Posted tagged ‘Grace’

“I’ve Never Gotten Over That”

March 25, 2013

I had a very interesting conversation with a 92-year old man the other day.

My son and I were sitting in a doctor’s waiting room when an elderly gentleman, Mr. J. Reed, came into the room. He was accompanied by a care-giver from the assisted living apartments where he lives. The two of them sat across from my son and me.

I could tell that Mr. Reed was watching me as I read and made notes in a book that I had brought to the office with me. When I looked up from my reading, Mr. Reed asked me what I was reading. I showed him the cover of the book and said, “Perspectives”.

“Perspectives on what?”

“Perspectives On The World Christian Movement.”

“That’s a good thing. I’m a Christian”, Mr. Reed said, “but I didn’t start living seriously for Christ until I was in my thirties.”

Mr. Reed then made an amazing statement .

“Jesus died on the Cross for the forgiveness of my sins and He didn’t have to. I’ve never gotten over that.”

“I’ve never gotten over that.”

That statement took a hold of my heart. His words were spoken with tenderness. The tone of his voice was reflective in nature, as if he had been on Calvary’s mount the day when Jesus was crucified. It was as if he was remembering all that the death of Christ meant for him personally through faith – the forgiveness of his sins, relationship with the Father, abundant living, and the hope of glory.

The Spirit used Mr. J Reed’s testimony to speak to my heart, to cause me to reflect on my relationship with God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am confident of my salvation through faith in Christ and His finished work on the Cross of Calvary. I have a personal relationship with God the Father, have been invited to join Him in His work on this earth, and know that I will live forever with Him in His glory.

But, the question is: Do I live in daily amazement and wonder of God’s love in Christ as it is demonstrated on the Cross. Can I say with Mr. Reed, “I have never gotten over that.”?

During this Easter season, let us ask the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts once again about what Christ’s death on the Cross means for and to us. Let us ask Him to stir within our hearts and lives a deeper love for Him and a deeper devotion and commitment to living lives of sacrifice and service for His glory.

Advertisements

Grace Is The Theme

October 27, 2012

In Stedfast Adherence to the Professions of the Faith (1718), we find a tremendous collection of sermons preached by Robert Traill (1642-1716), a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and reformer. Among the many sermons included in this volume are thirteen preached on Hebrews 4:16. These sermons from Hebrews are simply entitled Thirteen Sermons on the Throne of Grace.

Traill wrote the preface to Stedfast Adherence. In it are words that reveal the spiritual character and heart of this great preacher. They are as stirring and motivating as any found in the sermons themselves.

“I know of no true religion but Christianity; no true Christianity but the doctrine of Christ; of his divine person, (the image of the invisible God, Colossians 1:15); of his divine office, (the Mediator betwixt God and men, I Timothy 2:5); of his divine righteousness, (he is the Lord our Righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6; which name is also called upon his church, chapter 33:16); and of his divine Spirit, (which all that are his receive, Romans 8:9). I know no true ministers of Christ, but such as make it their business, in their calling, to commend Jesus Christ, in his saving fulness of grace and glory, to the faith and love of men; no true Christian, but one united to Christ by faith, and abiding in him by faith and love, unto the glorifying of the name of Jesus Christ, in the beauties of gospel-holiness.”

When speaking of the theme of the messages from Hebrews 4:16, Traill states that it  …

“… is concerning the throne of God’s saving grace, reared up in Christ, and revealed  unto men in the gospel; with the application all should make to that throne, the great blessings to be reaped by that application, and men’s great need of those blessings.”

As Traill concludes the preface to Stedfast Adherence to the Professions of the Faith, he prays this prayer for the readers of his messages,

“May the Lord of the harvest, who ministered this seed to the sower, make it bread to the eater, and accompany it with his blessing on some that are called to inherit a blessing, and I have my end and desire; the reader shall have the benefit; and the Lord the glory; for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

******************************

I would invite you join me as I post through Robert Traill’s Thirteen Sermons on The Throne of God. I believe the Lord will use them to feed and enrich our souls and draw us closer to Him in fellowship and worship.

You can find the Throne of Grace messages here.

Approaching The Throne of Grace

October 26, 2012

Robert Traill was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and reformer who lived from 1642 to 1716. Because of the religious and Robert Traill2  political persecution he was subject to from the Church of England because of his religious and church beliefs, Traill fled to Holland in 1667 and then to London in 1670. He returned to Scotland for a short period of time, was arrested, and spent several months in Bass Prison. After his release he returned to London where he pastored a Scottish congregation until his death in 1716.

I became familiar with Traill in 2009 when I read, studied, and posted on his six- sermon series on Galatians 2:21. That series, preached around 1692 and later published as The True Gospel Preached: Six Sermons on Galatians 2:21, “set forth the Gospel of God’s Free and Sovereign Grace in Jesus Christ to unworthy sinners who are so foolishly inclined to set about the seeking of their reconciliation with God by the Law and their own righteousness.” (True Covenanter)

The Lord blessed me tremendously as I read and studied the messages delivered by one who lived so long ago. What struck me about those sermons is how God-exalting, Christ-centered, and grace-saturated Traill’s messages are.

You can read my posts on Traill’s Galatians 2:21 sermons here. In the posts you will find links to the sermons so that you can read them, too.

Traill preached a number of sermon series based on only one or two verses of Scripture. He preached a sixteen-sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer, a three-sermon series on Matthew 7:13, 14 on entering at the straight gate, and a thirteen-sermon series on one verse from the Book of Hebrews.

The Hebrews series is entitled The Throne of Grace and is based on Hebrews 4:16. In this passage of Scripture, we receive an exhortation.

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

The Hebrew’s sermons were included in a book of Traill’s sermons that was published in 1718. The book is entitled A Stedfast Adherence to the Profession of our Faith.

It is my intention to read, study, and post through the thirteen sermons on Hebrews 4:16 that Robert Traill preached three hundred years ago. Just as his messages from Galatians 2:21 touched my heart, I expect the Lord to use Traill’s messages to help me better understand the throne of God’s grace and the privilege that is mine to draw near to God on His throne because of Who Jesus is and what He has done in my life.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will use this passage of Scripture and these messages to stir within me a greater commitment to loving, serving, and worshipping the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Pauline Missiological Principles And Practice: Insights And Thoughts From Roland Allen

December 19, 2011

I have recently completed the reading of Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s Or  Ours?, a classic on missions, by Roland Allen. Missionary Methods The  book was written in 1912.

Allen was an Anglican minister who served in China from 1895 – 1903. After retiring from foreign service for health reasons, he served an English parish for several years and then moved to Kenya, Africa where he lived and wrote about missionary principles until his death in 1947.

You can read more about Allen in the article, “The Legacy of Roland Allen” by J. D. Payne. In this article, Payne states that because of Allen’s insight into the expansion of the Church and his insistence that the “missionary methods of the Apostle were not antiquated but rather to be applied to missionary endeavors in any day and time,” he was often thought of as being a prophet. He was also considered “a revolutionary, a radical, or a troublemaker.”

In the text, Allen writes about the historical-socio-political times and conditions in which the Apostle ministered, the financing of ministry, the content of what Paul preached, the training of converts, Paul’s exercise of authority and discipline, and unity within the Church Universal as well as the local church.

It is important to remember when reading Missionary Methods and the quotes below that Allen wrote his books in a missionary era that was dominated by foreign mission organizations, mission stations, and a sense of missionary paternalism. That is why his thoughts, perspectives, and writings were so radical. And so intriguing, exciting, and relevant for today’s missions ministries.

As I read Missionary Methods I was struck by how much of what Roland Allen wrote about and said one-hundred years ago is being proven to be the case and validated today by missiologists. The same missiological issues that Allen addressed in his book are being addressed by contemporary authors such as Steve Addison, David Garrison, Ying Kai, and Steve Smith and he is being given due credit and respect for his influence on current missiological thought and practice. It is interesting to note that Allen once told his son that his writings and perspectives would not be taken seriously until the year 1960.

I would like to share, in this post and several to follow, a number of quotes taken from Missionary Methods that I highlighted as I read the book. The quotes either gave me pause to ponder or reasons to shout “Amen!”

******************************

From the Introduction:

“Today if a man ventures to suggest that there may be something in the methods by which St Paul attained such wonderful results worthy of our careful attention, and perhaps of our imitation, he is in danger of being  accused of revolutionary tendencies.”

” … St Paul did not gather congregations, he planted churches ….”  

“We cannot imagine any Christianity worthy of the name existing without the elaborate machinery which we have invented.”

“In face of the vast proportions of the work to be done … the example of the Apostle of the Gentiles must be of first importance.”

In the first chapter of Missionary Methods, “Strategic Points,” Allen writes that although Paul “did not deliberately plan his missionary tours … All the cities, or towns, in which he planted churches were centres of Roman administration, of Greek civilization, of Jewish influence, or of some commercial importance.”

“It is not enough for the church to be established in a place where many are coming and going unless the people who come and go not only learn  the Gospel, but leave it in such a way that they can propagate it.”

“St Paul plainly did not select where he would preach simply on grounds like these; he was led of the Spirit, and when we speak of his strategic centres, we must recognize that they were natural centres; but we must also recognize that for missionary work they were strategic centres because he made them such. They were not centres as which he must stop, but centres from which he might begin; not centres into which life drained but centres from which it spread abroad.”

“He was led as God opened the door; but wherever he was led he always found a centre, and seizing upon that centre he made it a centre of Christian life.”

******************************

In a day when so much of the world is in need of hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing Him personally as Savior, it behooves us to listen to the visionary missionary voice of Roland Allen. Though his book is one-hundred years old, I believe the Holy Spirit can use its insights into the missionary principles and practice of the Apostle Paul to greatly impact our missions ministries for the glory of God and the planting of indigenous churches around the world and the reaching of many for Christ.

I will post additional quotes from Missionary Methods over the next week or two.

“Righteous Grace”

July 14, 2011

Grace.  Is it a spiritual “goo-natured indifference to sin” that is applied to the hearts of unhappy people by a compassionate God? Or, is it the pardon of man’s sin that finds its root in the righteousness of Holy God as manifested on the Cross of Calvary?

“But let us keep in mind that this grace is the grace of a righteous God; it is the grace of one who is Judge as well as Father. Unless we see this we shall mistake the gospel, and fail in appreciating both the pardon we are seeking, and the great sacrifice through which it comes to us. No vague forgiveness, arising out of mere paternal love, will do. We need to know what kind of pardon it is; and whether it proceeds from the full recognition of our absolute guiltiness by him who is to “judge the world in righteousness.” The right kind of pardon comes not from love alone, but from law; not from good nature, but from righteousness; not from indifference to sin, but from holiness.”

“This righteous free love has its origin in the bosom of the Father, where the only begotten has his dwelling. It is not produced by anything out of God himself. It was man’s evil, not his good, that called it forth. It was not the drawing to the like, but to the unlike; it was light attracted by darkness, and life by death. It does not wait for our seeking, it comes unasked as well as undeserved. It is not our faith that creates it or calls it up; our faith realizes it as already existing in its divine and manifold fullness. Whether we believe it or not, this righteous grace exists, and exists for us. Unbelief refuses it; but faith takes it, rejoices in it, and lives upon it. Yes, faith takes this righteous grace of God, and, with it, a righteous pardon, a righteous salvation, and a righteous heirship of the everlasting glory.”

******************************

Horatius Bonar, Scottish pastor, preacher, hymn writer (1808-1889). Quotes from “Righteous Grace,” the fourth chapter of the book, “God’s Way of Peace.”

“God’s Way of Peace” can be read here.

Help Me Read

July 9, 2011

Whether you are visiting my blog, tangiblethoughts, on purpose, or you are surfing the net and have stopped here just to check me out, may I ask you to do something for me?

May I ask you to scroll down on this page until you come to the category “Books” in the right-hand column? There you will find two links. One is to Monergism Books, the other is to WTS Books. When you click on them you will be taken to the on-line book stores of Monergism.com and Westminster Theological Seminary. At each of the stores you will find excellent conservative and Reformed books and resource material for your head and heart.

Each time you click onto the stores from my blog site I receive credit for your visit. When I have earned enough credits, I receive a purchase certificate which enables me to purchase books for my head and heart.

So, linger here a moment longer … scroll down and click  … and peruse the sites.

Thank you for your great help.

Not What My Hands Have Done

June 30, 2011

“Not What My Hands Have Done”

Many of the great worship hymns that we sing in our churches on Sunday mornings were written by men who lived hundreds of years ago. Men such as Martin Luther, 1483-1546, (“A Might Fortress Is Our God’), John Newton, 1724-1807, (“Amazing Grace”), and Augustus Toplady, 1740-1778, (“Rock of Ages’).

Horatius Bonar is another man who penned many of the hymns that we sing today. Bonar was a 19th Century Scottish pastor and preacher (1898-1889) who wrote hymns such as “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” “I Lay My Sins on Jesus,” and “No, Not Despairingly.”

Another of Bonar’s hymns is entitled “Not What My Hands Have Done.” This hymn, like many, has been set to a more contemporary rhythm and sung by contemporary artists.

Below is a version of “Not What My Hands Have Done” by Indelible Grace that I pray will bless you as it has me.

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Jude 3:5-6)

******************************

For information on Bonar, see The Life And Works Of Horatius Bonar. For a list of his sermons, see here at Monergism.