Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Summer with John #5

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 sermon six (Isaiah 40:9). For your listening pleasure: O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion. (I must admit this is one of my favorites). 

Some of these quotes may prove unpopular and offensive in today's culture. I don't think any society at any time likes to be told that they are guilty sinners in the eyes of God. But this sermon seems to focus on the "T" of Total Depravity, one of the doctrines of grace. 
The deplorable state of fallen man by nature, is largely described both in the Old Testament and the New. It may suffice to take notice of two principal features, which characterize our whole species, and apply to every individual of the race of Adam, until the grace of God, which bringeth Salvation, affords relief. These are guilt, alienation of heart, and misery.
Guilt. All have sinned. We are the creatures of God. He made us, and He preserves us. Our life, faculties, and comforts are all from Him. He is therefore our great Lord, our supreme Benefactor. Of course we belong to Him. His we are, and not our own. It follows that dependence, gratitude, submission, and obedience, are incumbent on us, as they must be upon all intelligent creatures, from the very nature of things.
But we have evidently broken this law of our creation. We have violated the order of God's government. We have implicitly, if not formally, renounced our allegiance, disowned His right over us, and set up for ourselves.
It is possible, that had we been wholly left to ourselves, we should never have been aware, while in this world, of the just and inevitable consequences of our rebellion. Having lost all right thoughts of God, and conceiving of Him, as if He were altogether as ourselves, we might have felt neither fear nor remorse. But there is a revelation, by which we are informed of His determined purpose to avenge disobedience, and to vindicate the honour of His government; and we are assured, that He is not an indifferent spectator of our opposition to His established order. His justice and truth are engaged to punish transgressors, and our obnoxiousness to punishment, is what we mean by guilt. If the Scripture be true, there is no way of escape, unless He Himself be pleased to appoint one.
Think about that: If the Scripture be true, there is no way of escape, unless He Himself be pleased to appoint one. The problem is that today in and out of church some question Scripture.
Alienation of mind. Not only is it true that we have sinned against the Lord, but a principle of aversion from Him is deeply rooted in our hearts.
I do not assert that we hate God under that character, which, our vain imaginations form of Him. If we can persuade ourselves, in direct contradiction to the testimony of Scripture, that He is not strict to mark what is amiss; that He will dispense with the strictness of His law; that He will surely have mercy upon us, because we are not openly abandoned and profligate in our conduct; that He will accept of lip-worship in which the heart has no concern, reward us for actions in which we had no intention of pleasing Him, permit us to love and serve the world with all our mind, and soul, and strength, while we live, and make us happy in another world, when we can live in this no longer -- If we form such an image of God, it is too much like our own to provoke our enmity, for it is destitute of holiness, justice, and truth.
Misery. If we are guilty in the sight of God, and alienated from Him in our hearts, we must be miserable. Guilt entails a burden, and a foreboding of evil upon the conscience. And our alienation from the fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13) , compels us (for we are insufficient in our own happiness) to seek our resources from broken cisterns, and pits which will hold no water. Farther, sin has filled the world with woe. The whole creation travails and groans; and natural evil is inseparable from moral, as the shadow from the body. Though the earth be filled with tokens of the goodness, patience, and forbearance of God, it likewise abounds with marks of His displeasure.
I think we have sufficient reason to attribute earthquakes, hurricanes, famine, and pestilence, to sin as their original cause. We can hardly conceive, that if mankind had continued in that happy state of love and obedience to God, in which our first parents were created, they would have been exposed to such calamities.
MESSIAH establishes a new, a spiritual Kingdom upon the earth, and His happy subjects are freed from the misery in which they were involved. They commit all their concerns to Him, and He manages for them. Their fears are removed, their irregular desires corrected, and all that is really good for them, is secured to them by His love, promise, and care. Afflictions still await them, but they are sanctified.
Does the language of my text cause joy to spring up in your hearts? or is it nothing to you? If you heard the Messiah [Oratorio], you were, perhaps, affected by the music of the passage; how much are you to be pitied, if you are hitherto unaffected by the sentiment! Yet once more, hear -- Thy God cometh! He did come in the fulness of time, according to the prophecy, and the Word of prophecy assures us, that He will come again. Behold He cometh in the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him (Revelation 1:7) -- Prepare to meet thy God! (Amos 4:12)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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