Flower

Call to Worship July 15 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 14:25-35

“We learn, firstly, from this passage — that true Christians must be ready, if need be, to give up everything for Christ’s sake. This is a lesson which is taught in very remarkable language. Our Lord says, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be My disciple!’

This expression must doubtless be interpreted with some qualification. We must never explain any text of Scripture in such a manner as to make it contradict another.

Our Lord did not mean us to understand that it is the duty of Christians to hate their relatives. This would have been to contradict the fifth commandment. He only meant that those who follow Him — must love Him with a deeper love even than their nearest and dearest relatives, or their own lives.

He did not mean that it is an essential part of Christianity to quarrel with our relatives and friends. But He did mean that if the claims of our relatives and the claims of Christ come into collision — then the claims of relatives must give way. We must choose rather to displease those we love most upon earth — than to displease Him who died for us on the cross.

The demand which our Lord makes upon us here, is particularly stringent and heart-searching — yet it is a wise and a necessary one. Experience shows, both in the church at home, and in the mission-field abroad — that the greatest foes to a man’s soul are sometimes those of his own house. It sometimes happens that the greatest hindrance in the way of an awakened conscience, is the opposition of relatives and friends. Ungodly fathers cannot bear to see their sons ‘taking up new views’ of religion. Worldly mothers are vexed to see their daughters unwilling to enter into the gaieties of the world. A collision of opinion takes place frequently — as soon as saving grace enters into a family. And then comes the time when the true Christian must remember the spirit of our Lord’s words in this passage. He must be willing to offend his family — rather than offend Christ.

The line of duty in such cases is doubtless very painful. It is a heavy cross to disagree with those we love, and especially about spiritual things. But if this cross is laid upon us — then we must remember that firmness and decision are true kindness. It can never be true love to relatives — to do wrong, in order to please them.

And, best of all, firmness accompanied by gentleness and consistency — in the long run of life, often brings its own reward. Thousands of Christians will bless God at the last day, that they had relatives and friends who chose to displease them, rather than Christ. That very firmness was the first thing that made them think seriously, and led finally to the conversion of their souls.”

Blessed Trinity

To comprehend the great Three-One,
Is more than highest angels can;
Or what the Trinity has done
From death and hell to ransom man.

But all true Christians this may boast,
(A truth from nature never learned),
That Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
To save our souls are all concerned.

(The Father’s love in this we find,
He made his Son our sacrifice;
The Son in love his life resigned;
The Spirit of love his blood applies.)

Thus we the Trinity can praise
In Unity through Christ our King;
Our grateful hearts and voices raise
In faith and love, while thus we sing:

Glory to God the Father be,
Because He sent the Son to die;
Glory to God the Son, that he
Did with such willingness comply;

Glory to God the Holy Ghost,
Who to our hearts this love reveals;
Thus God Three-One, to sinners lost
Salvation sends, procures, and seals.

#34 Gadsby Hymnal LM

Affliction Part Two

Call to Worship July 8 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 14:7-24

“Let us first learn from these verses — the value of humility. This is a lesson which our Lord teaches in two ways. Firstly, He advises those who are bidden to a wedding to ‘sit down in the lowest place. ‘ Secondly, He backs up His advice by declaring a great principle, which frequently fell from His lips, ‘Whoever exalts himself — shall be abased; and he who humbles himself — shall be exalted. ‘

Humility may well be called the queen of the Christian graces. To know our own sinfulness and weakness, and to feel our need of Christ — is the start of saving religion.

Humility is a grace which has always been a distinguishing feature in the character of the holiest saints in every age. Abraham and Moses and Job and David and Daniel and Paul — were all eminently humble men.

Above all, humility is a grace within the reach of every true Christian. All do not have money to give away. All do not have time and opportunities for working directly for Christ. All do not have gifts of speech, and knowledge, in order to do good in the world. But all converted men should labor to adorn the doctrine they profess by humility. If they can do nothing else — they can strive to be humble.

Do you want to know the root and spring of humility? One word describes it. The root of humility is right knowledge.

The person . . .
who really knows himself and his own heart,
who knows God and his infinite majesty and holiness,
who knows Christ and the price at which he was redeemed
— that person will never be a proud person.

He will count himself, like Jacob, unworthy of the least of all God’s mercies. He will say of himself, like Job, ‘I am vile! ‘ He will cry, like Paul, ‘I am the chief of sinners! ‘ He will consider others better than himself (Philippians 2:3).

Ignorance — nothing but sheer ignorance, ignorance of self, of God, and of Christ — is the real secret of pride. From that miserable self-ignorance, may we daily pray to be delivered.

The wise person knows himself — and will find nothing within to make him proud.

Let us learn, secondly, from these verses — the duty of caring for the poor. Our Lord teaches this lesson in a particular manner. He tells the Pharisee who invited Him to his feast, that, when he made ‘a dinner or a supper ‘ — he ought not to ‘invite his friends, ‘ or relatives, or rich neighbors. On the contrary, He says, ‘When you make a feast — invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. ‘

The precept contained in these words, must evidently be interpreted with considerable limitation. It is certain that our Lord did not intend to forbid men showing any hospitality to their relatives and friends. It is certain that He did not mean to encourage a useless and profuse expenditure of money in giving to the poor. To interpret the passage in this manner, would make it contradict other plain Scriptures. Such interpretations cannot possibly be correct.

But when we have said this, we must not forget that the passage does contain a deep and important lesson. We must be careful that we do not limit and qualify that lesson, until we have pared it down and refined it into nothing at all. The lesson of the passage is plain and distinct. The Lord Jesus would have us care for our poorer brethren, and help them according to our power. He would have us know that it is a solemn duty never to neglect the poor, but to aid them and relieve them in their time of need.

Let the lesson of this passage sink down deeply into our hearts. ‘There will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you: You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land. ‘ (Deuteronomy 15:11.) A little help conferred upon the poor judiciously and in season — will often add immensely to their happiness, and take away immensely from their cares, and promote good feeling between class and class in society.

It is the will of Christ that all His people who have the means, should be willing and ready to help the poor. That stingy, calculating spirit, which leads some people to talk of ‘the work-house, ‘ and condemn all charity to the poor — is exceedingly opposed to the mind of Christ. There is a reason why our Lord declares that He will say to the wicked in the day of judgment, ‘I was hungry — and you gave me no food; I was thirsty — and you gave me nothing to drink. ‘ There is a reason why Paul writes to the Galatians, ‘All they asked, was that we should continue to remember the poor — the very thing I was eager to do. ‘ (Matthew 25:42. Galatians 2:10.)

Let us learn, lastly, from these verses — the great importance of looking forward to the resurrection of the dead. This lesson stands out in a striking manner in the language used by our Lord on the subject of showing charity to the poor. He says to the Pharisee who entertained Him, ‘The poor cannot repay you — you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just. ‘

There is a resurrection after death. Let this never be forgotten. The life that we live here in the flesh, is not all. The visible world around us, is not the only world with which we have to do. All is not over when the last breath is drawn, and men and women are carried to their long home in the grave.

The trumpet shall one day sound — and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. All who are in the graves shall hear Christ’s voice and come forth — those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. This is one of the great foundation truths of the Christian religion. Let us cling to it firmly, and never let it go.

Let us strive to live like men who believe in a resurrection and a life to come — and desire to be always ready for the eternal world. So living, we shall look forward to death with calmness. We shall feel that there remains some better portion for us beyond the grave. So living, we shall take patiently all that we have to bear in this world. Trial, losses, disappointments, ingratitude — will affect us little. We shall not look for our reward here in this poor world. We shall feel that all will be rectified one day, and that the Judge of all the earth will do right. (Genesis 18:25.)

But how can we bear the thought of a resurrection, without dread? What shall enable us to look forward to a world to come, without alarm? Nothing can do it, but faith in Christ. Believing in Him — we have nothing to fear. Our sins will not appear against us. The demands of God’s law will be found completely satisfied. We shall stand firm in the great day, and none shall lay anything to our charge. (Romans 8:33.) Worldly men like Felix, may well tremble when they think of a resurrection. But believers, like Paul, may rejoice.”

Affliction

Praise to the Ever-Blessed Trinity

Blest be the Father and his love,
To whose celestial source we owe
Rivers of endless joy above,
And rills of comfort here below.

Glory to thee, great Son of God,
From whose dear wounded body rolls
A precious streams of vital blood,
Pardon and life for dying souls.

We give thee, sacred Spirit, praise,
Who in our hearts of sin and woe
Makes living springs of grace arise,
And into boundless glory flow.

Thus God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit we adore;
That sea of life and love unknown,
Without a bottom or a shore.

#33 Gadsby Hymnal

Conclusion to Colossians – Colossians 4:15-18

Thoughts of Depression

Call To Worship June 24 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 13:31-35

“Let us learn from these verses — how entirely our times are in God’s hands. Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us this lesson by His reply to those who bade Him to depart, because Herod would kill Him. He said, ‘I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow.’ His time was not yet come for leaving the world. His work was not yet finished. Until that time came — it was not in the power of Herod to hurt Him. Until that work was finished — no weapon forged against Him could prosper.

There is something in our Lord’s words which demands the attention of all true Christians. There is a frame of mind exhibited to us, which we should do well to copy. Our Lord, no doubt, spoke with a prophetic foresight of coming things. He knew the time of His own death, and He knew that this time was not yet come.

Foreknowledge like this, of course, is not granted to believers in the present day. But still there is a lesson here which we ought not to overlook. We ought, in a certain measure, to aim at having the same mind which was in Christ Jesus. We ought to seek to possess a spirit of calm, unshaken confidence about things to come. We should study to have a heart ‘not afraid of evil tidings,’ but quiet, steady, and trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7.)

The subject is a delicate one, but one which concerns our happiness so much — that it deserves solemn consideration. We are not intended to be idle fatalists, like the Muslims — or cold, unfeeling statues, like the Stoics. We are not to neglect the use of means, or to omit all prudent provision for the unseen future. To neglect means is fanaticism — and not faith. But still, when we have done all — we should remember, that though duties are ours — events are God’s! We should therefore endeavor to leave things to come in God’s hands, and not to be over-anxious about health, or family, or money or plans.

To cultivate this frame of mind, would add immensely to our peace. How many of our cares and fears, are about things which never come to pass! Happy is that man who can walk in our Lord’s steps, and say, ‘I shall have what is good for me. I shall live on earth until my work is done — and not a moment longer. I shall be taken when I am ripe for Heaven — and not a minute before. All the powers of the world cannot take away my life — until God permits. All the physicians of earth cannot preserve my life — when God calls me home.’”

Is there anything beyond the reach of man in this spirit? Surely not. Believers have a covenant ordered in all things, and sure. The very hairs of their heads are numbered. Their steps are ordered by the Lord. All things are working together for their good. When they are afflicted — it is for their profit. When they are sick — it is for some wise purpose. All things are said to be theirs — life, death, things present, and things to come! (2 Samuel 23:5; Matthew 10:30; Psalm 37:23; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 12:10; John 11:4; 1 Corinthians 3:22.)

There is no such thing as chance, luck, or accident — in the life of a believer. There is but one thing needful, in order to make a believer calm, quiet, unruffled, undisturbed in every position, and under every circumstance. That one thing is faith in active exercise. For such faith, let us daily pray. Few indeed know anything of it. The faith of most believers is very fitful and spasmodic. It is for lack of steady, constant faith — that so few can say with Christ, ‘I must proceed on my way today and tomorrow — and not die until my work is done.’

Doubt Despair Depression