SEARCH BY AUTHORS

Quotes of Author: Sinclair-ferguson

1.
If Christ is not ashamed to indwell them I will not be slow to embrace them.

If Christ is not ashamed to indwell them I will not be slow to embrace them.  

Reference:   Union with Christ: Life-Transforming Implications, 2014 Desiring God Conference.


2.
God’s holy wrath is poured out on what He hates because it damages and destroys what He loves.

God’s holy wrath is poured out on what He hates because it damages and destroys what He loves.  

Reference:   Union with Christ: Life-Transforming Implications, 2014 Desiring God Conference.


Topics: God-Wrath
3.
1. While we will regret setting the bar below the standards of Scripture in recognizing men called to the eldership, we can also in our zeal set it artificially higher than the Scriptures, and fail to recognize that some of the best gifts grow in ministry.  2. Especially remember that “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:3), with its corollary of being able to “rebuke” (Tit. 1:9, i.e. to use the Scriptures for the ends for which they were given [2 Tim. 3:15-16]) does not specify an arena. Some are “able to teach” who are not suited to regular public preaching.  3. Look for men whose lives exhibit the spirit of, as well as an intellectual grasp of, sound doctrine. Orthodoxy with approachability is a great desideratum in an elder (approachability being the very least that “hospitable” means; Tit. 1:8).  4. Pose the most neglected question—”Do outsiders think well of him?” (1 Tim. 3:7)—and ponder why that question is important.  5. Choose those who are already “among” the flock, and the flock “among” them (1 Pet. 5: 2). Moral, domestic, occupational, didactic qualifications being met, ask, “Does this man love the flock and is he beloved by them?” Commitment to corporate prayer is often a litmus test.  6. Avoid appointing those who would commit to loving the flock if they were asked to be elders. Better by far to have men who love the sheep than men who love being shepherds (the former will become the latter, but not vice-versa).  7. Seek men who are simultaneously gentle but prepared to be courageous, and prepared to suffer if need be—to get in front to protect as well as behind to follow! An elder must be capable of both biblical rebuke and gentle restoration (Gal. 6:2). Quieter men, with quiet hearts, are worth their weight in gold and may astonish us by their wisdom.  8. Ask the question, “Would our church be willing, if need be, to pay this man a stipend to labor among us as an elder?” The answer may tell a great deal about his ministry in the flock and his esteem in their eyes.  9. Consider how well a man’s life echoes the principles of the Lord’s shepherding in Psalm 23.

1. While we will regret setting the bar below the standards of Scripture in recognizing men called to the eldership, we can also in our zeal set it artificially higher than the Scriptures, and fail to recognize that some of the best gifts grow in ministry. 2. Especially remember that “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:3), with its corollary of being able to “rebuke” (Tit. 1:9, i.e. to use the Scriptures for the ends for which they were given [2 Tim. 3:15-16]) does not specify an arena. Some are “able to teach” who are not suited to regular public preaching. 3. Look for men whose lives exhibit the spirit of, as well as an intellectual grasp of, sound doctrine. Orthodoxy with approachability is a great desideratum in an elder (approachability being the very least that “hospitable” means; Tit. 1:8). 4. Pose the most neglected question—”Do outsiders think well of him?” (1 Tim. 3:7)—and ponder why that question is important. 5. Choose those who are already “among” the flock, and the flock “among” them (1 Pet. 5: 2). Moral, domestic, occupational, didactic qualifications being met, ask, “Does this man love the flock and is he beloved by them?” Commitment to corporate prayer is often a litmus test. 6. Avoid appointing those who would commit to loving the flock if they were asked to be elders. Better by far to have men who love the sheep than men who love being shepherds (the former will become the latter, but not vice-versa). 7. Seek men who are simultaneously gentle but prepared to be courageous, and prepared to suffer if need be—to get in front to protect as well as behind to follow! An elder must be capable of both biblical rebuke and gentle restoration (Gal. 6:2). Quieter men, with quiet hearts, are worth their weight in gold and may astonish us by their wisdom. 8. Ask the question, “Would our church be willing, if need be, to pay this man a stipend to labor among us as an elder?” The answer may tell a great deal about his ministry in the flock and his esteem in their eyes. 9. Consider how well a man’s life echoes the principles of the Lord’s shepherding in Psalm 23.

Reference:   A Pastors' and Theologians' Forum on Selecting Elders, IX Marks, Used by Permission.


4.
He does not love us if we love Him. He loves us with an unconditional love; therefore, we should love Him. The message of the covenant is one of God’s totally free grace to His people. Of course, it calls for a response of total commitment. But notice the order: God’s covenant love is not the result of our commitment; it is the cause of it. The pattern is, “I will, therefore you should;” not “I will, but only if you will first.”

He does not love us if we love Him. He loves us with an unconditional love; therefore, we should love Him. The message of the covenant is one of God’s totally free grace to His people. Of course, it calls for a response of total commitment. But notice the order: God’s covenant love is not the result of our commitment; it is the cause of it. The pattern is, "I will, therefore you should;" not "I will, but only if you will first."

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 36-37, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


5.
The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears… This is the secret of Christian courage and boldness.

The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears… This is the secret of Christian courage and boldness.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 33- 34.


6.
The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears… This is the secret of Christian courage and boldness.

The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears… This is the secret of Christian courage and boldness.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 33- 34.


Topics: Boldness
7.
The hallmark of the preaching which the Spirit effects is “boldness”… As in the Old Testament, when the Spirit fills the servant of God He “clothes himself” with that person, and aspects of the Spirit’s authority are illustrated in the courageous declaration of the Word of God. This boldness appears to involve exactly what it denotes: there is freedom of speech. We catch occasional glimpses of this in the Acts of the Apostles. What was said of the early New England preacher Thomas Hooker becomes a visible reality: when he preached, those who heard him felt that he could pick up a king and put him in his pocket!

The hallmark of the preaching which the Spirit effects is "boldness"... As in the Old Testament, when the Spirit fills the servant of God He "clothes himself" with that person, and aspects of the Spirit's authority are illustrated in the courageous declaration of the Word of God. This boldness appears to involve exactly what it denotes: there is freedom of speech. We catch occasional glimpses of this in the Acts of the Apostles. What was said of the early New England preacher Thomas Hooker becomes a visible reality: when he preached, those who heard him felt that he could pick up a king and put him in his pocket!

Reference:   The Holy Spirit, InterVarsity Press, 1996, p. 238.


Topics: Boldness
8.
Scripture is like a working museum of which the Spirit is the Curator, showing us around and explaining the wonders of the mind of the Maker. In this museum we are taken behind the scenes to learn from God Himself. In growing to know God, therefore, there is no substitute for the discipline of Bible study and Scripture reading and meditation. We cannot bypass the handbook God has given to us and then expect that we can know Him in our own way. The only god we can know in our own way is a god that we make in our own image.

Scripture is like a working museum of which the Spirit is the Curator, showing us around and explaining the wonders of the mind of the Maker. In this museum we are taken behind the scenes to learn from God Himself. In growing to know God, therefore, there is no substitute for the discipline of Bible study and Scripture reading and meditation. We cannot bypass the handbook God has given to us and then expect that we can know Him in our own way. The only god we can know in our own way is a god that we make in our own image.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 8, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


9.
Yes, apostasy happens.  Sometimes the catalyst is flagrant sin.  The pain of conviction and repentance is refused, and the only alternative to it is wholesale rejection of Christ.  But sometimes the catalyst is a thorn growing quietly in the heart, an indifference to the way of the Cross, a drifting that is not reversed by the knowledge of biblical warnings.

Yes, apostasy happens.  Sometimes the catalyst is flagrant sin.  The pain of conviction and repentance is refused, and the only alternative to it is wholesale rejection of Christ.  But sometimes the catalyst is a thorn growing quietly in the heart, an indifference to the way of the Cross, a drifting that is not reversed by the knowledge of biblical warnings.

Reference:   Apostasy and How it Happens, Tabletalk, April. 2004, p. 28, Used by Permission.


Topics: Apostasy
10.
We miss the radical nature of Paul’s teaching here to our great loss. So startling is it that we need to find a startling manner of expressing it. For what Paul is saying is that sanctification means this: in relationship both to sin and to God, the determining factor of my existence is no longer my past. It is Christ’s past.

We miss the radical nature of Paul’s teaching here to our great loss. So startling is it that we need to find a startling manner of expressing it. For what Paul is saying is that sanctification means this: in relationship both to sin and to God, the determining factor of my existence is no longer my past. It is Christ’s past.

Reference:   The Reformed View in Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification, ed. Donald L. Alexander, IVP, 1988, p. 57.


11.
Since man was made for the glory of God, he can never be what he was intended to be until his life is properly focused on the glory of God… So God’s glory does not detract from man’s life. Instead, His glory is the sun around which the whole of life must revolve if there is to be the light and life of God in our experience. Since we were made for His glory, we will always malfunction whenever we fail to live for that purpose according to the Maker’s instructions.

Since man was made for the glory of God, he can never be what he was intended to be until his life is properly focused on the glory of God… So God’s glory does not detract from man’s life. Instead, His glory is the sun around which the whole of life must revolve if there is to be the light and life of God in our experience. Since we were made for His glory, we will always malfunction whenever we fail to live for that purpose according to the Maker’s instructions.

Reference:   The Sermon on the Mount, 1987, p. 127. By permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


12.
God is God; you are but one of His creatures.  Your only joy is to be found in obeying Him, your true fulfillment is to be found in worshipping Him, your only wisdom is to be found in trusting and knowing Him.

God is God; you are but one of His creatures.  Your only joy is to be found in obeying Him, your true fulfillment is to be found in worshipping Him, your only wisdom is to be found in trusting and knowing Him.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 52, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


13.
The providence of God is the way in which He governs everything wisely, first for the glory of His own Name, and second for the ultimate blessing of His children.

The providence of God is the way in which He governs everything wisely, first for the glory of His own Name, and second for the ultimate blessing of His children.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 94, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


14.
The foundation of our love for the Lord lies in the recognition of His holiness, our sinfulness, and His grace…those who are forgiven much, love much.

The foundation of our love for the Lord lies in the recognition of His holiness, our sinfulness, and His grace…those who are forgiven much, love much.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 93, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


15.
Christ became a curse for sinners. We become blessed in Christ (Galatians 3:13). He “sealed my pardon with His blood” by bearing our guilt and punishment. He grounds our final righteousness before God by His own perfect obedience.  Consequently, justification not only deals with past guilt, but also secures for us a complete and final (or eschatological, to use the technical term) righteousness before God. This is what it means to be justified by faith.

Christ became a curse for sinners. We become blessed in Christ (Galatians 3:13). He “sealed my pardon with His blood” by bearing our guilt and punishment. He grounds our final righteousness before God by His own perfect obedience.  Consequently, justification not only deals with past guilt, but also secures for us a complete and final (or eschatological, to use the technical term) righteousness before God. This is what it means to be justified by faith.

Reference:   Assured by God, ed. Burk Parsons, P&R, 2006, p. 92. Used by Permission.


16.
In the Bible the verb “justify” means “to count righteous” not “to make righteous.”

In the Bible the verb “justify” means “to count righteous” not “to make righteous.”

Reference:   Assured by God, ed. Burk Parsons, P&R, 2006, p. 90. Used by Permission.


17.
Precisely because we are justified in Him – that is, in His justification – our justification is also final and irreversible. Indeed we can be so bold as to say that we are as fully justified before God as our Lord Jesus is. We are as finally justified as our Lord Jesus is. We are as irreversibly justified as our Lord Jesus is. The only justification we have – our only righteousness – is that of the Lord Jesus. We are justified with His justification.

Precisely because we are justified in Him – that is, in His justification – our justification is also final and irreversible. Indeed we can be so bold as to say that we are as fully justified before God as our Lord Jesus is. We are as finally justified as our Lord Jesus is. We are as irreversibly justified as our Lord Jesus is. The only justification we have – our only righteousness – is that of the Lord Jesus. We are justified with His justification.

Reference:   Sinclair B. Ferguson Assured by God, ed. Burk Parsons, P&R, 2006, p. 91. Used by Permission.


18.
Genesis 2 does not tell us much more about the significance of this seventh day. But as we learn more about it from Scripture we realize that the “rest” involved was not a lazy rest. Rather, it was intended to be a day when the working man could enjoy the Creator as well as the creation. He could devote himself more directly to fellowship with God and the worship of His Name. This “sabbath,” or “rest-day,” was a further special blessing which God gave to man so he would be refreshed and strengthened, encouraged and heartened by contemplating all that God had done and stimulated to worship God in response.

Genesis 2 does not tell us much more about the significance of this seventh day. But as we learn more about it from Scripture we realize that the “rest” involved was not a lazy rest. Rather, it was intended to be a day when the working man could enjoy the Creator as well as the creation. He could devote himself more directly to fellowship with God and the worship of His Name. This “sabbath,” or “rest-day,” was a further special blessing which God gave to man so he would be refreshed and strengthened, encouraged and heartened by contemplating all that God had done and stimulated to worship God in response.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 33, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


Topics: Sabbath
19.
[Faith] is trust in God’s character and obedience to His living voice expressed in His Word. Consequently the object of faith in the Old Testament is the promise of God which awaits its fulfillment in the coming of Christ. Faith looked forward then, just as now it looks backward to its object in Christ. It is interesting to notice how this is expressed in the teaching of Hebrews that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1).” In fact this perspective runs through the whole of Hebrews 11-Noah…Abel…Enoch…and Abraham “did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance (vs. 13).” Even the martyrs who were commended for their faith did not receive what had been promised (vs. 39). Faith for them was hearing the testimony of God, trusting His promise, and living in the light of God’s faithfulness to it.

[Faith] is trust in God's character and obedience to His living voice expressed in His Word. Consequently the object of faith in the Old Testament is the promise of God which awaits its fulfillment in the coming of Christ. Faith looked forward then, just as now it looks backward to its object in Christ. It is interesting to notice how this is expressed in the teaching of Hebrews that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1).” In fact this perspective runs through the whole of Hebrews 11-Noah...Abel...Enoch...and Abraham “did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance (vs. 13).” Even the martyrs who were commended for their faith did not receive what had been promised (vs. 39). Faith for them was hearing the testimony of God, trusting His promise, and living in the light of God's faithfulness to it.

Reference:   The Christian Life, p. 63, 1997, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


20.
The figure of John Owen (1616-1683) towers above – almost head and shoulders above – the galaxy of writers we know collectively as the English Puritans. His theological learning and acumen was unrivalled; his sense of the importance of doctrine for living was profound.

The figure of John Owen (1616-1683) towers above – almost head and shoulders above – the galaxy of writers we know collectively as the English Puritans. His theological learning and acumen was unrivalled; his sense of the importance of doctrine for living was profound.

Reference:   Theologian of the Spirit, Tabletalk, Oct. 2004, p. 16, Used by Permission.


21.
If light reading is our passion, then Owen’s prose style is not for us.  His paragraphs are tightly packed; his thoughts demanding.  His analysis of the heart cannot be skimmed quickly.  But in our age of constant and instant upgrade to faster models, this is exactly what many of us need:  a slow read, a careful application- allowing ourselves to feel the wounds made by Owen’s sensitive eye surgery, and, as a result, discovering that we see our God more clearly, that we love his Son more fully and serve Him in the power of the Spirit more thoroughly.  If this is what we need – as it surely is – Owen, though dead, still speaks, and in providence of God is still there to help and guide us.

If light reading is our passion, then Owen’s prose style is not for us. His paragraphs are tightly packed; his thoughts demanding. His analysis of the heart cannot be skimmed quickly. But in our age of constant and instant upgrade to faster models, this is exactly what many of us need: a slow read, a careful application- allowing ourselves to feel the wounds made by Owen’s sensitive eye surgery, and, as a result, discovering that we see our God more clearly, that we love his Son more fully and serve Him in the power of the Spirit more thoroughly. If this is what we need - as it surely is - Owen, though dead, still speaks, and in providence of God is still there to help and guide us.

Reference:   Theologian of the Spirit, Tabletalk, Oct. 2004, p. 18, Used by Permission.


22.
If it is important that we learn to know the condition of the hearts of our hearers, the best place to begin is, of course, with our own hearts. Apply the Word there, and we will soon learn to be like surgical attendants: our exposition of the text will become like sterilized knives, perfectly tooled, which we hand to the Spirit for the precise spiritual surgery that our people actually need.

If it is important that we learn to know the condition of the hearts of our hearers, the best place to begin is, of course, with our own hearts. Apply the Word there, and we will soon learn to be like surgical attendants: our exposition of the text will become like sterilized knives, perfectly tooled, which we hand to the Spirit for the precise spiritual surgery that our people actually need.

Reference:   Feed My Sheep, ed. Don Kistler, Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, 2002, p. 208.


23.
If the world is not rooted out from our hearts, it will devour them. There must be weeding, if the good seed of grace is to grow. But what weed-killer can we use against the spirit of the world? Here is a potent, three-fold formula from the Bible:

1. Recognize that love of the world is the enemy of the love of the Father (1 John 2:15). You cannot have both. You must choose one only. Make the right choice.

2. Remember that it was the world that crucified Christ and that it took the sacrifice of the Cross to deliver you from it (Gal. 6:14). How can you negotiate with the spirit which plotted the assassination of your Savior?

3. Reflect on the fact that the world, in this sense, is transient and ephemeral (1 John 2:17); it is not a solid investment. Devote yourself instead to having “treasure in heaven” (Matt. 6:19-21).

If the world is not rooted out from our hearts, it will devour them. There must be weeding, if the good seed of grace is to grow. But what weed-killer can we use against the spirit of the world? Here is a potent, three-fold formula from the Bible: 1. Recognize that love of the world is the enemy of the love of the Father (1 John 2:15). You cannot have both. You must choose one only. Make the right choice. 2. Remember that it was the world that crucified Christ and that it took the sacrifice of the Cross to deliver you from it (Gal. 6:14). How can you negotiate with the spirit which plotted the assassination of your Savior? 3. Reflect on the fact that the world, in this sense, is transient and ephemeral (1 John 2:17); it is not a solid investment. Devote yourself instead to having “treasure in heaven” (Matt. 6:19-21).

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 19-20.


24.
We tend to be a generation of Christians who major on minor matters but do not seem to possess the true measure of the gospel in the knowledge of God.  We do not really know God.  At best we know about Him.

We tend to be a generation of Christians who major on minor matters but do not seem to possess the true measure of the gospel in the knowledge of God.  We do not really know God.  At best we know about Him.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 41.


25.
There is a strange ambiguity here.  On the one hand, God’s call seems to have its own creative power. On the other hand, God opens His arms and His heart to the rebellious as He calls them, but His summons seems to fall empty on the ground and met with no positive response. It is irrestible, and yet it seems to be rejectable!

There is a strange ambiguity here. On the one hand, God's call seems to have its own creative power. On the other hand, God opens His arms and His heart to the rebellious as He calls them, but His summons seems to fall empty on the ground and met with no positive response. It is irrestible, and yet it seems to be rejectable!

Reference:   The Christian Life, p. 31, 1997, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


26.
We must not think that obedience leads to an easier life, nor should we assume that when things fall apart it is always a sign of our specific disobedience – God’s ways with us in the Christian life are usually much more intricate and complex than that!

We must not think that obedience leads to an easier life, nor should we assume that when things fall apart it is always a sign of our specific disobedience – God’s ways with us in the Christian life are usually much more intricate and complex than that!

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 16.


27.
When we exercise the gifts which Christ has given us we are really saying to our fellow Christians and others: See how much the Lord Jesus Christ loves you and cares for you; He has sent me to serve you in this way; He is using my hands and feet, my lips and ears, to show His love. It is a tragic mistake if we think that the message is: See what a superb Christian I am; see the wonderful gifts I have… Gifts are for service, not self-advancement.

When we exercise the gifts which Christ has given us we are really saying to our fellow Christians and others: See how much the Lord Jesus Christ loves you and cares for you; He has sent me to serve you in this way; He is using my hands and feet, my lips and ears, to show His love. It is a tragic mistake if we think that the message is: See what a superb Christian I am; see the wonderful gifts I have… Gifts are for service, not self-advancement.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 69.


28.
In the climate of our modern church, it is essential for us to realize that God’s Word is the central gift Christ gives to the church. The major gifts of the New Testament era were given either to write that word (apostles), apply it (prophets) or teach it (pastors and teachers). Whenever we dislocate our own spiritual gift from this anchor we begin to flounder in a sea of instability. We must see to it that our gifts are fed on the teaching of Holy Scripture, so that they grow strong and are channeled in the right direction, and so bring glory to Christ.

In the climate of our modern church, it is essential for us to realize that God’s Word is the central gift Christ gives to the church. The major gifts of the New Testament era were given either to write that word (apostles), apply it (prophets) or teach it (pastors and teachers). Whenever we dislocate our own spiritual gift from this anchor we begin to flounder in a sea of instability. We must see to it that our gifts are fed on the teaching of Holy Scripture, so that they grow strong and are channeled in the right direction, and so bring glory to Christ.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 71.


29.
Preaching to the heart addresses the understanding first, in order to instruct it; but in doing so it also reaches through the mind to inform, rebuke, and cleanse the conscience. It then touches the will in order to reform and transform life and equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12). 

Preaching to the heart addresses the understanding first, in order to instruct it; but in doing so it also reaches through the mind to inform, rebuke, and cleanse the conscience. It then touches the will in order to reform and transform life and equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12). 

Reference:   Feed My Sheep, ed. Don Kistler, Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, 2002, p. 201.


30.
In the last analysis, this is what preaching to the heart is intended to produce: inner prostration of the hearts of our listeners through a consciousness of the presence and the glory of God. This distinguishes authentic biblical, expository preaching from any cheap substitute for it; it marks the difference between preaching about the Word of God and preaching the Word of God.

In the last analysis, this is what preaching to the heart is intended to produce: inner prostration of the hearts of our listeners through a consciousness of the presence and the glory of God. This distinguishes authentic biblical, expository preaching from any cheap substitute for it; it marks the difference between preaching about the Word of God and preaching the Word of God.

Reference:   Feed My Sheep, ed. Don Kistler, Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, 2002, p. 196.


31.
How do we bring glory to God? The Bible’s short answer is: by growing more and more like Jesus Christ.

How do we bring glory to God? The Bible’s short answer is: by growing more and more like Jesus Christ.

Reference:   Sinclair B. Ferguson Healthy Christian Growth, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 2.


32.
It is only when we want to take our lives out of the Father’s hands and have them under our own control that we find ourselves gripped with anxiety. The secret of freedom from anxiety is freedom from ourselves and abandonment of our own plans. But that spirit emerges in our lives only when our minds are filled with the knowledge that our Father can be trusted implicitly to supply everything we need.

It is only when we want to take our lives out of the Father’s hands and have them under our own control that we find ourselves gripped with anxiety. The secret of freedom from anxiety is freedom from ourselves and abandonment of our own plans. But that spirit emerges in our lives only when our minds are filled with the knowledge that our Father can be trusted implicitly to supply everything we need.

Reference:   The Sermon on the Mount, 1987, p. 144. By permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


Topics: Anxiety
33.
The explanation of Scripture forms the dominant feature and the organizing principle of the message. All preaching should be based on the apostolic kerygma and didache. Exegetical preaching is governed by the goal of expounding the meaning and significance of this “faith once-delivered” in terms of the actual way in which it has been delivered, namely the structure and content of the biblical revelation, in which truth is revealed not in the form of a series of theological or topical loci (God, sin, justification, sanctification; war, money, social ethics, etc.), but through history, parable, narrative, argumentation, poem, and so on. Exegetical preaching therefore sees as its fundamental task the explanation of the text in its context, the unfolding of its principles, and only then their application to the world of hearers.

The explanation of Scripture forms the dominant feature and the organizing principle of the message. All preaching should be based on the apostolic kerygma and didache. Exegetical preaching is governed by the goal of expounding the meaning and significance of this “faith once-delivered” in terms of the actual way in which it has been delivered, namely the structure and content of the biblical revelation, in which truth is revealed not in the form of a series of theological or topical loci (God, sin, justification, sanctification; war, money, social ethics, etc.), but through history, parable, narrative, argumentation, poem, and so on. Exegetical preaching therefore sees as its fundamental task the explanation of the text in its context, the unfolding of its principles, and only then their application to the world of hearers.

Reference:   The Preacher and Preaching: Reviving the Art in the Twentieth Century, ed. Samuel T. Logan, P&R, 1986, p.192-193.


34.
Adam was made as the image and likeness of God and was given dominion over the earth. He was called to live by faith and obey God’s commands. He was created to be the divinely appointed gardener who would turn the whole earth into a garden, and thus, as it were, extend the glory of God. But Adam failed. Instead of exercising the privilege of reflecting God as his image and experiencing in his miniature what it meant for God to be Lord of all – Adam forfeited it.

Adam was made as the image and likeness of God and was given dominion over the earth. He was called to live by faith and obey God’s commands. He was created to be the divinely appointed gardener who would turn the whole earth into a garden, and thus, as it were, extend the glory of God. But Adam failed. Instead of exercising the privilege of reflecting God as his image and experiencing in his miniature what it meant for God to be Lord of all – Adam forfeited it.

Reference:   The Author of Faith, Tabletalk, Oct. 2004, p. 29, Used by Permission.


Topics: Fall-The
35.
The single most important activity of your life is to worship God. You were made for this – to offer your whole life, in all its parts, as a hymn of praise to the Lord. When the psalmist says: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name” (Ps. 103:1), he is speaking as a spiritual athlete in peak condition; his entire life is unreservedly directed to the Lord in praise; whole-heartedness of devotion to God is his most obvious characteristic.

The single most important activity of your life is to worship God. You were made for this – to offer your whole life, in all its parts, as a hymn of praise to the Lord. When the psalmist says: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name” (Ps. 103:1), he is speaking as a spiritual athlete in peak condition; his entire life is unreservedly directed to the Lord in praise; whole-heartedness of devotion to God is his most obvious characteristic.

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 7.


36.
Where God is at the center of things, worship inevitably follows. Where there is no spirit of worship, there God has been dethroned and displaced.

Where God is at the center of things, worship inevitably follows. Where there is no spirit of worship, there God has been dethroned and displaced.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 107, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


37.
There is a difference between going to a service “for the worship” and going to a service “to worship the Lord.” The distinction appears to be a minor one, but it may imply the difference between the worship of God and the worship of music!

There is a difference between going to a service “for the worship” and going to a service “to worship the Lord.” The distinction appears to be a minor one, but it may imply the difference between the worship of God and the worship of music!

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 110, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


38.
Who knows the extent to which we would give in to sin, were we to be given a guarantee of immunity from discovery and exposure?

Who knows the extent to which we would give in to sin, were we to be given a guarantee of immunity from discovery and exposure?

Reference:   Heart for God, 1987, p. 90, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


39.
No one enjoys being cross-examined, or accused of having something wrong in their lives. But as we grow as Christians we come to the painful recognition that we have an almost unlimited capacity for self-deception. We slowly learn that we need to be stopped in our tracks by God. He uses Scripture to do this… We cannot reach our destination if we are travelling in the wrong direction.

No one enjoys being cross-examined, or accused of having something wrong in their lives. But as we grow as Christians we come to the painful recognition that we have an almost unlimited capacity for self-deception. We slowly learn that we need to be stopped in our tracks by God. He uses Scripture to do this… We cannot reach our destination if we are travelling in the wrong direction.

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 5.


40.
There can be few more alarming sights than the sight of what we would be were we left to ourselves, of what we are by nature in and of ourselves. It is a sight which few of us are able to bear for any length of time. That is why such experiences are usually brief, pointed but not prolonged. God shows us enough to make us see our need, to break down any illusions we may have had about ourselves. Like a skilled surgeon His knife work is fast, accurate and clean.

There can be few more alarming sights than the sight of what we would be were we left to ourselves, of what we are by nature in and of ourselves. It is a sight which few of us are able to bear for any length of time. That is why such experiences are usually brief, pointed but not prolonged. God shows us enough to make us see our need, to break down any illusions we may have had about ourselves. Like a skilled surgeon His knife work is fast, accurate and clean.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 119.


Topics: Conviction
41.
A wrong view of God leads inevitably to a failure to enjoy and grow in His grace. Failure to appreciate His love, His kindness and generous heart leads eventually to a life which bears no fruit and makes no progress. The lesson is clear: if you would grow in grace, learn what grace is. Taste and see that the Lord is good (see I Peter 2:2).

A wrong view of God leads inevitably to a failure to enjoy and grow in His grace. Failure to appreciate His love, His kindness and generous heart leads eventually to a life which bears no fruit and makes no progress. The lesson is clear: if you would grow in grace, learn what grace is. Taste and see that the Lord is good (see I Peter 2:2).

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 107.


42.
Too often we fail to appreciate that [the] apprehension of God is not only the test of our worship, but also the test of our spiritual growth. A Christian’s real development in spiritual life will always be revealed by how he or she thinks about God – how much he thinks about Him, and how highly he thinks about Him. 

Too often we fail to appreciate that [the] apprehension of God is not only the test of our worship, but also the test of our spiritual growth. A Christian’s real development in spiritual life will always be revealed by how he or she thinks about God – how much he thinks about Him, and how highly he thinks about Him. 

Reference:   A Heart for God, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1987, p. 111.


43.
There is nothing more important to learn about Christian growth than this: Growing in grace means becoming like Christ.

There is nothing more important to learn about Christian growth than this: Growing in grace means becoming like Christ.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 4.


44.
We must never forget – if we are to grow in grace, and therefore grow like Christ – that the One we trust, love, and serve is a crucified Savior. To follow Him means taking up the cross, as well as denying ourselves. It means a crucified life.

We must never forget – if we are to grow in grace, and therefore grow like Christ – that the One we trust, love, and serve is a crucified Savior. To follow Him means taking up the cross, as well as denying ourselves. It means a crucified life.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 62.


45.
Spiritual growth depends on two things: first a willingness to live according to the Word of God; second, a willingness to take whatever consequences emerge as a result.

Spiritual growth depends on two things: first a willingness to live according to the Word of God; second, a willingness to take whatever consequences emerge as a result.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 95.


46.
Imagine, for a moment, the reaction of Hell to the death of Christ. Jesus was bound with the bands of death. What celebration and joy! God was defeated! Vengeance was the Devil’s. But they reckoned without the wisdom of God. For Christ could not be held down by the bands of death. In fact through death He was paralyzing the one who had the power of death, and He was setting His people free (Heb. 2:14-15). What seemed to be defeat was actually victory. The Resurrection morning was Hell’s gloomiest day. Satan saw the wisdom of God and tasted defeat.

Imagine, for a moment, the reaction of Hell to the death of Christ. Jesus was bound with the bands of death. What celebration and joy! God was defeated! Vengeance was the Devil’s. But they reckoned without the wisdom of God. For Christ could not be held down by the bands of death. In fact through death He was paralyzing the one who had the power of death, and He was setting His people free (Heb. 2:14-15). What seemed to be defeat was actually victory. The Resurrection morning was Hell’s gloomiest day. Satan saw the wisdom of God and tasted defeat.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 75, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


47.
The spiritual life is lived between two polarities: our sin and God’s grace. The discovery of the former brings us to seek the latter; the work of the latter illuminates the depths of the former and causes us to seek yet more grace… The heart-conviction of sin is the way grace prepares the heart for more grace.

The spiritual life is lived between two polarities: our sin and God’s grace. The discovery of the former brings us to seek the latter; the work of the latter illuminates the depths of the former and causes us to seek yet more grace... The heart-conviction of sin is the way grace prepares the heart for more grace.

Reference:   Theologian of the Spirit, Tabletalk, Oct. 2004, p. 18, Used by Permission.


48.
 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). …When these words were first written, they presented a challenge to all religions of the world.  They made a claim for the God of Israel, the God of the Bible:  He alone is God; He alone is the Creator.  Ever since, they have challenged the philosophies and world views of mankind, and continue to do so today.  They affirm, without reservation, that the universe in which we live is not an accident, not the chance result of ‘nature’ or ‘evolution.’  It is the handiwork of the living God.

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). …When these words were first written, they presented a challenge to all religions of the world.  They made a claim for the God of Israel, the God of the Bible:  He alone is God; He alone is the Creator.  Ever since, they have challenged the philosophies and world views of mankind, and continue to do so today.  They affirm, without reservation, that the universe in which we live is not an accident, not the chance result of ‘nature’ or ‘evolution.’  It is the handiwork of the living God.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 24, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


49.
All other things derive being – their ‘is-ness’ is secondary. But God did not derive His being from any other – His ‘is-ness’ is underived, original, eternal! He was, and is, and is to come, the eternal ‘I Am.’ Rather than concealing His identity, this Name reveals the deepest mystery of His being, and rocks our minds with the discovery that we cannot begin to fathom the mind and life of this eternal God.

All other things derive being – their ‘is-ness’ is secondary. But God did not derive His being from any other – His ‘is-ness’ is underived, original, eternal! He was, and is, and is to come, the eternal ‘I Am.’ Rather than concealing His identity, this Name reveals the deepest mystery of His being, and rocks our minds with the discovery that we cannot begin to fathom the mind and life of this eternal God.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 51, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


50.
Christ’s death was substitutionary… Jesus was taking our place. That is why the charges brought against Him were blasphemy and treason, for these are the very charges we face before the judgment seat of God. We have made ourselves into gods, and thus blasphemed His holy Name; we have rebelled against His rightful rule over our lives, and we are guilty of high treason against his gracious majesty.

Christ’s death was substitutionary… Jesus was taking our place. That is why the charges brought against Him were blasphemy and treason, for these are the very charges we face before the judgment seat of God. We have made ourselves into gods, and thus blasphemed His holy Name; we have rebelled against His rightful rule over our lives, and we are guilty of high treason against his gracious majesty.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 68, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


51.
There is no such thing as genuine knowledge of God that does not show itself in obedience to His Word and will. The person who wants to know God but who has no heart to obey Him will never enter the sacred courts where God reveals Himself to the soul of man. God does not give divine knowledge to those who have no desire to glorify Him.

There is no such thing as genuine knowledge of God that does not show itself in obedience to His Word and will. The person who wants to know God but who has no heart to obey Him will never enter the sacred courts where God reveals Himself to the soul of man. God does not give divine knowledge to those who have no desire to glorify Him.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 10, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


52.
How you view God determines the quality and style of your Christian experience. Many Christians spend much of their lives paralyzed because, although they have trusted Christ as Saviour, they have never really seen what His sacrifice teaches us about the character of God. He gave His Son; He sent His Son; He “handed over” His Son because He loves us.

How you view God determines the quality and style of your Christian experience. Many Christians spend much of their lives paralyzed because, although they have trusted Christ as Saviour, they have never really seen what His sacrifice teaches us about the character of God. He gave His Son; He sent His Son; He “handed over” His Son because He loves us.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 70, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


Topics: God-Love
53.
If we have deep-seated fears that God does not really love us (as many Christians have), we can only go so far in growing nearer to God. There will come a point at which we will fear to trust Him any further because we cannot be sure of His love. When we look at ourselves, or our own faith, or our circumstances we will never be free from those lurking fears. Satan will see to that.  But when we lift up our eyes and look on the cross we find the final persuasion that God is gracious towards us. How can he be against us when all His wrath against us fell upon Christ? How can He fail to care for us when He gave the only Son He had for our sake? How can we doubt Him when He has given us evidence of His love sufficient to banish all doubts?

If we have deep-seated fears that God does not really love us (as many Christians have), we can only go so far in growing nearer to God. There will come a point at which we will fear to trust Him any further because we cannot be sure of His love. When we look at ourselves, or our own faith, or our circumstances we will never be free from those lurking fears. Satan will see to that. But when we lift up our eyes and look on the cross we find the final persuasion that God is gracious towards us. How can he be against us when all His wrath against us fell upon Christ? How can He fail to care for us when He gave the only Son He had for our sake? How can we doubt Him when He has given us evidence of His love sufficient to banish all doubts?

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 59.


Topics: God-Love
54.
God’s love is the most awesome thing about Him. It is not His justice, nor His majesty, nor even His blazing holiness, but the fact that He has made and keeps a covenant of personal commitment and love to His people.

God’s love is the most awesome thing about Him. It is not His justice, nor His majesty, nor even His blazing holiness, but the fact that He has made and keeps a covenant of personal commitment and love to His people.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 107-108.


Topics: God-Love
55.
[A proper fear of God] is that indefinable mixture of reverence and pleasure, joy and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what He has done for us. It is a love for God which is so great that we would be ashamed to do anything which would displease or grieve Him, and makes us happiest when we are doing what pleases Him.

[A proper fear of God] is that indefinable mixture of reverence and pleasure, joy and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what He has done for us. It is a love for God which is so great that we would be ashamed to do anything which would displease or grieve Him, and makes us happiest when we are doing what pleases Him.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 29.


Topics: Fear_of_God
56.
[The fear of God] is the result of discovering that the God whom we thought of with slavish, servile fear, the holy righteous, terrifying God of judgment and majesty, is also the God who forgives us through Jesus Christ… One reason why we know so little of such filial fear is that we do not appreciate the gospel! If we would grow in grace so that we fear God like this, we must first return to the gospel, and to the meaning of the cross.

[The fear of God] is the result of discovering that the God whom we thought of with slavish, servile fear, the holy righteous, terrifying God of judgment and majesty, is also the God who forgives us through Jesus Christ… One reason why we know so little of such filial fear is that we do not appreciate the gospel! If we would grow in grace so that we fear God like this, we must first return to the gospel, and to the meaning of the cross.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 32.


Topics: Fear_of_God
57.
God’s holiness means He is separate from sin.  But holiness in God also means wholeness.  God’s holiness is His “God-ness.”  It is His being God in all that it means for Him to be God.  To meet God in His holiness, therefore, is to be altogether overwhelmed by the discovery that He is God, and not man.

God’s holiness means He is separate from sin.  But holiness in God also means wholeness.  God’s holiness is His “God-ness.”  It is His being God in all that it means for Him to be God.  To meet God in His holiness, therefore, is to be altogether overwhelmed by the discovery that He is God, and not man.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 82, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


58.
There is no mere doctrine of “the security” of the believer, as though God’s keeping of us took place irrespective of the lives we live. Indeed there is no such thing in the New Testament as a believer whose perseverance is so guaranteed that he can afford to ignore the warning notes which are sounded so frequently.

There is no mere doctrine of “the security” of the believer, as though God’s keeping of us took place irrespective of the lives we live. Indeed there is no such thing in the New Testament as a believer whose perseverance is so guaranteed that he can afford to ignore the warning notes which are sounded so frequently.

Reference:   The Christian Life, p. 175, 1997, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


59.
For worship is, essentially, the reverse of sin. Sin began (and begins) when we succumb to the temptation, “You shall be as gods.” We make ourselves the center of the universe and dethrone God. By contrast, worship is giving God his true worth; it is acknowledging Him to be the Lord of all things, and the Lord of everything in our lives. He is, indeed, the Most High God!

For worship is, essentially, the reverse of sin. Sin began (and begins) when we succumb to the temptation, “You shall be as gods.” We make ourselves the center of the universe and dethrone God. By contrast, worship is giving God his true worth; it is acknowledging Him to be the Lord of all things, and the Lord of everything in our lives. He is, indeed, the Most High God!

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 111-112, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


60.
How to overcome the flesh:

1. Be honest about the presence and nature of sin continuing in your life. Paul was. In Colossians 3:5-9 he recognizes that the seeds of sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language and lying, may remain in true Christians and plague their lives.

2. See the sin which continues to indwell you not in the light of your perspective but in the light of God’s judgment. Any and all sin merits His wrath.

3. Remember who you are as a Christian. You have been crucified, buried and raised with Christ (Col. 3:1-3). Consequently you are no longer under the reign and rule of sin (Rom. 6:14,18). Now you must set your mind on Christ and on His reign in your life, and express your new identity in Christ by a life of holiness.

4. Refuse sin. Do not compromise with it; rather, put it to death (Col. 3:5).

5. Fill your life with Christ-like characteristics. (“Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”, Col. 3:12). In this way you will leave less and less room for sinful ones (v. 12-17).

How to overcome the flesh: 1. Be honest about the presence and nature of sin continuing in your life. Paul was. In Colossians 3:5-9 he recognizes that the seeds of sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language and lying, may remain in true Christians and plague their lives. 2. See the sin which continues to indwell you not in the light of your perspective but in the light of God’s judgment. Any and all sin merits His wrath. 3. Remember who you are as a Christian. You have been crucified, buried and raised with Christ (Col. 3:1-3). Consequently you are no longer under the reign and rule of sin (Rom. 6:14,18). Now you must set your mind on Christ and on His reign in your life, and express your new identity in Christ by a life of holiness. 4. Refuse sin. Do not compromise with it; rather, put it to death (Col. 3:5). 5. Fill your life with Christ-like characteristics. (“Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”, Col. 3:12). In this way you will leave less and less room for sinful ones (v. 12-17).

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 20-21.


61.
Freedom is not only the principle in the Christian life. Freedom is for something. God has set us free for holiness. He has set us free from the guilt and bondage of sin – but not in order that we might become enslaved to the very sins for which Christ died to redeem us!… No action which is contrary to the plain Word of God can ever be legitimate for the Christian. No appeal to spiritual freedom or to providential circumstances can ever make what is ethically wrong anything else but sinful. For the Christian is free only to love and obey the law of God. Therein lies his true freedom.

Freedom is not only the principle in the Christian life. Freedom is for something. God has set us free for holiness. He has set us free from the guilt and bondage of sin – but not in order that we might become enslaved to the very sins for which Christ died to redeem us!... No action which is contrary to the plain Word of God can ever be legitimate for the Christian. No appeal to spiritual freedom or to providential circumstances can ever make what is ethically wrong anything else but sinful. For the Christian is free only to love and obey the law of God. Therein lies his true freedom.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 66.


62.
“Should I or shouldn’t I?” is often, ultimately, a question of obedience as well as knowledge and understanding. Very often when young people say they are having problems about guidance, what they are really faced with is a problem about obedience. The issue at stake is whether we will walk along the paths of righteousness in which God will lead us. Are we willing to go through valleys of deep darkness, so long as He is with us?

“Should I or shouldn’t I?” is often, ultimately, a question of obedience as well as knowledge and understanding. Very often when young people say they are having problems about guidance, what they are really faced with is a problem about obedience. The issue at stake is whether we will walk along the paths of righteousness in which God will lead us. Are we willing to go through valleys of deep darkness, so long as He is with us?

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 36.


63.
Christians are persecuted for the sake of righteousness because of their loyalty to Christ. Real loyalty to Him creates friction in the hearts of those who pay Him only lip service. Loyalty arouses their consciences, and leaves them with only two alternatives: follow Christ, or silence Him. Often their only way of silencing Christ is by silencing His servants. Persecution, in subtle or less subtle forms, is the result.

Christians are persecuted for the sake of righteousness because of their loyalty to Christ. Real loyalty to Him creates friction in the hearts of those who pay Him only lip service. Loyalty arouses their consciences, and leaves them with only two alternatives: follow Christ, or silence Him. Often their only way of silencing Christ is by silencing His servants. Persecution, in subtle or less subtle forms, is the result.

Reference:   The Sermon on the Mount, 1997, p. 41, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle PA.


Topics: Persecution
64.
We [should not] make the mistake of thinking that marriage will provide the ultimate satisfaction for which we all hunger. To assume so would be to be guilty of blasphemy. Only God satisfies the hungry heart. Marriage is but one of the channels He uses to enable us to taste how deeply satisfying His thirst-quenching grace can be.

We [should not] make the mistake of thinking that marriage will provide the ultimate satisfaction for which we all hunger. To assume so would be to be guilty of blasphemy. Only God satisfies the hungry heart. Marriage is but one of the channels He uses to enable us to taste how deeply satisfying His thirst-quenching grace can be.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 92.


65.
Marriage has all kinds of purposes: it provides the environment in which children may be born and properly reared. It provides the context in which the sexual instincts can be exercised in a God-intended way. But first and foremost, Genesis teaches us, it provides a very special friendship. In marriage a man and a woman can become the best of friends, knowing each other to such a depth that only God knows them better! This, too, is a gift from the Creator.

Marriage has all kinds of purposes: it provides the environment in which children may be born and properly reared. It provides the context in which the sexual instincts can be exercised in a God-intended way. But first and foremost, Genesis teaches us, it provides a very special friendship. In marriage a man and a woman can become the best of friends, knowing each other to such a depth that only God knows them better! This, too, is a gift from the Creator.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 32, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


66.
Scripture speaks about God working everything together “for the good” of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). But what is this “good?” It consists of believers being conformed (changed and remade) to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Thus, all the experiences of life are intended, under the sovereign hand of God, to help us to grow towards the great goal of the Christian life – Christ-likeness.

Scripture speaks about God working everything together “for the good” of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). But what is this “good?” It consists of believers being conformed (changed and remade) to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Thus, all the experiences of life are intended, under the sovereign hand of God, to help us to grow towards the great goal of the Christian life – Christ-likeness.

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 16.


67.
God’s guidance will require patience on our part. His leading is not usually a direct assurance, a revelation, but His sovereign controlling of the circumstances of our lives, with the Word of God as our rule. It is therefore, inevitable that the unfolding of His purposes will take time – sometimes a very long time.

God’s guidance will require patience on our part. His leading is not usually a direct assurance, a revelation, but His sovereign controlling of the circumstances of our lives, with the Word of God as our rule. It is therefore, inevitable that the unfolding of His purposes will take time – sometimes a very long time.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 33-34.


68.
Knowing God’s will is a matter of judgment. That is why it is not an unspiritual practice, when faced with alternative ways of proceeding, to set down the pros and cons of the situation; the reasons, possibilities, problems of one decision in contrast with another. When we begin to evaluate these against a background of a general knowledge of the Lord’s will in Scripture, we often find our minds drawn in a particular direction. As time passes we begin to feel the weight of one course of action rather than another.

Knowing God’s will is a matter of judgment. That is why it is not an unspiritual practice, when faced with alternative ways of proceeding, to set down the pros and cons of the situation; the reasons, possibilities, problems of one decision in contrast with another. When we begin to evaluate these against a background of a general knowledge of the Lord’s will in Scripture, we often find our minds drawn in a particular direction. As time passes we begin to feel the weight of one course of action rather than another.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 35-36.


69.
Sometimes we say that the principle by which any action may be judged is: Can I take Christ there? There is truth in that. But it is not the whole truth. For, Paul emphasizes (1 Corinthians 6:15), we have no choice in the matter. We do take Christ there. As those who are united to Him we cannot leave Him behind. So the real question is: Can I take Christ there and look Him in the face without shame? Is this course of action, this decision I am taking, totally consistent with my personal confession that “Jesus Christ is my Lord”?

Sometimes we say that the principle by which any action may be judged is: Can I take Christ there? There is truth in that. But it is not the whole truth. For, Paul emphasizes (1 Corinthians 6:15), we have no choice in the matter. We do take Christ there. As those who are united to Him we cannot leave Him behind. So the real question is: Can I take Christ there and look Him in the face without shame? Is this course of action, this decision I am taking, totally consistent with my personal confession that “Jesus Christ is my Lord”?

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 70.


70.
We discover the will of God by a sensitive application of Scripture to our own lives.

We discover the will of God by a sensitive application of Scripture to our own lives.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, Banner of Truth Magazine, Issue 219, December 1981, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle PA.


71.
Paul’s principles (in 1 Corinthians) are of great practical usefulness to us in discerning what the will of the Lord is in our lives: Is it lawful (6:9-11)? Is it beneficial (6:12a)? Is it enslaving (6:12b)? Is it consistent with the Lordship of Christ (6:19-20; 7:23)? Is it beneficial to others (10:33)? Is it consistent with the example of Christ and the apostles (11:1)? Is it for the glory of God (10:31)?

Paul's principles (in 1 Corinthians) are of great practical usefulness to us in discerning what the will of the Lord is in our lives: Is it lawful (6:9-11)? Is it beneficial (6:12a)? Is it enslaving (6:12b)? Is it consistent with the Lordship of Christ (6:19-20; 7:23)? Is it beneficial to others (10:33)? Is it consistent with the example of Christ and the apostles (11:1)? Is it for the glory of God (10:31)?

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, Banner of Truth Magazine, Issue 219, December 1981, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle PA.


72.
We learn about guidance primarily by learning about the Guide. It is the knowledge of God and His ways with men which ultimately gives us stability in doing His will.

We learn about guidance primarily by learning about the Guide. It is the knowledge of God and His ways with men which ultimately gives us stability in doing His will.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 12.


73.
When we have differences of opinion about a course of action, the decisive factor is to be “what tends most to the glory of God?” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

When we have differences of opinion about a course of action, the decisive factor is to be “what tends most to the glory of God?” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 20.


74.
The way in which God leads us is the way of following Christ in bearing the cross. Any “guidance” which contradicts this principle will lack the familiar autograph of Christ. Any “voice” which beckons us to forsake this pathway we will silence. For we will have come to recognize the accents of our Master. There is no voice like the voice of the One who has been crucified.

The way in which God leads us is the way of following Christ in bearing the cross. Any “guidance” which contradicts this principle will lack the familiar autograph of Christ. Any “voice” which beckons us to forsake this pathway we will silence. For we will have come to recognize the accents of our Master. There is no voice like the voice of the One who has been crucified.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 23-24.


75.
We recognize that God has spoken in various ways. Now He has spoken finally in His Son Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-2). The implication, which the book of Hebrews works out at considerable length, is that we no longer live in the age in which God reveals His will to us in these diverse ways. Now He has perfectly revealed His will to us in Jesus, and we will find His guidance enshrined in the pages of our only witness to Christ – the Holy Scriptures.

We recognize that God has spoken in various ways. Now He has spoken finally in His Son Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-2). The implication, which the book of Hebrews works out at considerable length, is that we no longer live in the age in which God reveals His will to us in these diverse ways. Now He has perfectly revealed His will to us in Jesus, and we will find His guidance enshrined in the pages of our only witness to Christ – the Holy Scriptures.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 28.


76.
It is far more important, and will do you far more good, to read a smaller number of Christian books which have been well-tried and have proved their value than to develop the Athenian spirit which is attracted to anything so long as it is new (cf. Acts 17:21).

It is far more important, and will do you far more good, to read a smaller number of Christian books which have been well-tried and have proved their value than to develop the Athenian spirit which is attracted to anything so long as it is new (cf. Acts 17:21).

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 10.


77.
Any way of salvation that depends on something that we must contribute…can never bring assurance to us, for we can never be sure we have done enough to help.

Any way of salvation that depends on something that we must contribute…can never bring assurance to us, for we can never be sure we have done enough to help.

Reference:   Assured by God, ed. Burk Parsons, P&R, 2006, p. 100. Used by Permission.


78.
When Paul preached “the cross” he preached a message which explained that this instrument of rejection had been used by God as His instrument of reconciliation. Man’s means of bringing death to Jesus was God’s means to bring life to the world. Man’s symbol of rejecting Christ was God’s symbol of forgiveness for man. This is why Paul boasted about the cross!

When Paul preached “the cross” he preached a message which explained that this instrument of rejection had been used by God as His instrument of reconciliation. Man’s means of bringing death to Jesus was God’s means to bring life to the world. Man’s symbol of rejecting Christ was God’s symbol of forgiveness for man. This is why Paul boasted about the cross!

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 55.


79.
How…could God remain equally faithful to His love for us and His just judgment of our sins? The glory of the cross, its unimaginable wisdom lies in the way God has devised to provide salvation for His people.

How…could God remain equally faithful to His love for us and His just judgment of our sins? The glory of the cross, its unimaginable wisdom lies in the way God has devised to provide salvation for His people.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 58.


80.
When you look at the Cross, what do you see? You see God’s awesome faithfulness. Nothing – not even the instinct to spare His own Son – will turn him back from keeping His word.

When you look at the Cross, what do you see? You see God’s awesome faithfulness. Nothing – not even the instinct to spare His own Son – will turn him back from keeping His word.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 46, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


81.
How does Christ’s death on the Cross demonstrate God’s wisdom? In this way: Through the Cross, our sin is judged, yet sinful men and women are forgiven precisely because God has judged that sin in Jesus Christ instead of in us. God has done what seemed morally impossible in a way that demonstrates rather than denies His holiness and justice. That is why the Cross is the “trysting place, where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet.”  The Cross is the expression of God’s loving genius.

How does Christ’s death on the Cross demonstrate God’s wisdom? In this way: Through the Cross, our sin is judged, yet sinful men and women are forgiven precisely because God has judged that sin in Jesus Christ instead of in us. God has done what seemed morally impossible in a way that demonstrates rather than denies His holiness and justice. That is why the Cross is the “trysting place, where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet.”  The Cross is the expression of God’s loving genius.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 74-75, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


82.
We may think that…severity (as God leads His children) is inconsistent with what we know of God’s gentleness and compassion. But that is because we do not appreciate how seriously God loves us, and how determined He is that we should have His best, even if it means pain.

We may think that…severity (as God leads His children) is inconsistent with what we know of God’s gentleness and compassion. But that is because we do not appreciate how seriously God loves us, and how determined He is that we should have His best, even if it means pain.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 100, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


83.
The way to open our hearts to others is by receiving afresh the grace of God and appreciating what it means: seeing our own need of Christ; coming to receive His mercy; sensing how undeserved His love for us is; remembering how He has also opened His heart to those whose hearts are closed against us. Then we will see that the heart which is too narrow to receive a fellow Christian is too narrow to enthrone the Lord Jesus Christ. But the heart that is opened to receive the grace of Christ will learn to welcome all those whom Christ Himself has welcomed.

The way to open our hearts to others is by receiving afresh the grace of God and appreciating what it means: seeing our own need of Christ; coming to receive His mercy; sensing how undeserved His love for us is; remembering how He has also opened His heart to those whose hearts are closed against us. Then we will see that the heart which is too narrow to receive a fellow Christian is too narrow to enthrone the Lord Jesus Christ. But the heart that is opened to receive the grace of Christ will learn to welcome all those whom Christ Himself has welcomed.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 88-89.


84.
Waiting in Scripture does not mean idly standing by. It is not a matter of resignation, but of commitment to the will of God. But what are we to do when we do not know what God wants us to do? What are we to do while we wait for the divine timetable to run its course? The answer of biblical precept and illustration is one. Do your duty; live in the light God has already given you. By walking in it you will find that God will make the future path clear.

Waiting in Scripture does not mean idly standing by. It is not a matter of resignation, but of commitment to the will of God. But what are we to do when we do not know what God wants us to do? What are we to do while we wait for the divine timetable to run its course? The answer of biblical precept and illustration is one. Do your duty; live in the light God has already given you. By walking in it you will find that God will make the future path clear.

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 115.


85.
Appearances can be deceptive. The fact that we cannot see what God is doing does not mean that He is doing nothing. The Lord has His own timetable. It is we who must learn to adjust to it, not vice versa. When God’s time comes nothing will stand in His way. We can therefore wait for Him with this happy confidence: “As for God, His way is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:31).

Appearances can be deceptive. The fact that we cannot see what God is doing does not mean that He is doing nothing. The Lord has His own timetable. It is we who must learn to adjust to it, not vice versa. When God’s time comes nothing will stand in His way. We can therefore wait for Him with this happy confidence: “As for God, His way is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:31).

Reference:   Discovering God’s Will, By Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 114.


86.
Do I learn through dark providences, or simply seem relieved when they are over?

Do I learn through dark providences, or simply seem relieved when they are over?

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 25.


87.
When we impose man-made regulations upon ourselves (or others) and lose sight of our liberty to do or not do those things which Scripture neither commands nor forbids, we destroy the fruit of the Spirit and we cease to grow (or to allow others to grow). 

When we impose man-made regulations upon ourselves (or others) and lose sight of our liberty to do or not do those things which Scripture neither commands nor forbids, we destroy the fruit of the Spirit and we cease to grow (or to allow others to grow). 

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 129.


88.
The hypocrite (Greek- hupokrites) was originally an actor. Theatrical make-up in those days took the form of a mask which the actor wore. On it would be painted the character and the mood which the actor portrayed. It might be a smiling face which hid the sad heart of the actor behind it. It might be a face of virtue which hid behind it a life of vice.  In acting there can be a great discrepancy between the part which is played and the reality of the life which lies behind it… The same can be true of faith. We can profess much and possess little. Indeed there is always the temptation in Christian fellowships to pretend to be something other than what we are.

The hypocrite (Greek- hupokrites) was originally an actor. Theatrical make-up in those days took the form of a mask which the actor wore. On it would be painted the character and the mood which the actor portrayed. It might be a smiling face which hid the sad heart of the actor behind it. It might be a face of virtue which hid behind it a life of vice. In acting there can be a great discrepancy between the part which is played and the reality of the life which lies behind it… The same can be true of faith. We can profess much and possess little. Indeed there is always the temptation in Christian fellowships to pretend to be something other than what we are.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, 1989, p. 133, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


Topics: Hypocrisy
89.
Before all time; prior to all worlds; when there was nothing “outside of” God Himself; when the Father, Son and Spirit found eternal, absolute and unimaginable blessing, pleasure and joy in their Holy Trinity – it was their agreed purpose to create a world which would fall, and in unison – but at infinitely great cost – to bring (some to) grace and salvation.

Before all time; prior to all worlds; when there was nothing “outside of” God Himself; when the Father, Son and Spirit found eternal, absolute and unimaginable blessing, pleasure and joy in their Holy Trinity – it was their agreed purpose to create a world which would fall, and in unison – but at infinitely great cost – to bring (some to) grace and salvation.

Reference:   Salvation, Past, Present, and Future, Tabletalk, Feb. 2004, p. 36, Used by Permission.


90.
Twentieth-century man needs to be reminded at times that work is not the result of the Fall. Man was made to work, because the God who made him was a “working God.” Man was made to be creative, with his mind and his hands. Work is part of the dignity of his existence.

Twentieth-century man needs to be reminded at times that work is not the result of the Fall. Man was made to work, because the God who made him was a “working God.” Man was made to be creative, with his mind and his hands. Work is part of the dignity of his existence.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 31, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


Topics: Laziness
Work
91.
In the climate of our modern church, it is essential for us to realize that God’s Word is the central gift Christ gives to the church.  The major gifts of the New Testament era were given either to write that word (apostles), apply it (prophets) or teach it (pastors and teachers).

In the climate of our modern church, it is essential for us to realize that God’s Word is the central gift Christ gives to the church.  The major gifts of the New Testament era were given either to write that word (apostles), apply it (prophets) or teach it (pastors and teachers).

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 71.


92.
As in all warfare, the two essential elements in victory are knowing your enemy and knowing your resources.

As in all warfare, the two essential elements in victory are knowing your enemy and knowing your resources.

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 19.


93.
We are baptized into (not merely in) the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When faith grasps the significance of baptism it dawns on us that we have been given the privilege of all privileges – fellowship with God. We are His, and He is ours – forever! His grace does not cleanse us from sin simply for its own sake, but to fit us for His company throughout the whole of our lives. So baptism announces to us the overwhelmingly great privilege of fellowship with the triune covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. And because baptism symbolizes this, it calls us to a new life-style marked by ongoing repentance and faith.

We are baptized into (not merely in) the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When faith grasps the significance of baptism it dawns on us that we have been given the privilege of all privileges – fellowship with God. We are His, and He is ours – forever! His grace does not cleanse us from sin simply for its own sake, but to fit us for His company throughout the whole of our lives. So baptism announces to us the overwhelmingly great privilege of fellowship with the triune covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. And because baptism symbolizes this, it calls us to a new life-style marked by ongoing repentance and faith.

Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 14.


Topics: Baptism
94.
So what is the place of the Law in the life of the Christian?  Simply this: We are no longer under the Law to be condemned by it, we are now “in-lawed” to it because of our betrothal to Christ!  He has written the Law, and love for it, into our hearts!

So what is the place of the Law in the life of the Christian?  Simply this: We are no longer under the Law to be condemned by it, we are now “in-lawed” to it because of our betrothal to Christ!  He has written the Law, and love for it, into our hearts!

Reference:   Tabletalk, p. 34, June 2004, Ligonier Ministries, Used by Permission.


95.
The whole of the Christian life is centered on Jesus Christ.  Like Paul the contemporary Christian can say: “To me to live is Christ.”  But often, in Christian experience, we are tempted to look elsewhere for direction, example, counsel and guidance.  We lose sight of the fact that everything we need to live the Christian life is to be found exclusively in Christ.  For this reason when we begin thinking about spiritual growth we must think first of all about Christ.

The whole of the Christian life is centered on Jesus Christ. Like Paul the contemporary Christian can say: “To me to live is Christ.” But often, in Christian experience, we are tempted to look elsewhere for direction, example, counsel and guidance. We lose sight of the fact that everything we need to live the Christian life is to be found exclusively in Christ. For this reason when we begin thinking about spiritual growth we must think first of all about Christ.

Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. xi.


96.
Unless God is our Father, we are orphans. But God’s own Son has become our Older Brother. He comes through His Spirit, with His Father, to live with us. The Holy Spirit dwells in our lives, making us a suitable dwelling place to receive the Father and the Son! As a consequence, by the Spirit we learn that we are not abandoned and unloved, but rather that we are loved by the Father, by the Son, and lovingly cared for by the Holy Spirit (John 14:21).

Unless God is our Father, we are orphans. But God’s own Son has become our Older Brother. He comes through His Spirit, with His Father, to live with us. The Holy Spirit dwells in our lives, making us a suitable dwelling place to receive the Father and the Son! As a consequence, by the Spirit we learn that we are not abandoned and unloved, but rather that we are loved by the Father, by the Son, and lovingly cared for by the Holy Spirit (John 14:21).

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 21-22, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


97.
The foundation of worship in the heart is not emotional (“I feel full of worship” or “The atmosphere is so worshipful”).  Actually, it is theological.  Worship is not something we “work up,” it is something that “comes down” to us, from the character of God.

The foundation of worship in the heart is not emotional (“I feel full of worship” or “The atmosphere is so worshipful”). Actually, it is theological. Worship is not something we “work up,” it is something that “comes down” to us, from the character of God.

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 110, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


98.
It is God who gives us the spirit of worship (Psalm 133:3), and it is what we know of God that produces this spirit of worship. We might say that worship is simply theology, doctrine, what we think about God, going into top gear! Instead of merely thinking about Him, we tell Him, in prayer and praise and song, how great and glorious we believe Him to be!

It is God who gives us the spirit of worship (Psalm 133:3), and it is what we know of God that produces this spirit of worship. We might say that worship is simply theology, doctrine, what we think about God, going into top gear! Instead of merely thinking about Him, we tell Him, in prayer and praise and song, how great and glorious we believe Him to be!

Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 111, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


99.
Perhaps the most wonderful thing of all is this: God lifts us not only from what we are by nature to what Adam was in the Garden of Eden, but to what Adam was to become in the presence of God, and would have been had he persevered in obedience. The gospel does not make us like Adam in his innocence – it makes us like Christ, in all the perfection of His reflection of God.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing of all is this: God lifts us not only from what we are by nature to what Adam was in the Garden of Eden, but to what Adam was to become in the presence of God, and would have been had he persevered in obedience. The gospel does not make us like Adam in his innocence – it makes us like Christ, in all the perfection of His reflection of God.

Reference:   The Christian Life, p. 16, 1997, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.


100.
You do not become a master musician by playing just as you please, by imagining that learning the scales is sheer legalism and bondage! No, true freedom in any area of life is the consequence of regular discipline. It is no less true [in the spiritual realm].

You do not become a master musician by playing just as you please, by imagining that learning the scales is sheer legalism and bondage! No, true freedom in any area of life is the consequence of regular discipline. It is no less true [in the spiritual realm].

Reference:   Grow in Grace, 1989, p. 105, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.