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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Glory Of Christ!

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:2-4

The LORD takes pleasure in those . . . who hope in His mercy. Psalm 147:11

Meditating on the Good News that Christ is All, and in Him All Things are Yours!

This is the way to be more than a conquerer of every fear, every painful loss, every unfulfilled desire, every disappointment, every tough situation, every broken relationship, every cancer, every earthquake, every tribulation, every famine, every tsunami, every terrorist attack, every calamity, every sin, every disease, every financial catastrophe, every hope deferred, and every rejection . . . plead with the LORD for the help and strength of His Spirit and fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Forget about yourself and your circumstances and thank Jesus, praise Jesus, and boast in Jesus alone. Meditate on Him, His perfect work, Who you are in Him, what He has saved you from, and what He has saved you to enjoy. Having Jesus Christ as your all in all, and Christ in you the hope of glory are the answers to every hope and dream deferred. For He must be our greatest hope and dream Who will never leave us, forsake us, nor reject us. If you are in Christ Jesus by grace through faith, the following truths are true of you, and they will be precious to you. For to those who believe, He is precious . . .

On the cross, the peace Jesus formerly enjoyed with His Father was turned into enmity, suffering, and pain as He suffered the wrath of the Father that you deserved because of your sin. Because of Jesus' sufferings and resurrection, you are justified and have peace with God. Romans 5:1

On the cross, Jesus endured the condemnation you deserved so that now you are free from condemnation forever. Romans 8:1

On the cross, Jesus was crushed for all your sins - past, present, and future - so that now where your sin abounds, grace abounds for you all the more. Romans 5:20

In Jesus are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is the perfectly righteous One and the perfectly sanctified One. And now you have Him as your wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
1 Corinthians 1:30

Jesus was made your sin and crushed on the cross so that now you are made righteous in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb Who was slain so that now you are righteous and can be as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

Your sins were brought near to Jesus, counted as His, and He suffered for them so that now they are removed from you as far as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:12

Your sins were met head on by the Father as He punished them in Jesus on the cross so that now they have all been cast behind the LORD's back. Isaiah 38:17b

The Father remembered your sins in Jesus on the cross so that now they have been blotted out for His own sake, and He will remember them no more. Isaiah 43:25

Jesus, Who is whiter than the purest light, was made filthy with your sins so that now, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18

Jesus conquered every temptation He ever faced and never sinned once in the smallest way. He was obedient all the way unto death on the cross so that now, by grace through faith, you died with Him and died to the power of sin's rule over your life. Romans 6:1-6

Jesus was wounded for your transgressions; bruised for your iniquities; and the chastisement for your peace was upon Him. Isaiah 53:5

Jesus was made an enemy of God and utterly vanquished on the cross so that now your enemies should not rejoice over you. For when you fall, you shall arise; when you sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light to you. You shall bear the indignation of the LORD because you have sinned against Him, until He pleads your case and executes justice for you. He will bring you forth to the light; You will see His righteousness. Micah 7:8-9

God did not merely pardon your sins or pass over your transgressions. Instead, He chose not to restrain His anger or have mercy on His own Son, but He delighted to crush Jesus on the cross in your place. Therefore, your God is unlike any other, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage. He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on you, and will subdue your iniquities. He will cast all your sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19

On the cross where His Son hung, the Father showed no grace or mercy; displayed the full measure of His anger; exhibited no lovingkindness; and did not relent from doing harm to His own Son so that now He might be gracious and merciful to you; slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness; One who relents from doing harm against you because Jesus paid it all, taking all the harm upon Himself. Jonah 4:2

Jesus, Who alone earned the right to have the highest honor in the Father's eyes, was abandoned on the cross so that now you might be kept as the apple of God's eye. Deuteronomy 32:10b

Jesus died in the place of the wicked Barabbas and in the place of all those wicked ones His Father had given him so that now the Father might have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

On the cross, Jesus was cast out and forsaken by the Father so that now if you come to Jesus, He will by no means cast you out. John 6:37

On the cross, Jesus perished in your place so that now if you believe in Him, you will not perish, but you will have everlasting life. John 3:16

Jesus faced the fierceness of God's infinite wrath on the cross so that now you have been saved from this everlasting wrath in hell where the fire is unquenchable and where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mark 9:43; Matthew 8:12; 25:46

Jesus has the greatest mind in the universe. No one can instruct Him! His mind is the most wise, the most knowledgeable, the most keen, and the most humble. And in Him, you have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

Jesus is the temple Who was torn down and rebuilt in three days. He is the most beautiful, the most glorious, the most precious temple of the LORD. And by grace through faith, you are united to Him. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit; you were bought with a price; and you are not your own for Jesus purchased you with His own blood. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Jesus was established in strength like no other, and He had the Holy Spirit upon Him in power and without measure. And you have been established in Christ, sealed, and you have been given the Holy Spirit in your heart as a guarantee of your inheritance. 2 Corinthians 1:21; Ephesians 1:13-14

Jesus was crucified and died, but He rose again in power and glory to newness of life, conquering sin, death, and Satan. And you have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer you who live, but Christ lives in you. Galatians 2:20

Jesus embodied and lived out every spiritual blessing imaginable, and you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

Jesus is the holiest of the holy and the most blameless of the blameless. And you have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that you should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Ephesians 1:4

Jesus is the preeminent Son of God, and you have been predestined to adoption as sons of God. Ephesians 1:5; 1 John 3:1

Though He died on the cross, Jesus is alive! You too have been made alive together with Christ. Ephesians 2:5

Jesus came down from the heavenly places to be mocked, mistreated, beaten, and killed because of your sin so that now you have been made to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6

Jesus' access to the Father was cut off on the cross so that now you have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:18

You have boldness and access to God with confidence through faith in Him. Ephesians 3:12

Darkness overcame Jesus on the cross so that now we have been delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

Jesus suffered for you so that now Christ is in you. Colossians 1:27

Jesus emptied Himself on the cross so that now you are complete in Christ. Colossians 2:10

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus deeply feared the wrath of God, and He feared being excluded from the presence of His Father so that now you have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Jesus is the perfectly sanctified One. In Him, you are sanctified and one with the sanctifier, therefore Jesus calls you his brother. Hebrews 2:11

On the cross, Jesus was cut off from God's grace, obtained no mercy, and found no help from anyone in His greatest time of need so that now you can come boldly to the throne of grace, that you may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus bodily, and through His perfect work, you have been given exceedingly great and precious promises, that through them you may be partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4

Jesus is the saltiest salt and the brightest light of the world so that now, in Him, you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Matthew 5:13-14

Jesus is a friend of tax collectors and sinners, and now He calls you His friend. John 15:15

Jesus produced the most beautiful, sweetest, and longest lasting fruit through His life, death, and resurrection so that now you are chosen and appointed by Him to go and bear lasting fruit. John 15:16

Jesus was the most submissive, joyful, righteous, and obedient slave of God to ever live on earth so that now you are a slave of righteousness and a slave of God. Romans 6:18, 22

Jesus left all His glorious, heavenly inheritance in order to come to earth, take on human flesh, and suffer for your sins. In Him, you are an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. Romans 8:17

Jesus gave His body to be beaten, hit, spit upon, and crucified so that now you are a member of the body of Christ. Ephesians 5:30

Through Jesus' death and resurrection, the first fruits of the new creation have arrived so that now, in Christ, you are a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus was the greatest saint Who ever lived, so that now, in Him, you also are a saint. Ephesians 1:1

Jesus was holy and righteous like no other so that now, in Him, you are holy and righteous too. Ephesians 4:24

Jesus was exposed, naked, and abandoned on the cross so that now your life is safely hidden with Christ in God for all eternity. Colossians 3:4

Jesus, the beloved Son in Whom the Father was well pleased, was made an object of wrath on the cross so that now you are the elect of God, holy and beloved. Colossians 3:12

Jesus, the only true Person of God Who alone lived a fully pleasing life in the Father's sight, was the Priest Who interceded with His own body on the cross so that now you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, the people of God. 1 Peter 2:9-10

On the cross, all Jesus' strength was dried up and consumed. He was a man Who had no strength so that now you can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you. Philippians 4:13

On the cross, Jesus did not even receive a cup of water when He needed it so that now you have all your needs supplied according to God's riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

On the cross, Jesus seemed to lose all confidence when He cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?!" so that now you have the LORD as the strength of your life and as your confidence.
Psalm 27:1; Proverbs 3:26

In His glorious death and resurrection, Jesus triumphed over all His and your enemies so that now you shall always be led by God to triumph in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14

In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, Jesus endured and triumphed over the greatest worries, fears, and anxieties ever known to man so that now you can cast all your worries, fears, and anxieties on God because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

On the cross, Jesus was forsaken and left utterly alone so that now you are never alone for Christ is always with you, and He will never leave you nor forsake you. Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5

On the cross, Jesus manifested the ultimate picture of the greatest strength wrapped in the most lowly weakness so that now you should boast in your weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest upon you because His grace is sufficient for you, for His strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Through the cross of Christ, God brought the greatest good out of the greatest evil so that now, though you are not a lot of things you should be, you can take heart since God has chosen the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are so that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:28-29

Through the resurrection of Jesus, God did what is impossible for man. Therefore, your God is the God of the impossible so that now, in any and every hopeless situation, against all hope you can have hope in your great God of the impossible! Your God is the God of the resurrection so you can grow strong in your faith, giving glory to God! Romans 4:16-21

Through the cross, Jesus purchased all you need for life, ministry, and godliness so that now you have your sufficiency from God, and He is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 3:5, 9:8

On the cross, Jesus was a fragrant offering and a well pleasing sacrifice to God so that now you have God working in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

On the cross, Jesus more than conquered all your enemies so that now you will do valiantly through God for it is He who shall tread down your enemies. Psalm 60:12

On the cross, Jesus was shut out of the glorious, all satisfying presence of His Father because of your sin so that now you will have fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore one day forever in God's very presence.
Psalm 16:11

On the cross, Jesus endured the hardest and most infinite affliction in your place so that now your momentary and light affliction, which is for a moment, is working for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, and your present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in you. 2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 8:18

In His life and death, Jesus shed many tears; endured much pain and sorrow on your behalf; and resisted every sin all the way to an obedient death on the cross so that now you have certainty that one day you shall have no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain; there shall be no more death and no more sin. Revelation 21:4

The Father's love for the Son is infinitely great. Yet He did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all. Therefore, since He has given us the greatest gift imaginable in His Son, surely He will also freely give us all things. Romans 8:32

In His life and death, Jesus experienced tribulation, distress, persecution, hunger, thirst, nakedness, peril, the nails and spear at the cross, and the infinite wrath of God so that now you shall not be separated from the love of Christ for any of these reasons or for any other reason in the universe. No trial in your life should ever make you doubt God's love for you. Even in all your hardships, God's love is strong toward you. He has given the greatest evidence of His love for you at the cross when He crushed His one and only beloved Son in your place. Romans 8:35-39

On the cross, the Father did not come to Jesus' aid in any way so that now you have certain and unshakable promises causing you to be strong, courageous, and fearless because God is with you, and He is your God and will strengthen you and help you and uphold you with His righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

On the cross, Jesus was excluded from the joy of the LORD so that now you will one day enter into the joy of your LORD. Matthew 25:23

Jesus went to the cross according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, and His enemies were gathered against Him to do whatever God's hand and His purpose determined before to be done. Therefore, since God is in absolute control of the most wicked action in the universe (the crucifixion of Jesus), and He worked it for your good, you can rest assured in the following truths about God's absolute sovereignty working for your good in every and all situations. Acts 2:22-23, 4:27-28

Your hairs are numbered and if not even a little bird can fall to the ground apart from God's will, you should fear nothing for God loves you much more than little birds. Matthew 10:29-31

In His book they all were written - every detail of every day fashioned by Him for your good before even one came into being. Psalm 139:16

All your times are in His hands. Psalm 31:15

All things work according to His will. Ephesians 1:11

As your days are, so shall your strength be and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:25; 27

Your right hand is held by God, and He will guide you with His counsel. Psalm 73:23-24

All things, even those things meant for evil against you, are working for your good. Romans 8:28

Because of Jesus' perfect life and death, if you sin, you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1

If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

On the cross, the Father was against Jesus, condemning Him for your sake, so that now you can never be condemned because God is absolutely for you forever and no one can be against you. Romans 8:31

In His death and resurrection, Jesus more than conquered all powers, enemies, and evils so that now you are more than a conqueror through Him who loved you. Romans 8:37

On the cross, Jesus was crushed by God with the equivalent of an everlasting punishment so that now you are loved by God with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

On the cross, Jesus was cut off from the fullness of God's house and drank from the river of His wrath so that now God satisfies you with the fullness of His house and gives you drink from the river of His pleasures.
Psalm 36:8

On the cross, the Father delighted to bruise the Son so that now God delights in you and as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:4-5

On the cross, the Father rejoiced to punish the Son so that now God will rejoice over you with gladness, and He will quiet you with His love. Zephaniah 3:17

Jesus, the greatest treasure in the universe, was abandoned on the cross so that you might be God's special treasure in Christ. Psalm 135:4

On the cross, the Father showed no mercy to the Son, so that now you might give the Father pleasure when you hope in His mercy. Psalm 147:11

On the cross, Jesus' appearance was marred beyond human form. There were no smiles on His face and no laughter came from His mouth so that now you may smile at all your enemies and laugh at the future because of the salvation He purchased for you. 1 Samuel 2:1; Proverbs 31:25

On the cross, the delight and desire of Jesus' heart, His very own Father, abandoned Him so that now if you delight yourself in the LORD, you will receive the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

While Jesus was on the cross, darkness was over the whole land and the light of the world was extinguished so that now one day you might shine like the sun in the kingdom of your Father. Matthew 13:43

On the cross, the Father withheld all good things from the Son so that now if you seek the LORD, you shall not lack any good thing. Psalm 34:10

On the cross, the Father pursued the Son with anger and condemnation so that now your heavenly Father, like the Hound of Heaven, is pursuing you relentlessly with goodness and mercy all the days of your life. Psalm 23:6

God the Father and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ did all of this ultimately for the praise of His glory and grace! Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14.

So in the face of all failures, heartbreaks, hopes deferred, and rejections, be still and know that Christ is all! Rest in Him, enjoy Him, and delight in Him above all other delights. Stand secure in the truth of who you are in Jesus Christ. In Him, you are gloriously saved, perfectly safe, and most deeply satisfied for all eternity!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Love Sick For Jesus Christ

Speaking of his love intoxicated relationship with Christ, Samuel Rutherford wrote:
. . . and now many a sweet, sweet, soft kiss, many perfumed, well-smelled kisses, and embracements have I received of my royal Master. He and I have had much love together. I have for the present a sick dwining life, with much pain, and much love-sickness for Christ. Oh, what would I give to have a bed made to my wearied soul, in His bosom! I would frist heaven for many years to have my fill of Jesus in this life, and to have occasion to offer Christ to my people, and to woo many people to Christ. I cannot tell you what sweet pain, and delightsome torments are in Christ's love; I often challenge time, that holdeth us sundry. I profess to you, I have no rest, I have no ease, whill I be over head and ears in love's ocean. If Christ's love (that fountain of delight) were laid as open to me as I would wish, oh, how I would drink, and drink abundantly! oh how drunken would this my soul be!

Samuel Rutherford, Letters Of Samuel Rutherford (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2006), 346, Letter CLXXX.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Christ Is Altogether Lovely!

Samuel Rutherford wrote:
And oh, what a fair One, what an only One, what an excellent, lovely, ravishing One, is Jesus! Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises, like the garden of Eden in one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colours, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness, in one: oh, what a fair and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less to that fair and dearest Well-beloved, Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths. Oh, but Christ is heaven's wonder, and earth's wonder! What marvel that His bride saith, "He is altogether lovely!"

Samuel Rutherford, Letters of Samuel Rutherford, ed. by Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh, 1863) Vol. II, p. 97.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Desperate For God

I love this:

“There were two exegetes [interpreters of the Bible] who prayed as they entered the library to work on understanding a biblical text. One was a biblical scholar and the other a common lay preacher. The biblical scholar, on route to deep seclusion in the collection of recent monographs, prayed like this:
Lord, I thank you that I am not like other exegetes– the youth ministers, authors of popular devotional literature, mass production book publishers or even this lay preacher. I study the Scriptures for hours every day– in their original… and several other languages, not to mention my work in ancient history and historiography, literary theory, social-scientific research, the most important commentaries, the most recent monographs and dissertations, and the most scholarly periodicals!

But the lay preacher, trying to remember how to use the complicated cataloging system to find an understandable commentary on a passage of Scripture, prayed thus,
God, please help me, a mere preacher, find something to help me understand Your word.

I tell you, this person – who desperately needed it – received help from the Lord.”

From Craig G. Bartholomew and Robby Holt, “Prayer in/and the Drama of Redemption,” in Reading Luke: Interpretation, Reflection, Formation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 350.

Monday, February 15, 2010

God Is Greater Than Everything

C. S. Lewis wrote:

"He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God alone."

From: The Weight Of Glory

Friday, February 12, 2010

Christ Is All On Valentine's Day And Every Day

In the following love note, Jonathan Edwards wrote about Sarah, his future wife, when she was only 13 years old. Notice what he finds beautiful about her and what she finds beautiful:

They say there is a young lady in [New Haven] who is loved of that Great Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight; and that she hardly cares for any thing, except to meditate on him - that she expects after a while to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affection. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her conduct; and you could not persuade her to do any thing wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness, and universal benevolence of mind; especially after this Great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always with her.

(Jonathan Edwards, “His Memoirs,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth, Vol. 1, xxxix-xl, 1723.)

Yes, she was only 13 years old! They married 4 years later. This love note is truly a God-centered love meditation. Clearly Jonathan’s attraction to Sarah had much to do with Christ in her – he found her relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, very attractive. Sarah, by being “ravished” with the love of God, could not help but also point Jonathan to the greatness of God. To truly and most deeply love is not to buy into the materialistic idol of our culture by showering people with expensive material gifts (although gift giving can express love!). Rather, the most deeply loving thing we can to for people is point them to the great fountain of all love by our words and lives, and help them find Him most beautiful, satisfying, and lovely.

Mrs. Sarah Edwards continued to find God most lovely and learned the truth of God’s absolute sovereignty over all things for the good and joy of His people. After 31 years of marriage and 11 children, Jonathan Edwards died in a terrible medical accident – from a small pox inoculation gone bad. Twelve days after her husband’s premature death, she wrote this letter to comfort her daughter:

MY VERY DEAR CHILD
What shall I say? A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may kiss the rod, and lay our hands on our mouths! The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness, that we had him so long. But my God lives; and he has my heart. O what a legacy my husband, and your father, has left us! We are all given to God; and there I am, and love to be.
Your ever affectionate mother,
SARAH EDWARDS

(Sarah Edwards, “His Memoirs,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth, Vol. 1, clxxix, 1758.)

In such a horrible tragedy, would God have your heart? Would you be given to God and love being there in the midst of such sorrow? Oh that God would give us the grace to see His utter loveliness and cherish Him as Sarah Edwards did regardless of our circumstances. When we know, love, and desire God as we should, no matter what trials and tribulations we face, we can say with David, “The LORD is my Shepherd; I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1). We lack nothing because Jesus Christ is our all in all and satisfies our every longing. And like John Bunyan’s wife, may we truly love others by helping them to do the same:

“She brought him [John Bunyan] a tender love, but it only awakened his thirst for higher joys. The devotion she poured into his heart carved out the ‘larger capacities’ that God alone can fill.”

(Henri Talon, John Bunyan, The Man and His Works (London: Rockliff Publishing Corp., 1951), 45.)

May Christ be your chief desire this Valentine’s Day and every day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Never Lose Sight Of Calvary

C. J. Mahaney very helpfully writes:

We must never assume the gospel. We must always assume that those we serve need to hear the gospel yet again. Any sermon we preach is incomplete and insufficient until we explicitly reference Christ and him crucified.

In the book A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life, J.I Packer writes,

The preachers’ commission is to declare the whole counsel of God; but the cross is the centre of that counsel, and the Puritans knew that the traveller through the Bible landscape misses his way as soon as he loses sight of the hill called Calvary.

Every sermon must have a sighting of the hill called Calvary, because each passage of Scripture points us to the cross. In Christ-Centered Preaching, Bryan Chapell writes,

In its context, every passage possesses one or more of four redemptive foci. Every text is predictive of the work of Christ, preparatory for the work of Christ, reflective of the work of Christ, and/or resultant of the work of Christ.

And because every text of Scripture points us to the cross, every topic should likewise point us to the cross. Thomas Jones says, “No doctrine of Scripture may faithfully be set before men unless it is displayed in its relationship to the cross.”

The message of the cross is central to the commission of the preacher, is to be on display in every sermon, is cultivated from every text of Scripture, and is embedded within every topic and doctrine intended to nourish the church.

Cross-eyed

Whether it’s a pastor’s personal reading of Scripture or the weekly preaching of Scripture, we must never lose sight of Calvary. In every sermon there must be some sighting of Calvary.

My prayer for Sovereign Grace pastors is that they build churches who gather together in anticipation of a Calvary sighting. I pray that even as Scripture is read before the sermon, our churches would await with anticipation that point in the sermon where Calvary will be made visible. And the more apparently obscure the passage, the more excited they would be that from this passage, at some point during the sermon, their spiritual sight will be pointed toward the hill called Calvary.

So never lose sight of Calvary, and never let those you serve lose sight of Calvary. In each sermon let there be a sighting of the hill of Calvary and what was accomplished there by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

HT: Sovereign Grace Ministries Blog

Searching For The Most Extravagant, Everlasting Happiness

Augustine wrote:
God himself, who is the Author of virtue, shall there be its reward; for, as there is nothing greater or better, he has promised himself. What else was meant by his word through the prophet, "I will be your God, and ye shall be my people," than, I shall be their satisfaction, I shall be all that men honourably desire - life, and health, and nourishment, and plenty, and glory, and honour, and peace, and all good things? This, too, is the right interpretation of the apostle, "That God may be all in all." He shall be the end of our desires who shall be seen without end, loved without cloy [disgust], praised without weariness.

From: The City Of God, trans. Marcus Dods (New York: Modern Library, 1950), 12.30.

Calvin wrote:
If God contains the fullness of all good things in himself like an inexhaustible fountain, nothing beyond him is to be sought by those who strive after the highest good and all the elements of happiness . . . If the Lord will share his glory, power, and righteousness with the elect - nay, will give himself to be enjoyed by them and, what is more excellent, will somehow make them to become one with himself, let us remember that every sort of happiness is included under this benefit.

From: John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), 3.25.10.

Aquinas wrote:
Clearly, then, nothing can satisfy man's will except such goodness, which is found, not in anything created, but in God alone. Everything created is a derivative good. He alone, who fills all good things thy desire [Ps. 102:5], can satisfy our will, and therefore in him alone our happiness lies.

From: St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, trans. Thomas Gilby (New York: McGraw, 1969, 1a2ae; 2.8.

All quotations were taken from David Clyde Jones, Biblical Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), 18-20.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our Father's Amazing Love In Christ

John Stott writes:

"God himself 'presented' (NIV) or 'put forward' (RSV) Jesus Christ as a propitiatory [anger removing] sacrifice (Rom. 3:25). It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a propitiation for our sins (1 Jn. 4:10). It cannot be emphasized too strongly that God's love is the source, not [merely] the consequence, of the atonement . . . God does not love us [merely] because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loved us. If it is God's wrath which needed to be propitiated, it is God's love which did the propitiating."

From John Stott, The Cross Of Christ (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1986), 174.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Christ Is All Is The Most Important Part Of Our Creed

Hear Charles Spurgeon's reported first words at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London:

"I would purpose that the subject of the ministry in this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of JESUS CHRIST. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist; I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; But if I am asked what is my creed, I reply - It is JESUS CHRIST. My venerated predecessor, Dr. Gill, has left a body of divinity, admirable and excellent in its way; but the body of divinity to which I would pin and bind myself forever, God helping me, is not his system or any other human treatise; but CHRIST JESUS, who is the sum and substance of the gospel, who is in Himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all-glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and the life."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Knowing Christ . . . There Is Nothing Greater!

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Philippians 3:7-8

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jesus Is Enough For The Infinite, Eternal God; Shouldn't He Be Enough For Us?

Thomas Watson wrote:

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.

William Solomon Hottle Piper wrote:

“Will you not be satisfied with the work of Christ, when His work was enough to satisfy the wrath of God?”

Christ - The Only Savior From God's Wrath

D.A. Carson writes the following on the wrath of God:

“To speak faithfully of the wrath of God, very often what we most urgently need are tears. A few years ago on a radio talk show with a large audience in Chicago, the host asked several guests to discuss whether anyone could be saved apart from Jesus. Three pooh-poohed the idea in graphic terms. The fourth was a Jewish-Christian believer on the faculty of Moody Bible Institute. His ethnic background was known by everyone there, so when it was his turn to speak, the host baited him by asking him if he thought his fellow Jews could be saved apart from Christ. This Christian brother began to weep, and then to sob quietly, uncontrollably. After a minute or two, the host said that he had never heard a more compelling reason to become a Christian. So we teach the wrath of God, for faithfulness to Scripture demands it; and we follow Jesus and learn to weep over the city.”

Cited from: D. A. Carson, “The Wrath of God,” in Engaging the Doctrine of God, ed. Bruce McCormack, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008), 63.

May God increase our tears, love, and action for the lost and hurting!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feeling Like Christ Is All And Acting Like Christ Is All

In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis wrote:

“We have a tendency to think, but not to act. The more we feel without acting, the less we will ever be able to act, and, in the long run, the less we will be able to feel.”

I have often thought and felt a lot of things while listening to sermons or while reading Bible-saturated books or while looking at horiffic pictures of starving children on the internet or while watching footage of disasters like the recent earthquake in Haiti. During these times I have felt conviction of sin, joy in Christ, sorrow for the hurting, and compassion for the needy.

But how persistently do I act Biblically and faithfully in response to what I have felt while hearing, reading, and seeing? How persistently do you?

May our great and merciful Heavenly Father have mercy upon us for the sake of Christ. May He supernaturally cause us to act as we should for His great name sake so that Jesus Christ will truly be shown to be all in all in our lives. Oh LORD, what would you have us to do? Please grant us the grace to do it, no matter what.

There Is No One Like Christ!!