Monthly Archives: November 2011

Dead to the Gospel?

This was read on the site “J. C. Ryle Quotes” and is taken from the tract,  The Great Battle.

Men and women who hear the Gospel regularly, I often fear much for you. I fear lest you become so familiar with the sounds of its doctrines, that insensibly you become dead to its power. I fear lest your religion should sink down into a little vague talk about your own weakness and corruption, and a few sentimental expressions about Christ, while real practical fighting on Christ’s side is altogether neglected. Oh, beware of this state of mind! Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. No victory—no crown! Fight and overcome!



In everything give thanks for this is the will of  God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thess. 5:18


There are commands in God’s word that we ought to view as relatively ‘easy’. That is to say, they express something that we cannot quibble with or excuse or rationalize away. There are other commands that we find difficult or impossible as things stand. Think of the difference we might feel between the Great Commandment and the one that ‘is like it’. That we should love God with all our being may seem impossible given the limitations of our humanity, but it seems right to us. Of courses that is how I should live. Loving all people however seems so hard, so impossible,so easy to rationalize away. They don’t deserve my love. They have not earned it. Yet, it remains as clear a command as we can find in God’s Word. Let me address another command or really set of commands. We are to be thankful at all times and for all things. Right?  (Eph. 5:20, 1 Thess. 5:18, Col. 3:17) Any argument that this is what God commands? But we want to argue and excuse. Surely, God did not have my situation and circumstances in mind.  If He had known what was happening in my life at this time, He would never ask such things of me.  And yet He did. He knows what He is doing even if we do not. May it increasingly be true that every day is Thanksgiving Day!

Are You Dangerous?

Those who were at prayer meeting a couple of weeks ago would have had the opportunity to meet Dr. Charles Woodrow.  At, Tim speaks about Dr.  Woodrow’s ministry at his church this past Lord’s Day. 

This morning we had Dr. Charles Woodrow preach at Grace Fellowship Church. For over 20 years, Dr. Woodrow has served as a missionary to Mozambique. Our church has been supporting him in this work for the past several years. In his sermon he quoted Jim Elliot—not the Elliot quote we all know (“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”), but one that I hadn’t heard before. I thought it was worth sharing.

We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the twentieth century does not reckon with. But we are “harmless,” and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are “sideliners” — coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!

Getting there…

One of the great hindrances to the Christian life, lived out before God and others is the failure to rightly esteem ourselves.  While there is much today exhorting Christians to think more highly of themselves than they already do, the emphasis of  Scripture is to see oneself as poor and wretched and needy.  Winslow’s devotional for November 12 is helpful in this regard.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3

CULTIVATE above all spiritual conditions, most assiduously, prayerfully, earnestly, and fervently, poverty of spirit. Rest not short of it. This is the legitimate fruit and the only safe evidence of our union to Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit in our hearts. Nothing can suffice for it. Splendid talent, versatile gifts, profound erudition, gorgeous eloquence, and even extensive usefulness, are wretched substitutes for poverty of spirit. They may dazzle the eye, and please the ear, delight the taste, and awake the applause of man, but, dissociated from humiliation of mind, God sees no glory in them. What says He? “To this man”-to him only, to him exclusively-“will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.” We may think highly of gifts, but let us learn their comparative value and true place from the words of our Lord, spoken in reference to John: “Verily I say unto you, Among them which are born of women, there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist: “notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Behold the true position which Christ assigns to distinction of office, of place, and of gifts-subordinate to lowliness of spirit. This is their proper rank; and he who elevates them above profound self-abasement, deep lowliness of spirit, sins against God, impeaches His wisdom, and denies the truth of His word. But how shall we adequately describe this blessed state? How draw the portrait of the man that is “poor, and of a contrite spirit”? Look at him as he appears in his own apprehension and judgment-“the chief of sinners”-“less than the least of all saints”-“though I be nothing.” Prostrate, where others exalt him; condemning, where others approve him; censuring, where others applaud him; humbling himself, where others have put upon him the greatest honor. Confessing in secret, and in the dust before God, the flaws, the imperfections, and the sins of those things which have dazzled the eyes, and awoke to trembling ecstasy the souls of the multitude. Look at him in the place he assumes among others-taking the low position; in honor preferring others; washing the disciples’ feet; willing to serve, rather than be served; rejoicing in the distinction, the promotion, the gifts, the usefulness, and the honor put upon his fellow-saints; and ready himself to go up higher at his Master’s bidding. Look at him under the hand of God-meek, patient, resigned, humbled, drinking the cup, blessing the hand that has smitten, justifying the wisdom, the love, and the gentleness which mark the discipline, and eager to learn the holy lessons it is sent to teach. Look at him before the cross-reposing all his gifts, attainments, and honors at its foot, and glorying only in the exhibition it presents of a holy God pardoning sin by the death of His Son, and as the hallowed instrument by which he becomes crucified to the world, and the world to him.

Pass It On…

When we love something we generally want to share it.  Ate at a great restaurant?  Tell someone!  Saw a great movie?  Spread the word!  Enjoyed a new song?  Play it for someone!   When we come to faith in Jesus we have a great desire to pass that faith on…not just to our friends and loved ones, but to everyone.  The same thing happens when we come to embrace the doctrines of grace, especially as those doctrines focus on the sovereignty of God in salvation.  Sadly, many initially reject these great truths.  The following devotional by Octavius Winslow may be a help in spreading the word to others.  Pass it on.

He also did predestinate. – Romans 8:29

THIS word admits of but one natural signification. Predestination, in its lowest sense, is understood to mean the exclusive agency of God in producing every event. But it includes more than this: it takes in God’s predeterminate appointment and fore-arrangement of a thing beforehand, according to His divine and supreme will. The Greek is so rendered: “For to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel determined beforehand to be done.” Again, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” It is here affirmed of God, that the same prearrangement and predetermination which men in general are agreed to ascribe to Him in the government of matter, extends equally, and with yet stronger force, to the concerns of His moral administration. It would seem impossible to form any correct idea of God, disassociated from the idea of predestination. And yet how marvelously difficult is it to win the mind to a full, unwavering acquiescence in a truth which, in a different application, is received with unquestioning readiness! And what is there in the application of this law of the Divine government to the world of matter, which is not equally reasonable and fit in its application to the world of mind? If it is necessary and proper in the material, why should it not be equally, or more so, in the spiritual empire? If God is allowed the full exercise of a sovereignty in the one, why should He be excluded from an
unlimited sovereignty in the other? Surely it were even more worthy of Him that He should prearrange, predetermine, and supremely rule in the concerns of a
world over which His more dignified and glorious empire extends, than that in the inferior world of matter He should fix a constellation in the heavens, guide the gyrations of a bird in the air, direct the falling of an autumnal leaf in the pathless desert, or convey the seed, borne upon the wind, to the spot in which it should grow. Surely if no fortuitous ordering is admitted in the one case, on infinitely stronger grounds it should be excluded from the other. Upon no other basis could Divine foreknowledge and providence take their stand than upon this. Disconnected from the will and purpose of God, there could be nothing certain as to the future; and consequently there could be nothing certainly foreknown. And were not Providence to regulate and control people, things, and events-every dispensation in fact-by the same preconstructed plan, it would follow that God would be exposed to a thousand contingencies unforeseen, or else that He acts ignorantly, or contrary to His will. What, then, is predestination but God’s determining will?

Now all this will apply with augmented beauty and force to the idea of a predestinated Church. How clearly is this doctrine revealed! “According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” “Whose names are written in the book of life, from the foundation of the world.” “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” “Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” What an accumulation of evidence in proof of a single doctrine of Scripture! Who but the most prejudiced can resist, or the most skeptical deny, its overwhelming force? Oh, to receive it as the word of God! To admit it, not because reason can understand, or man can explain it-for all truth
flowing from an infinite source must necessarily transcend a finite mind-but because we find it in God’s holy word. Predestination must be a Divine verity,
since it stands essentially connected with our conformity to the Divine image.