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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Come To Christ!

Charles Spurgeon preached:

"We need a Mediator between our souls and God, but we do not need any mediator between our souls and Christ. We need to get ready to come to God, but we need not get ready to come to Christ! You cannot come to God unless you are washed in the blood of Christ and clothed in the righteousness of Christ! But you may come to Christ just as you are - no need to rid yourselves of one foul blot. Come just as you are, without any good thing, whatever, without even enough goodness in you to be seen with a microscope! Come just as you are, even if you have so much sin that eternity could scarcely hold it! You may come to Christ though you are almost as bad as a devil. Though, in some respects, you are a very devil, yet you may come to God in Christ, but not to God out of Christ! You must come to Christ, first, and, at the foot of the Cross, look up to the atoning Sacrifice. There is a way to God’s heart for you, even you!"

From: Charles Spurgeon, Sermon: "The Only Road," John 14:6, March 31, 1872. The sermon can be accessed here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Everlasting Righteousness Makes All The Difference!

Adam was a righteous man in the garden before the fall. He was in paradise! He had everything he could want, including a perfect relationship with the God of the universe. Yet he turned from it all, rebelled against God, and sinned.

But think about Job. He was a fallen sinner; he lost all of his possessions; he lost all of his beloved children; he lost his health; and his wife told him to curse God and die. Would he sin against God like the first Adam? NO! HE BLESSED GOD IN HIS TRIALS! HE SAID GOD IS GOOD! GOD DOES ALL THINGS WELL! THOUGH HE SLAY ME I WILL HOPE IN HIM!

And why? Because, unlike Adam's righteousness, Job, through the Promised Redeemer, had an everlasting righteousness by grace through faith!

Dr. Meredith Kline comments on Job's triumph over Satan:

"Satan seduced Adam even while Adam was standing in the integrity of his creation righteousness. From this it might have appeared that Satan could trip up the depraved sons of Adam at will and trample upon them. But herein lies a great wonder of redemptive grace: sinner Job stands triumphant where righteous Adam tragically fell! Thus, for the confounding of Satan and the reassurance of the saints, the Lord gave clear proof that a righteousness more enduring than that of Adam was being provided through the second Adam. This triumph of Job’s patience over the Adversary’s malice provided a seal, especially for the ages before the Incarnation, of God’s promise that He would bestow on the faithful the gift of eternal salvation through the Christ to come."

From: Meredith Kline, Job in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962), 464.

Faith: An Absorbing Preoccupation With Christ!

John Murray wrote:

"As one has aptly and truly stated the case, it is not faith that saves but faith in Jesus Christ; strictly speaking, it is not even faith in Christ that saves but Christ that saves through faith . . . The specific character of faith is that it looks away from itself and finds its whole interest and object in Christ. He is the absorbing preoccupation of faith."

From: John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), 139.

Friday, October 23, 2009

An Overwhelming Passion To Know Christ And To Make Him Known

Stephen Neill wrote:

"When a man, by constant contemplation of the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord, finds himself so inflamed with love of God and man that he cannot bear the thought of any man living and dying without the knowledge of God, he may begin to bear the Cross of Christ. If, as he bears it, this longing for the glory of God and for the salvation of all men becomes so great that it fills all his thoughts and desires, then he has that one thing without which no man can truly be a messenger of Christ."

From: Stephen Neill, Out of Bondage (Edinburgh: Edinburgh House Press, n.d.), 135-136. Cited from: D. A. Carson, The Gagging Of God, Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 514.

Oh may God inflame us with His love and with a love for men! May we bear the Cross of Christ! May our longing for the glory of God and for the salvation of lost sinners become so great that it fills all our thoughts and desires! Please make us messengers of Christ, oh Father . . . for Jesus' sake!

Devote Yourselves To The Gospel Of Christ, Not Peripheral Issues

D. A. Carson writes:

"One observes the decline of family and personal devotions and the rising number of self-confessed evangelicals who assume the gospel but devote themselves to relatively peripheral issues that become their premier passion: debates over Lordship salvation, spiritual warfare, counseling, home schooling, divorce and remarriage, abortion, Christian schools, Gothard seminars, social drinking, debt-free financing, charismatic issues, tastes in music and corporate worship, sex education in public schools, church polity, church discipline, ecology, women’s ordination, and much more."

D. A. Carson, The Gagging Of God, Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 482.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jesus Christ: A Greater Than Solomon Is Here!

Dr. Bruce Waltke lists 18 ways Jesus Christ is greater than the wisdom of Solomon!

1. The Queen of Sheba testified to her amazement of Solomon’s wisdom in this world, but she will rise up in judgment over those who reject Christ’s superior wisdom (Matt. 12:46).

2. Solomon taught his disciples to wait for God to repay the wrongdoer, but Christ Himself will repay them (Prov. 24:12; Matt. 25:41-46; Rev. 2:23; 22:12; cf. Rom. 2:6-8; 2 Thess. 1:8; 2 Tim. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 20:12-13).

3. Solomon depended on God to discipline those he loves, but Christ Himself disciplines those he loves ([Prov.] 3:11-12; Rev. 3:19).

4. Solomon taught that those who share with the poor will be rewarded by God, but Christ identifies himself with and as the poor and as the one who rewards those who sacrifice for them (Matt. 25:31-45).

5. Solomon focused on health and wealth now and minimized present sufferings; Christ focused on present suffering for righteousness and maximized future, eternal glory ([Prov.] 3:1-10, 34; Matt. 5:3-12; 25:1-13).

6. Solomon offers eternal life opaquely, but Christ by his resurrection brought immortality into the full light of day ([Prov.] 8:35; Matt. 25:46; 2 Tim 1:10).

7. Solomon motivates his disciples to please their parents, but Christ, while upholding the honor of parents, teaches his disciples to love the triune God more ([Prov.] 10:1; 19:13; 23:22-25; 27:11; 29:3; Matt. 5:45; 7:21; 10:32, 33, 35, 37; 15:4; 23:9; 25:34; Luke 9:60).

8. Solomon's wisdom is a bubbling brook, but Christ offers streams of water from within ([Prov.] 18:4; John 7:38).

9. Solomon offers a banquet of food and drink, but Christ himself is the Christian's food and drink (Prov. 9:1-3; John 6:53).

10. No human ascended into heaven to comprehend the whole, but Christ both descended from heaven and ascended into it ([Prov.] 30:4; John 3:13; 6:33).

11. Solomon depended in part on the sayings of others, but Christ speaks as the authoritative Son of Man from heaven (Prov. 22:23; Matthew 12).

12. Solomon calls on his disciples to write his teachings on their hearts, but Christ sends his Spirit to write God's word on their hearts (Prov. 3:3; 2 Cor. 3:3).

13. Solomon calls for obedience, but Christ's Spirit empowers his elect to obey (Prov. 1:20-21; Rom. 8:1-8).

14. Solomon anticipates a future ideal king ([Prov.] 16:10-15), but Christ is the Messiah (Matt. 27:37).

15. Solomon pointed to atonement by showing reliable love to others, but Christ showed such reliable love to his own [in] that he died to atone for their sin (Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:14).

16. Solomon failed to obey his wisdom, but Christ is the perfect example of his ([Prov.] 3:2; 25:26; 1 K. 11:9-10; Luke 2:52; Heb. 4:15).

17. Solomon lost his kingdom, but Christ builds his (1 K. 11:10; Matt. 16:18).

18. Solomon called on his disciples to feed their enemies, but Christ died for his enemies ([Prov.] 25:21; Rom 5:8).

Nevertheless, even though Christ's wisdom is so much greater than Solomon's, we do not discard the latter any more than we would throw away a five-dollar bill because we also owned a twenty-dollar bill.

From: Bruce K. Waltke, The Book Of Proverbs, Chapters 1-15 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 131-132.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Christ: Our Perfect and Sovereign Happiness!

John Calvin commenting on Ephesians 3:14-19:

". . . when the Scripture sets Jesus Christ before us, it is not without cause that we are told to rest wholly upon him, and keep to him when we have come to him, because he has all fulness of good things in himself. Therefore we do not need to be wandering here and there, or taking such great trouble in seeking the things that are needful for us. In short, we must no longer go astray, but must adhere wholly to him, as to our perfect and sovereign happiness."

John Calvin, Sermons On The Epistle To The Ephesians (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1975), 300.

We Have Everything In Christ!

John Calvin commenting on Ephesians 3:14-19:

"Therefore when we once know how well God loves us, and how inestimable is the mercy of which he has given us so good a pledge in the person of his only Son, we have everything . . . ."

John Calvin, Sermons On The Epistle To The Ephesians (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1975), 296.

Keep Yourselves Strictly In Awe Of Him!

Commenting on Ephesians 3:14-19, John Calvin said:

"To be brief, we must be sure of the infinite good that is done to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that we may be ravished in love with our God and inflamed with a proper zeal to obey him, and keep ourselves strictly in awe of him, to honour him with all our thoughts, with all our affections, and with all our hearts."

John Calvin, Sermons On The Epistle To The Ephesians (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1975), 295.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

May All Else Be Shut Out But Christ!

Harry Ironside wrote: "The secret of holiness is heart-occupation with Christ. As we gaze upon him we become like him. Do you want to become like Christ? . . . Let the loveliness of the risen Lord so fill the vision of your soul that all else is shut out."

Cited in Bryan Chapell, Ephesians (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2009), 164.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Witnessing about Christ in the Face of Muslim Persecution

From Voice of the Martyrs:

On Friday, June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith, with the Muslim women telling Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling them about her faith in Christ. Asia told the Muslim women Christ had died on the cross for our sins, then asked them what Mohammed had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them Jesus is alive, but Mohammed is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”

Upon hearing this response the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia Bibi. Then some men came and took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey. Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She is currently being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they must go forward due to pressure from local Muslim leaders.

The Voice of the Martyrs urges Christians around the world to pray for Asia Bibi and her family. Further, we call on the Pakistani government to insure that the rights of Christians like Asia are protected.

See more here.

God Can Make Us Happy Without Anything Else

On his death bed, Edward Payson wrote:

"Christians might avoid much trouble and inconvenience if they would only believe what they profess, that God is able to make them happy without anything else. They imagine that if such a dear friend were to die, or if such blessings were to be removed, they would be miserable, whereas God can make them a thousand times happier without them. To mention my own case, God has been depriving me of one blessing after another [he was on his death-bed when he wrote this], but as each one was removed He has come in and filled its place. And now, when I am cripple and not able to move, I am happier than ever I was in my life before or ever expected to be; and if I had believed this twenty years ago I might have been spared much anxiety."

Cited in D. M. Lloyd-Jones, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, An Exposition of Ephesians 3:1 to 21 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 240-241.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Holy Longings For Christ To Be All

Count Zinzendorf:

I have one passion; it is Christ, and Christ alone.

Hudson Taylor:

Lord Jesus, make Thyself to me
A living, bright Reality;
More present to faith's vision keen
Than any outward object seen;
More dear, more intimately nigh
Than e'en the sweetest earthy tie.

Theodore Monod:

O the bitter shame and sorrow,
That a time could ever be,
When I let the Savior’s pity
Plead in vain, and proudly answered,
“All of self, and none of Thee!”

Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on th’accursèd tree,
Heard Him pray, “Forgive them, Father!”
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee!”

Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Sweet and strong, and ah! so patient,
Brought me lower, while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee!”

Higher than the highest heavens,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last hath conquered:
Grant me now my supplication,
“None of self, and all of Thee!”

Friday, October 2, 2009

All Satisfaction in Him!

A. W. Tozer wrote:

"The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever."

From The Pursuit of God