Round Up

Christianity as it was defined originally by Christ – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Has the Church Sold Its Soul to Consumerism? – The Evangelical church in the twenty-first century has in many ways absorbed the consumeristic mentality that is so prevalent in the culture. Churches approach worship as if they were selling a product and the attendee were the consumer. Since the product is up for sale, churches must show that their product is more entertaining than anything else the world has to offer.

The Most Christian Nation – Probably not your first thought.

Unjuggling – Just for fun.

Quote:

“Be very sure of this–people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment. They try to believe it is false and useless, because they don’t like to believe it is true. An evil lifestyle must always raise an objection to this book. Men question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice of it.” – J. C. Ryle

Examined by Scripture

A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing, and believe nothing, which is not according to the word. He must try all religious teaching by one simple test,—Does it square with the Bible?—What saith the Scripture?

I would to God the eyes of the laity of this country were more open on this subject, I would to God they would learn to weigh sermons, books, opinions, and ministers, in the scales of the Bible, and to value all according to their conformity to the word. I would to God they would see that it matters little who says a thing, —whether he be Father or Reformer,—Bishop or Arch- bishop,— Priest or Deacon,—Archdeacon or Dean. The only question is,—Is the thing said Scriptural? If it is, it ought to be received and believed. If it is not, it ought to be refused and cast aside. I fear the consequences of that servile acceptance of everything which the parson says, which is so common among many English laymen. I fear lest they be led they know not whither, like the blinded Syrians, and awake some day to find themselves in the power of Rome. Oh! that men in England would only remember for what the Bible was given them!

I tell English laymen that it is nonsense to say, as some do, that it is presumptuous to judge a minister’s teaching by the word. When one doctrine is proclaimed in one parish, and another in another, people must read and judge for themselves. Both doctrines cannot be right, and both ought to be tried by the word. I charge them above all things, never to suppose that any true minister of the Gospel will dislike his people measuring all he teaches by the Bible. On the contrary, the more they read the Bible, and prove all he says by the Bible, the better he will be pleased. A false minister may say, “You have no right to use your private judgment: leave the Bible to us who are ordained.” A true minister will say, “Search the Scriptures, and if I do not teach you what is Scriptural, do not believe me.” A false minister may cry, “Hear the Church,” and “Hear me.” A true minister will say, “Hear the word of God.”

– J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) taken from: Consider Your Ways: Being a Pastor’s Address to His Flock. 10th Thousand, Revised and Adapted to All Seasons. London: Hunt & Son, 1849.

Friday Roundup

Knowing vs. Feeling in Worship – Alistair Begg talks about how we should approach God in worship.

The Distinction Between Justification and Sanctification – J. C. Ryle speaks to the similarities and differences between these two doctrines.

The Results Depend on God – Remember the parable about the sower?  Did he use his left hand, right hand, throw high, low, or a curve ball?

How Good is God – He’s very good!

We Cannot Manipulate God, But We Can Trust Him – It frustrates me to no end when I hear people talk about miracles in the Bible and then say something like, “So if you want your miracle, just . . .”

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Daily Roundup

Joel Osteen and Oprah’s “I Am” Lifeclass – Do not call yourself a Christian if you buy in to any of this.  I don’t care if Osteen has 40k + members and Oprah has millions of followers, this is flat out heresy. See Oprah’s Lifeclass site for more info.

Regeneration by J. C. Ryle – Regeneration is so important.  Without God’s regenerating work in our lives, we cannot be born again.

How Does Gay Marriage Affect You – Denny Burk looks at on aspect of it that we will have to deal with if your state normalizes gay marriage.

A Poem on Hebrews 3:13 – The last few lines of this poem are especially poignant.

Quote:

While I don’t normally delve into politics, this quote by Douglas Wilson is right on the mark.  You can read the entire article that this was taken from here:

When a rape results in a pregnancy, this means that we are now dealing with three people instead of two. Two of those three are innocent, and one of them is guilty. Take a case of violent rape. The pro-choice ghouls want to do two things — first, they want to go easy on the guilty one, refusing to execute him, while executing one of the innocent parties for something his father did, and secondly, they want to make out anyone who objects to this arrangement as the callused one. – Douglas Wilson

Daily Roundup

Sola Scriptura Our Only Foundation – Scripture is our only and definitive source of of knowledge of who God is.  Lets get back to Scripture.

Are Bigger Churches Better?– A global survey conducted by Christian Schwartz found that smaller churches consistently scored higher than large churches in seven out of eight qualitative characteristics of a healthy church.

The Secret of Sanctification – A hint:  It starts at the Cross.
The Ministry, A 4 Part Sermon Series by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson  – 4 Sermons that deal with Preachers and Preaching.
Don’t Settle for Your Mediocre Preaching – While this article is aimed more at ministers of the Word, the laity should hold their pastors accountable also (wonder if that last part will preach).
Quote:

He that wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness, must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very low if he would build high. A mistake here is most mischievous. Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption. – J C Ryle

Purity By Any Other Name, Or Holiness

For the past couple of weeks, I have been reading J. C. Ryles’ book Holiness.  It is a short read, at least my version is as it is only 200 pages, but when you take the intro and preface out of it, it comes down 10 pages to 190.  Having spent many years in Church’s that espoused holiness as a way of life, many times I found myself leaning to legalism and legalistic attitudes.  That has caused its own set of problems in my own life and in my relationships with others.  But over the last 4 years or so, I’ve learned a lot about grace, and that has changed me – in some ways, but in other ways, not so much.  With that last statement, an explanation might be in order.

How has my understanding of grace changed me?  Well, in a lot of ways, even though I still struggle, it has allowed me to see that just because I don’t feel it is right for me to do something does not make it wrong for someone else.  We all have to start somewhere in our walk, right?

On the other hand, there is an area I just can’t seem to get away from and that is what I call personal holiness.  I am only 15 pages into Ryle’s book and I am amazed at how authoritative he is in his definition of holiness.  In some ways it is almost like what we read about in the Gospel accounts when “the people were amazed at his teaching Continue reading

Is your heart right in the sight of God?

by J. C. Ryle

Give me your heart.”

Proverbs 23:26

“Your heart is not right in the sight of God.”

Acts 8:21

The heart is the main thing in true religion. I make no excuse for asking the special attention of my readers, while I try to say a few things about the heart.

The head is not the principal thing. You may know the whole truth as it is in Jesus, and consent that it is good. You may be clear, correct, and sound in your religious opinions. But all this time you may be walking in the broad way which leads to destruction. It is your heart which is the main point. “Is your heart right in the sight of God?”

Your outward life may be moral, decent, respectable, in the eyes of people. Your minister, and friends, and neighbors, may see nothing very wrong in your general conduct. But all this time you may be hanging on the brink of everlasting ruin. It is your heart which is the main thing. Is that heart right in the sight of God?

Wishes and desires are not enough to make a Christian. You may have many good feelings about your soul. You may, like Balaam, long to “die the death of the righteous.” (Num. 23:10.) You may sometimes tremble at the thought of judgment to come, or be melted to tears Continue reading

The Dead Still Speak

J. C. Ryle speaks today.
The Quotes below are from HOLINESS: ITS NATURE, HINDRANCES, DIFFICULTIES, AND ROOTS

True holiness does not consist merely of believing and feeling, but of doing and bearing, and a practical exhibition of active and passive grace. Our tongues, our tempers, our natural passions and inclinations—our conduct as parents and children, masters and servants, husbands and wives, rulers and subjects—our dress, our employment of time, our behaviour in business, our demeanour in sickness and health, in riches and in poverty—all, all these are matters which are fully treated by inspired writers.

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When people talk of having received “such a blessing,” and of having found “the higher life,” after hearing some earnest advocate of “holiness by faith and self-consecration,” while their families and friends see no improvement and no increased sanctity in their daily tempers and behaviour, immense harm is done to the cause of Christ.

Continue reading