“In Jesus, the invisible God has revealed himself in terms that can be understood anywhere, any time – a perfect human life. In Jesus, the powers of the unseen world, the age to come, are being revealed as he demonstrates his sovereignty over all the hostile forces ranged against man – sin, disease, demons and even death itself. Supremely, the life of eternity is life that has overcome the grave, and that life can be found in Christ alone who triumphed over death by his glorious resurrection. This life is in his Son.“
- David Jackman, from The Message of John’s Letters, p. 154
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“If you have found in yourself a growing indifference, a growing coldness – maybe you’ve come into this place today and that’s what marks your life: strong judgmental attitude towards other people, well aware of other people’s weaknesses… I want you to ask that the Holy Spirit would soften your heart today – that the Holy Spirit might in mercy grant you compassion and rescue from the silliness that is you right now.”
- Matt Chandler
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“Have we not all experienced this? The moment you wake up in the morning, before you have had time to start thinking, thoughts come to you. And they are sometimes ugly, foul thoughts, unworthy thoughts. Where have they come from? First thing in the morning, last thing at night, they assault you. You may be reading your Bible, or you may be on your knees in prayer, and you are conscious of being attacked. There are things that drag you down, suggestions and insinuations. Where does it all come from? Here is where it all comes from, says the Bible. And if this is true, how vital it is that you should realize it.”
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones, from The Gospel in Genesis, p. 19
“There was a little boy whose father, to teach him a lesson, told him that every time he did a certain thing that was wrong, a nail should be driven into a post, but that, on every occasion when he did anything that was right and kind, one of those nails should be pulled out. Master Benjamin became exceedingly careful when the post had got well studded with nails and, after a while, they were drawn out, one after another, and soon his father had the pleasure of extracting the last one. He expected to see the lad begin jumping for joy, but, instead of that, the boy stood weeping and his father said to him, “Well, Benny, my boy, you see that all the nails are pulled out now.” “Yes, father,” he sadly answered, “but the holes are left.”
“So now, suppose that next year we should, by the effectual working of the Spirit of God, be so sanctified in our walk
and conversation that our besetting sins should be destroyed and that we should be delivered from these sins that we have
been confessing, yet, still, the holes of the past evils would be left—and it is only our Lord Jesus Christ who can fill those
- Charles H. Spurgeon, from the sermon A New Leaf for the New Year
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“Make it a part of every day’s business to read and meditate on some portion of God’s Word. Private means of grace are just as needful every day for our souls–as food and clothing are for our bodies. Yesterday’s food will not feed the laborer today; and today’s food will not feed the laborer tomorrow. Do as the Israelites did in the wilderness. Gather your manna fresh every morning. Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst part of your time! But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and God’s Word every day.”
- J.C. Ryle, from Practical Religion
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This week I finished reading Thabiti Anyabwile’s What Is A Healthy Church Member? The church I’ve been attending since the spring is having a membership class this coming weekend, and in accordance with that, I thought this book would be a good primer. This book is based off the 9Marks series and begins with the statement that a healthy church member is an expositional listener. Anyabwile breaks this down into several subpoints and one of them has resonated with me in particular. Anyabwile suggests we “listen to and act on the sermon throughout the week”. Out of all the points he touched on regarding expositional listening, this one seems the most difficult.
Our weeks get filled up fast with to-do lists and places to be, and even meditating on the day’s Bible reading can seem difficult. Now we’re being asked to act on Sunday’s sermon throughout the week? How often does the Sunday post-church conversation move towards other topics, some worthy, some not. This is quite a challenge. Our pastors have been entrusted with the teaching of God’s Word, knowing that this will strengthen the congregation and help them to be in line with God’s will. What a gift to our pastors (and to the Lord) to know that we have not just listened to the preaching but have allowed it to shape our minds and behavior throughout the week. Why does the Sunday sermon seem to fade at times so quickly? Worse yet, why do those podcasts and ‘celebrity’ sermons that we view or hear linger with us longer?
Anyabwile suggests that we “…choose one or two particular applications from the Scripture and prayerfully put them into practice over the coming week.” A couple of weeks ago, one of the pastors preached on 2 Peter 3 and the type of people we should look like in the light of verses 11-13? How do those verses shape your thoughts and actions throughout the week? More to the point, DO those verses ever shape our thoughts and actions?
I appreciated the reminders in this book and the practical suggestions that were offered. The Sunday sermon is not a performance we attend, it’s something that should drive us back to God and help us to view where our lives match up with His will. What are some ways we can “keep the sermon alive in your spiritual life” throughout the week and beyond, as Anyabwile puts it? What does that look like?
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