucified Christ. Not a bone of Him was broken, and yet His body was broken; head, hands, feet, back, side, pierced and bruised and wounded. His body unbroken is no food for us. It is no nourishment for the soul of the sinner. It would not suit our taste, nor satisfy our appetite, nor feed our souls, nor prove wholesome food. We need something in which death is; death as the payment of sins penalty. All without this is tasteless and unnourishing. Hence the unprofitableness of that theology whose center or foundation is not the cross of the substitute; atonement by the death of the surety. The bread which we break, says the apostle, evidently pointing with special emphasis to the breaking, and announcing this as the main feature of the symbol. It is on the broken body of our Lord that we feed. Incarnation without crucifixion does not satisfy the soul. Bethlehem without Golgotha would be mockery. (3.) What our partaking of it signifies. For we do not merely gaze upon it or handle it; we take it and we eat; we eat not in solitude or in our chambers, but as a company at a feast. This act of eating, then, has a twofold signification or reference,a reference to Christ and to ourselves. (a) A reference to Christ. It is communion with the body of Christ, partnership with that body; so that all that is in it of virtue, or health, or strength, or excellence, becomes ours. It is one with us and we with it. The whole fullness of blessing contained in it becomes ours. We reckon ourselves one with it, and God reckons us one with it. As he who eats of the idols bread in a heathen temple is responsible for the whole idolatry of the place, and is so dealt with by God, so he who eats this broken bread in faith is identified with a crucified Christ and all His fullness. Partnership with the body of Christ; how much that implies! (b) A reference to ourselves. It realizes to us the perfect oneness between the members of Christs body. As the loaf is made up of many parts or crumbs, and yet is but one loaf; nay, gets its true oneness from the union of these many parts, so is it with the members of the body of Christ. Many, yet one; one, yet many; the number not marring the oneness, but perfecting it; the oneness not hindering the number but requiring it for its full development. This is one of the numerous symbols used to unfold this peculiar truth. There are others no less expressive. One family, many members. One temple, many stones. One body, many limbs. One loaf, many parts! We may add others. One city, many citizens. One ocean, many drops. One firmament, many stars. One song, many words. One harmony, many notes. One sun, many rays. Thus in these symbols we have partnership with Christ, with His blood, with His body, so that all that He has is ours. Each has the whole fullness, as each inhabitant of earth has the whole sun. Oneness with Christ and oneness with each are embodied in these symbols. We are many, yet one; many members yet one body, and one head. All that He has is ours. His life, our life; His light, our light; His fullness, our fullness; His strength, our strength; His righteousness, our righteousness; His crown, our crown; His glory, our glory; His inheritance, our inheritance: for we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. If these things be so, 1. What a blessed place should the communion table be to us. A Peniel where we prevail with God, and receive the blessing in full. What strength, health, joy, light, should we find there! There the whole fullness of Christ is presented to us. 2. What manner of persons ought we to be. Holy, powerful, separate from the world, like Him by whose body and blood we are nourished. Nothing is lacking to those who have this heavenly communion, this divine partnership. 3. What love and unity should prevail amongst us? One with Christ, one with each other. This ordinance represents the oneness, increases it, cherishes it. Sitting side by side, we are drawn closer to the Lord, closer to each other in and through Him. 4. What longing for the time when we shall see Him face to face. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Amen! Even so come Lord Jesus. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 12, 2012

Sunday··2012·03·18
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. " />Jesus Alone Christina Rossetti (18301894) Jesus alone:if thus it were to me ; Yet thus it cannot be; Lord, I have all things if I have but Thee. Jesus and all:precious His bounties are, Yet He more precious far; Days-eyes are many, one the Morning Star. Jesus my all:so let me rest in love, Thy peaceable poor dove, Some time below till timeless time above. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). [Bonar claims 1 Corinthians 11:20, selecting only the words The Lords Supper, as the text for this sermon, but it can hardly be considered an exposition of that passage. Still, it is an excellent sermon on the Lords Supper.] The Heavenly Banquet. Let me notice here the many words which are connected with the Lord by the apostle: The Lords body, verse 29; the Lords blood, verse 27; the Lords bread, verse 27; the Lords cup, verse 27; the Lords death, verse 26; the Lords supper, 20. For in this ordinance Christ is all and in all; everything here speaks of Jesus, and He speaks in everything; He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. His name is here as ointment poured forth; its spikenard sendeth forth its smell; He is as a bundle of myrrh, a cluster of camphire from the vineyards of Engedi. Here our fig-trees put forth their green figs, and our vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Here is the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense, on which we sit and wait till the day break, and the shadows flee away. Christ is here all and in all. Why does the apostle call it the Lords supper? Supper was the chief meal of the day; and besides, this feast, at its first introduction, was really a supper, like the passover; an evening meal, partaken of at the close of the days toil and weariness: I. The Lord appointed it. On the night in which He was betrayed, He took the bread and wine, saying, Do this in remembrance of me. This then is His commandment. If a stranger ask, What is the meaning of this, and why do you observe this peculiar rite? we answer, The Master has bidden us. He instituted the ordinance, and so we call it by His name, the Lords supper. It is not mans feast, or the churchs feast, it is the feast of the Lord. Each observance of it carries us straight back to the first institution by the Lord Himself. He has bidden us thus shew His death till He come. II. He provides. The feast of fat things is of His providing, so is the table, so is the banqueting house, so is the raiment. All the viands are of His selection, His purchase, His setting out. He is both appointer and provider. The provisions must be rare, and suitable, and nourishing, in such a case. The fruit gathered by Him must be sweet to our taste; the grapes, and pomegranates, and figs, and olives, the milk, and honey, and wine, are all of His procuring. They have come out of His garden and storehouse, they have been gathered, and set on the table by Himself. His wisdom knows what we need, and His love prepares it all. III. He invites. Come, is His message to us! My oxen and fatlings are killed, all things are ready, come to the marriage, come to the feast; eat, O friends; drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved. In coming to the table, do we remind ourselves of Christs invitation, and say to ourselves, I come because the Lord invited me? Who am I that I should refuse His loving message? He bids me, and I come. It is the Lords supper, because He invites us to it. IV. He is Himself the feast. He is the Paschal Lamb. He is the bread and wine. Yes; Christ is Himself the provision, as well as the Provider. It is on His body and blood that we feed; His flesh is meat and His blood is drink indeed. Everything at the table speaks of Christ himself as the real and true food of our souls. All that bread is to us, Christs body is to our souls. All that wine is to us, Christs blood is to our souls; and in partaking of the bread and wine, we feed by faith upon the body and blood of the Lord. V. He partakes with us. He sits at the table Himself, and forms one of our number. The feast is for Him as well as for us. Here we have fellowship with Him and He with us. Here we have the closest and dearest intercourse that we can have on earth. We see eye to eye, we speak face to face. He gives us His love, and we give Him ours. I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine, is the motto of the feast. Such are the reasons why this feast is called the Lords Supper. Seated at this table, and partaking of this Supper, (1.) We look backward. And as we look back, we see the passover, we see the shew bread, we see the cross. These all come before us as we sit at the table. (2.) We look forward. For we shew His death till He come. We fix our eye on the coming glory, on the resurrection blessedness, on the marriage supper of the Lamb. How bright that future seems in a dark world like ours! (3.) We look inward. In doing so, we ask, Is my soul prospering? This feast is meant to nourish, Is it flourishing me? It is meant to quicken all my graces, faith, and love, and hope, Is it doing so to me? It is meant to elevate my affections, Is it doing so to me? Do I find my spiritual being invigorated and quickened by these heavenly viands, and by this divine fellowship? (4.) We look around. Brethren in the Lord are on each side. Our fellow believers, our fellow pilgrims,heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,fellow citizens of the New Jerusalem. In each face we see one who has joined himself to our common Lord,one who is a member of the one body, whose head is Christ. Love circulates around, as well as joy and peace. (5.) We look outward. We cannot, at a feast like this, forget a world which is famishing; shutting itself out from this heavenly feast, and reveling in its lusts and vanities. Poor world! We say. Thou hast no gracious Master, no heavenly table, no life giving bread and wine. Oh that ye would bethink yourselves, and turn to Him who is the Bread of Life. We pity you, we pray for you, we plead with you to come. For here at this table we find all we need,the fullness of Christ. Here we taste. (1.) His love. It is love that passeth knowledge, the love of Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. Yes; the love of Christ fills that cup, and pervades that bread. (2.) His peace and joy. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. These things have I spoken to you, that my joy might remain in you. (3.) His consolations. These come to us with special power here. This is the place of comfort, the table of comfort. Here we have Christ as the Comforter, and the Holy Ghost also as such. (4.) His glory. For that glory is our hope, specially at the table. Here we get the foretaste of it. As we eat and drink, we realize the coming glory in the day of His appearing, when that day shall break, and the shadows flee away. Till He come! This is our communion watchword. Till He come! This is the voice of the bread and wine. In them this blessed hope is wrapped up. To this they point and beckon us. Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him! Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 13, 2012

Sunday··2012·03·25
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Purification Lord Jesus, I sin Grant that I may never cease grieving because of it, never be content with myself, never think I can reach a point of perfection. Kill my envy, command my tongue, trample down self. Give me grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, peaceable, to live for thee and not for self, to copy thy words, acts, spirit, to be transformed into thy likeness, to be consecrated wholly to thee, to live entirely to thy glory. Deliver me from attachment to things unclean, from wrong associations, from the predominance of evil passions, from the sugar of sin as well as its gall, that with self-loathing, deep contrition, earnest heart searching I may come to thee, cast myself on thee, trust in thee, cry to thee, be delivered by thee. O God, the Eternal All, help me to know that all things are shadows, but thou art substance, all things are quicksands, but thou art mountain, all things are shifting, but thou art anchor, all things are ignorance, but thou art wisdom. If my life is to be a crucible amid burning heat, so be it, but do thou sit at the furnace mouth to watch the ore that nothing be lost. If I sin wilfully, grievously, tormentedly, in grace take away my mourning and give me music; remove my sackcloth and clothe me with beauty; still my sighs and fill my mouth with song, then give me summer weather as a Christian. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). 1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand 1 Corinthians 15 The Apostolic Gospel. There had been false teachers at Corinth; teachers bold as well as false; for they struck at the great central truth,the resurrection. The apostolic message was, Christ is risen; theirs was, Christ is not risen. They laid the axe to the root of the tree. If they did not attempt to cut down His cross, they tried to destroy His tomb. As they boldly denied, so does the apostle fearlessly assert, the resurrection as the substance of the Christians hope, and the essence of the gospel. But he does not content himself with this. He goes over the whole field. He begins at the foundation, and proceeds to the highest point. I. Apostolic recollections. The first two verses carry us back to the apostles first visit to Corinth, when he went as Christs herald. He delights to recall the time of his entrance; and he finds it very necessary to go back to the beginning. He does not obtrude himself, or mention his doings, or parade either his feelings or his success. It is the gospel he brought to them that he recalls, especially when error is stealing in. He makes no appeal to self; he reminds them of his message. He puts the trumpet to his lips, and repeats the old note,the good news. It was with the gospel that he came; it is to the gospel that he would recall them,the one same old gospel. But before re-stating it, he reminds them of its effects upon them . . . I preached, and ye received the good news! I held them out; ye took them! I spoke them; ye let them in! This was the simple process. No waiting, nor working, nor feeling, but simply receiving, as the thirsty man takes in the water, or the eye the beauty of the landscape. Then upon the receiving follows the standing, in which ye have stood and are standing; this grace wherein ye stand; stand therefore; be steadfast. That on which we stand is the gospel; that which keeps us firm, free from stumbling or falling; that which keeps us erect and immoveable, is the gospel. This is our foundation, our anchor, our staff, our rock, our arm, our strong tower. By this, too, we are saved. There is salvation annexed to this gospel,immediate, sure, everlasting. A Christian is a saved man! And he knows it! It is his belief of the gospel that saves him, that alone! Yes; he is saved at once, and saved for all eternity, and that simply in and by believing. But may not our believing be in vain? The apostle puts such a case, but only to reject it, and to demonstrate (as he does through the rest of the chapter) that this was an impossibility; for the foundation truth (Christs resurrection) is established by infallible proofs, and therefore our faith is not in vain. This is the real meaning of the word in vain; as if he had said, unless that which ye have believed has turned news out a fable. And this salvation is carried out in the simplest of all ways,by keeping in memory that which was preached at first. A man is not saved by grasping the rope for a moment, if he let it go it will be of no avail. So here. These, then, are the only two possibilities of failure: (1) that the resurrection turns out a fable; (2) that we do not keep it in memory. How simple, how blessed! Could salvation be brought nearer or made freer? Such are the apostles reminiscences of his early ministry in Corinth;all connected with the gospel, and the reception of it by the Corinthians. Blessed memories indeed! How full was his life of such. II. The apostolic gospel. He now comes to the re-statement of the gospel; which gospel he briefly sums up in these three points. (1.) He died for our sins according to the scriptures. It is the Christ that he speaks of,Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God; He died; He died for our sins; He died according to the scriptures. Each of these expressions help us to bring out the gospel. He died; and His death was the substitute for that of the sinner; He died, that we might not die; He was delivered for our offences; He suffered for sin, the just for the unjust,as the whole word from the beginning had foretold. (2.) He was buried. It was a true death that He died; such a death as needed a tomb. He did not see corruption, but He saw the tomb; He entered it; lay in it for three days. The grave of Jesus contains part of the good news. (3.) He rose again the third day according to the scriptures. This is the crowning and sealing fact; it is the Fathers testimony to the finished work to the acceptance of the sacrifice. This completes the good news. Christ is risen! God raised Him! Man crucified Him, but God raised Him. The wicked slew Him, the righteous buried Him, God raised Him. These three facts contained the good news. Each is a vessel full of peace to the sinner. To know these facts is to be a saved man. What are these facts to us? Are they what they were to the early Christians? Are they fountains of living water? Fragrant flowers? If not, why is it so? Are they not the same? Out of them the Corinthian sinners extracted peace and light, how is it that we do not do the same? The preacher is nothing; the facts are everything; whether it were I or they, so we preached, and so ye believed. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 15, 2012

Sunday··2012·04·08
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN 7 (l. m.) Crucifixion to the world by the cross of Christ. Gal. vi. 14. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood. See from his head, his hands, his feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did eer such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown! [His dying crimson, like a robe, Spreads oer his body on the tree: Then am I dead to all the globe, And all the globe is dead to me.] Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book III: Prepared for the Holy Ordinace of the Lords Supper (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 14But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6 The Cross And The Double Crucifixion. The words of this verse literally run thus: From me, however, far be it that I should glory, save in the cross; and the form of expression reminds us of the frequent phrase in the Psalms, But as for me; so calm, yet so decided; so, simple, yet so dignified. Others may glory in the flesh, or in forms, or in rites; but as for me, the cross is my only boast; all that I rejoice in centers there; it is my gain and my glory, it is my solace and my song. He lays great stress upon this I or me. Though the whole world were uniting to glory in other things, he could not; he would be inexcusable. He had a thousand reasons for rejecting every other boast,more reasons than any other man. And he knew well what he was saying in this boast. Let us take up here, the cross, the glorying, and the double crucifixion. I. The cross.It is not the literal piece of wood that he is speaking of, nor any figure or imitation of it, such as men in all ages have made for ornament or worship,a piece of ecclesiastical furniture, or an article of female dress. It is the essence of the cross that he speaks of; the great truths represented by it; salvation by a crucified Christ; Gods way of justification through the death of a sin bearer. The sacrifice for sin upon the cross, the burnt-offering upon the altar; it is this that be keeps before his eyes, and would have us keep before ours. It is the slain Lamb which he holds up to view. Connected with the cross there is death, but there is also life; there is weakness, but there is also strength; there is poverty, but also riches; shame, but also glory; defeat, but triumph too. The cross, as it stood on Golgotha, has long since gone into dust; but that cross was a symbol, like the desert pole and the brazen serpent. That cross and that serpent embodied in them mighty truths; truths which were to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness; truths which the natural man despises and rejects, but which, to the new man, are the gladdest and most glorious of all glad and glorious things. It is as the embodiment of these things that the cross is here held up to us. Without these the cross is nothing save a piece of Hebrew wood, in no respect more precious than the other crosses erected at its side. Take away from it the sacrificial blood shedding, the propitiation for sin, and it is useless and worthless. The cross is mighty and venerable and glorious solely because of what it reveals concerning God, amid His way of saving the lost by providing a Saviour for the guilty. The cross is Gods verdict against sin; His exhibition of righteousness; His declaration of love to the sinner; His method of removing guilt from the condemned, and imparting life through death to every one who is willing to take life at His hands. II. The Glorying.Pauls opinion of the cross had undergone a wonderful change. The cross was once the lowest object in his estimation, now it is the highest. He glories in it. This implies such things as these:(1.) To think well of it.Once he had thought evil of it; now he thinks well. His estimate is changed,reversed. He admires what he disesteemed. (2.) To speak well of it.He commends it to every one wherever he goes. He has not a good word to say for himself but he has good words without number for the cross. He dispraises self and the flesh and the world; he praises the cross. It is the tree of trees. (3.) To boast of it.It is to him the one object of boasting; all other boasting is excluded for ever. In it he exults as one who has found a treasure. He calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me. And if men ask, What is thy cross more than another cross? he answers, My cross is the cross of crosses; there is nothing like it, so perfect, so admirable, so glorious; in it I have found the love of God, the pardon of sin, the life of my soul, the peace of my conscience, an everlasting kingdom. (4.) To trust in it.It is the tree of life, under whose shadow he sits down. It is the treasure-house of all riches; it is the fullness of all grace and blessing. It presents a resting-place to his weary soul. It invites and attracts and welcomes. Everything about it is fitted to remove distrust and awaken confidence. It is the end of fear and doubt; the producer of all happy, trustful thoughts. It is the place of light and peace. No wonder that he gloried in it. Let us learn to glory. The more we look at it and understand its meaning, the more we shall trust it, and in trusting it find rest to our souls. We cannot add to it, and we cannot take from it. It is perfect. Let us be satisfied in knowing that it is what it is,the place of propitiation and of peace. III. The Double Crucifixion.The cross crucifies Paul; it crucifies the world to Paul. In crucifying Paul it crucifies time world, and in crucifying the world it crucifies Paul. They are crucified to each other. Paul is nailed to the cross, and becomes an object of contempt and hatred to the world. The world is nailed to the cross, and becomes an object of contempt to Paul. For the crucified object becomes, by being nailed to the tree of shame, a thing of degradation,a curse and an hissing. To be nailed to a cross was to be made a dead thing, a cursed thing, a shameful thing. Thus it was mutually with Paul and the world. Each was dead to the other; they were mutually irreconcilable. The world saw nothing in Paul but vileness and meanness; Paul saw nothing in the world but the same. And it was the cross of Christ that had produced this reciprocal feeling of separation and abhorrence. It was a double crucifixion. That double crucifixion was the key to the apostles life. It set Christ between him and the world. It set the grave between him and his former self. Crucifixion with Christ had crucified him to the world and the world to him. Thus the old man was crucified; the flesh and all things pertaining to the flesh were crucified; and only out of resurrection could anything good or holy come. All that came short of resurrection came short of the glory of God.(1.) A Christian is a decided man.The cross of Christ rejects all halfheartedness; nay, renders it impossible. There was no compromise upon yon cross, when the Father smote the Son, and the Son consented to be smitten; there can be none in those who are nailed to it. (2.) A Christian is an unworldly man.He was part of the world; he is so no longer. He has come out from it and become separate, and touches no more the unclean thing. He has bid farewell to the world and its vanities. (3.) A Christian is a man of heaven.He has set his affection on things above. He has gone up to be with his Lord upon the throne in the heavenly places. His heart and his treasure are above. How glorious is the cross! How safe are they who have taken refuge there! It is the cross of the Divine Substitute. It stands forever, outliving ages and generations, like Egypts pyramids and palms. Its substitutionary value does net alter, and its efficacy for salvation to the chief of sinners is liable to no failure, no shortcoming. Its potency for shelter and deliverance and pardon knows no diminution; it is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We may be transgressors of no common order, both as to duration and enormity; we may have very superficial convictions of our own sinfulness, and very feeble thoughts of the sufficiency of the cross; we may have little faith, much unbelief; little light, much darkness; little repentance, much impenitence: still the sufficiency of the cross is infinite. Like the wide arch of heaven, it throws its canopy over the broadest circle of transgression and unworthiness. He who is willing to take shelter beneath it, whatever he may be, shall find it sufficient. To sit under its far-reaching shadow is certain life and safety; to sit anywhere else is certain wrath and doom. That shadow avails or takes effect in the case of all who, crediting Gods testimony concerning it, consent to be indebted to it for security and peace. For faith in the cross is no work or merit, which a poor sinner must toil at till he has secured enough to give him the benefit of the shelter. It is simply the relinquishment of all other pretended shelters, and the willingness to allow this divine shelter to be extended to him by the God who has provided it for the sinner. Whosoever will, is our proclamation. God does not mock you by providing a refuge and then throwing hindrances in your way, or refusing to remove existing obstacles out of your way. He provides the glorious shelter; He removes all obstacles without; He presents you with His own heavenly Spirit (better and more accessible than all self-power) to remove all hindrances within. It is in all respects a wondrous cross, for security, for sufficiency, for accessibility to the sinner. Its value is divine, and that is infinite; its sheltering canopy is wide,wide as the world; wide as the sinners utmost sin and ruin; wide as heaven and hell; wide as earth and sea; wide as the wrath of the Judge; wide as the love of God and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lord���s Day 16, 2012

Sunday··2012·04·15
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Hymn LXVII. Jehovah our righteousness. Jeremiah xxiii. 6. William Cowper (1731���1800) My God! how perfect are thy ways! But mine polluted are; Sin twines itself about my praise, And slides into my prayer. When I would speak what thou hast done To save me from my sin; I cannot make thy mercies known But self���applause creeps in. Divine desire, that holy flame Thy grace creates in me; Alas! impatience is its name, When it returns to thee. This heart, a fountain of vile thoughts, How does it overflow? While self upon the surface floats Still bubbling from below. Let others in the gaudy dress Of fancied merit shine; The Lord shall be my righteousness The Lord for ever mine. ���Olney Hymns. Book I: On Select Passages of Scripture. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ���s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, ���All things are put in subjection,��� it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. ���1 Corinthians 15 The Advent, The Resurrection, And The Glory. It is of resurrection that this whole chapter speaks. It begins with the risen Christ, and it ends with the risen church: ���Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christ���s at His coming.��� ���Pre-eminence��� in all things belongs to Him; conformity to Him in that preeminence belongs to his saints: ���We are a kind of first fruits of His creatures��� (James 1:18). Resurrection, then, is our hope. Not merely a happy immortality for the soul; but resurrection,���the ���redemption of our body��� (Romans 8:23). The cross has purchased resurrection for us; so that our ���flesh rests in hope.��� The Lord���s coming, not death, is our terminus or goal; for death is our enemy, Christ is our friend; death is loss, resurrection is gain. Christ is risen! This is the announcement of the fact on which our faith rests. A risen Christ is our Redeemer. It is to the fullness of a risen Christ that we go in our emptiness and sin. A risen Christ is the sum of our gospel, good news to the dead in sin. We shall arise! This is the sure word of prophecy on which our hope rests. Our vile bodies shall be changed. This corruptible shall put on incorruption. But, says our passage, ���every one in his own order��� (rank, or troop, a military expression); Christ the Captain, and each troop or regiment marching after their Captain; Christ the first-fruits, and then a long interval, already eighteen hundred years, and then they who are Christ���s at His coming. Then after another interval, during which He is putting down all enemies, and consummating the kingdom, He shall present that kingdom to the Father in its perfection, having had all His enemies put under His feet. Of these enemies the last is death; and death shall then be swallowed up in this glorious victory of the great Captain, our risen Lord. For it is He who has overcome; and having overcome, points us to victory over the world and death. The first interval is the period from Christ���s resurrection to His second coming. The second interval is His millennial reign, during which He brings all things into subjection. At the close of this reign, He presents the perfected kingdom to the Father, just as He presents to Himself the church without spot or wrinkle. All enemies shall be put under Him, and the victory which completes the whole will be that over death, the last enemy. Yet even then, when the Son shall have reached the highest point of dominion and glory, even then he shall retain that subjection to the Father which, as God-man, He exhibited on earth, as when He said, ���My Father is greater than I,��� while also saying, ���I and my Father are one.��� Thus the Son of God is not divested of His royalty, but rather confirmed in it; He does not put off His crown when He presents the kingdom to the Father, but wears it for ever, as King of the universe, King of kings through all eternity; and yet while wearing it, making more fully manifest than ever has been done hitherto, that God is all in all. The completion of the work of Christ in the perfected kingdom hereafter, will be the full and glorious exhibition of Godhead to the universe. The man Christ Jesus as head over all things in heaven and in earth, instead of obscuring, will illustrate Godhead glory. He will be the eternal Mediator, the eternal channel of communication between Creator and creature, the everlasting link between heaven and earth, the security to redeemed creation that it shall never again fall or come under the curse, and the security to Godhead that the divine glory shall never again be eclipsed by sin or evil of any kind whatever. Looking over this passage, we gather out of it such truths as the following: I. Christ���s resurrection. The apostle throughout the chapter lays great stress on this. Christ���s death was not the completion of the good news. The cross was not the whole of that gospel which was preached by the apostles. He rose again! With this message the apostles went forth to Jew and Gentile. This was the summing up of the glad tidings; it was the filling up of the revelation of God���s free love. II. The resurrection of His saints. He took them up to His cross with Him; He took them down to His grave with Him; and He brought them up again along with Himself. His resurrection was virtually theirs, though separated by an interval of time. They shall arise, because He arose. It is to this that we look forward; not to death and the grave; but beyond these, to resurrection. We shall arise; this is our hope. Each particle of precious dust shall come up again and take on glory. This corruptible shall put on incorruption. This vile body shall be changed. III. The Lord���s coming. ���They that are Christ���s at His coming.��� He shall come again; that same Jesus who departed. To this very earth He shall come. He shall come for His own. He shall come as the Resurrection and the Life; He shall come as the last Adam, the quickening Spirit; He shall come in His glory; He shall come to make all things new. IV. The kingdom. He comes not only to raise His saints, but also to destroy His enemies. He comes with the iron rod to break kings in pieces as a potter���s vessel; to smite Antichrist; to avenge the blood of saints; to have all things put under His feet; to take and wear the crown; to perfect the kingdom. V. The death of death. This is the last of His enemies. It was the first (next to Satan), and has devoured the bodies of His saints for thousands of years; it has come, as the king of terrors, to each son of Adam. And He reserves its destruction to the last. He holds it up to view as His great enemy, and then, along with the grave, casts it into the lake of fire. VI. The glory of the Son. This millennial reign, of which the apostle speaks, is the day of His glory. He has been glorified in heaven; He shall then be glorified on earth,���glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believe. To Him every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess. VII. The glory of Godhead. ���That God may be all in all.��� How this is to be, we know not. But it is to be in connection with Christ, the King, and His perfected kingdom; in connection with His work, and reign, and glory. It is through Him that God shall be glorified as ���all in all.��� Man of God, Is your eye on these things? Does the prospect gladden and influence you? Are you of one mind with God in regard to them; adopting His views, falling in with His plans, and recognizing His purpose, both in regard to the present and the future of our world? Or are you carried away with human ideas of ���progress,��� self-regeneration, and self-enlightenment; dazzled with theories of ���advanced politics��� and ���developed liberalism,��� from which all reference to the glory of Christ has been eliminated; won over into admiration of man���s intellect, or philosophy, or statesmanship, as if these would suffice for the counteraction of Satan���s subleties, or the repression of human sin,���as if by these, earth���s rebel kingdoms could be rightly ruled, without the Bible, and without that ���Spirit of counsel and of might��� (Isaiah 11:2), who alone can give wisdom for righteous legislation and holy government. ���Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lord���s Day 16, 2012

Lords Day 17, 2012

Sunday··2012·04·22
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXXIX. For all the Mind of Christ. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Hail, faultless model, sinless guide, In whom no blame was seen! Able thou were, and none beside, To ransom guilty men. I want my happiness below In thee alone to find; Surely thou wilt on me bestow Thy pure, thy heavnly mind! Active for God I fain would be, And do my work assignd: Jesus, look down, implant in me, Thy zealous, fervent mind! While here, it was thy constant aim To benefit mankind: O give me, dear redeeming Lamb, Thy loving, gracious mind! Stiff is my neck, and proud my heart, Unbroken, unresignd: When wilt thou, blessed Lord, impart Thy patient, humble mind! My sins how slowly do I leave, To earthly things inclind! But wean me, Lord, and let me have Thy self defying mind! O might I walk with faithful heed, And look no more behind, Possessd of what I chiefly need, Thy serious steady mind! Still may my evry grace increase, Till I in heaven appear: On earth like thee in holiness, Like thee in glory there. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1 The Sufferings And The Consolation. The following paraphrase will help to bring out the meaning of this large passage concerning sorrow, and sympathy, and consolation. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are (and have been) comforted of God. For as Christs sufferings overflow to us (like a river swelling over till they reach us, so that we get these overflowings, Colossians 1:24), so our consolation also overflows through Christ. Whether, then, we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is accomplished in (or by) the patient endurance of the same sufferings as we ourselves suffer; or whether we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope regarding you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so also shall ye be of the consolation. Here are several striking expressions worthy of being noted, such as, the God of all comfort; He comforteth us in all our tribulation; the comfort wherewith we are comforted of God, partakers (partners) of Christs sufferings; partakers (partners) of the consolation. On these, however, we do not dwell. Our cross is not the same as Christs, yet we have a cross. Our sufferings are not the same as Christs, yet we have sufferings. The cross is like Christs, and the sufferings are like His, but yet not the same in kind or object. Our cross is the shadow of His; our sufferings the overflowings of His. Yet there is a wide difference; for our trials have nothing to do with expiation. That was His work alone. He finished that on His cross when there by Himself He purged our sins, leaving no part of the sacrifice uncompleted. The sacrifice was finished on Calvary. There the blood was shed which reconciles, and purges, and saves. After that there remains only its acceptance by God, and its application to the sinner upon believing. But it is not of the likeness or unlikeness between our sufferings and those of Christ that we would speak, but simply of the meaning and use of trial. It needs to be interpreted to us, for often we misunderstand and pervert it. I. It shews God to be in earnest with us. He does not let us alone. He takes great pains with our spiritual education and training. He desires fruit and progress. Therefore He prunes His vines and chastens His sons. He is no careless Father. II. It assures us of His love. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten. This was said to Laodicea, the worst of the seven churches, of whom the Master has not one good word to speak, and of which we may affirm that, judging from appearances, it had became totally worldly. Yet to Laodicea God speaks of His love, and announces chastisement as a proof of His love to her! Truly many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. III. It draws prayer to us. When one member suffers all the others suffer with it. As soon as it is said, such a brother or sister is in sorrow, all who hear of this begin to pray for the afflicted one. Thus sorrow becomes a magnet which attracts the prayers of the church. It is Gods prayer-bell, which whosoever heareth should immediately begin to plead for the sufferer. IV. It knits us in sympathy to the whole body. There is but one body, past, present, and to come, the church from the beginning. It has been an ailing body, a suffering church. Were we exempt from trial, we should be out of harmony with the body to which we belong. But when sorrow comes, we are made to feel communion with the whole body, and to know that we are part of a great community of sufferers of all ages. V. It teaches us sympathy with brethren. We cannot properly feel for others without having passed through sorrow. It is sorrow that creates or calls up the sympathetic feeling. Having tasted the cup, we know its bitterness, and feel for those who are called to drink it. Having known the cross, and the sharpness of its nails, we sympathize with them on whom we see it laid, and whose flesh we see pierced by the like nails that wounded ours. VI. It brings us into a mood more receptive of blessing. It makes our spirits tender; it softens our hearts; it makes our consciences alive; it empties us of adverse influences; it makes us willing to receive and to learn; it breaks our stubborn wills; it makes us say, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. VII. It makes us prize the word. The Bible assumes a new aspect to us. All else darkens; but it brightens. It is like the sky at night when the stars appear, which were hidden by the day. How precious the word becomes! Each verse acquires new meaning; each promise sparkles with double light; each word of grace seems doubly gracious and suitable. VIII. It shuts out the world. It all at once draws a curtain round us, and the world becomes invisible. The fairest things of a fair world lose their fairness and become dim. We are alone with our sorrow, or rather alone with God. What is the world to a man whose soul is filled with a sorrow which the world cannot heal? IX. It bids us look up. Set your affection on things above. Look upwards now; the objects that drew your gaze downwards are vanishing away. Earth is fast becoming a blank; heaven is now all. You have nothing to expect here. All is vanity. Paradise and its dwellers are real and true. There is no sorrow there. X. It turns our hope to the Lords great coming. There is really nothing at any time worth caring for on this side the coming. But we often need sorrow to shew us this. Then when the trial comes we turn to that blessed hope, and find in it all we need for consolation, and strength, and glory. Comfort one another with these words. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 18, 2012

Sunday··2012·04·29
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. A Before the Sacrament of the Lords Supper William Burkitt (16501703) This day the Lord of Hosts invites Unto a costly feast; I will take care, and will prepare To be a welcome guest. But who and what am I, O Lord! Unholy and unfit To come within Thy doors, or at Thy table for to sit. Awake repentance, faith, and love; Awake, oh, every grace; To meet your Lord with one accord, In His most holy place. Worldly distraction stay behind, Below the mount abide; Cause no disturbance in my mind, To make my Savior chide. Oh come, my Lord, the time draws nigh, That I am to receive; Stand with my pardon sealed by Persuade me to believe. Let not my Jesus now be strange, Nor hide Himself from me, But cause Thy face to shine upon The soul that longs for Thee. Come, blessed Spirit, from above! My soul do Thou inspire To approach the table of the Lord With fullness of desire. Oh, let our entertainment now Be so exceeding sweet, That we may long to come again, And at Thy altar meet. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4 The Power Of Christs Resurrection. The old warrior, who has passed through many fights, carries about with him his scars, as memorials of his battles, evidences both of danger and deliverance. So Paul said, I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. He was in deaths oft; alway delivered unto death for Jesus sake; I die daily. The old warrior will narrate to you the history of every wound; pointing to each in succession he will say, this was Waterloo, this was Spain, this was Sebastopol, this was Lucknow. So Paul, pointing to his scars, could say this was Antioch, this was Iconium, this was Lystra, this was Philippi, this was Damascus, this was Jerusalem. Thus he describes his life, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft, &c. (2 Corinthians 11:2327). It is of this constant exposure to death that he is speaking in our text. Every part of his body, from head to foot, bore marks of death; the rods, the stones, the chains, the stocks, these were imprinted on his body; as seals both of death and life. We can imagine, too, his lean, pale, weather-beaten face and form; all telling of his encounters with hardship, danger, death, in an hundred forms. Did all these speak merely of his endurance and bravery and patience and martyr-spirit? No, they told of the life which was sustaining him; a life beyond his own; a life super-human, super-angelic, nay, divine; the life of Christ; a life which sustains and invigorates, not the body only, but the soul as well. It is this life which keeps alive the spark, which a whole ocean with all its storms is seeking to quench. No life, but that of Christthe mighty life of the God-manall-sustaining, irresistible, irrepressible, unquenchable, could accomplish this. It is only such a life that can do battle victoriously with such death as is in us and around us. The life here spoken of is not the substitutional or sacrificial; at least not in the substitutional or sacrificial aspects. It is life as a root, or fountain, or vital power. It is not a life given for us, but a life given to us. It is the life of the risen Christ; resurrection life, His risen life deposited as in a vessel for us, and shewing out all its fullness in the counteraction of the death which is in us, and around us. It is in reference to this life that the apostle reasons, If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life; that is, if a dying Christ did so much for us, what will not a living Christ do? Let us look then at this vessel and its contents; this well and its life-giving water. Truly it has been said, Christ is life, others only live. Mark this life of Christ. I. It is large. The vessel is capacious; and its contents are commensurate with its capacity. The amount of life contained in the vessel is infinite; and being infinite, it assures us that no amount of death, or danger, or weakness on our part, can prove too great for it to counteract and overcome. O vastness, O infinity of life, what is there that thou canst not do for us? What is the extent of death, in a human soul or body, when compared with this life divine? Good news indeed! II. It is constant. This life is not fitful. It does not come in tides, ebbing and flowing; nor in seasons, sometimes winter, and again summer; nor in alternations, as day and night. It is continuous, unbroken, ever flowing. It is the river which ceases not. It is the deep well which never runs dry. It is the fresh clear atmosphere which always surrounds us, and which we breathe every moment. It is like Himself, the unchanging one; the same yesterday, today, and forever. O ever-constant life! Ever full and running over! That knowest no drought, no break, no change! Surely we were not meant to be the fitful changeful beings that we are! With such a life, should we not be calm and constant? III. It is free. Priceless in every sense it is. Without price, and beyond price! Free is the word inscribed on this divine vessel. No condition, no merit, no price! The life is a gift; and that gift is absolutely and unconditionally free. All that the vessel contains of life for the dead, or dying, is as free as God Himself can make it. God interposes no limitation, no restriction, no purchase. He who would clog the gift with any price or condition, is a rejecter of the gift, and a disbeliever in the love of the giver. It comes to us without money; we come to it without merit. O life-giving energy of the Son of God, how free art thou! IV. It is suitable. It takes up every act of our being, and extends to every region, every circumstance, of our life. It pours itself into every faculty, and feeling, and organ. It meets us at every point. It brings forth from its unsearchable riches the very things that we require in every exigency. In Pauls case, it was the body that it so specially suited; meeting as by a miracle every emergency of disease or danger; not simply like an impenetrable shield, interposed toward off some mortal stroke, but an inward virtue or power, making the man himself impenetrable and invulnerable; nay, infusing new life where death sought to come. It not merely flings off death, but pours in life; and the man at whom the deadly stroke is aimed, rises not merely unwounded, but quickened, and refreshed! Who is there amongst us whose case is not met by this manifold life? V. It is powerful. Omnipotence is in it. It is not the mere skill of the physician, or the efficacy of his medicines (a thing of experiment or probability). But it is the irresistible power of a divine vitality, which no kind nor amount of creature-death can neutralize or conquer. The power of the life of Christ was that which specially came forth in the history of the apostle, when every step was on the edge of death; so that any one looking at him, and knowing his daily history, would say, his life is a miracle, and what a life must that be which keeps that man alive, which prevents him from going down to the pit! It is life-giving, comforting, reviving, healing power. O mighty life of the risen Christ! O all-quickening, all-invigorating life! What a fountain head of vital power art thou to us still, in this daily battle between life and death! VI. It is available. We might say, it is placed at our disposal, and within our reach. It is not in the heavens, that we should have to ascend thither; it is not in the depths that we should have to dig down thither. It is nigh; it is the nearest thing in the universe; as near as He is in whom we live and move and have our being. How it pours itself into us we know not. It has a thousand channels, and will make itself known in a thousand ways; being administered and applied by the Holy Ghost. It quickens at first; it quickens to the last. It pours itself in through faith; through the word; through prayer; through praise; through the sacraments. We are surrounded by this mighty life. It is within us; it is around us; a well of water springing up into everlasting life. It makes our life a continual resurrection. Like Abraham, we lay our life (as he did Isaac) on the altar; like Abraham, we receive it again from the dead. We live in, and through the living one. Because He lives, we live also. Our life is hid with Christ in God. Christ Himself is our life. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 19, 2012

Sunday··2012·05·06
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Elder Brother. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Yes, for me, for me he careth With a brothers tender care; Yes, with me, with me he shareth Every burden, every fear. Yes, oer me, oer me he watcheth, Ceaseless watcheth, night and day: Yes, even me, even me he snatcheth From the perils of the way. Yes, for me he standeth pleading, At the mercy-seat above; Ever for me interceding, Constant in untiring love. Yes, in me abroad he sheddeth Joys unearthly,love and light; And to cover me he spreadeth His paternal wing of might. Yes, in me, in me he dwelleth; I in him, and he in me! And my empty soul he filleth, Here and through eternity. Thus I wait for his returning, Singing all the way to heaven; Such the joyful song of morning, Such the tranquil song of even. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5 God Beseeching Men. The words, all things are of God, mean evidently, all these things are of God; for the apostle is not speaking generally of God being all in all; but of all the things connected with the new creation. These are all of Him, and through Him, and to Him; originating with and carried out by Him. Thus the fountainhead of the new creation is like that of the Old, in God. The plan, the means, the execution, the consummation, are entirely divine. This new creation lies at the foundation of our relationship to God; it is something very thorough and decided; a divine process; a being in Christ; a passing away of old things; a making all things new. How is this begun and carried out? By reconciliation. How is this reconciliation carried out? By an embassy of peace direct from God himself. On what does this embassy base itself? On substitution,the just for the unjust. I. The reconciliation. The beginning of our new relation is bringing us into peace with Himself. Distance, alienation, enmity, condemnation,these are the main features of our natural condition. God proceeds to reverse all these; bringing us nigh; removing the estrangement and enmity; setting us free from the condemnation. In this we have the renewal of our unfallen state of holy friendship, as well as closer and dearer intimacy. Separation from God is to be exchanged for union; nearness for distance; love for wrath; forgiveness for condemnation. God and the sinner are made one; the prodigal leaves the far country; restored to his Fathers arms and his Fathers house. All past variances are forgotten; the quarrel is removed; the friendship cemented, sealed, secured forever. All Gods love pours into the sinner; all his love pours into God. It is not the reconciliation of Joseph and his brethren, in which the latter still felt doubtful of the perpetuity of their brothers favor; it is complete and absolute; perfect love casting out fear. Nor is it the reconciliation of David to Absalom, in which the latter, though forgiven his offence, had to dwell at a distance, and saw not the kings face; it is reconciliation which brings the alienated one into the city, and presence, and palace of the King. It is complete and eternal. II. The embassy. The ambassador is one who has himself been reconciled; neither an angel, who does not need reconciliation, and therefore could not tell out all its meaning and love; nor an unreconciled man, who has never tasted the blessedness, and therefore cannot speak of what he knows, nor point to himself as one who is a specimen of reconciling love. But a reconciled man,All these things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself. Having reconciled them personally to Himself He commits to them the word, ministry, of reconciliation; constituting them His ambassadors, and sending them out on their embassy. Mark here, then: (1.) The word of reconciliation. It is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. This is the gospel or good news of Gods free pardon, or non-imputation of sin, and forgiving love. (2.) The ministry of reconciliation. That is the office of dispensing the pardon. Pharaoh would send out the good news of the plenty in the storehouse of Egypt; and announce that it was to be got through and from Joseph. So does God as to the fullness of Christ. (3.) The footing of the ambassador. He is an ambassador for Christ. He speaks in Christs name and with Christs authority, telling of Him, and saying what Christ would say were He here. (4.) The manner of approaching the alienated sinner. Not by command or threat, but by entreaty and exhortation, for such is the force of the words, As though God did exhort and entreat you by us, we pray you. What earnestness of pleading do these words imply! What depth of desire for the accomplishment of the reconciliation and of longing for their welfare! What gentleness, what patience, what perseverance! On bended knee, like a suppliant before a king, the apostle makes his suit to the sinner! (5.) The identification of God and Christ with the ambassador, in this entreaty. He intimates that it is not so much he who is speaking as God; it is God who is exhorting; it is not the voice of a fellow man but of God. He intimates also that the Son as well as the Father is in all this: We pray men in Christs stead. The expression denotes two things: (1) that he is representing Christ; (2) that he is serving him. And the words, Be ye reconciled to God, sound like a quotation; as if Christ had given him this very message; and as if it were meant that we should regard them as Christs own words, no less literally than, Come unto me. This, then, is Gods exhortation, and Christs prayer or entreaty to the sons of men, the world. It is our message, with which we are to go up to every man, Be thou reconciled to God; a personal message, as personal to each as if he were the only man upon the earth. (II.) The Substitution. We do not enter on this, but simply point to it as the basis of all reconciliation, without which it would be vain to approach a sinner; for it must be a righteous reconciliation if it is to effect anything at all. We preach Christ the Sin bearer; and pointing to His cross, we pray men in His name, Be ye reconciled to God. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 20, 2012

Sunday··2012·05·13
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. " />Our Life Is Long Christina Rossetti (18301894) Our life is long. Not so, wise Angels say Who watch us waste it, trembling while they weigh Against eternity one squandered day. Our life is long. Not so, the Saints protest, Filled full of consolation and of rest: Short ill, long good, one long unending best. Our life is long. Christ’s word sounds different:Night cometh: no more work when day is spent. Repent and work to-day, work and repent. Lord, make us like Thy Host who day nor night Rest not from adoration, their delight, Crying Holy, Holy, Holy, in the height. Lord, make us like Thy Saints who wait and long Contented: bound in hope and freed from wrong, They speed (may be) their vigil with a song. Lord, make us like Thyself; for thirty-three Slow years of toil seemed not too long to Thee, That where Thou art there Thy Beloved might be. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). 21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5 The Exchange Between The Sinful And The Sinless. In shewing favor to a criminal, an earthly sovereign must consider whether he can do so (1) without loss of character; (2) without breach of law; (3) without encouragement to crime; (4) without infringement or compromise of government. All these things have been amply provided for in the divine scheme of pardon; that scheme being the embodiment of such provision,not only containing the prevention of any such wrongs to God and to His universe, but the development of principles and the revelation of facts, which far more than compensate for threatened evils, and bring immense glory to God and His government, out of that which otherwise would have been big with dishonour and confusion. That scheme is announced in these words, He hath made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made (or be, or become) the righteousness of God in Him. Thus God is just, and the justifier of the unjust. Here are two special points: (1) The sinless one made sin for the sinful; (2) the unrighteous becoming the righteousness of God in the righteous One. I. The sinless One made sin for the Sinful. He was without sin; He knew no sin; not the shadow of evil was to be found in Him; He was the righteous one, the holy one, the Lamb without blemish, and without spot ; altogether perfect, yet partaker of our very flesh, our true humanity; very man, of the substance of the virgin, partaker of the dust of earth, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, still sinless in the entirest sense of that word; loving righteousness and hating iniquity, this sinless One was made sin, made sin by God: He hath made Him sin. The connection between Him and sin, between Him and the sinner, was one made, constituted by God. It was the Lord that laid our iniquity upon Him (Isaiah 53:6); that bruised Him and put Him to grief; that made His soul an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10); that made Him a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Our guilt was transferred to Him by God, and He was treated as if He were really the doer of it all. God spared Him not, but delivered Him up (Romans 8:32). In the Psalms He confesses our sin as if it were His own (see 38., 40, 69); during His life He acted as one shut out because of guilt; at His trial He was dumb, and answered not a word; on the cross He cried out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me. It is not merely that He was made a sin-offering, but he was made sin, as if no words could fully express the closeness of His connection with our transgressions. He was treated as a sinner from His cradle to His cross. His was a vicarious life and a vicarious death. It was this that made Him the man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. On no other ground can we account for His profound and life-long sorrow, save that all His life long He was bearing sin for us,He was being led as a lamb to the slaughter; and this leading to the slaughter was the real meaning of His sorrowful and burdened life. He was moving to the altar with the sins of His church upon Him; He was going to the cross, laden all through with this infinite burden which was laid upon Him, when He took flesh by the power of the Holy Ghost. As sacrifice, burnt-offering, sin-offering, trespass offering, substitute, surety, sin-bearer, we find Him here on earth, till He had finished the work which was given Him to do, till He had by Himself purged our sins (Hebrew 1:2). Men call this a fiction, or a make believe; it is the truth of God, with which the whole Bible is full,the transference of our human guilt to our divine Substitute, that He might bear it all for us,the transference of legal condemnation and divine displeasure from us to Him, that only acquittal, and pardon, and favor and love might belong to us.[14] Thy wrath lieth hard upon me (Psalm 88:7), are the words of the Sin-bearer; and that this was felt in a measure all His life through (though consummated on the cross), is shewn by what follows : I am afflicted and ready to die (sorrowful unto death) from my youth up (Psalm 88:15). The sinless One made sin for the sinful is the pervading doctrine of both Testaments; such books as Leviticus and the Epistle to the Hebrews are unintelligible otherwise. It is this that so strongly and awfully establishes the doctrine of eternal recompense for sin. If sin deserves no eternal wrath, what an unmeaning thing is this divine sin-bearing! What a gratuitous expenditure of labour, and suffering, and death. II. The unrighteousness becoming the righteousness of God in the righteous One. The name of our Substitute is, Jehovah our Righteousness; and the justifying righteousness is called by an apostle, the righteousness of Him who is our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1). Thus the righteousness of God amid the righteousness of Christ are declared to be the same, and our common use of the expression, the righteousness of Christ, is amply vindicated from the cavils of Socinians and others of like mind. Luther exhorted the brethren to learn, as their constant song of praise, Lord Jesus, thou art my righteousness, and I thy sin. So must we, if we would enjoy Luthers doctrine, his twofold teaching, That a man is justified by faith, and that he is to know that he is justified. We are unrighteous. There is no question as to that. Yet, says the apostle, We become (not merely righteous, but) the righteousness of God, in this righteous One. What is ours passes over to Him; what is His passes over to us. We become righteousness! As if, from the moment that we believe Gods testimony to the righteous One and His work, we and righteousness become one and the same thing. So completely are we justified, and lifted up into the same righteous level or standing which the righteous One himself occupies in the sight of God. Thus are we complete in Him,found in Him,recognized as one with Him in righteousness, and entitled to possess all He possesses. What a transference! And how simply effected! Receive the Fathers testimony to the righteousness of the beloved Son, and all that righteousness becomes yours! O man, canst thou refuse an exchange like this? A salvation so complete, so perfect and divine. Yes; It is finished! On the cross it was finished. Then the blood was shed with which the sinner is sprinkled and purged in conscience; and all that followed (both resurrection and ascension) assumed the completion of the great sacrifice on Golgotha. Then the righteousness was finished also, in virtue of which we are accepted in the Beloved. During all the preceding ages the voice of each sacrifice laid on the altar, morning and evening, was, It is not finished; but then the one voice of the one Sacrifice proclaimed before earth and heaven, It is finished. Nothing was from that moment to be added to it or taken from it. All was done. It is the ministry of this righteousness that is now preached to the unrighteous. There are many ministries. There is the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4); the ministry of the grace (Acts 20:24); the ministry of the reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18); the ministration of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:8). There is also the ministry of the righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:9). Righteousness for the unrighteous is Gods message to the world; righteousness for those whose only qualification is, that they need it; righteousness to the most unrighteous of the sons of men; for it is to the wretched prodigal, the wanderer in the far country, that the Father says, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him. In Jesus, the sinners substitute, we have the perfect One. God sees perfection in Him. But this perfection, while it detects and condemns our imperfection, provides also for its forgiveness. It is by means of this perfection that God is enabled to deal in love with our imperfection, however great and manifold it may be. The good swallows up the evil, and yet is not tainted thereby. The sinner hands over his sins to the perfect One; and the perfect One hands over His perfection to the sinner. Thus, by reason of this blessed transference or exchange, the imperfect one becomes as the perfect One in the sight of God, and is dealt with as such in regard to all favor and blessing. Perfection covers imperfection, and the believing sinner stands complete in the perfect One: accepted in the Beloved. Crediting Gods testimony to the perfect One, and His perfect sacrifice, we stand before God on a new footing,as men who have become the righteousness of God in Him,and who now get life, and peace, and pardon, and blessing, simply because the perfect One has deserved it for them. We have all in Him. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 20, 2012

Lords Day 21, 2012

Sunday··2012·05·20 · 2 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Reproofs O merciful God, When I hear of disagreeable things amongst Christians, it brings an additional weight and burden on my spirit; I come to thee in my distress and make lamentable complaint; Teach me how to take reproofs from friends, even though I think I do not deserve them; Use them to make me tenderly afraid of sin, more jealous over myself, more concerned to keep heart and life unblameable; Cause them to help me to reflect on my want of spirituality, to abhor myself, to look upon myself as unworthy, and make them beneficial to my soul. May all thy people know how little, mean, and vile I am, that they may see I am nothing, less than nothing, to be accounted nothing, that so they may pray for me aright, and have not the least dependence upon me. It is sweet to be nothing and have nothing, and to be fed with crumbs from thy hands. Blessed be thy Name for anything that life brings. How do poor souls live who have not thee, or when helpless have no God to go to, who feel not the constraining force of thy love, and the sweetness of communion? O how admirably dost thou captivate the soul, making all desires and affections centre on thee! Give me such vivacity in religion, that I may be able to take all reproofs from other men as from thy hands, and glorify thee for them from a sense of thy beneficent love and of my need to have my pride destroyed. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). 4For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you. 2 Corinthians 13 The Strength Of Weakness. The cross has many aspects, and embodies marvelous truths; all these connected with the Son of God. We learn much of Him in looking to that cross, and reading all its mysteries. No wonder that Paul should so glory in that cross. It contains so much of that which meets the whole case of every needy sinner. It brings out so much of the riches of the grace of God and exhibits to us, in Him who was crucified, the free love of God, that free and perfect love which casteth out fear. The cross contains peace, and the sight of the cross draws forth that peace, and fills our souls with it. The cross contains health, and the sight of it brings all that health into us. The cross is like the sun in the sky, which contains everything which our earth needs for light, and warmth, and health, and gladness. We look, and we are saved. We look, and we are comforted. There is the blood of the great sin-offering, the blood that cleanseth from all sin. There is the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. There is the well of living water, springing up into everlasting life. That cross is both death and life; condemnation and pardon, weakness and strength, shame and glory. It kills, and makes alive; it wounds, and it heals. It is wrath, and it is love; it is terror, and it is tenderness; it is righteousness, and it is grace. It is Satans victory, and it is Satans overthrow; it is the worlds triumph, and it is the worlds destruction. It saves in crucifying, and it crucifies in saving. All hell is there, and all heaven is there; rebellion is there, and reconciliation is there. That cross seems the embodiment of mans unpardonable sin, and consequent rejection and banishment; yet it is the embodiment of an eternal pardon, the meeting-place between God and the sinner, the link that is to bind earth and heaven together for evermore. But in the passage here, the apostle specially refers to the cross as the manifestation of weakness and of power; the meaning of the statements as follows,I the preacher of a crucified Christ am a weak man, but in being so, I am the more like Him whom I preach. He was crucified through weakness; such was the extremity of His weakness that He died under it; He made no use of His divine strength, but gave Himself to His enemies, to be by them crucified and slain His crucifixion was the exhibition of weakness, not of strength; yet He was raised again from the dead by power, the power of God; in the extremity of His weakness, power came in from another quarter. God raised Him up, and highly exalted Him. And as in His cross we see this combination of weakness and strength,personal weakness and divine strength,so we see the same in ourselves. We are men utterly without power in ourselves, yet we have the power of God working in us and for us. This, then, was the apostles consolation. He was like His Master, weak yet strong, weak in Himself, but strong in God. This was the apostles triumph, personal weakness attracting to himself divine strength, so that the weaker he was and the emptier, the more the opportunity was afforded for the display of the power of God,power in weakness, as in the case of his crucified Lord. Thus he knew his Master better than he could otherwise have done; and thus the world was made to know that Master (through the servants weakness) better than it could otherwise have done. Such is the churchs true position in the world. That of weakness. That which she is to exhibit is the power of weakness; and the moment she loses sight of this she gives up her great testimony, and ceases to walk in apostolic footsteps, and as the follower of Him who was crucified through weakness. Ambition, covetousness of power, dread of personal weakness; unbelief of the divine power, which is placed at faiths disposal,these have oftentimes utterly demoralized the church of God, and made her a poor earthly company, a mere worldly corporation, elated by position, or wealth, or influence, or learning, or intellect, and not knowing that she was poor, and miserable, and wretched, and blind, and naked. She wanted to be something, where her Master was nothing, and so she did no work for Him. She got what she desired of earthly organization, and bulk, and importance, but the consequence was bareness of soul; she was great among the great, learned among the learned, powerful among the powerful, but she wrought no deliverance in the earth. She was ashamed of the cross and its weakness, and so forfeited her true power, her heavenly standing, her divine influence. Our own true personal experience is like that of the apostle,weakness,in all that the world calls strength,but drawing in supplies of strength, for work or for suffering, from a fountain of which the world knows nothing. When I am weak, then am I strong Let us be content to be weak. Let us glory in weakness. When used by faith, weakness is the mightiest thing on earth; for it affords room for God, and the power of God to work. As in a vacuum, the air rushes in from all sides, so with our weakness, the mighty power of God rushes in to supply it. Thus we are strong, as He was who was crucified through weakness, but who liveth by the power of God. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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. 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continue reading Lords Day 21, 2012

Lords Day 22, 2012

Sunday··2012·05·27
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 98. (s. m.) Christ our wisdom, righteousness, &c. 1 Cor. i. 30 Isaac Watts (1674-1748) How heavy is the night That hangs upon our eyes, Till Christ with his reviving light Over our souls arise! Our guilty spirits dread To meet the wrath of Heavn; But, in his righteousness arrayed, We see our sins forgivn. Unholy and impure Are all our thoughts and ways; His hands infected nature cure With sanctifying grace. The powers of hell agree To hold our souls in vain; He sets the sons of bondage free, And breaks the cursed chain. Lord, we adore thy ways To bring us near to God; Thy sovereign power, thy healing grace, And thine atoning blood. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 14The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13 Apostolic Blessing. This is one of Pauls fullest blessings; none could be fuller; for it takes us to the divine fountainhead, and opens upon us the threefold spring of heaven, bidding it gush forth upon us in all its fullness. He takes us to a greater rock than that of Horeb, and touching it with his rod, calls on the water to pour itself out, not in one channel, but in a threefold course, and with a threefold fullness. All heaven is in this wondrous blessing; all Godhead is here, with the infinite and everlasting stores of Father, Son, and Spirit. The order of the persons is not here the same as usual; perhaps to teach us, that in so far as blessing is concerned, that order is unimportant, and that we may go to any of the three persons for blessing without respect of order; or perhaps because Paul began with the usual form, the grace of Christ, and then went on to the others; for generally he blesses them in the name of the Lord Jesus alone. Beginning with Christ, he goes on to the rest. In this full blessing the apostles heart flowed out to these beloved Corinthians. For what could he say more? What could he ask more? If Father, Son, and Spirit communicate their fullness, is not that enough? Our poverty, our narrowness, our worthlessness, our want, our sin, are nothing in the way of drawback or hindrance. Nay, their greatness does but the more magnify and draw out the resources of the infinite Jehovah, all whose stores are thus placed at our disposal, and within our reach. The depth and breadth of the rivers channel do but display the more the vastness and the brightness of that water which fills it; and that water, descending from the clouds in snow or rain, is inexhaustible. The creatures or the sinners wants are but occasions for unfolding the riches of the love of God. Now, let us mark the three points in this blessing. Yet in doing so, notice that the apostle specifies nothing in these three petitions. Elsewhere he does. He asks, for instance, joy and peace; he asks an increase of faith and comprehension; he asks light and wisdom; he asks comfort and strength. Here he specifies nothing; and yet he asks for more than if he had done so. All that the grace of Christ can give; all that the love of God can give; all that the communion of the Spirit can give,all that can be given! What a prayer! What a blessing! Amen! So let it be. I. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a frequent prayer of the apostle for the brethren. The free favor of our Lord and Master rest upon you; of Him in whose favor is life; of Him who is full of grace and truth (Romans 16:20, 24, I Corinthians 16:23). His favor! Yes; that is enough; for all heaven is in it. He on whom that favour rests, has all the sunshine of heaven compassing him about. That favor is presented in all its gladness to each one of us. Will you have the favor of Christ? He is willing to bestow it; and he who consents to take it, gets it at once. It is pressing for entrance into our souls, like the light which is beating on our windows every morning. Let it in. You need no more to make a heaven upon earth. You may not have mans favor,and you certainly shall have Satans hatred,but if you have this heavenly favor; you need no other. If you have this love, then the darkness is past, and the true light shineth; the day has broken, and the shadows fled away. O grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! What can we lack if we have thee? And which of all the dark, sorrowful sinners of earth can need be without thee? Does not Jesus say to thee, O man, come unto me? II. The love of God. The word love expresses something yet wider, fuller, deeper, than grace. God is love; and thus it is the very thing which belongs so peculiarly to God,this divine, perfect, glorious love, that is here pleaded for in our behalf; not simply favor but love,full-hearted, overflowing love; love which not only secures against all possible evil, but bestows truly and only good,the best of the best,that which God himself selects as His choicest gifts for His beloved ones; for our name is, Beloved of God (Romans 1:7). It is as if he had said, All heaven, and no more than all heaven, be with you; that which gladdens angels, and pours sunshine over the universe, be with you. Of this deep deep well of love let us be ever drinking; in this bright sunshine of love let us be ever basking; in this fair heaven of love let us be ever dwelling. We have much of it here, we shall have more of it hereafter. Amen! III. The communion of the Holy Ghost. The word communion means, partnership; or it may signify that fullness of which we are partners; that communicated or distributed fullness which dwells in the Holy Spirit, and which flows out of Him to us. In and through the Holy Ghost we have the community of feeling and of possession,that common property of all things which is our heritage, as men believing in the name of the Son of God. All that is in the Father and in the Son,all that is in Godhead flows out to us through the Holy Ghost. This is the ever-welling fountain out of which not only is the souls thirst quenched, but by means of which it is filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. (1.) What joy and peace are here. The threefold joy and peace coming from Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is our daily portion, our life-long possession, our eternal heritage. Let us enter into it more and more fully each day. It is enough; and he who has it, hungers no more, neither thirsts any more. (2.) What consolation is here. We need consolation in this troubled, stormy, sorrowful world. We need to hear, Comfort ye, from the lips of God, for it is through much tribulation that we must enter the kingdom. There are many points at which the comfort pours in, many minor sources from which it flows. But here is the great fountain of divine consolation. (3.) What power for work is here. Here is the secret of our strength in all work, or endurance, or suffering for God. Grace, love, and communion! And all this every moment. What influence over others will this give us! How it will make our faces shine! How it will purify and transform us! Let our daily life be that of men who possess all this fullness. Horatius Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts & Themes 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, 2012

Lords Day 26, 2012

Sunday··2012·06·24
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against Gods elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:3139 " />It Is Finished. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Blessed be God, our God, Who gave for us His well-beloved Son, The gift of gifts, all other gifts in one! Blessed be God, our God! What will He not bestow! Who freely gave this mighty gift unbought, Unmerited, unheeded, and unsought, What will He not bestow? He spared not His Son! Tis this that silences each rising fear, Tis this that bids the hard thought disappear, He spared not His Son! Who shall condemn us now? Since Christ has died, and risen, and gone above, For us to plead at the right hand of Love, Who shall condemn us now? Tis God that justifies! Who shall recall His pardon or His grace? Or who the broken chain of guilt replace? Tis God that justifies! The victory is ours! For us in might came forth the mighty One, For us He fought the fight, the triumph won: The victory is ours! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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, 2012

Lords Day 33, 2012

Sunday··2012·08·12
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. John 9:4 Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10 The Useful Life. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Go labour on; spend, and be spent, Thy joy to do the Fathers will; It is the way the Master went, Should not the servant tread it still? Go labour on; tis not for nought; Thy earthly loss is heavenly gain; Men heed thee, love thee, praise thee not; The Master praises,what are men? Go labour on; enough, while here, If He shall praise thee, if he deign Thy willing heart to mark and cheer; No toil for Him shall be in vain. Go labour on; your hands are weak, Your knees are faint, your soul cast down; Yet falter not; the prize you seek, Is near,a kingdom and a crown! Go, labour on, while it is day, The worlds dark night is hastening on; Speed, speed thy work, cast sloth away: It is not thus that souls are won. Men die in darkness at your side, Without a hope to cheer the tomb; Take up the torch and wave it wide, The torch that lights times thickest gloom. Toil on, faint not, keep watch and pray; Be wise the erring soul to win; Go forth into the worlds highway. Compel the wanderer to come in. Toil on, and in thy toil rejoice; For toil comes rest, for exile home; Soon shalt thou hear the Bridegrooms voice, The midnight peal, behold I come! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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, 2012

Lords Day 40, 2012

Sunday··2012·09·30
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves knowthis Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. . . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christthis Jesus whom you crucified. Acts 2: 2224, 36 Twas I That Did It. Horatius Bonar (18081889) I see the crowd in Pilates hall, I mark their wrathful mien; Their shouts of crucify appall, With blasphemy between. And of that shouting multitude I feel that I am one; And in that din of voices rude, I recognise my own. I see the scourges tear his back, I see the piercing crown, And of that crowd who smite and mock, I feel that I am one. Around yon cross, the throng I see, Mocking the sufferers groan, Yet still my voice it seems to be, As if I mocked alone. Twas I that shed the sacred blood, I nailed him to the tree, I crucified the Christ of God, I joined the mockery. Yet not the less that blood avails, To cleanse away my sin, And not the less that cross prevails To give me peace within. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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, 2012

Lords Day 49, 2012

Sunday··2012·12·02
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. Luke 2:1314 Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us. Matthew 1:23 The Shepherds Plain Horatius Bonar (18081889) Dum servant oves invenerunt Agnum Dei. Jerome. Blessed night, when first that plain Echoed with the joyful strain, Peace has come to earth again. Blessed hills, that heard the song Of the glorious angel-throng, Swelling all your slopes along. Happy shepherds, on whose ear Fell the tidings glad and dear, God to man is drawing near. Happy shepherds, on whose eye, Shone the glory from on high, Of the heavenly Majesty. Happy, happy Bethlehem, Judahs least but brightest gem, Where the rod from Jesses stem, Scion of a princely race, Sprung in heavens own perfect grace, Yet in feeble lowliness. This, the womans promised seed, Abrams mighty son indeed; Succourer of earths great need. This the victor in our war, This the glory seen afar, This the light of Jacobs star! Happy Judah, rise and own Him, the heir of Davids throne, Davids Lord, and Davids Son. Babe of promise, born at last, After weary ages past, When our hopes were overcast. Babe of weakness, can it be, That earths last great victory Is to be achieved by thee? Child of meekness, can it be, That the proud rebellious knee Of this world shall bend to thee! Child of poverty, art thou He to whom all heaven shall bow, And all earth shall pay the vow? Can that feeble head alone Bear the weight of such a crown, A s belongs to Davids Son? Can these helpless hands of thine, Wield a sceptre so divine, As belongs to Jesses line? Heir of pain and toil, whom none In this evil day will own, Art thou the Eternal One? Thou, oer whom the sword and rod Wave, in haste to drink thy blood, Art thou very Son of God? Thus revealed to shepherds eyes, Hidden from the great and wise, Entering earth in lowly guise, Entering by this narrow door, Laid upon this rocky floor, Placed in yonder manger poor. We adore thee as our King, And to thee our song we sing; Our best offering to thee bring. Guarded by the shepherds rod, Mid their flock, thy poor abode, Thus we own thee, Lamb of God. Lamb of God, thy lowly name, King of kings, we thee proclaim; Heaven and earth shall hear its fame. Bearer of our sins sad load, Wielder of the iron rod, Judahs Lion, Lamb of God! Mighty King of righteousness, King of glory, king of peace, Never shall thy kingdom cease! Thee, earths heir and Lord, we own; Raise again its fallen throne, Take its everlasting crown. Blessed Babe of Bethlehem, Owner of earths diadem, Claim, and wear the radiant gem. Scatter darkness with thy light, End the sorrows of our night, Speak the word, and all is bright. Spoil the spoiler of the earth, Bring creations second birth, Promised day of song and mirth. Tis thine Israels voice that calls, Build again thy Salems walls, Dwell within her holy halls. Tis thy Churchs voice that cries, Rend these long unrended skies, Bridegroom of the Church, arise. Take to thee thy power and reign, Purify this earth again; Cleanse it from each curse and stain. Sun of peace, no longer stay, Let the shadows flee away, And the long night end in day. Let the day spring from on high, That arose in Judahs sky, Cover earth eternally. Babe of Bethlehem, to thee, Infant of eternity, Everlasting glory be! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lords Day 2, 2013

Sunday··2013·01·13
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Romans 8:1825 Come, Lord Horatius Bonar (18081889) Seunit mundus. Augustine. Come, Lord, and tarry not: Bring the long-looked-for Day; O why these years of waiting here. These ages of delay? Come, for Thy saints still wait: Daily ascends their sigh; The Spirit and the Bride say, Come; Dost Thou not hear the cry? Come, for creation groans, Impatient of Thy stay, Worn out with these long years of ill, These ages of delay. Come, for Thy Israel pines, An exile from Thy fold; O call to mind Thy faithful word, And bless them as of old! Come, for Thy foes are strong; With taunting lip they say, Where is the promised Advent now, And where the dreaded Day? Come, for the good are few; They lift the voice in vain: Faith waxes fainter on the earth, And love is on the wane. Come, for the truth is weak, And error pours abroad Its subtle poison oer the earth, An earth that hates her God. Come, for love waxes cold; Its steps are faint and slow: Faith now is lost in unbelief, Hopes lamp burns dim and low. Come, for the grave is full; Earths tombs no more can hold: The sated sepulchres rebel, And groans the heaving mould. Come, for the corn is ripe; Put in Thy sickle now, Reap the great harvest of the earth, Sower and reaper Thou! Come, in Thy glorious might, Come with the iron rod, Scattering Thy foes before Thy face, Most mighty Son of God! Come, spoil the strong mans house, Bind him and cast him hence; Show Thyself stronger than the strong, Thyself Omnipotence. Come, and make all things new; Build up this ruined earth, Restore our faded Paradise, Creations second birth. Come, and begin Thy reign Of everlasting peace; Come, take tho kingdom to Thyself, Great King of righteousness! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lords Day 9, 2013

Sunday··2013·03·03
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23 Thy Way, Not Mine Horatius Bonar (18081889) Thy way, not mine, O Lord, However dark it be; Lead me by Thine own hand, Choose out the path for me. Smooth let it be or rough, It will be still the best; Winding or straight, it leads Right onward to Thy rest. I dare not choose my lot; I would not, if I might; Choose Thou for me, my God, So I shall walk aright. Take Thou my cup, and it With joy or sorrow fill, As best to Thee may seem; Choose Thou my good and ill. Choose Thou for me my friends, My sickness or my health; Choose Thou my cares for me My poverty or wealth. The kingdom that I seek Is Thine: so let the way That leads to it be Thine, Else I must surely stray. Not mine, not mine the choice In things or great or small; Be Thou my Guide, my Strength My Wisdom, and my AllHoratius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lords Day 15, 2013

Sunday··2013·04·14
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Psalm 5:3 Morning Hymns Horatius Bonar (18081889) (From the Latin) I. Riseth now the star of day, Let us kneel to God, and pray, That throughout its hours he will Keep us safely from all ill. Bridle Thou our tongue, O Lord, Hush each rising strifeful word; Kindly veil our treacherous eyes From ensnaring vanities. Let our inmost hearts be clean, Banish slothfulness and sin; With spare diet let the pride Of the flesh be mortified. So that, when the day has fled, And the night has come instead, We, preserved thus clean by Thee, Thy great name may glorify. II. Now, O Holy Spirit, one With the Father and the Son, Condescend to fill this heart, Penetrating every part. Mind, and tongue, and soul, and sense, Fill with kindly penitence. Light in us loves fervent fire, Love to all around inspire. III. God of truth and King of power, Ruling every changeful hour, Thou who givest morn its rays, And to noon its golden blaze, Quench the fire of strife within, Cool the heat of night-born sin; Health of body, O impart, And bestow true peace of heart. IV. God of heaven and earth, whose might, Everlasting, infinite, Guideth all the changing moods Of each days vicissitudes, To us the bright joyous eve Of the life unending give; And the blest reward, O send, Of the glory without end. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lords Day 21, 2013

Sunday··2013·05·26
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:89 Be True Horatius Bonar (18081889) Thou must be true thyself If thou the truth wouldst teach; Thy soul must overflow if thou Anothers soul wouldst reach. It needs the overflow of heart To give the lips full speech. Think truly, and thy thoughts Shall the worlds famine feed; Speak truly, and each word of thine Shall be a fruitful seed; Live truly, and thy life shall be A great and noble creed. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 27, 2013

Sunday··2013·07·07
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. —Luke 4:18–19 Praise 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 makes 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 our 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 an endless liberty. Praises to Him who sheds 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 praise. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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The Reconciliation of Love and Justice

Monday··2013·08·12
Man has a problem for which he has no remedy. Compounding that predicament is the fact that he doesn’t even know what his problem is. Horatius Bonar writes: Man has always treated sin as a misfortune, not a crime; as disease, not guilt; as a case for the physician, not for the judge. Herein lies the essential faultiness of all mere human religions or theologies. They fail to acknowledge the judicial aspect of the question, as that on which the real answer must hinge; and to recognize the guilt or criminality of the evil-doer as that which must first be dealt with before any real answer, or approximation to an answer, can be given. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 3. God is both Father and Judge, love and justice. How can these be reconciled? The reconciliation man has often tried; for he has always had a glimpse of the difficulty. But he has failed; for his endeavors have always been in the direction of making law succumb to love. The reconciliation God has accomplished; and, in the accomplishment, both law and love have triumphed. The one has not given way to the other. Each has kept its ground; nay, each has come from the conflict honored and glorified. Never has there been love like this love of God; so large, so lofty, so intense, so self-sacrificing. Never has law been so pure, so broad, so glorious, so inexorable. —Ibid., 4. This, God has accomplished at the cross. He has done it by removing the whole case into His own courts of law, that it might be settled there on a righteous basis. Man could not have gone into court with the case, save in the certainty that he would lose it. God comes into court, bringing man and man’s whole case along with Him, that upon righteous principles, and in a legal way, the case may be settled, at once in favour of man and in favour of God. It is this judicial settlement of the case that is God’s one and final answer to man’s long unanswered question, ‘How shall man be just with God?’ ‘Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?’ (Mic. vi. 6.) God provides the basis of the reconciliation; a basis which demonstrates that there is no compromise between law and love, but the full expression of both; a basis which establishes both the authority and the paternity of Jehovah, as Lawgiver and Father; a basis which reveals in infinite awfulness the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the spotless purity of the statute, the unbending character of God’s governmental ordinances; and which yet secures, in and by law, the righteous overflow of His boundless love to the lost sons of Adam. This basis of reconciliation between law and love God has Himself not only provided, but brought into His own courts of law; proposing to the sinner that all the questions between Himself and the sinner should be settled on this basis,—so equitable, so friendly, so secure; and settled in judicial form, by a legal process, in which verdict is given in favour of the accused, and he is clean absolved,—‘justified from all things.’ —Ibid., 5–6.

Lord’s Day 33, 2013

Sunday··2013·08·18
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! —John 1:29 Praise to Christ Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Jesus, the Christ of God, The Father’s blessed Son, The Father’s bosom Thine abode, The Father’s 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 man’s 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. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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The Right Lamb

Friday··2013·09·06
Human beings, as long as we live will always tend to make ourselves the center of everything. No wonder, then, that regenerate people often experience doubts about our faith. If we look inward, we will never find the perfection God requires. We need to look elsewhere for our security. The question as to the right way of believing is that which puzzles many, and engrosses all their anxiety, to the exclusion of the far greater questions as to the person and work of Him who is the object of their believing. Thus their thoughts run in a self-righteous direction, and are occupied, not with what Christ has done, but with what they have yet to do, to get themselves connected with His work. What should we have said to the Israelite, who, on bringing his lamb to the tabernacle, should puzzle himself with questions as to the right mode of laying his hands on the head of the victim, and who should refuse to take any comfort from the sacrifice, because he was not sure whether he had laid them aright;—on the proper place, in the right direction, with adequate pressure, or in the best attitude? Should we not have told him that his own actings concerning the lamb were not the lamb, and yet that he was speaking as if they were? Should we not have told him that the lamb was everything, his touch nothing, as to virtue or merit or recommendation? Should we not have told him to be of good cheer; not because he had laid his hands on the victim in the most approved fashion, but because they had touched that victim, however lightly and imperfectly, and thereby said, Let this lamb stand for me, answer for me, die for me? The touching had no virtue in itself, and therefore the excellency of the act was no question to come up at all: it simply intimated the man’s desire that this sacrifice should be taken instead of himself, as God’s appointed way of pardon; it was simply the indication of his consent to God’s way of saving him, by the substitution of another. The point for him to settle was not, Was my touch right or wrong, light or heavy? but, Was it the touch of the right lamb,—the lamb appointed by God for the taking away of sin? The quality or quantity of faith is not the main question for the sinner. That which he needs to know is that Jesus died and was buried, and rose again, according to the Scriptures. This knowledge is life everlasting. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 24–25.
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No Hollow Fiction

Tuesday··2013·09·10
This has to be one of the best summations of what Christ accomplished on the cross that I’ve read. This is the position occupied, in and through Christ, by every believer. To be entitled to use another’s name, when my own name is worthless; to be allowed to wear another’s raiment, because my own is torn and filthy; to appear before God in another’s person,—the person of the Beloved Son,—this is the summit of all blessing. The sin-bearer and I have exchanged names, robes, and persons! I am now represented by Him, my own personality having disappeared; He now appears in the presence of God for me (Heb. ix. 24). All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me. His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all. So entirely one am I with the sin-bearer, that God treats me not merely as if I had not done the evil that I have done; but as if I had done all the good which I have not done, but which my Substitute has done. In one sense I am still the poor sinner, once under wrath; in another I am altogether righteous, and shall be so for ever, because of the Perfect One, in whose perfection I appear before God. Nor is this a false pretense or a hollow fiction, which carries no results or blessings with it. It is an exchange which has been provided by the Judge, and sanctioned by law; an exchange of which any sinner upon earth may avail himself and be blest. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 44–45.
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The Eternal Glory of the Cross

Wednesday··2013·09·11
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped. —Revelation 5:11–14 The New Testament refers to Christ as “the Lamb,” twenty-two times. Twenty of those references are found in the book of Revelation, in which Christ is in heaven. In fact, “the Lamb,” is his preferred title in Revelation. This is significant because the title of “Lamb” refers specifically to his role as the sacrifice for sin. The focus of our worship in heaven will forever point us back to the cross, where his most glorious work was done. It is the Lamb who stands in the midst of the elders (Rev. v. 6), and before whom they fall down. ‘Worthy is the Lamb’ is the theme of celestial song. It is the Lamb that opens the seals (vi. 1). It is before the Lamb that the great multitude stand clothed in white (vii. 9). It is the blood of the Lamb that washes the raiment white (vii. 14). It is by the blood of the Lamb that the victory is won (xii. 11). The book of life belongs to the Lamb slain (xiii. 8). It was a Lamb that stood on the glorious Mount Zion (xiv. 1). It is the Lamb that the redeemed multitude are seen following (xiv. 4); and that multitude is the first-fruits unto God and unto the Lamb (xiv. 4). It is the song of the Lamb that is sung in heaven (xv. 3). It is the Lamb that wars and overcomes (xvii. 14). It is the marriage of the Lamb that is celebrated, and it is to the marriage-supper of the Lamb that we are called (xix. 7, 9). The church is the Lamb’s wife (xxi. 9). On the foundations of the heavenly city are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (xxi. 14). Of this city the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple (xxi. 23). Of that city the Lamb is the light (xxi. 23). The book of life of the Lamb, and the throne of the Lamb (xxi. 27, xxii. 1, 3), sum up this wondrous list of honours and dignities belonging to the Lord Jesus as the crucified Son of God. Thus the glory of heaven revolves round the cross; and every object on which the eye lights in the celestial city will remind us of the cross, and carry us back to Golgotha. Never shall we get beyond it, or turn our backs on it, or cease to draw from it the divine virtue which it contains. . . . It is the symbol both of a dying and of a risen Christ that we find in the Revelation. The ‘lamb as it had been slain’ indicates both. But the prominence is given to the former. It is the slain Lamb that has the power and authority to open the seals; implying that it was in His sin-bearing or sacrificial character that He exercised this right, and that it was His finished work on which this right rested, and by which it was acquired. It is as the Lamb that He is possessed with all wisdom and strength,—‘the seven horns and the seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God’ (Rev. v. 6); the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of omniscience and omnipotence. The Lamb is one of His special and eternal titles; the name by which He is best known in heaven. As such, we obey and honour and worship Him; never being allowed to lose sight of the cross amid all the glories of the kingdom. As such we follow Him, and shall follow Him eternally, as it is written, ‘These are they that follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth&rquo; (Rev. xiv. 4). —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 62–63, 66–67.
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By Righteousness

Monday··2013·09·16
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9 The justice and mercy of God are often pitted against each other as though they are opposing qualities that must exist, mysteriously, side by side, or as though grace is applied to counteract judgment. In fact, these attributes work in harmony; God saves on the basis of his righteousness. Our justification is based on a just judgment. It is in righteousness and by righteousness that God saves the sinner. He justifies the ungodly (Rom. iv. 5); but He does it in and by righteousness. For ‘the righteous Lord loveth righteousness’ (Psa. xi. 7). He ‘justifies freely by His grace’ (Rom. iii. 24); but still it is ‘in and by righteousness.’ His grace is righteous grace; it is grace which condemns the sin while acquitting the sinner; nay, which condemns the sin by means of that very thing which brings about the acquittal of the sinner. His pardon is righteous pardon, and therefore irreversible. His salvation is righteous salvation, and therefore everlasting. It is as the righteous Judge that God justifies. He is ‘faithful and just’ in forgiving sin (1 John i. 9). By His pardons He magnifies His righteousness; so that he who goes to God for forgiveness can use as his plea the righteousness of the righteous Judge, no less than the grace of the loving and merciful Lord God. God loves to pardon because He is love; and He loves to pardon because He is righteous, and true, and holy. No sin can be too great for pardon, and no sinner can be too deep or old in sin to be saved and blest; because the righteousness out of which salvation comes is infinite. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 68–69.
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The Conscious Absence of Good

Tuesday··2013·09·17
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling; Naked come to thee for dress, Helpless, look to thee for grace: Foul I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Saviour, or I die. —Augustus Toplady For any who imagine themselves possessing any inherent goodness, Christ has nothing to offer. The blessings of the gospel are for those who come empty-handed. It is as the unrighteous that we come to God; not with goodness in our hands as a recommendation, but with the utter want of goodness; not with amendment or promises of amendment, but with only evil, both in the present and the past; not presenting the claim of contrition or repentance or broken hearts to induce God to receive us as something less than unrighteous, but going to Him simply as unrighteous; unable to remove that unrighteousness, or offer anything either to palliate or propitiate. It is the conscious absence of all good things that leads us to the fountain of all goodness. That fountain is open to all who thus come; it is closed against all who come on any other footing. It is the want of light and life that draws us to the one source of both; and both of these are the free gifts of God. He who comes as partly righteous is sent empty away. He who comes acknowledging unrighteousness, but at the same time trying to neutralize it or expiate it by feelings, and prayers, and tears, is equally rejected. But he who comes as an unrighteous man to a righteous yet gracious God, finds not only ready access, but plenteous blessing. The righteous God receives unrighteous man, if man presents himself in his own true character as a sinner, and does not mock God by pretending to be something less or better than this. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 76–78.
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Everyone Believes in Imputation

Monday··2013·09·23
Horatius Bonar on the inconsistency of objections to imputation and substitution: The objections against imputation all resolve themselves into objections against substitution in any form. Vicarious suffering is even more unreasonable to some than vicarious obedience; and the arguments used in assailing the former apply with greater force against the latter. Yet human law recognizes both; the ‘laws of nature’ show the existence of both; and the divine law, as interpreted by the great Lawgiver Himself, acknowledges both. Man is willing to act on the principle of substitution or representation by another in earthly transactions, such as the payment of debt, or the performance of duty, or the descent of property; but he is not so willing to admit it, or proceed upon it, in the great transaction between him and God as to condemnation and righteousness. That to which he objects not in temporal things, he repudiates in spiritual as unjust and unreasonable; giving one man the benefit of another’s doings or another’s sufferings; treating the man who has not paid the debt as if he had done so, because another has paid it for him; or recognizing the legal right of a man to large wealth or a vast estate, no part of which he had earned or deserved, but which had come to him as the gift and fruit of another’s lifetime’s toil. Men object not to receive any kind or amount of this world’s goods from another, though they have done nothing to deserve them, but everything to make them unworthy of them; but they refuse to accept the favour of God, and a standing in righteousness before Him, on the ground of what a Substitute has done and suffered. In earthly things they are willing to be represented by another, but not in heavenly things. The former is all fair, and just, and legal; the latter is absurd, an insult to their understanding, and a depreciation of their worth! Yet if they prized the heavenly as much as they do the earthly blessing, they would not entertain such scruples nor raise such objections as to receiving it from another as the result of his work. If God is willing that Christ should represent us, who are we, that we should refuse to be represented by Him? If God is willing to deal with us on the footing of Christ’s obedience, and to reckon that obedience to us as if it had been our own, who are we, that we should reject such a method of blessing, and call it unjust and impossible? This principle or theory of representation, of one man being treated far beyond his deserts in virtue of his being legally entitled to use the name or claims of another, runs through all earthly transaction; and why should it not in like manner pervade the heavenly? —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 90–92.

Faith Is Not Righteousness

Tuesday··2013·09·24
Then [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. —Genesis 15:6 Abraham, by faith, was counted righteous, but his faith was not righteousness, nor was it the ground of his justification. The following paragraph from Horatius Bonar explains this well (although it might seem abstruse on first read). Pay particular attention to the relationship of the Holy Spirit’s work with that of Christ’s as they apply to faith and justification. God reckons the believing man as having done all righteousness, though he has not done any, and though his faith is not righteousness. In this sense it is that faith is counted to us for, or in order to, righteousness,—and that we are ‘justified by faith.’ Faith does not justify as a work, or as a moral act, or a piece of goodness, nor as a gift of the Spirit, but simply because it is the bond between us and the Substitute; a very slender bond in one sense, but strong as iron in another. The work of Christ for us is the object of faith; the Spirit’s work in us is that which produces this faith: it is out of the former, not of the latter, that our peace and justification come. Without the touch of the rod the water would not have gushed forth; yet it was the rock, and not the rod, that contained the water. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 108.
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Lord’s Day 39, 2013

Sunday··2013·09·29
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, And on their mind I will write them,” He then says, “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. —Hebrews 10:11–18 The Cross and the Crown Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) No blood, no altar now, The sacrifice is o’er; No flame, no smoke ascends on high, The lamb is slain no more! But richer blood has flow’d 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 o’er 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 Father’s love: Love of the Father’s 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 with’ring wreath of earth, Man’s prize in mortal strife: ’Tis incorruptible as is the throne, The kingdom of our God and His incarnate Son. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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 39, 2013
The substance of faith: Faith is the acknowledgment of the entire absence of all goodness in us, and the recognition of the cross as the substitute for all the want on our part. Faith saves, because it owns the complete salvation of another, and not because it contributes anything to that salvation. There is no dividing or sharing the work between our own belief and Him in whom we believe. The whole work is His, not ours, from the first to last. Faith does not believe in itself, but in the Son of God. Like the beggar, it receives everything, but gives nothing. It consents to be a debtor forever to the free love of God. Its resting-place is the foundation laid in Zion. It rejoices in another, not in itself. Its song is, ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His mercy He saved us.’ —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 116–117.
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Christ for Us, Christ in Us

Tuesday··2013·10·01
In the front of a church we once belonged to was painted, in German, the phrase from 1 Corinthians 1:23, “We preach Christ crucified.” I don’t know if it’s still there. On at least a couple of occasions, there was discussion of painting it over as a relic of the past, of a now-irrelevant heritage. Some suggested translating it to English. While those ideas are sad indicators of the perceived value of heritage, they are at least somewhat understandable. But one suggestion went further. One person was discomfited with the message itself. If it must stay, she thought, we could at least brighten it up with the addition of “and risen.” My reply to that was that Paul, speaking the words of God himself, felt no need to soften the words with an upbeat postscript. It was enough, for the moment, to preach Christ crucified. And that truth is happy enough: Christ crucified is our justification. The cross is where he declared, “It is finished.” Christ crucified is the good news. That is not to diminish the importance of the resurrection, but Christ’s death and resurrection represent two separate truths. It is by his death that we are in him; it is by his resurrection that he is in us. These two truths, connected as they are in history, must be kept separate doctrinally. ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory’ (Col. i. 27), is a well-known and blessed truth; but Christ in us, our justification, is a ruinous error, leading man away from a crucified Christ—a Christ crucified for us. Christ for us is one truth; Christ in us is quite another. The mingling of these two together, or the transposition of them, is the nullifying of the one finished work of the Substitute. Let it be granted that Christ in us is the source of holiness and fruitfulness (John xv. 4); but let it never be overlooked that first of all there be Christ for us, as our propitiation, our justification, our righteousness. The risen Christ in us, our justification, is a modern theory which subverts the cross. Washing, pardoning, reconciling, justifying, all come from the one work of the cross, not from resurrection. The dying Christ completed the work for us from which all the above benefits flow. The risen Christ but sealed and applied what, three days before, He had done once for all. It is somewhat remarkable that in the Lord’s Supper (as in the passover) there is no reference to resurrection. The broken body and the shed blood are the Alpha and Omega of that ordinance. In it we have communion (not with Christ as risen and glorified, but) with the body of Christ and the blood of Christ (1 Cor. x. 16), that is, Christ upon the cross. ‘This do in remembrance of me.’ ‘As oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.’ If, after we have been at the cross, we are to pass on and leave it behind us, as no longer needed, seeing we are justified by the risen Christ in us, let those who hold that deadly error say why all reference to resurrection should be excluded from the great feast; and why the death of the Lord should be the one object presented to us at the table. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 121–122.
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It is not incarnation on the one hand, nor is it resurrection on the other, on which we are thus to feed, and out of which this life comes forth; it is that which lies between these two,—death,—the sacrificial death of the Son of God. It is not the personality nor the life-history of the Christ of God which is the special quickener and nourishment of our souls, but the blood-shedding. Not that we are to separate the former from the latter, but still it is on the latter that we are specially to feed, and this all the days of our life. ‘Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed for us.’ Hence we rest, protected by the paschal blood, and feeding on the paschal lamb, with its unleavened bread and bitter herbs, from day to day. ‘Let us keep the feast’ (1 Cor. v. 8). Wherever we are, let us keep it. For we carry our passover with us, always ready, always fresh. With girded loins and staff in hand, as wayfarers, we move along, through the rough or the smooth of the wilderness, our face toward the land of promise. That paschal lamb is Christ crucified. As such He is our protection, our pardon, our righteousness, our food, our strength, our peace. Fellowship with Him upon the cross is the secret of a blessed and holy life. We feed on that which has passed through the fire; on that which has come from the altar. No other food can quicken or sustain the spiritual life of a believing man. The unbroken body will not suffice; nor will the risen or glorified body avail. The broken body and shed blood of the Son of God form the viands on which we feast; and it is under the shadow of the cross that we sit down to partake of these, and find refreshment for our daily journey, strength for our hourly warfare. His flesh is meat indeed; His blood is drink indeed. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 123–125.
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By Faith We Have Peace

Wednesday··2013·10·09
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. —1 John 5:13 One may be saved, and lack assurance of salvation, but without assurance, no one can enjoy a full relationship with God. God has given us this gospel not merely for the purpose of securing to us life hereafter, but of making us sure of this life even now. It is a true and sure gospel; so that he who believes it is made sure of being saved. If it could not make us sure, it would make us miserable; for to be told of such a salvation and such a glory, yet kept in doubt as to whether they are to be ours or not, must render us truly wretched. What a poor gospel it must be, which leaves the man who believes it still in doubt as to whether he is a child of God, an unpardoned or a pardoned sinner! Till we have found forgiveness, we cannot be happy; we cannot serve God gladly or lovingly; but must be in some bondage or gloom. This is the view of the matter which Scripture sets before us; telling us that salvation is a free, a sure, a present gift. ‘He that believeth is justified’ (Acts xiii. 39). ‘He that believeth hath everlasting life’ (John iii. 36). The Bible gives no quarter to unbelief or doubting. It does not call it humility. It does not teach us to think better of ourselves for doubting. It does not countenance uncertainty or darkness. This was the view taken of the subject by our fathers, from the Reformation downwards. They held that a man ought to know that he is justified; and that it was Popery to teach uncertainty, or to set aside the full assurance of faith, or to hold that this sureness was not to be had from the beginning of a man’s conversion, but only to be gathered up in process of years, by summing up his good feelings and good deeds, and concluding from his own excellences that he must be one of the elect, a man in favour with God. Our fathers believed that the jailer at Philippi rejoiced as soon as he received the good news which Paul preached to him (Acts xvi. 34). Our fathers believed that, ‘being justified by faith, we have peace with God’ (Rom. 5:1), and that the life of a believing man is a life of known pardon; a life of peace with God; a life of which the outset was the settlement of the great question between himself and God; a life in which, as being a walk with God, the settlement of that question did not admit of being deferred or kept doubtful: for without felt agreement, without conscious reconciliation, intercourse was impossible. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 144–145.
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Christ crucified is the burden of the message which God has sent to man. ‘Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.’ The reception of this gospel is eternal life; the non-reception or rejection of it is everlasting death. ‘This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.’ The belief of the gospel saves; the belief of the promise annexed to that gospel makes us sure of this salvation personally. It is not the belief of our belief that assures us of pardon, and gives us a good conscience towards God; but our belief of what God has promised to every one who believes His gospel,—that is eternal life. ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ What is God to me? This is the first question that rises up to an inquiring soul. And the second is like unto it,—What am I to God? On these two questions hang all religion, as well as all joy and life to the immortal spirit. If God is for me, and I am for God, all is well. If God is not for me, and if I am not for God, all is ill (Rom. viii. 31). If He takes my side, and if I take His, there is nothing to fear, either in this world or in that which is to come. If He is not on my side, and if I am not on His, then what can I do but fear? Terror in such a case must be as natural and inevitable as in a burning house or a sinking vessel. Or, if I do not know whether God is for me or not, I can have no rest. In a matter such as this, my soul seeks certainty, not uncertainty. I must know that God is for me, else I must remain in the sadness of unrest and terror. In so far as my actual safety is concerned, everything depends on God being for me; and in so far as my present peace is concerned, everything depends on my knowing that God is for me. Nothing can calm the tempest of my soul, save the knowledge that I am His, and that He is mine. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 162–164.
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Nothing but Certainty Will Do

Friday··2013·10·11
Most Christians will struggle with assurance at some time. It is unnecessary, but normal. To resign oneself to doubt, however, is a grave error. To become comfortable with that uncertainty is a likely sign of unbelief. Therefore, pursue the assurance that is the birthright of every follower of Christ. In the great things of eternity nothing but certainty will do; nothing but certainty can soothe our fears, or set us free to attend to the various questions of lesser moment which every hour brings up. The man who can continue to go about these lesser things, whilst uncertainty still hangs over his everlasting prospects, and the great question between his soul and God is still unsettled must be either sadly hardened or altogether wretched. He who remains in this uncertainty remains a burdened and weary man. He who is contented with this uncertainty is contented with misery and danger. He who clings to this uncertainty as a right thing, can have no pretensions to the name of son, or child, or saint of God: for in that uncertainty is there any feature of resemblance to the son or the saint; anything of the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father; any likeness to the filial spirit of the beloved son of God? He who resolves to remain in this uncertainty is a destroyer of his own soul; and he who tries to persuade others to remain in this uncertainty is a murderer of souls. He who does his best to make himself comfortable without the knowledge of his reconciliation and relationship to God, is a manifest unbeliever; and he who tries to induce others to be comfortable without this knowledge is something worse; if worse can be. That there are many among professing Christians who have not this knowledge, is a painful fact; that there are some who, instead of lamenting this, make their boast of it, is a fact more painful still; that there are even some who proclaim their own uncertainty in order to countenance others in it, is a fact the most painful of all. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 165–167.
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No Such Separation

Monday··2013·10·14
The Lutherans among whom I was raised could not properly be called Arminian, but in some ways did lean that way. In particular, the need to guard against losing one’s salvation was thoroughly inculcated.* On the other hand, assurance of salvation was to be pursued. It was a contradiction I never did get over until, with regret, I broke with Lutheranism and gradually grew into Calvinism. Only a thorough-going monergist, who sees the unity of God’s salvation from election to final glorification, can possess unshakable assurance. Bonar writes: [T]he questions about assurance resolve themselves into that of the knowledge of our relationship to God. To an Arminian, who denies election and the perseverance of the saints, the knowledge of our present reconciliation to God might bring with it no assurance of final salvation; for, according to him, we may be in reconciliation to-day, and out of it to-morrow; but to a Calvinist there can be no such separation. He who is once reconciled is reconciled forever; and the knowledge of filial relationship just now is the assurance of eternal salvation. Indeed, apart from God’s electing love, there can be no such thing as assurance. It becomes an impossibility. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 167. * At least they never told me to “look to my baptism” like most evangelical Lutherans would.
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Pursuit of Peace

Tuesday··2013·10·15
No one wants to live in fear, or even mild unease. Consequently, we do what we can to reconcile internal conflicts and set our minds at ease. Unbelievers in particular, who must bear their sins and afflictions without divine relief or comfort, struggle to find peace. Bonar lists a few of the ways in which rest is pursued: 1. By forgetting God. It is the remembrance of God that troubles a sinner. He could get over many of his disquietudes, if he could keep God at a distance. He tries to thrust Him out of his thoughts, his heart, his mind, his conscience. Though he could succeed, what would it avail? He would only bring himself more surely into the number of those who shall be ‘turned into hell’; for they are they who ‘forget God.’ What will forgetting God do for a soul? What will it avail to thrust Him out of our thoughts? 2. By following the world. The heart must be filled by some one or in some way. Man betakes himself to the world, as that which is most congenial, and most likely to satisfy his cravings. Pleasure, gaiety, business, folly, change, gold, friends,—these man tries; but in vain. Peace comes not. 3. By working hard and denying self. The dispeace of a troubled conscience comes from the thought of evil deeds done, or good deeds left undone. This dispeace he tries to remove by trying to shake off the evil that is in him, and to introduce the good that is not in him. But the hard labour is fruitless. It does not pacify the conscience or assure him of pardon, without which there can be no peace. 4. By being very religious. He does not know that true religion is the fruit or result of peace found, not the way to it, or the price paid for it. He may be on his knees from morn to night, and may make long fastings and vigils, or prosecute his devotional performances till body and soul are worn out; but all will not do. Peace is as far off as ever. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 167. These are traps that believers may needlessly fall into as well. By these means, one might dull the edge of worry. But Christ offers a better way, which is, in fact, the only way: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29).
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The Portion of Every Believing Sinner

Wednesday··2013·10·16
A final word on assurance from Horatius Bonar: Is my soul at rest? If so, whence has the rest come? If not, why is it not at rest? Is unrest a necessity, after Christ has said, ‘I will give you rest’? Am I satisfied with the gospel? Is my heart content with Christ Himself, and my conscience with what He has done? If not content, why? What aileth me at Him and His work? Would I have something added to that work, or something taken from it? Is it not, at this moment, exactly the thing for me; exactly the thing which contains all the peace and rest I need? and am I not, at this moment, exactly the person whom it suits; to whom, without any change or delay, it offers all its fullness? The propitiation and the righteousness finished on the cross, and there exhibited as well as presented to me freely, are such as entirely meet my case: offering me all that which is fitted to remove dispeace and unrest from heart and conscience; revealing as they do the free love of God to the sinner, and providing for the removal of every hindrance in the way of that love flowing down; proclaiming aloud the rent veil, and the open way, and the gracious welcome, and the plenteous provision, and the everlasting life. Peace does not save us, yet it is the portion of a saved soul. Assurance does not save us; and they have erred who have spoken of assurance as indispensable to salvation. For we are not saved by believing in our own salvation, nor by believing anything whatsoever about ourselves. We are saved by what we believe about the Son of God and His righteousness. The gospel believed saves; not the believing in our own faith. Nevertheless, let us know that assurance was meant to be the portion of every believing sinner. It was intended not merely that he should be saved, but that he should know that he is saved, and so delivered from all fear and bondage, and heaviness of heart. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 172–174.

No Need for the Cross?

Monday··2013·10·21
Among my readers, I doubt if there are many, if any at all, who believe in perfectionism. You may not even know such people exist, who believe that Christians can progress in sanctification to the point that they no longer sin. Such a ridiculous belief necessarily depends on some redefinition of sin—which is where this begins to apply to you and me. We often redefine sin, perhaps unconsciously, to avoid facing it as it is. We “make mistakes,” “ mess up,” etc., often, but only sin—really sin—now and then. We need to ask, to slightly modify Bonar, “Are we really as holy as we think we are? Do we know how badly we still need Christ and the cross?” Let me say to one who thinks he has reached sinlessness, ‘My friend, are you sure that you are perfectly holy? For nothing but absolute certainty should lead you to make so bold an affirmation regarding your freedom from all sin. Are you sure that you love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul? For unless you are absolutely sure of this, you have no right to say, I am perfectly holy; and it will be a perilous thing for you to affirm, I have no longer any need of the blood, and I refuse to go to the fountain for cleansing, seeing my going thither would be mockery. For the cross, the blood, the fountain, are for the imperfect, not for the perfect; for the unrighteous, not for the righteous; and if your self-consciousness is correct, you are no longer among the imperfect or the unrighteous. My friend, do you never sin, in thought, or in word, or in desire, or in deed? Have you never a wandering thought? Is your heart as warm and are your affections as heavenly as you could possibly desire them to be? What! not one stray thought from morn to night, from night to morn? Not one wrong word, nor look, nor tone? What! no coldness, no want of fervour, no flagging of zeal, no momentary indulgence of self and sloth? What! no error (for error is sin), no false judgment, no failure of temper, no improper step, no imperfect plan; nothing to regret, nothing to wish unsaid or undone in the midst of a world like ours, with all its provocations, its crosses, it worries, its oppositions, its heated atmosphere of infectious evil? And art thou sure, quite sure, that all this is the case; and that thy conscience is so perfectly alive, so divinely sensitive, that the faintest expressions of evil in the remotest corner of thy heart would be detected? If so, thou art an extraordinary man, far above him who was less than the least of all saints; above him who said, “The good that I would, that I do not; and the evil that I would not, that I do”; and one whose history will require to be written by some immortal pen, as that of the man who, after a few years believing, ceased to require any application to the cross, or to be indebted to the blood for cleansing, who could look at altar, and laver, and mercy-seat as one who had no longer any interest in their provisions; nay, as one to whom a crucified Christ was a thing of the past, of whom he had now no need as a Sin-bearer; or High Priest, or Advocate, or Intercessor, but only as a companion and friend.’ —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 190–192.
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God’s Greatest Works Rise Slowly

Wednesday··2013·10·23
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. —2 Corinthians 5:17 We know that when God saves us, he does not leave us as we were. This knowledge can lead to frustration when our flesh continues to manifest its presence in our lives. It can also lead us to judge Christians around us too harshly or hastily. We must remember that God’s processes are not always rapid. His greatest works rise slowly. Swiftness of growth has been one of man’s tests of greatness; not so is it with God. His trees grow slowly; the stateliest are the slowest. His flowers grow slowly; the brightest are the slowest. His creatures grow slowly, year by year; man, the noblest, grows the most slowly of all. God can afford to take His time. Man cannot. He is hasty and impatient. He will have everything to be like Jonah’s gourd, or like one of those fabled oriental palaces, which magicians are said to call up by a word or a stamp, out of the sand. He forgets how slowly the palm tree and the cedar grow. They neither spring up in a night nor perish in a night. He forgets the history of the temple: ‘Forty and six years was this temple in building.’ He insists that, because it is God’s purpose that His saints should be holy, therefore they ought to be holy at once. It is true that our standard is, and must be, perfection. For our model is the Perfect One. But the question is, Has God in Scripture anywhere led us to expect the rapidity of growth, the quick development of perfection in which some glory, and because of the confessed lack of which in others they look down on these others as babes or loiterers? Is there in Scripture any instance of a perfect man, excepting Him who was always and absolutely without sin? If Christians were perfect, where is the warfare, and the adversary, and the sword, and the shield? Are angels exposed to this warfare when they visit earth? Or is it not our imperfection that in great measure produces this? And are we anywhere in Scripture led to believe that we are delivered from ‘the body of this death,’ from the battle of flesh and spirit, from the wrestling with principalities and powers, till death sets us free, or our Lord shall come? Yet we are called with a holy calling (2 Tim. i. 9); and as so called, are bound to take the highest standard for our model of life. The slowness or swiftness of the progress does not alter the standard, nor affect our aiming at conformity to it. This progress, rapid or gradual, springs from the forgiveness we have received, and the new life imparted by the Holy Spirit. Our life is to be fruit-bearing; and the fruitfulness comes from our ascertained acceptance, our being ‘rooted and grounded in love.’ We taste and see that the Lord is good; that in His favour is life; that the joy of the Lord is our strength; and so we move on and up, rising from one level to another. ‘We know and believe the love that God hath to us’; and we find in this the source of goodness, no less than of gladness and liberty. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 192–194.

The Life of the Justified Is Peaceful

Thursday··2013·10·24
Horatius Bonar lists eleven characteristics of “the life of the justified.” This is the first: The life of the justified should be a peaceful one. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God,—the God of peace, and the God of all grace. The world’s storms have not been stilled, nor our way smoothed, nor our skies brightened, nor our enemies swept away; but the peace of God has come in and taken possession of the soul. We are cheered and comforted. God is for us, and who can be against us? The name of the Lord is our strong tower; we run into it, and are safe. No evil can happen to us; no weapon that is formed against us can prosper. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 194–195.

The Life of the Justified Is Holy

Friday··2013·10·25
The second of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified should be a holy one, all the more because of the extent of previous unholiness. ‘And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Cor. 6:11). All that these marvellous and mysterious words ‘holy’ and ‘holiness’ imply, is to be found in the life of one who has been ‘much forgiven.’ There is no spring of holiness so powerful as that which our Lord assumes . . . Free and warm reception into the divine favour is the strongest of all motives in leading a man to seek conformity to Him who has thus freely forgiven him all trespasses. A cold admission into the paternal house by the father might have repelled the prodigal, and sent him back to his lusts; but the fervent kiss, the dear embrace, the best robe, the ring, the shoes, the fatted calf, the festal song,—all without one moment’s suspense or delay, as well as without one upbraiding word, could not but awaken shame for the past, and true-hearted resolution to walk worthy of such a father, and of such a generous pardon. ‘Revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries,’ come to the abhorrence of him round whom the holy arms of renewed fatherhood have been so lovingly thrown. Sensuality, luxury, and the gaieties of the flesh have lost their relish to one who has tasted the fruit of the tree of life. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 195–196.

The Life of the Justified Is Loving

Monday··2013·10·28
The third of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified should be a loving one. It is love that has made him what he is, and shall he not love in return? Shall he not love Him that begat, and him also that is begotten of Him? The deep true spring of love is thus revealed to us by the Lord Himself: ‘A certain creditor had two debtors; the one owed five hundred pence, the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?’ (Luke vii. 41, 42.) Thus love produces love. The life of one on whom the fullness of the free love of God is ever shining must be a life of love. Suspense, doubt, terror, darkness, must straiten and freeze; but the certainty of free and immediate love dissolves the ice, and kindles the coldest spirit into the warmth of love. ‘We love Him because He first loved us.’ Love to God, love to the brethren, love to the world, spring up within us as the heavenly love flows in. Malevolence, anger, envy, jealously, receive their death-blow. The nails of the cross have gone through all these, and their deadly wound cannot be healed. They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts. Sternness, coldness, distance, depart; and are succeeded by gentleness, mildness, guilelessness, meekness, ardour, long-suffering. The tempers of the old man quit us, we know not how; and in their place comes the ‘charity which suffereth long, and is kind, which envieth not, which vaunteth not itself, which is not puffed up, which doth not behave itself unseemly, which seeketh not her own, which is not easily provoked, which thinketh no evil, which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, which beareth all things, which believeth all things, which never faileth’ (1 Cor. xiii. 4–8). Gentle and loving and simple should be the life of the justified; meek and lowly should they be, who have been loved with such a love. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 196–197.

The Life of the Justified Is Earnest

Tuesday··2013·10·29
The fourth of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified should be an earnest one. For everything connected with his acceptance has been earnest on the part of God; and the free forgiveness on which he has entered, in believing, nerves, and cheers, and animates. It is a spring of courage, and hardihood, and perseverance. It makes the coward brave; it says to the weak, Be strong; to the indolent, Arise; making the forgiving man ready to face danger, and toil, and loss; arming him with a new-found energy, and crowning him with sure success. ‘Ready to spend and be spent’ is his motto now. ‘I am debtor’ is his watch-word, debtor first of all to Him who forgave me; after that, to the church of God, redeemed with the same blood, and filled with the same Spirit; and then after that to the world around, still sunk in sin and struggling with a thousand sorrows, under which it has no comforter, and of whose termination it has no hope. How thoroughly in earnest should be the life of one thus pardoned,—pardoned so freely, yet at such a cost to Him who ‘gave His life a ransom for many!’ —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 197–198.

The Life of the Justified Is Generous

Wednesday··2013·10·30
The fifth of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified should be a generous one. All connected with his justification has been boundless generosity on the part of God. He spared not His own Son, and will He not with Him also freely give us all things? The love of God has been of the largest, freest kind; and shall this not make us generous? The gifts of God have been all of them on the most unlimited scale; and shall not this boundless liberality make us liberal in the highest and truest sense? Can a justified man be covetous, or slow to part with his gold? God has given His Son; He has given His Spirit; He has given us eternal life; He has given us an everlasting kingdom. And shall these gifts not tell upon us? shall they not expand and elevate us? or shall they leave us narrow and shriveled as before? Surely we are called to a noble life; a life far above the common walk of humanity; a life far above that of those who, disbelieving the liberality of God, are trying to merit His favour, or to purchase His kingdom by moral goodnesses or ceremonial performances of their own. Not unselfish merely, but self-denying men, we are called to be; not self-pleasers, nor man-pleasers, nor flesh-pleasers, nor world-pleasers; but pleasers of God, like Enoch (Heb. xi. 5), or like a greater than Enoch, as it is written, ‘Even Christ pleased not Himself’ (Rom. xv. 3). ‘We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification,’ i.e. to the edification or building up of the body of Christ (Rom. xv. 2). Selfishness, self-love, self-seeking, have been in all ages the scandal of the church of God. ‘All seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s’ (Phil. ii. 21), was the sad testimony of the apostle to the Philippian church, even in early days: so little had God’s marvellous love told even upon those who believed it; so obstinate was the contraction of the human heart, and so unwilling to yield to the enlarging pressure of an influence which men in common things deem irresistible. To love warmly, to give largely, to sympathize sincerely, to help unselfishly; these are some of the noble fruits to be expected from the belief of a love that passeth knowledge. Self-sacrifice ought not to seem much to those for whom Christ has died, and whom He now represents upon the throne. Generous deeds and gifts and words ought to be as natural as they are becoming in those who have been so freely loved, so abundantly pardoned, and so eternally blest. Narrow hearts are the fruits of a narrow pardon, and of an uncertain favour; poor gifts are the produce of stinted and grudging giving; but large-heartedness and open-handedness may surely be looked for from those whom the boundless liberality of God has made partakers of the unsearchable riches of Christ, and heirs of the kingdom which can not be moved. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 198–201.

The Life of the Justified Is Lofty

Thursday··2013·10·31
The sixth of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified should be a lofty one. Littleness, and meanness, and earthliness, do not become the pardoned. They must mount up on wings as eagles, setting their affection on things above. Having died with Christ and risen with Him, they sit with Him in heavenly places (Eph. ii. 6). In the world, and yet not of it, they rise above it; possessed of a heavenly citizenship (Phil. iii. 20), and expecting an unearthly recompense at the return of Him who has gone to prepare a place for them. High thoughts, high aims, high longings, become them of whom Christ was not merely the substitute upon the cross, but the representative upon the throne,—the forerunner, who has entered within the veil, and ever liveth to intercede for us. Shall he who has been freely justified grovel in the dust, or creep along the polluted soil of earth? Shall such a justification as he has received not be the source of superhuman elevation of character, making him unworldly in his hopes, in his tastes, in his works, in the discharge of his daily calling? Shall not such a justification act upon his whole being, and pervade his life; making him a thoroughly consistent man in all things; each part of his course becoming his name and prospects; and his whole man symmetrical, his whole Christianity harmonious? —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 201–202.

The Life of the Justified Is Decided

Friday··2013·11·01
The seventh of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified is a decided one. It does not oscillate between goodness and evil, between Christ and the world. The justifying cross has come between him and all evil things; and that which released him from the burden of guilt has, in so doing, broken the bondage of sin. Even if at any time he feels as if he could return to that country from which he set out, the cross stands in front, and arrests his backward step. Between him and Egypt rolls the Red Sea, now flowing in its strength, so that he cannot pass. . . . The world is crucified to him, and he unto the world, by the saving cross. His first look to the cross committed him. He began, and he cannot go back. It would be mean as well as perilous to do so. There is henceforth to be no mistake about him. His heart is no longer divided, and his eye no longer roams. He has taken up the cross, and he is following the Lamb. He has gone in at the strait gate, and is walking along the narrow way; and at the entrance thereof stands the cross barring his return. Over his entrance there was joy in heaven; and shall he at any time turn that joy into sorrow by even seeming to go back? —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 202–203.

The Life of the Justified Is Useful

Monday··2013·11·04
The eighth of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified is a useful one. He has become a witness for Him who has thrown over him the shadow of His cross. He can tell what the bitterness of sin is, and what is the burden of guilt. He can speak of the rolling away of the stone from the sepulchre of his once dead soul, and of the angel sitting on that stone clothed in light. He can make known the righteousness which he has found, and in finding which he has been brought into liberty and gladness. Out of the abundance of his heart, and in the fullness of his liberated spirit, his mouth speaketh. He cannot but speak of the things which he now possesses, that he may induce others to come and share the fullness. He is bent on doing good. He has no hours to throw away. He knows that the time is short, and he resolves to redeem it. He will not waste a life that has been redeemed at such a cost. It is not his own, and he must keep in mind the daily responsibilities of a life thus bought for another. As one of the world’s lights, in the absence of the true light, he must be always shining, to lessen in some degree the darkness of earth, and to kindle heavenly light in souls who are now excluding it. As one of the sowers of the heavenly seed, he must never be idle, but watching opportunities,—making opportunities for sowing it as he goes out and in; it may be in weakness, it may be in tears. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 203–204.

The Life of the Justified Is Wisdom & Truth

Tuesday··2013·11·05
The ninth of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified is the life of wisdom and truth. He has become ‘wise in Christ’; nay, ‘Christ has been made unto him wisdom’ as well as righteousness. It is thus that he has become ‘wise unto salvation,’ and he feels that he must hold fast the truth that saves. To trifle with that truth, to tamper with error, would be to deny the cross. He by whom he is justified is Himself the truth, and every man who receives that truth becomes a witness for it. By the truth he is saved; by the truth he is made free; by the truth he is made clean; by the truth he is sanctified; and therefore it is precious to him, every jot and tittle. Each fragment broken off is so much lost to his spiritual well-being; and each new discovery made in the rich field of truth is so much eternal gain. He has bought the truth, and he will not sell it. It is his life; it is his heritage; it is his kingdom. He counts all truth precious, and all error hateful. He dreads the unbelief that is undermining the foundations of truth, and turning its spacious palaces into the chaos of human speculations. He calls no truth obsolete or out of date; for he knows that the truths on which he rests for eternity are the oldest of old, and yet the surest of sure. To introduce doubt as to the one sacrifice on which he builds, is to shake the cross of Calvary. To lay another foundation than that already laid, is to destroy his one hope. To take the sacrificial element out of the blood, is to make peace with God impossible, because unrighteous. To substitute the church for Christ, or the priest for the herald of pardon, or the rite for the precious blood, or the sacrament for the living Christ upon the throne, or the teachings of the church for the enlightenment of the Holy Ghost,—this is to turn light into darkness, and then to call that darkness light. Thus taught by that Spirit who has led him to the cross, the justified man knows how to discern truth from error. He has the unction from the Holy One, and knows all things (1 John ii. 20); he has the anointing which is truth, and is no lie (1 John ii. 27); and he can try the spirits, whether they are of God (1 John iv. 1). Want of sensitiveness to the difference between truth and error is one of the evil features of modern Protestantism. Sounding words, well-executed pictures, pretentious logic, carry away multitudes. The distinction between Gospel and no Gospel is very decided and very momentous; yet many will come away from a sermon in which the free gospel has been overlaid, not sensible of the want, and praising the preacher. The conversions of recent years have not the depth of other days. Consciences are half-awakened and half-pacified; the wound is slightly laid open, and slightly healed. Hence the want of spiritual discernment as to truth and error. The conscience is not sensitive, else it would at once refuse and resent any statement, however well argued or painted, which encroached in the slightest degree upon the free gospel of God’s love in Christ; which interposed any obstacle between the sinner and the cross; or which merely declaimed about the cross, without telling us especially how it saves and how it purifies. We need sensitive but not morbid consciences to keep us steadfast in the faith, to preserve our spiritual eyesight unimpaired, remembering the apostle’s words, ‘He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins’ (2 Pet. i. 9). Censoriousness is one thing, and spiritual discernment is quite another. To avoid the first we do not need to give up the second: though the ‘liberality’ of modern times would recommend us to be charitable to error, and not very tenacious of any Bible truth, seeing that nothing in an age of culture can be received but that which has been pronounced credible by philosophy or science, and which the ‘verifying faculty’ has adjudged to be true! —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 204–207.

The Life of the Justified Is Prayer & Praise

Wednesday··2013·11·06
The tenth of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified must be one of praise and prayer. His justification has drawn him near to God. It has opened his lips and enlarged his heart. He cannot but praise; he cannot but pray. He has ten thousand things to ask for; he has ten thousand things for which to give thanks. He knows what it is to speak in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in his heart to the Lord (Col. iii. 16). —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 207.

The Life of the Justified Is Watchful

Thursday··2013·11·07
The eleventh and last of Horatius Bonar’s characteristics of “the life of the justified”: The life of the justified is one of watchfulness. Forgiveness has altered all his circumstances and hopes. It has brought him into a new world, from which are shut out things he was formerly familiar with, and into which are introduced things which he knew not. He sees and hears what he never saw nor heard before; and he ceases to see and hear what but lately he delighted in. He expects changes, and wishes that they were come. The present has become less to him, the future more; and in that future the one absorbing object is the reappearing of Him, whom not having seen he loves. That the future should be a mere repetition of the present,—with a few scientific and political improvements,—is quite enough for the worldly man. But the man who, by his new connection with the cross, has been transported into a new region, is not content that it should be so. He wants a better future, and a more congenial world; he desires a state of things in which the new object of his love shall be all. And learning from Scripture that such a new condition of things is to be expected, and that of that new state Christ is Himself to be the first and last, he looks eagerly out for the fulfillment of these hopes. Learning, moreover, that the arrival of this King and of His kingdom is to be sudden, he is led to wait and watch; all the more because everything here, in the world’s daily history of change, and noise and revelry, is fitted to throw him off his guard. His justification does not lull him asleep. His faith does not make him heedless of the future. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It says, Let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober: watch, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh. Many a trial of her watchfulness has the church had, many a disappointment has her faith sustained; but she does not despond nor give way, remembering the promise, ‘He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.’ Her faith keeps up her vigilance, and her vigilance invigorates her faith. In the darkest hour faith says, ‘I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine’; and hope adds, ‘Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of spices.’ The church watches because of present evil, and coming good; that she may be kept undefiled from the one, and may attain unto the other. Danger from enemies, and the prospect of speedy victory over them, keep her awake. Fear of losing sight of the cross, and so again walking in darkness; suspicion both of the good and the evil things of earth,—its flatteries and its menaces, it toils, its cares, its amusements, its pleasures; anxiety about keeping her garments unspotted and her conscience clean; the sight of the sleeping millions around, and the knowledge that it is upon a sleeping world that the Lord is to come;—these things act powerfully as stimulants, and bid her be watchful. To be among the foolish virgins, without oil and with a dying lamp, when the midnight cry goes forth; to be near the door, and yet shut out; to hear the announcement, ‘The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready,’ and yet not be ready; to be summoned to the festival, and yet to be without the bridal and festal dress; to love, and then to fall from love; to draw the sword, and then in faint-heartedness to sheath it; to run well for a while, and then to slacken speed; to war against Satan as the prince of darkness, and yield to him as an angel of light; to set out with condemning the world, and then to mingle with it; to cleave like Demas to the saints, and then to forsake them; to be among the twelve for a season, then to be a traitor at the last; to be lifted up, like Capernaum, to heaven, and then to be thrust down to hell; to be among the sons of light, and then to fall from heaven like Lucifer, son of the morning; to sit down in the upper chamber with the Lord, and then to betray the Son of man with a kiss; to put on a goodly garment of fair profession, and then to walk naked in shame;—these are the solemn thoughts that crowd in upon the justified man, and keep him watchful. They who know not what it is to be ‘accepted in the Beloved,’ and to ‘rejoice in hope of the glory of God,’ may fall asleep. He dare not; he knows what he is risking, and what one hour of slumber may cost him; and he must be wakeful. He does not make election his opiate, and say, I am safe; but this only makes me doubly vigilant, that I may not dishonour Him who has saved me; and even though I may not finally fall away, I know not how much I may lose by one day’s slothfulness, or how much I may gain by maintaining that watchful attitude to which, as the expectant of an absent Lord, I am called, ‘Blessed is he that watcheth’; and even though I could not see the reason for this, I will act upon it, that I may realize the promised blessedness. He who has called me to vigilance can make me a partaker of its joy. He can make my watchtower, lonely and dark as it may seem, none other than the house of God, and the very gate of heaven. —Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How shall Man be Just with God? (London: James Nisbet and Co, 1873), 207–211.

Lord’s Day 45, 2013

Sunday··2013·11·10
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; —Ecclesiastes 12:1 The End of the Day Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Come, for thy day, thy wasted day is closing, With all its joy and sun: Bright, loving hours have pass’d thee by unheeded; Thy work on earth undone, And all thy race unrun. Folly and pleasure hast thou still been chasing With the world’s giddy throng, Beauty and love have been thy golden idols; And thou hast rush’d along, Still list’ning 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! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 52, 2013

Sunday··2013·12·29
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. —Psalm 18:2 Christ Is All Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) O Everlasting Light, Giver of dawn and day, Dispeller of the ancient night In which creation lay! O Everlasting Light, Shine graciously within! Brightest of all on earth that’s bright Come, shine away my sin! O everlasting Rock, Sole refuge in distress, My fort when foes assail and mock, My rest in weariness! O everlasting Fount, From which the waters burst, The streams from the eternal mount, That quench time’s sorest thirst! O everlasting Health, From which all healing springs, My bliss, my treasure, and my wealth, To Thee my spirit clings. O Everlasting Truth, Truest of all that’s true, Sure guide of erring age and youth, Lead me, and teach me too. O Everlasting Strength, Uphold me in the way; Bring me, in spite of foes, at length To joy and light and day. O Everlasting Love, Wellspring of grace and peace, Pour down Thy fulness from above, Bid doubt and trouble cease. O Everlasting Rest, Lift off life’s load of care; Relieve, revive this burdened breast, And every sorrow bear. Thou art in heaven our All, Our All on earth art Thou; Upon Thy gracious Name we call, Lord Jesus, bless us now. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 7, 2014

Sunday··2014·02·16
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38–39 The Love of God Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) O Love of God, how strong and true! Eternal and yet ever new, Uncomprehended and unbought, Beyond all knowledge and all thought. O love of God, how deep and great! Far deeper than man’s deepest hate; Self-fed, self-kindled like the light, Changeless, eternal, infinite. O heavenly love, how precious still, In days of weariness and ill! In nights of pain and helplessness. To heal, to comfort, and to bless. O wide-embracing, wondrous love, We read thee in the sky above, We read thee in the earth below, In seas that swell and streams that flow. We read thee in the flowers, the trees, The freshness of the fragrant breeze, The song of birds upon the wing, The joy of summer and of spring. We read thee best in Him who came, To bear for us the cross of shame; Sent by the Father from on high, Our life to live, our death to die. We read thee in the manger-bed, On which His infancy was laid; And Nazareth that love reveals, Nestling amid its lonely hills. We read thee in the tears once shed, Over doomed Salem’s guilty head, In the cold tomb of Bethany, And blood-drops of Gethsemane. We read thy power to bless and save, Even in the darkness of the grave; Still more in resurrection-light, We read the fulness of thy might. O love of God, our shield and stay, Through all the perils of our way; Eternal love, in thee we rest, For ever safe, for ever blest! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 13, 2014

Sunday··2014·03·30
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. —2 Timothy 4:7–8 The Battle-Song of the Church Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Fear not the foe, thou flock of God, Fear not the sword, the spear, the rod, Fear not the foe! He fights in vain who fights with thee; Soon shalt thou see his armies flee, Himself laid low. Come, cheer thee to the toil and fight; Tis God, thy God, defends the right; He leads thee on. His sword shall scatter every foe, His shield shall ward off every blow;— The crown is won. His is the battle. His the power, His is the triumph in that hour; In Him be strong. So round thy brow the wreath shall twine, So shall the victory be thine, And thine the song. Not long the sigh, the toil, the sweat, Not long the fight-day’s wasting heat; The shadows come. Slack not thy weapon in the fight; Courage! for God defends the right; Strike home! strike home! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 20, 2014

Sunday··2014·05·18
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. —Matthew 11:28–30 Pass Over to Thy Rest Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) From this bleak hill of storms, To yon warm sunny heights, Where love for ever shines, Pass over to thy rest, The rest of God! From hunger and from thirst, From toil and weariness, From shadows and from dreams, Pass over to thy rest, The rest of God! From tides, and winds, and waves, From shipwrecks of the deep, From parted anchors here, Pass over to thy rest, The rest of God! From weakness and from pain, From trembling and from strife, From watchings and from fears, Pass over to thy rest, The rest of God! From vanity and lies, From mockery and snares, From disappointed hopes, Pass over to thy rest, The rest of God! From falsehoods of the age, From broken ties and hearts, From suns gone down at noon, Pass over to thy rest, The rest of God! From unrealities, From hollow scenes of change, From ache and emptiness, Pass over to thy rest, The rest of God! From this unanchored world, Whose morrow none can tell, From all things restless here, Pass over to thy rest, The rest of God! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 26, 2014

Sunday··2014·06·29
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation. —Psalm 91:14–16 He Liveth Long Who Liveth Well Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) He liveth long who liveth well! All other life is short and vain; He liveth longest who can tell Of living most for heavenly gain. He liveth long who liveth well! All else is being flung away; He liveth longest who can tell Of true things truly done each day. Waste not thy being; back to Him, Who freely gave it, freely give, Else is that being but a dream, ’Tis but to be, and not to live. Be wise, and use thy wisdom well; Who wisdom speaks must live it too; He is the wisest who can tell How first he lived, then spoke, the true. Be what thou seemest; live thy creed; Hold up to earth the torch divine; Be what thou prayest to be made; Let the great Master’s steps be thine. Fill up each hour with what will last; Buy up the moments as they go; The life above, when this is past, Is the ripe fruit of life below. Sow truth if thou the true wouldst reap; Who sows the false shall reap the vain; Erect and sound thy conscience keep; From hollow words and deeds refrain. Sow love and taste its fruitage pure; Sow peace, and reap its harvest bright; Sow sunbeams on the rock and moor, And find a harvest-home of light. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 32, 2014

Sunday··2014·08·10
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. —Philippians 3:7–11 The Christ of God Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) To know the Christ of God, The everlasting Son; To know what He on earth, For guilty man has done: This is the first and last Of all that’s true and wise; The circle that contains all light Beneath, above, the skies. Father, unseal my eyes, Unveil my veiled heart, Reveal this Christ to me! The Christ, the Incarnate Son, The Christ, the eternal Word; The Christ, heaven’s glorious King, The Christ, earth’s coming Lord. The Christ, the sum of all Jehovah’s power and grace, God’s treasure-house of truth and love, The brightness of his face. Father, unseal my eyes, Unveil my veiled heart, Reveal this Christ to me! The Christ who took man’s flesh; Who lived man’s life below; Who died man’s death for man,— The death of shame and woe. The Christ who, from the Cross, Descended to man’s grave, Then rose in victory and joy, Mighty to bless and save! Father, unseal my eyes, Unveil my veiled heart, Reveal this Christ to me! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 38, 2014

Sunday··2014·09·21
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. —1 Corinthians 15:22 The Sin and the Sinbearer Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Humanity hath sinned! Not Adam, but the race has met its fall; Life has gone out from earth, Who shall that life recall? He only who is man! Man and yet God, he can undo the fall; True flesh and blood of earth, He can that life recall. Creation has been struck! Not Eden, but the universal earth; All things beneath the sun Are smitten from their birth. He only loves and saves! Whose cross hath borne creation’s deadly wrong Whose blood shall purge away Creation’s stains ere long. He, the last Adam, lives! He died, was buried, and yet liveth still; Victor o’er hellish hate, Victor o’er human ill! His life is life for us! His joy, his crown, his glory are our own; For us he fought the fight, For us he won the throne. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 45, 2014

Sunday··2014·11·09
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18–20 The Great Message [score] Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) “Quo vos magistri gloria, quo salus  Invitat orbis, sancta cohors Dei  Portate verbum.” Old Hymn Apostles of the risen Christ, go forth! Let love compel. Go, and in risen power proclaim His worth, O’er every region of the dead, cold earth,— His glory tell! Tell how He lived, and toiled, and wept below; Tell all His love; Tell the dread wonders of His awful woe; Tell how He fought our fight and smote our foe, Then rose above. Tell how in weakness He was crucified, But rose in power; Went up on high, accepted, glorified; News of His victory spread far and wide, From hour to hour. Tell how He sits at the right hand of God In glory bright, Making the heaven of heavens His glad abode; Tell how He cometh with the iron rod His foes to smite. Tell how His kingdom shall thro’ ages stand, And never cease; Spreading like sunshine over every land, All nations bowing to His high command, Great Prince of Peace! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 51, 2014

Sunday··2014·12·21
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. —Hebrews 13:8 He Died and Lives Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood, I see the mighty sacrifice, And I have peace with God. ’Tis everlasting peace! Sure as Jehovah’s name, ’Tis stable as his stedfast throne, For evermore the same. The clouds may go and come, And storms may sweep my sky, This blood-sealed friendship changes not, The cross is ever nigh. My love is oftimes low, My joy still ebbs and flows, But peace with him remains the same, No change Jehovah knows. That which can shake the cross May shake the peace it gave, Which tells me Christ has ever died, Or never left the grave! Till then my peace is sure, It will not, cannot yield, Jesus, I know, has died and lives,— On this firm rock I build. I change, he changes not, The Christ can never die; His love, not mine, the resting-place, His truth, not mine, the tie. The cross still stands unchanged, Though heaven is now his home, The mighty stone is rolled away, But yonder is his tomb! And yonder is my peace, The grave of all my woes! I know the Son of God has come, I know he died and rose. I know he liveth now, At God’s right hand above, I know the throne on which he sits, I know his truth and love! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 10, 2016

Sunday··2016·03·06
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. —Psalm 130:5–6 Begin with God Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Begin the day with God! He is thy sun and day; His is the radiance of thy dawn, To him address thy lay. Sing a new song at morn! Join the glad woods and hills; Join the fresh winds and seas and plains, Join the bright flowers and rills. Sing thy first song to God! Not to thy fellow-man; Not to the creatures of his hand, But to the glorious One. Awake, cold lips, and sing! Arise, dull knees, and pray; Lift up, O man, thy heart and eyes; Brush slothfulness away. Look up, beyond these clouds! Thither thy pathway lies; Mount up, away, and linger not, Thy goal is yonder skies. Cast every weight aside! Do battle with each sin; Fight with the faithless world without, The faithless heart within. Take thy first meal with God! He is thy heavenly food; Feed with and on him; he with thee Will feast in brotherhood. Take thy first walk with God! Let him go forth with thee; By stream or sea or mountain-path, Seek still his company. Thy first transaction be With God himself above; So shall thy business prosper well, And all the day be love. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 1, 2017

Sunday··2017·01·01
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” 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.” —John 8:12 Why Walk in Darkness? Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Why walk in darkness? Has the dear light vanished, That gave us joy and day? Has the great Sun departed? Has sin banished His life-begetting ray? Light of the world! for ever, ever shining; There is no change in thee; True light of life, all joy and health enshrining, Thou canst not fade nor flee. Thou hast arisen; but thou descendest never; To day shines as the past; All that thou wast, thou art, and shalt be ever;— Brightness from first to last! Night visits not thy sky, nor storm, nor sadness; Day fills up all its blue: Unfailing beauty, and unfaltering gladness, And love, for ever new! Why walk in darkness? Our true light yet shineth, It is not night but day! All healing and all peace his light enshrineth, Why shun his loving ray? Are night and shadows better, truer, dearer, Than day and joy and love? Do tremblings and misgivings bring us nearer To the great God of love? Light of the world! undimming and unsetting, Oh shine each mist away! Banish the fear, the falsehood, and the fretting, Be our unchanging day! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 7, 2017

Sunday··2017·02·12
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. —Philippians 3:20–21 The New Song. Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Beyond the hills where suns go down, And brightly beckon as they go; I see the land of far renown, The land which I so soon shall know. Above the dissonance of time, And discord of its angry words, I hear the everlasting chime, The music of unjarring chords. I bid it welcome; and my haste To join it cannot brook delay;— O song of morning, come at last, And ye who sing it, come away! O song of light, and dawn, and bliss, Sound over earth, and fill these skies, Nor ever, ever, ever cease Thy soul-entrancing melodies. Glad song of this disburdened earth, Which holy voices then shall sing; Praise for creation’s second birth, And glory to creation’s King! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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Lord’s Day 12, 2017

Sunday··2017·03·19
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. —1 Peter 1:3–5 Bless the Lord. Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) “Laudet Deum omnis os,  Quia patet nova dos,  De excelso cadit ros,  Et in terra crescit flos  Cujus odor sanat nos.” —Hymnus De Vita Christi Speak, lips of mine! And tell abroad The praises of thy God. Speak, stammering tongue! In gladdest tone, Make his high praises known. Speak, sea and earth! Heaven’s utmost star Speak from your realms afar! Take up the note, And send it round Creation’s farthest bound. Speak, heaven of heavens! Wherein our God Has made his bright abode. Speak, angels speak! In songs proclaim His everlasting name. Speak, son of dust! Thy flesh he took, And heaven for thee forsook. Speak, child of death! Thy death he died, Bless thou the Crucified! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). 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");
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