“Surely that man must be in an unhealthy state of soul, who can think of all that Jesus suffered–and yet love those sins for which that suffering was undergone! It was sin which wove the crown of thorns! It was sin which pierced our Lord’s hands and feet and side! It was sin which brought Him to Gethsemane and Calvary, to the cross and to the grave! Cold must our hearts be, if we do not hate sin and labor to get rid of it–though we may have to cut off the right hand and pluck out the right eye in doing it!”
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news” (Isaiah 61:1)
“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43).
“We may profitably note how earnestly our Lord kept to His work. It was His business to preach, and He did preach–He was always preaching!
Even His miracles were sermons; they were acted discourses, full of instruction.
All of His actions were sermons–He preached by every movement.
He preached when He did not speak–His silence was as eloquent as His words! He preached from the bloody tree!With hands and feet fastened there, He delivered the most wonderful discourse on divine justice and on love, on divine vengeance and on grace, on death and on life, on damnation and on salvation–which was ever preached in this poor world!
Oh, yes, He preached–He was always preaching; with all His heart and soul He preached. He wept in secret, that He might the more compassionately preach the gospel which wipes men’s tears and sins away. As He walked the streets, He preached as He went along. This was His one calling; and this one calling, He pursued in the power of the eternal Spirit.
As our Lord ascended He said, ‘Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). His charge in brief was–preach, preach even as I have done before you!”
“Beloved, mistake not the nature and the evidence of growth in sanctification. In all your self-denial in this great work, be cautious of grace denial. You will need much holy wisdom here, lest you overlook the work of the Spirit within you.
You have thought, it may be, of the glory that Christ receives from brilliant genius, and profound talent, and splendid gifts, and glowing zeal, and costly sacrifices, and extensive usefulness.
But have you ever thought of the glory, the far greater, richer glory, that flows to Him from the contrite spirit, the broken heart, the lowly mind, the humble walk, the tear of godly repentance that falls when seen by no human eye, the sigh of godly sorrow that is breathed when heard by no human ear, the sin abhorrence, the self loathing, the deep sense of vileness, and poverty, and infirmity that takes you to Jesus with the prayer: ‘Lord, here I am; I have brought to You my rebellious will, my wandering heart, my worldly affections, my peculiar infirmity, my besetting and constantly overpowering sin. Receive me graciously, put forth the mighty power of Your grace in my soul, and subdue all, and rule all, and subjugate all to Yourself! Will it not be for Your glory, the glory of Your great name if this strong corruption were subdued by Your grace, if this powerful sin were nailed to Your cross, if this temper so volatile, if this heart so impure, if these affections so truant, if this mind so dark, if these desires so earthly, if these pursuits so carnal, if these aims so selfish, were all entirely renewed by Your Spirit, sanctified by Your grace, and made each to reflect Your image? Yes, Lord, it would be for Your glory, through time and through eternity!’ “
“Only by ‘righteousness’ could it be pacified; and nothing less than that which is divine could meet the case. At the cross this ‘righteousness’ was found; human, yet divine: provided for man, and presented to him by God, for relief of conscience and justification of life. On the one word tetelestai, ‘It is finished,’ as on a heavenly resting-place, weary souls sat down and were refreshed. The voice from the tree did not summon them to do, but to be satisfied with what was done. Millions of bruised consciences there found healing and peace.”
– Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness, p.9 (italics in original)
“Do this in remembrance of Me!” (1 Corinthians 11:24)
It appears that Christians may forget Christ! There would be no need for this loving exhortation–if there were not a fearful possibility that our memories might prove treacherous. Nor is this an empty notion. It is, sadly, too well confirmed in our experience; not as a possibility–but as a lamentable fact!
It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb, and loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God–could forget their gracious Savior! But if startling to the ear, sadly, it is too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the crime.
Can we forget Him–who never forgot us! Can we forget Him–who poured His blood out for our sins! Can we forget Him–who loved us even to death! Can it be possible?
Yes, it is not only possible–but conscience confesses that is is too sadly a fault with all of us. Instead of Him being a permanent resident in our memories–we treat Him as a visitor. The cross–where one would expect that memory would linger–is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness.
Doesn’t your conscience say that this is true? Don’t you find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some other love steals away your heart–and you are unmindful of Him upon whom your chief affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention–when you ought to be fixed steadily upon the cross. It is the incessant turmoil of the world, the constant attraction of earthly things–which takes the soul away from Christ! While memory works to preserve a poisonous weed–it allows the rose of Sharon to wither!
Let us charge ourselves to tie a heavenly forget-me-not around our hearts for Jesus our Beloved, and whatever else we let slip, let us hold tight to Him!
“We praise God that we are not required to earn what Christ has done for us, for we never could do so. We receive His death by simple faith alone. Jesus never demands that we earn what He did for us. But the Bible does tell us to live ‘in a manner worthy of the Lord’ (Col. 1:10). So we can turn to His wooden cross every day and pray, ‘If, with all Your glory, You, the Son of God, died for me, then I can live for You.’ We live not merely for a principle and not even for a great cause. We live for a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He died not merely for a principle or even for the greatest of causes. He died for us. So every Christian can say, ‘I live for Him, because He died for me.’ He died for me.”
– Richard Phillips, What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?
“As precious liquors are best kept in clean vessels–so sound doctrine is best kept in a pure heart and life. Who, indeed, would knowingly pour a choice wine into a tainted cask? It would be foolish to do so.
When we hear of men living in sin, and yet claiming to be children of God–we are disgusted with their pretenses, but we are not deceived by their professions.
In the same manner, we care little for those who are orthodox Christians in creed–if it is clear that they are heterodox in life. He who believes the truth–should himself be true. How can we expect others to receive our religion–if it leaves us foul, false, malicious, and selfish?
We sicken at the sight of a dirty dish, and refuse even good food when it is placed thereon. So pure and holy is the doctrine of the cross, that he who hears it aright, will have his ears cleansed, he who believes it aright, will have his heart purged, and he who preaches it aright, will have his tongue purified. Woe unto that man who brings reproach upon the gospel by an unholy life!
Lord, evermore make us pure vessels fit for Your own use, and then fill us with the pure wine of the grapes of sound doctrine and wholesome instruction. Do not allow us to be such ‘foul cups’–as to be only fit for the wine of Sodom!”
“Whatever men please to think or say, the Romish doctrine of the real presence, if pursued to its legitimate consequences, obscures every leading doctrine of the Gospel, and damages and interferes with the whole system of Christ’s truth. Grant for a moment that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice, and not a sacrament–grant that every time the words of consecration are used the natural body and blood of Christ are present on the Communion Table under the forms of bread and wine–grant that every one who eats that consecrated bread and drinks that consecrated wine does really eat and drink the natural body and blood of Christ–grant for a moment these things, and then see what momentous consequences result from these premises. You spoil the blessed doctrine of Christ’s finished work when he died on the cross. A sacrifice that needs to be repeated is not a perfect and complete thing. You spoil the priestly office of Christ. If there are priests that can offer an acceptable of God besides Him, the great High Priest is robbed of His glory. You spoil the Scriptural doctrine of the Christian ministry. You exalt sinful man into the position of mediators between God and man. You give to the sacramental elements of bread and wine an honour and veneration they were never meant to receive, and produce an idolatry to be abhorred by faithful Christians. Last, but not least, you overthrow the true doctrine of Christ’s human nature. If the body born of the Virgin Mary can be in more places than one at the same time, it is not a body like our own, and Jesus was not ‘the second Adam’ in the truth of our nature. I cannot doubt for a moment that our martyred Reformers saw and felt these things even more clearly than we do, and, seeing and feeling them, chose to die rather than admit the doctrine of the real presence. Feeling them, they would not give way by subjection for a moment, and cheerfully laid down their lives. Let this fact be deeply graven in our minds. Wherever the English language is spoken on the face of the globe this fact ought to be clearly understood by every Englishman who reads history.”
– J.C. Ryle, Five English Reformers, p.26-27
“Once again we see that the Christian family life is to imitate the divine family life. If our loving commitment to our Christian brothers and sisters is less than it should be, it can only mean that we have lost sight of the wonder of the cross. The cross is not only the centerpiece of the Christian faith, it is the pulse-beat of the Christian life. We never graduate beyond it. Where love is failing, our great need is not so much to be exhorted to love, but to be reacquainted with the Saviour’s selfless sacrifice for sinners.”
– Iam Hamilton, Let’s Study the Letters of John, p.45