For The Truth

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Soul's Crisis

"There is a time, we know not when,
A point we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men,
To glory or despair.

There is a line, by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God's patience and His wrath.

To pass that limit is to die,
To die, as if by stealth:
It does not quench the beaming eye,
Or pale the glow of health.

The conscience may be still at ease,
The spirits light and gay;
That which is pleasing still may please,
And care be thrust away.

But on that forehead God has set
Indelibly a mark,
Unseen by man--for man as yet
Is blind and in the dark.

And yet the doomed man's path below,
Like Eden, may have bloomed;
He did not, does not, will not know,
Or feel that he is doomed.

He knows, he feels, that all is well,
And every fear is calm'd
He lives, he dies, he wakes in hell,
Not only doomed but damned.

O where is thy mysterious bourne,
By which our path is crossed,
Beyond which God Himself hath sworn,
That he who goes is lost?

How far may go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end? and where begin
The confines of despair?

An answer from the skies is sent--
'Ye that from god depart,
While it is called to-day, Repent!
And harden not your heart.'"

C. H. Spurgeon,
at the close of a sermon on Luke 18:37,
"The Soul's Crisis."

Saturday, October 08, 2016

How to Hear the Word, Both Read and Preached

Preparing to receive the Word
  • Preparing your heart & your family’s heart—Begin with Prayer (Col 4:2)
  • Read the text for the sermon before coming to worship (2 Ti 3:14-15) 
  • Consider the importance of worship in the Word (2 Ti 3:16) 
  • Come with an appetite for the Word (1 Pe 2:2) 
  • Come with a tender & teachable attitude (Lk 8:15) 
  • Come expectant (Ac 17:11)
Receiving the Word
  • Be attentive to the Word as it is read and exposited (Heb 2:1)
  • Receive the Word with meekness and humility (Mk 4:20) 
  • Receive the Word in faith (Ja 1:21) 
  • Examine yourself in the light of the Word (2 Co 13:5) 
  • Strive to retain and pray over what you have heard (Heb 2:1) 
  • Practice what you have heard (Ja 1:22-25)
How do you hear the Word of God when it is preached? (How do you receive it?) Remember this is not a game (Eph 6:12)

“Come from your knees to the sermon, and from the sermon to your knees.” – Joseph Alleine

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Denouncing the myth of neutrality

Protestants of the 19th century chose government schools leaning on the idea that neutrality was possible. Now, we know that neutrality doesn’t exist! Education and neutrality are contradictory terms! Because education means “to drive out of” education always leads somewhere! Arnold De Graaf wrote: “Education is always religious, guided and motivated by a religious conviction thatcomes from either the humanistic ideal, Islam, the assumptions of neutrality or the Christian vision of the world."
 
(Taken from "Pray for France," week 4, p.7)

Monday, January 12, 2015

God Is on the Move, Guy M. Richard

When I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, my home was situated just below an extinct volcano that was appropriately called "Arthur's Seat" because it resembled a very large saddle. Several times each year, a dense fall would cover this mountain completely and shield it from view. On those days, I would wake up and look out my window, and the mountain would not be there–or so it appeared. But even though I could not see Arthur's seat, I knew that the mountain was still there. It had not gone away, despite the fact that I could not see it.

Many times in the Christian life, God appears to be invisible. We cannot see Him. We cannot see what He is doing. The fog roles in; the storm clouds gather; and they shield Him completely from our view.

That is precisely where the creatures in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are at the beginning of the story. The White Witch has seized control of Narnia and has magically imposed winter. She has terrorized Narnian inhabitants by turning many into stone and by putting a stop to Christmas. To make matters worse, Aslan is nowhere to be found. He is silent. He is hidden from view. And yet, in the midst of all this, the Narnians find hope in the reminder that they share with another: Aslan is on the move. This reminder helps them hold fast even through the most difficult circumstances when Aslan is silent and seemingly far off.

When we find ourselves in the midst of difficult circumstances, when God is silent and hidden from our view, and we cannot see what He is doing, we need the same reminder that God really is on the move. He is at work. Even if we cannot see it, the invisible hand of God is moving and working behind the scenes, bringing His perfect purposes to pass in our lives.

Luke 2:1 – 2 gives us one such reminder. In this familiar passage, God's invisible hand is working in and through ordinary people and events to bring Joseph, Mary, and Jesus (still in the womb) to Bethlehem in order to fulfill Micah 5:2, which states that the Christ child is to be born in Bethlehem. I find it fascinating that God chooses not to appear to Joseph and Mary in a dream or by way of an angel to tell them to leave Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem. He did both of those things previously with Joseph and Mary, when He revealed to them that Mary would have a child by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20; 1:26 – 38). But He does not do either here. Instead, here in Luke 2, in order to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem so that His Christ can be born in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, God uses a pagan king's calling for the inhabitants of his kingdom to be registered.

God is at work today, just as He was in Luke 2. He really is on the move even when we cannot see what He is doing. Be encouraged.


Dr. Guy M. Richard is senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Gulfport, Mississippi, and author of The Supremacy of God in the Theology of Samuel Rutherford.

This article appears as the weekend devotional for January 10 – 11, on page 42, in the January 2015 addition of Ligonier Ministries' Tabletalk.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

An Encouragement to Leaders to be Fashioned after the Character of God due to the Obligations of their Position



And what shall we find in God, but goodness? We see that throughout all the Scripture He is called the fountain of all lowliness, clemency, and pity. And therefore let such as are in a degree of honor think chiefly upon that. For it is certain that if they do not acquit themselves of their duty, they shall pay very dearly, because they have been so honorable in the world, and yet abused the singular benefits of God. And because both the one and the other are hard to be brought into conformity, insomuch that they who are oppressed cannot refrain from bitterness, but are provoked to break all bounds, let them be held in check by God’s Word and by vehement exhortations; and let the greater ones also be subdued so that they may not forget God as they are accustomed to do. For they forget themselves so far as to think that they are no longer mortal men. And it is certain that if men consider carefully their own state, and view themselves in the persons of the lowliest, it will lead them to humility. So then, God’s Word must have its course in this matter to restrain both the one and the other, that we may live each man according to his calling in such a way that God may be peaceably obeyed, and that in listening to His voice, we may desire nothing but to perform our duty towards Him and towards all creatures, until we are come to the everlasting kingdom, where we shall be partakers both of His glory and of His majesty, and of all the good things that are in Him.

John Calvin, from sermon 44 on Ephesians

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Pathless Woods

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar: 

...

Lord Byron

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just Jesting or Mocking God?

Of all the frothy and profane wits who scoff at [fill in the blank], and make it a matter of unsavory mirth. See how misbecoming Christians this is, partly as it is a duty required by God. Should any of God's laws be made matter of laughter and derision to us? This is to make mock of sin, which is the guise of atheistical fools, Prov. 14:9; for if we scoff at the law that forbids it, we make the transgression a mere matter of laughter. I am sure it weakens our reverence of God's precepts.

Thomas Manton, from sermon 27, vol. 19, "The Works of Thomas Manton," p.413.