Here are two things that a man must believe before he can ever please God. First, he must believe in God’s existence. He must believe that He is. He must believe in that existence as God represents it. And then he must believe that God will reward or help or give to him what the believer’s soul desires or what he wants.
B. H. Carroll—The Faith that Saves—Triumphant Faith
But some will say, “How can we remember Christ’s person, when we never saw it? We cannot tell what was the peculiar form of his visage; we believe his countenance to be fairer than that of any other man-although through grief and suffering more marred-but since we did not see it, we cannot remember it, we never saw his feet as they trod the journeys of his mercy; we never beheld his hands as he stretched them out full of lovingkindness; we cannot remember the wondrous intonation of his language, when in more than seraphic eloquence, he awed the multitude, and chained their ears to him, we cannot picture the sweet smile that ever hung on his lips nor that awful frown with which he dealt out anathemas against the Pharisees; we cannot remember him in his sufferings and agonies for we never saw him.” Well, beloved, I suppose it is true that you cannot remember the visible appearance, for you were not then born, but do you not know that even the apostle said, though he had known Christ after the flesh, yet, thenceforth after the flesh he would know Christ no more. The natural appearance, the race, the descent, the poverty, the humble garb, were nothing in the apostle’s estimation of his glorified Lord. And thus, though you do not know him after the flesh, you may know him after the spirit; in this manner you can remember Jesus as much now as Peter, or Paul, or John, or James, or any of those favored ones who once trod in his footsteps, walked side by side with him, or laid their heads upon his bosom. Memory annihilates distance and over leapeth time, and can behold the Lord, though he be exalted in glory.
Charles H. Spurgeon—The Remembrance of Christ—A sermon delivered on Sabbath Evening January 7th 1855
1. The Catholick or universal Church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit, and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole (a) number of the Elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
a Heb. 12.23. Col. 1.18. Eph. 1.10,22.23. & ch. 5.23,27,32.
2. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the Gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it; not destroying their own profession by any Errors everting the foundation, or unholyness of conversation, (b) are and may be called visible Saints; (c) and of such ought all particular Congregations to be constituted.
b 1 Cor. 1 2. Act. 11.26.
c Rom. 1.7. Eph. 1.20,21,22.
3. The purest Churches under heaven are subject (d) to mixture, and error; and som have so degenerated as to become (e) no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a (f) Kingdome in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his Name.
d 1 Cor. 15. Rev. 2. & ch. 3. [Most modern editions cite 1 Corinthians 5 rather than 1 Corinthians 15 here.]
e Rev. 18.2. 2 Thes. 2.11,12.
f Mat. 16.18. Ps. 72.17. & Ps. 102.28. Rev. 12.17.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, in whom by the appointment of the Father, (g) all power for the calling, institution, order, or Government of the Church, is invested in a supream & soveraigne manner, neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is (h) that Antichrist, that Man of sin, and Son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
g Col. 1.18. Mat. 28.18,19.20. Eph. 4.11,12.
h 2 Thes. 2.3-9.
5. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the World unto himself, through the Ministry of his word, by his Spirit, (i) those that are given unto him by his Father; that they may walk before him in all the (k) ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word. Those thus called he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or (l) Churches, for their mutual edification; and the due performance of that publick worship, which he requireth of them in the World.
i Joh 10.16. chap. 12,32.
k Mat. 28.20.
l Mat. 18.15-20.
6. The Members of these Churches are (m) Saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together according to the appointment of Christ, giving up themselves, to the Lord & one to another by the will of God, (n) in professed subjection to the Ordinances of the Gospel.
m Rom. 1.7. 1 Cor. 1.2.
n Act. 2.41,42. ch. 5.13.14. 2 Cor. 9.13.
7. To each of these Churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in his word, he hath given all that (o) power and authority, which is any way needfull, for their carrying on that order in worship, and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands, and rules, for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.
o Mat. 18.17,18. 1 Cor. 5.4,5. with v.13. 2 Cor. 2.6,7,8.
8. A particular Church gathered, and compleatly Organized, according to the mind of Christ, consists of Officers, and Members; And the Officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the Church (so called and gathered) for the peculiar Administration of Ordinances, and Execution of Power, or Duty, which he intrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the World are (p) Bishops or Elders and Deacons.
p Act_20:17, with v.28. Phil. 1.1.
9. The way appointed by Christ for the Calling of any person, fitted, and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the Office of Bishop, or Elder, in a Church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common (q) suffrage of the Church it self; and Solemnly set apart by Fasting and Prayer, with imposition of hands of the (r) Eldership of the Church, if there be any before Constituted therein; And of a Deacon (s) that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by Prayer, and the like Imposition of hands.
q Act. 14.23: See the original.
r 1 Tim. 4.14.
s Act. 184.108.40.206.
10. The work of Pastors being constantly to attend the Service of Christ, in his Churches, in the Ministry of the Word, and Prayer, (t) with watching for their Souls, as they that must give an account to him; it is incumbent on the Churches to whom they Minister, not only to give them all due respect, (u) but also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves (x) entangled in Secular Affairs; and may also be capable of exercising (y) Hospitality toward others; and this is required by the (z) Law of Nature, and by the Express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel.
t Act. 6.4. Heb. 13.17:
u 1 Tim. 5.17,18. Gal. 6.6,7.
x 2 Tim. 2.4.
y 1 Tim. 3.2.
z 1 Cor. 9.6.-14.
11. Although it be incumbent on the Bishops or Pastors of the Churches to be instant in Preaching the Word, by way of Office; yet the work of Preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to them; but that others also (a) gifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.
a Act. 11.19,20,21. 1 Pet. 4.10.11.
12. As all Believers are bound to joyn themselves to particular Churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; So all that are admitted unto the priviledges of a Church, are also (b) under the Censures and Government thereof, according to the Rule of Christ.
b 1 Thes. 5.14. 2 Thes 3.6.14,15.
13. No Church-members upon any offence taken by them, having performed their Duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any Church order, or absent themselves from the Assemblies of the Church, or Administration of any Ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow-members; but to wait upon Christ, (c) in the further proceeding of the Church.
c Mat. 18.15.16,17. Eph. 4 2,3.
14. As each Church, and all the Members of it are bound to (d) pray continually, for the good and prosperity of all the Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (every one within the bounds of their places, and callings, in the Exercise of their Gifts and Graces) so the Churches (when planted by the providence of God so as they may injoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold (e) communion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.
d Eph. 6.18. Ps. 122.6.
e Rom. 16.1,2. 3 Joh. 8,9,10.
15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of Doctrine, or Administration; wherein either the Churches in general are concerned, or any one Church in their peace, union, and edification; or any member, or members, of any Church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth, and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many Churches holding communion together, do by their messengers meet to consider, (f) and give their advice, in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the Churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled are not entrusted with any Church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the Churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any Churches, or Persons: or (g) to impose their determination on the Churches, or Officers.
f Act. 15.2,4,6. & 22,23.25.
g 2 Cor. 1.24. 1 Joh. 4.1
The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith
The sinner says, peace and safety. Let us alone. God says, He is joined to idols, let him alone. The sinner says, Go thy way for this time. God says, My Spirit shall no longer strive. The sinner chooses not to be under conviction, and now suppose God’s choice and the sinner’s should happen to coincide. All can see the equity of his punishment. If he will not lay up treasure in heaven, then he must lay up treasure in hell. And this is done by hardening his own heart. After thy hardness and impenitent heart thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath.
Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners
It may be objected that the principal thing for us to be concerned with is the blessed fact itself, and that there is no need for us to trouble ourselves about the modus operandi: let us rejoice in the truth that God does preserve His people, and not wrack our brains over how He does so. As well might the objector say the same about the redemptive work of Christ: let us be thankful that He did make an atonement, and not worry ourselves over the philosophy of it. But is it of no real importance, no value to the soul, to ascertain that Christ’s atonement was a vicarious one, that it was a definite one, and not offered at random; that it is a triumphant one, securing the actual justification of all for whom it was made? Why, my reader, it is at this very point lies the dividing-line between vital truth and fundamental error. God has done something more than record in the Gospels the historical fact of Christ’s death: He has supplied in the Epistles an explanation of its nature and design.
Arthur W. Pink—Studies in the Scriptures March, 1937 The Spirit Preserving
Unbelievers may deride every attempt to turn sinners from the errors of their way; and even believers, while viewing things through sensible mediums, may discover insurmountable difficulties. The people will not believe us, nor hearken to our voice: the prejudices of men are almost insuperable in our native country; and if we go abroad they are worse: these casts, this voluptuousness, this savage ferocity, this treachery of character….How can we hope to overcome such obstacles as these?’ But all this is only a repetition of the objections of the all unbelieving Israelites: The people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are great, and walled up to heaven: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there! If we can believe….all things are possible to him that believeth.
Past instances of mercy furnished the church with matter of prayer: Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old? Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? And why should we not apply the past operations of grace to a similar purpose? That arm is not grown weary which subdued Jewish malignity in the days of pentecost, and overturned Heathen idolatry by the doctrine of the cross.
Rev. Andrew Fuller-God’s Approbation of our Labours Necessary to the Hope of Success-Preached
Faith is the confidence of things hoped for. They were persuaded of them and embraced them. They took them to their hearts, the promises of God, as if they were fulfilled. Faith became to them the substance, the confidence, the grounds of the thing that they hoped to obtain. Now, without faith it is impossible to please God. “For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
B. H. Carroll—The Faith that Saves—Triumphant Faith