Christ is He who has the keys of death and hell. Christ is the anointed Priest, who alone can absolve sinners. Christ is the fountain of living waters, in whom alone we can be cleansed. Christ is the Prince and Savior, who alone can give repentance and remission of sins. In Him all fullness dwells. He is the way, the door, the light, the life, the Shepherd, the altar of refuge. He that has the Son has life–and he that has not the Son has not life. May we all strive to understand this. No doubt men may easily think too little of God the Father, and God the Spirit, but no man ever thought too much of Christ. ~ J.C. Ryle
All that believers have is undoubtedly of grace. Their repentance, faith, and holiness, are all the gift of God. But the degree to which a believer attains in grace, is ever set before us as closely connected with his own diligence in the use of means, and his own faithfulness in living fully up to the light and knowledge which he possesses. Indolence and laziness are always discouraged in God’s word. Labor and pains in hearing, reading, and prayer, are always represented as bringing their own reward. “The soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Prov. 13:4.) “An idle soul shall suffer hunger.” (Prov. 19:15.) ~ J.C. Ryle
Let it be a settled principle with us, never to be satisfied with mere outward church-membership. We may be inside the net, and yet not be in Christ. The waters of baptism are poured on myriads who are never washed in the water of life. The bread and wine are eaten and drunk by thousands at the Lord’s table, who never feed on Christ by faith. Are we converted? Are we among the “good fish?” This is the grand question. It is one which must be answered at last. The net will soon be “drawn to shore.” The true character of every man’s religion will at length be exposed. There will be an eternal separation between the good fish and the bad. There will be a “furnace of fire” for the wicked. ~ J.C. Ryle
If the Lord Jesus Christ had not literally risen physically from the grave, we could never be certain that he had ever really finished the work. If he has died for our sins, we must not only be certain that he has died, but that he has finished dying, and that there is no longer death. When God raised his Son from the dead, he was proclaiming to the whole world, I am satisfied in him: I am satisfied in the work he has done. He has done everything. He has fulfilled every demand. Here he is risen—therefore I am satisfied with him.
Not only that. The Resurrection proved that he has conquered every enemy that was opposed to him, to God, and to us. He has not only satisfied the law and conquered death and the grave, he has vanquished the devil and all his forces, and hell and all the principalities and powers of evil. He has triumphed over them all, and he proves it in the Resurrection. The devil cannot hold him; death and hell cannot hold him. He has mastered them all; he has emerged on the other side. He is the Son of God, and he has completed the work which the Father had sent him to do. - Martyn Lloyd Jones
The Lord Jesus is far more ready to hear than we are to pray, and far more ready to give favors than we are to ask them. All day long He stretches out His hands to the disobedient and gainsaying. He has thoughts of pity and compassion towards the vilest of sinners, even when they have no thoughts of Him. He stands waiting to bestow mercy and grace on the worst and most unworthy, if they will only cry to Him. - J.C. Ryle
“Both the Bible and church history show that God has always unleashed mass movements of his Spirit through people who are desperate for God.”
“The gospel isn’t just where we begin; it’s where we Christians live. We don't move beyond it we just move further into it.”
“The gospel tells us that no amount of good work on our part can force Gods favor and no amount of bad work on our part can forfeit Gods favor.”
“The gospel says that because Jesus was strong for me, I'm free to be weak; because Jesus has won for me, I'm free to lose”
“My struggle isn't believing my performance can earn God's favor; my struggle is believing my performance can keep God's favor”
- Tullian Tchividjian
Evangelicals generally and the coming generation particularly have adopted to various degrees an ethical code of political civility. This compels them not only to be tolerant of others' beliefs, opinions, and lifestyles, but more importantly, to be tolerable to others. The critical dogma is not to offend but to be genteel and civil in social relations. . . [Such] a religious style . . . entails a deemphasis of Evangelicalism's more offensive aspects, such as accusations of heresy, sin, immorality, and paganism, and themes of judgment, divine wrath, damnation, and hell.
- James Davison Hunter, Evangelicalism.. The Coming Generation
“No, Aleck, no! The danger of ruin to Methodism does not lie here. It springs from quite a different quarter. Our preachers, many of them, are fallen. They are not spiritual. They are not alive to God. They are soft, enervated, fearful of shame, toil, hardship. . . . Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven upon earth.”
- John Wesley, writing at age 87 to Alexander Mather, quoted in Luke Tyerman, The Life and Times of the Rev. John Wesley (London, 1871), III:632.
In all our duties, whether giving or praying, the great thing to be kept in mind is, that we have a heart-searching and all-knowing God. Everything like formality, being artificial, or mere bodily service, is abominable and worthless in God’s sight. He takes no account of the quantity of money we give, or the quantity of words we use. The one thing at which His all-seeing eye looks at is the nature of our motives, and the state of our hearts. Our Father sees in secret.
~ J.C. Ryle
The secret of the gospel is that we become more spiritually mature when we focus less on what we do for God and focus more on what God has already done for us. - Tullian Tchividjian
I don't think it is appropriate to spend my life defending my life or my name. My name is nothing who cares about it. I am not called to spend precious hours fighting off every person that wants to have a pop at me. As a Christian I am not meant to engage in self justification any more than self promotion.
Rather I am called to defend the name of Christ. To be honest I have never seen a criticism of me true or untrue to which I could say it was Christ's honor and not my ego that was being damaged. God will look after my reputation if need be, He has given me other work to do. Be comforted not in what others think of you but what God thinks about you in Christ.
- Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia
Cheer up; you’re a lot worse off than you think you are, but in Jesus you’re far more loved than you ever could have imagined. - Jack Miller
“If you are truly trusting in Christ, you can’t confess a sin for which God has not provided forgiveness in Jesus.
Indeed, if you work at the discipline of confessing your sin, it should not lead to despair at all, but rather to rejoicing over the extent of God’s love to you in Christ.”
— Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence, It Is Well: Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 42
“Confidence in Christ is admirable, but not effrontery and self-confidence. I am afraid of those people who are so very sure, so very confident all of a sudden, and yet have never felt the burden of sin. Be ashamed and be confounded while you lay hold on Christ, for the more He does for you the less you must think of yourself. You may very accurately measure the reality of your Grace by the reality of your self-loathing.” - Charles Spurgeon, The Secret of Health
Dear God, I confess that I am not what I should be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I will be, but by your grace I am what I am, and that I am not what I once was! - John Newton 1725-1807 (Author of Amazing Grace)
Our capacities to enjoy God have so shriveled up that we have made joyless duty the essence of virtue so as to conceal our untransformed hearts that have not been moved by God. - Dr. John Piper
From the Of First Importance Blog Site
“There are but two lessons for Christians to learn: the one is, to enjoy God in everything; the other is, to enjoy everything in God.”
- Charles Simeon, quoted by John Piper in The Roots of Endurance (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway Books, 2002), 113.
When you gaze upon the sun—it makes everything else dark; when you taste honey—it makes everything else tasteless.
Likewise, when your soul feeds on Jesus —it takes away the sweetness of all earthly things; praise, pleasure, fleshly lusts, all lose their sweetness.
Keep a continued gaze! Run, looking unto Jesus. So will the world be crucified to you—and you unto the world!
–Robert Murray McCheyne (1813–1843)
“At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.”
- Martin Luther
“If we would be sanctified, our course is clear and plain — we must begin with Christ. We must go to Him as sinners, with no plea but that of utter need, and cast our souls on Him by faith. . . . If we would grow in holiness and become more sanctified, we must continually go on as we began, and be ever making fresh applications to Christ.”
- J. C. Ryle, quoted by Tim Chester in You Can Change (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway, 2010), 44.
He that desires to read his Bible with profit, must first ask the Lord Jesus to open the eyes of his understanding by the Holy Spirit. Human commentaries are useful in their way. The help of good and learned men is not to be despised. But there is no commentary to be compared with the teaching of Christ. A humble and prayerful spirit will find a thousand things in the Bible, which the proud, self-conceited student will utterly fail to discern. - J.C. Ryle
"If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord's will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Do not suppose that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified by going to the worldlings and telling them that they may be saved at this moment by simply accepting Christ as their Savior, while they are wedded to their idols, and their hearts are still in love with sin. If I do so I tell them a lie, pervert the Gospel, insult Christ, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness".
- Charles H. Spurgeon
"In his book, "The Courage to Be Protestant," David Wells writes: "The born-again, marketing church has calculated that unless it makes deep, serious cultural adaptations, it will go out of business, especially with the younger generations. What it has not considered carefully enough is that it may well be putting itself out of business with God.
"And the further irony," he adds, "is that the younger generations who are less impressed by whiz-bang technology, who often see through what is slick and glitzy, and who have been on the receiving end of enough marketing to nauseate them, are as likely to walk away from these oh-so-relevant churches as to walk into them."
“Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”
John R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians, 179.
Read and ponder this quote in lieu of what we have been studying in Romans 6.
"I often tell my congregation that when it comes to battling sin in our lives, the difference between Christians and non-Christians is not that non-Christians sin whereas Christians don't. The difference is found in which side we take in the battle. Christians take God's side against sin, whereas non-Christians take sin's side against God. In other words, a Christian will sin, but then he will turn to God and his Word and say, 'Help me fight against sin.' A non-Christian, even if he recognizes his sin, effectively responds, 'I want my sin more than God.'" - Mark Dever
“… the secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us.” - Kevin DeYoung
“When I look into my heart and take a view of its wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than Hell. And it appears to me that, were it not for free grace, exalted and raised up to the infinite height of all the fullness of the great Jehovah, and the arm of His grace stretched forth in all the majesty of His power and in all the glory of His sovereignty, I should appear sunk down in my sins below Hell itself. It is affecting to think how ignorant I was when a young Christian, of the bottomless depths of wickedness, pride, hypocrisy, and filth left in my heart.” —Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758)
“Only the gospel can truly save you. The gospel doesn’t make bad people good; it makes dead people alive...the gospel is God’s acceptance of us based on what Christ has done, not on what we can do.” – Tchividjian, Tullian., Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels (p.56)
This is from the blog site of Tullian Tchividjian
Richard Lints’ landmark book of seventeen years ago The Fabric of Theology.
He writes: Theology ought to possess a pride of place in evangelicalism, but, like serious biblical study, it has on the whole been relegated to the backwaters of a few theological seminaries. The study of God is increasingly being replaced by a fascination with the self. Like their archenemy Rudolph Bultmann, evangelicals have begun to embrace “relevance” as a fundamental criterion of truth.
This quote comes from a new book by Tullian Tchividjian called “Surprised by Grace.”
“Real change does not come and cannot come independently of the gospel, which is the good news that even though we’re more defective and lost than we every imagined, we can be more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope, because Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again for sinners like you and me.”
From Acidri’s Blog
“If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Saviour from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible . . . Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Saviour from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else”
Without the present illumination of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God must remain a dead letter to every man, no matter how intelligent or well-educated he may be. . . . It is just as essential for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of Scripture to the reader today as it was necessary for him to inspire the writers in their day. - WILLIAM LAW
“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in for free, aim at earth and you will lose both.” - C.S. Lewis
That is why, the gospel never
begins with man and his needs,
but with God and his glory.
The issue of the gospel is not
how do we get sinful people to a holy God;
but how does a holy God come to sinful people
without violating His holiness and justice?
And the answer is the cross—
the once for all atoning and sacrificial
work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
From the course “Dose of the Gospel” - Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
“Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not the Jews, for envy; — but the Father, for love!” - Octavius Winslow, quoted by John Stott in The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill.; Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 255.
“The resurrection of Christ not only guarantees us that brand new, sin-free bodies are on the way but a brand new, sin-free world is on the way too.” - Tullian Tchividjian
The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. - John Stott
"I take it that man does not preach Christ and him crucified, who can get through a sermon without mentioning Christ's name once" - Spurgeon
“How can we break our heart’s fixation on doing ’some great thing’ in order to heal ourselves of our sense of inadequacy, in order to give our lives meaning? Only when we see what Jesus, our great Suffering Servant, has done for us will we finally understand why God’s salvation does not require us to do ’some great thing.’ We don’t have to do it, because Jesus has. . . . Jesus did it all for us, and he loves us — that is how we know our existence is justified. When we believe in what he accomplished for us with our minds, and when we are moved by what he did for us in our hearts, it begins to kill off the addiction, the need for success at all costs.”- Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods (New York, NY: Dutton, 2009), 93-94.
"What is the true cause of self-righteousness? How is it that such a poor, weak, erring creature as man can ever dream of deserving anything at God's hands? It all arises from ignorance. The eyes of our understandings are naturally blinded. We see neither ourselves, nor our lives, nor God, nor the law of God, as we ought. Once let the light of grace shine into a man's heart, and the reign of self-righteousness is over. The roots of pride may remain, and often put forth bitter shoots. But the power of pride is broken when the Spirit comes into the heart, and shows the man himself, and God. The true Christian will never trust in his own goodness. He will say with St. Paul, 'I am the chief of sinners.'-- 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Tim. i. 15 ; Gal. vi. 14.)- J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, Vol. 2 (pp. 229).
“If you read the Bible from cover to cover you realize that it narrates (proclaims!) a true and cohesive story: the good news that through Jesus Christ God has entered history to liberate and renew the world from its bondage to sin and suffering. This is the story of God, who pursues the restoration of his creation at the cost of his own life. He is making all things new (Rev 21:5)! That’s the simple and yet profound, life- and world-altering plotline of the Bible.”- Michael R. Emlet, CrossTalk (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2009), 41.
“The preaching of the cross, the preaching of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on that cross, is the very heart and center of the Christian gospel and the Christian message. Put that in the center, place it in the front, proclaim it above everything else.”
- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, quoted by Arturo G. Azurdia in Connected Christianity (Christian Focus: UK, 2009), 53.
"The first device that Satan has to keep souls in a sad, doubting, and questioning condition, and so making their life a hell, is by causing them to be still poring and musing upon sin, to mind their sins more than their Savior; yes, so to mind their sins as to forget, yes, to neglect their Savior, that, as the Psalmist speaks, 'The Lord is not in all their thoughts' (Psalm 10:4). Their eyes are so fixed upon their disease, that they cannot see the remedy, though it be near; and they do so muse upon their debts, that they have neither mind nor heart to think of their Surety. A Christian should wear Christ in his bosom as a flower of delight, for he is a whole paradise of delight. He who minds not Christ more than his sin, can never be thankful and fruitful as he should."
- Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices
(via Josh Harris
Apostle Paul never starts with what we need to do; he begins with what God has already done;get it backwards and miss the gospel - Tullian Tchividjian
“God’s grace is his active favor bestowing the greatest gift upon those who have deserved the greatest punishment.”– William Hendrickson, Commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus (London: Banner of Truth, 1959), 370.
“We are not only saved by grace, we are blessed by grace every day of our lives. A common misunderstanding is that we are saved by grace, but we can earn God’s blessings by our obedience. I believe this misunderstanding is not just common, it is the unspoken assumption of the vast majority of Christians.” - Jerry Bridges in March Decision magazine
This post from the blog of Ray Ortlund
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
“The true Christian’s portion is the grace of God. This is the ‘good part’ which he has chosen, and it is the only portion which really deserves the name of ‘good.’ It is the only good thing which is substantial, satisfying, real and lasting. It is good in sickness and good in health, good in youth and good in age, good in adversity and good in prosperity, good in life and good in death, good in time and good in eternity. . . .
The true Christian’s possession shall never be taken from him. He alone, of all mankind, shall never be stripped of his inheritance. Kings must one day leave their palaces. Rich men must one day leave their money and lands. They only hold them till they die. But the poorest saint on earth has a treasure of which he will never be deprived. The grace of God and the favor of Christ are riches which no man can take from him. They will go with him to the grave when he dies. They will rise with him in the resurrection morning, and be his to all eternity.”J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, ad loc.
If you don’t know who Ray Orlund is then you need to get to know this pastor. The name of his blog; Christ is deeper still
is well worth checking out. He provides this very thought provoking quote regarding “the church as bubble.”“A church is a delicate thing, like a bubble, easily burst. Inside that bubble is a safety zone of immense significance for people. Inside that bubble sinners can receive grace according to the biblical gospel. They can start seeing God in a new way, they can see themselves in a new way, they can grow and change and enjoy the adventure.
The deal-breaker inside that bubble is not personal sins. They don’t have to burst the bubble. The deal-breaker, such that a pastor and elders must intervene, is making the internal dynamics of a church indistinguishable from the surrounding worldly environment of blame-shifting — what we see constantly in political discourse, for example. The thin film of differentiation, our true “separation” from the world, is the gospel of grace in both our theology and our sociology.
A wonderful place to be, a precious treasure to guard, and, for all its weakness, a mighty force for good.”
“You see, the secret of the gospel is that we become more spiritually mature when we focus less on what we need to do for God and focus more on all that God has already done for us. The irony of the gospel is that we actually perform better as we grow in our understanding that our relationship with God is based on Christ’s performance for us, not our performance for him.”
- Tullian Tchividjian
This from the Christ is Deeper Still blog;
In 1851 a group of British missionaries to Tierra del Fuego was forced to winter in the bitter cold while they waited for their supply ship to arrive. It came too late. They all died of cold and starvation. On Good Friday, April 18th, Richard Williams, a surgeon and Methodist lay preacher, wrote in his journal, “Poor and weak though we are, our abode is a very Bethel to our souls [Genesis 28:10-19], and God we feel and know is here.” On Wednesday, May 7th, he wrote, “Should anything prevent my ever adding to this, let all my beloved ones at home rest assured that I was happy beyond description when I wrote these lines and would not have changed situations with any man living.”“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
“When I say that God is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment. The saving love of God is God’s commitment to do everything necessary to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying, namely himself. Since we are sinners and have no right and no desire to be enthralled with God, therefore God’s love enacted a plan of redemption to provide that right and that desire. The supreme demonstration of God’s love was the sending of his Son to die for our sins and to rise again so that sinners might have the right to approach God and might have the pleasure of his presence forever.” - John Piper, God is the Gospel (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2005), 13-14.
I have made a covenant with God that He sends me neither visions, dreams nor even angels. I am well satisfied with the gift of the Holy Scriptures which give me abundant instruction and all that I need to know both for this life and for that which is to come. - Martin Luther
The good news of God’s grace beautifies how we treat one another. In fact, the horizontal reveals the vertical. How we treat one another reveals what we really believe as opposed to what we think we believe. It is possible to say, “We are a gospel-centered church,” and sincerely mean it, while we make our church into a law-centered social environment. We see God above lowering his gun, and we breathe a sigh of relief. But if we are trigger-happy toward one another, we don’t really get it yet. - Ray Ortlund
I would suggest that listening to mainstream radio with your guard up and your worldview filter on is safer than listening to Christian radio with your guard down. Subtle, bad theology is more dangerous to unsuspecting Christians than is blatant bad theology. - from blog site Christians in Context
“Our whole life as Christians is a process of sailing confidently into the open seas, dying down in exhaustion, and having our sails filled again with God’s precious promises…
No less than when we first believed, we must always attribute to the gospel the power that fills our sails with gratitude, and to the law the proper course that such gratitude takes. At the beginning, in the middle, and at the end, the gospel ‘is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes’ (Rom. 1:16).” - Michael Horton, God of Promise pg 193-194
Today’s church has become so obsessed with results and relationships that they no longer have an interest in the things of God – only “building community.”
- Bruce Wells
Since our Bible reading for Sunday is in 2 Corinthians, I thought this quote was a great way to start the week.It is one of the main purposes of this epistle [2 Corinthians] to show that this immense discrepancy between the treasure and the vessel serves simple to attest that human weakness presents no barrier to the purposes of God, indeed, that God’s power is made perfect in weakness (12:9), as the brilliance of a treasure is enhanced and magnified by comparison with a common container in which it is placed.
Philip E. Hughes, Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), 135.
“Those who looked for the city that has foundations sought it for no other reason than that its maker and builder is God. It is because it is the city of God, the structure in which he has embodied his own perfection, in which his thoughts and purposes for his own stand objectified, that it forms a worthy object of the supreme religious quest of the believer. In it is God at every point, and those who dwell in it see him constantly. The measure of their desire for it becomes the measure of their love for God.” —Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 2001), 229
“Begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing is to do it, and the way to read the Bible is actually to read it. It is not meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it; that will not advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears, the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.” -John Charles Ryle, Practical Religion, “Bible Reading,” page 131.
Our supreme need, our only need, is to know God, the living God, and the power of his might. We need nothing else. It is just that, the power of the living God, to know that the living God is among us and that nothing else matters…I say, forget everything else. Forget everything else. We need to realize the presence of the living God amongst us. Let everything else be silent. This is no time for minor differences. We all need to know the touch of the power of the living God. -
Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones