Monday, October 19, 2009

Quotes from Yesterday's Sermon PLUS One

I had several people ask me to post the quotes I used from Blackaby and Lewis in yesterday's sermon "The Challenge of Suffering" that you can listen to hear. I also add this one from Carson's devotion today.

“Living a godly life will not insulate you from hardship. Paul said that the more blameless your life, the more likely you will be persecuted. According to Paul, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). As the world increasingly embraces sin, worldly people are becoming increasingly intolerant of godliness. Darkness cannot tolerate light; the more your life illuminates the presence of Christ, the more you should expect opposition from the forces of darkness. Your Christlike nature will be offensive to those in rebellion against Christ’s Lordship.” – Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God Day by Day, October 12

“You must have often wondered why the enemy [God] does not make more use of his power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree he chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the irresistible and the indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of his scheme forbids him to use. Merely to over-ride a human will (as his felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For his ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve … Sooner or later he withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all supports and incentive. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs – to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish … He cannot “tempt” to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away his hand … Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” –The Demon Uncle Srewtape in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Faithfulness is not dependent upon an escape hatch. They choose faithfulness because it is the right thing to do, even if it costs them their lives. The courage we need in this anti-Christian age is courteous and steadfast. It never apologizes for God. It joyfully believes that God can do anything, but it is prepared to suffer rather than compromise hearty obedience.
Carson, D. A.: For the Love of God

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grace, Grace, God's Grace

Luke 23:39-42 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Dr. Hanna has beautifully said: “Here, amid the triumph of enemies, and the failure of the faith of friends, is one who discerns, even through the dark envelope which covers it, the hidden glory of the Redeemer, and openly hails him as his Lord and King. Marvellous, indeed, the faith in our Lord’s divinity which sprung up so suddenly in such an unlikely region. Are we wrong in saying that, at the particular moment when that testimony to Christ’s divinity was borne, there was not another full believer in that divinity but the dying thief?… And what a tenderness of conscience is here; what deep reverence for God; what devout submission to the divine will; what entire relinquishment of all personal grounds of confidence before God; what a vivid realising of the world of spirits; what a humble trust in Jesus; what a zeal for the Saviour’s honour; what an indignation at the unworthy treatment he was receiving! May we not take that catalogue of the fruits of genuine repentance which an apostle has drawn up for us, and applying it here, say of this man’s repentance: Behold what carefulness it wrought in him; yea, what clearing of himself; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! In all things he approved himself to be a changed man, in all the desires and dispositions and purposes of his heart.”

Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The dying Saviour reigns on the cross, and allots a place in paradise to his companion in death. Here is no hint of purgatory, the pardoned thief is with Jesus that very day. So also shall all believers be with Jesus immediately they leave the body.

Spurgeon, C. H.: The Interpreter: Spurgeon's Devotional Bible. Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009, S. 612