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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Call To Worship January 28 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke, J.C. Ryle – Luke 9:12-27

“We see, for another thing, in these verses — a striking emblem of Christ’s ability to supply the spiritual needs of mankind. The whole miracle is a picture. We see in it, as in a mirror — some of the most important truths of Christianity. It is, in fact — a great acted parable of the glorious Gospel.

What is that multitude which surrounded our Lord in the wilderness — poor and helpless, and destitute of food? It is a picture of mankind. We are a company of poor sinners, in the midst of a wicked world, without strength, or power to save ourselves — and severely in danger of perishing from spiritual famine.

Who is that gracious Teacher who had compassion on this starving multitude in the wilderness, and said to His disciples, ‘Give them something to eat!’ It is Jesus Himself, ever full of pity, ever kind, ever ready to show mercy — even to the unthankful and the evil. And He is not altered. He is just the same today as He was then. Exalted high in Heaven at the right hand of God — He looks down on the vast multitude of starving sinners, who cover the face of the earth. He still pities them, still cares for them, and still feels for their helplessness and need. He still says to His believing followers, “Behold this multitude — give them something to eat.”

What is that wonderful provision which Christ miraculously made for the famishing multitude before Him? It is a picture of the Gospel. As weak and contemptible as that Gospel appears to many — it contains ‘enough and to spare’ for the souls of all mankind. As poor and despicable as the story of a crucified Savior seems to the wise and prudent — it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes. (Romans 1:16.)

What are those disciples who received the loaves and fish from Christ’s hand, and carried them to the multitude, until all were filled? They are a figure of all faithful preachers and teachers of the Gospel. Their word is simple — and yet deeply important. They are appointed to set before men the provision that Christ has made for their souls. They are not commissioned to give anything of their own invention. All that they convey to men — must be from Christ’s hands. So long as they faithfully discharge this office — they may confidently expect their Master’s blessing. Many, no doubt, will always refuse to eat of the food that Christ has provided. But if ministers offer the bread of life to men faithfully — then the blood of those who are lost will not be required at their hands.

What are we doing ourselves? Have we discovered that this world is a wilderness, and that our souls must be fed with bread from Heaven — or die eternally? Happy are those who have learned this lesson, and have tasted by experience, that Christ crucified is the true bread of life!

The heart of man can never be satisfied with the things of this world. It is always empty, and hungry, and thirsty, and dissatisfied — until it comes to Christ. It is only those who hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and feed on Him by faith — who are ‘filled.’”

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.

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!

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!

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.)”

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.)”

Call to Worship December 17 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 8:16-21

“We learn, secondly, from these verses — the great importance of right hearing. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ ought to impress that lesson deeply on our hearts. He says, “Take heed how you hear!”

The degree of benefit which men receive from all the means of grace — depends entirely on the way in which they use them.

Private PRAYER lies at the very foundation of religion. Yet the mere formal repetition of a set of words, when “the heart is far away” — does good to no man’s soul.

Reading the BIBLE is essential to the attainment of sound Christian knowledge. Yet the mere formal reading of so many chapters as a task and duty, with out a humble desire to be taught of God — is little better than a waste of time.

Just as it is with praying and Bible reading — so it is with hearing the Word preached. It is not enough that we go to Church and hear sermons. We may do so for fifty years, and “be nothing bettered, but rather worse.” “Take heed,” says our Lord, “how you hear!”

Would anyone know how to hear aright? Then let him lay to heart three simple rules:

For one thing, we must hear with FAITH — believing implicitly that every word of God is true, and shall stand forever. The Word in old time did not profit the Jews, “not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2.)

For another thing, we must hear with REVERENCE — remembering constantly that the Bible is the book of God. This was the habit of the Thessalonians. They received Paul’s message, “not as the word of men — but the Word of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13.)

Above all, we must bear with PRAYER — praying for God’s blessing before the sermon is preached, and praying for God’s blessing again when the sermon is over.

Here lies the grand defect of the hearing of many. They ask no blessing — and so they have none. The sermon passes through their minds like water through a leaky vessel, and leaves nothing behind!

Let us bear these rules in mind every Sunday morning, before we go to hear the Word of God preached. Let us not rush into God’s presence in a careless, reckless, and unprepared manner — as if it did not matter in what way such work was done. Let us carry with us faith, reverence, and prayer. If these three are our companions — then we shall hear with profit, and return with praise.”

Call To Worship December 10 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 8:4-15

“The parable of the sower, contained in these verses, is reported more frequently than any parable in the Bible. It is a parable of universal application. The things it relates are continually going on in every congregation to which the Gospel is preached. The four kinds of hearts it describes are to be found in every assembly which hears the word. These circumstances should make us always read the parable with a deep sense of its importance. We should say to ourselves, as we read it — “This concerns me. My heart is to be seen in this parable. I, too, am here.”

The passage itself requires little explanation. In fact, the meaning of the whole picture is so fully explained by our Lord Jesus Christ, that no exposition of man can throw much additional light on it. The parable is preeminently a parable of caution, and caution about a most important subject — the way of hearing the word of God. It was meant to be a warning to the apostles, not to expect too much from hearers. It was meant to be a warning to all ministers of the Gospel, not to look for too great results from sermons. It was meant, not least, to be a warning to hearers, to take heed how they hear. Preaching is an ordinance of which the value can never be overrated in the Church of Christ. But it should never be forgotten, that there must not only be good preaching, but good hearing.”

Call To Worship December 3 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 7:40-50

We see in this passage that men may show some outward respect to Christ, and yet remain unconverted. The Pharisee before us is a case in point. He showed our Lord Jesus Christ more respect than many did. He even “desired Him that He would eat with him.” Yet all this time he was profoundly ignorant of the nature of Christ’s Gospel. His proud heart secretly revolted at the sight of a poor contrite sinner being allowed to wash our Lord’s feet. And even the hospitality he showed appears to have been cold and [miserly]…It is quite possible to have a decent form of religion, and yet to know nothing of the Gospel of Christ — to treat Christianity with respect, and yet to be utterly blind about its cardinal doctrines — to behave with great correctness and propriety at Church, and yet to hate justification by faith, and salvation by grace, with a deadly hatred. Do we really feel affection toward the Lord Jesus?…Are we willing to enter heaven side by side with the chief of sinners, and to owe all our hopes to free grace?

We see, lastly, in this passage, that a sense of having our sins forgiven is the mainspring and life-blood of love to Christ. This, beyond doubt, was the lesson which our Lord wished Simon the Pharisee to learn, when He told him the story of the two debtors. “One owed his creditor five hundred pence, and the other fifty.” Both had “nothing to pay,” and both were forgiven freely. And then came the searching question — “Which of them will love him most?” Here was the true explanation, our Lord told Simon, of the deep love which the penitent woman before Him had displayed….Her love was the effect of her forgiveness — not the cause — the consequence of her forgiveness, not the condition, the result of her forgiveness, not the reason — the fruit of her forgiveness, not the root. Would the Pharisee know why this woman showed so much love? It was because she felt much forgiven. Would he know why he himself had shown his guest so little love? It was because he felt under no obligation — had no consciousness of having obtained forgiveness — had no sense of debt to Christ….Forever let the mighty principle laid down by our Lord in this passage, abide in our memories, and sink down into our hearts. It is one of the great corner-stones of the whole Gospel.

Call To Worship, November 26 2017

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 7: 24-30

“The first point that demands our notice in this passage, is the tender care which Jesus takes of the characters of His faithful servants. He defends the reputation of John the Baptist, as soon as his messengers were departed. He saw that the people around him were apt to think lightly of John, partly because he was in prison, partly because of the inquiry which his disciples had just brought. He pleads the cause of His absent friend in warm and strong language. He bids His hearers dismiss from their minds their unworthy doubts and suspicions about this holy man. He tells them that John was no wavering and unstable character, a mere reed shaken by the wind. He tells them that John was no mere courtier and hanger-on about king’s palaces, though circumstances at the end of his ministry had brought him into connection with king Herod. He declares to them that John was ‘much more than a prophet,’ for he was a prophet who had been the subject of prophecy himself. And he winds up his testimony by the remarkable saying, that ‘among those that are born of woman there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.’”