Tag Archive | J.C. Ryle

Checking For Life – Prayer

While checking for evidences of life and growth, what about your prayers?

Do You Pray?

I ask whether you pray, because a habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian.

All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the first sign of life in an infant when born into the world is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying.

This is one of the common marks of all the elect of God, “They cry unto him day and night” (Luke 18:1). The Holy Spirit, who makes them new creatures, works in them the feeling of adoption, and makes them cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15). The Lord Jesus, when he quickens them, gives them a voice and a tongue, and says to them, “Be dumb no more.” God has no dumb children. It is as much a part of their new nature to pray, as it is of a child to cry. They see their need of mercy and grace. They feel their emptiness and weakness. They can not do otherwise than they do. They must pray.

But this I do say, that not praying is a clear proof that a man is not yet a true Christian. He cannot really feel his sins. He cannot love God. He cannot feel himself a debtor to Christ. He cannot long after holiness. He cannot desire heaven. He has yet to be born again. He has yet to be made a new creature. He may boast confidently of election, grace, faith, hope, and knowledge, and deceive ignorant people. But you may rest assured it is all vain talk if he does not pray.

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If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning,

the devil gets the victory through the day.

I have so much business I cannot get on

without spending three hours daily in prayer.

~ Martin Luther ~

 

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin,

or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”

~ John Bunyon ~

 

“The little estimate we put on prayer

is evidence from the little time we give to it.”

~ E.M. Bounds ~


Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ESV

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
ESV


“You may as soon find a living man that does not breath,

as a living Christian that does not pray.”

~ Matthew Henry ~

 

Is there evidence of growth and life?


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Do You See Growth?

I’m not much of a gardener nor do I do well with houseplants. I have just a few that I have been able to keep alive over the years. Many times my houseplants just sorta stagnate for years before succumbing to death. What do I mean by stagnate?

No growth.

Gradually loosing leaves but not replacing them.

Leaves becoming more and more yellow.

Never flowering.

No fruit.

Some Christians are like my houseplants. They are stagnant and dying instead of growing and producing fruit.

“The Christian who is always at a standstill,

to all appearance the same man,

with the same little faults, and weaknesses,

and besetting sins, and petty infirmities,

is seldom the Christian who does much good.

The man who shakes and stirs minds,

and sets the world thinking,

is the believer who is continually improving and going forward.

Men think there is life and reality when they see growth.”

Holiness by J.C. Ryle – pp. 103-104

 

Do you see growth?


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Quotes

John Calvin

Moreover, in speaking now of music, I understand two parts: namely the letter, or subject and matter; secondly, the song, or the melody. It is true that every bad word (as St. Paul has said) perverts good manner, but when the melody is with it, it pierces the heart much more strongly, and enters into it; in a like manner as through a funnel, the wine is poured into the vessel; so also the venom and the corruption is distilled to the depths of the heart by the melody.”

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D. A. Carson

“Unless we plan to pray we will not pray. The reason we pray so little is that we do not plan to pray.  Wise planning will ensure that we devote ourselves to prayer often, even if for brief periods;  it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely bus at length. But the worst option is simply not to pray— and that will be controlling pattern unless we plan to pray. If we intend to change our habit, we musts start here.”  D. A. Carson, A Call for Spiritual Reformation

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Nancy Leigh Demoss

“Once we agree with God that we exist for His pleasure and His glory, we can accept whatever comes into our lives as part of His sovereign will and purpose. We will not resent, resist, or reject the ‘hard things,’ but embrace them as friends, sovereignly designed by God to make us like Jesus and to bring glory to Himself.”

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Martyn Lloyd-Jones

 There is nothing so dangerous as to come to the Bible with a theory, with preconceived ideas, with some pet idea of our own, because the moment we do so, we shall be tempted to over-emphasize one aspect and under-emphasize another.      “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

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John MacArthur

Many in the church today believe that the only way to reach the world is to give the unchurched multitudes what they want. . . Subtly the overriding goal is church attendance and worldly acceptability rather than a transformed life. Preaching the Word and boldly confronting sin are seen as archaic, ineffectual means of winning the world. After all, those things actually drive most people away. Why not entice people into the fold by offering what they want, creating a friendly, comfortable environment, and catering to the very desires that constitute their strongest urges? As if we might get them to accept Jesus by somehow making Him more likable or making His message less offensive. That kind of thinking badly skews the mission of the church.

The Great Commission is not a marketing manifesto. Evangelism does not require salesmen, but prophets. It is the Word of God, not any earthly enticement, that plants the seed for the new birth (1 Peter 1:23). We gain nothing but God’s displeasure if we seek to remove the offense of the cross.

Something is wrong with a philosophy that relegates God and His Word to a subordinate role in the church. It is clearly unbiblical to elevate entertainment over biblical preaching and worship in the church service. Sadly, some actually believe that their salesmanship can bring people into the kingdom more effectively than a sovereign God – a philosophy that has opened the door to worldliness in the church.”

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“Worship services in many churches today are like a merry-go-round. You drop a token in the collection box; it’s good for a ride. There’s music and lots of motion up and down. The ride is carefully timed and seldom varies in length. Lots of good feelings are generated, and it’s the one ride you can be sure will never be the least bit threatening or challenging. But though you spend the whole time moving forward, you get off exactly where you got on.”

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“One of the clearest lessons we can learn from church history is that strong biblical preaching is absolutely vital to the health and vitality of the church. From the birth of the New Testament church until today, every significant phase of authentic revival, reformation, missionary expansion, or robust church growth has also been an era of biblical preaching.”

 

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A. W. Pink


“If the gospel were more faithfully preached, there would be fewer people professing to believe it.”

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“If it were announced upon reliable authority that on a certain date in the near future an angel from heaven would visit New York and would deliver a sermon upon the invisible world, the future destiny of man, or the secret deliverance from the power of sin, what an audience he would command! There is no building in that city large enough to accommodate the crowd which would throng to hear him. If upon the next day, the newspapers were to give a verbatim report of his discourse, how eagerly it would be read! And yet, we have between the covers of the Bible not merely an angelic communication, but a Divine revelation. How great then is our wickedness if we undervalue and despise it! And yet we do.” Arthur W. Pink, 1976, The Divine Inspiration of the Bible p. 103.

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J.C. Ryle

“We must be holy, because this is the only sound evidence that we are true children of God. Children in this world are generally like their parents. Some, doubtless, are more so and some less; but it is seldom indeed that you cannot trace a kind of family likeness. And it is much the same with the children of God. The Lord Jesus says, “If you were Abraham’s children you would do the works of Abraham.” “If God were your Father, you would love Me” (John 8:39, 42). If men have no likeness to the Father in heaven, it is vain to talk of their being His “sons.” If we know nothing of holiness, we may flatter ourselves as we please; but we have not got the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; we are dead and must be brought to life again; we are lost and must be found. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they,” and they only, “are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). We must show by our lives the family we belong to. We must let men see by our good conversation that we are indeed the children of the Holy One, or our sonship is but an empty name. “Say not,” says Gurnall, “that you have royal blood in your veins, and are born of God, except you can prove your pedigree by daring to be holy.””

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Charles Spurgeon

“I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.“

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“What the Arminian wants to do is to arouse man’s activity: what we want to do is to kill it once for all—to show him that he is lost and ruined, and that his activities are not now at all equal to the work of conversion; that he must look upward. They seek to make the man stand up: we seek to bring him down, and make him feel that there he lies in the hand of God, and that his business is to submit himself to God, and cry aloud, ‘Lord, save, or we perish.’ We hold that man is never so near grace as when he begins to feel he can do nothing at all. When he says, ‘I can pray, I can believe, I can do this, and I can do the other,’ marks of self-sufficiency and arrogance are on his brow.”

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“If an act of sin would increase my usefulness tenfold, I have no right to do it; and if an act of righteousness would appear likely to destroy all my apparent usefulness, I am yet to do it.”

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 Go home, then, with this thought; “I am by nature so perverse that I will not come unto Christ, and that wicked perversity of my nature is my sin. I deserve to be sent to hell for it.” And if the thought does not humble you, the Spirit using it, no other can. This morning I have not preached human nature up, but I have preached it down. God humble us all. Amen.

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“Answering a student’s question, ‘Will the heathen who have not heard the Gospel be saved?’ thus, ‘It is more a question with me whether we, who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not, can be saved.”

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“Everywhere there is apathy.  Nobody cares whether that which is preached is true or false.  A sermon is a sermon whatever the subject; only, the shorter it is the better.”

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“I do believe that we slander Christ when we think that we are to draw the people by something else but the preaching of Christ crucified.”

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“In the days of Nero there was great shortness of food in the city of Rome, although there was abundance of corn to be purchased in Alexandria. A certain man who owned a vessel… noticed many hungry people straining their eyes toward the sea, watching for the vessels that were to come from Alexandria with corn. When these vessels came to the shore, one by one, the poor people wrung their hands in bitter disappointment, for on board the galleys there was nothing but sand which the tyrant emperor had compelled them to bring for use in the arena. Then the merchant… said to his shipmaster, ‘Take thou good heed that thou bring nothing back with thee from Alexandria but corn; and whereas aforetime thou hast brought in the vessel a measure or two of sand, bring thou not so much as would lie upon a penny this time… for these people are dying, and now we must keep our vessels for this one business of bringing food for them.

Alas, I have seen certain mighty galleys of late loaded with nothing but mere sand of philosophy and [entertainment], and I have said within myself, ‘I will bear nothing in my ship but the revealed truth of God, the bread of life so greatly needed by the people.”  

Charles Spurgeon as quoted in Our Sufficiency in Christ by John MacArthur

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“Being one with Christ, you are one with His people; but when you are looking for this unity, look not for an outward but for an inward thing. Do not look for a matter that is to be written on sheets of paper, on rolls and books, but look for a bond written on hearts and consciences and souls. Look for a spiritual union and you will find it. If you look for the other thing you will not find it, and if you did find it, it would be a great and awful thing, from which you might pray God to deliver His Church.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon commentary on John 17:20-21, as quoted in Are We Reformed? by Dr. George Ella.


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A. W. Tozer

“Worship… rises or falls with our concept of God; that is why I do not believe in these half-converted cowboys who call God the Man Upstairs. I do not think they worship at all because their concept of God is unworthy of God and unworthy of them. And if there is one terrible disease in the Church of Christ, it is that we do not see God as great as He is. We’re too familiar with God.”

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John Owen

Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until it be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death.

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Paul Washer

“How could we have such a low view of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we have to manipulate men psychologically to get them to come down and pray a prayer? . . . How many times have I heard evangelists say, “It’ll only take five minutes.“? No my dear friend, it will take your life–all of it! “We’re just trying to attract people and then we’ll gradually bring them in further and further.” That is what the cults do, that’s not what Jesus did. Notice that in the gospels every time a great crowd is following Jesus, he turns around and says something so radical to them that most of them walk away. Of course Jesus probably would not get invited to teach evangelism [in most churches today].”

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“He saved you so that throughout all of eternity, you would be a blessing to His Son. So start now. Eternal life does not start when you cross over into glory. It starts at the moment of your conversion. Eternal life is this, to know Him so start knowing Him now. The purpose of your salvation is to bless Him, so start blessing Him now.”

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“What do you want in heaven? What are you getting out of heaven? What do you want there, why do you even want to go? Think about it! Gates of pearls and streets of gold and all that…you can only swing on a gate so long before you get bored. See that is one of the greatest problems in Christianity and you hear it in our music.

Singing more about heaven than the Christ of heaven. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but does everyone who wants to go to heaven want God? That’s why we have to turn our people. We have to turn the people we’re preaching to and tell them what are you doing. Cause I hear your language, I hear your talk and it sounds to me you’re more enamored with a utopian idea than you are with the presence of God. And when they say, “no I’m not”, then just ask them this question, “If eternal life begins with knowing God and since you already have eternal life and the door’s been opened for you to know Him, how much time do you spend knowing Him? That right there will describe the faith of many or reveal it. That we want a utopia more than we want Him.”

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Albert Mohler

“What you won’t find in John Calvin’s preaching is Calvin.”
 

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Miscellaneous Quotes

 Theodore Roosevelt

“To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

Arnold Glasgow

“Temptation usually comes in through a door that has deliberately been left open.” 

Charles Leiter

“One of the most fearful things about sin is its power to harden the one who practices it. The deeper a man goes in sin, the less sin bothers him. . . . Every sinner finds himself now committing sins that he once despised, and the sins that he now despises, he will someday find himself committing. It should shock us to remember that Adolph Hitler was once a little boy playing with toys just like other little boys. Man knows the beginning of sin, but no man has ever known the end of sin.”

John Bunyan

“How many are there in our day, since the Gospel is grown so common, that catch up a notion of good things and from that notion make a profession of the name of Christ, get into churches, and obtain the title of brother, a saint, a member of the Gospel congregation, that have clean escaped repentance.”

Thomas Watson

“The Scripture is to be its own interpreter or rather the Spirit speaking in it; nothing can cut the diamond but the diamond; nothing can interpret Scripture but Scripture.”

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Are You Born Again? – J.C. Ryle

 
Are You Born Again?

by
J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900)

 

Are you born again? This is one of life’s most important questions. Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

It is not enough to reply, “I belong to the church; I suppose I’m a Christian.” Thousands of nominal Christians show none of the signs of being born again which the Scriptures have given us—many listed in the First Epistle of John.

First of all, John wrote: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” (I John 3:9). “Whosoever is born of God sinneth not” (5:18).

A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases him, nor is it even a matter of indifference to him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him.

If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying (I John 1:8). But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appealing in both his words and his actions. He knows that “in many things we offend all” (James 3:2). But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Second, John wrote: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (I John 5:1).

A man who is born again, or regenerated, believes that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour who can pardon his soul, that He is the divine person appointed by God the Father for this very purpose, and beside Him there is no Saviour at all. In himself he sees nothing but unworthiness. But he has full confidence in Christ, and trusting in Him, he believes that his sins are all forgiven. He believes that, because he has accepted Christ’s finished work and death on the cross, he is considered righteous in God’s sight, and he may look forward to death and judgment without alarm.

He may have fears and doubts. He may sometimes tell you that he feels as if he had no faith at all. But ask him if he is willing to trust in anything instead of Christ, and see what he will say. Ask him if he will rest his hope of eternal life on his own goodness, his own works, his prayers, his minister, or his church, and listen to his reply. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Third, John wrote: “Every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him” (I John 2:29).

The man who is born again, or regenerated, is a holy man. He endeavors to live according to God’s will, to do the things that please God and to avoid the things that God hates. He wishes to continually look to Christ as his example as well as his Saviour and to prove himself to be Christ’s friend by doing whatever He commands. He knows he is not perfect. He is painfully aware of his indwelling corruption. He finds an evil principle within himself that is constantly warring against grace and trying to draw him away from God. But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence.

Though he may sometimes feel so low that he questions whether or not he is a Christian at all, he will be able to say with John Newton, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Fourth, John wrote: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (I John 3:14).

A man who is born again has a special love for all true disciples of Christ. Like his Father in heaven, he loves all men with a great general love, but he has a special love for those who share his faith in Christ. Like his Lord and Saviour, he loves the worst of sinners and could weep over them; but he has a peculiar love for those who are believers. He is never so much at home as when he is in their company.

He feels they are all members of the same family. They are his fellow soldiers, fighting against the same enemy. They are his fellow travelers, journeying along the same road. He understands them, and they understand him. They may be very different from himself in many ways—in rank, in station and in wealth. But that does not matter. They are his Father’s sons and daughters and he cannot help loving them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Fifth, John wrote: “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world” (I John 5:4).

A man who is born again does not use the world’s opinion as his standard of right and wrong. He does not mind going against the world’s ways, ideas and customs. What men think or say no longer concerns him. He overcomes the love of the world. He finds no pleasure in things which seem to bring happiness to most people. To him they seem foolish and unworthy of an immortal being.

He loves God’s praise more than man’s praise. He fears offending God more than offending man. It is unimportant to him whether he is blamed or praised; his first aim is to please God. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Sixth, John wrote: “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself‘ (I John 5:18).

A man who is born again is careful of his own soul. He tries not only to avoid sin but also to avoid everything which may lead to it. He is careful about the company he keeps. He knows that evil communications corrupt the heart and that evil is more catching than good, just as disease is more infectious than health. He is careful about the use of his time; his chief desire is to spend it profitable.

He desires to live like a soldier in an enemy country—to wear his armor continually and to be prepared for temptation. He is diligent to be watchful, humble, prayerful man. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

These are the six great marks of a born again Christian.

There is a vast difference in the depth and distinctness of these marks in different people. In some they are faint and hardly noticeable. In others they are bold, plain and unmistakable, so anyone may read them. Some of these marks are more visible than others in each individual. Seldom are all equally evident in any one person.

But still, after every allowance, here we find boldly painted six marks of being born of God.

How should we react to these things? We can logically come to only one conclusion—only those who are born again have these six characteristics, and those who do not have these marks are not born again. This seems to be the conclusion to which the apostle intended us to come. Do you have these characteristics? Are you born again?

 


Added to Bible Bulletin Board’s “J. C. Ryle Collection” by:


Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
Box 119
Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
Our websites:
www.biblebb.com and www.gospelgems.com

 

Email: [email protected]
Online since 1986


This article originally appeared here at Bible Bulletin Board.

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