Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Luke Day #10

From J.C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke
Prayer is one of the best and most powerful means of helping forward the cause of Christ in the world. It is a means within the reach of all who have the Spirit of adoption. Not all believers have money to give to missions. Very few have great intellectual gifts, or extensive influence among men. But all believers can pray for the success of the Gospel — and they ought to pray for it daily.
It is a certain fact that deep reasoning and elaborate arguments are not the weapons by which God is generally pleased to convert souls. Simple plain statements, boldly and solemnly made, and made in such a manner that they are evidently felt and believed by him who makes them, seem to have the most effect on hearts and consciences.
We need more simple, plain, solemn, earnest, affectionate statements of simple Gospel truths.
Let the religion which we aim to possess be a religion in which grace is the main thing. Let it not content us to be able to speak eloquently, or preach powerfully, or reasonably, or argue cleverly, or profess loudly, or talk fluently. Let it not satisfy us to know the whole system of Christian doctrines, and to have texts and words at our command. These things are all well in their way. They are not to be undervalued. They have their use. But these things are not the grace of God, and they will not deliver us from hell. Let us never rest until we have the witness of the Spirit within us that we are "washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. 6:11.) Let us seek to know that "our names are written in heaven," and that we are really one with Christ and Christ in us. Let us strive to be "epistles of Christ known and read of all men," and to show by our humility, and charity, and faith, and spiritual-mindedness, that we are the children of God. This is true religion.
Nothing so blinds the eyes of our souls to the beauty of the Gospel as the vain, delusive idea, that we are not so ignorant and wicked as some, and that we have got a character which will bear inspection.
Many and weighty as our sins are, Christ can bear them all. Difficult as is the work of our salvation, Christ is able to accomplish it. If Christ was not God as well as man we might indeed despair. But with such a Savior as this we may begin boldly, and press on hopefully, and await death and judgment without fear. Our help is laid on one that is mighty. (Psalm 89:19.) Christ over all, God blessed forever, will not fail any one that trusts in Him.
We are all sinners — dying sinners, and sinners going to be judged after death. "How shall our sins be pardoned? With which shall we come before God? How shall we escape the damnation of hell? Where shall we flee from the wrath to come? What must we do to be saved?" — These are inquiries which people of every rank ought to put to themselves, and never rest until they find an answer.
Let the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, be the rule of our faith and practice. Holding this principle we travel upon the king's highway. The road may sometimes seem narrow, and our faith may be severely tried, but we shall not be allowed greatly to err. Departing from this principle we enter on a pathless wilderness. There is no telling what we may be led to believe or do. Forever let us bear this in mind. Here let us cast anchor. Here let us abide.
It matters nothing who says a thing in religion, whether an ancient father, or a modern Bishop, or a learned divine. Is it in the Bible? Can it be proved by the Bible? If not, it is not to be believed. It matters nothing how beautiful and clever sermons or religious books may appear. Are they in the smallest degree contrary to Scripture? If they are, they are rubbish and poison, and guides of no value. What says the Scripture? This is the only rule, and measure, and gauge of religious truth. "To the law and to the testimony," says Isaiah, "if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20.)
We should regard the whole world as our parish, and the whole race of mankind as our neighbors. We should seek to be the friend of every one who is oppressed, or neglected, or afflicted, or sick, or in prison, or poor, or an orphan, or a heathen, or a slave, or an idiot, or starving, or dying. We should exhibit such world-wide friendship, no doubt, wisely, discreetly, and with good sense, but of such friendship we never need be ashamed. The ungodly may sneer at it as extravagance and fanaticism. But we need not mind that. To be friendly to all men in this way, is to show something of the mind that was in Christ.
"One thing is needful." If Christ is ours, we have all and abound.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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