There are so many lean Christians who devour hundreds of sermons! “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2. “I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.” Psalm 119:15. It is not merely hearing a sermon that does you good, but meditating on what you hear. So when you hear a sermon, if you do not meditate and ponder upon what you hear, you will never get any good. There are so many lean Christians who devour hundreds of sermons–and are never any better, never any fatter in grace. They never meditate, ponder and consider what they hear–that is the reason why they are so lean in grace. Pray unto God to enlighten your understandings, to quicken your devotion, to warm your affections–that by meditation on holy things you may be made more holy, you may have your lusts more mortified, you may have your graces more increased, you may better behold the vanity of the world, you may lifted up to Heaven and eternal realities. “Meditate upon these things.” 1 Timothy 4:15. (Edmund Calamy, 1600–1666)
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep!” John 10:11. “He will carry the lambs in His bosom, holding them close to His heart!” Isaiah 40:11.
Who is He of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd. Why does He carry the lambs in His bosom? Because He has a tender heart, and any weakness in His redeemed children at once melts His heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of His flock draw forth His compassion. He is considerate of the weak of His flock. He purchased them with His blood, they are His property–He must and will care for those who cost Him so dear. He is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. They are all a part of His glory and reward. “He carries the lambs in His bosom!” Here is boundless affection. Would He put them in His bosom if He did not love them so much? Here is tender nearness. So near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. Here is hallowed familiarity. There are precious ‘love passages’ between Christ and His weak ones. Here is perfect safety. In His bosom, who can hurt them? None can snatch them away from His omnipotence! They can never perish–ever! Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus! (Charles Spurgeon)
“It is not given to us in this world to study the pages of the book of life and see if our names are there. But if there is one thing clearly and plainly laid down about election, it is this—that elect men and women may be known and distinguished by holy lives… Hence, when St. Paul saw the working “faith” and laboring “love” and patient “hope” of the Thessalonian believers, he said, “I know your election of God” (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:3, 4). He that boasts of being one of God’s elect, while he is willfully and habitually living in sin, is only deceiving himself and talking wicked blasphemy.”
J. C. Ryle, Holiness: It’s Nature, Hinderances, Difficulties and Roots
“In describing the Christian’s love toward his brother, the Bible uses such expressions as “Love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22) and “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10). Other translations choose such words as fervently, fondly, and affectionately in the same passages to describe the love Christians ought to have for one another. Three different writers use the expression “brotherly love” or “love as brothers,” all indicating that Christian love is to be characterized by an affection that family members have—or ought to have—for one another (see Hebrews 13:1 and 1 Peter 3:8). All of these passages from the Bible indicate that our emotions are involved. We are to reach out and embrace our brother with a deep fervency of spirit, in our hearts if not in actuality. Obviously, such a fervency of spirit cannot substitute for loving actions, but surely it should accompany them. We dare not settle for less.”
Bridges, Jerry. The Practice of Godliness: Godliness has value for all things (pp. 209-210).
“Calvin’s motto well sums up the piety with which he lived: ‘I offer thee my heart, Lord, promptly and sincerely.’ This is the desire of all who are truly pious. However, this desire can be realized only through communion with Christ and participation in Him, for outside of Christ even the most religious person lives for himself. Only in Christ can the pious live as willing servants of their Lord, faithful soldiers of their Commander, and obedient children of their Father” — Joel R. Beeke, Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism (Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2008), 175.
“To know and believe the truth respecting God, to love, trust, fear, believe, obey God, to submit to and worship Him, to seek and find happiness in Him, to be conformed to Him, to maintain fellowship with Him, supremely to desire His approval, and steadily to seek the promotion of His glory, habitually to think of Him, and to look on everything in its connection with Him, —all this is included in godliness.” – John Brown
In what ways should we be temperate (self-controlled) with respect to the gifts of this life? John Brown mentions 6 occasions for temperance. He says,
- He is temperate in his desires of earthly enjoyments as such. Because they are “earthly,” he does not set his affections on them.
- Therefore, he is temperate in his pursuit of them; he does not labor so much for the meat that perishes, as for that which endures unto eternal life.” They do not control his time, do not rob him of time better devoted to necessary things.
- He is temperate in his attachment to them, while he enjoys them; he does not say, “Soul, take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry; thou halt goods laid up for many years.”
- He is temperate in his regrets when he is deprived of them ; he does not feel as if he had lost his all, or say, “My gods are taken from me, and what have I more?”
- He does not allow his natural desire of such things to interfere with his convictions and his obligations. He keeps the body, and all the desires connected with things seen and temporal, in subjection.
- The world has not dominion over him: he is master of himself; and, being possessed of a far better inheritance than it can give him, he does not expect or seek on earth real, perfect happiness, which he believes to be in heaven and secured for him there.
“Here the Apostle Peter is exhorting the people to whom he was writing to do the very selfsame thing which the Apostle Paul has in mind at the end of this Epistle to the Ephesians. ‘And beside this,’ says Peter, ‘giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.’ But before we come to look at this in detail I want to emphasize once more the element of our activity. We must get a firm hold of this principle. We cannot hope to advance until we see this clearly. Peter does not say, ‘Hand it over to the Lord; you have nothing to do. Trust to Him, leave it to Him, He will do it for you’. What he says is, ‘Giving all diligence’. It is an exhortation to us. We have to give the matter ‘all attention’, we have to be constantly at it, we have to apply ourselves to it, to add virtue to virtue (vv. 5, 6, 7). It is not going to be added for us; we have to do it. As a man cannot be strong by merely sitting down and reading books about exercises, so the Christian will never be strong until he does what Peter bids him. He has to do this thing, it is his activity, and it is done as he becomes strong and powerful and mighty in the Lord.” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Soldier: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10–20 (Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1977), 96–97.