Sunday, April 20, 2014

Read With Me: John, Week 4

Do you have reading plans for the month of April? I'd love to have you join me in reading the Gospel of John. You may read in any translation of the Bible. Ideally, participants would finish all twenty-one chapters of John just in time for Easter, April 20! If you want to meet the Easter goal and still just read one chapter a day, perhaps you might start one day early, March 31. You can let me know you've joined me on the original post or any of the weekly and/or daily posts. (You can still catch up! Yes, even with just eleven days remaining in April. Two chapters a day and you still could finish this month if you began today!)

This week's top ten:
“I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud
And your sins like a heavy mist.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! (Isaiah 44:22-23) (NASB)
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22) (KJV)
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you in the way you should go. (Isaiah 48:17) (NASB)
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5) (NKJV)
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:10-12) (NKJV)
How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103) (NKJV)
Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5) (NKJV)
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Psalm 34:8) (NKJV)
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:14-19) (NKJV)
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,  yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (Colossians 1:13-23) (NASB)
Quotes 
If I go to a sinner and say, “I am exactly the same as you, the only difference is that I have a Savior,” but I do all the same things he does—I tell the same dirty jokes he tells and I waste my time the same way he does and I do everything he does—and then I say, “I have a Savior, you ought to have a Savior,” doesn’t he have the right to ask me what kind of Savior I have? What profit is there for a man to say, “I have a physician” if he is dying on a cot? What does it profit a man to say, “I have a Savior” if he is living in iniquity? ~ A.W. Tozer, Reclaiming Authentic Christianity
I have to say it is a perilous thing to make the Christian message less offensive. It pretty much lives on its offensiveness. It says we are spiritually dead. It says Jesus is our only hope for life. But there is a powerful dynamic at work between the Christian message and the Christian life, because Christian lives should be attractive. Christian lives should be full of love, not to mention grace, truth, and joy. The message of the Gospel is hard for all of us to hear at first. But when people made in the image of God—however distorted the image has become—observe us living attractive lives that increasingly image the love of our Savior, they come to a place where they are prepared to hear this message and to say, “I want to know more about that.” ~ Mark Dever, Message of the New Testament, Promises Kept
Some people have the idea that being saved is exactly that—to accept Jesus at the last jump, just before the devil gets you, leaving something behind maybe in the devil’s hand, but thank God, breathless and panicked and covered with perspiration you get in at last. How utterly silly this whole business is. God Almighty, before the beginning of the world, thought about you and planned your redemption. In those pre-creation times, God was thinking loving thoughts about you; and when you grieved Him by your sins, He still did not turn you over to hell. But a lamb slain from the foundation of the world came to save you and redeem you. At conversion, you have only just started. When converted to Christ, you are a new creature. You have come up out of the old Adamic trash, you have crawled out of the wreckage by the grace of God and been made new. And God introduces you into His royal family and gives you of His Holy Spirit in an increasing measure. ~ A.W. Tozer, And He Dwelt Among Us
To whom does God tell us to look for salvation? It is not “Look to yourself;” if so, then there would be a being who might arrogate some of the praise of salvation. But it is “Look unto me.” How frequently you who are coming to Christ look to yourselves. “O!” you say, “I do not repent enough.” That is looking to yourself. “I do not believe enough.” That is looking to yourself. “I am too unworthy.” That is looking to yourself. “I cannot discover,” says another, “that I have any righteousness.” It is quite right to say that you have not any righteousness; but it is quite wrong to look for any. It is, “Look unto me.” God will have you turn your eye off yourself and look unto him. The hardest thing in the world is to turn a man’s eye off himself; as long as he lives, he always has a predilection to turn his eyes inside, and look at himself; whereas God says, “Look unto me.” From the cross of Calvary, where the bleeding hands of Jesus drop mercy; from the Garden of Gethsemane, where the bleeding pores of the Saviour sweat pardons, the cry comes, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” From Calvary’s summit, where Jesus cries, “It is finished,” I hear a shout, “Look, and be saved.” But there comes a vile cry from our soul, “Nay, look to yourself! look to yourself!” Ah, my hearer, look to yourself, and you will be damned. It is not a consideration of what you are, but a consideration of what God is, and what Christ is, that can save you. It is looking from yourself to Jesus. ~ Charles Spurgeon, Sovereignty and Salvation
The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man--and the dogma is the drama...This is the dogma we find so dull--this terrifying drama of which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven's name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore--on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him "meek and mild," and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies. ~ Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos
Let us, in Heaven's name, drag out the Divine Drama from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped upon it, and set it on an open stage to startle the world into some sort of vigorous reaction. If the pious are the first to be shocked, so much the worse for the pious--others will pass into the Kingdom of Heaven before them. If all men are offended because of Christ, let them be offended; but where is the sense of their being offended at something that is not Christ and is nothing like Him? We do Him singularly little honour by watering down His Personality till it could not offend a fly. Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ. It is the dogma that is the drama--not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to loving-kindness and moral uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death--but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death. Show that to the heathen, and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that one might be glad to believe. ~ Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos

Worth Quoting #9 Are We Coming To God?

Are we coming to God? That is the question. Is the direction of our lives towards God? We are either going to God or from God—and by this we may forecast our everlasting destiny. The direction in which the arrow is flying prophesies the target in which it will be fixed—the way the tree is leaning, that way foretells the place of its fall—and where the tree falls, there it will lie.
So let us judge ourselves this day! Which way are we drifting? Have we ever come to God by sincere repentance of our wanderings? Have we come to Him by faith and are we reconciled to Him? Do we come to Him in prayer? Do we come to Him day by day, speaking with Him and desiring to walk with Him? Do we come to God by communion with Him, having fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ? Do we, in fact, know the meaning of what it is to draw near to God? It is ill with us if we either have no God, or if He seems to be very far off, an almost unrecognizable phantom, an idea never fully realized, much less approached! Blessed are they that know the name of the Lord and that walk with Him, rejoicing in the light of His Countenance. It is to such that Jesus is precious as their way of access to the Father.
The people who are in the habit of using Christ as their way of access to God are those who will value Him beyond all price—and such persons will delight to hear Him extolled in the highest terms.
Faith in which Jesus is not the foundation of our hope is mere delusion! God cannot accept us if we will not accept His Son. O Sinner, God has opened one Door in Heaven—if you will not go in by that Door, you shall never enter within the walls of the New Jerusalem! God bids you come to Him by One in whom He is well pleased, but if you will not be pleased with Jesus, you can not come to the Father! ~ Charles Spurgeon, The Ever-Living Priest, 1886

Week In Review: April 13-19

ESV Thinline Bible

  • Psalm 119 (5)
  • John 
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude 
  • Revelation

NASB MacArthur Study Bible

  • John 14-21

ASV

  • John 14-21

RV 1885

  • John 14-21

New English Bible

  • Psalm 119 (3)
  • Isaiah 40-66
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon

NKJV

  • Psalm 119
  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • John
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
KJV Chronological Life Application

  • Isaiah 49-59


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones #4

One of the devotionals I am using this year is Walking with God Day by Day by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I thought I would share some of my favorite passages month-by-month. (January,February, March,)

From April 2
What is the message of the Christian Gospel and of the Christian church? Now at the risk of being misunderstood I will put it like this: It is not primarily the teaching of our Lord. I say that, of course, because there are so many today who think that this is Christianity. They say, “What we need is Jesus’ teaching. He is the greatest religious genius of all times. He is above all philosophers. Let us have a look at His teaching, at the Sermon on the Mount and so on. That is what we want. What the world needs today,” they say, “is a dose of the Sermon on the Mount—a dose of His ethical teaching. We must preach this to people and teach them how to live.” But according to the apostle Paul, this is not their first need. And I will go further. If you only preach the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only do you not solve the problem of mankind, but in a sense you aggravate it. You are preaching nothing but utter condemnation, because nobody can ever carry it out. So they did not preach His teaching. Paul does not say, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the Sermon on the Mount” or “God forbid that I should glory save in the ethical teaching of Jesus.” He does not say that. It was not the teaching of Christ, nor the example of Christ either. What they preached was His death on the cross and the meaning of that event.
From April 4
The test of whether someone is teaching the cross rightly or wrongly is whether it is an offense to the natural man or not. If my preaching of this cross is not an offense to the natural man, I am misrepresenting it.
From April 6
Looking at our Lord on the cross, what I see above everything else is the love that made Him do it all. “Love so amazing, so divine.” What does it mean? Let the apostle himself answer the question. This is how he puts it: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:6-10). It comes to this, my dear friends: He is dying there because of His love for you, His love for me, His love for those who are sinners, those who are rebels, those who are enemies. He died for people who hated Him. As He was dying there, Saul of Tarsus was hating Him, but He was dying for Saul of Tarsus. As Paul (to give his subsequent name) puts it later: “... the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). He did not wait until Paul was converted before He loved him. He loved him even when Saul of Tarsus was blaspheming His holy name, ridiculing His claim that He was the Son of God and the Lord of Glory, ridiculing the idea that He came to teach us and to die for us and to save us, pouring his blasphemous scorn upon Him. While Paul was doing that, Christ was dying for Paul. And He was doing the same for you and for me.
From April 7
Why is the Son of God there on the cross? The first thing the Scriptures say is that it is not merely the action of men. Oh, but, you say, it is men who are hammering in those nails. I agree, but that would be the remark of a very superficial observer. What made the men do it? Is there nothing behind them? You see, the whole trouble in the world today is that we are all looking at everything superficially. We choose some activity, then we set up a royal commission to look into it, and we have a little superficial reporting. It makes no difference, nothing is any different, because we are superficial in our diagnosis—we are not able to see the depths of things beneath the surface. It is the same here. Why do I say that it was not merely the action of men? Why am I saying that it was not merely an accident? My answer is, of course, that it was something that had been prophesied. Take the passage in Isaiah 53, an exact prophecy of what happened on the cross. Again, read the 22nd Psalm. That is another perfect prophecy of the death of our Lord upon the cross. It is prophesied many times in the Old Testament. Indeed, you will see it if you go back to books like Leviticus and other books of the law that people say they find utterly boring and beyond their understanding. If you only know how to read them, you will find that they are all pointing to the cross. Or go back to Exodus and the story of the exodus of the children of Israel from the captivity of Egypt. Why did they have to kill that lamb, the paschal lamb as we call it, at night and put its blood on the doorposts and the lintels? It is a prophecy of this. Everything in the Passover story points to this event.
From April 8
If you want to know God, if you want to know the everlasting and eternal God, this is the way, the only way: Look at the cross. Gaze on, meditate on, survey the wondrous cross. And then you will see something of Christ. The first thing you will see is the grace of God. Grace is a great word in the Bible, the grace of God. It is most simply defined in these words—it is favor shown to people who do not deserve any favor at all. And the message of the Gospel is that any one of us is saved and put right for eternity solely and entirely by the grace of God, not by ourselves. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). My friend, is it not about time we all admitted it? Do what you like, you will never save yourself. You will never save yourself from the world, the flesh, or the devil; you will never save yourself from your own misery. Still less will you save yourself from the law of God and judgment and hell. You cannot do it. Men have tried it throughout the centuries. They have all admitted failure.
From April 11
And the simple message of the whole of the Bible is that the world, everything that is opposed to God and trusts in man and in his own power, is all going to be judged and condemned to everlasting misery and destruction. Now you see why Paul glories in the cross. It is the cross alone that saves any one of us from the destruction that is coming to the world. The whole world lies guilty before God, “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). The whole world is going to be judged and is going to be destroyed. We are all born in the world and of it. And unless we can be separated from that world, we will share its fate. God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified unto me, and I am separated from it. How? Let me make it clear. On that cross, the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself the punishment that is coming to all who belong to the world. That is why He died; He was receiving the punishment of the sins of men.
From April 14
Why did the Son of God ever come into this world? Why did He leave the courts of glory? Why was He born as a little babe? Why did He take unto Him human nature? There is only one answer. He came because man could not save himself. He said that. “The Son of man,” he says, “is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). And when I look at the cross and see Him dying there, what He tells me is this: You have nothing whereof to boast. The cross tells me that I am a complete failure, and that I am such a failure that He had to come from heaven not merely to teach and preach in this world, but to die on that cross. Nothing else could save us.
From April 23
Before man can ever know peace, and in particular peace with God, the two sides must be dealt with. Man is at enmity with God, and God’s wrath is upon man. Something has to happen on God’s side, and the message of the cross is that this has happened. When our Lord died upon the cross, He was fulfilling every demand of God’s holy law. The righteousness and the justice and the holiness of God were fully satisfied. God poured out His wrath upon sin in the body of His own Son. Christ’s soul was made an offering for sin, and all the demands of God on His holiness were satisfied there. And, thank God, it works on our side also. We have a feeling that God is against us. We think of God as some great ogre or monster waiting to pounce upon us and to punish us; we feel that He hates us and that He is against us and spoiling our lives. We do not want to be bothered by Him and want to go our own way. Then the moment comes when we look at that cross and see that God sent His only begotten, dearly loved Son into this world in order that He might go to the cross. It was God who sent Him to it. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself ...” It was God who “laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It was God who smote Him and struck Him and gave Him the punishment that we deserved. As you look at the cross, I say again, our whole attitude toward God, and our whole opinion of God, changes completely. There we see that God is love and full of mercy and of compassion, that God loves us with an everlasting love. So you see that by the cross, God’s wrath is satisfied and appeased, and our folly and our rebellion are taken away, and God and man are brought together, and our peace is made with God.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: The Life Of Our Lord

The Life of Our Lord: Written For His Children During the Years 1846 to 1849. Charles Dickens. 1934/1999. Simon & Schuster. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
My dear children, I am very anxious that you should know something about the History of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know about Him. No one ever lived, who was so good, so kind, so gentle, and so sorry for all people who did wrong, or were in anyway ill or miserable, as he was. And as he is now in Heaven, where we hope to go, and all to meet each other after we are dead, and there be happy always together, you never can think what a good place Heaven, is without knowing who he was and what he did.
He was born, a long long time ago - nearly Two Thousand years ago - at a place called Bethlehem. His father and mother lived in a city called Nazareth, but they were forced, by business to travel to Bethlehem. His father’s name was Joseph, and his mother’s name was Mary.
As a non-theological biography of Jesus Christ, Dickens children's book proves charming at times. I think my favorite was his retelling of the Christmas story itself, this is the first chapter. As the story progressed, however, I became more dissatisfied. Dissatisfied because this one misses the point, the essence. By not getting the "why" right, it falls short of what it could have been, should have been. Why did Jesus come? Why was he born? Why did he live? What was his mission or purpose while on earth? Why did he have to die? Why did he have to rise again? What did his life accomplish? What did his death accomplish? What did his resurrection accomplish? Why does it matter?

Yes, I'd probably give Dickens a B in terms of getting most of the facts--plain facts--in. But in terms of piecing together a big picture, a WHY picture, I can't be that generous. The book falls short in the what it means to be a Christian and what Christians should believe department.
Remember! - It is christianity TO DO GOOD always - even to those who do evil to us. It is christianity to love our neighbour as ourself, and to do to all men as we would have them Do to us. It is christianity to be gentle, merciful, and forgiving, and to keep those qualities quiet in our own hearts, and never make a boast of them, or of our prayers or of our love of God, but always to shew that we love Him by humbly trying to do right in everything. If we do this, and remember the life and lessons of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and try to act up to them, we may confidently hope that God will forgive us our sins and mistakes, and enable us to live and die in Peace.
The stress seems to be on the wrong things. Christianity is not be good, and try your best. It is not make your best effort and if you mostly make the right choices and always say you are sorry when you make bad ones then "God will forgive us our sins and mistakes." Christianity is a DONE religion. And it is Jesus who does the doing. It is through Jesus alone that we are saved, justified, sanctified, and glorified. It is through Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and, yes, ascension that we can "confidently hope" in heaven. Dickens' conclusion has Jesus as more of our example than our actual Savior and Lord. "Remember the life and lessons" and "try to act up to them." That is NOT the message we should be walking away with.

A few weeks ago, I read God in the Whirlwind. David Wells can say it so much better than I ever can:
Christ, who made our sin his own, entered a place that should have been ours. He entered our existence and made it his own. He entered our world and made our plight his own. He took up our cause. He took up what was not properly his so that we might have that to which we have no right. He stood before God, at the cross, as our representative. He tasted death for us by dying in our place. In a strange and beautiful paradox, he who is our Judge submitted to the penalty for our sin. And in this moment, this moment of judgment, our sin was no longer ours. It became his. That righteousness which was and is his became ours by a transfer that is as mysterious as it is real. (139)
Should this message, this gospel message, be included in children's bible story books? I think so. One of my favorites--which was first published in 1938--is Catherine Vos' The Child's Story Bible.
Keeping rules does not get us into the kingdom of God at all. Unless the Holy Spirit gives us a new heart, and we put our trust in Jesus who died to pay for our sins, we cannot see the kingdom of God.
It is very painful to you and me to see our beloved Lord hanging there on the cross, with His blood dripping down. But even though it is painful, we need to look, for He hangs there because of what we have done. His blood is being shed to pay for our sins. He loved us so much that He chose to die in our place.
Jesus was suffering pain from the nails in His hands and feet, but He was also suffering a much deeper kind of pain. For during these three hours God Himself turned His back on His dearly beloved Son and left Him.
All His life on earth Jesus had loved God and served Him perfectly, without any sin. But now He had taken upon Himself all the sin that ever has been done or ever will be done in the whole world - your sin, and my sin, and the sin of every single person who puts his trust in Jesus as his Saviour. God gave Him the punishment you and I deserved to suffer. God separated Himself from Jesus so that Jesus felt only God's anger against sin and no longer His love for His Son. And that is the worst punishment any person can ever suffer. 
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Safe In The World

Safe in the World (The Assurance of Salvation #2). D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 1988. Crossway. 160 pages. [Source: Bought]

Safe in the World is the second book in the Assurance of Salvation series which is a collection of sermons--preached by Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the early 1950s--focused on exploring every aspect of John 17. The first book, Saved In Eternity, covered John 17:1-5. The second book covers John 17:6-15.

The Gospel of John is one of my favorite, favorite books of the Bible. I loved spending so much time in just one little chapter from that gospel. I wish that Martyn Lloyd-Jones covered every single chapter of the gospel of John.

There are twelve chapters:

Our Lord Prays For His Followers: His Reasons and Requests (John 17:6-19)
Not of the World (John 17:9)
God's People (John 17:6)
The Name of God (John 17:6-8)
The Name of God Revealed (John 17:6-8)
The Christian and the Truth of God (John 17:6-8)
Christ Glorified In Us (John 17:10)
Manifesting the Work of Christ (John 17:10)
True Joy (John 17:13)
Kept and Guarded but… (John 17:11-12, 15)
The World and the Devil (John 17:11-15)
God's Perfect Will (John 17:15)

I recommend The Assurance of Salvation because these sermons cover the essentials of the Christian faith. It addresses what it means to be a Christian, it focuses on how Christians should be living. I love the scriptural focus. I love how they make much of Christ!

Favorite quotes:
The more I try to live this Christian life and the more I read the New Testament, the more convinced I am that the trouble with most of us is that we have never truly realized what it is to be a Christian. It is our whole conception of what a Christian is, and of what the Christian life is meant to be, that is so defective, and that is why we miss so many blessings. That is why, too, we are often so troubled and perplexed and bewildered and why we react as we do to so many of the things that happen to us in this life and in this world. If only we understood what the Christian really is and the position in which he is placed, if only we realized the privilege and the possibilities of that position, and above everything, the glorious destiny of everyone who is truly a Christian, then our entire outlook would be completely changed. (207)
The way to love God is to begin to know God's love to you, and this doctrine is the high road to that love. Before time, before the creation of the world, he set his eye upon you, he set his affection upon you, you were marked, you were already put among his people. (229)
We talk about God, we argue about God, we express our opinions and we pray, yes, but the question is, do we know God, is God living to us, is he real to us? Is our prayer, therefore, vital? Is it a living communication and is a real transaction taking place? (245)
The basic, central thing about the Christian is that he is in a given relationship to the truth concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (258)
The Christian, by definition, is a man who says, "I am nothing, I am what I am entirely by the grace of God." He is a man who is always flying to Christ, and one who disclaims anything in and of himself. (274)
Are we living epistles, read of all men, commending him, testifying to him and the power of his grace? That, the New Testament tells us, is what is meant by being a Christian. (283)
I know of no better way of starting my day than by saying to myself every morning, "I am one of the people in the world today through whom Christ is to be glorified. I am not here for myself, or for anything I want to do, the main thing for me this day is that Christ should be glorified in me." (292)
The Christian is meant to be a joyful person, one who is meant to experience the joy of salvation. (298)
I suppose there is nothing that so tends to rob us of our joy as our realization that we do not love him as we ought, because when we realize this, we become unhappy and miserable. I will tell you the best antidote to that: when you realize your love is weak and faint and poor and unworthy, stop thinking about your love, and realize that in spite of its poverty, he loves you. (303)
To know the Lord's joy is to realize that, and to realize, furthermore, that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world for us, that he came in order to prepare us for God, and to deliver us from the guilt of our sin. He has done it all. He has borne the guilt and the punishment and the law is satisfied. (304)
The very fact that the Son of God came into this world at all is proof positive that man can never save himself. If man could save himself by his own exertions, the Son of God would never have come. The very fact that he has come proclaims that man at his best and highest will never be good enough. (325)
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Saved In Eternity

Saved In Eternity (The Assurance of Salvation #1) D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 1988. Crossway. 187 pages. [Source: Bought]

From the preface: The sermons in this book form the first part of a series on John 17 which Dr. Lloyd-Jones delivered on Sunday mornings in Westminster Chapel between 1952 and 1953. These particular sermons [Saved in Eternity] were preached between April and July 1952.

I have now read all four books in Lloyd-Jones' Assurance of Salvation collection. These four books explore the rich depths of John 17.

The first book, Saved In Eternity, merely covers the first five verses of John 17. Thirteen glorious chapters cover five glorious verses!

The Lord's Own Prayer (John 17:1)
Why Pray (John 17:1)
The Glory of God in the Plan of Salvation (John 17:1)
Our Security in God (John 17:1-5)
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory (John 17:1-5)
Antidote to Introspection (John 17:1-5)
It Is Finished (John 17:1-5)
The Hour Is Come (John 17:1)
That He Should Give Eternal Life To As Many As Thou Hast Given Him (John 17:2)
The Only True God (John 17:2-3)
A New Principle (John 17:2-3)
Filled With Life Anew (John 17:2-3)
Safe In His Eternal Kingdom (John 17:1-5)

I always suspected that I would love, love, love, absolutely LOVE Martyn Lloyd-Jones work if only I could stop being intimidated long enough to immerse myself. And indeed I do love him!!! I find him very readable! His writing is rich in scriptural truth. His love for the Word of God is very evident in his writing. I also love the depth and substance in his sermons. They are meaty sermons, but, ever-relevant.

From "The Lord's Own Prayer"
A quaint preacher in the seventeenth century said what is, I believe, the eternal truth about this prayer. "It is the greatest prayer that was ever offered on earth and it followed the greatest sermon that was ever preached on earth." In a sense nothing can be added to that. (11)
If we had nothing but John 17 we would surely have more than enough to sustain us, because here our Lord has given us an insight into our whole position, and into everything that is of importance and of value to us while we are in this world of time. (13)
We sometimes think that prayer is simple, but it is not. The great saints of all the centuries are agreed in saying that one of the most difficult things of all is to learn how to pray. If any Christian has been feeling cast down because he or she has found prayer difficult, they must not be discouraged, because it is the common experience of the saints. (16)
What he has done for us is that he has satisfied the law and all its demands. It is amazing to me how people can look at and preach about Christ, his life and death and never mention the law. Unless the law of God is satisfied, there is no salvation. (19)
From "Why Pray?"
Prayer, in many ways, is the supreme expression of our faith in God and our faith and confidence in the promises of God. There is nothing that a man ever does which so proclaims his faith as when he gets down on his knees and looks to God and talks to God. (35)
There is no conflict between the sovereignty of God and prayer, for it is the sovereign God who has chosen to do his work in this world through praying men and women. (37)
From "The Glory of God in the Plan of Salvation"
We want a bird's eye view of the whole Bible, and the result is that we miss the doctrine. (44) 
It is a tragedy that we tend to live as paupers in the spiritual realm, when God means us to be princes. (44)
Strangely enough, the Christian gospel--let me say this with reverence, lest I be misunderstood--the Christian gospel does not start even with the Lord Jesus Christ, it starts with God the Father. The Bible starts with God the Father always, everywhere, and we must do the same, because that is the order in the blessed Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Salvation is entirely of God, it is the gift of God. (44)
The ultimate aim and object of our salvation is that we may glorify God. The essence of sin is that we do not glorify God--let us be quite clear about this; the essence of sin does not lie in the particular sins or actions of which you and I and others may be guilty. Now that is where we go wrong. We think of sin in terms of particular sins and that is why respectable people do not think they are sinners. They utterly fail to realize that the essence of sin is not to glorify God, and anybody who does not glorify God is guilty of sin of the foulest kind. (47)
From "It Is Finished"
God being God, cannot just forgive sin. Now the common idea about God, the one that we have instinctively, is that when we admit that we have sinned, all that is necessary is that we should come to God, say we are very sorry, and God will forgive us. But according to the Bible that is impossible, and I do not hesitate to use that word. As a preacher of the Christian gospel, I am compelled to say this and I say it with reverence: God, because he is God, cannot just forgive sin like that.
If you want me to prove what I am saying, this is how I do it. If God could have forgiven sin just by saying, "I forgive," he would have done so, and Christ would never have been sent into this world. The work that was given to him to do, this work, this assignment, this task, was given to the Lord Jesus Christ because, I say again, without it, God cannot forgive sin. He must not only justify the ungodly, he must remain just. The way of salvation must be consistent with the character of God. He cannot deny himself, he cannot change himself, he is unchangeable. (101)
He came to do certain things himself, and we are saved by what Christ has done for us, and not by what he tells us to do. (102)
He has done everything that is necessary for man to be reconciled to God. Have you realized, my friends, that this work is finished? (107)
The beginning of Christianity is the acceptance of this statement: "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." (107)
From "The Hour Is Come"
My friend, he came from heaven, he laid aside his glory, as we were considering earlier, in order to come to 'this hour.' He knew it from the beginning. He came to die, specifically to die. We have seen that, apart from that death on the cross, he cannot deliver me; that apart from the death on the cross, I say it again with reverence, even God cannot forgive man. The cross is absolutely essential, the cross was planned before the world was ever created. So the hour that produced the cross is the central, pivotal point, of history and God always knew about it, the Lord came for that hour. So we must never think of this hour as taking him by surprise, it was an hour that was appointed and determined, it was the crisis of the world itself. (113)
The cross of Jesus Christ makes this great proclamation. Unless I believe in him, unless I believe that his death at that hour is the only thing that reconciles me to God, I remain under the wrath of God. If I do not see that the wrath of God against my sin has been borne there by the Son of God, then the alternative is that I must live to experience the wrath of God: that is the essence of the Christian gospel. (120)
From "Filled With Life Anew"
To spend time in reading the Bible and in meditation is no burden to those who have eternal life. They delight in it, it is their greatest joy, because knowing God as they know him, they enjoy him. (169)
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible