Sherman Isbell, “Hear Ye Him:”
“The Lord’s designation of certain ordinances for worship continues in the New Testament church. No doubt the New Testament apostles use the language of an Old Testament ordinance to figuratively describe the believer seeking to honor God in all the course of life (Romans 12:1-2, I Peter 2:5). But far more commonly in the New Testament we read of worship ordinances as actions instituted to be kept when the church comes together in its assemblies: prayer, reading the Word, preaching, congregational singing of Psalms, baptism, the Lord’s Supper.”
“What, then, are we to make of efforts to add institutions of worship not required by God? Will Christ be present to bless what his people ingeniously contrive as supplements to his institutions? Can God’s benediction be secured for the variety of new worship activities devised by men for securing the church’s prosperity? When we adhere to Christ’s commands, we may expectantly rely upon God’s promised presence, confident that the seed of his Word will bring forth fruit. But can we conjure the blessing of God upon our own inventions? When the Lord’s few and simple ordinances must vie with human traditions in worship, human fancy may be satisfied, and there may be increase in numbers of people attending, in financial resources, in construction of facilities, and in ministry enterprises. But to the extent that this increase is not occurring through the observance of Christ’s commands, is it the expansion of the kingdom of God? Can the kingdom come through eschewing the prescriptions of Christ in the Scripture?”
Read more: http://www.westminsterconfession.org/worship/hear-ye-him.php
The Philippian Jailor
“There is something essentially wrong with a man who calls himself a Christian and who can listen to a truly evangelistic sermon without coming under conviction again, without feeling something of his own unworthiness, and rejoicing when he hears the Gospel remedy being presented.” (Preachers and Preaching, Zondervan, 1971, p. 150)
‘Next time you’re tempted to wallow in the vanity of self-pity ask yourself what I’m now committed to asking myself, “If God allows both pleasures and pains to come to my life for my greatest good (conformity to the image of Christ), then how can I love one and despise the other?”‘
Read more: http://www.sunnyshell.org/2014/04/i-was-ambushed-but-by-whom-may-surprise.html
Thomas Boston, Works, 2:311:
Consider the vanity of the world. It is an overvaluing of earthly advantages that leads people aside into unrighteous ways, Hos. 12:8. A due impression of the vanity and emptiness thereof, would let you see that they are not worth a man’s going off his way for them. It is not long till very little will serve us: death comes, and we have no more to do with it; a coffin and a winding sheet, and a little room in the heart of the earth, which none will grudge us, will be all we will need. What madness is it, then, to wound the conscience for such a pitiful business?
Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f25/consider-vanity-world-82905/, Comment #1 (Thank You, Reverend Winzer!)
“The Lord cannot be said to withdraw His love from the wicked, because they never had it. The being deserted, evidences you to be a child of God. How could you complain that God has estranged Himself, if you had not sometimes received smiles and tokens of love from Him?”
~ Thomas Watson
Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f29/chastisement-3941/, Comment #3
Calvin, Harmony of the Law Part II, Intro on the Second Commandment; “No Images:”
Now we must remark, that there are two parts in the Commandment — the first forbids the erection of a graven image, or any likeness; the second prohibits the transferring of the worship which God claims for Himself alone, to any of these phantoms or delusive shows. Therefore, to devise any image of God, is in itself impious; because by this corruption His Majesty is adulterated, and He is figured to be other than He is. There is no need of refuting the foolish fancy of some, that all sculptures and pictures are here condemned by Moses, for he had no other object than to rescue God’s glory from all the imaginations which tend to corrupt it. And assuredly it is a most gross indecency to make God like a stock or a stone. Some expound the words, “Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven image, which thou mayest adore;” as if it were allowable to make a visible image of God, provided it be not adored; but the expositions which will follow [note: this is the intro to his exposition of the Second Commandment] will easily refute their error. Meanwhile, I do not deny that these things are to be taken connectedly, since superstitious worship is hardly ever separated from the preceding error; for as soon as any one has permitted himself to devise an image of God, he immediately falls into false worship. And surely whosoever reverently and soberly feels and thinks about God Himself, is far from this absurdity; nor does any desire or presumption to metamorphose God ever creep in, except when coarse and carnal imaginations occupy our minds. Hence it comes to pass, that those, who frame for themselves gods of corruptible materials, superstitiously adore the work of their own hands. I will then readily allow these two things, which are inseparable, to be joined together; only let us recollect that God is insulted, not only when His worship is transferred to idols, but when we try to represent Him by any outward similitude.
Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f18/reformed-iconoclasm-83016/, Comment #3
I came across this article from a link on a website that was pushing the “Jews are evil and control the world” theme. While I do not agree with that sentiment, I did find this quote from the article, written by a Jewish man, interesting:
As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you’d be flipping between “The 700 Club” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV all day.
Now, I would not be recommending the above-mentioned shows to anyone, but it sounds like this man is saying that without people like him, there would be more Christian programming on television. And Hollywood doesn’t have an anti-Christian bias? Hmmm…
From New Discoveries & Comments About Creationism:
Secular Cosmology was in a major crisis, the evidence was leading towards a purpose which is in the direction of intelligence rather than some random act with no reason. And if it was a random act, then the universe should have been full of cosmic defects which it doesn’t have…
“In fact, these defects should have been so numerous and so massive that if they actually existed, the age of the universe “would turn out to be about 10,000 years,” Guth says, with a laugh. “This doesn’t turn out to be the case, scientifically.”
Read more: http://thebibleistheotherside.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/an-ugly-theory-destroyed-by-a-beautiful-fact/
Is there any instance of our Lord’s casting out a coming one? If there be so, we would like to know of it; but there has been none, and there never will be. Among the lost souls in hell there is not one that can say, “I went to Jesus, and He refused me.” It is not possible that you or I should be the first to whom Jesus shall break His word. Let us not entertain so dark a suspicion.
Suppose we go to Jesus now about the evils of today. Of this we may be sure — He will not refuse us audience, or cast us out. Those of us who have often been, and those who have never gone before — let us go together, and we shall see that He will not shut the door of His grace in the face of any one of us.
“This man receiveth sinners,” but He repulses none. We come to Him in weakness and sin, with trembling faith, and small knowledge, and slender hope; but He does not cast us out. We come by prayer, and that prayer broken; with confession, and that confession faulty; with praise, and that praise far short of His merits; but yet He receives us. We come diseased, polluted, worn out, and worthless; but He doth in no wise cast us out. Let us come again today to Him who never casts us out.” (Faith’s Checkbook)
The Rev. Elias Pledger, Puritan Sermons, I:326:
“[I]n order to the advancing of the work of mortification, endeavour after mortified affections to the world.—These are the suckers that draw away thy strength from God, and the fuel and foment and strength of all that corruption that must be mortified. Aversion from God, with an immoderate clinging and cleaving to the creature, is the whole corruption of nature. Affliction is the reducing thee to God, and the ungluing, disengaging, and divorcing thee from a carnal, worldly interest: therefore, minus gaudebis, minus dolebis, “the less thou joyest, the less thou ruest;” the less thou layest a world-interest near thy heart, the less that affliction which is the parting work will go to thy heart; therefore let all creature-comforts and advantages be loose about thee as thy clothes, which thou mayest easily lay aside; and not as thy skin, which cannot be pulled off without great torture. Affliction endangers nothing but that which is outward; therefore let not thy excessive respect to that which is without thee make thy affliction an inward terror. If thou countest the world of no value, thou wilt be able, without inward perplexity and fear, to pass through all places of danger and plunder; as the traveller, when he carries but a small matter, which, he knows, if he loses it, will not at all undo him. Besides, “if thou lovest the world, the love of the Father is not in thee;” and this will be a desperate venemous sting to thy soul in thy affliction. If thou wouldest not have the world thy plague and thy poison in the enjoying, thy rack and thy terror in the losing, comply with the word and Spirit of grace, in the application of a Christ crucified for the crucifying and mortifying of thy affections unto every earthly interest.”
My friend, if you have money enough today for your daily needs and something for God’s treasury, don’t torment yourself with the idea that you or your family may yet get into a poor-house. If your children cluster around your table, enjoy them, train them, trust them to God, without racking yourself with a dread that the little ones may some time be carried off by the scarlet fever, or the older ones may yet be ill-married or may fall into disgrace. Faith carries present loads and meets present assaults and feeds on present promises—and commits the future to a faithful God.
~ God’s Light on Dark Clouds by Theodore Cuyler
“This fear isn’t just personal. As laws on issues like same-sex marriage and contraception have changed, there’s a growing fear that public policy will become more and more in conflict with evangelical morality. This, according to many conservative Christians, is what these tensions are about: being legally required to perform acts that you sincerely and deeply believe are immoral. Although in the past the religious right has openly advocated legislating morality in the public sphere, for most evangelicals, the recent cases do not seem to be about policing other people’s morality—the concern is about preserving the ability to be faithful to one’s own morality. By paying to cover contraceptives that interfere with “conception,” as evangelicals define it, by baking a cake or taking photographs to celebrate a same-sex wedding, some Christians believe they are facilitating a profoundly immoral act—which makes them morally culpable, as well.”
Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/07/is-evangelical-morality-still-acceptable-in-america/374341/