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 Quotes of the week - 2018

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And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. - Mark 3:21

He is beside himself. He is delirious, or deranged, The reason why this report gained any belief was, probably, that our Lord had lived among them as a carpenter; that he was poor, and unknown; and that now, at thirty years of age, he broke off from his occupations, abandoned his common employment, spent much time in the deserts, denied himself the common comforts of life, and set up his claims to be the Messiah, who was expected by all the people to come with great pomp and splendor. The charge of derangement on account of attention to religion has not been confined to our Savior. Let a man be made deeply sensible of his sins, and spend much of his time in prayer, and have no relish for the ordinary amusements or business of life; or let a Christian be much impressed with his obligation to devote himself to God, and act as if he believed there was an eternity, and warn his neighbors of their danger; or let a minister show uncommon zeal, and waste his strength in the service of his Master, and the world is not slow to call it derangement. And none will be more ready to originate or believe the charge than an ungodly and infidel parent or brother; a self-righteous Pharisee or professor in the church. At the same time, men may endanger themselves on the bosom of the deep, or in the bowels of the earth, for wealth; or may plunge into the vortex of fashion, and folly, and vice, and break in upon the hours of repose, and neglect their duties to their family, and the demands of business, and in the view of the world it is wisdom, and proof of a sane mind! Such is the consistency of boasted reason; such the wisdom and prudence of worldly men!

- Albert Barnes, 1798 - 1870, Barnes Notes Commentary


The characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit

“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him: You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath! Produce fruit in keeping with repentance!” Luke 3:7-8

Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if it possessed more plain-speaking ministers like John the Baptist.
A morbid dislike to strong language;
an excessive fear of giving offence;
a constant flinching from directness and plain speaking–
are, unhappily, too much the characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit!

Uncharitable language is no doubt always to be deprecated. But there is no ‘charity’ in flattering unconverted people–by abstaining from any mention of their vices, or in applying smooth names to their damnable sins!

There are two texts which are too much forgotten by Christian preachers. In one it is written, “Woe unto you–when all men shall speak well of you!” 
- Luke 6:26

In the other it is written, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” - Galatians 1:10

J.C. Ryle – 1816-1900


Test Everything Against the Scriptures

“But test everything; hold fast what is good.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Remember your exalted privilege–you have the Bible in your hands, and are not bound to follow books or preachers any farther than what they teach agrees with the Oracles of Truth. We have great reason to be thankful for the instructions and writings of spiritual men–but they are all fallible, even as ourselves.

One is our master, even Christ–what He says, we are to receive implicitly–but we do not owe implicit subjection to the best of our fellow-worms. The Bereans were commended because they would not implicitly believe even the Apostle Paul–but examined the Scriptures every day to see if what he said was true. May the Lord give us a spirit of humility and discernment in all things.

When we eat an apple–we first cut out the blemishes, then eat what is good, and lastly throw the core away. Such a rule I would observe in reading human authors–the best may be defective, and the wisest may be mistaken. We are not only permitted, but enjoined, to call no man master.

– John Newton, 1725-1807, Letters of John Newton

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:11


A Bible and a Hymnbook

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty! – Zechariah 4:6

You know, the Church started out with a Bible, then it got a hymnbook, and for years that was it–a Bible and a hymnbook. The average church now certainly wouldn’t be able to operate on just a hymnbook and the Bible. Now we have to have all kinds of religious bunk. A lot of people couldn’t serve God at all without at least a truck load of equipment to keep them happy.

Some of these attractions that we have to win people and keep them coming may be fine, or they may be cheap. They may be elevated, or they may be degrading. They may be artistic, or they may be coarse–it all depends upon who is running the show! But the Holy Spirit is not the center of attraction, and the Lord is not the one who is in charge. We bring in all sorts of anti-Scriptural and unscriptural claptrap to keep the people happy and keep them coming.

As I see it, the great woe is not the presence of these religious toys and trifles–but the fact that they have become a necessity, and the presence of the Eternal Spirit is not in our midst!

– A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963


Confronting an Evil World

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. - 1 Peter 4:14

No one can live for God's glory and be entirely comfortable in this world. You shouldn't be obnoxious or try to be a misfit, but if your life is Christlike, then you will bear some of the reproach He bore.

We live in a day when many are want to make Christianity easy, but the Bible says it is hard. Many want to make Christians lovable, but God says they'll be reproachable. Christianity must confront the system by being distinct from it. It must expose sin before it can disclose the remedy.

Be sure your life reflects your commitment to Christ. That's what will make you distinct from the world.

John MacArthur, Truth for Today


Consecrating our Everyday Lives

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do–do all to the glory of God!” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Religion is not to be confined to devotional exercises–but rather consists in doing all that we are called to do, with a single eye to His glory and will, from a grateful sense of His love and mercy to us. This is the chemistry which turns every mundane thing into gold, and stamps a value upon common actions!

When a mother is making or mending the children’s clothes, or teaching them, or cleaning the kitchen, or a saucepan–she may be as well employed, as when she is upon her knees or at the Lord’s Table.

It is an great mistake to think that all time is lost–which is not spent in bible-reading, or hearing sermons, or prayer. These are properly called means of grace–and should be attended to in their proper season. But the fruits of grace–are to appear in our common daily course of conduct.

It would be wrong for a mother to neglect the house of God–and it would be equally wrong to neglect the prudent management of her own house. It is chiefly as a wife and mother of a family, that she can let her light shine to His praise. I would not have her think that she could serve the Lord better in any other station, than in that in which God in His providence has placed her.

A simple desire to please God, to walk by the rule of His Word, and to do all to His glory . . .
like the fabled magic stone, turns all to gold,
consecrates the actions of common life, and
makes everything that belongs to our situation and duty in domestic life, a part of our religion.

– John Newton, 1725-1807

Editor’s note: There is no “secular” and “sacred” in the life of the Christian. Everything done to the glory of God is a religious exercise.


“Man Proposes; God Disposes”


A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
– Proverbs 16:9

“Man proposes, God disposes.” Man deliberates here and there how he will begin and carry on this or that; but his short-sightedness leaves much out of view which God sees; his calculation does not comprehend many contingencies which God disposes of and man cannot foresee. The result and issue are thus of God, and the best is, that in all his deliberations, one should give himself up without self-confidence and arrogance to the guidance of God, that one should do his duty and leave the rest, with humility and confidence, to God.

– Keil and Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

Editor’s Note: We make our plans, but ultimately, God is the One who determines whether those plans succeed or fail.

 



"I am the light of the world" John 8:12