Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Summer with John #2

John Newton
Today I am continuing to share my reading experience with John Newton. Newton's inspiration for this sermon series was the popularity of Handel's Messiah

Today's quotes will come from the first two sermons in the series. For your listening pleasure: Comfort Ye and Ev'ry Valley. And the Glory of the Lord.

Isaiah 40:1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

From the first sermon, "Consolation"
The first good work of the Holy Spirit, upon the heart of fallen man, is to convince of sin (John 16:9) He gives some due impressions of the majesty and holiness of the God with whom we have to do, of our dependence upon Him, as our obligations to Him as our Creator, Lawgiver, and Benefactor; then we begin to form our estimate of duty, of sin and its desert, not from the prevalent maxims and judgments of mankind, around us, but from the unerring standard of Scripture. He now feels himself under the law, it condemns him and he cannot reply, it commands him and he cannot obey. He has neither righteousness nor strength, and must sink into despair, were it not that he is now qualified to hearken to the Gospel with other ears, and read the Scriptures with other eyes (if I may so speak) than he once did. He now knows he is sick, and therefore knows his need of a physician. He wounds, and He heals in His own appointed moment. None that continue waiting upon Him, and seeking salvation in the means which He has directed, shall be finally disappointed. Sooner or later He gives them, according to His promise, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3)
Afflictions are the fruit of sin, and because our sins have been many, our afflictions may be many. But where sin has abounded, grace has much more abounded (Romans 5:20)
There is no situation in human life so deplorable, but a sense of the pardoning love of God can support and comfort the sufferer under it, compose his spirit, yea make him exceedingly joyful in all his tribulations; for he feels the power of the blood of Jesus cleansing his conscience from guilt, and giving him access by faith to the Throne of Grace, with liberty to say, Abba, Father; he knows that all his trials are under the direction of wisdom and love, are all working together for his good, and that the heaviest of them are light, and the longest momentary, in comparison of that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which is reserved for him in a better world (II Corinthians 4:16, 17)
When the Lord God who knows the human heart would speak comfort to it, He proposes one object, and only one, as the necessary and all-sufficient source of consolation. This is MESSIAH. Jesus in His person and offices, known and received by faith, affords a balm for every wound, a cordial [tonic] for every care.
A free pardon is a comfort to a malefactor, but it implies guilt; and therefore they who have no apprehension that they have broken the laws, would be rather offended, than comforted, by an offer of pardon. This is one principle cause of that neglect, yea contempt, which the Gospel of the grace of God meets with from the world. But it is to be feared, that for want of knowing themselves, and their real state in the sight of Him with whom they have to do, many persons who have received pleasure from the music of the Messiah [Oratorio], have neither found, nor expected, nor desired to find, any comfort from the words.
From the second sermon, "The Harbinger"
A valley is an emblem of a low condition. Such was the condition of most of our Lord's followers; but His notice and favour exalted them highly. He came to preach the Gospel to the poor, to fill the hungry with good things, to save the chief of sinners, to open a door of hope and salvation to persons of the vilest and most despicable characters in human estimation. And by living Himself in a state of poverty, and associating chiefly with poor people, He placed the vanity of the distinctions and affluence which mankind generally admire and envy, in the most striking and humiliating light. Such, likewise, was and will be the effect of the Gospel. When faithfully preached, it is found mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds, high thoughts, and every species of self-exaltation.
When the convincing Word touches the heart, it has an effect like the hand-writing which Belshazzar saw upon the wall (Daniel 5:6)
Those of you who have heard the Messiah [Oratorio] will do well to recollect, whether you were affected by such thoughts as these, while this passage was performed; or whether you were only fascinated by the music, and paid no more regard to the words than if they had no meaning. They are, however, the great truths of God. May they engage your serious attention, now they are thus set before you.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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