Thursday, July 21, 2016

My Summer with John #11

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 sixteenth sermon (John 1:29)
God has so loved rebellious, ungrateful sinners, as to appoint them a Saviour in the person of His only Son. The prophets foresaw His manifestation in the flesh, and foretold the happy consequences --that His presence would change the wilderness into a fruitful field, that He was coming to give sight to the blind, and life to the dead; to set the captive at liberty; to unloose the heavy burden; and to bless the weary with rest. But this change was not to be wrought merely by a word of power, as when He said, Let there be light, and there was light (Genesis 1:3) It was great, to speak the world from nothing; but far greater, to redeem sinners from misery. The salvation, of which He is the Author, though free to us, must cost Him dear. Before the mercy of God can be actually dispensed to such offenders, the rights of His justice, the demands of His law, and the honour of His government, must be provided for.
The early institution and long continued use, of sacrifices, had clearly pointed out the necessity of an atonement; but the real and proper Atonement could only be made by MESSIAH. The blood of slaughtered animals could not take away sin, nor display the righteousness of God in pardoning it. This was the appointed, covenanted work of MESSIAH, and He alone could perform it.
He is the Lamb of God. The paschal lamb, and the lambs which were daily offered, morning and evening, according to the law of Moses, were of God's appointment; but this Lamb was, likewise, of His providing. The others were but types [prophetic symbols]. Though many, they were all insufficient to cleanse the offerers from guilt (Hebrews 10:1) ; and they were all superseded, when MESSIAH, by the one offering of Himself, once for all, made an end of sin, and brought in an everlasting righteousness, in favour of all who believe in His name.
The Lamb of God, refers to His voluntary substitution for sinners, that by His sufferings and death, they who deserved to die, might obtain eternal life through Him, and for His sake.
The efficacy of this Atonement is complete. The Lamb of God, thus slain, takes away sin; both with respect to its guilt, and its defilement.
The Lamb of God is an object, proposed not to our bodily sight, but to the eye of the mind, which indeed, in fallen man, is naturally blind; but the Gospel message, enlivened by the powerful agency of the Holy Spirit, is appointed to open it. He who thus sees the Son, and believes on Him (John 6:40) , is delivered from guilt and condemnation, is justified from all sin. He is warranted to plead the sufferings of the Lamb of God in bar of his own; the whole of the Saviour's obedience unto death, as the ground and title of his acceptance unto life.
He takes away the sin of the world. Many of my hearers need not be told, what fierce and voluminous disputes have been maintained, concerning the extent of the death of Christ. I am afraid the advantages of such controversies, have not been answerable to the zeal of the disputants. For myself, I wish to be known, by no name, but that of a Christian; and implicitly to adopt no system but the Bible.
If it be inferred that He actually designed and intended the salvation of all men, because the death of Christ is here said to take away the sin of the world, or, (as this Evangelist expresses it in another place) the whole world (I John 2:2) , such an inference would be contradicted by fact. For it is certain that all men will not be saved (Matthew 7:13, 14) It is to be feared, that the greater part of those, to whom the Word of His salvation is sent, perish in their sins. If, therefore, He cannot be disappointed of His purpose, since many do perish, it could not be His fixed design, that all men should be finally and absolutely saved.
The exceeding great number, once dead in trespasses and sins, who shall be found on His right hand, at the great Day of His appearance, are frequently spoken of in appropriate and peculiar language. They are styled His sheep (John 10:11, 16) , for whom He laid down His life; His elect (Mark 13:27) , His own (John 13:1) ; those to whom it is given to believe in His name (Philippians 1:29) , and, concerning whom, it was the Father's good pleasure to predestinate them to the adoption of children (Eph. 1:5) By nature, they are children of wrath, even as others (Ephesians 2:3) ; and no more disposed in themselves to receive the truth, than those who obstinately and finally reject it. Whenever they become willing they are made so, in a day of divine power (Psalm 110:3) ; and wherein they differ, it is grace that makes them to differ (I Corinthians 4:7) Passages in the Scriptures to this purpose, are innumerable; and though much ingenuity has been employed to soften them, and to make them speak the language of an hypothesis, they are so plain in themselves, that he who runs may read.
It is not the language of conjecture, but of inspiration, that they whom the Lord God did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). And though some serious persons perplex themselves with needless and painful reasonings, with respect to the sovereignty of God in His conduct towards mankind, they all, if truly spiritual and enlightened, stand upon this very ground, in their own experience.
That there is an election of grace, we are plainly taught; yet, it is not said, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save the Elect, but that He came to save sinners, to seek and to save them that are lost (I Timothy 1:15; Luke 19:10). Upon this ground, I conceive that ministers have a warrant to preach the Gospel to every creature, and to address the conscience of every man in the sight of God: and that every person who hears this Gospel, has thereby a warrant, an encouragement, yea, a command, to apply to Jesus Christ for salvation.
And that they who refuse, thereby exclude themselves, and perish, not because they never had, nor possibly could have any interest in His atonement, but, simply, because they will not come unto Him that they may have life.
The whole may be summed up in two points, which I commend to your serious attention; which it must be the business of my life to enforce, and which, I trust, I shall not repent of having enforced, either at the hour of death, or in the Day of Judgment, when I must give an account of my preaching, and you of what you have heard in this place. That salvation is, indeed, wholly of grace. The gift of a Saviour, the first dawn of light into the heart, all the supports and supplies needful for carrying on the work, from the foundation to the top-stone, all is of free grace. That now the Lamb of God is preached to you, as taking away the sin of the world, if you reject Him, which may the Lord forbid! I say, if you reject Him, your blood will be upon your own head. You are warned, you are invited. Dare not to say, Why doth He yet find fault, for who hath resisted His will? (Romans 9:19). If He will save me, I shall be saved; if not, what can I do? God is merciful, but He is also holy and just; He is almighty, but His infinite power is combined with wisdom, and regulated by the great designs of His government. He can do, innumerable things, which, He will not do. What He will do (so far as we are concerned) His Word informs us, and not one jot or tittle thereof shall fail (Matthew 5:18).

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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