Flower

Introduction To John The Baptist

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!

Christians Think …

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.)”

The Last Day

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.)”

Christ’s Concern For Sinners

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.”

Proper Praise in the Gospel of Luke

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.”