Great teaching for pastors. Also great teaching with a lot of application for anyone else called to minister to others (like parents), if you change “preaching” to “teaching the Word” and “congregation” to “family” or “children”. Encouragement and wisdom for shepherding souls.
“Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all! And the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect Church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us… All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should, as speedily as possible, also give themselves to the Lord’s people. How else is there to be a Church on the earth? If it is right for anyone to refrain from membership in the Church, it is right for everyone, and then the testimony for God would be lost to the world! Continue reading
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45)
“Ours it is to persist in loving, even if men persist in enmity. We are to render blessing for cursing, prayers for persecutions. Even in the cases of cruel enemies, we are to “do good for them, and pray for them.” We are no longer enemies to any, but friends to all. We do not merely cease to hate, and then abide in a cold neutrality; but we love where hatred seemed inevitable. We bless where our old nature bids us curse, and we are active in doing good to those who deserve evil from us. Where this is practically carried out, men wonder, respect, and admire the followers of Jesus. Continue reading
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)
John also informs us of the capacity in which the Father sent the Son — ‘a propitiation for our sins’. It is this that crowns the manifestation. Amazement is the only proper reaction on our part to a mission of the only begotten into a world of sin, and misery, and death. What humiliation for the holy One to be subjected to conditions the opposite of both his character and glory. But to be sent as ‘a propitiation for our sins’ astounds amazement itself. What does propitiation mean? Continue reading
“The chief way by which [Christians] have communion with the Father is love — free, undeserved, eternal love. This is the love the Father pours on the saints. Saints are to see God as full of love to them. They are to receive him as the One who loves them, and are to be full of praise and thanksgiving to God for his love. They are to show gratitude for his love by living a life which pleases him.
This is the great truth of the gospel. Commonly, the Father, the first person in the Trinity, is seen as only full of wrath and anger against sin. Continue reading
Where should I begin my thoughts on the subject of the love of Christ to men? And when I begin, how will I end? It has a width and length, a depth and height that goes beyond knowledge. If the apostle Paul, who had the brightest revelations of this love, said this, how much more should I? I could far more easily measure the height of heaven, the circumference of the earth, and the depth of the sea, than measure Christ’s love. It is an unfathomable ocean without shores or bottom. Where did his love take him? Continue reading
Listening to the preaching of the Word Sunday evening I was convicted again of the great love of Christ for me, wanting His gracious love to increasingly saturate my life, overflowing through my words and actions. While meditating on this, and surfing a few good websites I came across a stirring testimony of God graciously enabling Christ-like love in a deeply difficult situation.
Francis Nigel Lee was a minister of the gospel who served in South Africa, the United States, and later as a pastor and theologian in Australia. Born in 1934, he died December 23, 2011. This was one of the stories of God’s grace in his life:
“You want me to tell you why God is to be loved and how much. I answer, the reason for loving God is God himself; and the measure of love due to him is immeasurable love… Could any reason be greater than this, that He gave Himself for us unworthy wretches? …It is hard, no rather impossible, for a man by his own strength or in the power of free will to render all things to God from whom they came, without turning them to sinful ends… ‘For all seek their own’ (Phil. 2.21) and ‘the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.’ (Gen. 8.21) The faithful know how much they need Jesus and Him crucified… they wonder and rejoice at the inexpressible love shown in Him… they love all the more, because they know they are loved so exceedingly… One who loves God truly asks no other recompense than God himself.”
“[Those apart from God in Christ] wander in a circle, longing after something to gratify their yearnings, yet madly rejecting the only thing that can bring satisfaction… they wear themselves out in vain effort, never attaining… because they delight in creatures, not in the Creator.”
“Perfect love will be reached when the good and faithful servant enters into the joy of His Lord (Matt. 25.21), and is there fully satisfied in the abundance of God’s house… In that day those who are in Christ can say fully of themselves, as St. Paul testified, ‘Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.’ (2 Cor.5.16)”
Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God. [c.1130]