For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Malachi 4:2

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Galatians 6:14
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Let the motto upon your whole ministry be - "Christ is All!" - Mather

Monday, August 31, 2009

Christ . . . The One Thing Necessary!

Philippians 1:9-11: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Commenting on what it means to approve what is excellent in verse 10, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:

The difficulty in life is to know on what we ought to concentrate. The whole art of life, I sometimes think, is the art of knowing what to leave out, what to ignore, what to put on one side. How prone we are to dissipate our energies and to waste our time by forgetting what is vital and giving ourselves to second and third rate issues. Now, says Paul, here you are in the Christian life, you are concerned about difficulties, about oppositions and about the contradictions of life. What you need is just this: the power to concentrate on that which is vital, to leave out everything else, and to keep steadily to the one thing that matters.
(The Life of Joy: Philippians, vol. 1, pp. 54-55.)

The Apostle Paul came preaching one thing:

1 Corinthians 2:2: For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

He boasted in one thing:

Galatians 6:14: But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

One thing is of first importance:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures . . . .

We proclaim one thing in the Lord's Supper:

1 Corinthians 11:26: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

May we approve what is excellent and proclaim that Jesus Christ and Him crucified is all!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

In Self We Possess Nothing; In Christ We Possess All

Luke 9:46-48: An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great."

A Dutch Poem:

Make me, O Lord, a child again,
So tender, frail, and small,
In self possessing nothing, and
In Thee possessing all.

O Savior, make me small once more,
That downward I may grow,
And in this heart of mine restore
The faith of long ago.

With thee may I be crucified-
No longer I that lives-
O Savior, crush my sinful pride
By grace which pardon gives.

Make me, O Lord, a child again,
Obedient to thy call,
In self possessing nothing, and
In Thee possessing all.

(From William Hendriksen's Commentary on Matthew 18:2-4)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Christ Was All To Some Saints Of Old

John Calvin:

. . . if we seek salvation, we are taught by the name of JESUS that it is in Him . . . If we seek redemption, it will be found in His sufferings; absolution, in His condemnation; remission of the curse, in His cross; satisfaction, in His sacrifice; purification, in His blood . . . newness of life and immortality, in His resurrection . . . protection, security, abundance and enjoyment of all blessings, in His kingdom; a fearless expectation of the judgment, in the judicial authority committed to Him . . . Christ is the beginning, middle and end . . . nothing is, or can be found, apart from Him . . . Let us draw from His treasury, and from no other source.

Octavius Winslow’s response to the text: "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious" (1 Pet 2.7):

Precious Jesus! All in all to me Thou art!

Samuel Rutherford:

Convene all your lovers before your soul, and give them their leave; and strike hands with Christ, that thereafter there may be no happiness to you but Christ, no hunting for anything but Christ, no bed at night, when death cometh, but Christ. Christ, Christ, who but Christ!

Paul Gerhardt:

O Jesus, nothing may I see,
Nothing desire, or seek, but Thee.

Charles Wesley:

Jesus, my all in all Thou art,
My rest in toil, my ease in pain,
The medicine of my broken heart,
In war my peace, in loss my gain,
My smile beneath the tyrant’s frown,
In shame my glory and my crown.
In want my plentiful supply,
In weakness my almighty power,
In bonds my perfect liberty,
My light in Satan’s darkest hour,
My help and stay whene’er I call,
My life in death, my heaven, my all.

Gerhard Tersteegen:

Though all the world my choice deride,
Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
For I am pleased with none beside;
The fairest of the fair is He.

Augustus Toplady:

Object of my first desire,
Jesus crucified for me;
All to happiness aspire,
Only to be found in Thee.
Let me but Thyself possess,
Total sum of happiness:
Perfect peace I then shall prove,
Heaven below and heaven above.

Philip Henry:

Have ye renounced all other things for your all, and have ye received Him to be your all?

Samuel Ward:

He that desires anything above Him, equally with Him, or without Him, shall never obtain Him.

Ralph Robinson:

The saints . . . would rather lose all than Christ; they are contented to part with liberty, estate, life, rather than with Christ.

Jeremiah Burroughs:

In all you enjoy, look how much you see of Christ in it. So far let your delight and esteem be carried out towards it, and no farther.

Do not satisfy yourself with anything without Christ.

Octavius Winslow:

The believer can say: Christ is mine, and I have all things in one, even in Christ, who is my all and in all.

Christ in His Godhead, Christ in His humanity, Christ in His great and finished work, Christ in His mediatorial fulness, must be all in all to the sinner.

Horatius Bonar:

"Christ is all and in all" (Col 3.11). He who knows this knows what fully satisfies and cheers. He who knows this best has the deepest and truest peace: for he has learned the secret of being always a sinner yet always righteous, always incomplete yet always complete, always empty and yet always full, always poor and yet always rich.

Samuel Rutherford:

I wish it were in my power . . . to cry down all love but the love of Christ, and to cry down all gods but Christ, all saviours but Christ, all well-beloveds but Christ, and all soul-suitors and love-beggars but Christ.

All quotations were taken from this excellent article.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Christ Is All In All In Our Lack

Jeremiah Burroughs said:

Again, He is all in all in the lack of things, whatever it is that we lack. Do we lack grace, do we lack gifts, do we lack outward comforts in the world? There is enough in Christ.

It is Christ that is instead of all, that is better than all, and that will supply all in His due time. Those who know Christ and have acquaintance with Him, though they have this and that comfort taken from them, they still know how to make supply out of Christ.

They have that skill and art and mystery of godliness that they can make Christ to be all in all in the lack of all, and it is a great skill and mystery of godliness to know how to make up all in Christ in the lack of all.

See the whole sermon here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jesus Is Worthy To Come To . . . Always!

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of earth’s sorrows, into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair, into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Words: Wiliam T. Sleeper, 1887

Hear it sung beautifully here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More Than All In Jesus We Find!

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Refrain:

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Words: J. Wilbur Chapman, 1910.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Beauty of Christ

John Piper said:

"I do believe that deeply rooted in every human heart is a longing for beauty. Why do we go to the Grand Canyon, the Boundary Waters, art exhibits, gardens? Why do we plant trees and flower beds? Why do we paint our inside walls? Why is it man and not the monkeys who decorated cave walls with pictures? Why is it that in every tribe of humans ever known there has always been some form of art and craftsmanship that goes beyond mere utility? Is it not because we long to behold and be a part of beauty? We crave to be moved by some rare glimpse of greatness. We yearn for a vision of glory."

Read the whole sermon here.

Do you want to see the greatest glory and beauty in the universe?

Paul wrote: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6

Look to Christ and you will find this greatest of glories and greatest of beauties!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Christ Is Shown To Be Glorious In The Midst Of Pain

See how here.

When You Lose Your Only Child . . . Christ is All!

Thomas Watson wrote:

Has God taken away your only child? He has given His only Son. This is a happy exchange. What need does he have to complain of losses who has Christ? He is His Father’s brightness (Hebrews 1:3), His fullness (Colossians 2:9), and His delight (Proverbs 8:30). Is there enough in Christ to delight the heart of God? And is there not enough in Him to ravish us with holy delight? He is wisdom to teach us, righteousness to acquit us, sanctification to adorn us. He is that royal and princely gift. He is the bread of angels (according to Bernard), the joy and triumph of saints. He is "all in all" (Colossians 3:11). Why then are you discontented?

(Thomas Watson, The Art of Divine Contentment (Grand Rapids: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2001), 34.)

This is amazing indeed! The infinite, everlasting, all-mighty, all-knowing, all-glorious God of all the universe has been absolutely satisfied with Christ in the fellowship of the Holy Trinity from all eternity. Is Christ, then, not enough for us, mere finite vapors? Christ must be all! If He is enough to satisfy the infinite, then He is enough for you, no matter what you lose in this life.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Christ! An All Satisfying Portion!

Jonathan Edwards said:

They that have Christ, they have a soul-satisfying portion. They have the truest pleasures and comforts. Here is to be found the proper happiness of the soul. Least liable to accidents and change . . . Here is the best employment for the understanding . . . Such as have Christ, they have better and greater riches than others . . . Better honor . . . Far better pleasures than sensual men. The joys are more exquisitely delighting than ever was enjoyed by the greatest epicure [a man who is dedicated sensual pleasure]. [There are] no pleasures like those that are by the enlightenings of the Spirit of Christ, the discoveries of the beauty of Christ and the manifestations of his love.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Christ is All in Faith!

John Piper said:

"When faith stands in front of a mirror, the mirror becomes a window and sees on the other side the glory of Christ. The decisive alternative to saying, 'I am all,' is not to say, 'I am nothing,' but to say, 'Christ is all.' Faith looks to Christ, not self, not even the new self. In fact the definition of the new-self is the self that looks to Christ as its Savior and Lord and Treasure and Joy and Satisfaction."

From this sermon.