Flower

The Preacher and His Message

Call To Worship January 21 2018

Let us mark, in this passage — the power of a bad conscience. We are told that “when Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by our Lord — he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead.” He said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” As great and powerful as Herod was — the tidings of our Lord’s ministry called his sins to remembrance, and disturbed him even in his royal palace. Surrounded as he was by everything which is considered to make life enjoyable — the report of another preacher of righteousness filled him with alarm. The recollection of his own wickedness in killing John the Baptist, flashed on his mind. He knew he had done wrong. He felt guilty, self-condemned, and self-dissatisfied. Faithful and true is that saying of Solomon’s, “The way of transgressors is hard!” (Proverbs 13:15.)

Herod’s sin had found him out. The prison and the sword had silenced John the Baptist’s tongue — but they could not silence the voice of Herod’s conscience. God’s truth can neither be silenced, nor bound, nor killed.

Conscience is a most powerful part of our natural constitution. It cannot save our souls. It never leads a man to Christ. It is often blind, and ignorant, and misdirected. Yet conscience often raises a mighty testimony against sin in the sinner’s heart, and makes him feel that “it is an evil and a bitter thing” to depart from God.

Young people ought especially to remember this, and, remembering it, to take heed to their ways. Let them not flatter themselves that all is right — when their sins are past, and done, and forgotten by the world. Let them know that conscience can bring up each sin before the eyes of their minds, and make it bite like a serpent! Millions will testify at the last day, that Herod’s experience was their own. Conscience called old sins from their graves, and made them walk up and down in their minds. In the midst of seeming happiness and prosperity — they were inwardly miserable and distressed. Happy are those who have found the only cure for a bad conscience! Nothing will ever heal it, but the blood of Christ!…

Let us mark, lastly, in this passage — our Lord Jesus Christ’s readiness to receive all who come unto Him. We are told, that when the multitude followed Him into the desert where He had retired, “he received them, and spoke unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.” Ill-mannered and uninvited as this intrusion on his privacy seems to have been — it met with no rebuff from our Lord. He was always more ready to give instruction, than people were to ask it; and more willing to teach, than people were to be taught…

Let us remember this, finally, in our dealing with other people, if we are called upon to give them help about their souls. Let us strive to walk in the steps of Christ’s example — and, like Him, to be kind, and patient, and always willing to aid. The ignorance of young beginners in religion is sometimes very provoking. We are apt to be wearied of their instability, and fickleness, and halting between two opinions. But let us remember Jesus — and not be weary. He “received all,” spoke to all, and did good to all. Let us go and do likewise. As Christ deals with us — so let us deal one with another.

National Decay – Worldly Influence

Call To Worship January 14 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke J.C. Ryle Luke 8:40-56

Let us notice, secondly, in the verses before us — that faith in Christ’s love and power, is the best remedy in time of trouble. We are told that when Jesus heard the news that the ruler’s daughter was dead, He said to him, “Do not be afraid; only believe — and she will be healed.” These words, no doubt, were spoken with immediate reference to the miracle our Lord was going to perform. But we need not doubt that they were also meant for the perpetual benefit of the Church of Christ. They were meant to reveal to us, the grand secret of comfort in the hour of need. That secret is to exercise faith — to fall back on the thought of Christ’s loving heart and mighty hand — in one word, to believe.

Let a petition for more faith form a part of all our daily prayers. As ever we would have peace, and calmness, and quietness of heart — let us often say, “Lord, increase our faith!” A hundred painful things may happen to us every week in this evil world, of which our poor weak minds cannot see the reason. Without faith, we shall be constantly disturbed and cast down. Nothing will make us cheerful and tranquil — but an abiding sense of Christ’s love, Christ’s wisdom, Christ’s care over us, and Christ’s providential management of all our affairs. Faith will not sink under the weight of evil tidings. “He will have no fear of bad news. His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112:7.)

Faith can sit still and wait for better times. Faith can see light even in the darkest hour — and a needs-be for the heaviest trial. Faith can find room to build an Ebenezer (stone of help) under any circumstances, and can sing songs in the night in any condition. “He who believes shall not make haste.” “You will keep him in perfect peace — whose mind is stayed on you.” Once more let the lesson be engraved on our minds: If we would travel comfortably through this world — we must “believe.”

Let us notice, finally, in these verses — the almighty power which our Lord Jesus Christ possesses even over death. We are told that He came to the house of Jairus and turned the mourning into joy. He took the breathless body of the ruler’s daughter by the hand, and said, “My child, arise!” At once by that all-powerful voice, life was restored. “Her life returned, and she arose immediately.”

Let us take comfort in the thought, that there is a limit to death’s power. The king of terrors is very strong. How many generations he has mowed down and swept into the dust! How many of the wise and strong, and lovely — he has swallowed down and snatched away in their prime! How many victories he has won, and how often he has written “Vanity of vanities!” on the pride of man! Patriarchs, and kings, and prophets, and apostles — have all in turn been obliged to yield to him. They have all died.

But thanks be unto God, there is one stronger than death. There is one who has said, “O death! I will be your plague! O grave! I will be your destruction!” (Hosea 13:14.) That One is the Friend of sinners, Christ Jesus the Lord. He proved His power frequently when He came to the earth the first time — in the house of Jairus, by the tomb of Bethany, in the gate of Nain. He will prove His power to all the world, when He comes again. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death!” (1 Corinthians 15:26.) “The earth shall cast out the dead!” (Isaiah 26:19.)

Let us leave the passage with the consoling thought that the things which happened in Jairus’ house — are a type of good things to come. The hour is coming and will soon be here — when the voice of Christ shall call all His people from their graves, and gather them together to part no more. Believing husbands shall once more see believing wives. Believing parents shall once more see believing children. Christ shall unite His whole redeemed family in the great home in Heaven, and all tears shall be wiped from all eyes!

Introduction To John The Baptist

Call To Worship January 7 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 8:26-39

Let us mark, finally — the wonderful change which Christ can work in Satan’s slaves. We are told that the Gadarenes “found the man the demons had departed from — sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind.” That sight must indeed have been strange and astonishing! The man’s past history and condition, no doubt, were well known. He had probably been a nuisance and a terror to all the neighborhood. Yet here, in one moment — a complete change had come over him. Old things had passed away — and all things had become new! The power by which such a cure was wrought, must indeed have been almighty. When Christ is the physician — then nothing is impossible!

One thing, however, must never be forgotten. As striking and as miraculous as this cure was — it is not really any more astonishing than every case of true conversion to God. As marvelous as the change was which appeared in this demoniac’s condition when healed — it is not one whit more marvelous than the change which passes over every one who is born again, and turned from the power of Satan to God!

Never is a man in his right mind — until he is converted. Never is a man in his right place — until he sits by faith at the feet of Jesus Never is a man rightly clothed — until he has put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have we ever considered what real conversion to God is? It is nothing else than the miraculous release of a captive — the miraculous restoration of a man to his right mind — the miraculous deliverance of a soul from the devil!

What are we ourselves? This, after all, is the grand question which concerns us. Are we slaves of Satan — or servants of God? Has Christ made us free — or does the devil yet reign in our hearts? Do we sit at the feet of Jesus daily? Are we in our right minds? May the Lord help us to answer these questions aright!

Christians Think …

Call To Worship December 31 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 8:22-25

“We see, thirdly, in these verses — how great is the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. We read that when His disciples awoke Him in the storm, “He arose, and rebuked the wind, and the raging of the waters — and they ceased, and there was a calm.” This was, no doubt, a mighty miracle. It needed the power of Him who brought the flood on the earth in the days of Noah, and in due season took it away — who divided the Red Sea and the river Jordan into two parts, and made a path for His people through the waters — who brought the locusts on Egypt by an east wind, and by a west wind swept them away.

No power short of this, could in a moment turn a storm into a calm. “To speak to the winds and waves” is a common proverb for attempting that which is impossible. But here we see Jesus speaking — and at once the winds and waves obey!

As man He had slept.
As God He stilled the storm.

It is a blessed and comfortable thought, that all this almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ, is engaged on behalf of His believing people. He has undertaken to save each one of them to the uttermost — and He is “mighty to save.”

The trials of His people are often many and great. The devil never ceases to make war against them. The rulers of this world frequently persecute them. The very heads of the Church, who ought to be tender shepherds — are often bitterly opposed to the truth as it is in Jesus.

Yet, notwithstanding all this — Christ’s people shall never be entirely forsaken. Though severely harassed — they shall not be destroyed. Though cast down — they shall not be cast away. At the darkest times — let true Christians rest in the thought, that “greater is He who is for them, than all who are against them.”

The winds and waves of political and ecclesiastical trouble may beat fiercely over them, and all hope may seem taken away. But still let them not despair. There is One living for them in Heaven, who can make these winds and waves to cease in a moment! The true Church, of which Christ is the Head, shall never perish! Its glorious Head is almighty, and lives for evermore, and His believing members shall all live, also, and reach their heavenly home safely at last. (John 14:19.)”

The Last Day

Call to Worship December 24 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 2:1-7

“Let us notice, secondly — the PLACE where Christ was born. It was not at Nazareth of Galilee, where His mother Mary lived. The prophet Micah had foretold that the event was to take place at Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2.) And so it came to pass. At Bethlehem, Christ was born.

The overruling providence of God appears in this simple fact. He orders all things in Heaven and earth. He turns the hearts of kings wherever He will. He overruled the time when Augustus decreed the taxing. He directed the enforcement of the decree in such a way, that Mary must needs be at Bethlehem when the time came for the baby to be born. Little did the haughty Roman emperor, and his officer Quirinius, think that they were only instruments in the hand of the God, and were only carrying out the eternal purposes of the King of kings! Little did they think that they were helping to lay the foundation of a kingdom, before which the empires of this world would all go down one day, and Roman idolatry pass away. The words of Isaiah, upon a like occasion, should be remembered, “But this is not what he intends — this is not what he has in mind.” (Isaiah 10:7.)

The heart of a believer should take comfort in the recollection of God’s providential government of the world. A true Christian should never be greatly moved or disturbed by the conduct of the rulers of the earth. He should see with the eye of faith — a divine hand overruling all that they do, to the praise and glory of God. He should regard every king and potentate — an Augustus, a Quirinius, a Darius, a Cyrus, a Sennacherib — as a creature who, with all his power — can do nothing but what God allows, nor anything which is not carrying out God’s will. And when the rulers of this world “set themselves against the Lord” — the believer should take comfort in the words of Solomon, “There is one higher than they!” (Ecclesiastes 5:8.)”