“Let us take care that our own religion is real, genuine and true. The saddest symptom about many so-called Christians, is the utter absence of anything like conflict and fight in their Christianity. They eat, they drink, they dress, they work, they amuse themselves, they get money, they spend money, they go through a scanty round of formal religious services once or twice every week. But of the great spiritual warfare — its watchings and strugglings, its agonies and anxieties, its battles and contests — of all this they appear to know nothing at all. Let us take care that this case is not our own. The worst state of soul, is when the strong man armed keeps the house, and his goods are at peace, when he leads men and women captive at his will, and they make no resistance. The worst chains are those which are neither felt nor seen by the prisoner! (Luke 11:21; 2 Timothy 2:26) We may take comfort about our souls, if we know anything of an inward fight and conflict. It is the invariable companion of genuine Christian holiness. It is not everything, I am well aware — but it is something…Do we feel anything of the flesh warring against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, so that we cannot do the things we would? (Galatians 5:17.)…Do we feel anything of war in our inward man? Well, let us thank God for it! It is a good sign. It is strongly probable evidence of the great work of sanctification.” (J.C. Ryle, Holiness, Charles Nolan Publishing, Moscow, ID, pg. 68-69.)
“Let us strive to know more and more, every year we live, our need of a mediator between ourselves and God. Let us seek more and more to realize that without a mediator our thoughts of God can never be comfortable, and the more clearly we see God the more uncomfortable we must feel. Above all, let us be thankful that we have in Jesus the very Mediator whose help our souls require, and that through Him we may draw near to God with boldness, and cast fear away. Out of Christ, God is a consuming fire. In Christ, He is a reconciled Father. Without Christ, the strictest moralist may well tremble, as he looks forward to his end. Through Christ, the chief of sinners may approach God with confidence, and feel perfect peace.” (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, Banner of Truth 2012, pg. 103.)
John 5:1-18 “We are taught, for one thing, in this passage, what misery sin has brought into the world. We read of a man who had been ill for no less than thirty-eight years! For thirty-eight weary summers and winters he had endured pain and infirmity. He had seen others healed at the waters of Bethesda, and going to their homes rejoicing. But for him there had been no healing. Friendless, helpless, and hopeless, he lay near the wonder-working waters, but derived no benefit from them. Year after year passed away, and left him still uncured. No relief or change for the better seemed likely to come, except from the grave.
When we read of cases of sickness like this, we should remember how deeply we ought to hate sin! Sin was the original root, and cause, and fountain of every disease in the world. God did not create man to be full of aches, and pains, and infirmities. These things are the fruits of the Fall. There would have been no sickness, if there had been no sin.” (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thought on the Gospels: John, vol. 1, pg. 186-187)
How expectant and aware are we of the Lord’s work? Martin Lloyd Jones once admonished his hearers concerning their expectations in coming to worship the Lord. Jesus recognized the over expectancy of signs and wonders and admonished his hearers for lack of awareness of the constancy of God’s work every day. So, we come to worship this day expecting the one and only God to reveal truth, convict of sin, comfort the struggling saint and strengthen his weakened child. Certainly we praise him if He works outside the laws of nature. Yet, we recognize He works everyday even in ordinary providence and mundane happenings. We come to worship in expectancy of His greatness and praise His ongoing power. May we never take for granted His day and his work throughout every day.