The Purpose of Christian Ministry

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Horatius Bonar 

“The object of the Christian ministry is to convert sinners and to edify the body of Christ. No faithful minister can possibly rest short of this. Applause, fame, popularity, honor, wealth-all these are vain. If souls are not won, if saints are not matured, our ministry itself is vain.

The question, therefore, which each of us has to answer to his own conscience is, ‘Has it been the end of my ministry, has it been the desire of my heart to save the lost and guide the saved? Is this my aim in every sermon I preach, in every visit I pay? Is it under the influence of this feeling that I continually live and walk and speak? Is it for this I pray and toil and fast and weep? Is it for this I spend and am spent, counting it, next to the salvation of my own soul, my chiefest joy to be the instrument of saving others? Is it for this that I exist? To accomplish this would I gladly die? Have I seen the

pleasure of the Lord prospering in my hand? Have I seen souls converted under my ministry? Have God’s people found refreshment from my lips, and gone upon their way rejoicing, or have I seen no fruit of my labors, and yet content to remain unblest? Am I satisfied to preach, and yet not know of one saving impression made, one sinner awakened ?’

Nothing short of positive success can satisfy a true minister of Christ. His plans may proceed smoothly and his external machinery may work steadily, but without actual fruit in the saving of souls he counts all these as nothing. His feeling is: ‘My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you’ (Galatians 4:19). And it is this feeling which makes him successful”
– Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
taken from: Words to Winners of Souls.

Bad Company Corrupts Good Character

 

John MacArthur – Grace to You

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober–minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. (1 Corinthians15:33–34)

Paul warned the Corinthians that they should not be deceived about the danger of bad companyHomilia(company) basically means an association of people, but also can have the connotation of a lecture or sermon. It seems possible, therefore, that the Corinthians were both listening to some wrong teaching and associating with some evil people. Whether the teaching was in formal messages or not, it was bad and corrupting.

People who think wrongly invariably behave wrongly. Wrong behavior comes from wrong thinking, from wrong beliefs and wrong standards. It is impossible to associate regularly with wicked people without being contaminated both by their ideas and by their habits. The context implies that the bad company was teaching the heretical theology that there is no resurrection of the dead, and that bad theology had corrupted good morals. Continue reading

Judging Others: The Verse Pagans Love to Quote

Re-posting an old but important post.

Grace to You – John MacArthur

It should be noted that this passage has erroneously been used to suggest that believers should never evaluate or criticize anyone for anything. Our day hates absolutes, especially theological and moral absolutes, and such simplistic interpretation provides a convenient escape from confrontation. Members of modern society, including many professing Christians, tend to resist dogmatism and strong convictions about right and wrong. Many people prefer to speak of all-inclusive love, compromise, ecumenism, and unity. To the modern religious person those are the only “doctrines” worth defending, and they are the doctrines to which every conflicting doctrine must be sacrificed. Continue reading

The Significance of the Ascension

John MacArthur – Grace to You

Luke 24:50-53

December 21, 2008

Well, this is a special Lord’s day in the sense of our text of Luke because we have finally come to the final paragraph in Luke’s gospel, and we close out this great history with many wonderful memories of what we have learned in these ten years in Luke, many wonderful benefits spiritually to these great truths, this great account of Christ. Let’s look together at the final paragraph, verses 50 to 53.

Before I read them to you, just simply to make a comment. This is the brief account of the ascension of Christ into heaven, having completed His earthly journey and His earthly work. It is a significant event, maybe, in some ways, far more significant than most people give it credit for. In our culture we have a tradition of honoring the birth of people. We celebrate birthdays. When there is someone important, we make note of their birthday. Sometimes we even make national holidays out of the birthday of famous people, Presidents, and so forth. We do that not because their birth was significant, because none of their births were really significant. And when they were born, they had accomplished absolutely nothing. So at the risk of seeming a little bit odd, may I suggest another approach? That we begin to celebrate the death day of significant people which marks the culmination of their achievement.

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The gentleness of God…..

C H Spurgeon

“thy gentleness hath made me great.”
– Psa_18:35

The words are capable of being translated, “thy goodness hath made me great.” David gratefully ascribed all his greatness not to his own goodness, but the goodness of God. “Thy providence,” is another reading; and providence is nothing more than goodness in action. Goodness is the bud of which providence is the flower, or goodness is the seed of which providence is the harvest. Some render it, “thy help,” which is but another word for providence; providence being the firm ally of the saints, aiding them in the service of their Lord. Or again, “thy humility hath made me great.”

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Being Poor in Spirit

John MacArthur – Grace to You

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).

The Puritan writer Thomas Watson listed seven ways to determine if you are poor in spirit (The Beatitudes [Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1971], pp. 45-48):

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Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith 2 Corinthians 13

John MacArthur – Grace to You – Bible Q & A

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! (2 Corinthians 13:5)

The Corinthians, prompted by the evil insinuations of the false apostles, had demanded proof of Paul’s apostleship. He reluctantly defended himself, not for his own sake, but for the Lord’s, and so the Corinthians would not be cut off from the truth he preached to them. But in this passage, he turned the tables on his accusers and challenged them to test and examine themselves. The Greek text places the pronouns before the verbs for emphasis and literally reads, “Yourselves test to see if you are in the faith; yourselves examine.” Instead of arrogantly and foolishly challenging the genuineness of Paul’s relationship to the Lord, the Corinthians needed to examine the genuineness of their own salvation. The familiar New Testament terms peirazo (test) and dokimazo (examine) are used here as synonyms. They convey the idea of putting something to the test to determine its genuineness. The test was to see if the Corinthians were in the faith. Pistis (faith) refers here not to the subjective element of belief but to the objective body of Christian truth —the Christian faith.

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