Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SAVING FAITH IS GOD'S GRACIOUS GIFT

We must never think of salvation as a kind of transaction between God and us in which He contributes grace and we contribute faith. For we were dead and had to be quickened before we could believe. No, Christ's apostles clearly teach elsewhere that saving faith too is God's gracious gift.

John Stott
The Message of Ephesians

Sunday, October 8, 2017

HOW WE PRAY, READ, AND LISTEN

Private PRAYER lies at the very foundation of religion--yet the mere formal repetition of a set of words, when "the heart is far away"--does good to no man's soul.
Reading the BIBLE is essential to the attainment of sound Christian knowledge--yet the mere formal reading of so many chapters as a task and duty, with out a humble desire to be taught of God, is little better than a waste of time.
Just as it is with praying and Bible reading--so it is with LISTENING. It is not enough that we go to Church and hear sermons. We may do so for fifty years, and be nothing bettered, but rather worse! "Consider carefully," says our Lord, "how you listen!"
Would anyone know how to listen aright? Then let him lay to heart three simple rules:
For one thing, we must listen with FAITH, believing implicitly that every Word of God is true, and shall stand. The Word in old time did not profit the Jews, "not being mixed with faith in those who heard it." Hebrews 4:2
For another thing, we must listen with REVERENCE--remembering constantly that the Bible is the book of God. This was the habit of the Thessalonians. They received Paul's message, "not as the word of men--but the Word of God." 1 Thessalonians 2:13
Above all, we must listen with PRAYER--praying for God's blessing before the sermon is preached, and praying for God's blessing again when the sermon is over. Here lies the grand defect of the hearing of many. They ask no blessing--and so they receive none. The sermon passes through their minds like water through a leaky vessel, and leaves nothing behind.
Let us bear these rules in mind every Sunday morning, before we go to hear the Word of God preached. Let as not rush into God's presence careless, reckless, and unprepared--as if it did not matter how we listened. Let us carry with us faith, reverence, and prayer. If these three are our companions--then we shall listen with profit, and return with praise!
--J.C. Ryle.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Countless Millions

Surely, even if we were carefully to examine just one minute of our lives, we would find ourselves worthy of eternal death. Indeed, each one of us would discover ourselves to be sinners, not in just one area but a hundred thousand; not due to some one fault but to countless millions. Now if even we ourselves acknowledge that we are full of so many blemishes, surely God is aware of many more than we could ever perceive, because he sees more deeply than we can, as John writes in his epistle (l John 3:20). Thus, the case is settled. The verdict is that no one can be justified by the law; justification is through faith alone. 


-- John Calvin.


-- Great Quote!  (prompted by John Splawn's citation.)

Principles for Effective Debate

20 Principles for Effective Debate

Friday, October 6, 2017

Truth in Worship Not Merely Emotions

Worship is not merely an emotional exercise with God-words or musical sounds that induce certain feelings. Worship is certainly not a mystical catharsis of human passion detached from any rational thought or biblical precept. True worship is a response of adoration and praise prompted by truth that God has revealed. Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (emphasis added). Clearly, truth is prerequisite to acceptable worship. [1]
He goes on to say, “Truth is always at the heart of authentic worship. Every kind of enthusiasm or emotion that is not inseparably linked to the truth is ultimately meaningless.”

Indifferent Prayer and Empty Ceremony

God’s name, I think, is taken more times in vain in churches than anywhere else. The blasphemy in the sanctuary is worse than the blasphemy in the street. Empty ceremony, superficial worship, thoughtless praise, errant doctrine, love of error, indifferent prayer, phony ritual, these things abound.
Those alarming words come from John MacArthur’s sermon, “Scripture-Twisting Tradition.” In the message, John looks at a pivotal incident in the life of Christ.
Confronted by Israel’s religious leaders, the Lord exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees’ empty religious tradition, and the significant barrier it posed to cultivating a right relationship with Christ. In his sermon, John explains how Israel’s religion was corrupted and overrun with pious traditions that clouded the nature of God’s law. In many ways, rabbinical tradition had usurped and replaced God’s law as the final authority for life and godliness.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Happy is that Christian

Our Lord has . . .
many weak children in his family,
many dull pupils in his school,
many raw soldiers in his army,
many lame sheep in his flock. ...
Yet He bears with them all, and casts none away.
Happy is that Christian who has learned to do likewise with his brethren.--- JC. Ryle