Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, March 29, 2015

This is rampant in our day

Serving with ulterior motives...

by F. B. Meyer

How many of us, who are engaged in the Lord's holy service,
are secretly cherishing some proud aspiration of excelling other
men, of making a name for ourselves, of securing money or
fame!

We will use the pulpit as a pedestal for the adulation of the
world, and the cross for a post on which to hang garlands to
our own glory.

How often do we preach sermons, or make addresses,
and attend meetings, with no other thought than to secure
the recognition and praise of those to whom we 'minister'.

All of this must be laid aside. We must have no selfish,
prideful ulterior motives to serve Christ.

The Devil's old delusion

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858)

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized
by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee
from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with
repentance. The ax is already at the root of the trees,
and every tree that does not produce good fruit will
be cut down and thrown into the fire!"  Luke 3

We have, in these verses, a specimen of John the
Baptist's ministry. It is a portion of Scripture which
should always be specially interesting to a Christian
mind.

We should first mark the holy boldness with which
John addresses the multitudes who came to his
baptism. He speaks to them as a "brood of vipers!"
He saw the rottenness and hypocrisy of the profession
that the crowd around him were making, and uses
language descriptive of their case.

His head was not turned by popularity.

He did not care who was offended by his words.

The spiritual disease of those before him was
desperate, and of long standing, and he knew
that desperate diseases need strong remedies.

Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if it
possessed more plain speaking ministers, like
John the Baptist, in these latter days.

A morbid dislike to strong language; an excessive
fear of giving offence; a constant flinching from
directness and plain speaking, are, unhappily, too
much the characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit.

Uncharitable language is no doubt always to be
deprecated. But there is no charity in flattering
unconverted people, by abstaining from any
mention of their vices, or in applying smooth
epithets to damnable sins!

There are two texts which are too much forgotten
by Christian preachers. In one it is written, "Woe
unto you when all men shall speak well of you."
In the other it is written, "Obviously, I'm not trying
to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please
God. If I were still trying to please people, I would
not be Christ's servant." (Luke 6:26; Gal. 1:10)

We should mark, also, how plainly John speaks
to his hearers about HELL and danger!

He tells them that there is a "wrath to come."

He speaks of "the ax" of God's judgments, and
of unfruitful trees being "thrown into the fire!"

The subject of HELL is always offensive to human
nature. The minister who dwells much upon it,
must expect to find himself regarded as . . .
  barbaric,
  violent,
  unfeeling,
  and narrow minded.

Men love to hear "smooth things," and to be told
of peace, and not of danger. (Isaiah. 30:10)

But the subject of hell is one that ought not to
be kept back, if we desire to do good to souls.

It is one that our Lord Jesus Christ brought forward
frequently in His public teachings. That loving Savior,
who spoke so graciously of the way to heaven, has
also used the plainest language about the way to hell.

Let us beware of being wise above that which is
written, and more charitable than Scripture itself.
Let the language of John the Baptist be deeply
engraved in our hearts. Let us never be ashamed
to avow our firm belief, that there is a "wrath to
come" for the impenitent, and that it is possible
for a man to be lost, as well as to be saved.

To be silent on the subject is dreadful treachery to
men's souls. It only encourages them to persevere
in wickedness, and fosters in their minds the devil's
old delusion, "You shall not surely die!"

That minister is surely our best friend who tells
us honestly of danger, and warns us, like John
the Baptist, to "flee from the wrath to come."

Never will a man flee until he sees there is real
cause to be afraid. Never will he seek heaven until
be is convinced that there is risk of his falling into
hell.

The religion in which there is no mention of hell,
is not the religion of John the Baptist, and of our
Lord Jesus, and His apostles.

The wind blows where it wishes

Holy Holy Holy!

"Who is like You, glorious in holiness?" Exodus 15:11

God is . . .
  infinitely holy,
  transcendently holy,
  superlatively holy,
  constantly holy,
  unchangeably holy,
  exemplary holy,
  gloriously holy. 

All the holiness that is in the best and choicest 
Christians is but a mixed holiness, a weak and 
imperfect holiness. Their unholiness is always 
more than their holiness. 
Ah, what a great deal . . .
  of pride is mixed with a little humility, 
  of unbelief is mixed with a little faith,
  of peevishness is mixed with a little meekness, 
  of earthliness is mixed with a little heavenliness, 
  of carnality is mixed with a little spirituality, 
  of harshness is mixed with a little tenderness! 

Oh, but the holiness of God is a pure holiness, it is 
a holiness without mixture; there is not the least 
drop or the least dreg of unholiness in God! "God
is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." 1 John 1:5

In God there is . . . 
  all wisdom without any folly,
  all truth without any falsehood,
  all light without any darkness, and
  all holiness without any sinfulness.

God is universally holy. 
He is holy in all His ways
and holy in all His works.
His precepts are holy precepts, 
His promises are holy promises, 
His threatenings are holy threatenings, 
His love is a holy love, 
His anger is a holy anger, 
His hatred is a holy hatred, etc. 

His nature is holy, 
His attributes are holy, 
His actions are all holy.

He is holy in sparing; 
  and holy in punishing. 
He is holy in justifying of some; 
  and holy in condemning of others. 
He is holy in bringing some to heaven; 
  and holy in throwing others to hell.

God is holy . . .
  in all His sayings, 
  in all His doings, 
  in whatever He puts His hand to, 
  in whatever He sets His heart to.
His frowns are holy, 
His smiles are holy.
When He gives, His givings are holy giving; 
when He takes away, His takings are holy takings, etc. 

"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty!" Isaiah 6:3

God is eminently holy. 
He is transcendently holy.
He is superlatively holy.
He is glorious in holiness.

There is no fathoming, 
there is no measuring, 
there is no comprehending, 
there is no searching, of that 
infinite sea of holiness, which is in God. 
O sirs! you shall as soon . . .
  stop the sun in its course, and
  change the day into night, and
  raise the dead,
  and make a world, and
  count the stars of heaven, and
  empty the sea with a cockle-shell,
as you shall be able either to conceive or express 
that transcendent holiness which is in God!

God's holiness is infinite
It can neither be . . .
  limited, nor 
  lessened, nor
  increased. 

God is the spring of all holiness and purity. All that 
holiness which is in angels and men flows from God, 
  as the streams from the fountain, 
  as the beams from the sun, 
  as the branches from the root, 
  as the effect from the cause. 
Ministers may pray that their people may be holy, 
parents may pray that their children may be holy; 
but they cannot give holiness, nor communicate 
holiness to their nearest and dearest relations. 
God alone is the giver and the author of all holiness. 
It is only the Holy One who can cause holiness to flow 
into sinners' hearts; it is only He who can form, and 
frame, and infuse holiness into the souls of men.
A man shall sooner make make a world—than he shall 
make another holy. It is only a holy God, who can . . .
  enlighten the mind, and
  bow the will, and
  melt the heart, and
  raise the affections, and
  purge the conscience, and
  reform the life, and
  put the whole man into a holy gracious temper. 

God is exemplary holy. He is the rule, example, and 
pattern of holiness. "Be holy, as I am holy." 1 Pet. 1:15.
God's holiness is the copy which we must always have in 
our eye, and endeavor most exactly to write after.


Thomas Brooks