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Free Ebook-Better: A Study of the Christian Life in Hebrews

January 26, 2015 5 comments

better2by Dr. J. Ligon Duncan

Available in ePub and Kindle .mobi formats

Posted with the kind permission of Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, As preached at First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi in 2013. Lightly edited. These are transcribed messages from First Presbyterian Church, and the reader should presume any error to be with the webmaster/transcriber/editor rather than with the original speaker..

One of America’s most renowned Presbyterian theologians, currently Chancellor of the Reformed Theological Seminary, delivered these sermons in 2013.

 

 

 

Table of Contents

I’d Rather Have Jesus than Angels – Hebrews 1:1-4
More Excellent Than Angels – Hebrews 1:4-14
Neglecting So Great a Salvation – Hebrews 2:1-4
By the Grace of God, He Tasted Death – Hebrews 2:5-9
Surprised By Suffering? – Hebrews 2:10-13
Like His Brethren in All Things – Hebrews 2:14-18
More Glory Than Moses – Hebrews 3:1-6
Don’t Stop Believing – Hebrews 3:7-19
The Rest That Remains – Hebrews 4:1-13
Mercy and Grace in Time of Need – Hebrews 4:14-16
Heard Because of His Reverence – Hebrews 5:1-10
It’s Hard to Explain – Hebrews 5:11-6:3
Falling Away? – Hebrews 6:4-12
Promise + Oath = Hope – Hebrews 6:13-20
Jesus and Melchizedek – Hebrews 7:1-10
The Guarantee of a Better Covenant – Hebrews 7:11-28
The Mediator of a Better Covenant – Hebrews 8:1-13
The Holy Spirit is Signifying This – Hebrews 9:1-14
For This Reason He Is the Mediator of the New Covenant – Hebrews 9:15-28
Once for All – Hebrews 10:1-18
Draw Near, Hold Fast, Consider How – Hebrews 10:19-25
If We Go on Sinning Wilfully – Hebrews 10:26-39
Faith is. . . ? – Hebrews 11:1-7
By Faith, Abraham and Sarah. . . – Hebrews 11:8-19
By Faith, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. . . – Hebrews 11:20-29
He Disciplines Us for Our Good – Hebrews 12:1-3
The Good of Discipline – Hebrews 12:1-11
Preparation for God’s Presence – Hebrews 12:12-17
Mt. Zion – Hebrews 12:18-29
Love The Brethren – Hebrews 13:1-3
Honor Marriage – Hebrews 13:4
Don’t Fall in Love with Money – Hebrews 13:5-6
Those Who Led You – Hebrews 13:7
Let Us Go to Jesus – Hebrews 13:8-14
Live Life as a Sacrifice of Praise – Hebrews 13:15-16
Obey Your Leaders – Hebrews 13:17
Pray for Preachers – Hebrews 13:18-19
The Great Shepherd of the Sheep – Hebrews 13:20-25

 

 
Source [Monergism.com]

A form of sound words must be one that exalts God and puts down man

January 26, 2015 2 comments

CharlesSpurgeonThis morning I shall first attempt to tell you what I conceive to be a “form of sound words,” which we are to hold fast. In the second place, I shall endeavor to urge upon you the strong necessity of holding fast that form. In the third place, I shall warn you of some dangers to which you will be exposed, tempting you to give up the form of sound words. Then, in the last place I shall mention the two great holdfasts, faith and love in Christ Jesus, which are the great means of “holding fast the form of sound words.”

What is a “FORM OF SOUND WORDS?” Ten thousand persons will quarrel upon this. One will say, “MY creed is a form of sound words;” another will declare that his creed also is sound if not infallible. We will not, therefore, enter into all the minute, which distinguish creeds from each other, but just simply say, that no system can be a form of sound words unless it is perfectly scriptural. We receive no doctrines as the doctrines of men; whatever authority come to us which is not the authority of the Holy Spirit, and inspired by God, is no authority at all to us.

We laugh to scorn all the dogmatism of men, we care for nothing they assert however strongly they declare it, or however eloquently they plead for it; we utterly reject and discard it; we hold it a sin to “take for doctrines the commandments of men;” we give no heed to the traditions that are handed down to us. If our opponent cannot quote text or verse for anything he advances, we hold no argument with him. Scripture is the only weapon we can acknowledge.

But since it is said that texts may be found to prove almost everything, we must remark, that a form of sound words must be one that exalts God and puts down man. We dare not for a moment think that any doctrine is sound that does not put the crown upon the head of Jesus, and does not exalt the Almighty. If we see a doctrine which exalts the creature, we do not care one fig about what arguments may be brought to support it, we know that it is a lie, unless it lays the creature in the very dust of abasement, and exalts the Creator. If it does not do this, it is nothing but a rotten doctrine of pride; it may dazzle us with the brilliant malaria rising from its marshes, but it never can shed a true and healthful light into the soul, it is a rotten doctrine, not fit to be builded on the gospel, unless it exalts Jehovah Jesus, Jehovah the Father, and Jehovah the Holy Spirit.

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Form of Sound Words-Delivered on Sabbath, May 11, 1856

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1-Chapter 8-The Independency of God

January 23, 2015 4 comments

CHAPTER 8-THE INDEPENDENCY OF GOD

GOD is the one and only independent Being. We speak of rich men as being independent, but in reality no creature is independent. Webster defines the adjective “independent” as follows: “Not dependent; free; not subject to control by others; not relying on others; not subordinate; self-governing; sovereign; not contingent or conditioned,” etc. Now God is the only Being to whom this definition can be absolutely applied.

The independency of God does not preclude the employment of His creatures in accomplishing His will, but it means that He does not depend upon them; He does not have to use them. The popular expression, “God is depending on us,” makes Him weaker than we are. God may use us in furthering His cause, but what He does with us He could as easily do without us. God derives no power or wisdom from His creatures. “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” (#Ro 11:34,35).

Paul says: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (#2Co 4:7). The Gospel is proclaimed by lips of clay, but the power of conversion is not in the man who speaks: “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (#1Co 2:4,5). Faith is not the result of man’s persuasive powers; it is a fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (#Ga 5:22). The new birth is not the result of man’s will, or the will of the flesh: “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (#Joh 1:13), “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (#Jas 1:18). For success in the ministry God does not depend upon the preacher; the preacher must depend upon God.

THAT WORN-OUT FARM

The story is told of a man who bought a run-down farm in Virginia. For three years he worked hard and finally was able to produce the necessities of life. One day he was visited by his pastor. As he took him over the farm, pointing out here and there patches and fields of good crops, the pastor remarked several times that it looked as if he and the Lord were partners in farming. As the preacher took his leave, the old farmer said, “Reverend, I agrees with all you say about me and the Lord being in partnership. I agree with every word. But reverend, I jest wishes you could a seen this place when the Lord was running it by Hisself!” This irreverent joke has no place in the pulpit as teaching that God had to depend upon the farmer for good crops. That worn out land was not God’s exhibit of what He was able to do. It was natural retribution for the abuse of what God had made. The thorns and briars and weeds that had grown on that run down farm were a reminder of sin. “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field” (#Ge 3:17,18). They did not speak of what God could produce, but of what man deserves. God made the earth fruitful of good; sin caused it to abound in thorns and thistles. A run down farm does not represent the best God can do. God used the farmer in producing good crops, but He did not depend on Him.

Moses cautioned Israel against saying: “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (#De 8:17,18). Also our Savior taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (#Mt 6:11).

There must be some way to preach the truth of human responsibility without begetting pride in the creature and without dethroning God. We must not preach one truth at the cost of another truth. Man is a responsible creature. He is responsible to do all God commands. Man is responsible to work for his bread, but after all his work he is dependent upon God for his bread. No man, who can work, has the right to expect bread apart from work; not because God cannot give bread without work, but because He will not put a premium on laziness. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (#2Th 3:10). That God can give food apart from human work is seen in the fall of the manna in the wilderness, “And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat” (#Ex 16:14-15) and the feeding of Elijah by the ravens. “And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there” (#1Ki 17:4). Of God we can truly sing:

“He sits on no precarious throne,
Nor borrows leave to be.”

To further amplify the subject of God’s independence, let us divide it into two branches: Self-existence and Self-sufficiency.

GOD IS SELF-EXISTENT

Every being must have a ground for its existence, either in or out of itself. The ground of man’s existence is outside of himself; he does not cause himself to exist. Man is dependent on something outside of himself for existence, but God is not thus dependent. To be sure the self existence of God is incomprehensible to us, too much for the finite mind to grasp. But a self existent person is not as great a mystery as a self existent thing such as Herbert Spencer supposes the universe to be. It is easier to see how matter is derived from mind than to see how mind is derived from matter.

The ground of God’s existence is not in His will, but in His nature. He did not will Himself into being; it is His nature to exist. He exists naturally and therefore necessarily.

GOD IS SELF-SUFFICIENT

The self-existent Being must, of necessity, be self sufficient. God is sufficient for His own support, glory, and happiness. “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (#Ro 11:36). God comprehends in Himself all excellencies, perfections, and happiness. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (#Col 1:16).

It is very necessary to distinguish between what God is in His essential being, and what He is declared to be by His creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (#Ps 19:1), but they add nothing to it. Men are to ascribe glory to God in their eating and drinking: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (#1Co 10:31), but this is not any addition to His glory, but a mere recognition and acknowledgment of it. In Judges we have the exhortation, but this does not denote that God was in need of man’s help, but that it is man’s duty to serve God. “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel” (#Ps 78:41), but this only imports their attitude of mistrust. They acted as though God was limited in power and could not take care of them in the wilderness. Moreover, they limited Him in His authority, that is, they acted as if He did not have the right to make certain commands upon them; they showed by their murmurings that they were displeased with His providences. “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness” (#Ex 16:2); “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (#Nu 14:27). In the same passage it is charged that they tempted God, “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice” (#Nu 14:22) that is, they acted as if He could be tempted. In unbelief they put Him to the proof.

GOD IS ESSENTIALLY BLESSED

He is called the blessed or happy God, “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust” (#1Ti 1:11); “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” (#1Ti 6:15). This happiness can neither be added to nor destroyed. Sin merits and receives His displeasure, but it does not destroy His happiness. Righteousness in His moral creatures may and does receive His approbation, but it adds nothing to His essential happiness and glory. He was happy and glorious before there were any creatures, and He will remain happy even when hell is filled with the wicked. God’s happiness rests upon three facts:

1. There is no moral conflict in God.

“Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (#Ps 147:5). God is at peace with Himself. He is infinite in wisdom and spends no time in grieving over mistakes. He is infinite in holiness and knows no remorse for sin. While there are three persons in the Godhead, they are an absolute unity and in perfect accord. Peace is the great desideratum of the human race, but it belongs essentially to God. He is called the God of peace: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (#Heb 13:20). And there is harmony among all His attributes. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (#Ps 85:10).

2. God knows no limitations.

He is never at the end of Himself. His resources are never diminished. He never faces an emergency. He knows nothing of crises. He never resorts to any new deal, for His plans and purposes are all eternal. Wisdom designed all His plans, and His power executes them, therefore “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (#Ac 15:18). There never was a time when God wondered what He would or could do. He has no experiment station where He learns what is best, for He naturally knows what is best. In all these points man is in striking contrast to God. We are straitened in ourselves, often at our wit’s end and helpless. We are limited in power and wisdom. We are limited in time, but God is the King of Eternity. Joshua wanted time to get his day’s work done, and God lengthened the day for him. “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day” (#Jos 10:12,13). Napoleon, at Waterloo, saw the shadows of the evening falling upon his defeated army and is reported to have said, “O that I had the power of Joshua to retard the march of the sun one hour!”

3. God’s happiness consists of His holiness.

Sin destroys happiness. Look at Adam and Eve in Eden “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed” (#Ge 2:8), before and after their sin. “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (#Ge 3:8). Nothing to mar their happiness until sin came. Sin promises happiness but cannot produce it. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (#Ro 5:12). Sin is breaking with God, and since God is the fountain and source of all true happiness, when man broke with Him, he lost peace and joy. No man in his natural state, as a sinner, has any true peace and joy. These are fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” (#Ga 5:22). The people of God will not be perfectly happy until they are completely saved, and this will not be until they are conformed to the image of Christ in resurrection glory. “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (#Ps 17:15). “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (#Ro 4:8). Satan gives a counterfeit happiness. He has built a fool’s paradise in this world for his dupes. But the ever happy God will make His children genuinely and eternally happy in a real and lasting paradise. His grace has satisfied us with the imputed righteousness of His Son for justification, and has also created a thirst within us for personal righteousness, and that thirst will be satisfied when we are glorified. Here is His promise: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (#Mt 5:6) . What a joy to know that we shall some day be as good as we now want to be!

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers-Prayer 23

THE LOOK OF FAITH.

OUR Father, we have listened to Thy gracious words. Truly Thy paths drop fatness. Wherever Thou art, mercy abounds. Before Thy feet rivers of grace spring up. When Thou comest to man it is with the fullness of pardoning love. Thou hast bidden us come to Thee and seek Thee while Thou mayest be found. We would come now. May Thy holy Spirit help us! May Jesus lead the way and be our Mediator now!

Blessed be Thy name; there are many who sought Thy face many years ago. We have since then tasted that Thou art gracious, and we know by a delightful experience that Thou dost indeed give milk and honey to such as trust Thee. Oh! we wish we had known Thee earlier.

Lord, Thou hast been full of truth and faithfulness to us throughout every step of our journey, and though Thou hast not withheld the rod of the covenant from us, we are as grateful for that this morning as for the kisses of Thy lips. Thou hast dealt well with Thy servants according to Thy Word. Blessed be Thy name for ever and ever.

But there are some who have never come to Thee; they are hearers, but hearers only; they have listened to gracious invitations thousands of times, but they have never accepted them. Say unto them, “Thereto hast thou gone, but no further shalt thou proceed in thy carelessness and trifling. Here shalt thou stay and turn unto Thy God.” O Savior, Thou hast all power in heaven and earth, therefore Thou canst through the preaching of Thy Word influence the hearts of men. Turn them, and they shall be turned. Oh! do it this day.

We would now in our prayers come; as we came at first would we come again; we would renew our vows, we would again repeat our repentance and our faith, and then look at the brazen serpent and touch but the border of Thy garment. We would begin again. O, Lord, help us to do it in sincerity and truth. And first we do confess that we are by nature lost and by practice ruined. We are altogether as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. We would lie at those dear pierced feet bleeding at heart because of sin, wounded, mangled, crushed by the fall and by our own transgression. We confess that if Thou shouldst number our sins upon us and deal with us accordingly we should be sent to the lowest hell.

We have no merit, no claim, no righteousness of our own. Oh! now, dear Savior, we look up to Thee. Oh! that some might look for the first time, and those of us that have long looked would fix our happy gaze again upon that blessed substitutionary sacrifice wherein is all our hope. Dear Savior, we do take Thee to be everything to us, our sin-bearer and our sin destroyer. We have not a shadow of a shade of a hope anywhere but in Thyself, Thy life, Thy death, Thy resurrection, Thine ascension, Thy glory, Thy reign, Thy second advent; these are the only stars in our sky.

We look up to Thee and are filled with light. But O Thou dear, dear Savior, we dare not turn to ordinances, we dare not turn to our own prayers, and tears, and almsgivings, we dare not look to our own works, we only look to Thee; Thy wounds, Immanuel, these bleed the balm that heals our wounds, Thy crowned head once girt with thorns, Thy body once laid in the silent tomb, Thy Godhead once covered and concealed from man, but now resplendent amidst triumphant hosts. If we can perish trusting in Thee we must perish, but we know we cannot, for Thou hast bound up our salvation with Thy glory, and because Thou art a glorious Savior for ever, none that trust in Thee shall ever be confounded.

But we do trust Thee now. If all our past experience has been a mistake, yet we will begin at the cross today; or if we have never had any experience of Thee before we would begin today. Oh! hear Thou, hear Thou the prayer : —

“Dear Savior, draw reluctant hearts,
To Thee let sinners fly.”

By His agony and bloody sweat, by His cross and passion, by His precious death and burial, we beseech Thee hear us now! We plead with Thee for some that are not pleading for themselves, O Spirit of God, let it not be so any longer. Now sweetly use Thy key to open the fast-closed door, and come into men’s hearts and dwell there that they may live. We have a thousand things to ask We should like to plead for our country and for all countries; we should like to plead with Thee for the sick and for the dying, for the poor and for the fatherless. We have innumerable blessings to ask, but somehow they all go away from our prayer just now, and this is our one cry: Save, Lord, we beseech Thee, even now send salvation! Come Holy Spirit to open blind eyes and unstop deaf ears and quicken dead hearts.

Father, glorify Thy Son that Thy Son may glorify Thee. Holy Spirit, do Thine office and take of these things of Christ and reveal them unto us. We gather up all our prayers in that salvation through the blood of the Lamb. Amen.

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers

The more modern Anti Trinitarians, and especially Servetus, refuted.

January 21, 2015 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The more modern Anti Trinitarians, and especially Servetus, refuted.

22. It were tedious, and to no purpose toilsome, to form a catalogue of the errors by which, in regard to this branch of doctrine, the purity of the faith has been assailed. The greater part of heretics have with their gross deliriums made a general attack on the glory of God, deeming it enough if they could disturb and shake the unwary. From a few individuals numerous sects have sprung up, some of them rending the divine essence, and others confounding the distinction of Persons. But if we hold, what has already been demonstrated from Scripture, that the essence of the one God, pertaining to the Father, Son, and Spirit, is simple and indivisible, and again, that the Father differs in some special property from the Son, and the Son from the Spirit, the door will be shut against Arius and Sabellius, as well as the other ancient authors of error. But as in our day have arisen certain frantic men, such as Servetus and others, who, by new devices, have thrown every thing into confusion, it may be worthwhile briefly to discuss their fallacies.

The name of Trinity was so much disliked, nay detested, by Servetus, that he charged all whom he called Trinitarians with being Atheists. I say nothing of the insulting terms in which he thought proper to make his charges. The sum of his speculations was, that a threefold Deity is introduced wherever three Persons are said to exist in his essence, and that this Triad was imaginary, inasmuch as it was inconsistent with the unity of God. At the same time, he would have it that the Persons are certain external ideas which do not truly subsist in the Divine essence, but only figure God to us under this or that form: that at first, indeed, there was no distinction in God, because originally the Word was the same as the Spirit, but ever since Christ came forth God of God, another Spirit, also a God, had proceeded from him. But although he sometimes cloaks his absurdities in allegory, as when he says that the eternal Word of God was the Spirit of Christ with God, and the reflection of the idea, likewise that the Spirit was a shadow of Deity, he at last reduces the divinity of both to nothing; maintaining that, according to the mode of distribution, there is a part of God as well in the Son as in the Spirit, just as the same Spirit substantially is a portion of God in us, and also in wood and stone. His absurd babbling concerning the person of the mediator will be seen in its own place.

The monstrous fiction that a Person is nothing else than a visible appearance of the glory of God, needs not a long refutation. For when John declares that before the world was created the Logos was God, (John 1:1,) he shows that he was something very different from an idea. But if even then, and from the remotest eternity, that Logos, who was God, was with the Father, and had his own distinct and peculiar glory with the Father, (John 17:5,) he certainly could not be an external or figurative splendor, but must necessarily have been a hypostasis which dwelt inherently in God himself. But although there is no mention made of the Spirit antecedent to the account of the creation, he is not there introduced as a shadow, but as the essential power of God, where Moses relates that the shapeless mass was unborn by him (Genesis 1:2.) It is obvious that the eternal Spirit always existed in God, seeing he cherished and sustained the confused materials of heaven and earth before they possessed order or beauty. Assuredly he could not then be an image or representation of God, as Servetus dreams. But he is elsewhere forced to make a more open disclosure of his impiety when he says, that God by his eternal reason decreeing a Son to himself, in this way assumed a visible appearance. For if this be true, no other Divinity is left to Christ than is implied in his having been ordained a Son by God’s eternal decree. Moreover, those phantoms which Servetus substitutes for the hypostases he so transforms as to make new changes in God. But the most execrable heresy of all is his confounding both the Son and Spirit promiscuously with all the creatures. For he distinctly asserts, that there are parts and partitions in the essence of God, and that every such portion is God. This he does especially when he says, that the spirits of the faithful are co-eternal and consubstantial with God, although he elsewhere assigns a substantial divinity, not only to the soul of man, but to all created things.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 13-Henry Beveridge Translation

Growth in Grace 11 — Self-control Must Be Supplied with Perseverance

January 20, 2015 1 comment

One of the dangers that Christians face, especially as they get older, is the danger of becoming too comfortable in the world. They become unaccustomed to suffering, trial, and affliction for the sake of Christ and the gospel. They forget perhaps the suffering and the loss of friends they experienced when they first became Christians. They learn too well how just to get along with the world. They lose their edge.

In the letter of 1 Peter we are studying, Peter is addressing those who have been Christians for some time and have become established in their faith.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The desire to please the congregation has caused a many minister to twist the scriptures

January 20, 2015 6 comments

Arthur PinkTo comply with what has just been said calls for an unbiased approach, an honest heart, and a spirit of fidelity, on the part of the interpreter.

“Nothing should be elicited from the text but what is yielded by the fair and grammatical explanation of its language” (P. Fairbaim). It is easy to assent to that dictum, but often difficult to put it into practice.

A personal shrinking from what condemns the preacher, a sectarian bias of mind, the desire to please his hearers, have caused not a few to evade the plain force of certain passages, and to foist on them significations which are quite foreign to their meaning. Said Luther, “We must not make God’s Word mean what we wish. We must not bend it, but allow it to bend us, and give it the honor of being better than we can make it.” Anything other than that is highly reprehensible. Great care needs ever to be taken that we do not expound our own minds instead of God’s. Nothing can be more blameworthy than for a man to profess to be uttering a “Thus saith the Lord” when he is merely expressing his own thoughts. Yet who is there who has not, unwittingly, done so?

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures