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Mercy (of God)

(24 posts)

This passage from my morning reading was especially encouraging today. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. —Hebrews 4:14–16 What does this passage tell us? Does it tell us, as many of today’s popular preachers would, that we ought not feel unworthy? No, it does not. The first thing it says is that we have a high priest. Who needs a priest? It is precisely and only those who are unworthy to enter the Father’s presence who need a priest to intercede for them. And we have such a priest. A priest who lived as we live, suffered as we suffer, yet without sin, and made the perfect sacrifice for our sin, and now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. Therefore, we can come boldly, casting all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). And when we come before the throne, we will obtain mercy, which we desperately need, for we are guilty; and grace, without which we are utterly helpless. So come boldly, though your hands are not clean and your heart is not pure. Hold fast to your faith in Christ. Come, confessing your sin and seeking forgiveness. You are truly unworthy, but you have a high priest who intercedes for you. Come, obtain mercy. Receive grace. Come boldly.

Lord’s Day 31, 2008

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

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 . . .

A Biblical View of Grace

Grace is a word we hear often in the church, as well we ought. Sadly, it is a word that is not as commonly understood as spoken. J. I. Packer points out that many who speak the word have actually put their faith in something else. “What is it,” he asks, “that hinders so many who profess to believe in grace from really doing so?” The answer, he says, is that they have a basic misunderstanding of the relation between themselves and God. At the root of this is a failure to grasp “four crucial truths . . . which the doctrine of grace presupposes.” 1. The moral ill-desert of man. Modern men and women, conscious of their tremendous scientific achievements in recent years, naturally incline to a high opinion of themselves. They view material wealth as in any case more important than moral character, and in the moral realm they are resolutely kind to themselves, treating small virtues as compensating for great vices and refusing to take seriously the idea that, morally speaking, there is anything much wrong with them. . . . The thought of themselves as creatures fallen from God’s image, rebels against God’s rule, guilty and unclean in God’s sight, fit only for God’s condemnation, never enters their heads. 2. The retributive justice of God. The way of modern men and women is to turn a blind eye to all wrongdoing as long as they safely can. They tolerate it in others, feeling that there, but for the accident of circumstances, go they themselves. . . . The accepted maxim seems to be that as long as evil can be ignored, it should be; one should punish only as a last resort . . . In our pagan way, we take it for granted that God feels as we do. The idea that retribution might be the moral law of God’s world and an expression of his holy character seems to us quite fantastic. Those who uphold it find themselves accused of projecting onto God their own pathological impulses of rage and vindictiveness. Yet the Bible insists throughout that this world which God in his goodness has made is a moral world, one in which retribution is as basic a fact as breathing. . . . 3. The spiritual impotence of man. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People has been almost a modern Bible. A whole technique of business relations has been built up in recent years on the principle of putting the other person in a position where he cannot decently say no. This has confirmed modern men and women in the faith which has animated pagan religion ever since there was such a thing—namely, the belief that we can repair our own relationship with God by putting God in position where he cannot say no anymore. Ancient pagans thought to do this by multiplying gifts and sacrifices; modern pagans seek to do it by churchmanship and morality. . . . but the Bible position is as stated by Toplady: Not the labours of my hand Can fulfill Thy law’s demands. Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears for ever flow, All for sin could not atone —leading to the admission of one’s own helplessness and to the conclusion: Thou must save, and Thou alone. . . . 4. The sovereign freedom of God. Ancient paganism thought of each god as bound to his worshipers by bonds of self-interest, because he depended on their service and gifts for his welfare. Modern paganism has at the back of its mind a similar feeling that God is somehow obliged to love and help us, little though we deserve it. . . . But this feeling is not well founded. The God of the Bible does not depend on his human creatures for his well-being (see Ps 50:8–13; Acts 17:25), nor, now that we have sinned, is he bound to show us favor. We can only claim from him justice—and justice, for us, means certain condemnation. God does not owe it to anyone to stop justice taking its course. He is not obliged to pity and pardon; if he does so it is an act done, as we say, “of his own free will,” and nobody forces his hand. “It does not depend on man’s will or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Rom 9:16 NEB) Grace is free, in the sense of being self-originated and of proceeding from One who was free not to be gracious. Only when it is seen that what decides each individual’s destiny is whether or not God resolves to save him from his sins, and that this is a decision which God need not make in any single case, can one begin to grasp the biblical view of grace. —J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 128–132.

Meek and Bold

Spurgeon on the unhesitatingly confrontational character of Christ: Brethren, the Savior’s character has all goodness and all perfection; he is full of grace and truth. Some men, nowaday, talk of him as if he were simply incarnate benevolence. It is not so. No lips ever spoke with such thundering indignation against sin as the lips of the Messiah. “He is like a refiner’s fire, and like a fuller’s soap. His fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor.” while in tenderness he prays for his tempted disciple, that his faith may not fail, yet with awful sternness he winnows the heap, and drives away the chaff into unquenchable fire. We speak of Christ as being meek and lowly in spirit, and so he was. A bruised reed he did not break, and the smoking flax he did not quench; but his meekness was balanced by his courage, and by the boldness with which he denounced hypocrisy. “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, ye fools and blind, ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” These are not words of the milksop some authors represent Christ to have been. He is a man—a thorough man throughout—a God-like man—gentle as a woman, but yet stern as a warrior in the midst of the day of battle. The character is balanced; as much of one virtue as another. As in Deity every attribute is full orbed; justice never eclipses mercy, nor mercy justice, nor justice faithfulness; so in the character of Christ you have all the excellent things. —Charles Spurgeon, “Sweet Saviour,” cited in John MacArthur, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore (Thomas Nelson, 2009), 99.

Hymns of My Youth: Father, Again in Jesus’ Name We Meet

I can’t think of a more appropriate hymn with which to open worship on the Lord’s Day: 37 Father, Again in Jesus’ Name We Meet Father, again in Jesus’ name we meet, And bow in penitence beneath Thy feet; Again to Thee our feeble voices raise, To sue for mercy, and to sing Thy praise. O we would bless Thee for Thy ceaseless care, And all Thy works from day to day declare; Is not our life with hourly mercies crowned? Does not Thine arm encircle us around? Alas, unworthy of Thy boundless love, Too oft with careless feet from Thee we rove; But now, encouraged by Thy voice, we come, Returning sinners to a Father’s home. O by that Name in Whom all fulness dwells, O by that love which ev’ry love excels, O by that blood so freely shed for sin, Open, blest mercy’s gate and take us in. —The Concordia Hymnal (Augsburg Publishing House, 1960).

Hymns of My Youth II: Great Is Thy Faithfulness

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22–23 Great Is Thy Faithfulness Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father! There is no shadow of turning with thee; Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; As thou hast been thou forever will be. Refrain: Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed thy hand hath provided— Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Refrain Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow— Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).

To Make Known His Glory

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. —Romans 9:19–24 Along with the doctrine of unconditional election comes the difficult doctrine of reprobation. It is this doctrine most of all that causes many to cry, “That’s not fair!” That cry comes from the prideful assumption that man is the center of redemptive history. But we are not the center; the center of the biblical narrative, God’s story, is God himself. Barnhouse tells of a shop in Paris that is world—famous for its magnificent, intricate white lace. To display their samples in the store windows, the proprietors place the darkest black velvet behind the lace; only in this way can the intricate details of the craftsmen’s achievement be seen. It is the same with God’s grace. Were no one ever condemned—were there no display of God’s judgment and wrath—there would be no knowledge of the glories of God’s grace. In that case, the true God would be unknown to His creatures, and His purpose in creation—to display the fullness of His glory—would be unrealized. Having failed in this purpose, God would no longer be God. For this reason, God’s decree of reprobation is necessary. God being perfect in every attribute, it is necessary for His every attribute to be exercised: goodness in creation, power in triumph, mercy in grace, and justice in wrath. —Richard D. Phillips, What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? (Reformation Trust, 2008), 44.

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

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

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.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: All People That on Earth Do Dwell

All People That on Earth Do Dwell Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Psalm 100:1 All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice; Him serve with fear, His praise forth-tell, Come ye before Him and rejoice. The Lord, ye know, is God indeed; Without our aid He did us make; We are His flock, He doth us feed, And for His sheep He doth us take. O enter then His gates with praise, Approach with joy His courts unto; Praise, laud, and bless His Name always, For it is seemly so to do. For why? the Lord our God is good, His mercy is forever sure; His truth at all times firmly stood, And shall from age to age endure. To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, The God whom heaven and earth adore, From earth and from the angel host Be praise and glory evermore. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Tell Out, My Soul

Tell Out, My Soul For the Mighty One has done great things for me; Luke 1:49* Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord! Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice; Tender to me the promise of His Word; In God my Savior shall my heart rejoice. Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His name! Make known His might, the deeds His arm has done; His mercy sure, from age to age the same; His holy Name, the Lord, the mighty One. Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His might! Powers and dominions lay their glory by; Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight; The hungry fed, the humble lifted high. Tell out, my soul, the glories of His Word! Firm is His promise, and His mercy sure. Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord To children’s children and forevermore! —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music). * This hymn is based on Luke 1:46–49, commonly known as the Magnificat.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great Is Thy Faithfulness His compassions never fail. They are new every morning: Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22–23 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with thee; Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; As thou hast been thou forever will be. Refrain: Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed thy hand hath provided— Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Refrain Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Consider thy mercies

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

The Cup of Blessing

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

Because He Loveth Thee

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. —Ephesians 2:8–9 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? —1 Corinthians 4:7 As the undeserving recipients of God’s most extreme favor, Christians ought to be anything but proud. Yet, it is all too easy for us to look around and notice how much better we are than the unbelieving world. How absurd that is. Comparisons to the world are only true and edifying if we have eyes to see our true condition, and what the difference truly is. Look abroad in the world, and thou mayest see others refused when thou art chosen, others passed by when thou art called, others polluted when thou art sanctified, others put off with common gifts when thou hast special grace, others fed with the scraps of ordinary bounty, when thou hast the finest of the flour, even the fruits of saving mercy. As Elkanah gave to Peninnah, and to all her sons and daughters, portions, ‘But to Hannah he gave a worthy portion, because he loved her;’ so God giveth others outward portions, some of the good things of this life; but to thee, Christian, he giveth a Benjamin’s mess,—his image, his Spirit, his Son, himself,—a worthy portion, a goodly heritage, because he loveth thee. Others have a little meat, and drink, and wages, but thou hast the inheritance; others, like Jehoshaphat’s younger sons, have some cities, some small matters given them; but thou, like the firstborn, hast the kingdom, the crown of glory; others feed on bare elements, thou hast the sacrament; others stand without doors, and thou art admitted into the presence chamber; others must fry eternally in hell flames, and thou must enjoy fulness of joy for evermore. O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that chose thee before the foundation of the world, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that called thee by the word of his grace, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that gave his only Son to die for thy sins, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that entered into a covenant of grace with thee, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that hath provided for thee an exceeding and eternal weight of glory, for his mercy endureth for ever. ‘give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever.’ —George Swinnock, The Christian Man’s Calling, Works of George Swinnock (Banner of Truth, 1992), 1:213–214

Lord’s Day 3, 2016

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.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

A Living Hope

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

Hope for the Vilest Sinner

Guilt is a powerful thing. It is necessary that we know our guilt, or we would never come to Christ for forgiveness. But once we come to him, we must know that there is no sin beyond his ability to forgive. Just as no saint is good enough to be justified before God, no sinner is to wicked to be forgiven. But to suppose the worst, what if you were really the vilest sinner that ever lived upon the face of the earth? What if “your iniquities had gone up into the heavens” every day, and “your transgressions had reached unto the clouds, Rev. xviii. 5.” reached thither with such horrid aggravations, that earth and heaven should have had reason to detest you as a monster of impiety? Admitting all this, “is any thing too hard for the Lord? Gen. xviii. 14.” Are any sins, of which a sinner can repent, of so deep a dye, that the blood of Christ cannot wash them away? Nay, though it would be daring wickedness and monstrous folly, for any “to sin that grace may abound, Rom. vi. 1.” yet had you indeed raised your account beyond all that divine grace has ever yet pardoned, who should “limit the holy One of Israel? Psal. lxxviii. 41.” or who shall pretend to say, that it is impossible that God may, for your very wretchedness, choose you out from others, to make you a monument of mercy, and a trophy of hitherto unparalleled grace? The apostle Paul strongly intimates this to have been the case with regard to himself; and why might not you likewise, if indeed “the chief of sinners,” obtain mercy, that in you, as the chief, “Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who shall hereafter believe? 1 Tim. i. 15, 16.” —Philip Doddridge, The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul (Robert Porter, 1810), 109. The vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives. —Fanny Crosby

Faith and the Attributes of God (1)

My righteous one shall live by faith —Hebrews 10:38 The efficacy of faith is not in its strength, but in its object. “The object of faith,” writes David Clarkson, “is God in Christ, as made known in his attributes, offices, relations, promises, and providences.” Just as our trust in any person depends on what we know of his character, our trust in God can only rest on his character as he has revealed himself to us. [God’s Divine attributes] are the pillows and grounds of faith, rocks of eternity, upon which faith may securely repose: ‘Though the earth should be removed,’ &c. ‘The name of the Lord’ (i. e., his attributes) ‘is a strong tower, the righteous fly into it,’ and faith admits and there secures them. Hence this is faith’s ordinary plea in Scripture. ‘For thy name’s sake,’ i. e., for the glory of those attributes whereby thou art known to us, as men are known by their names. These are frequently propounded and made use of as the objects and supports of faith. Power. This is it on which the heroical faith of Abraham fixed: Rom. iv. 21, ‘Being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able to perform.’ Wisdom. This upheld Peter’s faith, when Christ, so often questioning his love, might have made him doubt of it: ‘Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest I love thee,’ John xxi. 17. And David’s faith acts upon the omnisciency and immensity of God, Ps. cxxxix. Justice. This was David’s plea: Ps. cxliii. 11, ‘For thy righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble.’ And Daniel’s, ix. 16, ‘Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee,’ &c. Faithfulness. This was the foundation on which Solomon raised that prayer, so full of faith, 1 Kings viii. 33, ‘There is no God like unto thee, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants;’ and Dan. ix. 4, Heb. x. 23. Truth. David useth this, Ps. cxv. 1, ‘For thy truth’s sake;’ and frequently, ‘Do this according to thy word,’ Ps. cxix. 154. Mercy. Faith never finds more strong support, nor ever fixes with so much delight as here: Ps. cxix. 149, ‘Hear my voice, according to thy loving-kindness;’ Ps. cxxx. 7, ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy;’ Ps. lii. 8, ‘I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.’ —David Clarkson, Of Living by Faith, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:176.

Faith and the Attributes of God (2)

My righteous one shall live by faith —Hebrews 10:38 Let faith fix on that attribute which is most suitable to thy condition. And here faith may meet with many encouragements: first, there is no condition thou canst possibly fall into but some attributes afford support; secondly, there is enough in that attribute to uphold thee, as much as thou standest in need of, as much as thou canst desire; thirdly, there is infinitely more; though thy condition were worse than it is, worse than ever any was, yet there is more than thou needest, more than thou canst desire, more than thou canst imagine, infinitely more. Some one attribute will answer all thy necessities; some most, some many. For, first, some of God’s attributes encourage faith in every condition. Omnipotency. When thou art surrounded with troubles and dangers, there is the power of God to rely on; so Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xx. Art thou called to difficult duties above thy strength, strong lusts to oppose, violent temptations to resist, weighty employments to undertake? Let faith support thee and itself on omnipotency, as Paul: ‘I can do all things through Christ strengthening me.’ Art thou called to grievous sufferings? Imitate [Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego], act on God’s power: ‘Our God whom we trust is able to deliver us.’ Dost thou want means for effecting what thou expectest, and so seest no possibility in reason or nature for obtaining it? Act like Abraham; believe he is able, Rom. iv. 21, to perform without means, or against means. Art thou afraid to fall away? Stay thyself on God’s power: ‘We are kept by the power of God through faith.’ Omnisciency. Wantest thou direction, knowest not what to do, at thy wit’s end? Eye omnisciency: 2 Chron. xx. 12, ‘Neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon thee.’ The Lord knows how to deliver the righteous. When thou searchest thy soul, and art afraid a treacherous heart should deceive thee, trust omnisciency. He searches the heart, and can teach thee to search it. Art thou upbraided for hypocrisy, and borne down by Satan’s suggestions, so as thou almost suspectest thy integrity? Let omniscience support thee here; he knows, he sees the least gracious motion. Fearest thou secret plots of Satan, crafty conveyances of wicked men, such as no eye can see or discover? Trust omnisciency. Immensity.* Art thou deserted by friends, or separated from them by imprisonment, banishment, infectious diseases? Let faith eye immensity; as Christ, ‘Yet I am not alone,’ &c. Fearest thou remote designs in other countries, nay, in the other world, in hell? Thou canst not be there to prevent; ay, but the Lord is everywhere. All-sufficiency.† Let faith set this against all thy wants. I want riches, but the Lord is all-sufficient; liberty, children, friends, credit, health, he is liberty, &c. I want grace, the means of grace, comfort; he is these. Dost thou fear death? The Lord is life. Dost thou fear casting off? The Lord is unchangeable. Nay, whatsoever thou fear, or want, or desire, there is one more that will give universal and full support. Mercy. This will hold when all fail. It is the strength of all other supports, and that in all conditions. There is no condition so low but mercy can reach it, none so bad but mercy can better it, none so bitter but mercy can sweeten it, none so hopeless but mercy can succour it. It bears up faith, when nothing else can, under the guilt of sin and sense of wrath; in misery, that is the time when faith should eye mercy. Hence you may argue strength into faith. If one attribute answer many, yea, all, conditions, will not all answer one? Secondly, There is enough in any one attribute to support thee as much as thou needest or desirest, let thy corruptions be never so strong, thy wants never so many. Thirdly, There is more than enough, than thou needest or canst desire; more than is necessary for thy condition, for a worse than thine, for the worst that ever was. If thy dangers were greater than can be paralleled in former ages, if the impetuousness of all those lusts that have broke out since the creation were united in thine, yet there is more power in God than is needful for thy condition. If thou wert pinched with all the wants that all the indigent men in the world were ever pressed with, yet all-sufficiency can do more than supply. Suppose there were many more worlds, and in each ten thousand more sinful creatures than in this, and every one’s sins ten thousand times more sinful than thine, yet mercy could do more than pardon. And faith may say, If mercy can pardon, more than pardon, so many more than mine, and so much more heinous, why may not mercy pardon mine?—David Clarkson, Of Living by Faith, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:179–180. * Omnipresence. † Perfection.

Lord’s Day 42, 2017

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. —Psalm 86:15 Hymn 6. (C. M.) A morning song. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) Once more, my soul, the rising day Salutes thy waking eyes; Once more, my voice, thy tribute pay To him that rules the skies. Night unto night his name repeats, The day renews the sound, Wide as the heav’n on which he sits, To turn the seasons round. ’Tis he supports my mortal frame, My tongue shall speak his praise; My sins would rouse his wrath to flame, And yet his wrath delays. [On a poor worm thy power might tread, And I could ne’er withstand; Thy justice might have crush’d me dead, But mercy held thine hand. A thousand wretched souls are fled Since the last setting sun, And yet thou length’nest out my thread, And yet my moments run.] Dear God, let all my hours be thine, Whilst I enjoy the light, Then shall my sun in smiles decline, And bring a pleasing night. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book II: Composed on Divine Subjects (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.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord’s Day 10, 2018

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.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Let Us, with a Gladsome Mind

Let Us, with a Gladsome Mind Monkland Psalm 149 Let us, with a gladsome mind, praise the Lord, for He is kind: for His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure. Let us blaze His Name abroad, for of gods He is the God: for His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure. He with all-commanding might filled the new-made world with light: for His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure. All things living He doth feed; His full hand supplies their need: for His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure. He His chosen race did bless in the wasteful wilderness: for His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure. He hath with a pious eye looks upon our misery: for His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure. Let us therefore warble forth His high majesty and worth: for His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure. —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, recently published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.


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