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, December 28, 2010

Behold What Manner Of Love!

Charles Spurgeon said:
The Thunderer, the ruler of the stormy sea is my Father . . . notwithstanding the terror of His power I draw near to Him in love. I look forward with joy to the hour when Thou shalt call and I shall answer Thee. Do what Thou wilt with me, Thou art my Father. Smile on me and I will smile back and say "My Father." Chasten me and as I weep I will cry "My Father" . . . If Thou art my Father, all is well to all eternity. Bitterness is sweet and death itself is life since Thou art my Father. Oh trip ye merrily home ye children of the living God saying each one within himself "I have it! I have it! I have a relationship with God of the nearest and dearest kind . . . my spirit for her music hath these words, 'Abba Father! Abba Father!'"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jesus Christ: The Only Expected Person!

Loraine Boettner wrote:
In all the history of the world Jesus emerges as the only "expected" person. No one was looking for such a person as Julius Caesar, or Napoleon, or Washington, or Lincoln to appear at the time and place that they did appear. No other person has had his course foretold or his work laid out for him centuriesbefore he was born. But the coming of the Messiah had been predicted for centuries. In fact, the firstpromise of His coming was given to Adam and Eve soon after their fall into sin. As time went on various details concerning His Person and work were revealed through the prophets; and at the time Jesus was born there was a general expectation through the Jewish world that the Messiah was soon to appear, even the manner of His birth and the town in which it would occur having been clearly indicated.

Loraine Boettner, Studies In Theology, 160.

Blow The Trumpet For Jesus Christ!

C. T. Studd said:
Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in Hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Being A Christian Means Christ Is All!

Iain Murray writes:
Christianity means knowing and trusting Christ as a living Person; it is a relationship which so captures both the mind and the heart of the believer that henceforth to know Christ, to esteem Him and His words, becomes the very object of existence: "To you who believe He is precious" (1 Pet. 2:7) - more precious certainly than all earthly goods or even life (Luke 14:26). A Christian is someone who no longer lives for himself but understands, with Paul, why Christ is his righteousness, his life, his all . . . A Christian . . . is one who so knows Christ that all things are secondary to his Saviour . . . A Christian is one whose greatest pleasure is to see God magnified in Christ.

After reading this, I feel like George Whitefield who Murray cites as saying:
I will begin to begin to be a Christian.

Iain Murray, Evangelicalism Divided (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 2001), 152, 159, 166, 316.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What Does "Christ Is All!" Mean?

Meditate on how various Bible commentators have understood the glorious phrase in Colossians 3:11 - Christ is all!

Peter T. O'brien:
[Christ is all] states in an emphatic way that Christ is "absolutely everything" . . . or "all that matters . . . ."

Douglas Moo:
To claim that Christ is "all" is briefly to reiterate the high Christology that Paul has set forth in [Colossians] 1:15-20: Christ is the center point of both creation and redemption, the one in whom and through whom all things now hold together.

Richard Melick:
[Christ is all] speaks of Christ being the total concern, preoccupation, and environment of the Christian.

John Calvin:
Christ is all, and in all, that is, Christ alone holds, as they say, the prow and the stern - the beginning and the end.

Matthew Henry:
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. 

The IVP New Testament Commentary:
The concluding formula, Christ is all, and is in all, echoes the confession of [Colossians] 1:15-20 and once again lays claim to Christ's lordship over the new order. In Schweizer's words, "Christ is the measure by which everything is to be defined" (1972:200); he is "all that matters" (Harris 1991:154). This is the firm conviction of the new humanity - those who have already "taken off" the fallen order and "put on" the good intentions of the Creator which they have begun to realize in Christ."

John Gill:
Christ is all, and in all; he is "all" efficiently; he is the first cause of all things, the beginning of the creation of God, the author of the old, and of the new creation, of the regeneration of his people, and of their whole salvation: he is all comprehensively; has all the fullness of the Godhead, all the perfections of deity in him; he is possessed of all spiritual blessings for his people; and has all the promises of the covenant of grace in his hands for them; yea, all fullness of grace dwells in him, in order to be communicated to them: and he is all communicatively; he is their light and life, their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, their food and clothing, their strength and riches, their joy, peace, and comfort, who gives them grace here, and glory hereafter . . . and Christ is "in all;" in all places, being infinite, immense, and incomprehensible, as God, and so is everywhere by his power, upholding all things by it; and in all his churches, by his gracious presence, and in the hearts of all his regenerate ones, of whatsoever nation, state, and condition they be: he is revealed in them, formed within them, and dwells in their hearts by faith; and is all in all to them, exceeding precious, altogether lovely, the chiefest among ten thousands, and whom they esteem above all creatures and things. The Arabic version reads, "Christ is above all, and in all."

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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Christ - The Center And Pole Star!

Matthew Henry wrote:
The Scriptures are the circumference of faith, the round of which it walks, and every point of which compass it toucheth; yet the center of it is Christ. That is the pole star, on which it resteth.

Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 2006), 241.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christ! The Diamond Of Diamonds Who Outshines Them All!

Bishop Reynolds wrote:
Studiously and conscientiously apply yourselves to this heavenly skill of spiritual preaching. So convince of sin - the guilt, the stain, the pollution of it, the curse and malediction whereunto the soul is exposed by it, that your hearers may be awakened and humbled and effectually forewarned "to flee from the wrath to come."

So convince of

the all-sufficient righteousness and unsearchable riches of Christ,

the excellency of His knowledge,

the immeasurableness of His love,

the preciousness of His promises,

"the fellowship of His sufferings,

the power of His resurrection,"

the beauties of His holiness,

the easiness of His yoke,

the sweetness of His peace,

the joy of His salvation,

the hope of His glory,

that the hearts of your hearers may burn within them, and they may "fly, like doves unto their windows," for shelter and sanctuary into the arms of such a Redeemer, who "is able" and willing "to save to the uttermost those that come unto God by Him," that they may with all ready obedience, and by the constraining power of the love of Christ, yield up themselves to the government of this Prince of Peace, by whom "the Prince of this world is judged and cast out," his "works destroyed," and we for this end "bought with a price," that we should "not be our own," but His that bought us, nor "live any longer unto ourselves," but unto him that loved us, and died for us, and rose again.

"Preach Christ Jesus the Lord." "Determine to know nothing among your people but Christ crucified." Let His name and grace, His Spirit and love, triumph in the midst of all your sermons.

Let your great end be

to glorify Him in the heart,

to render Him amiable and precious in the eyes of His people,

to lead them to Him,

as a sanctuary to protect them,

a propitiation to reconcile them,

a treasure to enrich them,

a physician to heal them,

an advocate to present them and their services to God,

as wisdom to counsel them,

as righteousness to justify,

as sanctification to renew,

as redemption to save.

Let Christ be the diamond to shine in the bosom of all your sermons.

Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2006), 258.

Our System Is Christ Is All And In All!

Charles Bridges wisely described the main characteristics of a preacher's ministry:
"Simplicity, and godly sincerity" - not talent or eloquence - are the principles of our agency. One short sentence describes our system - "Christ is all, and in all." He is not only exhibited in the picture, but in the foreground - as the principal figure - where every part of the picture is subordinated, to give Him that prominence and effect, which attract the eye and the heart exclusively to Him.

Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2006), 257.

Christ Is All In Sanctification!

Charles Spurgeon said:
The best preaching is, “We preach Christ crucified.”

The best living is, “We are crucified with Christ.”

The best man is a crucified man.

The more we live beholding our Lord’s unutterable griefs, and understanding how he has fully put away our sin, the more holiness shall we produce.

The more we dwell where the cries of Calvary can be heard, where we can view heaven, and earth, and hell, all moved by his wondrous passion—the more noble will our lives become.

Nothing puts life into men like a dying Savior.

Get close to Christ, and carry the remembrance of him about you from day to day, and you will do right royal deeds.

Come, let us slay sin, for Christ was slain.

Come, let us bury all our pride, for Christ was buried.

Come, let us rise to newness of life, for Christ has risen.

Let us be united with our crucified Lord in his one great object — let us live and die with him, and then every action of our lives will be very beautiful.

Charles Spurgeon, "To Lovers Of Jesus - An Example," Mark 14:6, November 2, 1884.

HT: Justin Taylor

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

May A Hidden Christ Be Unbearable Loneliness

Andrew Bonar wrote:
When anything intercepts our view of Christ, may we feel what loneliness is.

Andrew Bonar, Heavenly Springs (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1986), 73.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A King Whose Dominion Shall Never End!

J. L. Reynolds wrote:
WHEN Christ uttered, in the judgment hall of Pilate, the remarkable words? "I am a king," he pronounced a sentiment fraught with unspeakable dignity and power. His enemies might deride his pretensions and express their mockery of his claim, by presenting him with a crown of thorns, a reed and a purple robe, and nailing him to the cross; but in the eyes of unfallen intelligences, he was a king. A higher power presided over that derisive ceremony, and converted it into a real coronation. That crown of thorns was indeed the diadem of empire; that purple robe was the badge of royalty; that fragile reed was the symbol of unbounded power; and that cross the throne of dominion which shall never end.

J. L. Reynolds, "Church Polity," in Polity, ed. Mark Dever (Washington D. C.: Nine Marks, 2001), 298.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If A Man Has Christ, He Has Everything!

Charles Spurgeon said:
If a man has Christ, then what does he want else? If a man has Christ, he has everything. If I want perfection, and I have Christ, I have absolute perfection in him. If I want righteousness, I shall find in him my beauty and my glorious dress. I want pardon, and if I have Christ, I am pardoned. I want heaven, and if I have Christ, I have the Prince of heaven, and shall be there by-and-bye, to live with Christ, and to dwell in his blessed embrace for ever. If you have Christ, you have all. Do not be desponding, do not give ear to the whisperings of Satan that you are not the children of God; for if you have Christ, you are his people, and other things will come by-and-bye. Christ makes you complete in himself; as the apostle says, "Ye are complete in him."

Ye blind, ye lame, who are far from Christ, come to him, and receive your sight, and obtain strength! He is made your all; you need bring nothing in your hand to come to him.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “Christ is All,” an exposition of Colossians 3:11 delivered on February 18, 1915, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England.

HT: Tolle Lege

Friday, October 15, 2010

O Great God!

O Great God from lb on Vimeo.

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me

Based on The Valley of Vision prayer “Regeneration”
Words and Music by Bob Kauflin

Monday, October 11, 2010

When Trials Come, Christ Is All!

When Trials Come

When trials come, no longer fear,
For in the pain our God draws near
To fire a faith worth more than gold,
And there His faithfulness is told;
And there His faithfulness is told.

Within the night I know Your peace;
The breath of God brings strength to me,
And new each morning mercy flows
As treasures of the darkness grow,
As treasures of the darkness grow,

I turn to wisdom not my own
For every battle You have known.
My confidence will rest in You;
Your love endures; Your ways are good.
Your love endures; Your ways are good.

When I am weary with the cost,
I see the triumph of the cross;
So in its shadow I shall run
Till He completes the work begun,
Till He completes the work begun.

One day all things will be made new;
I’ll see the hope You called me to,
And in Your kingdom, paved with gold,
I’ll praise Your faithfulness of old;
I’ll praise Your faithfulness of old.

Keith & Kristyn Getty © 2005 Thankyou Music

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happiness, Intense Joy, And Ecstasy In The Beautiful Christ

Andrew Bonar wrote:
Christ in the circle of His disciples would make them so happy that none would remark upon the [lack] of John or Peter. Christ as "Lamb in the midst of the throne" is able to give intense joy to millions upon millions, His look, voice, smile, presence. Oh to see "the King in His beauty!" We shall be sick of love, and yet find all health in that love. "All my springs are in Thee."

It will be ecstasy to have made this attainment, to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and strength and mind . . . Those who have real love to Christ always wish they had more.

Of all things beware of a cold heart.

Christ will not let anything interfere with your love for Him. He says, "I am all for you, and you must be all for Me."

Andrew Bonar, Heavenly Springs (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1986), 82-83.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Christ: My Greatest Good!

It is a good day to me when thou givest me
a glimpse of myself;
Sin is my greatest evil,
but thou art my greatest good . . . .

Arthur Bennett Ed., The Valley Of Vision (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1997), 69.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Faith And Zeal To Thee Oh Christ!

Sir Walter Moberly, a non-Christian educator, once said to a group of Christians:
If one tenth of what you believe is true, you ought to be ten times more excited than you are.

Oh Father, we believe, please help our unbelief! For Jesus' sake, Amen!

From Moberly's The Crisis In The University, 1949

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Christ Is All In A History Of Human Failure!

In Genesis 2:15-17, God made a covenant of works with Adam. Afterwards, Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit and breaking the covenant (Genesis 3:1-6).

In Genesis 9:8-11, God made a covenant with Noah. Afterwards, Noah sinned by getting drunk (Genesis 9:20-21).

In Genesis 12:1-3, God made his first promises to Abram. Afterwards, Abram sinned by lying about Sarai being his sister (Genesis 12:11-13).

In Genesis 15, God Himself passed through the severed animals, making a covenant with Abram. Afterwards, Abram sinfully sought a child in his own strength through Hagar (Genesis 16).

In Genesis 17, God gave the covenant of circumcision to Abraham. Afterwards, Abraham sinned by lying about Sarah being his sister yet again (Genesis 20:2).

In Exodus 20, God made a covenant with Israel on Mount Sinai. Afterwards, Israel committed adultery against God on her honeymoon by making a golden calf (Exodus 32).

In 2 Samuel 7, God made a covenant with David. Afterwards, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah - one of David's mighty, loyal men - mercilessly killed (2 Samuel 11-12).

In Luke 22:20, Jesus told His disciples about the new covenant in His blood. Afterwards, the disciples sinfully disputed over which of them would be the greatest, and Peter denied Jesus three times with oaths and cursing.

Jesus, on the other hand, after telling the disciples about the new covenant in His blood, was perfectly obedient unto death on the cross. He rose triumphantly from the grave, conquering sin, death, and Satan so that all of those who would ever repent and believe in Him will be saved!

Where Adam failed, Jesus obeyed!

Where Noah failed, Jesus obeyed!

Where Abraham failed, Jesus obeyed!

Where Israel failed, Jesus obeyed!

Where David failed, Jesus obeyed!

Where Peter and the disciples failed, Jesus obeyed!

Where you and I have failed and will fail, Jesus obeyed!

Jonathan Leeman writes:
He [Jesus] is the God-man who has come as last Adam, Abraham's seed, the new Israel, and son of David. According to God's plan and by the Spirit's power, he has fulfilled God's covenants and so won all their blessings and promises. He has inherited the earth, [as the greater] Adam. His name has been made great and become a blessing to the earth, [as the greater] Abraham. He has won the promised rest, [as the greater] Israel. His throne is an everlasting throne, [as the greater] David's. But then, most remarkably and graciously, this God-man has declared a new covenant for all who repent and believe.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

My ideas for this post largely came from Iain M. Duguid, "Covenant Nomism and Exile," in Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry, ed. R. Scott Clark (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2007), 81 and footnote 38. Also, Jonathan Leeman, The Surprising Offense Of God's Love (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 241.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Letting All Go For Jesus' Sake

Charles Spurgeon said:
The trial of our faith usually comes in the form of affliction. Our jealous Lover uses tests to see if He has our heart. You say, "Lord Jesus, I love you. You are my best Beloved." "Well," says the heavenly Lover, "if it is so, then your precious child will become sick and die. What will you say then?" If you are truthful in what you have said concerning your supreme love for Jesus, you will give up your darling at His call and say, "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD."

The more He loves you, the more He will test you. Sometimes He says, "Good woman, I shall take away your husband, on whom you lean, that you may lean the more on Me." I remember Samuel Rutherford, writing to a lady who had lost five children and her husband said, "Oh, how Christ must love you! He would take every bit of your heart to Himself. He would not permit you to reserve any of your soul for any earthly thing." Can we stand that test? Can we let all go for His sake?

May it be so oh Father, for Jesus' sake!

Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters: Words Of Comfort For The Soul, ed. Roy Clarke (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 45.

Great Privileges In Christ!


Teach me to know that grace
accompanies, and

my salvation;
that it sustains the redeemed soul,
that not one link of its chain can ever break.

From Calvary’s cross, wave upon wave of grace
reaches me,
deals with my sin,
washes me clean,
renews my heart,
strengthens my will,
draws out my affection,
kindles a flame in my soul,
rules throughout my inner man,
consecrates my every thought, word, work,
teaches me Your immeasurable love.

How great are my privileges in Christ Jesus.
Without him I stand far off, a stranger, an outcast.
in him I draw near and touch His kingly scepter.

Without him I dare not lift up my guilty eyes;
in him I gaze upon my Father-God and friend.

Without him I hide my lips in trembling shame;
in him I open my mouth in petition and praise.

Without him all is wrath and consuming fire.
in him is all love, and the repose of my soul.

Without him is gaping hell below me, and eternal anguish.
in him its gates are barred to me by His precious blood!

Without him darkness spreads its horrors before me.
in him an eternity of glory is my boundless horizon.

Without him all within me is terror and dismay,
in him every accusation is charmed into joy and peace.

Without him all things external call for my condemnation;
In him they minister to my comfort, and are to be enjoyed with thanksgiving.

Praise be to You for grace,
and for the unspeakable gift of Jesus.

"Privileges" in Valley Of Vision (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1997), 158.

HT: Justin Taylor

Friday, September 24, 2010

Worship: The First Business

W. T. Conner wrote:
The first business . . . of a church is not evangelism, nor missions, nor benevolence; it is worship.

From: Gospel of Redemption, 277, (1945)

Note: Yes, that was written before John Piper was born :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nailing Yourself To The Cross

Charles Bridges wrote:
The missionary Eliot is said to have "become so nailed to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, that the grandeurs of this world were unto him just what they would be to a dying man. He persecuted the lust of the flesh with a continual antipathy; and when he has thought that a Minister had made much of himself, he has gone to him with that speech - 'Study mortification, brother; study mortification.'"

Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2006), 128.

Christ Is Better Than All The World Has To Offer!

Please make this song true in our hearts and lives oh Father . . . for Jesus' sake!
What is the world to me
With all its vaunted pleasure
When Thou, and Thou alone,
Lord Jesus, art my Treasure!
Thou only, dearest Lord,
My soul's Delight shalt be;
Thou art my Peace, my Rest -
What is the world to me!

The world is like a cloud
And like a vapor fleeting,
A shadow that declines,
Swift to its end retreating.
My Jesus doth abide,
Though all things fade and flee;
My everlasting Rock -
What is the world to me!

The world seeks to be praised
And honored by the mighty,
Yet never once reflects
That they are frail and flighty.
But what I truly prize
Above all things is He,
My Jesus, He alone -
What is the world to me!

The world seeks after wealth
And all that Mammon offers,
Yet never is content
Though gold should fill its coffers.
I have a higher good,
Content with it I'll be:
My Jesus is my Wealth -
What is the world to me!

The world is sorely grieved
Whenever it is slighted
Or when its hollow fame
And honor have been blighted.
Christ, Thy reproach I bear
Long as it pleaseth Thee;
I'm honored by my Lord -
What is the world to me!

The world with wanton pride
Exalts its sinful pleasures
And for them foolishly
Gives up the heavenly treasures.
Let others love the world
With all its vanity;
I love the Lord, my God -
What is the world to me!

The world abideth not;
Lo, like a flash 'twill vanish;
With all it gorgeous pomp
Pale death it cannot banish;
Its riches pass away,
And all its joys must flee;
But Jesus doth abide -
What is the world to me!

What is the world to me!
My Jesus is my Treasure,
My Life, my Health, my Wealth,
My Friend, my Love, my Pleasure,
My Joy, my Crown, my All,
My Bliss eternally.
Once more, then, I declare:
What is the world to me!

Hymn #430 from The Lutheran Hymnal
Author: Georg M. Pfefferkorn, 1667
Translated by: August Crull,1923

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Consecration To Christ

Adapted Prayer From Jonathan Edwards' Daily Consecration

Oh Father, please help me claim no right to myself - no right to my understanding, my will, my affections; my body or its members - no right to my tongue, to my hands, my feet, my ears, my eyes, my sexuality and all my strong desires. They are all Yours and belong to You. You bought them with Your dear Son's blood. You own all of me Oh God! Please use me as You please for Your own glory.

Please help me give myself clear away to You today and not retained anything of my own. I give myself wholly to You. May I give You every power, so that for the future I claim no right to myself in any respect. Only by Your grace I will not fail. Please help me take You alone as my whole portion and delight, looking upon nothing else as any part of my happiness. May Your law be the constant rule of my obedience.

Please help me fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil to the end of my life. Please help me adhere to the faith of the Gospel, however hazardous and difficult the profession and practice of it may be.

Please grant me Your blessed Spirit as my Teacher, Sanctifier, and only Comforter, and cause me to cherish all admonitions to enlighten, purify, confirm, comfort, and assist me.

Please help me not to act in any respect as my own. Please keep me from using any of my powers to do anything that is not for Your glory. Please make Your glory the whole and entire business of my life.

Please keep me from murmuring in the least at any afflictions; from being unkind in any way; from ever seeking revenge; from doing anything purely to please myself; from failing to do anything because it is a great self-denial; from trusting in myself; from accepting praise for any good which Christ does by me; and from being proud in any way.

Please hear my prayer and answer for Jesus' sake! Amen!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Unadulterated Enjoyment Of Christ!

Jonathan Leeman writes:
One of the greatest ironies of the postmodern West might be this: that great symbol of pleasure in our culture for which it (consciously or not) most emphatically rejects God - sex - is the very thing God has given humanity so that it might have an analogy, a category, a language for knowing what the unadulterated enjoyment of him will be like in glory (see Eph. 5:22-33). In other words, we reject God for sex, but sex is exactly what he's given us in order to faintly grasp the experience of a perfect union with him.

D. A. Carson writes:
It is as if the only pleasure and intimacy in this life that comes close to anticipating the pleasure of the church and her Lord being perfectly united on the last day is the sexual union of a good marriage. (Love in Hard Places, 191)

John Piper writes:
God created us with sexual passion so that there would be language to describe what it means to cleave to him in love and what it means to turn away from him to others . . . God made us powerfully sexual so that he would be more deeply knowable. We were given the power to know each other sexually so that we might have some hint of what it will be like to know Christ supremely. (Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, ed. John Piper and Justin Taylor (Wheaton: IL: Crossway, 2005), 28, 30.)

(Jonathan Leeman, The Church And The Surprising Offense Of God's Love (Wheaton: IL: Crossway, 2010), 112-113, and footnote 64.)

Most Unspeakably Happy In Jesus!

Jonathan Edwards said:
Every thing desirable and excellent in the union between an earthly bridegroom and bride, is to be found in the union between Christ and his church; and that in an infinitely greater perfection and more glorious manner. There is infinitely more to be found in it than ever was found between the happiest couple in a conjugal relation; or could be found if the bride and bridegroom had not only the innocence of Adam and Eve, but the perfection of angels.

Christ and his saints, standing in such a relation as this one to another, the saints must needs be unspeakable happy. Their mutual joy in each other is answerable to the nearness of their relation and strictness of their union. Christ rejoices over the church as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, and she rejoices in him as the bride rejoices over the bridegroom.

(Jonathan Edwards, "The Church's Marriage To Her Sons, And To Her God," Isaiah 62:4-5, Accessed 07 SEP 2010.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Prayers That Christ Would Be All In All

Adapted from Betty Scott Stam
Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes; all my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, and work out Thy whole perfect and pleasing will in my life at any cost now and forever.

Adapted From A Prayer By Rafael, Cardinal Merry Del Val
From the desire of being praised, From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being preferred, From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved, From the desire of comfort and ease
Please deliver me, oh Father.

From the fear of being humiliated, From the fear of being criticized,
From the fear of being passed over, From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being lonely, From the fear of being hurt,
From the fear of suffering,
Please deliver me, oh Father.

That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, That others may be made more holy than me, as long as I am made as holy as I should be, oh Father, please grant me the grace to desire it.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, please make my heart like Yours.
O Father, please strengthen me with your Holy Spirit.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, please teach me Your ways.

O Father, please help me love You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and love others deeply as I love myself. Please help me put my self importance aside, humble myself, die to self, forget myself, consider all others better than myself, and say "Christ is all!" with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength in all my thoughts, words, feelings, and actions - by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Please hear this prayer and answer for Jesus' sake. Amen!

John Wesley's Prayer Of Consecration
Oh Father, I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will; rank me with whom You will. Put me to doing; put me to suffering. Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You. Let me be full; let me be empty. Let me have all things; let me have nothing . . . I truly and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. For Jesus' sake. Amen!

Adapted Prayer From The Words Of Helen Roseveare
Oh Father, please help me be a living sacrifice for You. Please help me live every minute for You in accordance with Your perfect will and purpose . . . Let me consider no time as my own, or as 'off-duty' or 'free' . . . Please help me relinquish all control of my possessions to You . . . May all I own be available to You for the furtherance of Your Kingdom. May my money be all Yours . . . May You direct the spending of each penny . . . May I consider that I own nothing. All is Yours and what I have, I have on trust from You; May You use it as You wish.

Please cause me to give you all of myself. May my will and my emotions, my health and my vitality, my thinking and my activities all be available to You, to be employed as You choose, to reveal You to others. Should You see that someone would be helped to know You through my being ill or other sufferings, may I accept ill health, weakness, and suffering. May I always acknowledge that I have no right to demand what people call good health or the "good life" . . . All rights are Yours - to direct my living so that You can most clearly reveal Yourself through me. Oh Father, You have the right, then, to choose my job and where I work, to choose my companions, and my friends . . .

To be a living sacrifice will involve all my love - may You own all my love . . . please cause me to relinquish the right to choose whom I will love and how. Please help me humble myself and submit to Your right to choose for me . . . Whether I have a life partner or not is wholly Yours to decide. Please help me accept gladly Your best will for my life. Please help me bring all the areas of my affections to You for Your control, for here, above all else, I need to sacrifice my right to choose for myself. Help me to surrender this to You for Jesus' sake.

Please help me to be so utterly Yours in all ways that I will be satisfied to be used or hidden as You choose, as an arrow in Your hand or in Your quiver.  Please help me ask no questions. Please cause me to relinquish all rights to You Who desires my supreme good. You, oh Father, know best in all things. May Your will be done. For Jesus' sake. Amen!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Christ Is All In The Bible!

Tim Keller speaks of how the Bible is mainly about Jesus:

“Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:27)

Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us (1 Corinthians 15).

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out for our acquittal, not our condemnation (Hebrews 12:24).

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void “not knowing wither he went!” to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. While God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love, from me,” now we can say to God, “Now we know that you love me, because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from me.”

Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant (Hebrews 3).

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends (Job 42).

Jesus is the true and better David, whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb – innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us.

He is the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the Lamb, the Light, the Bread.

The Bible is not about you — it is about him.

(Tim Keller, Ockenga Preaching Series 2006)

HT: It's a Beautiful Gospel

In Christ, The Story Gets Better Throughout All Eternity!

And as [Aslan] spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: Macmillan, 1956), 183.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jesus Christ: Greater Than All Our Idols!

Recently, Kenny Stokes preached a sermon on idolatry from 1 John 5:20-21 at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

Tyler Kenney writes: "Near the end he laid out 13 questions, adapted from an old Puritan sermon, to help us identify the idols of our hearts."

I have inserted what the answers to all these questions should be:
1. What do you most highly value? JESUS CHRIST
2. What do you think about by default? JESUS CHRIST
3. What is your highest goal? TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST
4. To what or whom are you most committed? JESUS CHRIST
5. Who or what do you love the most? JESUS CHRIST
6. Who or what do you trust or depend upon the most? JESUS CHRIST
7. Who or what do you fear the most? JESUS CHRIST
8. Who or what do you hope in and hope for most? JESUS CHRIST
9. Who or what do you desire the most? Or, what desire makes you most angry or makes you despair when it (He) is not satisfied? JESUS CHRIST
10. Who or what do you most delight in or hold as your greatest joy and treasure JESUS CHRIST
11. Who or what captures your greatest zeal? JESUS CHRIST
12. To whom or for what are you most thankful? JESUS CHRIST
13. For whom or what great purpose do you work? JESUS CHRIST

Oh Father, please make these answers true in the deepest recesses of our hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit . . . for Jesus' sake! Amen!

HT:Desiring God

Monday, August 23, 2010

You Have More Than All Things In God!

Charles Spurgeon wrote:
The LORD Your God. Leviticus 11:44

In the worst of times our great consolation is God. The very name of our covenant God, “The Lord your God,” is full of good cheer. “The Lord your God” is Jehovah, the Self-existent One, the unchangeable One, the ever-living God, who cannot change or be moved from His everlasting purpose (Heb. 7:24).

Child of God, whatever you do not have, you have a God in whom you may greatly glory. Having God, you have more than all things, for all things come from Him. If everything was blotted out, He could restore it by His will. He speaks and it is done. He commands and it does not move. Blessed are you if the God of Jacob is your help and hope (Ps. 146:5). The lord Jehovah is our righteousness and everlasting strength (Is. 26:4). Trust Him forever. Let the times roll on; they cannot affect our God. Let troubles run like a storm; they will not come close because He is our defense. Jehovah is as much your God as if no other person in the universe could use that covenant expression.

All His wisdom, all His foresight, all His power, all His immutability – all of Him is yours.

Let us rejoice in our possession. Poor as we are, we are infinitely rich in having God. Weak as we are, there is no limit to our strength since the almighty Jehovah is ours. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). Sorrowful one, rejoice! If God is yours, what more do you need?

He is our God by our own choice of Him, by our union with Christ Jesus, and by our experience of His goodness. By the spirit of adoption, we cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).

Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters: Words Of Comfort For The Soul (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 14.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pleading That Christ Would Be All In All With Songs

We sang three hymns over the weekend that plead with the LORD to make Christ all in all to us. May He do it for Jesus' sake!
I Asked The Lord
(John Newton, 1779)

These inward trials I employ
from self and pride to set thee free
and break thy schemes of earthly joy
that thou may'st find thy all in me.

My Times Of Sorrow And Of Joy
(Benjamin Beddome, 1778)

Here perfect bliss can ne'er be found,
the honey's mix'd with gall;
Midst changing scenes and dying friends,
be Thou my all in all.

Jesus Paid It All
(Elvina Hall)

I hear the Savior say, "Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Make Christ Your Greatest Treasure!

A dear brother wrote me this note as I started a new church internship. These words are sweet, and they convey a message I need to review moment by moment every day:
Dear Brothers,
Welcome! . . . [the internship] is certainly demanding . . . lots of reading, lots of writing and lots of meetings, events, meals, weddings, services, service reviews, reviews of service reviews, reviews of reviews of service reviews . . . you get the point. So, from one weak, easily distracted, quickly diverted brother . . . an encouragement: Brothers, guard your communion with the LORD. Make it daily. Make it meaningful. Make it non-negotiable. Pursue Christ. Make Him . . . not great papers, or activity, or prep for ministry, or ecclesiological understanding . . . your greatest treasure. And fight for this by going deep with Him daily. I struggled with this during the internship. And I have since. Let's get after this together brothers. For Christ is more precious than even fruitful ministry: "The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!' And he said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven'" (Luke 10:17-20). Oh for grace to do so! Welcome, again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our Jealous Lover!

Mark Dever writes:
The Bible presents God not simply as our creator but as our jealous lover. He wants us - every part of us.

Mark Dever, The Gospel And Personal Evangelism (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 34.

Christ: The Perfect Object Of All Our Devotion!

Mark Dever writes:
To fear God is to love him. When the One who is our all-powerful creator and judge is also our merciful redeemer and savior, then we have found the perfect object for the entire devotion of our heart. And that devotion will lead us to share this good news about him with others.

Mark Dever, The Gospel And Personal Evangelism (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 27.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Christ: The All Sufficient Comforter!

Discussing the trials and struggles Christians face, Richard Sibbes wrote:
God sees fit that we should taste of that cup of which his Son drank so deep, that we might feel a little what sin is, and what his Son's love was. But our comfort is that Christ drank the dregs of the cup for us, and will succour us, so that our spirits may not utterly fail under that little taste of his displeasure which we may feel. He became not only a man but a curse, a man of sorrows, for us. He was broken that we should not be broken; he was troubled, that we should not be desperately troubled; he became a curse, that we should not be accursed. Whatever may be wished for in an all sufficient comforter is all to be found in Christ:
1. Authority from the Father. All power was given to him (Matthew 28:18).
2. Strength in himself. His name is 'The mighty God' (Isaiah 9:6).
3. Wisdom, and that from his own experience, how and when to help (Hebrews 2:18).
4. Willingness, as being bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh (Genesis 2:23; Ephesians 5:30).

Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 2008), 66.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

All The World Is Nothing Compared To Christ!

Richard Sibbes said:
Be stirred up, then, to desire to be where Christ is, and to have the kisses of his love in his ordinances, as further testimonies of his favour, and never rest from having a desire to increase in grace and communion with Christ. So shall you never [lack] assurance in grace and communion with Christ. So shall you never [lack] assurance of a good estate, nor comfort in any [bad] estate. Cast such a man into a dungeon, he hath paradise there. Why? Because Christ comes to him. And if we have this communion with Christ, then though we are compassed about with death, yet it cannot affright us, because the great God is with us, Ps. xxiii. 4. Do with such a one as you will; cast him into hell, if it were possible; he having a sweet communion with Christ, will be joyfull still; and the more sense we have of the love of Christ, the less we shall regard the pleasures or riches of the world. For what joy can be compared with this, that the soul hath communion with Christ? All the world is nothing in comparison.

Richard Sibbes, "The Spouse, Her Earnest Desire After Christ," in The Works Of Richard Sibbes, Vol. 2 (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1983), 207-208.

The Infinite Riches Of Christ

Richard Sibbes wrote:
. . . the church (and so every Christian) . . . hath evermore springing up in them an insatiable desire for a further taste and assurance of [Christ's] love [because of] Christ's infinite riches, infinite in his glory, in his power, in his beauty, in his pleasures, and joys, and the like. He hath all things, 'All power is given him in heaven and in earth,' Mat. xxvii. 18; every way infinite in himself; and hence it is, that the spouse hath an infinite desire to have a further taste of his love, and a nearer communion with him.

Richard Sibbes, "The Spouse, Her Earnest Desire After Christ," in The Works Of Richard Sibbes, Vol. 2 (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1983), 204.

Lacking No Good Thing In Christ!

Richard Sibbes said:
Christ condescended so far unto us, to such a near league, as to take us to be his spouse, who hath all things. What then can we [lack] when we are at the fountain of all things? We can [lack] no protection, for that is the covering of this well. We can [lack] no good thing but he will supply it. We have free access unto him, as the wife hath to her husband . . .

Richard Sibbes, "The Spouse, Her Earnest Desire After Christ," in The Works Of Richard Sibbes, Vol. 2 (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1983), 201.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Panting For Christ!

John Owen wrote:
This I know: that in the immediate beholding of the person of Christ we shall see a glory in it a thousand times above what here we can conceive. The excellencies of infinite wisdom, love, and power therein, will be continually before us.

And all the glories of the person of Christ which we have before weakly and faintly inquired into, will be in our sight forevermore. Hence the ground and cause of our blessedness is that 'we shall ever be with the Lord,' (1 Thess. 4:17), as He Himself prays, 'that we may be with Him where He is, to behold His glory' (John 17:24).

We cannot perfectly behold it until we are with Him where He is. There our sight of Him will be direct, intuitive, and constant. There is a glory, there will be so, subjectively in us in the beholding of this glory of Christ, which is at present incomprehensible.

For it doth not yet appear what we ourselves shall be (cf. 1 John 3:2). Who can declare what a glory it will be in us to behold this glory of Christ? And how excellent, then, is that glory of Christ itself? This immediate sight of Christ is that which all the saints of God in this life do breathe and pant after.

John Owen, "Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ," in The Works of John Owen, ed. William Goold, 24 vols. (Edinburgh: Johnson & Hunter; 1850-1855; reprint by Banner of Truth, 1965), Vol. 1:379.

HT: Tolle Lege

Monday, August 2, 2010

Christ: The Delight Of All Believers!

John Owen wrote:
The saints' delight is in Christ: He is their joy, their crown, their rejoicing, their life, food, health, strength, desire, righteousness, salvation, blessedness: without Him they have nothing; in Him they shall find all things. 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Gal. 6:14). He has, from the foundation of the world, been the hope, expectation, desire, and delight of all believers.

John Owen, Communion With The Triune God, Eds. Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1657/2007), 236.

HT: Tolle Lege

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Super-Marital Intimacy With Christ

Raymond Ortlund writes:
. . . the believer is even more intimate with the Lord than with his or her spouse, for this is a union of spirit, and spirit always leads one more deeply into reality than does flesh . . . No more profound communion exists than that between the believer and the Lord, and Paul's logic encourages the view that this communion is, as it were, super-marital in nature and already joined.

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Whoredom: God's Unfaithful Wife In Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 146.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Infinite Riches In Christ!

John Calvin wrote:
Without the gospel everything is useless and vain;

Without the gospel we are not Christians;

Without the gospel all riches is poverty,
all wisdom folly before God;
strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.

But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made
children of God,
brothers of Jesus Christ,
fellow townsmen with the saints,
citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven,
heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom

the poor are made rich,
the weak strong,
the fools wise,
the sinner justified,
the desolate comforted,
the doubting sure,
and slaves free.

It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.

It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone.

For, He was sold, to buy us back;
captive, to deliver us;
condemned, to absolve us;

He was made a curse for our blessing,
[a] sin offering for our righteousness;
marred that we may be made fair;

He died for our life; so that by him fury is made gentle,
wrath appeased,
darkness turned into light,
fear reassured,
despisal despised,
debt canceled,
labor lightened,
sadness made merry,
misfortune made fortunate,
difficulty easy,
disorder ordered,
division united,
ignominy ennobled,
rebellion subjected,
intimidation intimidated,
ambush uncovered,
assaults assailed,
force forced back,
combat combated,
war warred against,
vengeance avenged,
torment tormented,
damnation damned,
the abyss sunk into the abyss,
hell transfixed,
death dead,
mortality made immortal.

In short, mercy has swallowed up all misery, and goodness all misfortune.

For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit.

If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us; and we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation is in it; but we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things.

And we are comforted in tribulation,
joyful in sorrow,
glorying under vituperation,
abounding in poverty,
warmed in our nakedness,
patient amongst evils,
living in death.

This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.

From John Calvin's preface to Pierre Robert Oliv├ętan's French translation of the New Testament (1534).

HT: Justin Taylor

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Highest Of All God's Commands - Look To Christ!

Martin Luther wrote to a struggling Christian:
The highest of all God’s commands is this, that we hold up before our eyes the image of his dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Every day he should be our excellent mirror wherein we behold how much God loves us and how well, in his infinite goodness, he has cared for us in that he gave his dear Son for us . . . Contemplate Christ given for us. Then, God willing, you will feel better.

From Timothy George, Theology Of The Reformers (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1988), 78-79.

Christ Is All, Not Luther!

Martin Luther commented on the absurdity of Christians calling themselves "Lutherans:"
The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone . . . How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?

Cited from Timothy George, Theology Of The Reformers (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1988), 53.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jesus Is Heaven

Spurgeon writes:
... strengthened and consoled by Jesus, the believer is not afraid to die; no he is even willing to depart, for since he has seen Jesus as the morning star, he longs to gaze upon Him as the sun in his strength. Truly, the presence of Jesus is all the heaven we desire. Jesus is at once: The glory of our brightest days; the comfort of our nights.
Charles Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, July 2.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All Your Disappointments Are Ultimately Christ's Doing

This is my doing (1 Kings 12:24)

The disappointments of life are simply the hidden appointments of love. C.A. Fox

My child, I have a message for you today. Let me whisper it in your ear so any storm clouds that may arise will shine with glory, and the rough places you may have to walk will be made smooth. It is only four words, but let them sink into your inner being, and use them as a pillow to rest your weary head. "This is my doing."

Have you ever realized that whatever concerns you concerns Me too? "For whoever touches you touches the apple of mine eye" (Zech. 2:8). "You are precious and honored in my sight" (Isa. 43:4). Therefore it is My special delight to teach you.

I want you to learn when temptations attack you, and the enemy comes in "like a pent-up flood" (Isa. 59:19), that "this is my doing" and that your weakness needs My strength, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.

Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, never ask your opinion, and always push you aside? "This is my doing." I am the God of circumstances. You did not come to this place by accident - you are exactly where I meant for you to be.

Have you not asked Me to make you humble? Then see that I have placed you in the perfect school where this lesson is taught. Your circumstances and the people around you are only being used to accomplish My will.

Are you having problems with money, find it it hard to make ends meet? "This is my doing," for I am the One Who keeps your finances, and I want you to learn to depend upon Me. My supply is limitless and I "will meet all your needs" (Phil. 4:19). I want you to prove My promises so no one may say, "You did not trust in the Lord your God" (Deut. 1:32).

Are you experiencing a time of sorrow? "This is my doing." I am "a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering" (Isa. 53:3). I have allowed your earthly comforters to fail you, so that by turning to Me you may receive "eternal encouragement and good hope" (2 Thess. 2:16).

Have you longed to do some great work for Me but instead have been set aside on a bed of sickness and pain? "This is my doing." You were so busy I could not get your attention, and I wanted to teach you some of My deepest truths. "They also serve who only stand and wait." In fact, some of My greatest workers are those physically unable to serve, but who have learned to wield the powerful weapon of prayer.

Today I place a cup of holy oil in your hands. Use it freely, My child. Anoint with it every new circumstance, every word that hurts you, every interruption that makes you impatient, and every weakness you have. The pain will leave as you learn to see Me in all things.

(Written by Laura A. Barter Snow; found in L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 43, February 1st reading)

Monday, June 14, 2010

May Christ Break All Our Idols!

Samuel Rutherford wrote:
I am most gladly content that Christ breaketh all my idols in pieces: it hath put a new edge upon my blunted love to Christ. I see He is jealous of my love, and will have all to Himself.
(Letter to John Stewart)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Sure Mercies Of David

Speaking about the sure mercies of David from Acts 13:34, Charles Spurgeon said:
In the matter of our salvation, “the sure mercies of David” mean that God has laid hold upon His Son, Jesus Christ. You cannot help yourself, but Christ can help you; you cannot cleanse yourself, but Christ can cleanse you; you cannot save yourself, but Christ can save you. Dear heart, whatever be thy lack, there is no lack in Christ; whatever be thy need, Christ has exactly that which can meet thy case. Young man, thou sayest, “I have nothing,” and I meet thee with this, Christ has everything. Thou sayest, old man, “What can I do? “And I meet thee with this, What cannot Christ do? If thou art nothing, Christ is everything. If thou art everything that is evil, Christ is everything that is good. If thou hast weakness, mourn it; but trust Christ, and he shall be thy strength. If thou hast sorrow, thou canst not shake it off; but go to Jesus, and he shall be thy song. All that thou wantest is in Christ. This, then, is the first sure mercy of David, that help is laid on Christ.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What A Lovely One Is Christ!

Samuel Rutherford wrote:
O if I could invite and persuade thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousands of Adam's sons, to flock about my Lord Jesus, and to come and take their fill of [His] love! O pity for evermore that there should be such an one as Christ Jesus, so boundless, so bottomless, and so incomparable in infinite excellency and sweetness, and so few take Him! Oh! Oh! You poor, dry and dead souls, why will you not come hither with your empty souls to this huge, and fair, and deep and sweet well of life, and fill your empty vessels? O that Christ should be so large in sweetness and worth, and we so narrow, so pinched, so ebb, and so void of all happiness! And yet men will not take Him! They lose their love miserably who will not bestow it upon this lovely One.

From a letter to Lady Kilconquhar

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Longing To See The Bridegroom's Joyful Face!

Samuel Rutherford wrote:
It is the crooked love of some harlots, that they love bracelets earrings and rings better than the lover that sendeth them; God will not be so loved; for that were to behave as harlots and not as the chaste spouse, to abate from our love when these things are pulled away. Our love to Him should begin on earth as it shall be in heaven; for the bride taketh not by a thousand degrees so much delight in her wedding garment, as she doth in her bridegroom; so we in the life to come, howbeit clothed with glory as with a robe, shall not be so much affected with the glory that goeth about us, as with the bridegroom's joyful face and presence.

Samuel Rutherford, The Letters Of Samuel Rutherford (Glasgow, 1765), 334.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Savouring The Hope Of Eternal Union With Christ

Raymond Ortland Jr. writes:
More than our popular churches and institutions and movements, God wants us ourselves. He wants our hearts, our loyalty, our love for himself alone. He wants to find in us the same sense of intimate belonging to him that is appropriate to sexual union on the human level. More than our showing the world how 'relevant' the church can be, God wants us to show him how much we treasure him above all else . . . above all, we show him our love by savouring the hope of eternal union with him in the new Jerusalem above as our only true fulfillment.

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Whoredom: God's Unfaithful Wife In Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 176.

Christ: Our Ultimate And Eternal Romance!

Raymond Ortland Jr. writes:
Marriage is not just another mutation of human social evolution, like democracy. It is a divine creation, intended to reveal the ultimate romance guiding all of time and eternity . . . And this is why every faithful and loving marriage is precious to God; it shines with the light of Christ's love for his people, and of their devotion to him, in the darkness of this present evil age . . . Pastorally, the biblical story lifts up before us a vision of God as our Lover . . . the gospel sounds the voice of our Husband who has proven his love for us and who calls for our undivided love in return. The gospel reveals that, as we look out into the universe, ultimate reality is not cold, dark, blank space; ultimate reality is romance. There is a God above with love in his eyes for us and infinite joy to offer us, and he has set himself upon winning our hearts for himself alone. The gospel tells the story of God's pursuing, faithful, wounded, angry, overruling, transforming, triumphant love. And it calls us to answer him with a love which cleanses our lives of all spiritual whoredom.

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Whoredom: God's Unfaithful Wife In Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 173.

One Great Impulse Throbbing In Your Soul

Raymond Ortland Jr. writes:
The suffering church militant of this present evil age is to cultivate one great impulse throbbing in her soul, viz. an aching longing for the Bridegroom to come to her, to take her in his arms, with nothing within herself to wrest her away, and to be held there for ever. Until such time as he is pleased to come, she is to centre her life around 'the love of Jesus Christ, the King, Bridegroom, and Husband of his church, to her his Queen, Bride, and Spouse, and of hers to him, with
'those spiritually glorious interviews, holy courtings, most superlative, but most sincere, commendings and cordial entertainings of each other, those mutual praisings and valuings of fellowship, those missings, lamentings and bemoanings of the want thereof, those holy impatiencies to be without it, swelling to positive and peremptory determinations not to be satisfied nor comforted in any thing else, those diligent, painful and restless seekings after it, till it be found and enjoyed, on the one hand; and those sweet and easy yieldings to importunity, and gracious grantings of it, on the other; with those high delightings, solacings, complacencies and acquiescings in, and heartsome embracings of one another's fellowship . . . these vehement joint-longings to have the marriage consummated and the fellowship immediate, full and never any more to be interrupted.' (Margaret Durham, in J. Durham (1840), Clavis Cantici (1969), repr. Aberdeen.)

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Whoredom: God's Unfaithful Wife In Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 168-169.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ; Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

This song by Jordan Kauflin is good. May we truly know and feel all we have is Christ and Christ is our life. We need God to supernaturally make this happen in our lives:
I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave.

I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still.

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross.

And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me.

Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose.
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You.

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI), by Jordan Kauflin

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Christ Is All When Your Husband Is Killed In Battle

This cut scene from the movie We Were Soldiers is sobering. The husband of the woman singing the solo (though she doesn't know it yet) is killed in that Sunday battle, and he will never return home. This same dreadful loss happens to many of the young women sitting in that little church. In the face of pain like that, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and rightousness. When all around my soul gives way, Christ then is all my hope and stay:

The Word Does It All!

Concerning his contribution to the Reformation, Martin Luther wrote:
For the Word created heaven and earth and all things (Ps 33:6); the Word must do this thing, and not we poor sinners.... I simply taught, preached, and wrote God's Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept (cf. Mark 4:26-29), or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything. Had I desired to foment trouble, I could have brought great bloodshed upon Germany, indeed, I could have started such a game that even the emperor would not be safe. But what would it have been? Mere fool's play. I did nothing; I let the Word do its work. What do you suppose is Satan's thought when one tries to do the thing by kicking up a row? He sits back in hell and thinks: Oh, what a fine game the poor fools are up to now! But when we spread the Word alone and let it alone do the work, that distresses him. For it is almighty and takes captive the hearts, and when the hearts are captured the work will fall by itself.

From: John W. Doberstein, ed. and transl., Sermons I, vol. 51, in Luther's Works, Helmut T. Lehmann, gen. ed. (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1959), 77-78.

Communion With God Through Christ - Worth More Than All The Wonders Of The Starry Heavens!

J. Gresham Machen wrote:
The responsibility of the church in the new age is the same as its responsibility in every age. It is to testify that this world is lost in sin; that the span of human life - nay, all the length of human history - is an infinitesimal island in the awful depths of eternity; that there is a mysterious holy living God, Creator of all, Upholder of all, infinitely beyond all; that he has revealed himself in his Word and offered us communion with himself through Jesus Christ the Lord; that there is no other salvation, for individuals or for nations, save this, but that this salvation is full and free, and that whosoever possesses it has for himself and for all others to whom he may be the instrument of bringing it a treasure compared with which all the kingdoms of the earth - nay, all the wonders of the starry heavens - are as the dust of the street.

J. Gresham Machen, "The Responsibility of the Church in Our New Age," The Presbyterian Guardian 36:1 (January, 1967), 13.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Because Of Jesus, Nothing Remains For Us But To Sing!

Concerning the cup of the wrath of God that Jesus drank to the dregs for us, F.W. Krummacher wrote:
All that mankind have heaped up to themselves against the day of God’s holy and righteous wrath - their forgetfulness of God, their selfish conduct, their disobedience, pride, worldly-mindedness, their filthy lusts, hypocrisy, falsehood, hardheartedness, and deceit - all are united and mingled in this cup, and ferment together into a horrible potion.

"Shall I not drink this cup?" asks the Saviour. "Yes," we reply, "empty it, beloved Immanuel! We will kiss thy feet, and offer up ourselves to Thee upon Thy holy altar!" He has emptied it, and not a drop remains for His people. The satisfaction He rendered was complete, the reconciliation effected, and now nothing remains for us but to sing Hallelujah!

F.W. Krummacher, The Suffering Savior (Carlisle, Pa: Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 139.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Happier You Are In God, The More He Is Glorified

In his Body of Divinity (pages 13-14), Thomas Watson wrote:
We glorify God by working out our own salvation. God has twisted together His glory and our good. We glorify him by promoting our own salvation. It is a glory to God to have multitudes of converts; now, his design of free grace takes, and God has the glory of his mercy; so that, while we are endeavoring our salvation, we are honoring God.

What an encouragement is this to the service of God, to think while I am hearing and praying, I am glorifying God; while I am furthering my own glory in heaven, I am increasing God’s glory.

Would it not be an encouragement to a subject, to hear his prince say to him, you will honor and please me very much, if you will go to yonder mine of gold, and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away?

So, for God to say, Go to the ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified.

HT: Justin Taylor

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Christ Desires My Supreme Good!

My friend Katie recently blogged:

Helen Roseveare, a missionary doctor to the Congo for twenty years, writes:
To be a living sacrifice will involve all of my time. God wants me to live every minute for Him in accordance with His will and purpose . . . No time can be considered as my own, or as 'off-duty' or 'free.' . . . To be a living sacrifice will involve all of my possessions. . . All should be available to God for the furtherance of His Kingdom. My money is His . . . He has the right to direct the spending of each penny . . . I must consider that I own nothing. All is God's, and what I have, I have on trust from Him, to be used as He wishes.

To be a living sacrifice will involve all of myself. My will and my emotions, my health and vitality, my thinking and activities all are to be available to God, to be employed as He chooses, to reveal Himself to others. Should He see that someone would be helped to know Him through my being ill, I accept ill health and weakness. I have no right to demand what we call good health . . . All rights are His -- to direct my living so that He can most clearly reveal Himself through me. God has the right, then, to choose my job, and where I work, to choose my companions, and my friends . . .

To be a living sacrifice will involve all my love . . . I relinquish the right to choose whom I will love and how, giving the Lord the right to choose for me . . . Whether I have a life partner or not is wholly His to decide, and I accept gladly His best will for my life. I must bring all the areas of my affections to the Lord for His control, for here, above all else, I need to sacrifice my right to choose for myself . . .

I need to be so utterly God's that He can use me or hide me, as He chooses, as an arrow in His hand or in His quiver. I will ask no questions: I relinquish all rights to Him who desires my supreme good. He knows best.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Never-Failing Enjoyment Is Only Found In God

Commenting on the book of Hosea, Vos wrote:
Jehovah strengthened Israel's arms and taught her to walk [7.15]; although the Giver of all nature-blessings, of corn, wine, oil, silver, gold, wool, flax, Jehovah is distinguished from the Baals, in that He has something more and finer to given than these: loving-kindness, mercy and faithfulness [2.19]; in reality He gives, in and through all these things, Himself after a sacramental fashion [2.23]; He is personally present in all His favours, and in them surrenders Himself to His people for never-failing enjoyment.

Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, Old And New Testaments (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 2007), 261.

Friday, March 26, 2010

John Calvin On Desiring God

Calvin comments on these words in Psalm 73:25: Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
David declares that he desires nothing, either in heaven or in earth, except God alone, and that without God, all other objects which usually draw the hearts of men towards them were unattractive to him. And, undoubtedly, God then obtains from us the glory to which He is entitled, when, instead of being carried first to one object, and then to another, we hold exclusively by Him, being satisfied with Him alone. If we give the smallest portion of our affections to the creatures we in so far defraud God of the honour which belongs to Him. And yet nothing has been more common in all ages than this sacrilege, and it prevails too much at the present day. How small is the number of those who keep their affections fixed on God alone!

From John Calvin, Commentary On The Book Of Psalms, Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949), 154.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jesus, Joy Of Man's Desiring

I never knew the song many people play at weddings is about Christ! He is the joy of man's desiring. Every joy in all of man's desiring points to the greatest Joy and the Giver of both all joys and all joy producing gifts: Christ!

Jesus, joy of man's desiring,
Holy Wisdom, Love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty's fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom's holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jesus: Matchless Treasure And Everlasting Friend

I was very encouraged by a sermon by Tullian Tchividjian. The sermon was a part of a series called: "Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything." That's a good reminder! In this particular sermon, he ended with the following story about a 5th century believer named John Chrysostom:
When he was threatened with banishment by the Roman Emperor because of his faith, John Chrysostom replied: "Thou canst not banish me, for this world is my Father’s house." "But I will slay thee," said the Emperor. "Nay, thou canst not," said the noble champion of the faith, "for my life is hid with Christ in God." To this the Emperor replied, "I will take away thy treasures." "Nay thou canst not, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there." Finally the Emperor said, "But I will drive thee away from man and thou shalt have no friend left." "Nay thou canst not, for I have a friend in heaven from whom thou canst not separate me! I defy thee; for there is nothing that thou canst do to hurt me!"