Monthly Archives: January 2012

No Child Left Behind

I trust that all true believers are in agreement regarding the evils of genuine Hyper-Calvinism.  That doctrine  distorts the wonderfully revealed truths of election and predestination so as to eliminate a heart for evangelism.  While we despise the ‘hyper’ we do love the genuine.  Our trust is that all that the Father has given to the Son will come to Him.   Of those for whom Christ lived and died there shall be none left behind.

Charles Spurgeon speaks to this issue in today’s  Morning section of  Morning and Evening.  His text was Romans 11:26, All Israel Shall Be Saved.

When Moses sang at the Red Sea, it was his joy to know that all Israel were safe. Not a drop of spray fell from that solid wall until the last of God’s Israel had safely planted his foot on the other side the flood. That done, immediately the floods dissolved into their proper place again, but not till then. Part of that song was, “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed.” In the last time, when the elect shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb, it shall be the boast of Jesus, “Of all whom thou hast given me, I have lost none.” In heaven there shall not be a vacant throne.

“For all the chosen race
Shall meet around the throne,
Shall bless the conduct of His grace,
And make His glories known.”

As many as God hath chosen, as many as Christ hath redeemed, as many as the Spirit hath called, as many as believe in Jesus, shall safely cross the dividing sea. We are not all safely landed yet:

“Part of the host have crossed the flood,
And part are crossing now.”

The vanguard of the army has already reached the shore. We are marching through the depths; we are at this day following hard after our Leader into the heart of the sea. Let us be of good cheer: the rear-guard shall soon be where the vanguard already is; the last of the chosen ones shall soon have crossed the sea, and then shall be heard the song of triumph, when all are secure. But oh! if one were absent—oh! if one of His chosen family should be cast away—it would make an everlasting discord in the song of the redeemed, and cut the strings of the harps of paradise, so that music could never be extorted from them


A Heart Searching Word For Ministers Of The Gospel

One of my devotional exercises this year is to read  the ‘Morning’ section of  Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening.   In today’s reading he expounds a few words from Exodus 28:38 which addresses ‘the iniquity of holy things’ that needed to be atonement.   His application to pastors is especially convicting (at least to me!).

What a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight. The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, ‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, He presents before His Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!

How I Left My Clown’s Nose Behind

I read an article this morning by Dr. Carl Trueman which stirred up a good many memories.   He wrote of the blessing that came to him as a young Christian through the writings of Packer and Lloyd-Jones.  I  too was converted as a young man from a completely pagan background.  God began to surround me with good, godly and stable older men.  Many of these men are still living and still a part of  my life.  Their stabilty and maturity challenged me and changed me.  Though I still enjoy a good laugh, I  have not made my Chrisitian life about ‘fun’ nor have I sought to shape my public ministry around my native personality.   If  I had been left to my devices and my own inclinations I would have preached often with a clown’s nose upon my face.  I would have gravitated toward the silly and the sensational.    I am thankful for the influence through the years of mentors who labored and preached in the full confidence and joy of  redemptive realities but also in the fear of God.  I am thankful for the stablity of a confessional heritage.  I am thankful to have  the Reformers and the Purtians and their true heirs under my feet as I strive to minister faithfully in my generation.

Trueman puts it this way in his article:

Looking back, I now realize how much of my thinking on everything was decisively and permanently shaped by these early influences.  There are things in one’s youth that one remembers and which later seem something like Houseman’s blue remembered hills: the happy highways where I went but cannot come again.  Not in this case: all the theology I have is basically an elaboration of what I learned from reading these two giants; my cares and concerns, my core understanding of the gospel, is what I received from them.  The authoritative revelation of God in the scriptures; the fall, the incarnation, above all the cross and resurrection and the hope of the life to come. These are still foundational to my understanding of the gospel and I hope they are still my priorities. 
Someone asked me recently why I seem so alienated from what appears to be the cutting edge in American conservative evangelicalism.Frankly, I have stopped regarding myself as an evangelical over here, in a way that I do back home.  Why?  Well, at a time when Christian leaders in the USA are apparently writing explicit sex books, when there are confused signals on the Trinity, when art and cultural transformation and social justice are increasingly the talking points and the kind of themes and priorities I learned from Drs. Packer and Lloyd-Jones are at best assumed, at worst eclipsed by such things – frankly, it is very hard not to feel alienated, and an alien, in such circumstances.


You can read the full article here:

By all means, grow!

I do not know that I have ever met a true Christian who does not want to grow.  But not all do grow as they should.  What makes the difference?   Labor.  Effort.  Striving.   What makes the difference between the man who wants to be fit and the one who is fit?  Their desire has turned to action.

In his, Morning and Evening,  Spurgeon addresses the text of  2 Peter 3:18 where we are commanded to grow in grace and knowledge:

“GROW in grace”—not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fulness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward—having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.” He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus, refuses to be blessed. To know Him is “life eternal,” and to advance in the knowledge of Him is to increase in happiness. He who does not long to know more of Christ, knows nothing of Him yet. Whoever hath sipped this wine will thirst for more, for although Christ doth satisfy, yet it is such a satisfaction, that the appetite is not cloyed, but whetted. If you know the love of Jesus—as the hart panteth for the water-brooks, so will you pant after deeper draughts of His love. If you do not desire to know Him better, then you love Him not, for love always cries, “Nearer, nearer.” Absence from Christ is hell; but the presence of Jesus is heaven. Rest not then content without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus. Seek to know more of Him in His divine nature, in His human relationship, in His finished work, in His death, in His resurrection, in His present glorious intercession, and in His future royal advent. Abide hard by the Cross, and search the mystery of His wounds. An increase of love to Jesus, and a more perfect apprehension of His love to us is one of the best tests of growth in grace.

Resolutions From Ryle

Walk more closely with God, get nearer to Christ and seek to exchange hope for assurance. Seek to feel the witness of the Spirit more closely and distinctly every year. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets you. Press towards the mark more earnestly. Fight a better fight, and war a better warfare every year you live. Pray more, read more, mortify self more, love the brethren more. Oh that you may endeavor so to grow in grace every year, that your last things may be far more than your first, and the end of your Christian course far better than the beginning!