30 September 2011

Ryle: Concluding Thoughts

Bishop J.C. Ryle
Go then, young men, and resolve this day to remember your Creator in the days of your youth. Before the day of grace is past, before your conscience has become hardened by age, and deadened by repeated trampling under foot, while you have strength, and time, and opportunities, go and join yourself to the Lord in an everlasting covenant not to be forgotten. The Spirit will not always strive. The voice of conscience will become feebler and fainter every year you continue to resist it. The Athenians said to Paul, "We want to hear you again on this subject" but they had heard him for the last time (Acts 17:32). Make haste, and don't delay. Linger and hesitate no more.

Think, of the happiness that will come to your own soul, if you serve God, happiness as you travel through life, and happiness in the end, when the journey is over. Believe me, whatever vain notions you may have heard, believe me, there is a reward for the righteous even in this world. Godliness has indeed the promise of this life, as well as of that which is to come. There is a solid peace in feeling that God is your friend. There is a real satisfaction in knowing that however your unworthiness, you are complete in Christ, that you have an enduring portion, that you have chosen that good part which shall not be taken from you. (From Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle.)

29 September 2011

Sermon on the Mount Week 4

Matthew 5: 13-15

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Moore on Robertson part II

“And remember, they come to me asking for specific advice and I give them specific advice about their condition, not for the world. I’m not giving a theological (defense); I’m not John Calvin giving the Institutes of the Christian Religion.” - Pat Robertson

I'm still rolling on the floor laughing.

To tell a man to stay with his sick wife, that to divorce her or leave her because of her illness, is, in every situation, wrong, is not some abstract point of doctrine. No one was asking Robertson to, on his feet, explain the Molinist account of providence or to answer a tricky ethical dilemma about lying to save the lives of others. This question was about the most basic sign of the gospel, the union between Christ and his church. One doesn’t even need to know any Scripture beyond John 3:16 to intuit the spirit of antichrist in the notion of abandoning a suffering spouse. - Russell Moore

The unhappy saga of Robertson's poor advice continues. May we be grateful to Russell Moore for leading the charge on this issue. Read the entire response here.

28 September 2011

Ryle on Resisting Sin

Ya gotta love Ryle...

Bishp J.C. Ryle
Look within, each one of you. Examine your own hearts. Do you see there any habit or custom which you know is wrong in the sight of God? If you do, don't delay for a moment in attacking it. Resolve at once to lay it aside. Nothing, darkens the eyes of the mind so much, and deadens the conscience so surely, as an allowed sin. It may be a little one, but it is not any less dangerous. A small leak will sink a great ship, and a small spark will kindle a great fire, and a little allowed sin in like manner will ruin an immortal soul. Take my advice, and never spare a little sin. Israel was commanded to kill every Canaanite, both great and small. Act on the same principle, and show no mercy to little sins. Well says the book of the Song of Songs, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards" (Song of Songs 2:15).

There are two ways of coming down from the top of a ladder; one is to jump down, and the other is to come down by the steps: but both will lead you to the bottom. So also there are two ways of going to hell; one is to walk into it with your eyes open--few people do that; the other is to go down by the steps of little sins--and that way, I fear, is only too common. Put up with a few little sins, and you will soon want a few more. Even a heathen could say, "Who was ever content with only one sin?" If you put up with little sins then your path in life will be worse and worse every year. Jeremy Taylor very clearly described the progress of sin in a man:

First it startles him, then it becomes pleasing, then easy, then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then a way of life! Then the man feels no guilt, then obstinate, then resolves never to repent, and then he is damned.

Young men, if you don't want to come to this, remember the rule I give you this day--resolve at once to break off every known sin. (From Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle.)

27 September 2011


The problem with the way `Reformed' is often used today is that it divorces certain things (typically the five, or more often, four points of Calvinism) from the overall Reformation vision of pastoral care, church worship, Christian nurture and all-round approach to ministry. The Bible becomes sufficient for the doctrines of grace; but what works, what pulls in the punters, becomes the criterion for everything else, especially ecclesiology and pastoral practice. - Carl Trueman

How we need to return to the true meaning of "Reformed" and how are pastors need to re-think, re-work and revise their ministries.

In part, he concludes

Maybe the Reformation is nearly over; and maybe it is not Benedictine Catholicism but actually the new reformation, with its multi-sites and its virtual pastors, that is finishing it off.  May it not be.

Read Trueman's whole article here.

The Leper and the Lord Mark 1:40-45

Mark 1:40-45
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

Leviticus 13:45-46
45 “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ 46 He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.

26 September 2011

Scrolls Online

Is this cool or what?

Ryle on Truly Knowing Christ

Bishop J.C. Ryle
I enjoy J.C. Ryle's Thoughts for Young Men as its not only for young men but also for old guys like me as well. There are a few passages that are just exceptional that I often refer to again and again. Allow me to share them with you this week.

It is not the mere knowing of Christ's name that I mean, it is the knowing of His mercy, grace, and power, the knowing of Him not by the hearing of the ear, but by the experience of your hearts. I want you to know Him by faith, I want you, as Paul says, to know "the power of his resurrection; becoming like Him in His death" (Philippians 3:10). I want you to be able to say of Him, He is my peace and my strength, my life and my consolation, my Physician and my Shepherd, my Savior and my God.

Why do I make such a point of this? I do it because in Christ alone "all His [God's] fullness dwells" (Colossians 1:19), because in Him alone there is a full supply of all that we require for the needs of our souls. Of ourselves we are all poor, empty creatures, empty of righteousness and peace, empty of strength and comfort, empty of courage and patience, empty of power to stand, or go on, or make progress in this evil world. It is in Christ alone that all these things are to be found--grace, peace, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It is just in proportion as we live upon Him, that we are strong Christians. It is only when self is nothing and Christ is all our confidence, it is only then that we shall do great exploits. Only then are we armed for the battle of life, and shall overcome. Only then are we prepared for the journey of life, and shall move forward. To live on Christ, to draw all from Christ, to do all in the strength of Christ, to be ever looking to Christ; this is the true secret of spiritual prosperity. "I can do everything," says Paul, "through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). (Taken from Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle.)

24 September 2011

Ryle on Assurance

Assurance will help a man to bear poverty and loss. It will teach him to say, “I know that I have in heaven a better and more enduring substance. Silver and gold have I none, but grace and glory are mine, and these can never make themselves wings and flee away. Though the fig tree shall not blossom, yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (Hab. 3:17, 18).

Assurance will support a child of God under the heaviest bereavements and assist him to feel “It is well.” An assured soul will say, “Though beloved ones are taken from me, yet Jesus is the same, and is alive for evermore. Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more. Though my house be not as flesh and blood could wish, yet I have an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure” (2 Kings 4:26; Heb. 13:8; Rom. 6:9; 2 Sam. 23:5).

Assurance will enable a man to praise God and be thankful, even in prison, like Paul and Silas at Philippi. It can give a believer songs even in the darkest night and joy when all things seem going against him (Job 35:10; Ps. 42:8).

Assurance will enable a man to sleep with the full prospect of death on the morrow, like Peter in Herod’s dungeon. It will teach him to say, “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety” (Ps. 4:8).

Assurance can make a man rejoice to suffer shame for Christ’s sake, as the apostles did when put in prison at Jerusalem (Acts 5:41). It will remind him that he may “rejoice and be exceeding glad” (Matt. 5:12), and there is in heaven an exceeding weight of glory that shall make amends for all (2 Cor. 4:17).

Assurance will enable a believer to meet a violent and painful death without fear, as Stephen did in the beginning of Christ’s church, and as Cranmer, Ridley, Hooper, Latimer, Rogers and Taylor did in our own land. It will bring to his heart the texts: “Be not afraid of them which kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do” (Luke 12:4). “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

Assurance will support a man in pain and sickness, make all his bed, and smooth down his dying pillow. It will enable him to say, “If my earthly house fail, I have a building of God” (2 Cor. 5:1). “I desire to depart and be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23). “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Ps. 73:26). (Taken from Holiness, It's Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots, by J.C. Ryle)

22 September 2011

Spiritual Stability

This Kind of Praying Produces Spiritual Stability

How tranquilizing and stabilizing it is to us when we consider that we have a personal interest in all the eternal acts that passed between God the Father and the Lord Christ on our behalf even before man was created, as well as in all those acts that were transacted between the Father and the Son in and throughout the whole of His mediatorial work that He wrought and finished here below. It is this covenant salvation, in its full blessedness and efficacy, apprehended by faith, that alone can lift us out of ourselves and above our spiritual enemies, that can enable us to triumph over our present corruptions, sins, and miseries. It is wholly a subject for faith to be engaged with, for feelings can never provide the basis for spiritual stability and peace. Such can only be obtained by a consistent feeding upon objective truth, the Divine counsels of wisdom and grace made known in the Scriptures. As faith is exercised thereon, as the record of the eternal engagements of the Father and Son are received into the spiritual mind, peace and joy will be our experience. And the more faith feeds upon objective truth, the more are we strengthened subjectively, that is, emotionally. Faith regards every past fulfillment of God's promises as a certain evidence of His fulfilling all the rest of His promises to us, in His own good time and way. Especially will faith regard God's fulfillment of His promise to bring back our Lord Jesus from the grave in this light. Has the Shepherd Himself been raised from the dead by the glory of the Father? Just as surely, then, will all His sheep be delivered from death in sin, quickened to newness of life, sanctified by the Spirit, received into Paradise when their warfare is ended, and raised bodily to immortality at the last day. (Taken from A Guide to Fervent Prayer by A.W. Pink.)

21 September 2011

Sermon on the Mount Week 3

Matthew 5:1-12
1 Seeing the crowds, ohe went up on the mountain, and when he psat down,
his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are sthe poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and xthirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are cthe peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

19 September 2011

Brooks on the Means of Grace

Take heed of resting upon closet duties, take heed of trusting in closet duties. Noah’s dove made use of her wings, but she did not trust in her wings, but in the ark. . . . There are many that go a round of duties. . . . and rest upon them when they have done, using the means as mediators, and so fall short of Christ and heaven at once. Closet duties rested in will as eternally undo a man as the greatest and foulest enormities; open wickedness slays her thousands, but a secret resting upon duties slays her ten thousands... Open profaneness is the broad dirty road that leads to hell, but closet duties rested in is a sure way though cleaner way, to hell.

18 September 2011

Baxter on the Ordinances

To live above them, while we use them, is the way of a Christian; but to live above ordinances, as to live without them, is to live without the compass of the Gospel lines, and so without the government of Christ. Let such beware, lest while they would be higher than Christians, they prove in the end lower than men. - RICHARD BAXTER

16 September 2011

Hymns: Doxology - Psalm 100

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Thomas Ken

Moore on Robertson

Pat Robertson’s cruel marriage statement is no anomaly. He and his cohorts have given us for years a prosperity gospel with more in common with an Asherah pole than a cross. They have given us a politicized Christianity that uses churches to “mobilize” voters rather than to stand prophetically outside the power structures as a witness for the gospel. - Russell Moore

Pat Robertson has just gone too far this time. It's time to take him to task and Russell Moore has done so very well. Read Moore's entire post here on Robertson's foolish comments on marriage.

15 September 2011

Do You Have a Thirst for Christ?

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Ps. 42:1-2

Lord Jesus, there’s no craving more demanding than thirst. It’s neither patient nor polite. When we get thirsty, we’re quick to slake its unrelenting demand, one way or another. Thirst will not be denied. We’ll do almost anything to satisfy our thirst.

Because this is true, we join the psalmist in crying out: Jesus, intensify our thirst for you. So ignite our craving for fellowship with you nothing else will gratify us. Keep us panting like the deer which pants after streams of water—the unpolluted, undistilled, never-ending brooks of your bounty.

Don’t let us be even momentarily satisfied with any other beverage than the draft you draw, the potion you pour, the life-giving libation you alone can give. May every broken cistern to which we turn for relief become repugnant to our taste (Jeremiah 2:13). Don’t let a change from difficult circumstances to more favorable ones; or a temporary diminishing of our pain and sadness; or some windfall profit, financial or otherwise, decrease our longing to connect and commune with you.

If we take up King David’s lament, “When can I go and meet with God?” you answer back without delay, “Right now, my beloved; do not wait. If you’re thirsty, come to me and drink.” “Whoever believes in me, streams of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38 NIV).

If we should say, “But Jesus, where can we find you?” you answer back even quicker, “Not in the law; not in your strivings; not in your labors; not in your earnestness; not in your self-loathings; not in your vain promises; but only in the gospel. Come and fall into the rivers of my love. Stand under the cascading waterfalls of my grace. Open your heart wide to my supply, and I will fill you to overflowing with everything you need and more than you want.”

Even so and evermore, Jesus, school us well in pant-theology. In the coming hours, cause our cry to become, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” Psalm 73:25. So very Amen we pray, in your all-glorious and all-generous name. - Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

Spiritual Warfare: Repentance is Easy Luke - 13:22-24

Spiritual Warfare in a Believer's Life

13 September 2011

Devils and Disease Mark 1:29-34

Mark 1:29-34

29 And immediately he1 wleft the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

09 September 2011

Hymns: Jesus the Very Thought of Thee

Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the mem'ry find,
A sweeter sound than thy blest Name,
O Saviour of mankind.

O Hope of ev'ry contrite heart,
O Joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show:
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but his loved ones know.

Jesus, our only Joy be thou,
As thou our Prize wilt be;
Jesus, be thou our Glory now,
And through eternity.

Bernard of Clairvaux

07 September 2011

Sermon on the Mount Week 1

Matthew 5:1-3
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are sthe poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

05 September 2011

His Authority Mark 1:21-28

Mark 1:21-28
21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath lhe entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus qrebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and scrying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all tamazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. - ESV

Confession of Sin

Our Father, we are guilty of sins both great and small, both public and private, both unplanned and premeditated.  Times without number we have failed to fulfill our duty and transgressed your commands.  Our thoughts have wandered, our beliefs have wavered, our desires have been tainted with the corruption of sin.  You have repeatedly shown yourself faithful to us and your mercies have been fresh each morning.  Yet, how often have we refused to trust you?  to thank you?  to love you as we should?  We confess ourselves to be unworthy and undeserving of the very least of your blessings.  Please forgive us for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

01 September 2011

MacArthur on Romans 8:28

No matter what our situation, our suffering, our persecution, our sinful failure, our pain, our lack of faith-in those things, as well as in all other things, our heavenly Father will work to produce our ultimate victory and blessing. The corollary of that truth is that nothing can ultimately work against us. Any temporary harm we suffer will be used by God for our benefit (see 2 Cor. 12:7--10). All things includes circumstances and events that are good and beneficial in themselves as well as those that are in themselves evil and harmful...

Does God Cause Christians to Suffer? (Romans 8) John MacArthur from John MacArthur on Vimeo.