Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2009

As Christmas Day Approaches

On Sunday morning, December 24, 1871, entitled, "Joy Born at Bethlehem," Spurgeon began his sermon with these words:

"We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas.

First, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Savior's birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred.

It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it.

Probably the fact is that the "holy" days were arr…

Two Dangerous Extremes

In a sermon based on Genesis 5:24 (‘And Enoch walked with God’) Whitefield, in seeking to explain how the child of God receives guidance, wrote the following:

‘In order to walk closely with God, his children must not only watch the motions of God’s providence without them, but the motions also of his blessed Spirit in their hearts.
‘As many as are the sons of God, are led by the Spirit of God’ (Romans 8:14), and give up themselves to be guided by the Holy Ghost, as a little child gives its hand to be led by a nurse or parent.


‘It is no doubt in this sense that we are to be converted, and become like little children. And though it is the quintessence of enthusiasm, to pretend to be guided by the Spirit without the written word; yet it is every Christian’s bounden duty to be guided by the Spirit in conjunction with the written word of God.

Led by the Spirit and guided by the Word‘Watch, therefore, I pray you, O believers, the motions of God’s blessed Spirit in your souls, and always try the…

Is your Anger Ugly?

"Years ago I was one of five thousand people listening to a panel discussion at a Christian conference. An editor of a conservative political-theological magazine was expressing his frustration with many of the political left-wingers, and doing so in an unnecessarily sarcastic and condescending way. When he finished, John Piper (another speaker on the panel) turned to him, and with utmost seriousness and precision, he said, “For a long time I have appreciated your ministry. You are an astute observer of our culture. I read your magazine every month. It’s always insightful. But there’s one thing missing from your ministry.”

The editor looked at Dr. Piper and asked what it was.

“Tears,” Piper replied.

The world so often senses our anger—but do they ever sense our grief? They think we’re angry simply because we’re not getting our way, but I’m afraid they don’t feel our sorrow over sin’s negative, dehumanizing effects. We fail to communicate our anger in a way that says, “You were made…

A Whore's Forehead

Choice excerpts from Thomas Brooks
"THE PRIVY KEY OF HEAVEN"
(A Discourse of Closet Prayer, published during the awful plague of London in 1665)

"You have a whore's forehead, you refuse to be ashamed!" Jeremiah 3:3

"Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all! They do not even know how to blush!" Jeremiah 6:15

They had sinned away shame, instead of being ashamed ofsin. Continuance in sin had quite banished all sense of sin and all shame for sin; so that they would not allow nature to draw her veil of blushing before their great abominations. How applicable these scriptures are to the present time, I will leave the prudent reader to judge.

But what does the prophet do, now that they were as bold in sin, and as shameless as so many harlots; now that they were grown up to that height of sin and wickedness; now that they were above all shame and blushing; now that they were grown so proud, so hardened, so obstinate, so rebellious,…

The Sweet Kisses

Choice excerpts from Thomas Brooks
"THE PRIVY KEY OF HEAVEN"
(A Discourse of Closet Prayer, published during the awful plague of London in 1665)

When a Christian is in a wilderness, which is a very solitary place, then God delights to speak friendly and comfortably to him: Hosea 2:14, "Behold, I willallure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak friendly or comfortably to her," or as the Hebrew has it, "I will speak to her heart." "When I have her alone," says God, "in a solitary wilderness, I will speak such things to her heart, as shall exceedingly cheer her, and comfort her, and even make her heart leap and dance within her."

Certainly the soul usually enjoys most communion with God in secret. A husband imparts his mind most freely and fully to his wife when she is alone; and so does Christ to the believing soul.

Oh . . . the secret kisses, the secret embraces, the secret visits, the secret whispers, the secret cheerings, the …

All other ground is sinking sand...

I woke up this morning to be greeted by an email update from monergism.com which contained a most excellent article on the doctrines of grace by a man named Mark Webb. The article concludes with the following paragraphs:

Face it: Most folks out there on the street REALLY don't think they are going to Hell, however much they may joke or make light of it. Ninety-nine out of a hundred (An understatement if there ever was one!) don't lie asleep at night in agony of soul fearing that they are about to drop into Hell. And they have a REASON why they are sure such a thing will not happen to them, no matter how faulty and false that reason might be. One man may have a MORAL reason: He's not a bad fellow, he's a good husband and father, he pays his taxes, or, as a rancher in Wyoming once told me, "I've never been arrested!" Another man may have a RELIGIOUS reason: He's been baptized, he goes to church, he prays, reads his Bible, and, in general, does what goo…

Cold, Sad, Mournful, Depressing Calvinism is not Calvinism at All!

This is an excerpt from an address given by Lloyd-Jones on the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Williams (a Welsh Calvinistic Methodist). I encourage all to read the full address. The link is posted at the end of this excerpt.

My argument is, that cold, sad, mournful, depressing Calvinism is not Calvinism at all. It is a caricature; something has gone wrong somewhere. It is mere intellectualism and philosophy. Calvinism leads to feeling, to passion, to warmth, to praise, to thanksgiving. Look at Paul, the greatest of them all. We should not talk about 'Calvinism'; it is Paul's teaching. He tells us that he wept. He preached with tears. Do you?

When did we last weep over these matters? When did we last shed tears? When have we shown the feeling and the passion that he shows? Paul could not control himself, he got carried away. Look at his mighty climaxes; look at the way in which he rises to the heavens and is 'lost in wonder, tore, and praise'. Of course,…

Are You a "Seeker"?

As we were reading Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections tonight, the term "seeking God" came up and I realized that so many of us understand that term in a negative sense, as in "seeker-friendly" churches. I have heard people who do not profess to be Christian describe themselves as "seekers" even while they are visiting a Christian church.

Understandably, a true believer living in our generation, would be hesitant to refer to himself as a "seeker" for the reasons expressed above. However, we are to seek after God--we are to be seekers of God. Not in the way that someone who does not know him claims to be seeking; but in this way: As one who knows Him and desires to see and find Him everywhere and in everything. Everywhere we look--in all of His creation. In everything we think, say and do and in every interaction with others. To seek and find Him present.

Here is the text from the portion of our reading tonight:

Hence there is an end to many…

John Flavel

John Flavel (or Flavell) was born in 1628 in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. He was the son of Richard Flavel, a minister who died of the plague in 1665 while in prison for nonconformity. John Flavel was educated by his father in the ways of religion, then “plied his studies hard” as a commoner at University College, Oxford. In 1650, he was ordained by the presbytery at Salisbury. He settled in Diptford, where he honed his numerous gifts.

He married Joan Randall, a godly woman, who died while giving birth to their first child in 1655. The baby died as well. After a year of mourning, Flavel married Elizabeth Stapell and was again blessed with a close, God-fearing marriage, as well as children.

In 1656, Flavel accepted a call to be minister in the thriving seaport of Dartmouth. He earned a smaller income there, but his work was more profitable; many were converted. One of his parishioners wrote of Flavel, “I could say much, though not enough of the excellency of his preaching; of his seasonab…

Just so you are aware...

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican announced Tuesday (November 10, 2009) it was making it easier for Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism – a surprise move designed to entice traditionalists opposed to women priests, openly gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The decision, reached in secret by a small cadre of Vatican officials, was sure to add to the problems of the 77-million-strong Anglican Communion as it seeks to deal with deep doctrinal divisions that threaten a permanent schism among its faithful.

The change means conservative Anglicans from around the world will be able to join the Catholic Church while retaining aspects of their Anglican liturgy and identity, including married priests. Until now, disaffected Anglicans had joined the church primarily on a case by case basis.

"The unity of the church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows," said Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican's Congre…

WHAT, WHO and WHY we love.

Every man loves the mercies of God, but the saint loves the God of the mercies.

The above is a pregnant statement found within a chapter of John Flavel's work on the providence of God. Stop and think about it. Ponder it in your mind. Let it cause you to examine your heart. For those who may be reading this blog who are unfamiliar with certain terms of the Christian faith, the word "saint" simply refers to all who have been "born-again"; all whom the Spirit of God has regenerated and reconciled to God through the atoning work of Jesus Christ by grace alone through faith alone. "Saint" does not refer to someone who "acts" like a saint. We are all saints who are in Christ. It is an inward reality that only God can see, not an outward manifestation of holiness.

With that in mind, read the above statement again. If you fancy yourself a genuine Christian, one who will be found acceptable to God at the judgement, ask yourself if you love the …

O' How highly we think of our own importance.

Just yesterday I was reading an article about a new book by Michael Horton and the article started out by stating:

"What, exactly, is “Christless Christianity”? First of all, it is not a claim that all the churches in America are Christless. It’s certainly not a claim that we have reached a point where Christ is no longer being preached. Rather, it’s motivated by a concern that there’s this creeping fog of what sociologist Christian Smith called “moralistic-therapeutic-deism.” This has turned God into a tool we can use rather than the object of our faith and worship. I’m concerned that the gospel is being taken for granted, that Christ is a sort of life coach, but not the Savior. With the general shallowing within the culture, there is a shallowing of Christian faith and practice. We don’t really know what we believe and why we believe it.

Then just last night we were reading from a book by John Flavel on the Providence of God and came to the section copied below. Ponder…

Do we Delight in Him as we ought?

"Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name."—Psalm 100:4

"OUR Lord would have all His people rich in high and happy thoughts concerning His blessed person. Jesus is not content that His brethren should think meanly of Him; it is His pleasure that His espoused ones should be delighted with His beauty.

We are not to regard Him as a bare necessary, like to bread and water, but as a luxurious delicacy, as a rare and ravishing delight.

To this end He has revealed Himself as the "pearl of great price" in its peerless beauty, as the "bundle of myrrh" in its refreshing fragrance, as the "rose of Sharon" in its lasting perfume, as the "lily" in its spotless purity.

As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember the estimation that Christ is had in beyond the skies, where things are measured by the right standard. Think how God esteems the Only Begotten, His unspeakable gift to us. Consider what the angels think of Him, as they count it th…

Accountability Solved

Tim Challies ran a series trying to help men better understand how pornography effects them; their relationships; and their walk with God. He ended the series with some suggested resources for men to read. Much of what he said was true and helpful, but I still feel that it (as well as so many other attempts to "cure" this problem outlined in the hundreds of books written about it) are "man-centered" philosophies and do not get to the root of the real problem.

The truth is that no human accountability partner or group or book is able to keep a man accountable or to change his natural desire for self-indulgence. Perhaps, if a man's accountability partner was handcuffed to him, he would alter his behavior, simply because he would not be comfortable indulging his desire for degrading, perverted, dehumanizing sexual gratification with another man sitting right next to him. He would also grow to hate that man and be almost willing to chop his arm off to get fre…