Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Summer With John #14

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 sermon twenty (Isaiah 53:6)
So when wandering sinners are compared to wandering sheep, we have a striking image of the danger of their state, and of their inability to recover themselves. Sheep, wandering without a shepherd, are exposed, a defenceless and easy prey to wild beasts and enemies, and liable to perish for want of pasture; for they are not able either to provide for themselves, or to find the way back to the place from whence they strayed. Whatever they suffer, they continue to wander, and if not sought out, will be lost. Thus far the allusion holds. But sheep, in such a situation, are not the subjects of blame. They would be highly blameable, if we could suppose them rational creatures; if they had been under the eye of a careful and provident shepherd, had been capable of knowing him, had wilfully and obstinately renounced his protection and guidance, and voluntarily chosen to plunge themselves into danger, rather than to remain with him any longer. Thus it is with man. His wandering is rebellious. God made him upright , but he has sought out to himself many inventions (Ecclesiastes 7:29) God has appointed for man a safe and pleasant path, by walking in which, they shall find rest to their souls; but they say, We will not walk therein (Jeremiah 6:16) They were capable of knowing the consequences of going astray, were repeatedly warned of them, were fenced in by wise and good laws, which they presumptuously broke through. And when they wandered from Him, they were, again and again invited to return to Him, but they refused.
Sin has deprived us both of the knowledge and presence of God. In consequence of this, we wander, every one to his own way. All are under the power of sin, and all equally strangers to the paths of peace and safety. The paths which sinners choose for themselves are diverse from each other, as inclination or circumstances vary; but however different in appearance, if persisted in, they terminate at last in the same point. They all lead to destruction.
It is a sufficient proof of our depravity, that we prefer our own ways to the Lord's; nor can He inflict a heavier judgment upon us, in this life, than to give us up entirely to the way of our own hearts. He made us to be happy; but as He made us for Himself, and gave us a capacity, and a vastness of desire, which only He Himself can satisfy, the very constitution and frame of our nature render happiness impossible to us, unless in a way of dependence upon Him, and obedience to His laws.
The Scripture assures us, that the ways of God are pleasant, but we will not be persuaded. Experience proves that the way of transgressors is hard, but we resist the conviction, and hurry on in a round of continual disappointment.
There is only one right way, but a thousand ways of being wrong.

If you are not following Him, who has said, I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), you are wandering, you are far from God; for none can come to the Father but by Him: and far from peace, for there can be no true peace in the mind, unless He bestows and maintains it.
But the Scripture is the invariable rule to which it is your duty and interest to be conformed now; for it is given by the inspiration and authority of God, and is the standard, by which you must be judged at last. 
As wandering sheep are liable to innumerable dangers, which, they can neither foresee nor prevent, such is our condition, until, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are stopped, and turned, and brought into the fold of the good Shepherd. Oh! the misery of man while living without God in the world! He is exposed every hour to the stroke of death, which would at once separate him from all that he loves, and plunge him into the pit, from whence there is no redemption.
Man sinned, and MESSIAH suffered. The LORD hath laid, or caused to meet upon Him, the iniquity of us all, that is, the punishment due them. The evils we had deserved, were in pursuit of us; but Jesus interposed, and they all seized upon Him, and He endured them, that we might be spared. Do we ask upon what grounds? It was on the ground of His voluntary substitution for sinners, as their Covenant Head and Representative.
From this subject, the substitution of MESSIAH for sinners, we may learn, How to estimate the evil of sin. That sin is a great evil, is evident by its effects. It deprived Adam of the life and presence of God, and brought death, and all natural evil into the world. It caused the destruction of the old world by water. It is the source of all the misery with which the earth is now filled, it will kindle the last great conflagration; yea, it has, already kindled that fire, which shall never be quenched. But in no view does the sinfulness of sin appear so striking , as in this wonderful effect --the suffering and death of MESSIAH That notwithstanding the dignity of His person, and the perfection of His obedience to the law, and that though He prayed in His agonies, that if it were possible the cup might pass from Him (Luke 22:42) , yet, if sinners were to be saved, it was indispensably necessary that He should drink it. This shows the evil of sin in the strongest light. And in this light it is viewed by all who derive life from His death, and healing from His wounds.
Every charge against them is overruled by this plea, that Christ has died, and is risen on their behalf, and ever liveth to make intercession for them. And though they are still in a state of discipline, for the mortification of sin yet remaining in them; and though for the trial, exercise, and growth of their faith, it is still needful that they pass through many tribulations, yet none of these are strictly and properly penal.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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