Flower

Call To Worship November 19 2017

Luke 7:1-10
“We should notice, secondly, in this passage, the HUMILITY of the centurion. It appears in his remarkable message to our Lord when He was not far from his house — ‘I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof — neither thought I myself worthy to come unto you.’ Such expressions are a striking contrast to the language used by the elders of the Jews. ‘He is worthy,’ said they, ‘for whom you should do this.’ ‘I am not worthy,’ says the good centurion, ‘that you should enter under my roof.’

Humility like this is one of the strongest evidences of the indwelling of the Spirit of God. We know nothing of humility by nature, for we are all born proud. To convince us of sin, to show us our own vileness and corruption, to put us in our right place, to make us lowly and self-abased — these are among the principal works which the Holy Spirit works in the soul of man. Few of our Lord’s sayings are so often repeated as the one which closes the parable of the Pharisee and Tax-collector — ‘Every one that exalts himself shall be abased, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.’ (Luke 18:14.) To have great gifts, and do great works for God, is not given to all believers. But all believers ought to strive to be clothed with humility.”

J. C. Ryle Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

Psalms

“Many of the Fathers have loved and praised the book of Psalms above all other books of the Bible. No books of moral tales and no legends of saints which have been written, or ever will be, are to my mind as noble as the Book of Psalms; and if my purpose were to choose the best of all the edificatory books.. and to have them assembled and presented in the best possible way, my choice would inevitably fall on our present Book.

“In it we find what all saints do — their attitude to God, to their friends, to their foes; and their manner of life and behavior in face of manifold dangers and sufferings. Above all this, the book contains divine and helpful doctrines and commandments of every kind. It should be precious to us if only because it most clearly promises the death and resurrection of Christ, and describes his kingdom, and the nature and standing of all Christian people. It could well be called a “little Bible” since it contains, set out in the briefest and most beautiful form, all that’s to be found in the whole Bible, a book of good examples from among the whole of Christendom and from among the saints, in order that those who could not read the whole Bible through would have almost the whole of it in summary form.

“The Book of Psalms has other excellencies: it preserves, not the trivial and ordinary things said by the saints, but their deepest and noblest utterances, those which they used when speaking in full earnest and all urgency to God.It not only tells what they say about their work and conduct, but also lays bare their hearts and the deepest treasures hidden in their souls: and this is done in such a way which allows us to contemplate the causes and the sources of their words and works.

“The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven about by winds blowing from all four corners of heaven. The Book of Psalms is full of heartfelt utterances made during storms of this kind. Where can one find nobler words to express joy than in the Psalms of praise or gratitude? In them you can see into the hearts of saints as if you were looking at a lovely pleasure-garden, or were gazing into heaven. How fair and charming and delightful and the flowers you will find there..

“It is therefore easy to understand why the Book of Psalms is the favorite book of all the saints. For every man on every occasion can find in it Psalms which fit his needs, which he feels to be as appropriate as if they had been set there just for his sake. In no other book can he find words to equal them, nor better words… Place the Book of Psalms in front of you; you will see your own self in it, for here is the true “know thyself,” by which you can know yourself as well as the God who created all things.

“To this end, may we be helped by the Father of all grace and mercy through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be praise and thanks, honor and glory.”

from Martin Luther, 1528 Preface to the Psalms.

God Is Our Mighty Fortress – Psalm 46

Call To Worship November 12 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 6:46-49

“Let us mark, in these verses, what an old and common sin is profession without practice. It is written that our Lord said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” The Son of God Himself had many followers, who pretended to honor Him by calling Him Lord, but yielded no obedience to His commandments.

The evil which our Lord exposes here, has always existed in the Church of God. It was found six hundred years before our Lord’s time, in the days of Ezekiel — “My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.” (Ezek. 33:31.) It was found in the primitive Church of Christ, in the days of James. “Be doers of the word,” he says, “and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22.) It is a disease which has never ceased to prevail all over Christendom. It is a soul-ruining plague, which is continually sweeping away crowds of Gospel-hearers down the broad way to destruction. Open sin, and avowed unbelief, no doubt slay their thousands. But profession without practice slays its tens of thousands.

Let us settle it in our minds, that no sin is so foolish and unreasonable as the sin which Jesus here denounces. Common sense alone might tell us that the name and form of Christianity can profit us nothing, so long as we cleave to sin in our hearts, and live unchristian lives. Let it be a fixed principle in our religion, that obedience is the only sound evidence of saving faith, and that the talk of the lips is worse than useless, if it is not accompanied by sanctification of the life. The man in whose heart the Holy Spirit really dwells, will never be content to sit still, and do nothing to show his love to Christ.”

God Commands Worship

Call to Worship November 5, 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 6:20-26

“Who then, are the people to whom our Lord says, ‘Woe unto you?’ They are the men who refuse to seek treasure in heaven, because they love the good things of this world better, and will not give up their money, if need requires, for Christ’s sake. They are the men who prefer the joys and so-called happiness of this world, to joy and peace in believing, and will not risk the loss of the one in order to gain the other. They are those who love the praise of man more than the praise of God, and will turn their backs on Christ, rather than not keep in with the world. These are the kind of men whom our Lord had in view when He pronounced the solemn words, ‘Woe, woe unto you.’ He knew well that there were thousands of such people among the Jews–thousands who, notwithstanding His miracles and sermons, would love the world better than Him. He knew well that there would always be thousands of such in His professing Church–thousands who, though convinced of the truth of the Gospel, would never give up anything for its sake. To all such He delivers a dreadful warning. ‘Woe, woe unto you!’”

Luke 16 -The Rich Man and Lazarus

Call to Worship October 29, 2017

“At first I clearly saw that the free grace of God is absolutely necessary to attain to light and eternal life; and I anxiously and busily worked to understand the word of Paul in Rom. 1:17: The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel. I questioned this passage for a long time and labored over it, for the expression ‘righteousness of God’ barred my way. This phrase was customarily explained to mean that the righteousness of God is a virtue by which He is Himself righteous and condemns sinners. In this way all the teachers of the church except Augustine had interpreted the passage. They had said: The righteousness of God, that is, the wrath of God. But as often as I read this passage, I wished that God had never revealed the Gospel; for who could love a God who was angry, who judged and condemned people? This misunderstanding continued until, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, I finally examined more carefully the word of Habakkuk 2:4: ‘The just shall live by his faith’ From this passage I concluded that life must be derived from faith…. Then the entire Holy Scripture became clear to me, and heaven itself was opened to me. Now we see this brilliant light very clearly, and we are privileged to enjoy it abundantly”

- Martin Luther

Warnings from 2 Kings 22

Call To Worship October 22 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke
J.C. Ryle Luke 6:12-19

“Let us observe, firstly, in these verses, that when our Lord ordained His first ministers, He did it after much prayer. We read that He ‘went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples, and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles.’

We need not doubt that there is a deep significance in this special mention of our Lord’s praying upon this occasion. It was intended to be a perpetual lesson to the Church of Christ. It was meant to show the great importance of prayer and intercession on behalf of ministers, and particularly at the time of their ordination. Those to whom the responsible office of ordaining is committed, should pray that they may “lay hands suddenly on no man.” Those who offer themselves for ordination, should pray that they may not take up work for which they are unfit, and not run without being sent. The lay members of the Church, not least, should pray that none may be ordained, but men who are inwardly moved by the Holy Spirit. Happy are those ordinations, in which all concerned have the mind that was in Christ, and come together in a prayerful spirit!

Do we desire to help forward the cause of pure and undefiled religion in the world? Then let us never forget to pray for ministers, and especially for young men about to enter the ministry. The progress of the Gospel, under God, will always depend much on the character and conduct of those who profess to preach it. An unconverted minister can never be expected to do good to souls. He cannot teach properly what he does not feel experimentally. From such men let us pray daily that the Church may be delivered. Converted ministers are God’s special gift. Man cannot create them. If we would have good ministers, we must remember our Lord’s example, and pray for them. Their work is heavy. Their responsibility is enormous. Their strength is small. Let us see that we support them, and hold up their hands by our prayers. In this, and in too many other cases, the words of James are often sadly applicable, ‘You have not, because you ask not.’ (James 4:2.) We do not ask God to raise up a constant supply of converted young men to fill our pulpits, and God chastises our neglect by withholding them.”