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, November 24, 2010

Christ Is All In The Faith!

Charles Spurgeon wrote:
What, then, is the propagation of the faith? I suggest another question. What is the faith? Here a hundred isms rise up, and I put them all aside; they may be phases of the faith, but they are not the faith. What, then, is the faith?

Strange to say, the faith of Christians is a Person.

You may ask all other religions wherein their faith lieth, and they cannot answer on this wise. Our faith is a Person; the gospel that we have to preach is a Person, and go wherever we may, we have something solid and tangible to preach.

If you had asked the twelve apostles, in their day, "What do you believe in?" they would not have needed to go round about with a long reply, but they would have pointed to their Master, and they would have said, "We believe Him."

"But what are your doctrines?"

"There they stand incarnate."

"But what is your practice?"

"There stands our practice. He is our example."

"What, then, do you believe?"

Hear ye the glorious answer of the apostle Paul, "We preach Christ crucified."

Our creed, our body of divinity, our whole theology is summed up in the person of Christ Jesus.

The apostle preached doctrine, but the doctrine was Christ.

He preached practice, but the practice was all in Christ.

There is no summary of the faith of a Christian that can compass all he believes, except that word Christ;

and that is the Alpha and the Omega of our creed,

that is the first and the last rule of our practice - Christ, and Him crucified.

To spread the faith, then, is to spread the knowledge of Christ crucified. It is, in fact, to bring men, through the agency of God's Spirit, to feel their need of Christ, to seek Christ, to believe in Christ, to love Christ, and then to live for Christ.

Charles Spurgeon, Autobiography: Volume 2, The Full Harvest (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 2006), 122-123.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christ Is All In The Search For A Pastoral Call!

John Piper writes:
I recall coming to the end of my graduate studies in Munich, Germany, back in 1974. I had no idea where to go. I was ready to enter any ministry the Lord would open for me. I sent my resume to dozens of schools and missions and agencies. One of the most encouraging letters I received in those days was from my friend and former professor, Daniel Fuller. He knew I was struggling to trust God for a place of ministry. So he quoted a little-known verse, 2 Corinthians 4:1, 'Since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart.' He pointed out the word 'as' in the phrase 'as we received mercy.' Then he showed me the link between 'having a ministry' and 'receiving mercy.' He said that ministry is given as freely and as sovereignly and as graciously as the first experience of mercy that we received in salvation. That is what I needed then. And that is what I need now, to press on in ministry. The place of ministry, and the ongoing performance of ministry, are gifts of grace, just like my conversion was.

John Piper, Future Grace (Sisters: Multnomah, 1995), 296

Friday, November 19, 2010

Only To Have God Exalted, Christ Manifested!

Ray Stedman said:
Karl Marx wrote that communists are dead men on furlough, i.e., they treat themselves as though they are as good as dead. They have nothing to lose so they are ready for anything. That characterizes even better what a Christian really is. He is really a dead man on furlough. He wants nothing for himself, but wants only to have God exalted, Christ manifested. We have it stated so clearly here in these words which are carved across the front of our auditorium: "You are not your own; you are bought with a price."

Ray Stedman, "Last Words"

Passionately Desiring God, Not Merely His Gifts

D. A. Carson writes:
In the biblical view of things, a deeper knowledge of God brings with it massive improvement in the other areas mentioned: purity, integrity, evangelistic effectiveness, better study of Scripture, improved private and corporate worship, and much more. But if we seek these things without passionately desiring a deeper knowledge of God, we are selfishly running after God's blessings without running after him. We are even worse than the man who wants his wife's services – someone to come home to, someone to cook and clean, someone to sleep with – without ever making the effort to really know and love his wife and discover what she wants and needs; we are worse than such a man, I say, because God is more than any wife, more than the best of wives: he is perfect in his love, he has made us for himself, and we are answerable to him.

D. A. Carson, A Call To Spiritual Reformation (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992), 16.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To Lie In The Dust And Be Full Of Christ Alone!

Jonathan Edwards wrote:
Once, as I rode out into the woods for my health, in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and man, and his wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception . . . which continued as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone; to love him with a holy and pure love; to trust in him; to live upon him; to serve and follow him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I have, several other times, had views very much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.

Jonathan Edwards, Personal Narrative Of Jonathan Edwards

Monday, November 15, 2010

Suffering To Be With Christ And To Be Made Like Christ

Commenting on the perplexity of Christian suffering, J. I. Packer writes:
We should not, therefore, be too taken aback when unexpected and upsetting and discouraging things happen to us now. What do they mean? Simply that God in His wisdom means to make something of us which we have not attained yet, and He is dealing with us accordingly.

Perhaps He means to strengthen us in patience, good humor, compassion, humility, or meekness, by giving us some extra practice in exercising these graces under especially difficult conditions. Perhaps He has new lessons in self-denial and self-distrust to teach us. Perhaps He wishes to break us of complacency, or unreality, or undetected forms of pride and conceit. Perhaps His purpose is to draw us closer to Himself in conscious communion with Him; for it is often the case, as all the saints know, that fellowship with the Father and the Son is most vivid and sweet, and Christian joy is greatest, when the cross is heaviest . . . Or perhaps God is preparing us for forms of service of which at present we have no inkling.

J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1973), 97.

Oswald Sanders wrote:
How is the process of forming Christ within the believing life advanced? Every circumstance of our lives has been planned with this end in view. Our heredity and environment, our temperament, and all the frustrations and disappointments of life are not the result of blind chance . . . As we subject ourselves to the Word of God, the lordship of Christ, and the leading of the Spirit, the circumstances will combine to wean us from the old life of self-pleasing and to conform us to the image of Christ. Our Father loves us so well that He places us in positions of great difficulty and perplexity, withdraws some cherished object of love, places us to live and work with or among uncongenial people - all in order that we may despair of ourselves and learn to draw more on the resources which are for us in Christ. The process of Christ being formed in us usually progresses more rapidly in times of adversity than in prosperity. When all runs smoothly, we tend to forget our dependence on God, but in times of trouble we turn to Him and appropriate His grace and help. Some of the greatest saints have been those who have been tested most severely. Rightly received, the disciplines of life serve to reproduce in us the likeness of Christ.

J. Oswald Sanders, The Best That I Can Be (Singapore: OMF Books, 1984), 56-57.

HT: Justin Taylor

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christ Is All In Worship!

John Piper said:
The authenticating, inner essence of worship is being satisfied with Christ, prizing Christ, cherishing Christ, treasuring Christ. When we say that what we do on Sunday morning is to go hard after God, this is what we mean: we are going hard after satisfaction in God, and going hard after God as our prize, and going hard after God as our treasure, our soul-food, our heart-delight, our spirit's pleasure. Because we know from Philippians 1:20-21 that treasuring Christ as gain magnifies him, exalts him, worships him.

John Piper, "The Inner Essence Of Worship," Philippians 1:18-24, November 16, 1997.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christ Is All!

John Piper said:
[The radical commands of Romans 12:14-21] are rooted in Christ-preoccupation and Christ-infatuation and Christ-exaltation . . . The alternative to thinking too highly of ourselves (self-preoccupation, self-infatuation, self-exaltation - the roots of all sin) is not a different sight in the “mirror, mirror on the wall.” The alternative is turn the mirror into a window through which we see the glory of Christ.

That’s what faith is and does. 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.

John Piper, "Bless Those Who Persecute You," Romans 12:14-21, February 6, 2005.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm A Poor Sinner, But Christ Is All!

Charles Spurgeon wrote:
You recollect the old story we told, years ago, of Jack the converted huckster who used to sing,

"I'm a poor sinner, and nothing at all,
But Jesus Christ is my all in all."

Those who knew him were astonished at his constant composure. They had a world of doubts and fears, and so they asked him why he never doubted. "Well," he said, "I can't doubt but that I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all, for I know that, and feel it every day. And why should I doubt that Jesus Christ is my all in all? for He says He is." "Oh!" said his questioner, "I have my ups and downs." "I don't," said Jack; "I can never go up, for in myself I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all; and I cannot go down, for Jesus Christ is my all in all."

Jack wanted to join the church, and they said he must tell his conversion experience. He said, "All my experience is that I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all, and Jesus Christ is my all in all." "Well," they said, "when you come before the church meeting, the minister may ask you questions." "I can't help it," said Jack, "all I know I will tell you; and this is all I know -

I'm a poor sinner, and nothing at all,
But Jesus Christ is my all in all."

He was admitted into the church, and continued with the brethren, walking in holiness; but that was still all his experience, and you could not get him beyond it. "Why," said one brother, "I sometimes feel so full of grace, I feel so advanced in sanctification, that I begin to be very happy." "I never do," said Jack; "I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all." "But then," said the other, "I go down again, and think I am not saved, because I am not as sanctified as I used to be." "But I never doubt my salvation," said Jack, "because Jesus Christ is my all in all, and He never alters." That simple story is grandly instructive, for it sets forth a plain man's faith in a plain salvation; it is the likeness of a soul under the apple tree, resting in the shade, and feasting on the fruit.

Charles Spurgeon, "Under The Apple Tree."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christ Is All Things To Them!

Matthew Henry wrote:
And for this reason, because Christ is all in all. Christ is a Christian’s all, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness. And to those who are sanctified, one as well as another and whatever they are in other respects, He is all in all, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end: He is all in all things to them.

Matthew Henry, Commentary On The Whole Bible, Colossians 3:11.