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.”
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
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.”
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“
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
A. W. Pink
“If the gospel were more faithfully preached, there would be fewer people professing to believe it.”
“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.
“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.””
“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.“
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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
“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.
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.”
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.
“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].”
“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.”
“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.”
“What you won’t find in John Calvin’s preaching is Calvin.”
“To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
“Temptation usually comes in through a door that has deliberately been left open.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”