quotes

Oct

01

2011

Are You Ready to Listen?

Sunday morning is coming soon. Are you ready to hear the word of God? Listen to Spurgeon about the importance of preparing to listen to God's word:

We are told men ought not to preach without preparation. Granted. But we add, men ought not to hear without preparation. Which, do you think needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground? I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and the clods broken before the seed comes in. It seems to me that there is more preparation needed by the ground than by the sower, more by the hearer than by the preacher.

Cited in Ken Ramey, Expository Listening, (Woodlands, Texas: Kress Biblical Resources, 2010), 34.

 

Sep

28

2011

Reformed Christian Ministry

Carl Trueman has written an insightful post recently entitled "Is the Reformation nearly over? Perhaps, but maybe not for the reason you think", which is about the holistic pastoral concern which was a major in the Reformation and how this mindset is lacking in the multi-site model.

Now, I don't subscribe to the multi-site model, but I enjoyed this article not only for this reason; much more because I find these words equally convicting and challenging applied to myself! 

In the process, the importance of putting in place educated ministers who could articulate the faith and offer pastoral nurture to the people was never far from the centre of concern.

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Further, they were too busy training people to go to places where there was no Reformation witness to have found the idea of church planting on the doorstep of faithful churches to be an attractive idea

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The problem with the way 'Reformed' is often used today is that it divorces certain things (typically the five, or more often, four points of Calvinism) from the overall Reformation vision of pastoral care, church worship, Christian nurture and all-round approach to ministry.

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The Reformation was about more than a doctrinal insight into justification; it was also about abolishing the fetishisation of certain great figures as if they possessed some special magic and about instituting an ideal of educated, personal, local ministry.

Sep

27

2011

The OT Conquest and Jihad?

Christians sometimes have a problem with the OT's record of the conquest of the land of Canaan (cf. Book of Joshua). I was just reading a review of a book on Muslim-Christian relations, which apparently attempted to establish a similarity between the conquest and the Jihad. The reviewer--in denying this absurd claim--made the following helpful assertions on how markedly different the OT conquest was:

  1. It is limited to one time, not all times.
  2. It is limited to one land, not all lands. It judges sin to fulfill prophecy, not to adhere to a religion.
  3. It shows God’s holiness, not his power. Its goal is to bless the whole earth, not subdue it. It is God fighting for his people, not the people fighting for God.
  4. It is according to God’s trustworthy nature, not according to a capricious nature.
  5. It prefigures God finally absorbing the deserved judgment and wrath on all nations in Christ’s death on the cross. Judgment deserved became judgment absorbed.

Imad Shehadeh, "Review: Allah: A Christian Response", Themelios 36-2.

Let us read the Conquest and tremble at the amazing holiness of God and the judgement we all should receive--without the 400+ year waiting period he gave them (Gen 15:13, 16). Let us rejoice that God clearly revealed this judgment so that we could understand more clearly what we deserved, and what Christ endured and exhausted for us.

Aug

10

2011

Only One Life

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last." This oft-quoted line so succinctly puts into focus what really matters in life, and well summarizes how I want to live my life. However, it sadly is always quoted without any references. I think I heard first from John Piper in his book Don't Waste Your Life. Well, I finally and happily found a reference today! 

It was apparently written by C. T. Studd, a missionary to China, India and Africa (source). Here is the full text I found:

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Mar

17

2011

Spirit-Backed Preaching with Freedom and Authenticity

For various reasons, I have been brought these days to read more on the church and on preaching in particular. If there is one firm conviction I have about ministry, if I know anything at all, it is this: the Word of God is true, is the authority, is the power to change, and preaching it in the power of God's Spirit is the essence of ministry. On my blog's "about me" page, I say it this way: I believe that Spirit-backed expository preaching of God's word is the heart of the Christian ministry.

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Mar

15

2011

The Bruising of Reeds

Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed:

After conversion we need bruising so that reeds may know themselves to be reeds, and not oaks. . . . Such bruising may help weaker Christians not to be too much discouraged, when they see stronger ones shaken and bruised.
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Ungodly spirits, ignorant of God's ways in bringing his children to heaven, censure brokenhearted Christians as miserable persons, whereas God is doing a gracious, good work with them. It is no easy matter to bring a man from nature to grace, and from grace to glory, so unyielding and intractable are our hearts.

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Mar

02

2011

MacArthur on Reading the Old Testament

There was an interesting aside comment John MacArthur made in one his sermons on Luke that I ran into awhile back. The comment was spoken toward the end of his sermon where Jesus says, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" (Luke 6:5). He moves beyond this situation and generalizes an interpretive principle with the following words:

And, beloved, I say it to you, you can never ever understand the Old Testament law without the New Testament interpretation of that law by Christ and the apostles who wrote the words that Christ wanted them to write to interpret the truth. Jesus is the interpreter of God's will, God's law and God's Word.  (cf. Jesus: The Divine Truth-Teller; emphasis mine)

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Feb

22

2011

"Love your Enemies" and the Imprecatory Psalms

Of the many concise and surprising things Jesus instructed, "Love your enemies," rates pretty near the top. Many know the passage who've never picked up a Bible in their lives. When we are struck on the cheek, we offer the other also. When someone asks us to bear a burden for one mile, we are to carry it for two, we are to "go the extra mile". This teaching is so radical and unthinkable it has left a profound impact on his followers and even his non-followers, even on the English language in terms of the idiom "go the extra mile." 

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Dec

20

2010

Stupid Commentators

1 Timothy 2:5 reads, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Henry Alford comments:

The stupidity of such writers as Baur and the Socinians, who regard such an expression as against the deity of Christ, is beyond all power of mine to characterize.

Love it. Commentators just don't write this way anymore! Let us not be so enamored with "political correctness" or with "academic respectability" that we refuse to call a spade a spade.

The rejection of God is foolishness, stupidity. Read Psalm 14:1 and Romans 1! The rejection of Jesus Christ as God in human flesh is indeed the indication of a darkened mind. At least that's what Jesus said.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20)

1 Timothy 2:5 says Jesus himself is indeed fully man. As man, he is fully capable to be our intermediary to represent us before God. The text says nothing about his divinity. The glorious truth is that he is both! His divinity neither affects his humanity, neither does his humanity affect his divinity.

We do people no favor when we give them illusion that their rejection of Christ is either a morally neutral or intellectually respectable decision.

Aug

18

2010

Producing a Stir

Godet in his comments on John the Baptist in Luke 3:

What a stir would be produced at the present day by the preaching of a man, who, clothed with the authority of holiness, should proclaim with power the speedy coming of the Lord, and His impending judgment! 

Indeed. It is easy to talk about and explain what John said to the people back then. It is much harder to be a John the Baptist in the present and allow the word of God come alive before its hearers and address them!

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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)