How Do We Sanctify the Sabbath & Keep the Lord’s Day Holy?

Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12; Revelation 1:12
       Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
       Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
       I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): This word, ‘remember,’ shows that we are apt to forget Sabbath holiness; therefore we need a memorandum to put us in mind of sanctifying the day.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): What then appears to be the will of God about the manner of observing the Sabbath Day?

EDMUND CALAMY (1600-1666): Make the Lord’s day the market-day for thy soul―lay aside the affairs of the other part of the week.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): When our shop windows are shut on the Lord’s Day…this is to the end that we should have more liberty and leisure to attend on that which God commandeth.

THOMAS WATSON: The business of week-days makes us forgetful of God and our souls: the Sabbath brings Him back to our remembrance…It is good to rest on the Sabbath day from the works of our calling; but if we rest from labour and do no more, the ox and the ass keep the Sabbath as well as we; for they rest from labour. We must dedicate the day to God; we must not only ‘keep a Sabbath,’ but ‘sanctify’ a Sabbath.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): What are the parts of the sanctification of the Sabbath? They are two―holy rest, and holy exercise.

THOMAS WATSON: We keep the Sabbath day holy, by consecrating and dedicating this day to the service of the high God…Sabbath sanctification consists in two things, in resting from our own works, and in a conscientious discharge of our religious duty.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The Sabbath was made a day of rest, only in order to its being a day of holy work, a day of communion with God, a day of praise and thanksgiving; and the rest from worldly business is therefore necessary, that we may closely apply ourselves to this work, and spend the whole time in it, in public and in private.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): David went [into the house of God] to get bread for himself and his men, being hungry, I Samuel 21:6: so in a spiritual sense, where should such go, who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but into the house of God? Here is bread enough, and to spare; here is a table furnished with excellent provisions; here the Gospel is dispensed, which is milk for babes, and meat for strong men; here Christ, the bread of life, is set forth, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed; here the ordinances are administered, which are breasts of consolation to the children of God―and this was on the sabbath day that David went into the house of God―and so under the Gospel dispensation, on the Lord’s day, the day set apart for public worship, it becomes the saints to go up to the house of the Lord, and feed upon the provisions of it.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The Lord’s people in the olden time welcomed the times appointed for worship; let us feel the same exultation, and never speak of the Sabbath as though it could be other than a ‘delight’ and ‘honourable.’

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): What attitude did the incarnate Son of God take to the Sabbath? How did He act in regard to it, and what was His teaching concerning it? We answer, unhesitatingly, He honoured it; He kept it; He upheld its claims upon men.

MATTHEW HENRY: Christ chose to work his cures on the Sabbath day to dignify and sanctify the day, and to intimate that spiritual cures should be wrought mostly on the Christian Sabbath day. How many blind eyes have been opened by the preaching of the gospel, that blessed eye-salve, on the Lord’s Day!

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): “As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read,” Luke 4:16. Our Lord regularly attended the public worship of God in the synagogues; for there the Scriptures were read.

MATTHEW HENRY: The reading of the scripture is very proper work to be done.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): Read the Bible. If ye be led by the Spirit, ye will love the Bible.

JOHN DUNCAN (1796-1870): Those who love Christ Himself truly, have also an high esteem of His Word, and are much delighted with that; and where there is little esteem of His Word, there is but little esteem of Himself: they who have tasted the sweetness of the Word, do highly esteem of Christ Himself.

THOMAS WATSON: God made this day on purpose to raise the heart to heaven, to converse with Him.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): A Sunday that commences without prayer, is likely to be spent without pleasure, and closed without profit.

RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): The Lord’s day is exceeding seasonable for this exercise…It being a day appropriated to spiritual duties, methinks we should never exclude this duty, which is eminently spiritual. I verily think this is the chief work of a Christian Sabbath, and most agreeable to the design of its positive institution. What fitter time to converse with our Lord, than on the Lord’s day? What fitter day to ascend to heaven, then on that which He arose from earth, and fully triumphed over death and hell.

J. C. RYLE: The soul has its wants just as much as the mind and the body. It is in the midst of a hurrying, bustling world, in which its interests are constantly in danger of being jostled out of sight. To have those interests properly attended to, there must be a special day set apart.

MATTHEW HENRY: The sabbath is a sacred and divine institution; but we must receive and embrace it as a privilege and a benefit, not as a task and a drudgery. First, God never designed it to be an imposition upon us, and therefore we must not make it so to ourselves. “Man was not made for the sabbath,” for he was made a day before the Sabbath was instituted. Man was made for God, and for His honour and service, and so we must make it.

J. C. RYLE: I do not tell anyone that he ought to pray all day, or read his Bible all day, or go to church all day, or meditate all day, without let or cessation, on a Sunday. All I say is, that the Sunday rest should be a holy rest. God ought to be kept in view; God’s Word ought to be studied; God’s House ought to be attended; the soul’s business ought to be specially considered; and I say that everything which prevents the day being kept holy in this way, ought as far as possible to be avoided.

IGNATIUS of ANTIOCH (circa 50-108): Let every one of us keep a spiritual Sabbath.

RICHARD BAXTER: The fittest temper for a true Christian is, like John, to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.

MATTHEW HENRY: Let us who call him our Lord honour Him on His own day, the day which the Lord hath made and in which we ought to rejoice.

 

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Truly Great Christian Women

Mark 10:45; Acts 9:36; Luke 2:36, 37; 2 Kings 4:8-10
       Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister.
       Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds.
       And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
       And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by , he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall come to pass that he shall in thither.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): “A great woman.” The Hebrew word is used in varied connections. In Genesis 1:16,21 and many other passages it refers to material or physical greatness. In Exodus 32:21―“great sin”―it has a moral force. In 2 Kings 5:1, Job 1:3, and Proverbs 25:6, it is associated with social eminence…This woman was one of substance or wealth, as is intimated by the servants her husband had, and their building and furnishing a room for the prophet.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Great in wealth, and great also in virtue.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Instead of “great woman,” the Chaldee has it, “a woman fearing sin;” the Arabic, “a woman eminent for piety before God.” This made her truly great.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The true hallmark of greatness is simplicity―simplicity is not incompatible with depth.

A. W. PINK: This Shunammite woman was also “great” spiritually. She was great in hospitality; in discernment, perceiving that Elisha was “a holy man of God;” in meekness, by owning her husband’s headship; in thoughtfulness for others, the care she took in providing for the prophet’s comfort; in contentedness, 2 Kings 4:13; in wisdom, realizing Elisha would desire retirement and quietness; and in faith, confidently counting upon God to show Himself strong on her behalf.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The world’s idea of greatness is to rule, but Christian greatness consists in serving.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Dorcas was constantly employed in doing good; her works were both many and good; she was very kind and beneficent to the poor, she wrought with her hands much for their sakes―made coats and garments for them, and clothed them, Acts 9:39.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Anna, who was a prophetess in the temple, “gave thanks to the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem,” Luke 2:38.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Perhaps no more is meant [by a prophetess] than that she was one who had understanding in the scriptures above other women, and made it her business to instruct the younger women in the things of God, I Timothy 5:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:3-5…She was always in a praying frame, lived a life of prayer, gave herself to prayer, was frequent in ejaculations, large in solemn prayers, and very particular in her intercessions. And in these she served God; that was it that put a value upon them and an excellency into them.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): Women may, yea―ought to pray.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Here another great test of the Christian life and professions emerges…The Bible surely teaches us very plainly and very clearly that it’s true to say that the greater the saint, the greater the amount of prayer in his life.

JOHN GILL: The name Anna is the same with Hannah―and it signifies “grace;” or “gracious:” and as was her name, so was she, a gracious woman; one that had the grace of God herself, and was a publisher of the glad tidings of grace and redemption by Christ to others.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): Every woman, whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence, within which, according to her character, she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. Every woman, by her virtue or vice; by her folly or her wisdom; by her levity or her dignity, is adding something to our national elevation or degradation.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Women can be as powerful for evil as for good.

JOHN TRAPP: Nothing hath ever so enriched hell as the whorish woman.

MATTHEW POOLE: She “increaseth the transgressors among men,” Proverbs 23:28; she is the cause of innumerable sins against God, and against the marriage-bed, against the soul and body too, and by her wicked example and arts involveth many persons in the guilt of her sins.

C. H. SPURGEON: Seeing, then, that the devil employs women in his service, let those women whom God has called by his grace be doubly earnest in seeking to prevent or undo the mischief that others of their sex are working. If not called to public service, all have the home-sphere wherein they can shed forth the aroma of a godly life and testimony.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): If they have not authority, they have influence, which is far better and more deeply effective.

J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): Every woman wants to be beautiful. The secret of true beauty is stated in Proverbs 31:30: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Some women sacrifice everything to win favour, to become popular. This word tells us how worthless, how empty and vain is the world’s favour. Nothing is worth striving for in womanhood, but a pure, noble, lovely character. That is gotten only by being a Christian, by loving God and doing His will, and staying near Him all the time.

MATTHEW POOLE: Such a person is hardly to be found.

MATTHEW HENRY: Good women are very scarce, and many that seem to be so do not prove so…Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is above rubies, Proverbs 31:10. A virtuous woman; a “woman of strength”―so the Hebrew word is. Though the weaker vessel, yet [she is] made strong by wisdom and grace, and the fear of God.

JOHN TRAPP: A woman that feareth the Lord―That is indeed the crown of all commendation, as that which makes one “all glorious within,” amiable and admirable beyond belief.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): No treasure is comparable to her.

 

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Perception in Reception

John 12:21
       We would see Jesus.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The Lord’s Supper is the most spiritual ordinance ever instituted.

AUGUSTUS TOPLADY (1713-1758): A formal professor does not look upon ordinances as means of inward religion, and as steps to communion with God, through the Spirit: but having skimmed the surface of outward duties, he sits down satisfied with externals, and aims at nothing higher. Not so are the conduct and views of one, whose heart God hath touched―the Christian is sensible that, not a bare attendance on outward duties, but the presence of God enjoyed under those duties, is that which nourishes the believing soul, and renews the believer’s strength.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): God hath instituted every ordinance, and duty, whether public or private, to beget, and maintain communion betwixt Himself and our souls. What are ordinances, duties, and graces, but perspective-glasses to give us a sight of God, and help us to communion with Him? God never intended His ordinances to be our rest, but mediums, and instruments of communion with Himself, which is our true rest. When we go into a boat, it is not with an intention to dwell, and rest there, but to ferry us over the water, where our business lies. If a man miss of communion with God in the best ordinances, or duty, it yields him little comfort. He comes back from it, like a man that hath travelled a great many miles to meet a dear friend, upon special and important business; but met with disappointment, and returns sad and dissatisfied. God appoints ordinances to be meeting-places with Himself in this world, Exodus 25:21,22.

WILLIAM STRONG (circa 1656): To converse with ordinances, and not to converse with God; to have to do with ordinances, and not to have to do with God, alas!―Ordinances without God are but like bones that have no marrow in them; they are but like shells without a kernel.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The Lord Jesus Christ well knew the weakness and infirmity even of the holiest believers. He knew the absolute necessity of keeping them in intimate communion with His own vicarious sacrifice, as the fountain of their inward and spiritual life. Therefore, He did not merely leave them promises on which their memories might feed, and words which they might call to mind. He mercifully provided an ordinance in which true faith might be quickened by seeing lively emblems of His body and blood, and in the use of which true Christians might be “strengthened and refreshed” as the Catechism says, and realize close communion with their Saviour in heaven. The strengthening of the faith of believers in Christ’s atonement was one great purpose of the Lord’s Supper.

OCTAVIUS WINSLOW (1808-1878): The sincere and devout communicant approaches the Lord’s table with this language breathing from the heart―“I would see Jesus.” For what other purpose was the Lord’s Supper instituted, but that through this window of grace we might behold the Lord Himself?

THOMAS WATSON: Here we have to do more immediately with Christ. In prayer, we draw near through Christ: in this ordinance we become one with Him. In the Word preached we hear of Christ; in the Supper we feed on Him.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We know what it is to feed on Jesus, but we cannot speak it or write it.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): The Lord’s Supper is a duty which is mainly dispatched by our thoughts; there we come to put reason to the highest use, to be the instrument of faith and love; of faith in believing applications; of love, in resolutions of duty and thankfulness. In that one ordinance there is a union of mysteries, which we take abroad in holy and serious thoughts. To have an unfruitful understanding then, is a great damp and deadness to the heart.

JEREMIAH DYKE (1584-1639): Therefore a special duty to be done at the Lord’s supper is to take up our hearts with serious meditation.

C. H. SPURGEON: Eat and drink so as to discern the Lord’s body. Having the mind awake to see Jesus symbolized in this ordinance.

J. C. RYLE: A right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a humbling effect on the soul. The sight of these emblems of Christ’s holy body and blood, reminds us how sinful sin must be, if nothing less than the death of God’s own Son could make satisfaction for it, or redeem us from its guilt…A right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a sanctifying effect on the soul. The bread and wine remind us how great is our debt of gratitude to our Lord, and how thoroughly we are bound to live for Him who died for our sins. Right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a restraining effect―he is reminded what a serious thing it is to be a Christian, and what an obligation is laid on him to lead a consistent life. Bought with such a price as that bread and wine call to his recollection, ought he not to glorify Christ in body and spirit, which are His? The man that goes regularly and intelligently to the Lord’s Table finds it increasingly hard to yield to sin and conform to the world.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): The frame of mind in which we should receive the memorials of redeeming love, is that of a humble, thankful, and peaceful reliance upon the mediation of our Divine Lord for pardon and eternal life.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): As we come to this holy table, we ought to be confirmed in this, that our Lord Jesus Christ is made one with us, and that we can never be sundered from Him.

J. C. RYLE: A right reception of the Lord’s supper has a cheering effect on the soul. The sight of the bread broken, and the wine poured out, reminds us how full, perfect, and complete is our salvation. Those lively emblems remind us what an enormous price has been paid for our redemption. They press on us the mighty truth, that believing on Christ, we have nothing to fear, because a sufficient payment has been made for our debt. The “precious blood of Christ” answers every charge that can be brought against us.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The great desire of our souls should be to see Jesus; to have our acquaintance with Him increased, our dependence on Him encouraged, our conformity to Him carried on; to see Him as ours, to keep up communion with Him, and to derive our communications of grace from Him; we miss our end in coming if we do not see Jesus.

J. C. RYLE: He that eats the bread and drinks the wine in a right spirit, will find himself drawn into closer communion with Christ, and will feel to know Him more, and understand Him better.

C. H. SPURGEON: Come, eat His flesh, and drink His blood. There, on the table, thou wilt see nothing but the emblems of His flesh and blood; but, if thou believest, Christ will feed thee spiritually upon Himself.

 

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Prayer, The Master Key to Profitable Bible Study, Part 2

Psalm 19:18
       Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): As God will be inquired of for blessings, it becomes him to seek God’s blessing previous to reading, and also, while reading.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Intersperse short ejaculations whilst you are engaged in reading; pray over every word and verse, if possible.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Every verse read and meditated on furnishes material for prayer. Every text prayed over opens a mine of “unsearchable riches,” with a light from above, more clear and full than the most intelligent exposition.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): You will frequently find fresh streams of thought leaping up from the passage before you, as if the rock had been struck by Moses’ rod; new veins of precious ore will be revealed to your astonished gaze as you quarry God’s Word and use diligently the hammer of prayer. You will sometimes feel as if you were entirely shut up, and then suddenly a new road will open before you.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): The Bible is always a new book to those well acquainted with it.

AUGUSTINE (354-430): And there is such a depth therein, that a man may daily profit in the knowledge thereof, though he studied nothing else all the days of his life, yea, as long as the days of heaven shall last, without any intermission or remission of his utmost endeavour.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): But it is to be observed, that the Spirit doth not make revelations of new notions; it only brings to our remembrance what Christ hath said, and further revealeth what was before in the Word revealed, though possibly particular persons were ignorant of such revelations of the Word: so things may be new, and newly revealed to us, which in themselves are not so. There are no new truths.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): When God is said to enlighten us, it is not that we should expect new revelations, but that we may see the wonders in His word, or get a clear sight of what is already revealed.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Although one may know, word for word, the entire contents of some chapter of Scripture, and although he may have taken the time to ponder thoughtfully every sentence therein, yet, on every subsequent occasion, provided one comes to it again in the spirit of humble inquiry, each fresh reading will reveal new gems never seen there before and new delights will be experienced never met with previously. The most familiar passages will yield as much refreshment at the thousandth perusal as they did at the first.

C. H. SPURGEON: Let me tell you a little secret; whenever you cannot understand a text, open your Bible, bend your knee, and pray over that text; and if it does not split into atoms and open itself, try again. If prayer does not explain it, it is one of those things God did not intend you to know, and you may be content to be ignorant of it. Prayer is the key that openeth the cabinets of mystery. Prayer and faith are sacred picklocks that can open secrets, and obtain great treasures. There is no college for holy education like that of the blessed Spirit, for He is an ever-present tutor, to whom we have only to bend the knee, and He is at our side, the great expositor of truth.

JOHN ROBINSON (1575-1625): And so some special instruments of renewing the gospel’s light in the former age, have professed, that they learned more this way by prayer, than by much study otherwise.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): You never read God’s Word to profit but as it teaches you to pray while you read.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): When Daniel was at private prayer, God dispatched a heavenly messenger to him, and his errand was to open more clearly and fully the blessed Scripture to him. Some comfortable and encouraging knowledge this holy man of God had attained unto before by his frequent and constant study in the word, and this eggs him on to private prayer, and private prayer sends an angel from heaven to give him a clearer and fuller light. Private prayer is a golden key to unlock the mysteries of the word unto us. The knowledge of many choice and blessed truths, are but the returns of private prayer. The word most dwells richly in their hearts who are most in pouring out their hearts before God in their closets.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): A tender, humble, holy frame is perhaps of more importance to our entering into the mind of the Holy Spirit than all other means united. It is thus that, by “an unction from the Holy One, we know all things.”

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): A humble and prayerful spirit will find a thousand things in the Bible which the proud, self-conceited student will utterly fail to discern.

GEORGE MÜLLER: He should have it, moreover, settled in his mind, that, although the Holy Spirit is the best and sufficient teacher, yet that this teacher does not always teach immediately when we desire it, and that, therefore, we may have to entreat Him again and again for the explanation of certain passages; but that He will surely teach us at last, if indeed we are seeking for light prayerfully, patiently, and with a view to the glory of God.

ROWLAND HILL: Wait on the Lord, and He will teach you all things, in such degree and time as He sees best.

MATTHEW HENRY: God gives knowledge and grace to those that search the Scriptures, and wait at wisdom’s gates.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): I have also felt the advantage of being able to pause, and think, as well as pray; and to inquire how far the subject is any way applicable to my case, and conduct in life.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): There should be a definite asking Him to graciously anoint our eyes Revelation 3:18, not only that we may be enabled to behold wondrous things in His law, but also that He will make us of quick discernment to perceive how the passage before us applies to ourselves—what are the particular lessons we need to learn from it. The more we cultivate this habit, the more likely that God will be pleased to open His Word unto us.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: And when you close up the book, most earnestly beseech God, that the words which you have read, may be inwardly engrafted into your hearts, and bring forth in you the fruits of a good life. Do this, and you will, with a holy violence, draw down God’s Holy Spirit into your hearts; you will experience His gracious influence, and feel Him enlightening, quickening, and inflaming your souls by the Word of God; you will then not only read, but mark, learn, and inwardly digest what you read: and the Word of God will be meat indeed, and drink indeed, unto your souls: you then will be, as Apollos was, powerful in the Scriptures; scribes ready instructed to the kingdom of God.

 

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Prayer, The Master Key to Profitable Bible Study, Part 1

Ephesians 1:17,18
       That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): If anyone should ask me, how he may read the Scriptures most profitably, I would advise him that, above all, he should seek to have it settled in his own mind, that God alone, by His Spirit, can teach him, and that therefore, as God will be inquired of for blessings, it becomes him to seek God’s blessing previous to reading.

CHARLES BRIDGES: God keeps the key of the treasure-house in His own hand. “For this he will enquired of,” Ezekiel 36:37, to open it unto thee.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Go to God by prayer for a key to unlock the mysteries of His Word.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843):Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” Psalm 119:18. David was not blind, his eye was not dim. He could read the Bible from cover to cover, and yet he felt he needed more light. He felt that he needed to see deeper, to have the eyes of his understanding opened. He felt that if he had nothing but his own eyes and natural understanding, he would not discover the wonders which he panted to see. He wanted Divine teaching—the eye-salve of the Spirit; and therefore he would not open the Bible without the prayer, “Open thou mine eyes.”

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): It is most certain that we cannot succeed in comprehending the Scripture either by study or mere intellect. Your first duty, then, is to begin with prayer. Entreat the Lord that He will in His great mercy deign to grant you the true knowledge of His Word. There is no other interpreter of the Word of God than the Author of that word according as it is said, “They will all be taught of God.”

JOHN ROBINSON (1575-1625): As the law-maker best knows the meaning of the law, and how it is to be expounded, so for the exposition of the Holy Scriptures, the Spirit of God, as the Author thereof, is first and most to be consulted with, by faithful and earnest prayer, from a good conscience, that God may fulfill His promise made of “giving his Holy Spirit to them that ask it,” Luke 11:13, and of “revealing his secrets to them that fear him,” Psalm 25:14.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Let me advise you, before you read the Scriptures, to pray, that Christ, according to His promise, would send His Spirit to guide you into all truth, John 16:13.

NICHOLAS BYFIELD (1579-1622): It is a special promise of God in the new covenant that He will write His laws in thy heart, and He will make thee to know the Lord. Thou mayest go boldly to the throne of grace to beg the further illumination of the Spirit of God. This is one of the suits that God cannot deny.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): When we allow God to lead to Himself by Holy Scripture, we shall know how much God will be our helper. For we shall come to the Father as to the source of all things.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Pray, therefore, with St. Paul, that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give unto us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened.”

MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): And what should we do without the Spirit’s holy teaching?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): If you study the original, consult the commentaries, and meditate deeply, yet if you neglect to cry mightily unto the Spirit of God, your study will not profit you; but even if you are debarred the use of helps―which I trust you will not be―if you wait upon the Holy Ghost in simple dependence upon His teaching, you will lay hold of very much of the divine meaning.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): How can I understand without an interpreter?” Acts 8:31; and this interpreter must be the Spirit of God.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): We learn more, and more effectually, by one minute’s communication with Him through the medium of His written Word, than we could from an assembly of divines, or a library of books.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: Labour, therefore, earnestly for to attain this blessed Spirit; otherwise, your understandings will never be opened to understand the Scriptures aright: and remember, prayer is one of most immediate means to get this Holy Spirit.

JOHN TRAPP: Beg it, I say, of Him that gives it richly, and hits no man in the teeth. Thus did Daniel the prophet, and John the divine, and that heroic Luther.

MARTIN LUTHER: I always found myself in the best temper for study when I had first composed my thoughts and raised up my affections by prayer…Believe one who is speaking from experience―to have prayed well is to have studied well.

RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): Come then to the Word in meekness and humility, with a teachable frame of spirit, and willingness to know the truth, and a resolution to stand to it, and yield to what shall be revealed to you, and beg of God to shew you His will, and lead you into the truth, and you will find that He will be found of them that seek Him.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): You have got Bibles, read them. You cannot understand them unless the Holy Spirit teach you. Therefore, pray for the Holy Spirit.

JOHN TRAPP: Say, therefore, with David, “Blessed be thou, O Lord, teach me thy statutes, ” Psalm 119:12. And with Zwingli, “I beseech Almighty God to direct our ways.”

HULDRYCH ZWINGLI (1484-1531): Almighty, everlasting, and merciful God, whose word is a lantern to our feet, and a light to our path, be pleased to open and enlighten our minds, that we may both understand these thine oracles piously and holily, and also be transformed into that we rightly understand, so that we may not in anything displease thy Majesty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

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Teaching Times

Hebrews 5:8
       Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Christ’s sonship did not exempt him from obedience and sufferings.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): He was a Son; the only-begotten of the Father. One would have thought this might have exempted Him from suffering, but it did not. Let none then who are the children of God by adoption expect an absolute freedom from suffering. Hebrews 12:7, What Son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Affliction is a badge of adoption.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): God loves His own children too well to exempt them from affliction.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Where God loves, He afflicts in love, and wherever God afflicts in love there He will, first or last, teach such souls such lessons as shall do them good to all eternity.

WILLIAM BRIDGE (1600-1670): Suffering times are teaching times.

HANNAH MORE (1745-1833): Affliction is the school in which great virtues are acquired, in which great characters are formed.

JAMES LEGGE (1815-1897): The most precious products of experience are got in the fire of trial.

MATTHEW HENRY: Afflictions are sent for this end, to bring us to the throne of grace, to teach us to pray, and to make the Word of God’s grace precious to us.

OCTAVIUS WINSLOW (1808-1878): Affliction places the believer in a position for understanding the Scriptures which no other divine dispensation does. Luther remarks that he did not understand the Psalms until God afflicted him. How many will find in the volume of their Christian experience a page corresponding with this!

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): No man, without trials and temptations, can attain a true understanding of the Holy Scriptures…I never knew the meaning of God’s Word, until I came into affliction. I have always found it one of my best school-masters.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Experience is only learned in the school of tribulation.

OCTAVIUS WINSLOW: If, then, this experimental acquaintance with the Bible is the result of affliction, welcome the discipline whose rod of correction blossoms into such golden fruit.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): The Christian is more formed from his trials than from his enjoyments…Afflictions are unavoidable; they occupy a large proportion of life, and of godliness.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: Our Saviour, Sir, learnt obedience by the things which He suffered, so must we. Pain, if patiently endured, and sanctified to us, is a great purifier of our corrupted natures. It will teach us excellent things.

THOMAS WATSON: Affliction is God’s flail to thresh off our husks.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Many are the afflictions of the righteous, Psalm 34:19―some internal, others external; some from friends, others from foes; some more directly at the hand of God, others more remotely by the instrumentality of the devil. Nor should this be thought strange. Such has been the lot of God’s children in greater or lesser degree. Nor ought we to expect much comfort in a world which so basely crucified the Lord of glory. The sooner the Christian makes it his daily study to pass through this world as a stranger and a pilgrim, anxious to depart and be with Christ, the better for his peace of mind. But it is natural to cling tenaciously to this life and to love the things of time and sense, and therefore most the Lord’s people have to encounter many buffetings and have many disappointments before they are brought to hold temporal things with light hand and before their silly hearts are weaned from that which satisfies not.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: It is a blessed thing when our trials cure our earnest love for things that perish.

MATTHEW HENRY: It has always been to the advantage of God’s people to be afflicted…Many are taught with the briars and thorns of affliction that would not learn otherwise.

R. L. DABNEY (1820-1898): Let any Christian view his own life, and see how nearly his whole spiritual progress has been made in the seasons of trial. It is by their private afflictions chiefly that individuals grow in grace.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I bear my willing testimony to the blessing that affliction and trial have been to me. I owe more to the fire and the file than I can ever describe.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of affliction.

RICHARD CECIL (1748-1810): The blessed man is he who is under education in God’s school, where he endures chastisement, and by chastisement is instructed.

THOMAS WATSON: Learn how little cause we have then to be discontented at outward trials and emergencies! What! discontented at that which shall do us good!―All things work together for good to them that love God, Romans 8:28. Shall we be discontented at that which works for our good? If one friend should throw a bag of money at another, and in throwing it, should graze his head, he would not be troubled much, seeing by this means he had got a bag of money. So the Lord may bruise may bruise us by afflictions, but it is to enrich us. These afflictions work for us a weight of glory, and shall we be discontented?

ROBERT LEIGHTON (1611-1684): Affliction is the diamond dust that heaven polishes its jewels with.

OCTAVIUS WINSLOW: Let God’s dispensation be ever so dark, painful, and afflicting, it is utterly impossible that anything can be against the best interests of a believer in Christ.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): The Lord’s ways are frequently in the deep. Let us hope that the present dispensation is only designed to deepen your humility, to brighten your zeal, and enrich your experience in the divine life; and that you will be better taught to teach, by being tutored in the furnace of affliction―the better to serve in the sacred cause in which you are engaged. Pure metals shine the brighter, the harder they are rubbed. The Lord alone can prepare our hearts to receive that splendour of light, whereby we are enabled to shine forth to His glory. If sharp trials are necessary for the accomplishment of this glorious end, what a mercy from God it is, when He sends them.

WILLIAM WARD (1769-1823): We are only scholars. It rests with the Great Teacher to decide which lesson shall come next—a hard one or an easy one.

 

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The Failures & Falls of God’s Children

Micah 7:8, 9; Psalm 37:24; Proverbs 24:16
       When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him.
       Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
       A just man man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Though one and the same scourge is a judgment to wicked folks, it is a trial to the righteous. And though He delights not in punishing His own, yet He delights to have them tried, that their faith may be found unto praise at the appearing of Christ (I Peter 1:7).

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): The lives of good men are full of narrow escapes. The righteous are scarcely saved. Many a time their feet do almost slip.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Many have thought it strange when they read of the most noteworthy of Biblical saints failing in the very graces which were their strongest. Abraham is outstanding for his faith, being called “the father of all them that believe,” Romans 4:11; yet his faith broke down in Egypt when he lied to Pharaoh about his wife. We are told that, “Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth,” Numbers 12:3, yet he was debarred from entering Canaan because he lost his temper and spoke unadvisedly with his lips. John was the apostle of love, yet in a fit of intolerance he and his brother James wanted to call down fire from Heaven to destroy the Samaritans, for which the Saviour rebuked them, Luke 9:54,55.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Elijah [failed] in his courage—for one woman scared him away to that juniper-tree, I Kings 19:2-4; and Peter, whose strong point was boldness, was so frightened by a maid as to deny his Lord.

A. W. PINK: Yet let it be pointed out that the failures of these men are not recorded in Scripture for us to hide behind, as though we may use them to excuse our own infidelities. Far from it: they are set before us as so many danger signals for us to take note of, as solemn warnings for us to heed. The reading thereof should humble us, making us more distrustful of ourselves. They should impress upon our hearts the fact that our strength is found alone in the Lord, and that without Him we can do nothing. They should be translated into earnest prayer that the workings of pride and self-sufficiency may be subdued within us. They should cause us to cry constantly, “Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe,” Psalm 119:117…Concerning Hezekiah we read that “God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart,” II Chronicles 32:31. None of us knows how weak he is till God withdraws His upholding grace―as He did with Peter―and we are left to ourselves.

WILLIAM TIPTAFT (1803-1864): We are all good until we are tried.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): I am tempted to think that I am now an established Christian, that I have overcome this or that lust so long that I have got into the habit of the opposite grace, so that there is no fear; I may venture very near the temptation, nearer than other men. This is a lie of Satan. I might as well speak of gunpowder getting by habit a power of resisting fire, so as not to catch the spark. As long as powder is wet it resists the spark, but when it becomes dry it is ready to explode at the first touch. As long as the Spirit dwells in my heart, He deadens me to sin, so that if lawfully called through temptation I may reckon upon God carrying me through. But when the Spirit leaves me, I am like dry gunpowder.

A. W. PINK: The moment the Lord leaves us to ourselves―to try us, to show us what we are―a fall is certain.

THOMAS ALEXANDER (circa 1861): A loving mother chooses a fitting place, and a fitting time, to let her little child fall; it is learning to walk, it is getting over confident, it may come to a dangerous place, and if possessed of all this confidence, may fall and destroy itself. So she permits it to fall at such a place, and in such a way as that it may be hurt, wholesomely hurt, but not dangerously so. It has now lost its confidence, and clings all the more fondly and trustingly to the strong hand that is able to hold up all its goings.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): A great deal may learned from a little fall.

A. W. PINK: God permits His people to experience falls along the road for various reasons, yet in every instance the outward fall is preceded by some failure or other on our part, and if we are to reap the full benefit from recorded sins such as Abraham, David, Elijah and Peter, we need to study attentively what led up to and was the occasion of them. This is generally done with Peter’s case, yet rarely so with the others.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407): We are ready to reckon up our trials, but are we equally so to keep account of the sins which draw them down upon us?

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): Men may fall by sin, but cannot raise up themselves without the help of grace.

A. W. PINK: True, the Lord has plainly told us that “without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5. We think we believe that word, and in a way we do; yet there is a vast difference between not calling into question a verse in Scripture, and assenting to its verity, and an inward acquaintance with the same in our own personal history. It is one thing to believe that I am without strength or wisdom, it as another to know it through actual experience. Nor is this, as a rule, obtained through a single episode, any more than a nail is generally driven in securely by one blow of the hammer. No, we have to learn, and re-learn, so stupid are we. The Truth of God has to be burned into us in the fiery furnace of affliction. Yet this ought not to be so, and would not be so if we paid more heed to these Old Testament warnings furnished in the biographies of the saints of yore.

WILLIAM JENKYN (1613–1685): The best way never to fall is ever to fear.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: Yet, He, who has redeemed them, will not let them so fall that they can rise no more.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Often I fall and am lifted up again by God’s right hand.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): The life of faith is little more than a series of falls and restorations, error, and correction; displaying, on the one hand, the sad weakness of man, and on the other, the grace and power of God. This is abundantly exemplified in the life of David.

 

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The Unmistakable Signs of Spiritual Pride

I Corinthians 8:1; John 9:34
       Knowledge puffeth up.
       Thou wast altogether born in sins, and does thou teach us?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The Apostle uses the term “puffed up”—Knowledge puffeth up. What an expression! What does he mean? He is describing a proud man, is he not? Here is a man who thinks he really “knows it all;” he is not like those other people, he knows; he is a man of knowledge and understanding. He knows it all! He is not like those others who never read; he is a great reader. And, of course, as the result of this he has arrived, and he is proud of it. “Puffed up!”

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Pride is naturally in every man’s heart; converted persons are not without it; knowledge, gifts, and revelations are apt to puff up with spiritual pride, unless counterbalanced and over poised by the grace of God.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: All kinds of knowledge tend to puff us up. But Biblical knowledge in particular tends to do so. A man becomes proud of his knowledge and of his understanding; he becomes an authority; and, in turn, he despises others…It manifests itself also in an impatience of any restraint and any correction; and still more in an impatience of any opposing view. It is intolerant of anything else. It “knows” and nothing else must even be suggested. No opposing view has a right to exist, and must not even be considered.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): Another pattern of spiritually proud people is to behave in ways that make them the focus of others. It is natural for a person under the influence of pride to take all the respect that is paid to him. If others show a disposition to submit to him and yield in deference to him, he is open to it and freely receives it. In fact, they come to expect such treatment and to form an ill opinion of those who do not give them what they feel they deserve…The spiritually proud person is full of light already and feels that he does not need instruction, so he is ready to despise the offer of it.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Proud men scorn to be taught.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Spiritual pride is of all kinds of pride the most dangerous.

JONATHAN EDWARDS: By nature, pride is a person having too high a thought of himself. Is it any surprise, then, that a person who has too high a thought of himself is unaware of it? He thinks the opinion he has of himself has just grounds and therefore is not too high. As a result, there is no other matter in which the heart is more deceitful and unsearchable. The very nature of it is to work self-confidence and drive away any suspicion of evil respecting itself…Since spiritual pride in its own nature is secretive, it cannot be well discerned by immediate intuition of the thing itself. It is best identified by its fruits and effects―Spiritual pride often disposes people to act different in external appearance, to assume a different way of speaking, countenance, or behaviour.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: How do we know that he is proud of his knowledge? Well, he is always parading it. The heavy, important, Puritan gait! The way of speaking and so on! That is a part of the parading that is inevitably one of the manifestations of being “puffed up.”

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): In all such persons, however high the pretense of religion may be carried, it cannot proceed from a nobler principle, or aim at a nobler object than self…The man who, fond of his fancied attainments and scrupulous exactness in externals, despises all who will not conform to his rules, and challenges peculiar respect on account of his superior goodness, is a proud Pharisee.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: But still more serious is the way in which this manifests itself in its attitude to others.

JONATHAN EDWARDS: Proud people take great notice of opposition and injuries, and are prone to speak often about them with an air of bitterness or contempt.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Pride nourishes the remembrance of injuries.

JONATHAN EDWARDS: Proud people tend to speak of other’s sins, the miserable delusion of hypocrites, the deadness of some saints with bitterness, or the opposition to holiness of many believers…Spiritually proud people often speak of almost everything they see in others in the harshest, most severe language. Commonly, their criticism is directed against not only wicked men but also toward true children of God and those who are their superiors.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Self is always at the back of it, and it is always a manifestation of self-righteousness, a feeling of superiority, and a feeling that we are all right while others are not. That then leads to censoriousness, and a spirit that is always ready to express itself in a derogatory manner. And then, accompanying that, there is the tendency to despise others, to regard them with contempt…I am describing all who have the spirit of the Pharisee. It seems to me, further, that a very vital part of this spirit is the tendency to be hypercritical. Now there is all the difference in the world between being critical and being hypercritical. True criticism is an excellent thing…Criticism in a true sense is never merely destructive; it is constructive, it is appreciation. There is all the difference in the world between exercising criticism and being hypercritical―the man who is hypercritical delights in criticism for its own sake and enjoys it. I am afraid I must go further and say that he is a man who approaches anything which he is asked to criticize expecting to find faults, indeed, almost hoping to find them.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): There is often some pride and conceit in them that have faith, disposing them to think themselves to be better than other folks. But, if you have faith, whence is it? Or will you be [conceited] of that which is the purchase of another? This is a spiritual poor pride, that stinks in the nostrils of the holy Lord, so to abuse His goodness, as to be proud because He has bought and bestowed that which you could never have procured nor attained yourselves.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): If we excel in gifts and graces, double caution is necessary; this is a real excellency, 2 Corinthians 12:7. It is a question, whether real grace may make men proud? Gifts, to be sure, may―yea, [even] grace through corruption.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): “By grace are ye saved,” Ephesians 2:5. This text lays the axe to the very root of spiritual pride, and all glorying in ourselves.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Can you be proud then?—proud of mercy which, if I may use the term, has been forced upon you?—proud of grace which has been given you against your will, until your will was changed by sovereign grace?

MATTHEW HENRY: Spiritual pride is abominable: it is making use of the greatest favours of God to feed our own vanity, and make idols of ourselves.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): As God hath two dwelling-places, heaven and a contrite heart, so hath the devil—hell and a proud heart.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Spiritual pride is a white devil.

 

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Who Changed the “Sabbath” Day into the “Lord’s” Day?

Psalm 118:24; Matthew 12:8
       This is the day that the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
       The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Mark how Christ here speaks of Himself in relation to the Sabbath. He says that He is not the “Destroyer” of the Sabbath, but the “Lord of the Sabbath.” He is not the Repealer or the Abolisher of the Sabbath, but its Sovereign. He is its “Lord” because He instituted it―John 1:1-3 proves this: He was the Creator. As the Creator, then, He instituted the Sabbath―and this supplies another unanswerable argument which proves that the Sabbath originated not at Sinai, but in Eden.

MATTHEW HENRY: It was by the Son that God made the world, John 1:1-14; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-18; and by Him He instituted the Sabbath in innocency; by Him He gave the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): But how comes the first day in the week to be substituted in the room of the seventh day?

A. W. PINK: From the beginning God determined that the ruination of the old creation should be followed by the producing of a new creation, with a new law of that creation, a new covenant, and a new Sabbath rest, unto His own glory by Jesus Christ…This change is explicitly taught in Hebrews chapter 4. “For if Joshua had given them rest then would he not afterward (through David) have spoken of another day,” verse 8. What this other “day” is, may be unequivocally ascertained from the context: it is the Holy Sabbath―“God did rest the seventh day from all his work,” verse 4. So too, immediately after mentioning “another day”―that is, another or different one from the “seventh,” the apostle went on to say, “There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping to the people of God,” verse 9. In proof of this and also to identify this “another day” he declared, “For he―not ‘they,’ but ‘he,’ which is Christ―that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his,” verse 10.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): How long did that appointment of the seventh day last? To the resurrection of Christ. This was its last period, at which time it was to give place to a new institution. The day of Christ’s resurrection was the day of the finishing of the new creation, the restoration of a marred world.

THOMAS WATSON: The reason why God instituted the old Sabbath was to be a memorial of the creation; but He has now brought the first day of the week in its room in memory of a more glorious work than creation, which is redemption. Great was the work of creation, but greater was the work of redemption. As it was said, ‘The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former,’ Haggai 2: 9. So the glory of the redemption was greater than the glory of the creation.

JOHN KENNEDY (1819-1884): The seventh day was the Sabbath of old, as a memorial of the rest of God after finishing His work as Creator, the first day must be so now, as a memorial of Christ’s rest after finishing the work of redemption.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): By the shifting of it one day forward to the first day of the week, was to be in remembrance of His resurrection, and therefore the Christian Sabbath was to be called the Lord’s Day.

THOMAS WATSON: The change of the Sabbath from the last day of the week to the first was by Christ’s own appointment. He is “Lord of the Sabbath.” And who shall appoint a day but he who is Lord of it?

MATTHEW HENRY: As Mediator, He was entrusted with the institution of ordinances, and to make what changes He thought fit; and particularly, as being Lord of the Sabbath, He was authorized to make such an alteration of that day, as that it should become the Lord’s Day, the Lord Christ’s day.

A. W. PINK: The alteration in the day of Sabbath rest and worship was emphasized by Christ’s personal visitations to His assembled disciples on the first of the week. After His appearing to the travellers to Emmaus, the Saviour was seen no more until His mysterious and blessed manifestation in the upper room. “Then the same day at evening, being the first of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you,” John 20:19. What is the Holy Spirit’s object here in mentioning the particular day of the week? Was it not to inform us that this is now a particular day?
      Throughout the week the Lord Jesus did not re-appear. But when the disciples assembled again on the first day of the next week, He stood once more in their midst and said, “Peace be unto you,” John 20:26…Surely the fact that Christ was not seen by His disciples for a whole week, and that He then appeared to them again on the first day when they met for special worship, clearly signifies His definite sanction of this as the appointed day of meeting with His disciples. And is not this most expressly confirmed by the Holy Spirit’s advent at Pentecost? Most assuredly the Spirit’s descent on the first day of the week crowned this ordinance and ratified the newly-instituted Christian Sabbath.

MATTHEW HENRY: No other day of the week is from henceforward mentioned in all the New Testament than this, and this often, as the day which Christians religiously observed in solemn assemblies, John 20:19; John 20:26; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2…They came together upon the first day of the week, which they called the Lord’s Day―the Christian Sabbath, celebrated to the honour of Christ and the Holy Spirit, in remembrance of the resurrection of Christ, and the pouring out of the Spirit, both on the first day of the week.

JOHN KENNEDY: That the day was changed by divine authority from the seventh to the first of the week, is sufficiently proved. The example of Christ and the practice of the Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, sufficiently prove this to be the case. What can be more authoritative, as a directory to the Church, than the example of the Church’s Head, and the practice and writing of His inspired Apostles?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Well, then, may we with the utmost confidence exclaim with the Psalmist, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” We observe the day as henceforth our true Sabbath, a day made and ordained of God, for the perpetual remembrance of the achievements of our Redeemer.

 

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The Sabbath Day Observance is not a “Jewish” Institution

Genesis 1:27,31; Exodus 20:8,11; Mark 2:27
       God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
       Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy…for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
       The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): First, our Lord declares, “The Sabbath was made for man.” This at once refutes those who say that the Sabbath was designed for none but Israel.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900):God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it,” Genesis 2:3. I find the Sabbath mentioned in the very beginning of all things.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): The Sabbath was kept before Israel was born.

A. W. PINK: That word “remember” also plainly intimates that this Sabbath commandment was not given at Sinai for the first time, for the Israelites of Moses’ time could not “remember” something which they had never heard of before! I mention this because erroneous teachers are fond of declaring today that the “sabbath” is entirely Jewish, that it began and ended with the Mosaic dispensation. The command to keep the sabbath holy did not begin at Sinai, as its opening “Remember” clearly tells us… The Lord God “sanctified it,” which means that He set it apart for a sacred use, for that is what the word “sanctified” means in Scripture. Thus from Genesis 2:2-3 we learn that the Lord God instituted the holy Sabbath two thousand years before Israel reached Sinai.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Part of the sixth day’s work [was] the creation of man, which we are in a special manner concerned to take notice of.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): The work of creation was performed in six days, and nothing was made on the seventh day; so that the first day that man saw was a holy day―a Sabbath―that he might know the great end of his creation was to serve the Lord.*

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The setting apart of one day in seven for holy work, and, in order to that, for holy rest, was a divine appointment ever since God created man upon the earth, and the most ancient of positive laws…In Exodus 20 the reason annexed is taken from the creation of the world. [But in Deuteronomy] it is taken from their deliverance out of Egypt, because that was typical of our redemption by Jesus Christ, in remembrance of which the Christian sabbath was to be observed: “Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day,” Deuteronomy 5:15. In the resurrection of Christ we were brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): We are delivered from the bondage of our sins.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The Sabbath now became a twofold memorial―of the deliverance, as well as of the creation; and this accounts for the new reason assigned for its observance.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): Why is such much stress laid on the resurrection?

MATTHEW HENRY: He arose upon the first day of the week; on the first day of the first week God had commanded “the light to shine out of darkness,” Genesis 1:1-5; on this day therefore did He who was to be “the Light of the world,” shine out of the darkness of the grave; and the seventh-day Sabbath being buried with Christ, it arose again in the first-day Sabbath, called the Lord’s day…Therefore, by the gospel-edition of the law, we are directed to observe the first day of the week, in remembrance of that glorious work of power and grace.

ROBERT HALDANE: Was not the work of Christ in this world finished by His death? Most certainly it was. But His resurrection was the evidence that it was finished.

CHARLES HODGE (1797-1878): The resurrection of Christ, as the evidence of the sacrifice of His death being accepted, and of the validity of all His claims, is a much more decisive proof of the security of all who trust in Him than His death could be.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Unless He be indeed risen from the dead, our faith in Him would be in vain, and we should still be in our sins. The resurrection of Christ, therefore, is a doctrine absolutely essential to our hope and comfort; and it is likewise a sure pledge, that they who believe in Him shall be raised from the dead also, by virtue of their union with Him, and according to His pattern. For “now is Christ risen from the dead, and is become the first fruits of them that slept,” I Corinthians 15:20.

JOHN BOYS (1619-1625): The resurrection of Christ is the Amen of all His promises.

JOHN NEWTON: What a train of weighty consequences depend upon His resurrection! If He rose from the dead, then He is the Lord of the dead and of the living—then He has the keys of death and Hades—then He will return to judge the world, and you must see Him for yourself, and appear at His tribunal—then, it is He with whom you have to do—and then, finally, unless you really love, trust, and serve Him, unless He is the beloved and the Lord of your heart, your present state is awfully dangerous and miserable. But let those who love His name be joyful in Him. Your Lord who was dead, is alive, and “because He liveth, ye shall live also.”

MATTHEW HENRY: It is the day which the Lord has made, Psalm 118:24―has made remarkable, made holy, and has distinguished it from other days; He has made it for man: it is therefore called the Lord’s Day, for it bears His image and superscription.

A. W. PINK: The Christian Sabbath was most strikingly honoured by Christ Himself in His glorious appearing on the Isle of Patmos and the prophetic revelation which He there made to His servant John. In narrating the wondrous visions which he there received, the apostle describes the time when they were given to him as “on the Lord’s day,” (Revelation 1: 10). Now all the days of the week are the Lord’s, but that one of them should be singled out and thus designated to distinguish it from the others, shows that this day is His in a peculiar sense, as specially devoted to His honour. It is called “the Lord’s day” for precisely the same reason that the holy feast is called “the Lord’s Supper,” I Corinthians 11:20―the one as a memorial of His death, the other of His resurrection.

JOHN CALVIN: The gift of the Spirit was a fruit of the resurrection of Christ.
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*Editor’s Note: Thomas Boston’s point that man was created to serve God, and that the first day man saw was a Sabbath day is not insignificant. In the regeneration of man, when a believer becomes “a new creature” in Christ, he is re-created to serve God, and thus the first day he sees in his Christian life is a Sabbath day of rest in Jesus Christ.

 

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