ESV Reader's Bible
- 1 Corinthians
- 1 Samuel
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible
OUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH is inextricably bound up with the size of our vision of Christ. Once we get away from a one-dimensional or overly narrow picture of Christ, once we see the fullness and glory of Christ in the Scriptures, our lives will be enlarged. I believe most of us need a bigger vision of Christ.
We learn a great deal about sin in Genesis 3, and we learn much about grace in the first chapter of John. Grace, God reaching out to us in our sin, is best understood when we contrast it with the dark tableau of the garden. It is tremendously important to understand grace since it is the pipeline through which we receive all of God’s tremendous benefits—the greatness of Christ, the greatness of his love, the greatness of the gospel.
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, is a concept that has been so overworked that many today preach and follow a Christ who has no resemblance to the Christ of the New Testament. That Jesus is an idol, drained of his deity—a weak, good-natured deity whose great aim is to let us off the hook. Do not get me wrong. Jesus is meek and mild. In fact, he describes himself in that way in Matthew 11:29 when he invites those who have burdens to come to him. Dozens of Scriptures in the New Testament testify to his gentleness. But we need to balance this with other descriptions of our Lord. For instance, in Mark 3:5, the passage describing the man with the paralyzed hand, Jesus looked around at all those who were questioning whether or not he would heal on the Sabbath, and “he looked around at them with anger.” Jesus’ anger was a swelling wrath. There was nothing gentle in the fierce message he sent to Herod either: “Go and tell that fox . . .” (Luke 13:32), or in his response to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23). I am sure the Pharisees in the temple saw nothing of his gentleness, meekness, and mildness when he said, “You are like whitewashed tombs” and “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (Matthew 23:27, 33). The scene described in our text is a wild scene! Men were grasping at their moneybags and tables as Jesus applied the whip to those not moving. But the fact is, Jesus was as Godlike here as he was when he hung on the cross. He was revealing as much of God on this occasion as he did at Calvary. He was displaying a great underlying truth: Love presupposes hatred. A love for the downtrodden, the poor, and the oppressed also brings about a hatred for the conditions that caused their suffering.
The measure of someone’s love is how much he is willing to give. The measure of our Lord’s love is the cross!
Do we really know our own hearts? As we get to know ourselves, we find more and more that needs healing. But the question is, do we really want to be healed? I am speaking primarily of bitterness, unresolved conflicts, and things that lie hidden within us. Sometimes when we experienced these things, we were aware of them but didn’t deal with them. We cauterized them, layered them over. But they are realities within us, and they do affect our lives. Even though we cannot put a finger on them, they take their toll. As a result we do not feel God’s power; we do not feel the authenticity of grace we know we ought to feel. We know we should be joyful in all the things we confess and while we are doing the right things—reading the Word and praying—but we have little power or inner peace. The question remains, do we really want to be healed? Do we really want to have those things resolved? I believe with all my heart that if we do and if we take the time to ask God to do his work within us, he will reveal to us the things that must be washed away—the refuse, the filth, the sin.
Abiding begins with being students of the Word of God. If we were to compare the various ages of Protestant church history, we would have to say that today is an age of Biblical ignorance. People do not take the first step in abiding in the Word of God. Yet the importance of basing our lives on the Scriptures is urgent. We all need to know the Word of God. We must be students of the Word—not only the preachers, not just the educated, but all believers. And yet even if that takes place, we are not necessarily abiding. To abide in the Word we must obey it. And that is how freedom comes. We learn the Word of God, we obey it, and then we are free. The exhilaration of that freedom motivates us to study the Word of God more, and when we again obey it, more freedom comes. And on and on and on it goes—from freedom to freedom to freedom. The reason many Christians are not experiencing spiritual freedom today is that while they may be Biblically literate, they are not Biblically obedient.
Prayer is not a means by which we get God to do what we want. Rather, it is a means by which God does through us what he wants.© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible
God is merciful. He is just as just as if he were not merciful. He is merciful as merciful as if he were not just, and in very deed more merciful than if he were too lenient; instead of blending a wise severity of justice with a gracious clemency of long-suffering. ~ Charles Spurgeon, 1857, "Fast-Day Service"
True freedom is being free from sin. How does this happen? It happens when we hear his Word—Christ was born of Mary, suffered, was crucified, died, was buried, and rose again from the dead on the third day. We must preach this message again and again so that all of us may be satisfied and filled with its teaching. My hunger, however, has not yet been satisfied. This teaching is like bread. No one ever grows tired of eating bread. We fill ourselves with all kinds of food, but we never have enough bread, unless we are ill and can’t eat. A healthy person will never grow tired of bread. In the same way, Christians will never learn this completely during their lifetimes, whether they are saints or even Mary or John the Baptist. ~ Martin Luther, "Faith Alone," August 2
All teachers of Scripture conclude that the essence of prayer is simply the lifting up of the heart to God. But if this is so, it follows that everything else that doesn’t lift up the heart to God is not prayer. We should consider our spoken words to be like a trumpet, drum, organ, or other kind of sound that moves our hearts and lifts them up to God. We shouldn’t attempt to pray without words, relying on our own hearts, unless we are well trained spiritually and skilled in removing stray thoughts from our minds. Otherwise, the devil will lead us astray and quickly destroy the prayers in our hearts. So we should cling to the words and let them lift us up—lift us until our feathers grow and we’re able to soar high without the help of words. ~ Martin Luther, "Faith Alone," August 7
There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust, and that is to look at the Son of God, and especially contemplate the cross. Nothing else can do it. When I see that I am a sinner…that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I'm humbled to the dust…Nothing but the cross can give us this spirit of humility. ~ Martyn Lloyd Jones
Overwhelmingly women purchase more Bibles and more Bible study materials than men do. By all rights, just the amount of materials in the marketplace should make women the best equipped Bible students of the modern era. However, one only has to peruse those materials to see that there is a great gulf fixed between most of what is being produced by women for women and even the most basic devotional commentary. Inspirational thoughts, practical application, and systematic topical studies are all important, but women need more. Women can study the Bible in depth; they can learn to do genuine exposition or verse-by-verse interpretation of God's Words, using the best hermeneutical principles; and this study tool is a step in making available to women resources produced especially for them. Here is a clarion call to women to demand the best in biblical scholarship--even resources prepared by women and men who have been formally trained in biblical studies--and to spend the time necessary to dig deeply into God's Word and pull out its rich truths and full knowledge. (1907, Biblical Womanhood: Digging Deeper Into God's Word, Titus)This edition of the Study Bible for Women is large print. If ever a large print edition was needed it was here. Why? The font size in the original was teeny-tiny. I had to squint to even see the text of the Bible. (Yes, the font-size of the notes was teeny-tiny as well. But squinting didn't really help with the notes. It was just a personal impossibility.) Is the font size improved? Yes and no. Mostly. The size of the Bible text is larger. I wouldn't exactly call it "large print." But it is definitely larger than the original font size. And I can read it somewhat comfortably--that is without squinting! So that's a very good thing. The font size of the notes is still tiny. I can read it if I squint. It is definitely a larger font size than it was. But I can't comfortably read it either. That is slightly disappointing if I'm honest. But it's not a huge problem either. (I do wish that publishers of large print study Bibles would take into consideration that if your sight is poor enough that you need a large size print to read the Bible text, that one would also need the study notes in large print too. That is why people buy study Bibles after all, because they're interested in reading study notes. At the same time, I realize that the larger the print--the heavier the weight. And if the study notes were written in a comfortable-to-read size, then the weight of the Bible would probably double. And a six pound Bible wouldn't be practical or comfortable!!!) Overall, a definite improvement upon the original edition.
The spirit helps sinners understand the reasons for their separation from a holy and awesome God. Atonement has already been graciously accomplished by the Son, the Second person of the Trinity, thus making restoration and fellowship with God possible. When sinners accept that atonement made on their behalf, the Holy Spirit performs the work of regeneration, what Jesus called being "born again" (John 3:3). Further the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in and continues to sanctify the believer. ~ Doctrine: Holy Spirit: Ezekiel 36:24-37:1-14, p. 1343
Salvation is a gift for all who believe and trust in the Lord. god is the sole author of salvation. Yet each person has a choice on how he responds. ~ Doctrine: Salvation: John 3:16, p. 1677There are no helpful notes for John 6. Notes on John 6:44, 45, 46, 63, 65 would have been most helpful in discerning the position the editor takes on election and predestination.
The doctrine of election has been debated and misunderstood in the history of Christian thought. Election does not mean a person is not required to repent to come to faith in Christ. However, all those who do repent and come to faith have been elected. Election does not mean that Christians do not need to share the gospel. It is through the sharing of the gospel that people see their sin and need for repentance. The response to the concept of election should be gratitude to God and should encourage believers during difficult times. ~ Doctrine: Election: 1 Thessalonians 1:4, p. 1873There is nothing in that article that I disagreed with. It doesn't really explain the doctrine of election. But it does clarify what it isn't. Which is helpful.
It is not in the power of mortal language to depict the horrors of the death-bed of a man who has lived without God and without Christ.
I challenge all the orators that have ever lived, to draw forth from their vocabulary, words full enough of horror and of terror to depict the departing scene of the man who has lived at enmity with God, and who dies with his conscience quickened then.
“Now,” says the infidel, “I cannot see how men are to be saved from sin by the preaching of Christ.” “Truly sir,” he says “you go and tell men that though they have sinned never so much, if they do but believe, their sins shall all be washed away! Why they will take advantage of that, and they will be more wicked than ever they were. You tell men that their good works are of no avail whatever, that they must rest on Christ alone!” “Why,” says the sceptic, “my dear fellow, it will be the destruction of all morality, instead of a cure, it will be a death. Why preach it?” Ah, the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved, it is Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
But when you come to study and understand the marvellous scheme of Gods justice vindicated, and man pardoned through the atoning blood of the cross, I say, that not even the mighty intellect of God could have conceived a wiser plan, than the wisdom of God displayed in Christ Jesus crucified.
There are some ministers who forget that their errand in the world is to lift up Christ.
Note first that Jesus Christ was put on the cross on purpose for you to look at. The only reason why he died, was that poor sinners might look at him and be saved.
My only goal is to help knock down some Jesus myths, our ideas about Jesus that are either incomplete or totally false.I loved the premise of this one. And it did not disappoint. It lived up to the premise. The real Jesus--the Jesus of Scripture--is to be found in each and every chapter. Readers can learn so much by reading this one. Especially if readers aren't in the habit of reading the Bible for themselves, and their gospel is one that they've pieced together over the years based on various sermons and songs and the like. The message of this book is needed, in my opinion.
Everyone we meet will live eternally, either as a glorious being or as a dreadfully lost soul. The ministering heart senses this and treats all encounters accordingly. ~ R. Kent Hughes, John: That You May Believe
Good evangelism is getting to know people well enough to sense where that religious impulse is at work in their heart, and then clearly offering them an exchange--their works for Christ's work. ~ Jonathan DodsonESV Reader's Bible
Without compassion, no matter how right you are in what you are saying, you are wrong in how you are acting.
Biblical compassion involves sacrificing yourself for the glory of God and the good of others. True compassion involves deliberately choosing to enter into another person's pain. It is bearing an actual burden that is not your own. It is worshipping God by denying yourself in real life, and it takes a whole lot of theological understanding to do that.Love. Time and time again we are commanded to love. To love God. To love our Christian brothers and sisters. To love our neighbors. To love our enemies. To not love is not an option. The first half of the booklet focuses on compassion: what it is, what it looks like, why it's essential, etc. The second half of the booklet shows readers "Practical Steps Toward Showing Compassion." I'll share two of my favorites: "Learn to treat other people like people instead of like projects" and "Make sure you are speaking words that are biblically true in a manner that is biblically appropriate."
If Christian perfection be necessary to salvation, I shall never be saved; my heart is a very hot-bed for sinful thoughts, and when I decide on an action I scarcely remember to look to my Redeemer for direction. I know not how to pray; I cannot bend my life the grand end of doing good; I go on constantly seeking my own pleasure, pursuing the gratification of my own desires. I forget God, and will not God forget me? And, meantime, I know the greatness of Jehovah; I acknowledge the perfection of His word; I adore the purity of the Christian faith; my theory is right, my practice horribly wrong. ~ Charlotte Bronte
Dear E——, you certainly have a heavy burden laid on your shoulders, but such burdens, if well borne, benefit the character; only we must take the GREATEST, CLOSEST, MOST WATCHFUL care not to grow proud of our strength, in case we should be enabled to bear up under the trial. That pride, indeed, would be sign of radical weakness. The strength, if strength we have, is certainly never in our own selves; it is given us. ~ Charlotte Bronte, 1849
Every time we look at the cross of Christ seems to be saying to us, "I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying." Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size. ~ John Stott
Fill your affections with the cross of Christ that there may be no room for sin. ~ John Owen
Modesty is an inner attitude of the heart motivated by a love for God that seeks His glory through purity and humility; it often reveals itself in words, actions, expressions, and clothes.Here is how they define immodesty:
Immodesty is an attitude of the heart that expresses itself with inappropriate words, actions, expressions, and/or clothes that are flirtatious, manipulative, revealing, or suggestive of sensuality or pride.Does this definition differ from how you've always thought about modesty?
There are at least three ways that legalism expresses itself. There is the legalism of addition, the legalism of subtraction, and the legalism of algebra.The book ends with the focus shifting from modesty to the gospel itself. I love that they keep the gospel itself--a right relationship with God--the MAIN THING. Modesty isn't about conforming outwardly, it's about being in right fellowship with God.
I sat myself down, and I meditated on this subject ”Things that accompany Salvation.” And after some period of rumination, my thoughts assumed the form of an allegory; in which I hope to present them to you this morning. I compared Salvation to a rich and costly treasure, which God in his infinite love and mercy had determined to send into the world, and I remembered that our Lord Jesus was so much interested in the bringing of this Salvation to this earth, that he did send all that he had, and came himself to attend and to accompany this Salvation.
I looked around Salvation, and I saw it always in every case attended with divers graces and virtues which seemed to be like troops and soldiers to guard it in the ran, about its flanks, and in the rear.
Our faith does not cause Salvation, nor our hope, nor our love, nor our good works; they are things which attend it as its guard of honor. The origin of Salvation lies alone in the sovereign will of God the Father; in the infinite efficacy of the blood of Jesus God the Son, and in the divine influence of God the Holy Spirit.
Now you are to take that as the basis of my figure and suppose Salvation to be the sacred treasure which is being carried through the world, with guards before and guards behind, to accompany it on its journey.
We will begin, then, with the advance-guard that has accompanied Salvation or rather gone before it. We shall then come to those who immediately precede it, and then we shall notice those who accompany it by its side, and conclude by noticing the rear guard attending upon this Salvation of our God.
First, then, IN THE MARCHES OF TROOPS AND ARMIES, THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE OUTRIDERS, AND GO FAR AHEAD OF THE OTHER TROOPS. So in the march of Salvation,” which have far preceded it to clear the way. I will tell you the names of these stupendous Titans who have gone before. The first is Election, the second is Predestination, the third is Redemption and the Covenant is the captain of them all.
Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed.
Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house, Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation, it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment, when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely, that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road.
Then came Redemption. The way was rough; and though Election had marked the house, and Predestination had mapped the road, the way was so impeded that Salvation could not travel it until it had been cleared. Forth came Redemption, it had but one weapon; that weapon was the all-victorious cross of Christ. There stood the mountains of our sins; Redemption smote them, and they split in halves and left a valley for the Lords redeemed to march through. There was the great gulph of Gods offended wrath; Redemption bridged it with the cross, and so left an everlasting passage by which the armies of the Lord may cross.
Now, this sacred advance-guard carry for their banner the Eternal Covenant. Election, Predestination, and Redemption the things that have gone before, beyond the sight, are all rallied to the battle by this standard the Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure.
We know and believe that before the morning star startled the shades of darkness, God had covenanted with his Son that he should die and pay a ransom price, and that, on God the Father's part, he would give to Jesus "a number whom no man could number," who should be purchased by his blood, and through that blood should be most securely saved. Now, when Election marches forward, it carries the Covenant. These are chosen in the Covenant of grace. When Predestination marcheth, and when it marketh out the way of Salvation, it proclaims the Covenant. "He marked out the places of the people according to the tribes of Israel." And Redemption also, pointing to the precious blood of Christ, claims Salvation for the blood-bought ones, because the Covenant hath decreed it to be theirs.
Now, my dear hearers, this advance-guard is so far ahead that you and I cannot see them. These are true doctrines, but very mysterious; they are beyond our sight, and if we wish to see Salvation, we must not stop until we see the van-guard, because they are so far off that only the eye of faith can reach them. We must have that sacred glass, that divine telescope of faith, or else we shall never have the evidence of things not seen. Let us rest certain, however, that if we have Salvation we have Election. He that believeth is elected whoever casts himself on Christ as a guilty sinner, is certainly God's chosen child. As sure as ever you believe on the Saviour, and go to him, you were predestinated to do so from all eternity, and your faith is the great mark and evidence that you are chosen of God, and precious in his esteem. Dost thou believe? Then Election is thine. Dost thou believe? Then Predestination is as surely thine as thou art alive. Dost thou trust alone in Jesus? Then fear not, Redemption was meant for thee. So then, we will not be struck with terror at that grand advance-guard that hath already gained the celestial hill, and have prepared the place where the elect shall for ever repose upon the bosom of their God.
But mark, we are about to review THE ARMY THAT IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES SALVATION; and first, in the forefront of these, there marches one whose name we must pronounce with sacred awe. It is God, the Holy Spirit. Before anything can be done in our salvation, there must come that Third Person of the Sacred Trinity. Without him, faith, repentance, humility, love, are things quite impossible. Even the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot save until it has been applied to the heart by God the Holy Spirit.
The great King, Immortal, invisible, the Divine person, called the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit: it is he that quickens the soul, or else it would lie dead for ever; it is he that makes it tender, or else it would never feel, it is he that imparts efficacy to the Word preached, or else it could never reach further than the ear; it is he who breaks the heart, it is he who makes it whole: he, from first to last, is the great worker of Salvation in us just as Jesus Christ was the author of Salvation for us.
And now, close in the rear of the adorable Spirit follow the Thundering Legion. No sooner does God the Holy Ghost come into the soul, than he brings with him what I have called the Thundering Legion; and those of you that have been saved will not be at a loss to understand what I mean. This Thundering Legion are clad in mail, their helmets wave with horror; their speech is rough like men that come from a far country; their faces are terrible to look upon, for they are like unto lions, and do terribly affright the timid. Some of the men in this Thundering Legion bear with them swords; with these swords they are to slay the sinner. For before he can be made whole, he must be spiritually killed, the sword must pierce him, and must slay all his selfishness before he can be brought to the Lord Jesus. Then another body of them carry with them axes, with which they cut down the thick trees of our pride and abase the goodly cedars of our righteousness. There are with them those that fill up the wells with stones, and break up all the cisterns of our carnal sufficiency, until we are driven to despair, having all our hopes despoiled. Then come those who, with brazen trumpets, or with trumps of ram's horns—like those who once razed Jericho level with the ground—do blow a blast, so shrill and dread, that the sinner thinks that even the yells of hell itself could not be more terrible. Then come those who with lances pierce the spirit through and through; and in the rear are the ten great guns, the artillery of the law, which, perpetually fire upon the wounded spirit till it knows not what it is, nor what it does. My friend, has this Thundering Legion ever come to your house? Have they ever taken up their quarters in your heart? For, rest assured, these are some of the "things that accompany Salvation." What I have said is no allegory to those who have been converted, but it may be a mystery to those who know not the Lord. Understand, then, that the first work of God the Spirit in the soul is a terrible work. Before a man can be truly converted, he must suffer great agony of spirit; all our self-righteousness must be laid level with the ground, and trampled like the miry streets. Our carnal hopes must, every one of them, be cut in pieces, and our refuges of lies must be swept away with the hail of God's anger. The law of God will appear terrible to the sinner when he is first convinced of sin.
Close in the rear there follows a broken heart. Look at it; do not despise it, God never despises it, do not thou. “A broken and a contrite heart O God thou wilt not despise.” I see how this poor broken heart is broken; it is rent to its very eye and center; it is bathed in tears; it is overwhelmed with suffering. See its humility; it never talks about boasting now. Mark its repentance, the sins it loved before it hates now; it speaks not about self-salvation. Hear it, as the broken heart speaks out its broken language. Hear it “Lord have mercy upon me a sinner!” Do not fear to come and look at this broken heart; how sweetly is it perfumed! The sacred smell of a sacrifice which God approves rises from it.
The heart must first be pounded in the mortar of conviction, and beaten in pieces with the pestle of the law, or else it never can receive the grace of the Comforter in all its plenitude. Are you broken-hearted to-day? Are you sorrowful at this very hour? Be of good cheer, Salvation is not far behind. When there is once a broken heart there is mercy very near. The broken heart is the prelude of healing. He that kills will make whole; he that woundeth will bind up; he that smote will cure. God is looking on thee with love, and will have mercy upon thee.
But who are those that follow in the rear? Another troop, another legion, but these are far different from the rest. The silken legion follow, these are not clad in steel; they have no helmets of war upon their head; they have smiling looks and countenances that are full of joy. No weapons of war in their hands; no thunders do they utter, but they speak kind words of pity, and their hands are full of benedictions. There is a troop of them who take the poor wounded heart, and wash it first in blood; they sprinkle on it the sacred blood of the Atonement; and it is amazing how the poor broken heart, though faint and sick, revives at the first drop of the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and when well washed in blood, another of this legion steps forward and takes it and washes it in water for both water and blood flowed from the Saviours heart. And oh, what a washing it is! The heart that was once black as the coals of hell, seems white as the snow of Lebanon. The sacred oil and wine of the precious promise is poured into every wound; and then follow those who with downy fingers bind up the heart with the sacred liniment of Promise till it seems no longer broken, but the broken heart rejoices. The whole heart sings for gladness; for God hath restored its strength and bound up all its wounds, according to his promise: “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” And then, since the work is not quite done, there come those who carry the Kings ward-robe; and with the things out of this rich storehouse they array the soul from head to foot; they clothe it with everything that for lustre and for glory could adorn it, and make it bright as the spirits before the throne.
What cometh next? Now come those that are the actual attendants upon Salvation or rather, that march in the rank immediately before it. There are four of these, called Repentance, Humility, Prayer and a tender Conscience.
And now comes SALVATION IN ALL ITS FULLESS. And who are those that are close around it? There are three sweet sisters that always have the custody of the treasure you know them, their names are common in Scripture Faith, Hope, and Love, the three divine sisters; these have Salvation in their bowels and do carry it about with them in their loins.
Now you must have patience with me for just a few more minutes; I MUST BRING UP THE REAR GUARD. There are four that follow it, and march in solemn pomp into the sinners heart. The first of these is Gratitude always singing, “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name.” And then Gratitude lays hold upon its sons hand; the name of that son is Obedience. In company with this fair grace is one called Consecration a pure white spirit that hath no earthliness; from its head to its foot it is all Gods, and all gold. Linked to this bright one, is one with a face Serene and solemn, called Knowledge, “Then shall ye know when ye follow on to know the Lord.” whose that are saved understand mysteries, they know the love of Christ; they “know him, whom to know is life eternal.”
I will not weary you, but there are three shining ones that follow after these four, and I must not forget them, for they are the flower of them all. There is Zeal with eyes of fire, and heart of flame a tongue that burneth, a hand that never wearies and limbs that never tire. Zeal, that flies round the world with wings swifter than the lightnings flash, and finds even then he- wings too tardy for her wish. Zeal, ever ready to obey, resigning up itself for Christ, jealously affected always in a good thing. This Zeal always dwells near one that is called Communion. Communion calls in secret on its God; its God in secret sees. It is conformed to the image of Jesus; walks according to his footsteps, and lays its head perpetually on his bosom. And as a necessary consequence, on the other side of Communion which with one hand lays hold of Zeal, is Joy joy in the Spirit.
Now I have almost done. Just in the rear is Perseverance, final, certain and sure. Then there follows complete Sanctification, whereby the soul is purged from every sin, and made as white and pure as God himself. Now we have come to the very rear of the army; but remember as there was an advance guard so far ahead that we could not see them, so there is a rear guard so far behind that we cannot behold them now. A guard, far, far back are coming following the steps of the conquering heroes, that have already swept our Sills away. Do you not see in the fore part there is one, whom men paint a skeleton. Look at him, he is not the Kings terrors. I know thee, Death, I know thee. Miserably men have belied thee. Thou art no spectre, thine hand bears no dart; thou art not gaunt and frightful. I know thee, thou bright cherub: thou hast not in thy hand a dart, but a golden key that unlocks the gates of Paradise. Behold this angel Death, and his successor Resurrection. I see three bright things coming; one is called Confidence, see it! it looks at Death; no fear is in its eye, no palor on its brow. See holy Confidence marches with steady steps, the cold chill stream of Death doth not freeze its blood. See behind it its brother Victory; hear him, as he cries, "O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave where is thy victory?" The last word, "victory," is drowned amidst the shouts of angels. These bring up the rear.
What is thy only comfort in life and death?
That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a)
am not my own, (b)
but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c)
who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d)
and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e)
and so preserves me (f)
that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g)
yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h)
and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i)
and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)
(a) Rom.14:7,8. (b) 1 Cor.6:19. (c) 1 Cor.3:23; Tit.2:14. (d) 1 Pet.1:18,19; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:2,12. (e) Heb.2:14; 1 John 3:8; John 8:34-36. (f) John 6:39; John 10:28; 2 Thess.3:3; 1 Pet.1:5. (g) Matt.10:29-31; Luke 21:18. (h) Rom.8:28. (i) 2 Cor.1:20-22; 2 Cor.5:5; Eph.1:13,14; Rom.8:16. (j) Rom.8:14; 1 John 3:3.
We must not seek to know the Word who is divine apart from the divine words of the Bible, and we ought not to read the words of the Bible without an eye to the Word incarnate. ~ Kevin DeYoungESV Reader's Bible
Don’t listen to your own thoughts. Listen to God’s Word. It promises forgiveness of sins to anyone who believes that this Lamb carried the sins of the whole world. Did you hear that? The Lamb didn’t miss any of it. He carried all the sins of the world from the beginning of time. Therefore, he carried your sin too, and he offers his grace to you. ~ Martin Luther, Faith Alone, July 28
Satan keeps on tempting people to commit sexual sins and other terrible crimes because he doesn’t want people to believe in what God says and does. But the church and God’s people should regard Satan’s attacks on God’s Word and work as especially dangerous. Letting go of God’s Word is the root of all temptations. It results in the destruction and violation of all God’s commandments. Unbelief is the source of every sin. If Satan is able to tamper with God’s Word or snatch it out of people’s hearts, he will achieve his goal—people will no longer believe in God. ~ Martin Luther, Faith Alone, July 29
The greatest and best man in the world must say, By the grace of God I am what I am, but God says absolutely I am that I am. ~ Matthew Henry
Have you ever realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? ~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones
At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend. ~ John Stott
But what we're offering here are thoughts aimed to ground our functions, identities, and lives in Christ our Lord as He reveals Himself to us in His Word.I enjoyed the whole book, but, several chapters stand out as MUST-READ. "The Pie Eating Contest" comes to mind.
A little girl walked into a kitchen and saw a delicious pie on the table. The little girl squealed with delight, "I want to eat it all." "You can't eat it all," her mother replied. "It wouldn't be good for you." End of discussion. Many years later, another kitchen and another pie. This time, there's a different response. It smells so good! It looks so good! The girl, now a grown woman, squeals, "I want to eat it all!" And everyone cheers. Yes, to the pie! Yes to the eating of it all! Go you! She starts in on the pie and life is sweet. After a few large slices, she's a little bit surprised that having it all is not as easy or as enjoyable as she had anticipated.Other favorite quotes:
The people of God always appear to be on some wrong side of history from a human perspective. Running afoul of human "wisdom" can be awkward or even dangerous. But the believer knows it is far more dangerous to be on the wrong side of the God of history. It can never be wise to live counter to the wisdom of the world's maker.
The children of God cannot lead holy lives when the Word of God is not taught in truth and purity.
Avoiding topics that might not be well received is refusing to treat someone like a reasonable adult.
The human animal wants cupcakes, oversleeping, and sex, all without consequences.
But Jesus died for the celibate person as much as He did for the beloved spouse (not to mention the unbeloved spouse). "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" (Psalm 116:15), no matter how many people show up for a particular saint's funeral. Every person ever born is a testimony to the love and power of the Creator, and His love for any one of us is greater than the love all of humanity combined could offer.
What Jesus wants from us is repentance, every day of our lives. He would rather have us be holy than self-actualized. It is better for us to die daily to sin than to open that cookie shop or write that novel or finish that degree.
The true Church does not ordain women; neither will women of the true Church permit themselves to be ordained or submit to anyone who teaches contrary to Scripture.
Most unbelievers are not kept from faith because they do not believe there is a God. What they do not believe in is their own sin. They think they're pretty good. They don't believe there is anything so wrong with them that they need forgiveness in any significant way, certainly not an eternal one. If there is a hell, it was only invented for Hitler, and what makes it so hellish is that he's there all alone.© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible
There was never a time in which there was not God. And just so, there was never a period in which there was not Christ Jesus our Lord. He is self-existent, hath no beginning of days, neither end of years; he is the immortal, invisible, the only wise God, our Savior.
All those for whom the Savior died, having believed in his name and given themselves to him, are this day rich.
Remember that adoption, justification, sanctification, are all yours. Thou hast everything that heart can wish in spiritual things, and thou hast everything that is necessary for this life; for you know who hath said, “having food and raiment, let us therewith be content.” You are rich; rich with true riches, and not with the riches of a dream.
And now, Christian, in heaven there is a crown of gold which is thine to- day; it will be no more thine when thou hast it on thy head than it is now. I remember to have heard it reported that I once spoke in metaphor and bade Christians look at all the crowns hanging in rows in heaven very likely I did say it but if not, I will say it now. Up, Christian, see the crowns all ready, and mark thine own, stand thou and wonder at it; see with what pearls it is bedight, and how heavy it is with gold! And that is for thy head, thy poor aching head; thy poor tortured brain shall yet have that crown for its arraying! And see that garment, it is stiff with gems, and white like snow; and that is for thee! When thy week day garment shall be done with, this shall be the raiment of thy everlasting Sabbath. When thou hast worn out this poor body, there remaineth for thee, “A house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.” Up to the summit, Christian, and survey thine inheritance, and when thou hast surveyed it all, when thou hast seen thy present possessions, thy promised possessions, thine entailed possessions then remember that all these were bought by the poverty of thy Savior!
Look thou on every promise, and see the blood stains on it; yea, look, too, on the harps and crowns of heaven and read the bloody purchase! Remember, thou couldst never have been anything but a damned sinner unless Christ had bought thee! Remember if he had remained in heaven, thou wouldst for ever have remained in hell, unless he had shrouded and eclipsed his own honor thou wouldst never have had a ray of light to shine upon thee.
My Savior is a physician; if you can heal yourself, he will have nothing to do with you. Remember, my Savior came to clothe the naked. He will clothe you if you have not a rag of your own; but unless you let him do it from head to foot, he will have nothing to do with you.
Christ says he will never have a partner, he will do all or none. Come then, hast thou given up all to Christ? Hast thou no reliance and trust save in the cross of Jesus? Then thou hast answered the question well. Be happy, be joyous, if death should surprise thee the next hour, thou art secure. Go on thy way, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Jesus knows us in the most profound ways. He knows our past with its failures, its hurts. He knows our present, our unrealized longings. He knows us in the most intimate ways. He knows our idiosyncrasies. He calls us by our characteristics. I sometimes wonder if he calls us some of the things we would not want to be called. It is quite possible he affectionately calls us “Grumpy” or “Fearful” or “Faithless,” just as we might talk to our sheep if we were shepherds. It is encouraging to think that not only does he know us, but we know him! ~ R. Kent Hughes, John: That You May Believe
It is not sinful to tell God how you feel. That may sound like heresy in the light of some things we have been taught, and I want to qualify it by saying that we should always be reverent toward God. He is God! We are his creatures and must ever bow to him. But that does not mean we are not allowed to express to him how we feel. Some of us have feelings that ought to be shared with God. The feelings are not necessarily right, but they are feelings that need to be brought honestly before God. But we do not, for fear of losing something. God is more patient and accepting than we realize (not to mention that he already knows our thoughts anyway, so we couldn't hide it even if we wanted to). ~ R. Kent Hughes, John: That You May BelieveESV Reader's Bible