“God make me more persuasive”

•October 25, 2007 • Leave a Comment

 “Eloquence may dazzle and please, but holiness convinces.”  

                                    Dr. Doriani quoting R. L. Dabney at the Westminster Seminary Preaching Conference

Leap to Hell over my body

•October 18, 2007 • 1 Comment

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they perish, let
them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned
and unprayed for.”

Charles Spurgeon

Just stop it

•October 17, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I do not know of a single scripture—and I speak advisedly—which tells me to take my sin, the particular thing that gets me down, to God in prayer and ask him to deliver me from it and then trust in faith that he will.Now that teaching is also often put like this: you must say to a man who is constantly defeated by a particular sin, “I think your only hope is to take it to Christ and Christ will take it from you.” But what does Scripture say in Ephesians 4:28 to the man who finds himself constantly guilty of stealing, to a man who sees something he likes and takes it? What am I to tell such a man? Am I to say, “Take that sin to Christ and ask him to deliver you?” No, what the apostle Paul tells him is this: “Let him that stole, steal no more.” Just that. Stop doing it. And if it is fornication or adultery or lustful thoughts, again: Stop doing it, says Paul. He does not say, “Go and pray to Christ to deliver you.” No. You stop doing that, he says, as becomes children of God.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Martin Luther on preaching as the channel of forgiveness

•October 15, 2007 • 2 Comments

This is an excerpt from Martin Luther’s handling of Matthew 9:1-8- the healing of the paralytic.  Luther discusses forgiveness with great skill and beautiful imagery that is worthy of meditation, but this section should be of particular interest to pastors as a reminder of the importance of our role as preachers of the Word.  Of course, this should also be of great interest to every Christian for we are all called to preach the Word.

The third thought is how and by what means we may appropriate such righteousness, so that we may receive the treasure acquired by Christ. Here also we need to give heed that we take the right way, and not make the mistake, which certain heretics have made in times past, and many erroneous minds still set forth, who think that God ought to do something special with them. These imagine that God will deal separately with each one by some special internal light and mysterious revelation, and give him the Holy Ghost, as though there was no need of the written Word or the external sermon. Consequently we are to know that God has ordained that no one shall come to the knowledge of Christ, nor obtain the forgiveness acquired by him, nor receive the Holy Ghost, without the use of external and public means; but God has embraced this treasure in the oral word or public ministry, and will not perform his work in a corner or mysteriously in the heart, but will have it heralded and distributed openly among the people, even as Christ commands: Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, etc., (Mark 16:15).

29. He does this in order that we may know how and where to seek and expect his grace, so that in all Christendom there may be the same custom and order, and not every man follow his own mind and act according to his own notions, and so deceive himself and others, which would certainly happen. As we cannot look into the heart of any man, each one might boast of having the Holy Ghost and set forth his own thoughts as divine revelation which God had inspired and taught him in a special manner; as a result, no one would know whom or what to believe.

30. Therefore this part also, namely the external word or preaching, belongs to Christianity as a channel or means through which we attain unto the forgiveness of sins, or the righteousness of Christ, with which Christ reveals and offers us his grace or lays it into our bosom, and without which no one would ever come to a knowledge of this treasure. For whence should any man know, or in what man’s heart would it ever come, that Christ, the Son of God, came from heaven for our sake, died for us, and rose from the dead, acquired the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, and offers the same to us, without publicly having it announced and preached? And although he acquired this treasure for us through his suffering and death, no one could obtain or receive it, if Christ did not have it offered, presented, and applied. And all that he had done and suffered would be to no purpose, but would be like some great and precious treasure buried in the earth, which no one could find or make use of.

31. Therefore I have always taught that the oral word must precede every thing else, must be comprehended with the ears, if the Holy Ghost is to enter the heart, who through the Word enlightens it and works faith. Consequently faith does not come except through the hearing and oral preaching of the Gospel, in which it has its beginning, growth and strength.

For this reason the Word must not be despised, but held in honor. We must familiarize and acquaint ourselves with it, and constantly practice it, so that it never ceases to bear fruit; for it can never be understood and learned too well. Let every man beware of the shameless fellows who have no more respect for the Word than if it were unnecessary for faith; or of those who think they know it all, become tired of it, eventually fall from it, and retain nothing of faith or of Christ.

THE SERMONS OF MARTIN LUTHER, VOL. V, PAGES 223-5

Bad Porn

•September 28, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Check out this brief reflection by Philip Ryken on the Naomi Wolf’s essay on the effects of pornography- it is well worth the 1 minute it will take you to read it.

http://reformation21.org/Reformation_21_Blog/Reformation_21_Blog/58/pm__114/vobId__6616/

Henry on Proverbs 17:7

•September 27, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Matthew Henry has this to say about Proverbs 17:7 (Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend):

“This is designed, 1. To recommend to us this expedient for sharpening ourselves, but with a caution to take heed whom we choose to converse with, because the influence upon us is so great either for the better or for the worse.  2.  To direct us what we must have in our eye in conversation, namely to improve both others and ourselves, not to pass away time or banter one another, but to provoke one another to love and to good works and to make one another wiser and better.”

Our great hindrance

•September 26, 2007 • 2 Comments

“Self-dependence is the grand hindrance of our efficiency….to lean upon human instrumentality, instead of Almighty power- is like Elisha trusting in his staff, instead of his Master….We are ready to say of some bright momentary prospect- ‘This same shall comfort us concerning our work:’ so that, when ‘we see not our signs:’ or when, ‘as the morning cloud and the early dew,’ they have ‘gone away,’ we are on the verge of despondency…The main difficulty, therefore, is not in work, but in ourselves; in the conflict with our own unbelief, in the form of either indolence or self-dependence.”   Charles Bridges, “The Christian Ministry”