Quotes of the week -
And when his friends heard of it, they
went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. - Mark
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
“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
– 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
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
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
“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.