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Love (of God)

(38 posts)

Love—for God’s Sake

Tuesday··2007·09·25
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. —Romans 5:3–5 Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts 5:5. Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God, that is, the love which of God and works in us as unshakable adherence to Him, is shed abroad in our hearts. This love we receive by grace and not on account of our merit; and it makes us willing to endure tribulation. If men are unwilling and of an unstable mind, they do not endure it by the Holy Ghost. St. Augustine remarks on the passage: “Step by step he (the Apostle), leads us toward love, which, as he says, we have as a gift from the Holy Spirit. He shows us thereby that we must ascribe all that we might claim for ourselves to God who by grace grant us His Holy Spirit.” We must understand these words as an added motivation or instruction of the Holy Spirit, showing why we can glory in tribulation, though this is impossible by our own strength. It is not the effect of our own power, but it comes from the divine love which is given us by the Holy Ghost. Let us note: 1. It is shed abroad, hence not born in us or originated by us. 2. It is by the Holy Ghost, therefore it is not acquired by our virtuous efforts as we may acquire good habits which lie on merely moral plane. 3. In our hearts, that is, it is in the innermost course of our being, not merely on the surface, as a foam is swimming on the top of the water. Such (superficial) love is that of the hypocrites who imagine and pretend to love. 4. Which is given unto us, that is, which is not merited, for we deserve the very opposite. 5. It is called love (caritas) in contradistinction to the inert and lower form of love with which we love creatures. It is a precious and worthy love, by which we most highly esteem that which we love, as we esteem God above all things, or as we love Him with highest esteem. He who loves God merely for the sake of His gifts or the sake of any advantage, loves Him with the lowest form of love, that is, with a sinful desire. Such (earthly) love means to use God, but not to delight in God. 6. Of God, because only God is so loved. The neighbor is loved for God’s sake, that is, because God wills this. —Martin Luther, Luther’s Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1954), 76–77.

What the World Truly Needs

Monday··2008·05·05 · 2 Comments
John’s witness to Jesus tells us why he came: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Do you realize that this is what the world truly needs—to have its sins taken away and to be reconciled to God? Do you realize that this is your great need? Every sinner—every man, woman, or child who has broken God’s holy law (and that is every one of us)—stands condemned before God’s judicial wrath. By rights, God is opposed to us and not for us. Nonetheless, He loves the world, so He sent His only Son to be the Lamb to take away our sin. Ryle explains: “Christ did not come on earth to be a conqueror, or a philosopher, or a mere teacher of morality. He come to save sinners. He came to do that which man could never do for himself—to do that which money and learning can never obtain—to do that which is essential to man’s real happiness: He came to ‘take away sin.’” —Richard D. Phillips, Jesus the Evangelist (Reformation Trust Publishing, 2007), 35.

An Everlasting Love

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

Two Beautiful Words

Tuesday··2008·08·12 · 2 Comments
What are the most beautiful words you’ve ever heard? You might be thinking of several possibilities: the first time you heard the words “I love you” from your spouse; news that a seriously ill or injured loved one would recover, or some impending disaster had been averted; or any number of things that would be cause for great joy. I believe the most beautiful phrase ever spoken begins with, of all things, the word but. We don’t normally think of but as a prelude to good news. Maybe your boss has said, “You’re doing a good job, but . . .” What young man (except me, of course) hasn’t heard, “I like you, but . . .” from a young lady. What follows the but is seldom good. But is most often not a word we want to hear. But . . . Add one word to that but, and everything changes. That word (if you are a child of God) is God. Hunted by enemies: “David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.” (1 Samuel 23:14). Weak and faltering: “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26). We are constantly in need of God’s intervention. We live in need of but God. Nowhere is this phrase displayed in more glorious beauty than in Ephesians 2:1–9: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. We were dead in sin; we lived in a worldly manner, led by Satan himself; and we kept company among others of our kind, satisfying our lusts, bringing upon ourselves the wrath of God . . . but God . . . loved us anyway, in spite of our wretched sinfulness, raised us to life, and, purely by grace, gave us the gift of saving faith, and has given us citizenship in his kingdom with Christ. For what purpose? That he might demonstrate the glory of his grace toward us in Christ. We were dead, but God . . .
God is love. It is appropriate that this phrase has become so well used in describing God, for God’s love is his one characteristic which explains the relationship he has chosen to have with us. But this phrase is much misunderstood and misused. It has been used to the exclusion of God’s other attributes, such as his holiness and justice. It is also used in a trite way, being equated to human affections. But, compared to God’s love, the deepest human affections are pitifully shallow. Packer defines God’s love thusly: “God’s love is an exercise of his goodness toward individual sinners whereby, having identified himself with their welfare, he has given his Son to be their Savior, and now brings them to know and enjoy him in a covenant relation.” He explains, 1. Gods love is an exercise of his goodness. The bible means by God’s goodness his cosmic generosity. Goodness in God, writes Berkhof, is “that perfection in God which prompts him to deal bountifully and kindly with all His creatures. It is the affection which the creator feels toward His sentient creatures as such.” (Systematic Theology, p. 70, citing Ps 145:9, 15–16; compare Lk 6:35; Acts 14:7). Of this goodness God’s love is the supreme and most glorious manifestation. . . . 2. God’s love is an exercise of his goodness toward sinners. As such it has the nature of grace and mercy. It is an outgoing of God in kindness which is not merely undeserved but is actually contrary to desert; for the objects of God’s love are rational creatures who have broken God’s law, whose nature is corrupt in God’s sight, and who merit only condemnation and final banishment from his presence. It is staggering that God should love sinners; yet it is true. God loves creatures who have become unlovely and (one would have though) unlovable. There was nothing whatever in the object of his love to call it forth; nothing in us could attract or prompt it. Love among persons is awakened by something in the beloved, but the love of God is free, spontaneous, unevoked, uncaused. God loves people because he has chosen to love them . . . no reason for his love can be given except his own sovereign pleasure. . . . 3. God’s love is an exercise in his goodness toward individual sinners. It is not a vague, defused good will toward everyone in general and nobody in particular; rather, as being a function of omniscient almightiness, its nature is to particularize both its objects and its effects. God’s purpose of love, formed before creation (Eph 1:4), involved, first, the choice and selection, of those whom he would bless, and second, the appointment of the benefits to be given them and the means whereby these benefits would be procured and enjoyed. All this was made sure from the start. . . . The exercise of God’s love toward individual sinners in time is the execution of his purpose to bless those same individual sinners’a purpose which he formed in eternity. 4. God’s love to sinners involves his identifying himself with their welfare. Such an identification is involved in all love: it is, indeed, the test of whether love is genuine or not. If a father continues cheerful and carefree while his son is getting into trouble, or if a husband remains unmoved when his wife is in distress, we wonder at once how much love there can be in their relationship, for we know that those who truly love are only happy when those whom they love are truly happy also. So it is with God and his love for us. . . . It is not for nothing that the Bible habitually speaks of God as the loving Father and Husband of his people. It follows from the very nature of these relationships that God’s happiness will not be complete till all his beloved ones are finally out of trouble: Till all the ransomed church of God Be saved, to sin no more. . . .  Thus God saves, not only for his glory, but also for his gladness. . . . 5. God’s love to sinners was expressed by the gift of his Son to be their Savior. The measure of his love is how much it gives, and the measure of the love of God is the gift of his only Son to become human, and to die for sins, and so to become the one mediator who can bring us to God. . . . Thus, John goes straight on from his first “God is love” to say, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 Jn 4:9–10). Similarly, in his Gospel, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall . . . have eternal life” (Jn. 3: 16). So too Paul writes, “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinner, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). . . . 6. God’s love to sinners reaches its objective as it brings them to know and enjoy him in a covenant relation. A covenant relation is one in which two parties are permanently pledged to each other in mutual service and dependence. (example: marriage). A covenant promise is one by which a covenant relation is set up. (example: marriage vows). Biblical religion has the form of covenant relation with God. . . . All Christians inherit this promise through faith in Christ, as Paul argues in Galatians 3:15–29. What does it mean? It is truth in a pantechnicon promise: it contains everything. “This is the first and fundamental promise,” declared Sibbes, the Puritan; “indeed, it is the life and soul of all the promises” (Works VI, 8). . . . Thus faith in Christ introduces us into a relation big with incalculable blessing, both now and for eternity. —J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 123–127.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:28–39 When Jesus Died on the cross, he did not merely make our salvation possible; he actually secured that salvation—and all that it entails—for each of his elect. J. I. Packer expounds this truth from Romans 8: The thought expressed by Paul’s [question in v. 32] is that no good thing will finally be withheld from us. He conveys this thought by pointing to the adequacy of God as our sovereign benefactor and to the decisiveness of his redeeming work for us. Three comments will bring out the force of Paul’s argument. Note, first, what Paul implies about the costliness of our redemption. “He did not spare his own Son.” In saving us, God went to the limit. . . . We cannot know what Calvary cost the Father, any more than we can know Jesus felt as he tasted the penalty due to our sins. . . . Yet we can say this: that if the measure of love is what it gives, then there never was such love as God showed to sinners at Calvary, nor will any subsequent love-gift to us cost God so much. So if God has already commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (5:8), it is believable, to say the least, that he will go on to give us “all things” besides. . . . But this is not all. Note, second, what Paul implies about the effectiveness of our redemption. “God,” he says, “gave him up for us all”—and this fact is itself the guarantee that “all things” will be given us, because they all come to us as the direct fruit of Christ’s death. We have just said that the greatness of God’s giving on the cross makes his further giving (if the words may be allowed) natural and likely, but what we must note now is that the unity of God’s saving purpose makes such further giving necessary, and therefore certain. At this point the New Testament view of the cross involves more than is sometimes realized. That the apostolic writers present the death of Christ as the ground and warrant of God’s offer of forgiveness, and that we enter into forgiveness through repentance and faith in Christ, will not be disputed. But does this mean that, as a loaded gun is only potentially explosive, and an act of pulling the trigger is needed to make it go off, so Christ’s death achieved only a possibility of salvation, needing an exercise of faith on our part to trigger it off and make it actual? If so, then it is not strictly Christ’s death that saves us at all, any more than it is loading the gun that makes it fire: strictly speaking, we save ourselves by our faith, and for all we know, Christ’s death might not have saved anyone, since it might have been the case that nobody believed the gospel. But that is not how the New Testament sees it. The New Testament view is that the death of Christ has actually saved “us all”—all, that is to say, whom God foreknew, and has called and justified, and will in due course glorify. For our faith, which from the human point of view is the means of salvation, is from God’s point of view part of salvation, and is as directly and completely God’s gift to us as is the pardon and peace of which faith lays hold. Psychologically, faith is our own act, but the theological truth about it is that it is God’s work in us: our faith, and our new relationship with God as believers, and all the divine gifts that are enjoyed within this relationship, were all alike secured for us by Jesus’ death on the cross. For the cross was not an isolated event; it was, rather, the focal point in God’s eternal plan to save his elect, and it ensured and guaranteed first the calling (the bringing to faith, through the gospel in the mind and the Holy Spirit in the heart), and then the justification, and finally the glorification, of all for whom, specifically and personally, Christ died. Now we see why the Greek of this verse says literally (and so the KJV renders it), how shall he not with him also give us all things? It is simply impossible for him not to do this, for Christ and “all things” go together as ingredients in the single gift of eternal life and glory, and the giving of Christ for us, to remove the “sin barrier” by substitutionary atonement, has effectively opened the door to our being given all the rest. . . . Note, third, what Paul implies about the consequences of redemption. God, he says, will with Christ give us “all things.” What does that cover? Calling, justification, glorification (which in v. 30 includes everything from the new birth to the resurrection of the body) have already been mentioned, and so throughout Romans 8 has the many sided ministry of the Holy Spirit. Here is wealth indeed, and from other Scriptures we could add to it. —J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 264–266

Hymns of My Youth: Love Divine

Saturday··2010·10·23
Today’s hymn is the second in the “Opening and Morning” section of the Concordia. This one has everything: Christ-centered praise and petition, biblical gospel theology, eschatological longing, all to the glory of Jesus, our Savior and Lord. 38 Love Divine, All Love Excelling Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heav’n to earth come down! Fix in us thy humble dwelling; All thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded love Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation; Enter every trembling heart. Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit, Into ev’ry troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit, Let us find Thy promised rest. Take away the love of sinning, Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its beginning, Set our hearts at liberty. Come, Almighty to deliver, Let us all Thy life receive; Graciously return and never, Never more Thy temples leave! Thee we would be always blessing, Serve Thee as Thy hosts above, Pray and praise Thee without ceasing, Glory in Thy perfect love. Finish, then, Thy new creation, Pure and spotless let us be; Let us see Thy great salvation, Perfectly restored in Thee, Changed from glory into glory, Till in heav’n we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise. —The Concordia Hymnal (Augsburg Publishing House, 1960). The Concordia tune is Beecher. It is apparently also sung to Hyfrydol, but I must object in the strongest terms. Try listening without thinking Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners and see if I’m not right. Beecher Hyferdol Just for fun, here’s an interesting arrangement to Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

Hymns of My Youth II: Day by Day

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

Hope from Humility

Thursday··2012·12·27
Humanity is lost and fallen. We were separated from God because of our sin, and our only hope of forgiveness was for someone completely innocent of any wrongdoing to take all the punishment for our crimes. Such a perfect life and a perfect love were impossible for any human to achieve, so God Himself did it for us. He sent His Son from eternity into mortality, from glory into flesh, and from a throne to a manger. Ultimate hope was born in ultimate humility. —John MacArthur, God’s Gift of Christmas (Thomas Nelson, 2006), 6.

Hymns of My Youth II: Praise Him!

Saturday··2013·01·19
Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! —Psalm 150 Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer! Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim! Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory; Strength and honor give to His holy Name! Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children, In His arms He carries them all day long: Refrain Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness. Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song! Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer! For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died. He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong. Refrain Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer! Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring! Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever. Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King! Christ is coming! over the world victorious, Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong. Refrain —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).

Hymns of My Youth III: Love Divine

Saturday··2013·04·27
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. —1 John 4:16–17 45 Love Divine, All Loves Excelling Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven to earth come down; Fix in us thy humble dwelling; All thy faithful mercies crown! Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded love Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation; Enter every trembling heart. Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit, Into every troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit; Let us find that second rest. Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its Beginning, Set our hearts at liberty. Come, Almighty to deliver, Let us all Thy life receive; Suddenly return and never, Never more Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, Serve Thee as Thy hosts above, Pray and praise Thee without ceasing, Glory in Thy perfect love. Finish, then, Thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be. Let us see Thy great salvation Perfectly restored in Thee; Changed from glory into glory, Till in heaven we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

Hymns of My Youth III: The Love of God

Saturday··2013·06·29
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 8:38–39 166 The Love of God The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell; It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell; The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win; His erring child He reconciled, And pardoned from his sin. Refrain: O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure, The saints’ and angels’ song. When years of time shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall, When men, who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call; God’s love so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong; Redeeming grace to Adam’s race— The saints’ and angels’ song. Refrain Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill, And ev’ry man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Tho’ stretched from sky to sky. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

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.

Hymns of My Youth III: Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Saturday··2013·11·23
But 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 6:14 426 Beneath the Cross of Jesus Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land; A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day. Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me; And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess, The wonders of redeeming love and my own worthlessness. I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place; I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face; Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss, My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

The Lord Hears

Thursday··2014·02·13
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; The Lord hears when I call to Him. —Psalm 4:3 “But know.’ Fools will not learn, and therefore they must again and again be told the same thing, especially when it is such a bitter truth which is to be taught them, viz.:—the fact that the godly are the chosen of God, and are, by distinguishing grace, set apart and separated from among men. Election is a doctrine which unrenewed men cannot endure, but nevertheless, it is a glorious and well-attested truth, and one which should comfort the tempted believer. Election is the guarantee of complete salvation, and an argument for success at the throne of grace. He who chose us for himself will surely hear our prayer. The Lord’s elect shall not be condemned, nor shall their cry be unheard. David was king by divine decree, and we are the Lord’s people in the same manner: let us tell our enemies to their faces, that they fight against God and destiny, when they strive to overthrow our souls. O beloved, when you are on your knees, the fact of your being set apart as God’s own peculiar treasure, should give you courage and inspire you with fervency and faith. “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him?” Since he chose to love us he cannot but choose to hear us. —Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David (Passmore and Alabaster, 1883) [read entire commentary on Psalm 4 at spurgeon.org].

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");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Saturday··2014·02·22
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty . . . praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven . . . Daniel 4:37 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation! All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near; Join me in glad adoration. Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth, Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth! Hast thou not seen how all thy longings have been Granted in what He ordaineth? Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee; Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee. Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, If with His love He befriend thee. Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him! All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him. Let the Amen sound from His people again: Gladly for aye we adore Him. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Lord’s Day 11, 2014

Sunday··2014·03·16
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. —Psalm 9:1–2 Hymns of Thanksgiving Hymn XV. The General Thanksgiving in the Liturgy paraphrased. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Eternal God, the thanks receive, Which thine unworthy servants give; Father of ev’ry mercy thou, Almighty and all gracious too! In humble yet exulting songs, Thy praises issue from our tongues, For that incessant boundless love, Which we and all thy creatures prove. Fashion’d by thy creating hand, And by thy providence sustain’d, We wish our gratitude to shew, For all thy temporal blessings due. But O! for this we chiefly raise The incense of admiring praise— Thy love unspeakably we own Which sent the willing Saviour down. For him, of all thy gifts the best, Th’ exceeding gift which crowns the rest, Chiefly for him thy name we laud, And thank thee for a bleeding God. Nor should we fail our Lord to praise, For all the assisting means of grace; Th’ appointed channels which convey Strength to support us on our way. To thee let all our thanks be giv’n, For our well-grounded hope of heav’n, Our glorious trust, that we shall reign And live with him who died for man. And O! so deep a sense impress Of thy supreme, unbounded grace, That anthems in full choir may rise, And shake the earth and rend the skies Make us in deed, as well as word, Shew forth the praises of the Lord, And thank him still for what he gives Both with our lips, and in our lives! O that, by sin no more subdu’d. We might devote ourselves to God, And only breathe to tell his praise, And in his service spend our daysl Hail, Father! Hail, eternal Son! Hail, sacred Spirit, Three in One! Blessing and thanks, and pow’r divine. Thrice, holy Lord, be ever thine! —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Immortal, Invisible

Saturday··2014·04·19
Immortal, Invisible Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. 1 Timothy 1:17 Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious—Thy great Name we praise. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might; Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love. To all, life Thou givest—to both great and small; In all life Thou livest—the true life of all; We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee. Great Father of glory, pure Father of light, Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight; All praise we would render—O help us to see ’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee! —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

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

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

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

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

Consider thy mercies

Thursday··2014·07·03
Some times and circumstances are hard. God’s promises should be enough to carry us through, but we are weak; we can be overwhelmed, and lose sight of his hand in our lives. When we can’t see God in the present, we can look to the past. Consider thy mercies, meditate on the several particular passages of God’s providence towards thee, from thy birth to this moment; how many dangers thou hast been delivered from, how many journeys thou hast been preserved in, what seasonable succour God hath sometimes sent thee in dangers, what suitable support he hath afforded thee in distress, what counsel he hath given thee in doubts, what comforts he hath vouchsafed thee in sorrows and darkness. Make past mercies, by meditation, present with thee. How many years hast thou lived, and every moment of thy life hast breathed in mercy? Do not forget former favours bestowed on thee or thine. The civet* box, when the civet is gone, still retains its scent; the vessel, when the liquor is gone, hath still a savour of it. So when thy mercies are past and spent, thou shouldst still have the scent and savour of them in thy spirit. —George Swinnock, The Christian Man’s Calling, Works of George Swinnock (Banner of Truth, 1992), 1:114 * Perfume

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: The Love of God

Saturday··2014·07·26
The Love of God I have loved you with an everlasting love; Jeremiah 31:3The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell, It goes beyond the highest star And reaches to the lowest hell; The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win: His erring child He reconciled And pardoned from his sin. Refrain: O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure— The saints’ and angels’ song. When years of time shall pass away And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall, When men, who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call, God’s love so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong; Redeeming grace to Adam’s race— The saints’ and angels’ song. Refrain Could we with ink the ocean fill And were the skies of parchment made, Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill And ev’ry man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry, Nor could the scroll contain the whole Tho stretched from sky to sky. Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Lord’s Day 34, 2014

Sunday··2014·08·24
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13 Hymn 133. (C. M.) Love and Charity. 1 Cor. xiii. 2–7, 13. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) Let Pharisees of high esteem Their faith and zeal declare, All their religion is a dream, If love be wanting there. Love suffers long with patient eye, Nor is provoke’d in haste; She lets the present injury die, And long forgets the past. [Malice and rage, those fires of hell, She quenches with her tongue; Hopes and believes, and thinks no ill, Though she endure the wrong.] [She nor desires nor seeks to know The scandals of the time; Nor looks with pride on those below, Nor envies those that climb.] She lays her own advantage by To seek her neighbour’s good; So God’s own Son came down to die, And bought our lives with blood. Love is the grace that keeps her power In all the realms above; There faith and hope are known no more, But saints for ever love. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

The Cup of Blessing

Monday··2014·08·25
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. —1 Corinthians 11:26 As we think on what the Lord’s Table means, we ought to be filled with profound gratitude for the grace it preaches. The cup in the sacrament is called the Eucharistical cup, or ‘the cup of blessing; ‘let it be so to thee. Let thy heart and mouth say, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath visited and redeemed his people,’ Luke ii. Canst thou think of that infinite love which God manifested to thy soul without David’s return, ‘What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits?’ His heart was so set upon thy salvation, his love was so great to thy soul, that he delighted in the very death of his Son because it tended to thy good. ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise him,’ Isa. liii. 10. . . . Surely the mind of God was infinitely set upon the recovery of lost sinners, in that—whereas other parents, whose love to their children in comparison of his to Christ is but as a drop to the ocean, follow their children to their graves with many tears, especially when they die violent deaths—he delighted exceedingly in the barbarous death of his only Son, in the bleeding of the head, because it tended to the health and eternal welfare of the members. Friend, ‘what manner of love hath the Father loved thee with?’ He gave his own Son to be apprehended, that thou mightest escape; his own Son to be condemned, that thou mightest be acquitted; his own Son to be whipped and wounded, that thou mightest be cured and healed; yea, his own Son to die a shameful cursed death, that thou mightest live a glorious blessed life for ever. ‘Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will to men.’ Alas, how unworthy art thou of this inestimable mercy! Thou art by nature a child of wrath as well as others, and hadst been now wallowing in sin with the worst in the world, if free grace had not renewed thee; nay, thou hadst been roaring in hell at this hour if free grace had not reprieved thee. Thy conscience will tell thee that thou dost not deserve the bread which springeth out of the earth, and yet thou art fed with the bread which came down from heaven, with angels’ food. O infinite love! Mayest not thou well say with Mephibosheth to David, ‘What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? For all my father’s house were as dead men before my lord, yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table.’ Lord, I was a lost, dead, damned sinner before thee, liable to the unquenchable fire, and yet thou hast been pleased to set me among them that eat at thine own table, and feed on thine own Son. Oh, what is thy servant, that thou shouldst take notice of such a dead dog as I am? —George Swinnock, The Christian Man’s Calling, Works of George Swinnock (Banner of Truth, 1992), 1:212–213

Lord’s Day 36, 2014

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

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Love Divine

Saturday··2014·09·20
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9 Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heav’n, to earth come down. Fix in us thy humble dwelling, All thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded love Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation, Enter every trembling heart. Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit Into ev’ry troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit, Let us find Thy promised rest. Take away our bent to sinning, Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its beginning, Set our hearts at liberty. Come, almighty to deliver, Let us all Thy life receive; Suddenly return, and never, Nevermore Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, Serve Thee as Thy hosts above, Pray and praise Thee without ceasing, Glory in Thy perfect love. Finish then Thy new creation, Pure and spotless let us be; Let us see Thy great salvation Perfectly restored in Thee: Changed from glory into glory, Till in heav’n we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise! —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music). This video starts out rough, but it’s worth the wait.

The Grace of Adoption

Monday··2014·09·22
Our Father who is in heaven . . . —Matthew 6:9 Thomas Manton (1620–1677), in An Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, writes of the great blessing of adoption and the privilege we who are the adopted children of God enjoy of calling God our Father. [T]here is a particular sort of men to whom God is a father in Christ, and that is, to believers: John i. 12, ‘To as many as received him, to them gave he power to be called the sons of God.’ Those which in their natural state and condition were children of wrath, and slaves to sin and Satan, when they come, and are willing to welcome and receive Christ into their hearts, in a sense of their misery, are willing to make out after God and Christ; they have an allowance to call God Father, and may have child-like communion with him, and run to him in all straits, and lay open their necessities to him. 2 Kings iv. 19, When the child cried unto his father, he said, ‘Carry him to his mother:’ so when we are ill at ease and in any straits, this is the privilege of our adoption, that we have a God to go to; we may go to our Father and plead with him, as the church: Isa. lxiii. 16, ‘Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer.’ It is good to know God under this special relation of a father in Christ; and this is that which is the grace of adoption. Adoption is an act of free grace, by which we that were aliens and strangers, servants to sin and Satan, are, in and by Christ, made sons and daughters of God, and accordingly are so reckoned and treated with, to all intents and purposes. It is a great and special privilege, given to God’s own children, by virtue of their interest in Christ; find therefore it is said, 1 John iii. 1, ‘Behold, what love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!’ That is, behold it as a certain truth, and admire it as a great privilege. —Thomas Manton, An Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, The Works of Thomas Manton (Banner of Truth, 1993), 1:43–44.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Praise Him

Saturday··2014·10·11
Praise Him! Worthy are You . . . for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Revelation 5:9 Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim! Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory; Strength and honor give to His holy Name! Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children, In His arms He carries them all day long: Refrain Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness; Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song! Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died; He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows; Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong: Refrain Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring! Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever; Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King! Christ is coming! over the world victorious, Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong: Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Union with God through Christ

Monday··2014·12·08
In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. —John 16:26–27 From this passage some might conclude that God does not love his elect until they come to Christ in faith. The analogia scriptura prevents such an erroneous interpretation. Because you have loved me. These words remind us that the only bond of our union with God is, to be united to Christ; and we are united to him by a faith which is not reigned, but which springs from sincere affection, which he describes by the name of love; for no man believes purely in Christ who does not cordially embrace him, and, therefore, by this word he has well expressed the power and nature of faith. But if it is only when we have loved Christ that God begins to love us, it follows that the commencement of salvation is from ourselves, because we have anticipated the grace of God. Numerous passages of Scripture, on the other hand, are opposed to this statement. The promise of God is, I will cause them to love me; and John says, Not that we first loved Him, (1 John iv. 7.) It would be superfluous to collect many passages; for nothing is more certain than this doctrine, that the Lord calleth those things which are not, (Rom. iv. 17) raises the dead, (Luke vii. 22,) unites himself to those who were strangers to him, (Eph. ii. 12,) makes hearts of flesh out of hearts of stone, (Ezek. xxxvi. 26,) manifests himself to those who do not seek him, (Isa. lxv. 1; Rom. x. 20.) I reply, God loves men in a secret way, before they are called, if they are among the elect; for he loves his own before they are created; but, as they are not yet reconciled, they are justly accounted enemies of God, as Paul speaks, When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, (Rom. v. 10.) On this ground it is said that we are loved by God, when we love Christ; because we have the pledge of the fatherly love of Him from whom we formerly recoiled as our offended Judge. —John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XVIII (Baker Books, 2009), Commentary on the Gospel according to John, 2:158–159.

Lord’s Day 3, 2016

Sunday··2016·01·17
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22–23 The Encouragement Young Persons Have to Seek and to Love Christ Philip Doddridge (1702–1751) Ye hearts, with youthful vigor warm, In smiling crowds draw near, And turn from every mortal charm, A Savior's voice to hear. He, Lord of all the worlds on high, Stoops to converse with you; And lays His radiant glories by, Your friendship to pursue. “The souls that longs to see My face, Is sure My love to gain; And those that early seek My grace, Shall never seek in vain.” What object, Lord, my soul should move, If once compared with Thee? What beauty should command my love, Like what in Christ I see? Away, ye false delusive toys, Vain tempters of the mind! ”Tis here I fix my lasting choice, And here true bliss I find. —Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: What Wondrous Love

Saturday··2016·01·23
What Wondrous Love Is This . . . he who is hanged is accursed of God . . . Deuteronomy 21:23 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, To bear the dreadful curse for my soul? When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down, When I was sinking down, sinking down, When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown, Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul, Christ laid aside his crown for my soul. To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing, To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, To God and to the Lamb who is the great “I am,” While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing, While millions join the theme, I will sing. And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, And through eternity I’ll sing on. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Lord’s Day 4, 2016

Sunday··2016·01·24
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” —Matthew 24:37–39 (cf. Luke 13:34–35) 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 He Wept over It Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Shew me the tears, the tears of tender love, Wept over Salem in her evil day; When grace and righteousness together strove, And grace at length to righteousness gave way. Dread hour of conflict between law and love!— When not from tears could’st thou, O Christ, refrain; When grace went forth to save, but like the dove, Returned disconsolate, its errand vain. Theirs the great woe, yet thine, O Lord, the deep And awful anguish for their coming fears; Thou weepedst because they refused to weep, And grief divine found vent in human tears. They closed the ear against thy tender words; They chose another lord, and spurned thy sway; Thou would’st have drawn them, but they snapped thy cords; Thou would’st have blest them, but they turned away. Thou lovedst them, but they would not be loved, And human hatred fought with love divine; They saw thee shed the tears of love unmoved, And mocked the grace that would have made them thine. O Son of God, who camest from above To take my flesh, to bear my bitter cross; Shew me thy tears, thy tears of tender love, That I for thee may count all gain but loss. That I may know thee, and by thee be known; That I may love thee, and may taste thy love; That I may win thee, and in thee a crown; That I may rest and reign with thee above. —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");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Beneath the Cross

Saturday··2016·02·06
Beneath the Cross of Jesus But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother . . . John 19:25 Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand— The shadow of a mighty Rock Within a weary land; A home within the wilderness, A rest upon the way, From the burning of the noontide heat, And the burden of the day. Upon that cross of Jesus Mine eye at times can see The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me; And from my stricken heart with tears Two wonders I confess— The wonders of redeeming love And my own worthlessness. I take, O cross, thy shadow For my abiding place; I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face; Content to let the world go by, To know no gain nor loss, My sinful self my only shame, My glory all the cross. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Lord’s Day 9, 2016

Sunday··2016·02·28
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law. —Isaiah 42:1–4, cf. Matthew 12:20–21 Early Piety Samuel Stennett (1727–1795) How soft the words my Savior speaks! How kind the promises He makes! A bruised reed He never breaks, Nor will He quench the smoking flax. The humble poor He won't despise, Nor on the contrite sinner frown; His ear is open to their cries, He quickly sends salvation down. When piety in early minds Like tender buds, begins to shoot, He guards the plants from threatening winds, And ripens blossoms into fruit. With humble souls He bears a part In all the sorrows they endure; Tender and gracious is His heart, His promise is forever sure. He sees the struggles that prevail Between the powers of grace and sin; He kindly listens while they tell The bitter pangs they feel within. Though pressed with fears on every side, They know not how the strife may end; Yet He will soon the cause decide, And judgment into victory send. —Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). 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");

Lord’s Day 10, 2018

Sunday··2018·03·11
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” He will sing to men and say, “I have sinned and perverted what is right, And it is not proper for me. “He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, And my life shall see the light.” —Job 33:27–28 XXVIII. The penitent brought back from the pit. Job xxxiii. 27, 28. The Lord from his exalted throne, In majesty array’d, Looks with a melting pity down On all, that seek his aid. When, touch’d with penitent remorse, Our follies past we mourn, With what a tenderness of love He meets our first return! From heav’n he sent his only son To ransom us with blood, To snatch us from the burning pit, When on it’s brink we stood. From death and hell he leads us up By a delightful Way; And the bright beams of endless life Does round our path display. Great God, we wonder, and adore; And, to exalt such grace, We long to learn the songs of heav’n E’er yet we reach the place. —Philip Doddridge, Hymns Founded on Various Texts in the Holy Scriptures (Salop, 1755). 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 #LordsDay 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");

Lord’s Day 14, 2018

Sunday··2018·04·08
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. —1 John 4:15–19 The Love Of God. O Love that casts out fear, O love that casts out sin, Tarry no more without, But come and dwell within. True sunlight of the soul, Surround me as I go; So shall my way be safe, My feet no straying know. Great love of God, come in, Well-spring of heavenly peace; Thou Living Water, come, Spring up, and never cease. Love of the living God, Of Father and of Son, Love of the Holy Ghost, Fill thou each needy one. Praise to the Father give, The Spirit and the Son; Praise for the mighty love Of the great Three-in-one. —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 #LordsDay 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");
Why would God choose to love finite, fallen, sinful human beings at the cost of His own Son’s life? Why didn’t God just write us all off as wretched sinners, make us the objects of His wrath, and display His glory in judgment against us? It is truly a mystery even angels might find bewildering. Moreover, why is it that He lavishes us with the very riches of His goodness? Couldn’t God have displayed His mercy in a lesser way than giving His Son to die for us? Or having redeemed us and guaranteed us entry to heaven, couldn’t He have given us a lesser position? Yet, He has made us joint heirs with Christ. He has elevated us to the spiritual heights. Indeed, He has already given us His very best. He has already bestowed the most priceless, eternal blessing in all the universe—His own beloved Son. Therefore, we can be absolutely confident that He will withhold no good thing from 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?” (Rom. 8:32). Have you ever truly pondered the mystery of such great love? Why is it that God’s greatest love isn’t bestowed on the faithful angels who never fell and who steadfastly throughout all time have been loyal to love and worship the God who made them? In short, why would God even love us, much less pay so high a price to demonstrate His love? Frankly, the full answer to that question is still shrouded in mystery. It is an immense, incomprehensible wonder. We do not know the reasons God chooses to love fallen sinners. And I must confess, together with each true child of God, that I do not know why God chose to love me. I know only that it is for His own glory, and certainly not because He finds me deserving of His love. In other words, the reasons for His love are to be found in God alone, not in those whom He loves. And what Scripture reveals is that the will to save is intrinsic to who God is. “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). It is not foreign to His nature to be a Savior—to seek and to save the lost. He is a Savior by nature. First Timothy 1:1 refers to the Father as “God our Savior.” One of the most vivid verbal images Jesus ever gave to describe God is the eagerness of the father in the parable of the prodigal son. This father looks intently for his lost son’s return, runs to meet the wayward boy when he returns, and lavishes him with undeserved gifts and status. That is the very character of the God we worship. He is a saving God. And He has always been known as a Savior. Theological liberals try to put a great gulf between the New Testament and the Old Testament. They often claim that the God of the Old Testament is an angry, vengeful, envious, vitriolic, hostile, punishing kind of deity. The God revealed in the New Testament is different—a compassionate, loving, saving deity. That’s a foolish and dishonest corruption of Scripture. The God of the Old Testament was known to His people as a Savior. Israel knew God as a Savior—a saving God. To use another word, He is a Deliverer. He rescues people from bondage and death. Of course, that’s not how it is in the science of ethnology and the world of religion and deities. Study ancient Middle Eastern religions and you’re not going to find gods who save. Virtually every man-made religious system ever known features some means by which the worshiper by his own efforts can save himself—or, at the very least, better himself. But you’re not going to find any man-made god who is by nature a Savior, a rescuer. —John MacArthur, None Other (Reformation Trust, 2017), 109–111.

@TheThirstyTheo



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