March 27, 2010

Preach the Word, Brothers - Alistair Begg

Pastor Begg emphasizes a right focus on the Bible in preaching. About 15 minutes total to listen.

March 24, 2010

Hark the Voice of Jesus Crying

HARK, the voice of Jesus crying-,
"Who will go and work today?
Fields are white and harvest waiting;
Who will bear the sheaves away?"
Loud and strong the Master calleth,
Rich reward He offers thee;
Who will answer, gladly saying,
"Here am I: send me, send me!"

If you cannot cross the ocean,
And the heathen lands explore,
You can find the heathen nearer,
You can help them at your door.
If you cannot give your thousands,
You can give the widow's mite;
And the least you do for Jesus
Will be precious in His sight.

If you cannot speak like angels,
If you cannot preach like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
You can say, "He died for all."
If you cannot rouse the wicked
With the judgment's dread alarms,
You can lead the little children
To the Saviour's waiting arms.

If you cannot be the watchman
Standing high on Zion's wall,
Pointing out the path to heaven,
Offering life and peace to all,
With your prayers and with your bounties
You can do what heaven demands;-
You can be like faithful Aaron
Holding up the prophet's hands.

Let none hear you idly saying
"There is nothing I can do,"
While the souls of men are dying,
And the Master calls for you.
Take the task He gives you, gladly,
Let His work your pleasure be;
Answer quickly when He calleth,
"Here am I: send me, send me!"

Taken from J. C. Ryle's Hymns for the Church on Earth.

March 22, 2010

Christ Crucified and Our Holiness - Charnock

This (knowledge of Christ crucified) will be a means to further us in a progress in holiness. An affection to sin, which cost the Redeemer of the world so dear, would be inconsistent with a sound knowledge and serious study of a crucified Saviour. We should see no charms in sin, which may not be overcome by that ravishing love, which bubbles up in every drop of the Redeemer's blood. Can we with lively thoughts of this, sin against so much tenderness, compassion, grace, and the other perfections of God, which sound so loud in our ears from the cross of Jesus? Shall we consider him hanging there to deliver us from hell, and yet retain any spirit to walk in the way which leads thereto ? Shall we consider him upon the cross, unlocking the gates of heaven, and yet turn our backs upon that place he was so desirous to purchase for us, and give us the possession of? Shall we see him groaning in our place and stead, and dare to tell him, by our unworthy carriage, that we regard him not, and that he might have spared his pains?

It must be a miserable soul, worse than brutish, that can walk on in ways of enmity, with a sense of a crucified Christ in his mind. Could we then affect that sin which appears so horrible in the doctrine of the cross? Can we take any pleasure in that which procured so much pain to our best Friend? Can we love that which hath brought a curse, better than him who bore the curse for us? For want of this study of Christ crucified we walk on in sin, as if he suffered to purchase a license for it, rather than the destruction of it. The due consideration of this death would incline our wills to new desires and resolutions. It would stifle that luxury, ambition, worldliness, which harass our souls.

We should not dare to rush into any iniquity through the wounds of Christ. We should not, under a sense of his dying groans, cherish that for which he suffered. We should not do the works of darkness under the effusions of his blood, if we did, in a serious posture, set ourselves at the feet of his cross.

March 20, 2010

A Walk Through Philippians - #7

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. (Philippians 1:12-13, ESV)
This text yanks us out of comfortable, pain-free, easy American evangelicalism and hurls us into prison. Prison. Discomfort. Futility.

God's prison.

God's prison? Yes, that's exactly the way Paul sees his current circumstances. He is not enslaved to meaningless fate nor finding himself forsaken by God. Rather, he knows his trouble is precisely where God would have him be. This is faith clothed in courage, lived out in Paul's everyday situation among the people God has placed him with. God is big enough to guide Paul in trouble and trial for eternal benefit, including the here-and-now. Including the here-and-now of prison. What an irony, that the glory and blessing of the gospel would be worked in the midst of imprisonment. This is from the Lord, and confounds all so-called 'wisdom' of the flesh. It is not the plan we would conceive for furthering the gospel. It is much better than any plan we could imagine, just as the cross is much better than any salvation we could dream up.

How do you draw from a deep well? This text is a deep well of truth. It merits your effort to understand it. Meditate on it. Mull it over. Chew on it. Draw every last fragment of faith-building from it. Why? Why spend your time and your mind considering this little passage? Aren't there better, more successful things you could be doing? This is no theoretical, abstract truth. It is not merely a text. It will be reflected in your life. Are you prepared to clothe faith with courage when trouble comes? Is God big enough to guide you in trouble and trial for eternal benefit, including the here-and-now? Will you see your trials as Paul did, purposed by the loving hand of God? Or will you be crushed by the weight, convinced that God's blessing is demonstrated through riches, beauty, and 'success'? It is my prayer and hope that Paul's imprisonment will be a fountain of faith and courage for you, pointing as it does to our hope: fashioned by the hand of God in Christ, purchased by Christ on the cross, and lead on our path by the Good Shepherd. Trials are not the end of the story, brothers and sisters.

Oh to be used of God to advance the gospel! Can you imagine a higher aspiration for your life than this? Osteen, Copeland, Hinn, and many other preachers spew lies by denying the reality of God's purpose in tribulation. Do not fall for their poison. Ironic again, that slick messengers packaged in expensive suits and toothy veneers obscure the gospel proclaimed clearly by the prisoner Paul. Rather than chase their private jets in the hope that today will be trial-free, pursue the God of Philippians 1:12-13 to bring you to and through trial and trouble to advance the gospel.

Words of Wisdom

Our fair morning is at hand;
the day star is near the rising;
and we are not many miles from home.
--Samuel Rutherford

March 16, 2010

March 15, 2010

James White: The Battle for Grace

I have a great deal of respect for James White and have studied and used his books and recordings for many years. This video is one hour and 12 minutes long. It is an address to a conference about the grace of God.