Tag Archive | John Calvin

John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology [Kindle Edition]

John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology [Kindle Edition] – free for a limited time

Meet the Man Behind the Myths

John Calvin s name evokes powerful images, most of them negative. In the minds of many, he is perceived as an ivory-tower theologian who was harsh and unreasonable, the driving force behind a dangerous theological system. In this volume, Burk Parsons and eighteen other leading Reformed pastors and scholars authoritatively reveal the truth about Calvin and his teaching that he was humble, caring, pious, Scripture-saturated, and, above all, passionate about upholding the glory of God. Published in conjunction with the five-hundredth anniversary of Calvin’s birth (2009), John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology offers a highly readable portrait of a man whose example and teaching remain vitally relevant even in the twenty-first century.


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Steve Lawson – The Preaching of John Calvin and What We Can Learn

John Calvin

Calvin chiefly was a preacher. Shepherded a flock for 25 years.

Prince of Preachers Charles Spurgeon respected Calvin as one of the greatest men born of a woman.

Calvin is remembered as a theologian uncovering doctrines that had been buried for centuries. Yet Calvin saw himself as a shepherd called to preach the Word to his flock.

1) Authority of Biblical Truth – Sola Scriptura

Calvin believed the minister’s chief mandate is to preach God’s Word. The preacher has nothing to say apart from the words of God. We need fewer preachers, but we need more real preachers. No room for fantasy and imagination. Preacher is the dispatched messenger. Bring not their own inventions. Merely the delivery boy. Humility characterized his ministry. The Message of Scripture is Sovereign. We owe the Scripture the same reverence that we owe to God. When the Bible speaks, God speaks. Boice said “Calvin had no weapon but the Bible.”

2) Priority of Sequential Exposition

Calvin preached verse by verse, book by book. NT Sunday mornings, NT & Psalms Sunday afternoon, then every weekday morning he taught through the OT. Example: Acts – 189 sermons; Isaiah – 353 continuous sermons. After being run away from Geneva for 3 1/2 years, upon his return, he resumed his preaching at the very next verse that he had left off. Make your meat and potatoes be the sequential exposition of books of the Bible.

3) Accuracy of Sound Exegesis

Plain, literal interpretation of the text. John Murray “Calvin was the Exegete of the Reformation.” He preached from the Hebrew and the Greek. He preached in French and lectured in Latin. Not eisegesis but exegesis. Real estate – location, location, location. Bible Study – context, context, context. Calvin said “The scripture should be understood and explained. How it is explained is secondary.” MacArthur said “The meaning of the text is the text.” All true interpretation requires much perspiration. You will give an account for every sermon before God.

4) Energy of Lively Preaching

He preached with no notes. He used just the Bible. He was so fluent with the Bible that he could flow. It is a sin to bore people with the Word of God. Bore people with Shakespeare, not with the Bible. Lecturers in the pulpit is not preaching. Dig it out and write it down, but don’t lecture. Calvin was not a hyper-Calvinist! Be accurate and precise with the Word of God. No fluff, no waste. His every word was to the point. Every word weighed a pound. Not like preachers circling the airport but never landing. He had a short porch to a big house. No big introduction but right to the point. He puts the cookies on the bottom shelf. Sentences are simple, making the text as clear as possible to his hearers. No flourish in his words. Calvin “Preachers are like fathers, dividing the bread into small pieces to feed the his children.” Don’t choke and gag your people. Painting mental pictures using analogies, similes, word pictures, and metaphors. Used personal pronouns us and we.

5) Necessity of Gospel Defense

One voice for the sheep and the other for the wolves. Guard the gospel.

6) Fervency of Evangelistic Preaching

Calling people to repentance and faith.


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Sabbath Quotes

Here are two interesting quotes concerning the Sabbath.

…It was not, however, without a reason that the early Christians substituted what we call the Lord’s day for the Sabbath. The resurrection of our Lord being the end and accomplishment of that true rest which the ancient Sabbath signified, this day, by which types were abolished, serves to warn Christians against adhering to a shadowy ceremony. I do not cling to the number seven as to bring the Church under bondage to it, nor do I condemn churches for holding their meetings on other solemn days, provided they guard against superstition.”

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John Calvin

“If anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day’s sake—if anywhere anyone sets up its observance on a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it, to do anything that shall remove this encroachment on Christian liberty.”

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Martin Luther


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Louis Bourgeois – Old 100th Tune Writer

Here is another history lesson on the music wars in the church, of the 1500’s style. This poor man, Louis Bourgeois, gave us the tune to the Old 100th but was essentially run out of town because he dared change the tunes to some familiar Psalms.

Technically though the tune we call the Old 100th was actually written by Bourgeois for Psalm 134. It wasn’t until “All People That on Earth Do Dwell,” taken from Psalm 100, was written by William Kethe that the tune became known as the Old 100th.

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.

O enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
From men and from the angel host
Be praise and glory evermore.

Later that same tune was used for the song, “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow,” which we often call it “The Doxology”. It was written by Thomas Ken.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

As commonly as we know this tune, writing music tunes wasn’t so easy back in the 1500’s. You actually had to have a license to write a tune!

“Louis Bourgeois is the one most responsible for the tunes in the Genevan Psalter, the source for the hymns of both the Reformed Church in England and the Pilgrims in America. In the original versions by Bourgeois, the music is monophonic, in accordance with the dictates of John Calvin, who disapproved not only of counterpoint but of any multiple parts; Bourgeois though did also provide four-part harmonizations, but they were reserved for singing and playing at home. Many of the four-part settings are syllabic and chordal, a style which has survived in many Protestant church services to the present day.

Of the tunes in the Genevan Psalter, some are reminiscent of secular chansons, others are directly borrowed from the Strasbourg Psalter; The remainder were composed by successively Guillaume Franc, Louis Bourgeois and Pierre Davantès. By far the most famous of Bourgeois’ compositions is the tune known as the Old 100th.Unfortunately, he fell foul of local musical authorities and was sent to prison on December 3, 1551 for changing the tunes for some well-known psalms “without a license.” He was released on the personal intervention of John Calvin, but the controversy continued: those who had already learned the tunes had no desire to learn new versions, and the town council ordered the burning of Bourgeois’s instructions to the singers, claiming they were confusing. Shortly after this incident, Bourgeois left Geneva never to return: … “ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loys_Bourgeois


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Love Not The World…

1 John 2:15-16
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
ESV

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ESV

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. AMP

John Calvin

By the world understand everything connected with the present life, apart from the kingdom of God and the hope of eternal life. So he includes in it corruptions of every kind, and the abyss of all evils. In the world are pleasures, delights, and all those allurements by which man is captivated, so as to withdraw himself from God.”

Charles Spurgeon on Romans 12:2

Then come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Would you attain the full assurance of faith? you cannot gain it while you commune with sinners. Would you flame with vehement love? your love will be damped by the drenchings of godless society. You cannot become a great Christian—you may be a babe in grace, but you never can be a perfect man in Christ Jesus while you yield yourself to the worldly maxims and modes of business of men of the world. It is ill for an heir of heaven to be a great friend with the heirs of hell. It has a bad look when a courtier is too intimate with his king’s enemies. Even small inconsistencies are dangerous. Little thorns make great blisters, little moths destroy fine garments, and little frivolities and little rogueries will rob religion of a thousand joys. O professor, too little separated from sinners, you know not what you lose by your conformity to the world. It cuts the tendons of your strength, and makes you creep where you ought to run. Then, for your own comfort’s sake, and for the sake of your growth in grace, if you be a Christian, be a Christian, and be a marked and distinct one. (from Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening)

Who do you love?
The World ?
Or the Father?
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Ligonier Ministries Summaries of Conference

Ligonier Ministries also has summaries of The Holiness of God Conference sessions.

Ligonier National Conference – Ligon Duncan – Calvin and the Christian Life

Piety for Calvin was short-hand for the whole practice and faith of the Christian life. Calvin did not call his Institutes a sum of Christian theology but rather a sum of piety. Yes, Calvin’s institutes was an engagement on the truth of God’s word, but it was for the sake of producing piety.

What is meant by piety? Two things: (1) An experiential love for God as Father. And (2) a fear and reverence for Him as our Lord. The term “religion” has negative connotations for some — it conveys a formalized, external, even hypocritical life. Not so for John Calvin. For Calvin, “religion” is faith joined with fear and reverence for God. For Calvin, piety is reverence joined with the love of God which the knowledge of God’s benefits induces.

Ligonier National Conference – Steve Lawson – The Legacy of John Calvin

Calvin was the architect of reformed theology — he was the standard even in his day. Luther was a volcano, spewing out numerous fiery ideas. But Calvin was the systematizer — he arranged and ordered the theology of the Reformation. Lloyd-Jones that apart from Calvin, the Reformation would have died out by the end of the 16th century.

Ligonier National Conference – R.C. Sproul, Jr. – Train Up Your Children: Family Worship of the Holy God

But what if you’re too busy? Then stop being too busy. What is it that could possibly be more important? The transcendent God is inviting you to walk with Him in the cool of the evening. Will you say to Him: Thanks for the invitation, but I’ve got an important meeting? Nobody is too busy to draw near to the living God. Nobody is too busy to give up that which is less rewarding for the Source of all joy. Our problem is, as C.S. Lewis said, that we’re too easily pleased. We don’t properly esteem the value and the joy of what God sets before us.

Ligonier National Conference – Sinclair Ferguson (II) – Hallowed Be Your Name: The Holiness of the Father

There are two dimensions running through John’s gospel. On the one hand, we see the Eternal Son of God addressing the Father as Holy Father. What does it mean that from all eternity there has been this response of the Eternal Son to the Eternal Father such that He addresses Him as “Holy Father.” For something to be an attribute of God it must have been, in action, expressed among the three persons of the Trinity. [God expresses wrath, but strictly speaking it is not an attribute of God, because in the blessed Trinity there is no manifestation of it. Rather, wrath is a temporary manifestation of God’s holiness in response to sin.]

Ligonier National Conference – Steve Lawson (II) -The Holy One of God: The Holiness of Jesus

Look again at the title,”The Holy One of God.” This is a formal, technical title. “The Holy One of God” is a formal title for God in the book of Isaiah. No less than 26 times in the book of Isaiah we find this title for Jehovah God: “The Holy One of God.” It is picked up in Ezekiel, Psalms, and elsewhere. So when this demon says, “I know who you are, the Holy One of God,” the identity is unquestionable. The identity was assigned to God in the Old Testament, and it is assigned to Jesus in the New Testament. That is what is taking place — from the lips of a demon-possessed man.

Ligonier National Conference – D.A. Carson – A Holy Nation: The Church’s High Calling

When Paul in Romans 15 discusses his evangelism, it is called a “priestly service”. We become priests not because we have some peculiar role (e.g., full-time ministry), but because as Christians we are to pray for those outside and to present the living God’s gospel to them. Talking to an unbeliever is a priestly act of mediation. We are all priests in this sense; believers are built into a spiritual priesthood. We all have access to God. There are not two standards of holiness on this side of the cross. We are all a part of the priesthood (what a privilege!) of the King of the universe.

Ligonier National Conference – Derek Thomas – Be Ye Holy: The Necessity of Sanctification

It is one thing to talk about the holiness of God and another thing to long for holiness in our own life. Consider the “third use” of the law (as a guide). Or Luther’s refrain: We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Or James: Faith without works is dead.

But ours is a man-centered age. We like books on how to be a good father or how to improve your diet, rather than how to be holy and Christ-like. And in our circles, we can get caught up with theological issues and miss the point that the goal of all theology is to drive us into a holiness of life. R. Murray Mc’Chenye’s great statement has been noted: “My people’s greatest need is my personal holiness.” This is serious business because without holiness, the author of Hebrews tells us, no one will see the Lord.

Ligonier National Conference – Q&A Session III – Dr. Donald Carson, Dr. Derek Thomas, Dr. Robert Godfrey, Rev. Thabiti Anyabwile

3. What are the challenges associated with holiness (or the lack of it) in the church today?

We need to expect suffering. Growth in holiness is a matter of the heart but also external forces in the church. There has been a decline in honoring a day for the Lord, and thus a decline in time for the Lord, and thus a lack of personal holiness. Godfrey exhorted churches to have Sunday morning and evening services. Anyabwile noted that our union with Christ gives us motivation for holiness.

Carson: We haven’t concentrated on God and the gospel, that’s why we don’t have enough holiness. Everything is tied to that. Don’t think about it only in terms of “not doing stuff” or “doing stuff,” and that reduces to moralism. The law cannot save, although there is a place for law.

Ligonier National Conference – R.C. Sproul (II) – A Consuming Fire: Holiness, Wrath and Justice

The imagery employed in Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God. In that sermon, he employed numerous metaphors, all of which had Scriptural origin. One of them is that of a dam breaking. People are storing up wrath against the day of wrath. And another is of a spider’s web, holding sinners up by a single thread. And that single thread is held by the hand of God. We rightly remember the sermon’s topic as the wrath of God. But even moreso it is a sermon about the grace of God–holding people up from the pit, and preventing their immediate destruction.

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Challies – The Holiness of God Conference

Tim Challies has been live blogging The Holiness of God Conference. Here are the posts available so far.

Ligonier Conference – Al Mohler – John Calvin: Preacher and Teacher

Calvin understood the majesty of preaching because he understood the majesty of God. Calvin’s mode of preaching was verse-by-verse, book-by-book so he would not selectively avoid things he did not wish to teach. In this way God’s people receive all that they need and not just what the preacher determines the people need. The preacher is neither to add nor subtract from Scripture.

Ligonier Conference – Sinclair Ferguson – The Doctrines of Grace

Calvin says there is no such thing as grace, only Jesus Christ. There is not something outside of Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit dispenses to you like a lump sum. There is only Jesus Christ which is why one of the most significant and startling things Calvin says is that all that Christ has done for us is of no value to us unless we get, by faith, Jesus Christ himself. And in just a moment you can see how the whole medieval system with priests and sacraments and sacrifices and saints and Mary was immediately exploded and destroyed. What the Spirit is doing and bringing you into is the same as the Lord Jesus himself. There is nothing between—no pope, no bishops, no sacraments, no priests—only the Holy Spirit bringing you to Jesus who is all your righteousness and all the righteousness you will ever need.

From Calvin we learn this: it is all there for you in Christ, so drink from no other fountain than Christ. We are all, even in our evangelical hearts, liable to sink back into errors that make us think there is something in us that qualifies us, something that Jesus Christ could give me without giving himself and me giving myself to him. This is Calvin: it is all of God, it is all in Christ, it all comes through the Holy Spirit.

Ligonier Conference – Q&A – Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, Dr. Ligon Duncan, Dr. Steven Lawson, Dr. Al Mohler

Where should people start to learn about Calvin?

Ferguson – If you are daunted by the Institutes, begin with The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life. You will probably find that Calvin is not as daunting as it may seem. If he didn’t know that Packer was going to do it, he probably would have called this book Knowing God.

Lawson – Read his sermons. The preaching of the word is the primary ordinary means of grace. Begin with his sermons on Galatians and Ephesians.

Mohler – Dive into the deep end of the pool by reading the introduction to the Institutes. Even if you need to read them two or three times, read them! It is one of the greatest works of Christian devotional literature ever written.

Ligonier Conference – R.C. Sproul – I Am the Lord, There is No Other

We also need to consider from this text what this God does. He brings the light and the darkness, he brings well-being and calamity. After 9/11 it was unthinkable to the American people that God could have anything to do with calamity. We are people who believe that God can bless a nation but refuse to believe that he can also judge a nation. We believe this because we do not know who God is. The God of popular religion is not holy. This is not the God of Isaiah 45—the God who brings calamity, the God who brings the bear market and the bull market, who pulls kingdoms up and tears kingdoms down. “I will raise you up Cyrus, but I can also tear you right down.”

Ligonier Conference – Alistair Begg – The Breath of the Almighty: The Holy Spirit

The nature of this topic, he said, makes it virtually horizonless. Considerations of any doctrine, but particularly this one, that are not grounded within the controls of the Bible itself, may lead to all kinds of flights of fancy. There has been as much confusion within evangelicalism about the person and work of the Spirit as there has been in any other part of the Bible.

Ligonier Conference – Thabiti Anyabwile – Cosmic Treason: Sin and the Holiness of God

Sin is personal in nature. It is against God himself, provoking his wrath. Sin is apostasy, turning away from God. Our culture teaches that sin is not often against anyone but is just a mistake or a blooper. But this passage makes it clear that our sin does land on something. It lands squarely in the sight of a holy God who will not look upon sin. Our sin is an offense against God, a personal rebellion against him. It not only incites his anger but is also treasonous, rebelling against the rule and love of God. Israel is often called God’s wife. Can you think of a more treasonous act than to declare union with a husband but then to commit adultery with another?

Ligonier Conference – Robert Godfrey – Wounded for Our Transgressions: The Holiness of God and the Cross

Are you beginning to see what it cost Jesus Christ to be the Savior? When we say he is king it sounds good, when we say he is priest it sounds honorable. And he is those things. But the depth of our salvation is to be found in the willingness of Jesus to become a leper for lepers, to become sin for sinners. “Surely he has borne our sickness.” Jesus was not literally a leper, of course, but just as Uzziah the good king was afflicted with leprosy to show the people the sinfulness of sin, so in some sense we have to think of Jesus as a leper to realize the depths of what it meant for him to take our sins upon himself. We can make this sound like an easy transaction. How hard can sin-bearing be for the eternal son of God? We may slip into such an attitude as the cross becomes too familiar. We may begin to lose a sense of the horror of the cross.


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The Melody Pierces the Heart More Strongly – 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.”

John Calvin in the Preface to the Genevan Psalter

I found this while reading about the Regulative Principle of Worship verses the Normative Principle of Worship especially in relation to music.

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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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