Friday, November 29, 2013

The Blood of Jesus is Precious

.....the blood of Christ is precious for another reason.  Sometimes
people get the idea that this amazing transaction of the cross was
a governmental arrangement with no especial significance in the
way of affection or love.  God commendeth his love to us in that
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  We have a picture
setting forth all the effect of the infinite love of God; precious to me
because of what it cost a Father to give that Son to death.  Do you
think of God as a great, wonderful, impassible being that experiences
no sorrow—that can know no emotion such as you and I feel at the
death of a child?  God through the Scriptures, talks in human language;
tells of his sorrow, of his love; of his being grieved at the heart; of his
being susceptible of those emotions of which yours and mine are but
feeble manifestations.  Now out of the bosom of the Father to make
this atoning sacrifice, his only begotten and eternal Son came forth to
suffer and die—it was full of cost to the Father.  I saw during the war
what some of you saw.  I remember a regiment in my own town in
Kentucky; I saw the boys standing in ranks waiting for the word to
march to battle.  I have seen a widowed mother hanging upon an
only son—seen hot tears pouring down—seen her sinking at the
feet of her son when the word to march came.  I have seen fathers
and mothers, brothers, wives and sisters yielding up their loved ones
to the country.  Some of you here to-night know how great a sacrifice
this was.  But if you could have known that the loved son would have
come back a mangled corpse your patriotism would have broken down. 
You gave him up with nine chances in ten that he would come back a
hero.  But when God gave His Son he knew what was coming.  He
knew the time was coming when under the cause of the law that dear
Son bearing the sins of the world would suffer the agonies of the
damned, that he would lie in the garden and sweat great drops of  blood
under the force of an anguish that we can never comprehend.  God knew
that His Son would have His back stripped, His flesh hanging in ribbons,
as he was scourged like a common criminal.  God knew that His own
Son, the ruler of the universe, would be spit upon and mocked; God
knew not simply that His Son would go to yonder cross bearing the
agony of crucifixion, but that in those hours of darkness, when there
was silence in Heaven, when the earth reeled and rocked in terrible
sympathy with that awful scene, God knew He must smite His Son as he
would smite a world of sinners, cursed by the law. There is infinite meaning
packed away in the 16th verse 3 chapter of John: "God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him,
should not perish, but have everlasting life."  "Herein is love, not that we
loved God, but that He loved us and gave His Son to be a propitiation
for our sins."  Besides it is precious because of what it cost the Son who
sprang with gladness to offer himself in our stead, to have his face marred
more than the face of any man; to have himself filled with all the mysterious
consciousness of a sin-offering—bearing the awful curse of the law that
rested on men and that you and I might be redeemed from that curse.
                                          Rev. George F. Pentecost

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thou Didst Make the Promise

Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: 
in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.   
                                             Psalms 143:1

It was thy righteousness that thou didst make the promise, but it is
thy faithfulness that thou wilt keep thy promise: and seeing I am
certain of thy making it, how can I be doubtful of thy keeping
it?  If thou shouldst not answer me in thy righteousness, yet thou
shouldst be righteous still; but if thou shouldst not answer me in
thy faithfulness, thou shouldst not be faithful still.
                                             Sir Richard Baker 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

True Worship

Standing Beneath a Tree Today

     Standing beneath a tree today, I heard an unknown bird effortlessly singing a song recognized by her own particular species.  And I will be forever ignorant of the meaning or usage of those beautiful notes!
     But I am a Christian and as such, I, too, have songs to sing.
     But I am like a mocking bird which utilizes the songs of other species into her repertoire.

                            M. Robbins

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christ is truly and essentially Jehovah

The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade 
upon thy right hand.     Ps 121:5

Two principal points are asserted in these previous words.
1. Jehovah, and Jehovah alone, the omnipotent and self-existent
God, is the Keeper, and Preserver of his people. 2. The people
of God are kept, at all times and in all circumstances, by his mighty
power unto everlasting salvation; they are preserved even “for
evermore.”  In the first particular, the divinity of the great Keeper
is declared; and, in the second, the eternal security of his people
through his omnipotence and faithfulness.  This was the Psalmist’s
gospel.  He preached it to others, and he felt it himself.  He did not
speculate upon what he did not understand; but he had a clear
evidence, and a sweet perception, of these two glorious doctrines,
which he delivered to the people.......This character, under the name
of Jehovah, is the character of Christ.  Just such a one is Jesus, the
Shepherd of Israel.  He says of himself to the Father,  “Those that thou
gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the Son of Perdition,
that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”.....From what has been premised, it
seems evident, that the keeper of the faithful is no other than Jehovah. 
This the Psalmist has proved.  It appears equally evident that Christ is
their Keeper and Preserver.  This he hath declared himself; and his apostles
have repeatedly declared it of him.  It follows, therefore, that Christ is truly
and essentially Jehovah.  All the sophistry in the world cannot elude this
conclusion; nor all the heretics in the world destroy the premises.  And, if
Christ be Jehovah, he is all that supreme, eternal, omnipotent being,
which Arians, Socinians, and others deny him to be.
                                                                      Ambrose Serle, 1815

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our God is Ever Awake

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth 
thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel 
shall neither slumber nor sleep.            Psalms 121:3-4

     A poor woman, as the Eastern story has it, came to the Sultan
one day, and asked compensation for the loss of some property.
     “How did you lose it?” said the monarch.
     “I fell asleep,” was the reply, “and a robber entered my dwelling.”
     “Why did you fall asleep?”
     “I fell asleep because I believed that you were awake.”
     The Sultan was so much delighted with the answer of the woman,
that he ordered her loss to be made up.  But what is true, only by a
legal fiction, of human governments, that they never sleep, is true in the
most absolute sense with reference to the divine government.  We can
sleep in safety because our God is ever awake.  We are safe because
he never slumbers.  Jacob had a beautiful picture of the ceaseless care
of Divine Providence on the night when he fled from his father's house. 
The lonely traveller slept on the ground, with the stones for his pillow,
and the sky for his canopy.  He had a wondrous vision of a ladder
stretching from earth to heaven, and on which angels were seen
ascending and descending.  And he heard Jehovah saying to him,
“Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither
thou goest.” 
                                                                     N. McMichael

Saturday, November 23, 2013

“Though an host should encamp against me,”

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart 
shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in 
this will I be confident.
                                               Psalms 27:3

“Though an host should encamp against me,” etc.  If I love my
God, and I love him with a noble-spirited love, all my enemies
will fight against me in vain; I shall never fear them, and the whole
world cannot harm me.  Charity cannot be offended, because
she takes offence at nothing.  Enemies, enviers, slanderers,
persecutors, I defy you; if I love, I shall triumph over your
attacks.  Ye can take away my goods; but if my love has a
generous spirit, I shall be always rich enough, and ye cannot
take away my love, which alone makes all my riches and treasures.
Ye may blacken my reputation; but as I hold you cheaply quit of
all homage of praise and applause, I, with all my heart, give you a
free leave to blame and to defame.  Happily for me, ye cannot
blacken me before my God, and his esteem alone makes amends
to me, and rewards me, for all your contempt.  Ye can persecute
my body, but there I even will help you on by my penances;
the sooner it shall perish, the sooner shall I be delivered from this
domestic enemy, which is a burden to me.  What harm, then, can
ye do me?  If I am resolved to suffer all and if I think I deserve
all the outrages ye can do me, ye will only give more loftiness of
spirit to my love, more brilliancy to my crown.
                                                  Jean Baptiste Elias Avrillon

Friday, November 22, 2013

Praise our Triune Jehovah

He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded 

his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.  
                                               Psalms 111:9

Praise our Triune Jehovah for his redemption.  Write it down
where you may read it.  Affix it where you may see it.  Engrave
it on your heart that you may understand it.  It is a word big
with importance.  In it is enfolded your destinies and those
of the Church, to all future ages.  There are heights in it you never
can have scaled, and depths you never can have fathomed.  You
have never taken the wings of the morning, and gained the utmost
parts of earth, to measure the length and breadth of it.  Wear it as
a seal on your arm, as a signet on your right hand, for Jesus is the
author of it.  O! prize it as a precious stone, more precious than
rubies. . . . Let it express your best hopes while living, and dwell
on your trembling lips in the moment of dissolution; for it shall
form the chorus of the song of the redeemed throughout eternity.
                                                    Isaac Saunders

Thursday, November 21, 2013

God Remembered

.....No life is so hedged about with difficulties as that of faith. 
This was the life lived by Noah and his sons, whom we see
absolutely depending upon the heavens for support.  The earth
was covered with water.  There was no bottom on which
to stand.  It was the word of promise that upheld them, as
they drifted in this welter of waters.
     The difficulty besetting Noah is hinted at in the words,
"God remembered."  Moses thus intimates that Noah had been
tossed on the water so long that God seemed to have forgotten
him entirely.  They who pass through such mental strain, when
the rays of divine grace are gone and they sit in darkness or are
forgotten by God, find by experience that it is far more difficult
to live in the Word or by faith alone than to be a hermit or a
monk.  Hence it is not a meaningless expression when the Holy
Spirit says that "God remembered Noah."  He means that from
the day that Noah entered the ark, no word was spoken, nothing
was revealed to him; that he saw no ray of divine grace
shining, but merely clung to the promise which he had accepted,
while the waters and waves raged as if God had certainly forgotten
     The word "remembered" indicates that great sadness beset both
man and beast during the entire time of the flood.  It must have been
by dint of great patience and extraordinary courage that Noah and
the others bore this lapse from God's memory, which is simply
unbearable to the flesh without the spirit, even in slight trials.  True,
God always remembers his own, even when he seems to have
forgotten them; but Moses indicates that he remembered his people
here in a visible way, by a sign, and by openly fulfilling what he
had previously promised through the Word and the Spirit.  This
story sets before us an example of faith, of endurance and patience.    
                              Martin Luther 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Seeking to be Justified by the Law Brings Death instead of Salvation

     But this seemeth a strange and wonderful definition, that to
live to the law, is to die to God: and to die to the law, is to
live to God. These two propositions are clean contrary to reason,
and therefore no crafty sophister or law-worker can understand
them.  But learn thou the true understanding thereof.  He that
liveth to the law, that is, seeketh to be justified by the works of
the law, is and remaineth a sinner: therefore he is dead and
condemned.  For the law cannot justify and save him, but accuseth,
terrifieth, and killeth him.  Therefore to live unto the law, is to die
unto God; and contrariwise, to die to the law, is to live unto God.
Wherefore if thou wilt live unto God, thou must die to the law; but
if thou wilt live to the law, thou shalt die to God.  Now, to live unto
God, is to be justified by grace or by faith for Christ's sake without
the law and works.
     This is then the proper and true definition of a Christian, that he is
the child of grace and remission of sins because he is under no law,
but is above the law, sin, death, and hell.  And even as Christ is free
from the grave, and Peter from the prison, so is a Christian free
from the law.....
.....Therefore, when I feel the remorse and sting of conscience for sin,
I behold that brazen serpent, Christ, hanging upon the cross.  There
I find another sin against my sin, which accuseth and devoureth me.
Now, this other sin, namely, in the flesh of Christ, which taketh away
the sins of the world, is almighty, it condemneth and swalloweth up
my sin.  So my sin is condenmed by sin, that is, by Christ crucified:
"who is made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of
God through him.'' (1 Cor. 5:21.)  In like manner I find death in my flesh,
which afflicteth and killeth me, but I have in me a contrary death, which
is the death of death, for this death crucifieth and swalloweth up my death.
     These things be not done by the law or works, but by Christ
crucified, upon whose shoulders lie all the evils and miseries of mankind,
the law, sin, death, the devil, and hell: and all these do die in him, for
by his death he hath killed them......
.....let us now set apart the law and charity until another time, and let us rest
upon the principal point of this present matter, which is this, that Jesus Christ
the Son of God died upon the cross, did bear in his body my sins, the law,
death, the devil and hell.  These invincible enemies and tyrants do oppress,
vex, and trouble me, and therefore I am careful how I may be delivered out
of their hands, justified and saved.  Here I find neither law, work, nor charity,
which is able to deliver me from their tyranny.  There is none but the Lord
Jesus only and alone, which taketh away the law, killeth and destroyeth my
death in his body, and by this means spoileth hell, judgeth and crucifieth the
devil, and throweth him down into hell.  To be brief, all the enemies which
did before torment and oppress me, Christ Jesus hath brought to nought,
"hath spoiled them, and made a show of them openly, triumphing by
himself over them," (Col. 2:15,) in such sort, that they can now rule and
reign no more over me, but are constrained to obey me.

                                              Martin Luther

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why then should I so highly esteem Peter, which is but a drop, and set God aside, which is the whole sea?

Galations 2:11. And when Peter was come to Antiochia, 
I withstood him to his face, for he was to he blamed.

     Paul goeth on still in his confutation, saying, "that he not only
hath for his defence the testimony of Peter, and the other Apostles
which were at Jerusalem, but also that he withstood Peter in the
presence of the whole church of Antioch."  He showeth here a
matter, not done in a corner, but in the face of the whole church;
for, as before I have said, he hath here no trifling matter in hand,
but the chiefest article of all Christian doctrine, the utility and majesty
whereof whoso rightly esteemeth, to him all other things shall seem
but vile and nothing worth; for what is Peter, what is Paul, what is
an angel from heaven, what are all other creatures to the article of
justification?  Which if we know, then are we in the clear light; but
if we be ignorant thereof, then are we in most miserable darkness.
Wherefore, if we see this article impugned or defaced, fear not
to resist either Peter or an angel from heaven, following the
example of Paul, who, seeing the majesty of this article to be in
danger for the dignity of Peter, had no regard of his dignity and
estimation, that he might keep the same pure and incorrupt.
For it is written, "He that loveth father or mother, or his own life,
more than me, is not worthy of me." (Mark x. 37.)
     Wherefore we are not ashamed, for the defence of the truth,
to be counted and called of the hypocrites, proud and obstinate,
and such as will be only wise, will hear none, will give place to
none.  Here we must needs be obstinate and inflexible.  For
the cause why we offend man, that is to say, tread down the
majesty of the person or of the world, is so great, that the sins
which the world judgeth to be most henious, are counted singular
virtues before God.  "In that we love our parents, honour the
magistrates, show reverence to Peter and other ministers of the
word, we do well."  But here we have in hand the cause
neither of Peter, nor parents, nor magistrates, nor of the world,
nor of any other creatures, but of God himself.  Here if I give
no place to my parents, to the magistrate, or an angel from
heaven, I do well.  For what is the creature in respect of the
Creator?  Yea, what are all creatures, being compared unto him?
Even as one drop of water in respect of the whole sea.  Why
then should I so highly esteem Peter, which is but a drop, and
set God aside, which is the whole sea?  Let the drop therefore
give place to the sea, and let Peter give place unto God.  This I
say, to the end that ye should diligently weigh and consider the
matter whereof Paul entreateth: for he entreateth of the word of
God, which can never be magnified enough.....
.....and Peter, although he heard this commandment of Christ, "Go
into the whole world," &c. (Matt xxviii.), had not gone unto Cornelius,
if he had not been admonished by a vision. (Acts x. 12.)  And in this
matter he did not only err, but also committed a great sin; and if Paul
had not resisted him, all the Gentiles which did believe, had been
constrained to receive circumcision and to keep the law.  The believing
Jews also had  been confirmed in their opinion: to wit, that the observation
of these things was necessary to salvation; and by this means they had
received again the law instead of the Gospel, Moses instead of Christ.
And of all this great enormity and horrible sin, Peter, by his dissimulation,
had been the only occasion.  Therefore we may not attribute to the saints
such perfection as though they could not sin......
.....So circumcision of itself is good, but this end is evil: if thou be not
circumcised after the law of Moses, thou canst not be saved.  Also to
eat meats prohibited in the law is not evil; but this shrinking and
dissimulation of Peter is evil.  For it might be said, Peter abstaineth from
meats forbidden in the law, wherefore if thou  dost not likewise abstain,
thou canst not be saved.  This Paul might in no wise dissemble; for
the truth of the Gospel was here in danger.  To the end therefore that this
truth might continue sound and incorrupt, he resisted Peter to his face.
                                              Martin Luther

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Should God's Word Be Preferred before the Apostleship? the cause of religion and the word of God, there must
be no respect of persons.  But in matters of policy we must
have regard to the person; for, otherwise there must needs
follow a contempt of all reverence and order.  In this world
God will have an order, a reverence, and a difference of
persons.  For else the child, the servant, the subject, would say,
I am a Christian as well as my father, my schoolmaster, my master,
my prince, why then should I reverence him?  Before God, then,
there is no respect of persons, neither of Grecian nor of Jew, but
all are one in Christ; although not so before the world.
     Thus Paul confuteth the argument of the false apostles as
touching the authority of the Apostles, and saith, that it is nothing
to the purpose.  For the question is not here concerning the
respect of persons, but there is a far weightier matter in hand,
that is to say, a divine matter concerning God and his word, and
whether this word ought to be preferred before the apostleship,
or no.  Whereunto Paul answereth, so that the truth of the
Gospel may continue, so that the word of God, and the righteousness
of faith, may be kept pure and incorrupt, let the apostleship go, let
an angel from heaven, let Peter, let Paul, all together perish......
.....Let this be then the conclusion of all together, that we will suffer our
goods to be taken away, our name, our life, and all that we have; but the
Gospel, our faith, Jesus Christ, we will never suffer to be wrested from us......
.....Wherefore, a Christian, as touching his faith, can never
be too proud nor too stout, neither must he relent or give place,
no, not the breadth of one hair; for faith maketh a man here
like unto God; but God suffereth nothing, he giveth place to
none, for he is immutable; so is faith immutable, and therefore
may suffer nothing, give place to no man.
                                              Martin Luther

Friday, November 1, 2013

Do not too much Magnify the Outward Persons

     So the prince, the magistrate, the preacher, the schoolmaster,
the scholar, the father, the mother, the children, the master, the
servant, are persons and outward veils, which God will have us
to acknowledge, love, and reverence as his creatures, which also
must needs be had in this life; but he will not have us so to
reverence them, or trust unto them, that we forget him.  And to
the end that we should not too much magnify the outward persons,
or put any trust in them, God leaveth in them offences and between
the person and God himself.  David, that good king, because he
should not seem to be a person upon whom men should trust, fell
into horrible sins, adultery and murder.  Peter, that excellent Apostle,
denied Christ.  These, and such-like examples, whereof the Scripture
is full, ought to warn us, that we repose not our trust in the person and
outward veil, nor think that when we have the outward shows and
shadows, we have all things;.....God hath given his creatures
to our use, and to do us service, and not as idols, that we should
do service unto them. Let us then use bread, wine, apparel,
possessions, gold, silver, and all other creatures; but let us not trust
or glory in them: for we must trust and glory in God alone.
He only is to be loved, he only is to be feared and honoured.....
.....But when the question is as touching religion, conscience,
the fear of God, faith, and the service of God, we must
not fear these outward persons, we must put no trust in them,
look for no comfort from them, or hope deliverance by them,
either corporally or spiritually.  For this cause God will have
no respect of persons in judgment: for judgment is a divine
thing.  Wherefore I ought neither to fear the judge, nor trust in
the judge: but my fear and trust ought to be in God alone, who
is the true judge.  The civil judge or magistrate I ought indeed
to reverence for God's cause (Deut. i.), whose minister he is;
but my conscience may not stay or trust upon his justice and
equity, or be feared through his unjust dealing or tyranny,
whereby I might fall into any offence against God in lying, in bearing
false witness, in denying the truth, etc.  Otherwise, I will reverence
and honour the magistrate with all my heart.
                                              Martin Luther