Archive for the ‘Voices from the Past’ Category
Posted on December 4th, 2013 by Eric Parker
Jonathan Edwards writes in his well-known book, Religious Affections, talks about the way we should feel about Jesus. He says,
We are depressed at our losses and excited and joyful about our worldly successes and prosperity. But when it comes to spiritual matters, how dull we feel! How heavy and hard our hearts! We can sit and hear of the infinite height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the love of God in Christ Jesus, of his giving his infinitely dear Son–and yet be cold and unmoved!
If we are going to be emotional about anything, shouldn’t it be our spiritual lives? Is anything more inspiring, more exciting, more lovable and desirable in heaven or earth than the gospel of Jesus Christ? Not only is it worthy of our emotion, but it is shown to us in a way that should affect us emotionally. In the same way, the glory and beauty of Jehovah is worthy in itself to be the object of our admiration and love, but it is demonstrated to us in a way that should shake our hearts, for it shines with the luster of an incarnate, infinitely loving, gentle, compassionate, dying Redeemer. All the virtues of the Lamb of God, His humility, patience, gentleness, submission, obedience, love, and compassion, are exhibited in the gospel so that our emotions should be deeply moved. Christ should move us more deeply than any other thing, for he is the source of our hearts’ life, and our hearts’ feelings were designed to perceive him.
Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, 45
Posted on November 21st, 2013 by Eric Parker
A.T. Robertson, Professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at the beginning of the 20th century, offers this summary and commentary on John 12:44-50,
Faith in Jesus is faith in God who sent Him. Seeing Jesus is seeing God. His mission is to bring light to set men free from darkness. Obedience to Christ is the way to escape judgement. Rejection of Christ is rejection of God. He has the Father’s commandment which brings life eternal. All of these things Jesus had spoken at other times and they occur here and there in the Gospel of John before this period. Now Jesus summed the case up between Him and the world which was rejecting Him. There is no escape from the issue of Jesus. He confronts every man in all the world through all the ages. He challenges every man today. What think you of Jesus the Christ? What will you do with Jesus the Savior? What shall Jesus the Judge do with you?
A.T. Robertson, The Divinity of Christ, 107-108
Posted on November 13th, 2013 by Eric Parker
Charles Spurgeon gives a really helpful illustration about how what we see is a reflection of who we are:
On a cold winter’s day when the snow has fallen and lies deep upon the ground, you go through a village. There is a row of cottages, and you will notice that from one of the roofs the snow has nearly disappeared, while another cottage still bears a coating of snow. You do not stay to make inquiries as to the reason for the difference, for you know very well what is the cause. There is a fire burning inside the one cottage and the warmth glows through its roof, and so the snow speedily melts: in the other there is not tenant; it is a house to let, no fire burns on its hearth and no warm smoke ascends the chimney, and therefore there lies the snow. Just as the warmth is within, so the melting will be without. I look at a number of churches, and where I see worldliness and formalism lying thick upon them, I am absolutely certain that there is not the warmth of Christian life within; but where the hearts of believers are warm with divine love through the Spirit of God, we are sure to see evils vanish, and beneficial consequences following therefrom.
Charles Spurgeon, ”Our Urgent Need of the Holy Spirit” in New Library of Spurgeon’s Sermons Vol. 9, 208
Posted on November 6th, 2013 by Eric Parker
Francis Schaeffer on the extent and effect of the Lordship of Christ on the Christian’s life:
True Spirituality covers all of reality. There are things the Bible tells us as absolutes which are sinful–which do not conform to the character of God. But aside from these the Lordship of Christ covers all of life and all of Life equally. It is not only that true spirituality covers all of life, but it covers all parts of the spectrum of life equally. In this sense there is nothing concerning reality that is not spiritual.
Related to this, it seems to me, is the fact that many Christians do not mean what I mean when I say Christianity is true, or Truth. They are Christians and they believe in, let us say, the truth of creation, the truth of the virgin birth, the truth of Christ’s miracles, Christ’s substitutionary death, and His coming again. But they stop there with these and other individual truths.
When I say Christianity is true I mean it is true to total reality–the total of what is, beginning with the central reality, the objective existence of the personal-infinite God. Christianity is not just a series of truths but Truth–Truth about all of reality. And the holding to that Truth intellectually–and then in some poor way living upon that Truth, the Truth of what is–brings forth…personal results.
Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, 19-20
Posted on October 30th, 2013 by Eric Parker
Born in 1608, Thomas Brooks became one of the most well known preachers of the 17th century. He wrote a book on how to fight against the schemes of the devil, and in it he helps us to see that discouragement over sin can not only be used by the devil to attack us, but also can be an indicator of our own sinful unbelief! He says that the remedy to this is to see the sufficiency of Christ. Brooks writes,
Believers must repent for their being discouraged by their sins. Their being discouraged by their sins will cost them many a prayer, many a tear, and many a groan; and that because their discouragements under sin flow from ignorance and unbelief. It springs from their ignorance of the richness, freeness, fullness, and everlastingness of God’s love; and from their ignorance of the power, glory, sufficiency, and efficacy of the death and sufferings of the fullness, largeness, and completeness of the righteousness of Jesus Christ; and from their ignorance of that real, close, spiritual, glorious, and inseparable union that is between Christ and their precious souls. Ah! did precious souls know and believe the truth of these things as they should, they would not sit down dejected and overwhelmed under the sense and operation of sin.
Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 147
Posted on October 23rd, 2013 by Eric Parker
Do you ever struggle with guilt over past sin, and wonder how God could ever accept you? Hear this encouraging word from Johann Gerhard:
If your heart condemns you, nevertheless, God is greater than your heart. If the memory of your past sins accuses you, nevertheless, Christ the Redeemer, who has made satisfaction for sins, is more powerful. He absolves, liberates, and saves you. Indeed, He blotted out the handwriting that was written against us and was contrary to us; ‘He set it aside and nailed it to His Cross’ (Col. 2:14). That handwriting accusing your conscience is fastened to the nails of Christ crucified so that it is rendered void and invalid before God. ‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God’ (Rom. 5:1), peace of conscience, a restful heart, and a blessed tranquility of soul which Christ the Victor over sin, death and the devil brought with Him from the grave and bestowed on His disciples.
Johann Gerhard, Handbook of Consolations, 44-45
Posted on October 16th, 2013 by Eric Parker
In the revival of 1815, Charles Pettit McIlvaine recalled what it was like to be a student at Princeton University that year:
It is more than forty years since I first witnessed a revival of religion. It was in the college of which I was a student. It was powerful and pervading, and fruitful in the conversion of young men to God; and it was quiet, unexcited, and entirely free from all devices or means beyond the few and simple which God has appointed, namely, ‘prayer and the ministry of the word.’ In that precious season of the power of God, my religious life began. I had heard before; I began then to know. I must doubt the deepest convictions of my soul, when I doubt whether that revival was the work of the Spirit of God.
Iain Murray, Revival & Revivalism, 141
Posted on October 9th, 2013 by Eric Parker
Samuel Davies was an immensely influential Presbyterian minister during the middle years of the 18th century. He lived through what became known as The Great Awakening, or The First Great Awakening. Preaching some years later, he wrote this in reflection on those days:
About sixteen years ago, in the northern colonies, when all religious concern was much out of fashion, and the generality lay in a dead sleep in sin, having at best but the form of godliness, but nothing of the power; when the country was in peace and prosperity, free from the calamities of war, and epidemical sickness; when, in short, there were no extraordinary calls to repentance; suddenly a deep, general concern about eternal things spread through the country; sinners started out of their slumbers, broke off from their vices, began to cry out, ‘What shall we do to be saved?’ and made it the great business of their life to prepare for the world to come. Then the gospel seemed almighty and carried all before it. It pierced the very hearts of men with an irresistible power. I have seen thousands at once melted down under it; all eager to hear as for life, and hardly a dry eye to be seen among them. Many have since backslidden, and all their religion is come to nothing, or dwindled away into mere formality. But, blessed be God, thousands still remain shining monuments of the power of divine grace in that glorious day.
May God do it again in our day!
Iain Murray, Revival & Revivalism, 5
Posted on October 2nd, 2013 by Eric Parker
Jonathan Edwards, speaking during the 1700′s, spoke about the need for heart transformation before head indoctrination:
Was there ever an age wherein strength and penetration of reason, extent of learning, exactness of distinction, correctness of style, and clearness of expression, did so abound? And yet, was there ever an age, wherein there has been so little sense of the evil of sin, so little love to God, heavenly-mindedness, and holiness of life, among the professors (i.e. people who profess) of the true religion (i.e. Christianity)? Our people do not so much need to have their heads stored as to have their hearts touched, and they stand in the greatest need of that sort of preaching which has the greatest tendency to do this.
Edwards’ words may be more true today than ever before.
Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, 127.
Posted on October 1st, 2013 by David Burnette
“I am indeed in prison now
In body, but my mind
Is free to study Christ, and how
Unto me, he is kind.
For tho’ men keep my outward man
Within their locks and bars
Yet by the faith of Christ I can
Mount higher than the stars.
Their fetters cannot spirits tame,
Nor tie up God from me;
My faith and hope they cannot lame,
Above them I shall be”
– Taken from John Bunyan’s “Prison Meditations: Dedicated to the Heart of Suffering Saints and Reigning Sinners,” in The Complete Works of John Bunyan (Philadelphia: Bradley, Garretson, 1872), 691.
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