November 27, 2006
Here are some descriptions of unmerciful pastors.
They preach for money, not love:
Evil ministers are such as have no bowels to the souls of their people. They do not pity them or pray for them. They seek not them but theirs. They preach not for love but for lucre. Their care is more for tithes than four souls. How can they be called spiritual fathers, who are without bowels? These are mercenaries, not ministers
They don’t preach the Bible:
They are unmerciful to souls who, instead of breaking the bread of life, fill their people’s heads with airy speculations and notions; who rather tickle the fancy than touch the conscience and give precious souls rather music than food.
They preach above their people:
Some ministers love to soar aloft like the eagle and fly above their people’s capacities, endeavoring rather to be admired than undersood.
Ministers should be stars to give light not clouds to obscure the truth.
Source: Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes, p.146
Note: Watson uses the word bowels for compassion and mercy.
November 22, 2006
Here is Thomas Watson’s answer. I think it is a good one:
Consider why the wise God has suffered an inequality in the world. It is for this very reason, because he would have mercy exercised. If all were rich, there were no need of alms, nor could the merciful man could have been so well known.
Are you using the resources God gives you to show mercy? Proverbs 19:17 reminds us: “Whoever is generous to the poor, lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his deed.”
Source: Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes, p.152
November 21, 2006
Here is a quote on Matthew 5:6 from Martyn Lloyd Jones that I found interesting:
There are large numbers of people in the Christian Church who seem to spen the whole of their life seeking something which they can never find, seeking for some kind of happiness and blessedness. They go round from meeting to meeting, and convention to convention, always hoping they are going to get this wonderful think, this experience that is going to fill them with joy, and flood them with some ecstasy. They see that other people have had it, but they themselves do not seem to get it. So they seek it and covet it, always hungering and thirsting; but they never get it.
Now that is not surprising. We are not meant to hunger and thirst after experiences; we are not meant to hunger and thirst after blessedness. If we want to be truly happy and blessed, we must hunger and thirst after righteousness. . .
. . .The expereinces are the gift of God; what you and I are to covet and to seek and to hunger and thirst for is righteousness.
What are you hungry for?
Pastor Mike Walters
Source: Martyn Lloyd Jones, Sermon on the Mount, p.64 (Eerdmans One Volume Edition)
November 20, 2006
One of the great problems we face in the Christian life is the fear of man. Notice what John Calvin says regarding proper fear.
He is commenting on Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (ESV) This verse is part of Jesus’ instructions to the Twelve as He sent them out on their first mission.
If the fear of God is extinguished by the dread of men, is it not evident that we pay greater deference to them than to God himself? Hence it follows, that when we have abandoned the heavenly and eternal life, we reserve nothing more for ourselves than to be like the beasts that perish, (Ps. xlix.12.) God alone has the power of bestowing eternal life, or of inflicting eternal death. We forget God, because we are hurried away by the dread of men. Is it not very evident that we set a higher value on the shadowy life of the body than on the eternal condition of the soul; or rather, that the heavenly kingdom of God is of no estimation with us, in comparison of the fleeting and vanishing shadow of the present life?
What amazes me is how trivial our fear of man is. Very rarely do we face actual physical harm or danger of death (perhaps we are not nearly bold enough in proclaiming Jesus). More often, our fear is related to being embarrassed or made fun of. We fear people thinking we are not nice or loving.
Shouldn’t our fear of God overwhelm these trifles?
Pastor Mike Walters
Source: John Calvin, Commentary on A Harmony of the Evangelists, 1:462 (Baker Edition, Vol.16
November 17, 2006
Here is some advice from Charles Spurgeon to those who want to see sinners saved:
Impressed with a sense of their danger, give the ungodly no rest in their sins; knock again and again at the door of their hearts, and knock as for life and death. Your solicitude, your earnestness, your anxiety, your travailing in birth for them God will bless to their arousing. God works mightily by this instrumentality. But our agony of soul must be real and not feigned, and therefore our hearts must be brought into true sympathy with God. Low piety means low spiritual power.
I see a number of important truths here if we want to be effective in advancing God’s Kingdom. First, we must genuinely care about lost sinners. Second, we must share the truth about sin and judgment with them. We can’t sit idly by and allow them to continue in sin unchallenged and unwarned. Third, we must be persistent. We must continue to pray, continue to care, continue to share the truth of God’s Word. We should not expect genuine conversion to be a quick, easy process!
Pastor Mike Walters
Source: Ian Murray, The Old Evangelicalism, p.63
November 16, 2006
On our responsibility to believe
The fact that regeneration is the prerequisite of faith in no way relieves us of the responsibility to believe nor does it eliminate the priceless privilege that is ours as Christ and his claims are pressed upon us in full and free overtures of his grace. Our inability is no excuse for our unbelief nor does it provide us with any reason for not believing. — Andrew Murray
Source: Ian Murray, The Old Evangelicalism, p.61
November 15, 2006
On the Law and Conviction of Sin
It is the Law of God alone that really gives us a right conception of the true character and nature of sin. This is a tremendous proposition. The real trouble with the unregenerate is that they do not know and understand the truth about sin. They have their moral code, they believe that certain things are right and certain things are wrong; but that is not to understand sin. The moment a man understands the true nature of and character of sin he becomes troubled about his soul and seeks for a Saviour. –Martyn Lloyd Jones
Source: Ian Murray, The Old Evangelicalism, p.37