Flower

Simple and Profound – John 1:29

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.”

Fellow Servants in the Lord – Colossians 4:7-9

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.”

Let The Interrogation Begin

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

John Permitted Jesus’ Purpose

Jesus Arrived For Baptism – Matthew 3:13-17

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.”