Monday, July 27, 2009

The Simplicity of the Gospel

I was in a meeting recently where the participants were holding up the ideal of simplicity. Simplicity has its place, though we should be careful not to idolize it above all other virtues. For we read in the scripture:

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
(Pro 1:22)

Yet, when it comes to delivering a message to God's people, nothing is better than the simplicity offered in the Gospel. I'm currently reading Charles Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. I can't get through the chapter on "Sermons - Their Matter" without having to stop and comment.

Consider Spurgeon's thoughts on simplicity and the Gospel.

We must throw all our strength of judgment, memory, imagination, and eloquence into the delivery of the gospel; and not give to the preaching of the cross our random thoughts while wayside topics engross our deeper meditations. Depend upon it, if we brought the intellect of a Locke or a Newton, and the eloquence of a Cicero, to bear upon the simple doctrine of 'believe and live,' we should find no surplus strength. Brethern, first and above all things, keep to plain evangelical doctrines: whatever else you do or do not preach, be sure incessantly to bring forth the soul-saving truth of Christ and him crucified.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spurgeon on Feeding the Flock

Alas! the indistinct utterances of many concerning the grandest of eternal realities, and the dimness of thought in others with regard to fundamental truths, have given too much occasion for the criticism! Brethern, if you are not theologians you are in your pastorates just nothing at all. You may be fine rhetoricians, and be rich in polished sentences; but without knowledge of the gospel, and aptness to teach it, you are but a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Verbiage is too often the fig-leaf which does duty as a covering for theological ignorance. Sounding periods are offered instead of sound doctrine, and rhetorical flourishes in the place of robust thought. Such things ought not to be. The abounding of empty declamation, and the absence of food for the soul, will turn a pulpit into a box of bombast, and inspire contempt instead of reverence. Unless we are instructive preachers, and really feed the people, we may be great quoters of elegant poetry, and mighty retailers of second-hand windbags, but we shall be like Nero of old, fiddling while Rome was burning, and sending vessels to Alexandria to fetch sand for the arena while the populace starved for want of corn.

- Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students, p. 81

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Family or the Church?

A friend of mine mentioned to me today an experience whereby an elderly gentlemen was commenting on how nice my friend's family was. This man was a World War II veteran who was in the second wave of the Normandy invasion. He was 91 years old and had trusted Christ as his saviour in 1947 after he returned home from the war.

His comments to my friend was that "God loves families. You know, He created families before He created the church."

I love families too. I love my own family enormously. Yet, as my friend relayed this story to me I felt an uneasyness. There was just something that wasn't quite right about this man's comments.

I began to ponder the question, "Which came first, the family or the church?"

The Belgic Confession declares in Article 27:
This church has existed from the beginning of the world and will last until the end, as appears from the fact that Christ is eternal King who cannot be without subjects.

So, the author of the Belgic Confession confirmed my suspusion. But I wanted something a little more concrete than a confession that is not even the primary confession that I adhere to. (which is the London Baptist Confession of 1689)

Scripture is the ultimate authority. What does it have to say about the family?

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
(Luk 14:26)

What does it have to say about the church?

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Eph 5:25-27)

So, I believe it is clear from scripture that Christ esteems His church above families. But there is still the nagging question; Did He create the family before He created the church?

The first family was made up of Adam and Eve. They had their beginning in the Garden of Eden. But when did Christ create His Church? First we must ask who is the Church? The Church is made up of all Christ's elect. The Church is and has always been God's people throughout the ages. Thus it is not incorrect to call ancient Israel, "The Church."

So, when was the Church created? It was created when He elected His own. I believe this verse speaks clearly as to when the Church was created:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
(Eph 1:4)

So then, I submit to you that this elderly gentleman, in spite of the honour I have for him in serving our country, is wrong when it comes to the dicotomy between the Church and the family. The family is certainly a blessing from God. But His Church is the apple of His eye.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Earn Prizes While Searching the Web

My sister-in-law told me about this website. She uses it to earn points toward Amazon gift cards. As a homeschooling family, I love to find out how to get free books. Click on the banner below to check it out.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Our Lord's Apples

"Take no heavier lift of your children, than your Lord alloweth; give them room beside your heart, but not in the yolk of your heart, where Christ should be; for then they are your idols, not your bairns. If your Lord take any of them home to his house before the storm come on, take it well, the owner of the orchard may take down two or three apples off his own trees, before midsummer, and ere they get the harvest sun; and it would not be seemly that his servant, the gardener, should chide him for it. Let our Lord pluck his own fruit at any season he pleaseth; they are not lost to you, they are laid up so well, as that they are coffered in heaven, where our Lord's best jewels lie." - Samuel Rutherford (1600 - 1661)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Sugared Gospel

"Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul."
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Can You Be a Christian and not Learn?

Convince them what a contradiction it is to be a Christian, and yet
refuse to learn; for what is a Christian but a disciple of Christ?
And how can he be a disciple of Christ, that refuseth to be taught by
him? And he that refuseth to be taught by his ministers, refuseth to
be taught by him; for Christ will not come down from heaven again to
teach them by his own mouth, but hath appointed his ministers to keep
school and teach them under him. To say, therefore, that they will
not be taught by his ministers, is to say, they will not be taught by
Christ; and that is to say, they will not be his disciples, or no

- Richard Baxter The Reformed Pastor pp. 234-235

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Applying the Gospel to Our Idols

Preach it Brother Stephen! This is a followup to the last message I posted by him on Gospelizing. It is a "must listen."

Win a Copy of Bible Works 8!

There is a very good Christian blog that I like to follow called This month they are giving away two copies of Bible Works 8 software valued at $349 each. Visit this link to visit their site and sign up:

This is awesome software that will certainly help you in your study of God's Word.

If you happen not to win the prize, there is a free software package I have used for years called E-Sword. While it may not be in the same league at Bible Works, I can tell you that it is certainly a great piece of software to have on your system, especially if you have no other package. Visit this link to download it free of charge: