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A Word for Idolaters

13 Sep

James Gray offers four warnings to those who are tempted to prefer things above God:

“1. Be persuaded that there is more joy in the hope and expectation of your idols than in the enjoyment of them. All the enjoyment of an idolater stands in hope, little of it stands in fruition.

2. When a soul comes to the enjoyment of its predominant idol, God [often] blasts the idol or cuts short your life ordinarily. We see this in the parable of that fool in the gospel, when he embraces his predominant idol.

3. An eternity’s enjoyment of your idols is not worthy to be compared to one moment’s enjoyment of Christ; for all the pleasures that idols can afford unto you, the loss of one hour of fellowship with Christ is a greater loss than they all can compensate.

4. Finally, notice that when the devil presents you with the beauty of your idols and you embrace these temptations, be then afraid lest there be a knot of marriage made between you and your idols. There are two knots that will be made between you and your lust, there is a knot of love and a knot of desire. Certainly, when you cast these knots between you and your idols, God will cast a third knot between you and them. He [may] pass a sentence in heaven, saying, ‘They are joined to their idols, let them alone.'”

Remedies Against Satan’s Devices (1)

Five Tests for Missionaries

9 Sep

John Piper

“The utterly crucial question for many of you, as you have prayed and thought about giving your life, or a substantial part of it, to missions, is: Can I do this? Can I bear this weight of being the aroma of Christ in some new place? By God’s grace, you can.

Paul gives us five tests . . . to help us know that. I will turn them into questions for you to answer:

1) Do you treasure Christ enough so that you do not peddle his word? Paul says, “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word.” That is, these peddlers don’t love Christ. They love money and use Christ. So the first test is: Do you love Christ more than money?

Strictly, the next four phrases in verse 17 all modify the word speak. Literally: we speak 2) from sincerity, 3) from God, 4) before God, 5) in Christ. So I ask you:

2) Will you speak from sincerity? Will you be real? Will you mean what you say? Will you renounce all pretense and hypocrisy?

3) Will you speak as from God? That is, will you take not only your commission from God, but your words and your authority from God. Will you speak his words and not your own. Will you speak in his authority and not your own? Will you draw your strength and guidance from his power and wisdom, not your own?

4) Will you speak as before God? That is, will you reckon him to be your judge and no man? Will you care more about his assessment of your words and not be deterred by human criticism?

5) Will you speak as in Christ? That is, will you get your identity and your assurance and your confidence and your hope and your courage from your union with Christ?

There are no perfect missionaries. The answer to these questions should be: O yes, Lord, as much as I know my heart, that is what I intend to be. Help me. To love you more than money. To be real and sincere. To speak your word. To fear no man. To get all I need from Christ.”

What is the goal of studying theology?

23 May

“The ultimate aim of biblical theology is to bring us to our knees in worship and prayer.”

Bruce Waltke

Moore on Fiction

5 May

“I’ve found that most people who tell me that fiction is a waste of time are folks who seem to hold to a kind of sola cerebra vision of the Christian life that just doesn’t square with the Bible.”

Russell Moore in an interview with Tim Challies on the value of reading fiction

A right and wrong sectarianism

26 Jan

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is a very fearless gospel. It is the very reverse of that pretty thing called ‘modern charity.’ The last created devil is ‘modern charity. ‘Modern charity’ goes cap in hand round to us all, and it says, ‘You are all right, every one of you. Do not quarrel any longer; Sectarianism is a horrid thing, down with it! down with it!’ and so it tries to induce all sorts of persons to withhold a part of what they believe, to silence the testimony of all Christians upon points wherein they differ.

I believe that that thing called Sectarianism nowadays is none other than true honesty. Be a Sectarian, my brother, be profoundly a Sectarian. I mean by that, hold everything which you see to be in God’s Word with a tighter grasp, and do not give up even the little pieces of truth. At the same time, let that Sectarianism which makes you hate another man because he does not see with you – let that be far from you! but never consent to that unholy league and covenant which seems to be rife throughout our country, which would put a padlock on the mouth of every man and send us all about as if we were dumb: which says to me, ‘You must not speak against the errors of such a church,’ and to another, ‘You must not reply.’ We cannot but speak! If we did not, the stones in the street might cry out against us. That kind of charity is unknown to the gospel.

Now hear the Word of God! ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not “-What? “shall get to heaven some other way?” – ‘shall be damned;’ that is the gospel. You perceive how boldly it launches out its censure. It does not pretend, ‘you may reject me and go by another road, and at last get safely to your journey’s end!’ No, no, no; you ‘shall be damned’ it says. Do you not perceive how Christ puts it?

Some teachers come into the world and say to all others, ‘Yes, gentlemen, by your leave, you are all right. I have a point or two that you have not taught. You just make room for me; I will not turn you out; I can stand in the same temple as yourself.’ But hear what Christ says:- ‘All that ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but, the sheep did not hear them.’ Hear what his servant Paul says, ‘Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, – what then? “Let him be excused for his mistake?” No; but, “Let him be accursed”‘ Now, this is strong language, but mark you, this is just how the Christian ought to live. As the gospel is very fearless in what it has to say, so let the Christian always be. It strikes me that a ‘living’ which becomes the gospel of Christ, is always a bold and fearless kind of living.

Some people go crawling through the world as if they asked some great man’s permission to live. They do not know their own minds; they take their words out of their mouths and look at them, and ask a friend or two’s opinion. ‘What do you think of these words?’ and when these friends censure them they put them in again, and will not say them. Like jellyfish, they have no backbone. Now God has made men upright, and it is a noble thing for a man to stand erect on his own feet; and it is a nobler thing still for a man to say that in Christ Jesus he has received that freedom which is freedom indeed, and therefore he will not be the slave of any man. I will live as in the sight of God, as I believe I should live, and then let man say his best or say his worst, and it shall be no more than the chirping of the grasshopper, when the sun goes down. ‘Who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, or the son of man that is but a worm?’

Quit yourselves like men! Be strong! Fear not! for only so will your conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.”

C.H. Spurgeon

He denied Himself everything nature desires…

9 Jan

“The life of Christ was one of self-denial. He denied himself for thirty years, all the glories and happiness of the heavenly world and exposed himself to all the pains and sorrows of a life on earth. He denied Himself the praises and adorations of saints and angels, and exposed Himself to the blasphemies and reproaches of men. He denied Himself the presence and enjoyment of God and exposed Himself to the society of publican and sinners. He denied Himself everything that nature desires; He exposed himself to everything she dreads and abhors; to poverty, contempt, pain and death. When he entered on his glorious godlike design, He renounced all regard to his own comfort and convenience, and took up the cross, a cross infinitely heavier and more painful than any of his disciples had been called to bear, and continued to carry it through a rough and thorny road, till his human nature, exhausted, sunk under the weight. In short, he considered himself, his time, his talents, his reputation, his happiness, his very existence as not his own, but another’s and he ever employed them accordingly. He lived not for himself, he died not for himself, but for others he lived and for others he died.”

Nothing more ugly

6 Jan

Francis Schaeffer:

There is nothing more ugly than an orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion.