Round Up

Have You Ever Had A Pastoral Visit? – It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep.

A Practical Understanding Of The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 3 – Check out Part 1, and Part 2.

The Folly Of What Noah Preached – Paul wrote, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

All Things – The gospel guarantees that we will be brought home to glory. It is by grace that we are saved from the consequences of our sin; the same grace of God in the gospel brings us home. Better, Jesus brings us home.

Quote:

Since God is the creator, he cannot be unjust.  He creates whatever objects, things, or persons he pleases.  If he had wanted elephants with two legs and robins with four legs, he would have created them so.  Created as they are, they have no ground for complaint.  To understand the Bible, one must realize that God is the sovereign creator.  There is no law superior to him that commands, “Thou shalt not create elephants with two legs”, or “Thou shalt not hate Esau.”  There are many details in the doctrine of predestination, and each should be given its due weight; but the basic, the final, the ultimate answer to all objections is the relative position of Creator to creature.  All objections presuppose that man is in some way or other independent of God and has obtained from somewhere or achieved by his own efforts some rights over against Him.  Obviously such a view is totally destructive to Christianity. – Gordon H. Clark

It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ prn.org/blog/2014/03/26/have-you-ever-had-a-pastoral-visit/#sthash.BVGmK6VV.dpuf
It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep. – See more at: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2014/03/26/have-you-ever-had-a-pastoral-visit/#sthash.BVGmK6VV.dpuf
It’s not books, but “boots on the ground,” that tell you what really matters when it comes to the shepherding care that Christ provides for his sheep. – See more at: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2014/03/26/have-you-ever-had-a-pastoral-visit/#sthash.BVGmK6VV.dpuf

Spurgeon Thursday

 CONSOLATION IN CHRIST

NO. 348

A SERMON DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, DECEMBER 2, 1860,

BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON,

AT EXETER HALL, STRAND

       “If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy.”

Philippians 2:1.

spurgeon5THE language of man has received a new coinage of words since the time of his perfection in Eden. Adam could scarce have understood the word consolation for the simple reason that he did not understand in Eden the meaning of the word sorrow. O how has our language been swollen through the floods of our griefs and tribulations! It was not sufficiently wide and wild for man when he was driven out of the Garden into the wide, wide world. After he had once eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as his knowledge was extended so must the language be by which he could express his thoughts and feelings.

But, my Hearers, when Adam first needed the word consolation, there was a time when he could not find the fair jewel itself. Until that hour when the first Promise was uttered, when the Seed of the woman was declared as being the coming Man who should bruise the serpent’s head Adam might masticate and digest the word sorrow. But he could never season and flavor it with the hope or thought of consolation—or if the hope and thought might sometimes flit across his mind like a lightning flash in the midst of the tempest’s dire darkness—yet it must have been too transient, too unsubstantial, to have made glad his heart, or to soothe his sorrows.

Consolation is the dropping of a gentle dew from Heaven on desert hearts beneath. True consolation, such as can reach the heart, must be one of the choicest gifts of Divine mercy. And surely we are not erring from sacred Scripture when we avow that in its full meaning, consolation can be found nowhere except in Christ who has come down from Heaven and who has again ascended to Heaven to provide strong and everlasting consolation for those whom He has bought with His blood.

You will remember, my dear Friends, that the Holy Spirit, during the present dispensation, is revealed to us as the Comforter. It is the Spirit’s business to console and cheer the hearts of God’s people. He does convict of sin. He does illuminate and instruct. But still the main part of His business lies in making glad the hearts of the renewed, in confirming the weak and lifting up all those that are bowed down. Whatever the Holy Spirit may not be, He is evermore the Comforter to the Church and this age is peculiarly the dispensation of the Holy Spirit in which Christ cheers us not by His personal presence, as He shall do by-and-by, but by the indwelling and constant abiding of the Holy Spirit the Comforter.

Now, mark—as the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, Christ is the Comfort. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the Consolation. If I may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Christ is the Medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ’s name and grace. He takes not of His own things, but of the things of Christ. We are not consoled today by new revelations, but by the old Revelation explained, enforced and lit up with new splendor by the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit the Comforter. If we give to the Holy Spirit the Greek name of Paraclete, as we sometimes do, then our heart confers on our blessed Lord Jesus the title of the Paraclesis. If the one is the Comforter the other is the Comfort.

I shall try this morning, first, to show how Christ in His varied positions is the Consolation of the children of God in their varied trials. Then we shall pass on, secondly, to observe that Christ in His unchanging nature is the Consolation to the children of God in their continual sorrows. And lastly, I shall close by dwelling awhile upon the question as to whether Christ is a consolation to us—putting it personally, “Is Christ a present and available consolation for me.”

I. First, CHRIST IN HIS VARIED POSITIONS IS THE CONSOLATION FOR THE MANY ILLS OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD.

Our Master’s history is a long and eventful one. But every step of it may yield abundant comfort to the children of God. If we track Him from the highest Throne of Glory to the Cross of deepest woe and then through the grave up again the shining steeps of Heaven and onward through His mediatorial kingdom, on to the day Continue reading

Secured By Christ

Donald CarsonEverything that we know and appreciate and praise God for in all Christian experience both in this life and in the life to come springs from this bloody cross.

Do we have the gift of the Spirit? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we enjoy the fellowship of saints? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Does he give us comfort in life and death? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Does he watch over us faithfully, providentially, graciously, and covenantally? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we have hope of a heaven to come? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we anticipate resurrection bodies on the last day? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Is there a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness? Secured by Christ on the cross.

Do we now enjoy new identities, so that we are no longer to see ourselves as nothing but failures, moral pariahs, disappointments to our parents—but deeply loved, blood-bought, human beings, redeemed by Christ, declared just by God himself, owing to the fact that God himself presented his Son Jesus as the propitiation for our sins? All this is secured by Christ on the cross and granted to those who have faith in him.

— D. A. Carson Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 70-71

Bethlehem Wasn’t the Beginning

By David Burnette:

nativity-scene1As you reflect on the significance of Christ’s coming this Christmas, allow me to make one suggestion that may actually add to your holiday cheer: Don’t begin in Bethlehem. That may sound scrooge-like, but hear me out.

Bethlehem looms large in our minds during Christmas, and rightfully so. The prophet Micah had predicted centuries earlier that a ruler would hail from this obscure town (Mic 5:2). As King David’s birthplace, Bethlehem would also be the scene of the Messiah’s birth. In that sense, it’s difficult not to think of Bethlehem this time of year.  That’s fine, but don’t forget that the Christmas story was set in motion long before the nativity scene.

Bethlehem wasn’t the beginning.

Jesus spoke of the glory he had with the Father “before the world existed” (Jn 17:5). As the Second Person of the Trinity, He was in communion with the Father and the Spirit from all eternity. We’re even told that the world was created through Him (Jn 1:1; Col 1:16). To be sure, He took on flesh at a point in time, but His role in God’s plan of redemption did not begin in a manger in Bethlehem nearly 2000 years ago. Christ was not thrust on the scene unexpectedly. Out of His own free grace He set His sights on rebellious sinners like you and me before the foundation of the world. The eternal Word became flesh for us and for our salvation (Jn 1:14). This is the infinite grace of the Incarnation. And the nativity scene was our first glimpse.

As you reflect on Christ’s birth this Christmas and as you talk about it with others, be sure to include the little town of Bethlehem. But don’t start there: go back, much further back, and marvel at the One who planned the nativity scene from the beginning in order to rescue us from the judgment we deserve. Marvel at the grace of the Son of God who, as Paul says, “loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

Give thanks that in those dark streets of Bethlehem shone the Everlasting Light.

Noteable Quotes

– From the Fall onward, human beings have sought to make gods of themselves, make idols of the good things in life, and domesticate the true and living God so that we can (ostensibly) enlist him in our schemes of enrichment and aggrandizement. – Jonathan Baer from The Soil of the Prosperity Gospel

– He humbled Himself, to exalt us; He made Himself a servant, to set us free; He became poor, to enrich us; He was sold, to buy us back; a Captive, to deliver us; Condemned, to procure our pardon; He was made a curse, that we might be blessed; the Oblation for sins, for our justification; His face was marred, to re-beautify ours; He Died, that we may have life. In such sort, that by Him, hardness is softened; wrath appeased; darkness made light; iniquity turned into righteousness; weakness is made strength; despair is consoled; sin is resisted; shame is despised; fear is emboldened; debt is paid; labor is lightened; Sorrow is turned into joy; Misfortune into blessing; Difficulties are made easy; Disorder made order; Division into union; Ignominy is ennobled; Rebellion subjected; Threat is threatened; Ambush is ambushed; Assault assailed; Striving is overpowered; War is warred against; Vengeance is avenged on; Torment tormented; Damnation damned; Destruction destroyed; Hell burned up; Death is killed; Mortality changed to immortality; In short, pity has swallowed up all misery; and Goodness all wretchedness; For all those things, which used to be the arms with which the Devil combated us, and the sting of death, are, to draw us forward, turned into instruments from which we can derive profit. – John Calvin from Christ the End of the Law (London: William Cegg and Co. pp. 29-3, 1850) pp. 29-30

– The wisdom of the age has it backwards. Declaring that a person is a sinner does not make one a hater, but a lover of that person … and of mankind. Do Christians point out sin to shame, bully or incite violence against someone? Absurd and a profound misapprehension of our intent. In calling someone a sinner do Christians think they are superior, more moral? May it never be! Most people’s sin pales in comparison to mine. Fact is, it would only be hate or discrimination if we refused the gospel to someone because we thought their sin makes them somehow unworthy of it. The gospel declares that anyone who, by the grace of God, comes to Christ will be forgiven, no matter how abominable their sin. And such are granted a new heart which loves God and his law. – John Hendryx from The Wisdom of the Age

– We are justified by faith alone, but not by the faith which is alone.  Unless it be a heart-purifying, and a work-producing faith, it is spurious – it is not wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God.

We are justified by faith, and our faith is justified or evidenced by our works.  This ancient doctrine is thus maintained by Bishop Horsley, in his first charge:  “That man is justified by faith without works of the law, was the uniform doctrine of our first Reformers.  It is a far more ancient doctrine – it was the doctrine of the whole college of Apostles:  is is more ancient still – it was the doctrine of the prophets;  it is older than the prophets – it was the religion of the patriarchs.  And no one who has the least acquaintance with the writings of the first Reformers will impute to them, more than to the patriarchs, the prophets, or apostles, the absurd opinion, that any man leading an impenitent wicked life, will finally, upon the mere pretense of faith (and faith connected with an impenitent life, must always be a mere pretense, obtain admission to heaven!” – From The Gospel Magazine & Theological Review, Ser 5. Vol 3, no. 1 – July 1874

Undiscerned Spiritual Pride

Jonathan EdwardsThis is an edited version of Jonathan Edwards’ Part IV, section 1 of “Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England” (from The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Banner of Truth Trust, volume one, pp. 398-403). In this case, an edited version cannot do true justice to the whole essay, so it is highly recommended that you acquire this treatise and read the complete version yourself.

  The first and worst cause of errors that prevail in our day and age is spiritual pride. This is the main door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those who are zealous for the advancement of Christ. It is the chief inlet of smoke from the bottomless pit to darken the mind and mislead the judgement. Pride is the main handle by which he has hold of Christian persons and the chief source of all the mischief that he introduces to clog and hinder a work of God. Spiritual pride is the main spring or at least the main support of all other errors. Until this disease is cured, medicines are applied in vain to heal all other diseases.
  It is by spiritual pride that the mind defends and justifies itself in other errors and guards itself against light by which it might be corrected and reclaimed. The spiritually proud man is full of light already and feels that he does not need instruction, so he is ready to despise the offer of it. On the other hand, the humble person is like a little child who easily receives instruction. He is cautious in his estimate of himself, sensitive as to how liable he is to go astray. If it is suggested to him that he does go astray, he is most ready to inquire into the matter. Nothing sets a Christian so much out of the devil’s reach than humility and so prepares the mind for divine light without darkness and so clears the eye to look at things as they truly are Psalm 25:9—He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. If spiritual pride is healed, other things are easily rectified. Our first care should be to rectify the heart and pull the beam of pride out of our eye and then we shall see clearly.
  Those who are most zeal ous in the cause of God are the most likely to be targeted as being filled with pride. When any person appears, in any respect, to be remarkably distinguished from others in his Christian walk, odds are ten to one that it will immediately awaken the jealousy of those about him. They will suspect (whether they have good reason or not) that he is very proud of his goodness and that he probably thinks no one as good as he, so that everything he says and does is observed with this Continue reading

Whosoever Will

Many times when I have spoken to someone about the electing grace of God, the response has been, “I believe in WHOSOEVER WILL.” I suppose that such a response is meant to imply that these two Bible teachings are mutually exclusive of one another or perhaps even diametrically opposed. Everyone who preaches the electing love of God believes that THE ELECT WILLINGLY COME TO CHRIST! The fact is that not only do I believe WHOSOEVER WILL. I know WHO they are! Our Lord said, “All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Our Lord said, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45). Our Lord said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). The heavenly Father said to His beloved Son, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power” (Psalm 110:3). Who will come to Christ? Those who have been given to Christ, taught of the Father, and made willing in the day of our Lord’s power. They are His sheep! – Tim James

Spurgeon Thursday

CHRIST’S LOVE FOR HIS VINEYARD

NO. 2785

A SERMON

INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD’S-DAY, JUNE 29, 1902.

DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,

AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK,

ON A THURSDAY EVENING, DURING THE SUMMER OF 1860.

My vineyard, which is Mine, is before Me: you, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.”

Song of Solomon 8:12.

Spurgeon Pen & InkYou are aware that these Canticles are responsive songs—that  one sentence is uttered by Solomon and the next by Solyma, his spouse. We believe that in this “Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s,” we also hear Christ speaking to His Church, His bride, and the Church responding to His words of love in tones which His love has suggested to her. The fact that it is a responsive song sometimes renders it the more difficult to understand because it is not easy, in every case, to discover whether it is Solomon or Solyma—Christ or His Church—who  is speaking. The first sentence in our text is just of that character. It may be Christ who says, “My vineyard, which is Mine, is before Me.” Or it may be His Church, who is saying, “My vineyard, which is mine, is before me.” With regard to the latter part of the verse, we have no difficulty, for we can see, upon the very face of it, that it is addressed by the spouse, the bride, to her Divine Bridegroom, to whom she says “You,  O Solomon,  must have a thousand.”

I. Let us look at the first sentence: “My vineyard, which is Mine, is before Me.” We have no difficulty in understanding that this vineyard is Christ’s Church. She is not compared to a grove of trees—even of fruit-bearing trees—because there are many trees which are valuable, not only for their fruit, but also for their timber. And should they bring forth no fruit, they would still be of some value. Not so is it with the members of Christ’s Church—they  are like the vine, for the vine, if it brings forth no fruit, is fit for nothing, it cumbers the ground. The Lord said to the Prophet Ezekiel, “What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? Or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?  Behold,  it is cast into the fire for fuel: the fire devours both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work?” No, if it is fruitless, it is useless. It must bear fruit, or it is of no value whatever. Hence the Church is always compared to a vineyard because if she does not bring forth fruit to the Lord Jesus Christ,  she is less useful even than an ordinary mercantile and commercial community. That mercantile community, or corporate body instituted for wise purposes, may further  some useful design, but the Church is of no use whatever unless she brings forth the fruits of holiness and of gratitude  to her Lord, her Divine Vinedresser. Better that she be not called a church at all than that she should pretend to be the Church of Christ and yet bring forth no fruit to His praise.

So we have no difficulty in understanding  that the vineyard mentioned in the text is Christ’s Church because it is so significantly a symbol of the body of Believers banded together  in love to their Savior—and known by the name of “the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  We must, therefore, consider Continue reading