Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Summer with John #15

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-one and twenty-two (Psalm 22:7-8; Psalm 69:20)

From sermon twenty-one:
The Chief Priests, Elders, and Rulers of the people. When these, who were held in ignorant admiration by the multitude, set the example, we do not wonder that it was generally followed. They had been His most avowed and determined enemies, they had long conspired to take away His life, and in the appointed hour their plots were permitted to succeed.
They now rejoiced in their success. By their office as teachers and expounders of the law, they ought to have pointed Him out to the people as the object of their reverence and hope; but having rejected Him themselves, they employed all the authority and influence to make Him the object of general contempt. And lest the extremity of His torments should awaken sentiments of commiseration in the multitude, they were the first, and the loudest, in reviling Him, as He hung upon the cross.
The populace, though no less ignorant, were less malicious than their leaders. At different times, when they heard His public discourses, and saw His wonderful works, they had been staggered and constrained to say, Is not this the Son of David? and not many days before, the popular cry had been strongly in His favour (Matthew 21:10, 11) ; though quickly after, it was, Crucify Him, crucify Him (Luke 23:21) As the sea, though sometimes smooth, is always disposed to obey the impulse of the wind, so the common people, though easily roused to oppose the truth, would, perhaps, be quiet, if they were left to themselves;
The priests by degrees, wrought the populace up, first to reject MESSIAH, and then, to join their leaders, in mocking and deriding Him.
They showed their scorn in the most pointed and cruel manner. Not only they, who had clamoured for His death, derided Him, but others, who were only passing by upon their ordinary occasions, could not pass on till they had stopped a while to insult Him, wagging their heads, and reminding Him of what He had formerly said, and charging Him with the supposed folly and arrogance of His claims.
The bulk of the people bore their part in this tragedy, through precipitation and ignorance. In His prayer for their forgiveness (a prayer which was signally answered after His ascension) He mentioned the only extenuation their wickedness could possibly admit, They knew not what they did. It was otherwise, with those who were principally concerned in procuring His death.
His Gospel represents His personal ministry, declares His character, reveals His love, produces the same effects in those who receive it, and they who oppose it, are considered as opposing Him, and are influenced, by the same spirit, which instigated the unbelieving Jews. It is to be hoped that many reject and scorn it through ignorance, as the multitude did of old; and that the intercession of Him, who prayed for those that knew not what they did, will prevail for their conversion.
From sermon twenty-two:
My text expresses, so far as human words and ideas can reach, His exquisite distress, when He bore our sins in His own body, upon the tree. Reproach broke His heart, and when He looked for pity and comfort He found none.
Now a sinner is, deservedly, the greatest object of contempt in the universe, and, indeed, the only object of deserved contempt. Thus He incurred the reproach of the law and justice of God. The Holy Father, viewing the Son of His love in this light, as charged with the sins of His people, forsook Him.
God infinitely hates sin, and will have no fellowship with it; and of this He gave the most awful proof, by forsaking His beloved Son; when He took upon Him to answer for the sins of men. Then the sword of the Almighty awoke against Him, and He spared Him not (Zechariah 13:7)
Let broken-hearted sinners look, by faith, upon a broken-hearted Saviour. The phrase denotes woe and dejection inconceivable, with a failure of all resource. Anything may be borne while the spirit, the heart, remains firm; but if the heart itself be broken, who can endure? A wounded spirit, who can bear? (Proverbs 18:14)
The most emphatic words are used, to describe His sensation of the bitter conflict of His soul, in the garden of Gethsemane, when as yet the hand of man had not touched Him. He began to be amazed [ ekthambeo ], or astonished. This word properly signifies, to be struck with terror and surprise, by some supernatural power, such as Belshazzar felt, when he suddenly saw the hand-writing against him upon the wall (Daniel 5:6)
And to be very heavy [ademoneo --the strongest of the three words used in the New Testament for depression] , sated with grief, full, so as to be incapable of more.
He said, I am exceeding sorrowful -- surrounded, encompassed with sorrows [perilypos - encompassed with grief - Matthew 26:38] . It is added, He was in an agony [agonia - severe mental struggle and emotions, anguish - Luke 22:44] --a consternation of mind, such as arises from the prospect of some impending, unavoidable evil ; like the suspense of mariners upon the point of shipwreck, who tremble, equally at the view of the raging waves behind them, and the rocky shore before their eyes, on which they expect, in a few moments, to be dashed.
It rather becomes us to adore in humble silence, the manifestation of the goodness and severity of God (Romans 11:22) , in the Redeemer's sufferings, than to indulge in conjecture and the flights of imagination. What is expressly revealed we may assert, contemplate, and admire. His soul was made an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10) We know but little of the extreme malignity of sin, because we have but faint views of the majesty, holiness, and goodness of God, against whom it is committed.
Adam had sinned but once, when he lost all comfort and confidence in God, and sought to hide himself.
We have but slight thoughts of the extent of sin. Not only positive disobedience, but want of conformity to the law of God, is sinful. Every rising thought which does not comport with that reverence, dependence, and love, which is due to God, from creatures constituted, furnished, and indebted, as we are, is sinful.
The sins of one person, in thought, word, and deed, sins of omission, and commission, are innumerable. What then is contained in the collective idea, in what the Scripture calls, the sin of the world ? What then must be the atonement, the consideration, on the account of which the great God is no less righteous than merciful, in forgiving the sins, which His inviolable truth, and the honour of His government engage Him to punish.
And they are punished, though forgiven. They were charged upon Jesus, they exposed Him to a rebuke which broke His heart. They filled Him with heaviness. When therefore, we are assured that the justice of God is satisfied, with respect to every sinner of the race of mankind, who, in obedience to the divine command, makes the sufferings of the Saviour his plea for pardon, and trusts in Him for salvation; and that upon this one ground they are freed from all condemnation, and accepted as children; when we are told, that the glory of the divine perfections is displayed in the highest, by this method of saving millions, who deserved to perish;
We safely infer the greatness of the cause, from the greatness of the effect. The sufferings of Christ, which free a multitude of sinners from the guilt of innumerable sins, must have been inconceivably great indeed!
They, who have never tasted that the Lord is good, not having known the difference, can have no conception of this subject. Their minds are, at present, occupied with earthly things; and while they are thus engaged with trifles, they cannot believe, though they are repeatedly told it, that to an immortal spirit, a separation from the favour of God involves in it the very essence of misery.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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