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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Call To Worship May 20 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke, J.C. Ryle – Luke 13:1-5

“Let us observe, for one thing, in these verses — how much more ready people are to talk of the deaths of others, than their own deaths. The death of the Galileans, mentioned here, was probably a common subject of conversation in Jerusalem and all Judea. We can well believe that all the circumstances and particulars belonging to it, were continually discussed by thousands who never thought of their own latter end!

It is just the same in the present day. A murder, a sudden death, a shipwreck, or a railway accident — will completely occupy the minds of a neighborhood, and be in the mouth of every one you meet. And yet these very people dislike talking of their own deaths — and their own prospects in the eternal world beyond the grave. Such is human nature in every age. In religion, men are ready to talk of anybody’s business — rather than their own!…May we ever seek to be men of this frame of mind! Let us take a kind interest in all around us. Let us feel tender pity and compassion for all who suffer violence, or are removed by sudden death. But let us never forget to look at home — and to learn wisdom for ourselves, from all that happens to others.

Let us observe, for another thing, in these verses — how strongly our Lord lays down the universal necessity of repentance. Twice He declares emphatically, ’Unless you repent — you shall all likewise perish!’

The truth here asserted, is one of the foundations of Christianity. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ All of us are born in sin. We all love sin — and are naturally unfit for friendship with a holy God. Two things are absolutely necessary to the salvation of every one of us. We must repent of our sins — and we must believe the Gospel. Without repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ — no man can be saved.

The nature of true repentance is clearly and unmistakably laid down in holy Scripture.

It begins with knowledge of sin.

It goes on to work sorrow for sin.

It leads to confession of sin before God.

It shows itself before man, by a thorough breaking off from sin.

It results in producing a habit of deep hatred for all sin.

Above all, it is inseparably connected with lively faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Repentance like this is the characteristic of all true Christians.

The necessity of repentance to salvation, will be evident to all who search the Scriptures, and consider the nature of the subject. Without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sins. There never was a pardoned man — who was not also a penitent. There never was one washed in the blood of Christ — who did not feel, and mourn, and confess, and hate his own sins.

Without repentance, there can be no fitness for Heaven. We could not be happy if we reached the kingdom of glory — with a heart loving sin. The company of saints and angels, would give us no pleasure. Our minds would not be in tune for an eternity of holiness.

Let these things sink down into our hearts. We must repent as well as believe, if we hope to be saved.

Let us leave the subject with the solemn inquiry — Have we ourselves repented? We live in a Christian land. We belong to a Christian Church. We have Christian meetings and means of grace. We have heard of repentance with the hearing of the ear, and that hundreds of times. But have we ever repented? Do we really know our own sinfulness? Do our sins cause us any sorrow? Have we cried to God about our sins — and sought forgiveness at the throne of grace? Have we ceased to do evil, and broken off from our sinful habits? Do we sincerely and heartily hate everything that is evil?

These are serious questions. They deserve serious consideration. The subject before us is no light matter. Nothing less than life — eternal life — is at stake! If we die impenitent, and without a new heart — we had better never have been born.

If we never yet repented, let us begin without delay. For this we are accountable. ‘Repent — and be converted,’ were the words of Peter to the Jews who had crucified our Lord. (Acts 3:19.) ‘Repent and pray,’ was the charge addressed to Simon Magus when he was in the ‘gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity.’ (Acts 8:22.)

There is everything to encourage us to begin. Christ invites us. Promises of Scripture are held out to us. Glorious declarations of God’s willingness to receive us, abound throughout the Word. ‘There is joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents.’ Then let us arise and call upon God. Let us repent without delay.

If we have already repented in time past — then let us go on repenting to the end of our lives. There will always be sins to confess and infirmities to deplore — as long as we are in the body. Let us repent more deeply, and humble ourselves more thoroughly, every year. Let every returning birthday find us hating sin more — and loving Christ more. He was a wise old saint who said, ‘I hope to carry my repentance to the very gate of Heaven!’”

Call to Worship May 13 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke, J.C. Ryle Luke 12:49-59

“We learn, for another thing, from these verses — how useless it is to expect universal peace and harmony from the preaching of the Gospel. The disciples, like most Jews of their day, were probably expecting the Messiah’s kingdom immediately to appear. They thought the time was at hand when the wolf would lie down with the lamb, and men would no longer not hurt or destroy. (Isaiah 11:9.) Our Lord saw what was in their hearts, and checked their untimely expectations with a striking saying, “Do you think that I have come to send peace on earth? I tell you, No — but rather division.”
There is something at first sight very startling in this saying. It seems hard to reconcile it with the song of angels, which spoke of “peace on earth” as the companion of Christ’s Gospel. (Luke 2:14.) Yet as startling as the saying sounds — it is one which facts have proved to be literally true.
Peace is undoubtedly the result of the Gospel wherever it is believed and received. But wherever there are hearers of the Gospel who are hardened, impenitent, and determined to have their sins — the very message of peace, becomes the cause of division! Those who live after the flesh — will hate those who live after the Spirit. Those who are resolved to live for the world — will always act wickedly towards those who are resolved to serve Christ.
We may lament this state of things, but we cannot prevent it. Grace and nature can no more mix together — than oil and water. So long as men are disagreed upon first principles in religion — there can be no real cordiality between them. So long as some men are converted and some are unconverted — there can be no true peace.
Let us beware of unscriptural expectations. If we expect to see people of one heart and one mind, before they are converted — then we shall continually be disappointed.
Thousands of well-meaning people now-a-days are continually crying out for more “unity” among Christians. To attain this, they are ready to sacrifice almost anything, and to throw overboard even sound doctrine — if, by so doing, they can secure peace.
Such people would do well to remember that even gold may be bought too dearly; and that peace is useless — if it is purchased at the expense of truth. Surely they have forgotten the words of Christ, “I came not to send peace, but division.”
Let us never be moved by those who charge the Gospel with being the cause of strife and divisions upon earth. Such men only show their ignorance, when they talk in this way. It is not the Gospel which is to blame — but the corrupt heart of man! It is not God’s glorious remedy which is in fault — but the diseased nature of Adam’s race, which, like a self-willed child, refuses the medicine provided for its cure!
So long as some men and women will not repent and believe, and some will — there must needs be division. To be surprised at it, is the height of folly. The very existence of division — is one proof of Christ’s foresight, and of the truth of Christianity.
Let us thank God that a time is coming when there shall be no more divisions on earth, but all shall be of one mind. That time shall be when Jesus, the Prince of Peace, comes again in person, and puts down every enemy under His feet. When Satan is bound, when the wicked are separated from the righteous, and cast down to their own place — then, and not until then, will there be perfect peace. For that blessed time — let us wait, and watch and pray. The night is far spent. The day is at hand. Our divisions are only for a little season — but our peace shall endure to eternity.”

Call to Worship May 6 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke, J.C. Ryle – Luke 12:32-48

“We learn, secondly, from these verses — the dreadful danger of those who neglect the duties of their calling. Of such our Lord declares, that they shall be “cut in pieces, and their portion appointed with the unbelievers.” These words no doubt apply especially to the ministers and teachers of the Gospel. Yet we must not flatter ourselves that they are confined to them. They are probably meant to convey a lesson to all who fill offices of high responsibility. It is a striking fact that when Peter says at the beginning of the passage, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” — our Lord gives him no answer. Whoever occupies a position of trust, and neglects his duties — would do well to ponder this passage, and learn wisdom.

The language which our Lord Jesus uses about slothful and unfaithful servants, is particularly severe. Few places in the Gospels contain such strong expressions as this. It is a vain delusion to suppose that the Gospel speaks nothing but “smooth things.” The same loving Savior who holds out mercy to the uttermost to the penitent and believing — never shrinks from holding up the judgments of God against those who despise His counsel.

Let no man deceive us on this subject. There is a Hell for such an one as goes on still in his wickedness — no less than a Heaven for the true believer in Jesus. There is such a thing as “the wrath of the Lamb!” (Revelation 6:16.)

Let us strive so to live, that whenever the heavenly Master comes, we may be found ready to receive Him. Let us watch our hearts with a godly jealousy, and beware of the least symptom of unreadiness for the Lord’s appearing. Especially let us beware of any rising disposition to lower our standard of Christian holiness — to dislike people who are more spiritually-minded than ourselves — and to conform to the world. The moment we detect such a disposition in our hearts — we may be sure that our souls are in great peril! The professing Christian who begins to persecute God’s people, and to take pleasure in worldly society — is on the high road to eternal ruin!

We learn, lastly, from these verses — that the greater a man’s religious light is, the greater is his guilt if he is not converted. The servant which “knew his master’s will, but did not do it — shall be beaten with many stripes.” “Unto whom much is given — of him shall be much required.”

The lesson of these words is one of wide application. It demands the attention of many classes. It should come home to the conscience of every professing Christian. His judgment shall be far more strict, than that of the heathen who never saw the Bible.

It should come home to every hearer of the Gospel. If he remains unconverted — then he is far more guilty than the inhabitant of some dark land, who never hears any teaching but a sort of semi-heathen morality.

It should come home to every child and servant in Christian families. All such are far more blameworthy, in God’s sight — than those who live in houses where there is no honor paid to the Word of God and prayer. Let these things never be forgotten. Our judgment at the last day — will be according to our light and opportunities.

What are we doing ourselves with our religious knowledge? Are we using it wisely, and turning it to good account? Or are we content with the barren saying, “We know it — we know it!” and secretly flattering ourselves that the mere knowledge of our Lord’s will makes us better than others — while that will is not done?

Let us beware of eternal mistakes! The day will come, when unimproved knowledge — will be found the most perilous of possessions. Thousands will awake to find that they are in a lower place in Hell, than the most ignorant and idolatrous heathen. Their knowledge not used, and their light not followed — will only add to their condemnation.”

Call to Worship May 6 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 12:13-34

“Let us mark, lastly, in these verses — how important it is to be rich towards God. This is true wisdom. This is true providing for time to come. This is genuine prudence. The wise man is he who does not think only of fleeting earthly treasure — but of eternal treasure in Heaven.

When can it be said of a man — that he is rich towards God? Never until he is rich in grace, and rich in faith, and rich in good works! Never until he has applied to Jesus Christ — and bought from Him, gold tried in the fire! (Revelation 3:18.) Never until he has a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens! Never until his name is inscribed in the book of life, and is an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ! Such a man is truly rich. His treasure is incorruptible. His bank never breaks. His inheritance never fades away.

Man cannot deprive him of it. Death cannot snatch it out of his hands. All things are his already — life, death, things present, and things to come. (1 Corinthians 3:22.) And best of all, what he has now — is nothing compared to what he will have hereafter.

Riches like these are within reach of every sinner who will come to Christ and receive them. May we never rest until they are ours! To obtain them may cost us something in this world. It may bring on us persecution, ridicule and scorn. But let the thought console us, that the Judge of all says, “I know your afflictions and your poverty — yet you are rich! (Revelation 2:9.) The true Christian is the only man who is really wealthy and wise.”

Psalm 54

Call To Worship April 15 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 11:37-54

“Let us notice, secondly, in this passage — the foolishness which accompanies hypocrisy in religion. We are told that the Pharisee with whom our Lord dined, marveled that our Lord “had not first washed before dinner.” He thought, like most of his order — that there was something unholy in not doing it, and that the neglect of it was a sign of moral impurity. Our Lord points out the absurdity of attaching such importance to the mere cleansing of the body — while the cleansing of the heart is overlooked. He reminds His host that God looks at the inward part of us — the hidden man of the heart, far more than at our skins.

And He asks the searching question, “Did not He who made the outside — make also that which is inside?” The same God who formed our poor dying bodies — is the God who gave us a heart and soul.

Forever let us bear in mind that if we would know what we are in religion — the state of our hearts is the principal thing that demands our attention. Bodily washings, and fastings, and gestures, and postures, and self-imposed mortifications of the flesh — are all utterly useless, if the heart is wrong. External devoutness of conduct, a grave face, and a bowed head, and a solemn countenance, and a loud amen — are all abominable in God’s sight — as long as our hearts are not washed from their wickedness, and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Let this caution never be forgotten.

The idea that men can be devout before they are converted, is a grand delusion of the devil, and one against which we all need to be on our guard. There are two Scriptures which are very weighty on this subject. In one it is written, “Out of the heart are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23.) In the other it is written, “Man looks on the outward appearance — but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7.) There is a question which we should always ask ourselves in drawing near to God, whether in public or private. We should say to ourselves, “Where is my heart?”

Let us notice, thirdly, in this passage — the gross inconsistency which is often exhibited by hypocrites in religion. We read that our Lord says to the Pharisees, “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs — but you neglect justice and the love of God.” They carried to an extreme, their zeal to pay tithes for the service of the temple — and yet they neglected the plainest duties towards God and their neighbors. They were scrupulous to an extreme about small matters in the ceremonial law — and yet they were utterly regardless of the simplest first principles of justice to man and love toward God.

In the one direction, they were rigidly careful to do even more than was needful. In the other direction, they would do nothing at all. In the secondary things of their religion, they were downright zealots and enthusiasts. But in the great primary things, they were no better than the heathen!

The conduct of the Pharisees in this matter, unhappily, does not stand alone. There have never been lacking religious professors who have exalted the secondary things of Christianity, far above the primary things. And in their zeal for the secondary things — they have finally neglected the essential things entirely. There are thousands at the present day who make a great ado about daily services, and keeping Lent, and a gorgeous ceremonial, and other religious rituals — but never get any further. They know little or nothing of the great practical duties of humility, charity, meekness, spiritual-mindedness, Bible reading, private devotion, and separation from the world. They plunge into every gaiety with greediness. They are to be seen at every worldly assembly and amusement — at the race, the opera, the theater, and the ball. They exhibit nothing of the mind of Christ in their daily life. What is all this but walking in the steps of the Pharisees?

Well says the wise man, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9.) The generation which tithed mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs — but neglect justice and the love of God — is not yet extinct!

Let us watch and pray that we may observe a scriptural proportion in our religion. Let us beware of putting the secondary things out of their place — and so by degrees, lose sight of the essential things entirely. Whatever importance we attach to the ceremonial part of Christianity — let us never forget its great practical duties. The religious teaching which inclines us to pass over the great practical duties of the Gospel — has something about it which is radically defective.”

Call to Worship April 8 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke
J.C. Ryle Luke 11:14-20

“Let us notice, secondly, in these verses — the amazing power of prejudice over the hearts of unconverted men. We read, that when our Lord cast out the mute spirit, there were some who said, “He casts out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils!” They could not deny the miracle. They then refused to allow that it was wrought by divine power. The work before their eyes was plain and indisputable. They then attempted to discredit the character of Him who did the miracle, and to blacken His reputation by saying that he was in league with the devil.
The state of mind here described is a most formidable sin — and sadly, it is very common. There are never lacking people who are determined to see no good in the servants of Christ, and to believe all kind of evil reports about them. Such people appear to throw aside their common sense. They refuse to listen to evidence, or to attend to plain arguments. They seem resolved to believe that whatever a Christian does must be wrong — and whatever he says must be false! If he does right at any time — then it must be from corrupt motives! If he speaks truth — then it must be with sinister views! If he does good works — then it is from selfish reasons! If he casts out devils — then it is through the power of Beelzebub!

Such prejudiced people are to be found in many a congregation. They are the severest trials of the ministers of Christ. It is no wonder that Paul said, “Pray that we may be delivered from unreasonable as well as wicked men.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2.)

Let us strive to be of a fair, and honest, and candid spirit in our judgment of men and things in religion. Let us be ready to give up old and cherished opinions, the moment that anyone can show us a “more excellent way.” The honest and good heart is a great treasure. (Luke 8:15.)

A prejudiced spirit is the very jaundice of the soul. It affects a man’s mental eyesight, and makes him see everything in an unnatural color. From such a spirit, may we pray to be delivered!”

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke
J.C. Ryle Luke 11:20-26
“Let us observe in these verses — what a fearful picture our Lord draws of Satan’s power. There are four points in His description, which are peculiarly instructive.

Christ speaks of Satan as a “STRONG man.” The strength of Satan has been only too well proved by his victories over the souls of men. He who tempted Adam and Eve to rebel against God, and brought sin into the world — he who has led captive the vast majority of mankind, and robbed them of Heaven — that evil one is indeed a mighty foe! He who is called the “Prince of this world” — is not an enemy to be despised. The devil is very strong.

Christ speaks of Satan as a “strong man, fully ARMED.” Satan is well supplied with defensive armor. He is not to be overcome by slight assaults, and feeble exertions. He who would overcome him, must put forth all his strength. “This kind only goes out by prayer and fasting.” And Satan is also well supplied with offensive weapons. He is never at a loss for means to injure the soul of man. He has snares of every kind — and devices of every description. He knows exactly how every rank, and class, and age, and nation, and people — can be assailed with most advantage. The devil is well armed.

Christ speaks of man’s heart as being Satan’s “palace.” The natural heart is the favorite abode of the evil one, and all its faculties and powers are his servants, and do his will. He sits upon the throne which God ought to occupy, and governs the inward man. The devil is the “spirit that works in the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2.)

Christ speaks of Satan’s “goods being at PEACE.” So long as a man is dead in trespasses and sin — so long is his heart at ease about spiritual things. He has no fear about the future. He has no anxiety about his soul. He has no dread of falling into Hell.”

All this is a FALSE PEACE no doubt. It is a sleep which cannot last, and from which there must be one day a dreadful waking. But there is such a peace beyond question. Thoughtless, stolid, reckless insensibility about eternal things — is one of the worst symptoms of the devil reigning over a man’s soul.

Let us never think lightly of the devil. That common practice of idle jesting about Satan which we may often mark in the world, is a great evil. A prisoner must be a very hardened man, who jests about the executioner and the gallows. The heart must be in a very bad state — when a man can talk with levity about Hell and the devil.

Let us thank God that there is One who is stronger even than Satan. That One is the Friend of sinners — Jesus the Son of God. As mighty as the devil is — he was overcome by Jesus on the cross, when He triumphed over him openly. As strong as the devil is — Christ can pluck his captives out of his hands, and break the chains which bind them. May we never rest until we know that deliverance by experience, and have been set free by the Son of God!

Call to Worship April 1, 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke
J.C. Ryle Mark 15:39-47
“Let us notice, lastly in this passage, what honor our Lord Jesus Christ has placed on the grave, by allowing Himself to be laid in it. We read that he was “laid in a sepulcher hewn out of a rock,” and a “stone rolled unto the door.”

This is a fact that in a dying world we should always remember. It is appointed unto men once to die. We are all going to one place, and we naturally shrink from it. The coffin and the funeral, the worm and corruption, are all painful subjects. They chill us, sadden us, and fill our minds with heaviness. It is not in flesh and blood to regard them without solemn feelings. One thing, however, ought to comfort believers, and that is the thought, that the grave is “the place where they Lord once lay.” As surely as He rose again victorious from the tomb, so surely shall all who believe in Him rise gloriously in the day of His appearing. Remembering this, they may look down with calmness into the “house appointed for all living.” They may recollect that Jesus himself was once there on their behalf, and has robbed death of his sting. They may say to themselves, “the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law — but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:56, 57.)

The great matter that concerns us all, is to make sure that we are spiritually buried with Christ, while we are yet alive. We must be joined to Him by faith, and conformed to His image. With Him we must die to sin, and be buried by baptism into His death. (Rom. 6:4.) With Him we must rise again and be quickened by His Spirit. Except we know these things, Christ’s death and burial will profit us nothing at all.”

Call To Worship March 25 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 11:5-13

“In these verses, our Lord Jesus Christ instructs us about prayer. The subject is one which can never be too strongly pressed on our attention. Prayer lies at the very root of our practical Christianity. It is part of the daily business of our Christian life. We have reason to thank God, that upon no point has our Lord Jesus Christ spoken so fully and frequently, as upon prayer.

We learn for one thing, from these verses — the importance of perseverance in prayer. This lesson is conveyed to us in the simple parable, commonly called the ‘Friend at Midnight.’…The application of the parable is clear and plain. If importunity succeeds so well, between man and man — then how much more may we expect it to obtain mercies, when used in prayer to God….The lesson is one which we shall do well to remember. It is far more easy to begin a habit of prayer, than to keep it up.

The secret thought comes stealing over men’s minds, that ‘it is no use to pray.’ They see no visible benefit from it. They persuade themselves that they get on just as well without prayer. Laziness and unbelief prevail over their hearts, and at last they altogether ‘diminish prayer before God.’ (Job 15:4.)

Let us resist this feeling, whenever we feel it rising within us. Let us resolve by God’s grace, that however poor and feeble our prayers may seem to be — we will pray on. It is for a very good reason that the Bible tells us so frequently — to ‘watch unto prayer,’ to ‘pray without ceasing,’ to ‘continue in prayer,’ to ‘pray always, and not to faint,’ to be ‘constant in prayer.’ These expressions all look one way. They are all meant to remind us of a danger, and to quicken us to a duty.

The time and way in which our prayers shall be answered, are matters which we must leave entirely to God. But we need not doubt that every petition which we offer in faith, shall certainly be answered. Let us lay our matters before God again and again, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. The answer may be long in coming, as it was in the cases of Hannah and Zachariah. (1 Samuel 1:27; Luke 1:13.) But though it tarries, let us pray on and wait for it. At the right time, it will surely come and not tarry.

We learn, for another thing, from these verses — how wide and encouraging are the promises which the Lord Jesus holds out to prayer. The striking words in which they are clothed are familiar to us if any are in the Bible, ‘Ask — and you shall receive; seek — and you shall find; knock — and it shall be opened unto you.’ The solemn declaration which follows, appears intended to make assurance doubly sure, ‘Everyone who asks — receives, and he who seeks — finds, and to him who knocks — it shall be opened.’ The heart-searching argument which concludes the passage, leaves faithlessness and unbelief without excuse, ‘If you being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children — then how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.’

There are few promises in the Bible so broad and unqualified as those contained in this wonderful passage. The last in particular, deserves special notice. The Holy Spirit is beyond doubt the greatest gift which God can bestow upon man. Having this gift, we have all things — life, truth, hope and Heaven. Having this gift — we have God the Father’s boundless love, God the Son’s atoning blood, and full communion with all three Persons of the blessed Trinity. Having this gift — we have grace and peace in the present world — and glory and honor in the world to come. And yet this mighty gift is held out by our Lord Jesus Christ, as a gift to be obtained by prayer! ‘Your heavenly Father shall give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.’”

Brood Of Vipers