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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

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In the Quote of the Year competition, we have a winner!

The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything.

Cornelius Van Til

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John-MacArthur1

This is material that didn’t quite make it into my sermon on Philippians 1:9-11.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment (Phil. 1:9).

Commenting on this verse, John MacArthur wrote in Reckless Faith,

Those who think of faith as the abandonment of reason cannot be truly discerning. Irrationality and discernment are polar opposites. When Paul prayed that the Philippians’ love would “abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” emphasis added), he was affirming the rationality of true faith. He also meant to suggest that knowledge and discernment necessarily go hand in hand with genuine spiritual growth.

Biblical faith, therefore is rational. It is reasonable. It is intelligent. It makes good sense. And spiritual truth is meant to be rationally contemplated, examined logically, studied, analyzed, and employed as the only reliable basis for making wise judgments. That process is precisely what Scripture discernment.

Steven Cole, in his sermon on the same passage – after he quoted MacArthur – wrote,

The mood today is that if you are critical of anyone’s doctrinal or personal life, no matter how unbiblical they may be, you are not loving and you are arrogant to judge this person. Jesus’ words, “Judge not, lest you be judged” (Matt. 7:1) are wrenched out of context and misapplied. If people would just keep reading, Jesus goes on to say, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine” (Matt. 7:6). How can you determine if someone is a dog or a swine if you don’t make discerning judgments? A few verses later He warns us to beware of false prophets who come as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15). It takes a discerning sheep to see that this isn’t a fellow-sheep whom we need to embrace, but a ravenous wolf we need to avoid!

 

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In his book, Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practice in Defense of Our Faith, K. Scott Oliphant writes,

Jesus is teaching them something that every Christian must learn. He is telling them, as Paul later reminded the Philippians, that they were to be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6). Anxiety is a heart confessing that Christ is not Lord. To be worrisome is to think that we are ultimately in control, that we can alter our own circumstances, ultimately by our own power.

The disciples are not to think this way. Jesus knows the kind of suffering that they will be called on to endure. He knows that the Christian road will be rocky and ultimately deadly for them. He knows that they will suffer martyrdom for their faith (see, for example Matt. 20:23; Mark 10:39). To be worried about how their Christian faith will fare in a hostile world would take their minds off of the task at hand. It would distract them from the defense of and preaching of the gospel. Worse still, it would betray a heart that is not resting in Christ and His authority (Matt. 28:18-20).

(p. 204)

“Anxiety is a heart confessing that Christ is not Lord.” I need to remember that.

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A Prayer

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“Almighty God and Father, grant unto us, because we have to go through much strife on this earth, the strength of Thy Holy Spirit, in order that we may courageously go through the fire, and through the water, and that we may put ourselves under thy rule that we may go to meet death in full confidence of thy assistance and without fear.

Grant us also that we may bear all hatred and enmity of mankind, until we have gained the last victory, and that we may at last come to that blessed rest which thy only begotten Son has acquired for us through his blood. Amen”

John Calvin

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Law-Gospel2

If you don’t understand how sinful you are, you’ll never understand how gracious and merciful God is.

Greg Koukl, founder of Stand To Reason, asks us to participate in a thought-experiment to prove the point.

Have you read the Ten Commandments recently? Take a quick personal moral inventory by asking yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever given allegiance to anything else over God in your life?
  • Have you ever used anything as an object of worship or veneration?
  • Have you ever used God’s name in a vain or vulgar fashion?
  • Have you worshipped God on a consistent basis?
  • Have you disobeyed or dishonored your parents even once?
  • Have you murdered anyone, or even had harsh thoughts about someone (see Matt. 5:22)?
  • Have you had sex with someone other than your spouse, or even thought about it (see Matt. 5:28)?
  • Have you taken something that wasn’t yours?
  • Have you lied?
  • Have you hungered after something that didn’t belong to you?

Sound tough? It is. This is God’s Law. These are God’s requirements. Even in grammar school, 60% is a flunking grade, yet who among us has not violated each of these commandments many times, at least in spirit?

Reducing the Ten Commandments to only two doesn’t help, by the way. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40). Yet even the best of us violate these “minimal” requirements daily.

In your conversations, use both the Law and the Gospel. God’s Law is the mirror that shows us our need for the Savior. In Paul’s words, each of us is “shut up under sin” (Gal. 3:22). Our mouths have been closed, and we all have become accountable to God (Rom. 3:19). Saved by our own goodness? The Law gives us no hope other than Jesus’ righteousness.

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JC-Ryle

 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”  He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

J.C. Ryle comments about this passage saying:

We should notice first, in these verses, Christ’s question to Peter–“Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Three times we find the same inquiry made. It seems most probable that this three-fold repetition was meant to remind the Apostle of his own thrice-repeated denial. Once we find a remarkable addition to the inquiry–“do you love Me more than these?” It is a reasonable supposition that those three words “more than these,” were meant to remind Peter of his over-confident assertion–“Though all men deny You, yet I will not.” It is just as if our Lord would say, “Will you now exalt yourself above others? Have you yet learned your own weakness?”

“Do you love Me” may seem at first sight a simple question. In one sense it is so. Even a child can understand love, and can say whether he loves another or not. Yet “Do you love Me” is, in reality, a very searching question. We may know much, and do much, and profess much, and talk much, and work much, and give much, and go through much, and make much show in our religion, and yet be dead before God, from lack of love, and at last go down to the pit. Do we love Christ? That is the great question. Without this there is no vitality about our Christianity. We are no better than painted wax figures, lifeless stuffed beasts in a museum, sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. There is no life where there is no love.

Let us take heed that there is some feeling in our religion. Knowledge, orthodoxy, correct views, regular use of forms, a respectable moral life–all these do not make up a true Christian. There must be some personal feeling towards Christ. Feeling alone, no doubt, is a poor useless thing, and may be here today and gone tomorrow. But the entire absence of feeling is a very bad symptom, and speaks ill for the state of a man’s soul. The men and women to whom Paul wrote his Epistles had feelings, and were not ashamed of them. There was One in heaven whom they loved, and that One was Jesus the Son of God. Let us strive to be like them, and to have some real feeling in our Christianity, if we hope to share their reward.

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home-plan-ideas-0929_kitsch2

D.A. Carson has written an excellent article in the latest edition of Themelios, which is the theological journal of The Gospel Coalition. It’s called “Subtle Ways to Abandon the Authority of Scripture in Our Lives.”

Speaking to pastors and anyone who teaches God’s Word, Carson says that one of the ways we either downplay or abandon Scripture’s authority is by reading too little, especially older commentaries and theological works. He says:

The problem with reading only contemporary work is that we all sound so contemporary that our talks and sermons soon descend to the level of kitsch. We talk fluently about the importance of self-identity, ecological responsibility, tolerance, becoming a follower of Jesus (but rarely becoming a Christian), how the Bible helps us in our pain and suffering, and conduct seminars on money management and divorce recovery. Not for a moment would I suggest that the Bible fails to address such topics—but the Bible is not primarily about such topics. If we integrate more reading of, say, John Chrysostom, John Calvin, and John Flavel (to pick on three Johns), we might be inclined to devote more attention in our addresses to what it means to be made in the image of God, to the dreadfulness of sin, to the nature of the gospel, to the blessed Trinity, to truth, to discipleship, to the Bible’s insistence that Christians will suffer, to learning how to die well, to the prospect of the new heaven and the new earth, to the glories of the new covenant, to the sheer beauty of Jesus Christ, to confidence in a God who is both sovereign and good, to the non-negotiability of repentance and faith, to the importance of endurance and perseverance, to the beauty of holiness and the importance of the local church. Is the Bible truly authoritative in our lives and ministries when we skirt these and other truly important themes that other generations of Christians rightly found in the Bible?

Very well said, Dr. Carson.

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