Tuesday, 25 April 2017

right doctrine but wrong spirit

'One of my own saddest recollections in pastoral ministry is of being told that during a new members' welcome that included a young husband with "a past," two "pillars of the church," esteemed for the model way in which they fulfilled all church membership responsibilities, were overheard to say, "What's he doing joining the church?" How easy it is to fall into a spirit of conditional grace toward prodigals even when the right doctrinal notes are struck!' - Sinclair Ferguson, The Whole Christ, p73fn35

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Loving the church, loving Jesus

"Don't kid yourself that you love the church, or even that you love Jesus, if you're not prepared to love the particular people he has put you in fellowship with." - p147, Covenant Made Simple by Jonty Rhodes

Thursday, 19 January 2017

that they may dare boldly to do all things by God's Word

Here, then, is the sovereign power with which the pastors of the church, by whatever name they be called, ought to be endowed. That is that they may dare boldly to do all things by God’s Word; may compel all worldly power, glory, wisdom, and exaltation to yield to and obey his majesty; supported by his power, may command all from the highest even to the last; may build up Christ’s household and cast down Satan’s; may feed the sheep and drive away the wolves; my instruct and exhort the teachable; may accuse, rebuke, and subdue the rebellious and stubborn; may bind and loose; finally, if need be, may launch thunderbolts and lightnings; but do all things in God’s Word. – Calvin, Institutes IV.Viii.9.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Public Worship for Christians

"... believers have no greater help than public worship, for by it God raises his own folk upward step by step."  - Calvin, Institutes IV.i.5

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

When you are worried about church

John Flavel, writing for those who are worried and distressed by the state of the church and how true Christians are persecuted:

Ponder this heart-supporting truth: how many troubles soever are upon [church], yet her King is in her. What! Hath the Lord forsaken his churches? […] ‘The Lord is with us, fear them not.’ A historian tells us, that when Antigonus overheard his soldiers reckoning how many their enemies were, and so discouraging one another, he suddenly stepped in among them with this question, ‘And how many do you reckon me for?’ Discouraged souls, how many do you reckon the Lord for? Is he not an overmatch for all his enemies? Is not one Almighty more than many mighties? ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ - p61, Keeping the Heart (italics original)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Affliction is a pill

Affliction is a pill, which, being wrapt up in patience and submission, may be easily swallowed; but discontent chews the pill, and so embitters the soul. – John Flavel,Keeping the Heart, p56

When you are brought low

God respects you as much in a low as in a high condition; and therefore it need not so much trouble you to be made low; nay, he manifests more of his love, grace and tenderness in the time of affliction than in the time of prosperity. As God did not at first choose you because you were high, he will not now forsake you because you are low. Men may look shy upon you, and alter their respects as your condition is altered; when Providence has blasted your estate, your summer-friends may grow strange, fearing you may be troublesome to them; but will God do so? No, no: ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,’ says he. If adversity and poverty could bar you from access to God, it were indeed a deplorable condition: but, so far from this, you may go to him as freely as ever. ‘My God will hear me,’ says the church. Poor David, when stripped of all earthly comforts, could encourage himself in the Lord his God; and why cannot you? Suppose your husband or son had lost all at sea, and should come to you in rags; could you deny the relation, or refuse to entertain him? If you would not, much less will God. Why then are you so troubled? Though your condition be changed, your Father’s love is not changed. – John Flavel, Keeping the Heart, p50–51