The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘devotion

Desiring Christ

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John Flavel, preaching in his Method of Grace on alluring the hearts of men to come to Christ, focuses on his being “the desire of all nations.” He asserts that “the desires of God’s elect in all kingdoms, and among all people of the earth, are, and shall be drawn out after, and fixed upon the Lord Jesus Christ.” Having explored the title, and asked why and how it is appropriate, Flavel spends most of his sermon in applying these truths. He concludes with seven uses of direction for stirring up heart desires toward Christ, as follows:

Do these, or any other considerations, put thee upon this enquiry; how shall I get my desires kindled and enflamed towards Christ? Alas! my heart is cold and dead, not a serious desire stirring in it after Christ. To such I shall offer the following directions.

Flavel, JohnDirect. 1. Redeem some time every day for meditation; get out of the noise and clamour of the world, Psal. 4:4. and seriously bethink yourselves how the present state of your soul stands, and how it is like to go with you for ever: here all sound conversion begins, Psal. 69:5–9.

Direct. 2. Consider seriously of that lamentable state, in which you came into the world; children of wrath by nature, under the curse and condemnation of the law: so that either your state must be changed, or you inevitably damned, John 3:3.

Direct. 3. Consider the way and course you have taken since you came into the world, proceeding from iniquity to iniquity. What command of God have you not violated a thousand times over? What sin is committed in the world, that you are not one way or other guilty of before God? How many secret sins upon your score, unknown to the most intimate friend you have in the world? Either this guilt must be separated from your souls, or your souls from God to all eternity.

Direct. 4. Think upon the severe wrath of God due to every sin; “The wages of sin is death,” Rom. 6:23. And how intolerable the fulness of that wrath must be when a few drops sprinkled upon the conscience in this world, are so insupportable, that hath made some to chuse strangling rather than life; and yet this wrath must abide for ever upon you, if you get not interest in Jesus Christ, John 3:36.

Direct. 5. Ponder well the happy state and condition they are in who have obtained pardon and peace by Jesus Christ, Psal. 32:12. And seeing the grace of God is free, and you are set under the means thereof; why may not you be as capable thereof as others?

Direct. 6. Seriously consider the great uncertainty of your time, and preciousness of the opportunities of salvation, never to be recovered, when they are once past, John 9:4. let this provoke you to lay hold upon those golden seasons whilst they are yet with you; that you may not bewail your folly and madness, when they are out of your reach.

Direct. 7. Associate yourselves with serious Christians; get into their acquaintance, and beg their assistance; beseech them to pray for you; and see that you rest not here, but be frequently upon your knees, begging of the Lord a new heart, and a new state.

In conclusion of the whole, let me beseech and beg all the people of God, as upon my knees, to take heed, and beware, lest by the carelessness and scandal of their lives they quench the weak desires beginning to kindle in the hearts of others. You know what the law of God awards for striking a woman with child, so that her fruit go from her, Exod. 21:22, 23. O shed not soul-blood, by stifling the hopeful desires of any after Christ.

Blessed be God for Jesus Christ, the desire of all nations.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 24 September 2019 at 09:03

Disciplining yourself to walk daily with God

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Matt Chandler appears one of the least bombastic and theatrical of the New Calvinists, with what seems to be an acute self-awareness, a warm heart, and a humble spirit.  In the clip below, he demonstrates these qualities in speaking of his pursuit of a right, regular relationship with God in Christ.  His two primary points are (1) that we need to plan to walk with God and then pursue that plan, and (2) that we need to consider what stimulates or stifles our affections for the Lord.  These are not novel suggestions, by any stretch of the imagination, but it is good to hear them being restated and pressed afresh upon the conscience.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 30 September 2009 at 08:37

Causes of declension in religion and means of revival #2 Contentment with present attainments without aspiring after eminence in grace and holiness

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Following on from section 1 of Andrew Fuller’s letter, section 2 is below.  Here Fuller weighs in against a too-ready satisfaction with where we are at.  He puts to us a challenge that sticks in my mind: am I inclined to ask “What must I do for God?” or “What can I do for God?”

Another thing which we apprehend to be a great cause of declension is, a contentedness with present attainments, without aspiring after eminence in grace and holiness.  If we may judge of people’s thoughts and aims by the general tenor of their conduct, there seems to be much of a contentment with about so much religion as is thought necessary to constitute them good men, and that will just suffice to carry them to heaven; without aiming by a course of more than ordinary services to glorify God in their day and generation.  We profess to do what we do with a view to glorify God, and not to be saved by it; but is it so indeed?  Do these things look like it?  How is it, too, that the positive institutions of Christ are treated with so little regard?  Whence is it that we hear such language as this so often as we do.  “Such a duty, and such an ordinance, is not essential to salvation – we may never be baptized in water, or become church members, and yet go to heaven as well as they that are”?

It is to be feared the old puritanical way of devoting ourselves wholly to be the Lord’s, resigning up our bodies, souls, gifts, time, property, with all we have and are to serve him, and frequently renewing these covenants before him, is now awfully neglected.  This was to make a business of religion, a life’s work, and not merely an accidental affair, occurring but now and then, and what must be attended to only when we can spare time from other engagements.  Few seem to aim, pray, and strive after eminent love to God and one another.  Many appear to be contented if they can but remember the time when they had such love in exercise, and then, tacking to it the notion of perseverance without the thing, they go on and on, satisfied, it seems, if they do but make shift just to get to heaven at last, without much caring how.  If we were in a proper spirit, the question with us would not so much be, “What must I do for God?” as, “What can I do for God?”  A servant that heartily loves his master counts it a privilege to be employed by him, yea, an honour to be entrusted with any of his concerns.

If it is to be inquired, “What then is to be done?  Wherein in particular can we glorify God more than we have done?”  We answer by asking, “Is there no room for amendment?  Have we been sufficiently earnest and constant in private prayer?  Are there none of us that have opportunities to set apart particular times to pray for the effusion of the Holy Spirit?  Can we do no more than we have done in instructing our families?  Are there none of our dependants, workmen, or neighbours that we might speak to, at least so far as to ask them to go and hear the gospel?  Can we rectify nothing in our tempers and behaviour in the world, so as better to recommend religion?  Cannot we watch more?  Cannot we save a little more of our substance to give to the poor?  In a word, is there no room or possibility left for our being more meek, loving, and resembling the blessed Jesus than we have been?”

To glorify God, and recommend by our example the religion of the meek and lowly Jesus, are the chief ends for which it is worth while to live; but do we sufficiently pursue these ends?  Even these chief ends of our existence, are they in any good degree so much as kept in view?  Ah, what have we done for God in the towns, villages, and families where we reside?  Christians are said to be the light of the world, and the salt of the earth – do we answer these characters?  Is the world enlightened by us?  Does a savour of Christ accompany our spirit and conversation?  Our business, as Christians, is practically to be holding forth the word of life.  Have we, by our earnestness, sufficiently held forth its importance, or by our chaste conversation, coupled with fear, its holy tendency?  Have we all along, by a becoming firmness of spirit, made it evident that religion is no low, mean or dastardly business?  Have we by a cheerful complacency in God’s service, gospel, and providence sufficiently held forth the excellency of his government and the happy tendency of his holy religion?  Doubtless, the most holy and upright Christians in these matters will find great cause for reflection, and room for amendment; but are there not many who scarcely ever think about them, or if they do, it only amounts to this, to sigh, and go backward, resting satisfied with a few lifeless complaints, without any real and abiding efforts to have things otherwise?

(work through the whole letter: section 1, section 2, section 3, section 4, section 5)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 23 June 2008 at 11:08

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