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#23 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#23. Is it not great condescension in Jesus, that He will so kindly accept your love?  

Shall one so great, accept of the love of one so inferior? Shall one so holy, accept the love of one that is so sinful? Shall one so glorious, accept the love of one so vile? Do great men value the love of beggars? Do princes value the love of peasants? Would a man of noble birth and wealth, marry a diseased and deformed woman clothed in rags? 
I think, considering who Jesus is, and who you are–that you should say, “If Jesus will allow me, I will love Him.” Allow you! Not only so, but He gives you a command to love Him, and that upon pain and peril of everlasting damnation!¬†

The dregs of old age!

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The dregs of old age!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)¬†

“Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my¬†end be like theirs!” Numbers 23:10

Many desire to repent when old age comes, when . . .
  their wits are cracked,
  their souls distracted,
  their senses stupefied,
  their hearts bewildered,
  their minds darkened and
  their bodies diseased and distempered.

Oh, then they think that they will be able to leap into Heaven, with a¬†“Lord have mercy upon me”¬†in their mouths.¬†Even though they have lived like devils–yet they hope they shall die like saints!

Do you think, O vain man–that after you have spent your¬† time, and wasted your strength, and exhausted your energies in the work of Satan, and in the service of your lusts–that God will receive you to His grace and favor? If you do thus flatter yourself–it is ten thousand to one that you will deceive yourself!¬†Though true repentance is never too late–yet late repentance is seldom true.Ah, how many millions are now in Hell–who have thought, and resolved, and said that they would repent hereafter–but that hereafter never came!¬†

You say¬†“Tomorrow, tomorrow I will repent,”¬†when you know not what a tomorrow will bring forth. Alas! how many thousand ways may¬†death¬†surprise you before tomorrow comes!¬†Though there is but one way to come into the world–yet there are a thousand thousand ways to be sent out of the world.¬†Oh, the diseases, the hazards, the dangers, the accidents, the deaths–which daily, which hourly attend the life of man!

Ah friends! it is a dangerous thing to make repentance to be the task of old age. 
The longer any man defers his repentance, the more difficult it will be for him to repent:
  his heart will every day grow more and more hard, 
  and his will more and more perverse, 
  and his judgment more and more corrupted, 
  and his affections more and more disordered, 
  and his conscience more and more benumbed or enraged, 
  and his whole life more and more defiled and debauched.

Friends, do not deceive yourselves! Old age is but a tottering and sinking foundation for you to build your eternal hopes and happiness upon–your eternal¬†making¬†or¬†marring¬†upon! Are the dog-days of old age–are the trembling hands, the wrinkled face, the failing eyes, the gasping lungs, the fainting heart, the feeble knees, and the broken down legs–are these a sacrifice worthy of a majestic God? Is a¬†body¬†full of sores, aches, and diseases–and a¬†soul¬†full of sin–an offering worthy of a holy God? Surely not!¬†

Oh, what madness, what wickedness is this: to serve¬†Satan, your¬†lusts, and this¬†world¬†with full dishes–and to put off¬†God¬†with scraps! To serve Satan, your lusts, and this world in the flower, in the prime and primrose of your days–and to put off God with¬†the dregs of old age!¬†Oh, do not let Satan deceive you, do not let your own hearts delude you!


#22 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#22. Does not Jesus DESERVE your love? 

Do you not owe it to Him? 

Is it not due to Him by virtue of creation? Did not He give your being to you?

By virtue of preservation, has not Jesus kept you out of the grave and Hell until this day? Justice would have hewn you down, and wrath would have condemned you long ago. And who has procured a pardon for you but Christ? That you are on this side the torments of the damned, not beyond praying, and hearing, and hoping–is all through Christ’s securing for you longer time. Except by virtue of Jesus’ provision for you, you would not have had a rag for your back, nor a morsel for your mouth, nor sleep for your eyes.

By virtue of redemption, when you were worse than nothing–did not He lay down His soul, His life, His blood, as a ransom price for you?

If your love is due to Him in so many ways, what injustice will it be for you to deny Jesus that which is His due? Are you not careful to give to everyone what you owe them? And does it not ease your mind, that though you are not rich, yet you have given every one his due? Do you not work, and care, and save to give to all what you owe them–and shall Jesus be the only one to whom you will be unjust? If you have not enough to satisfy all your creditors, yet if there is one whom you love and bear more respect unto–how sure you will be to repay that one first. You should say, “Though I cannot do as much as I would like, yet Jesus shall not be a loser by me. He shall have my heart and love!”

The beauty and glory of a Christian!

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The beauty and glory of a Christian!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)¬†

Holiness will render you most beautiful and amiable. As holiness is the beauty of¬†God, and the beauty of¬†angels–so it is¬†the beauty and glory of a Christian¬†also. Holiness casts such a beauty upon man, as makes him very amiable and desirable.¬†

The redness of the rose, the whiteness of the lily, and all the beauties of the natural universe–are but¬†deformities¬†compared to that beauty which holiness puts upon us. If all natural beauty were contracted into one beauty–yet it would be but an obscure and an unlovely beauty, compared to that beauty which holiness puts upon us!

Holiness is lovely, yes–loveliness itself. Purity is a Christian’s splendor and glory. There is no beauty compared to that of sanctity; nothing beautifies and bespangles a man like holiness.¬†

Holiness is so attractive and so lovely a thing–that it draws all eyes and hearts to an admiration of it. Holiness is so great a beauty–that it puts a beauty upon all other excellencies in a man. That holiness is a very beautiful thing, and that it makes all those beautiful who have it–is a truth that no devil can deny!¬†

“Demetrius,” says Plutarch, “was so lovely of face, that no painter was able to draw him.” Just so, holiness puts so rare a beauty upon man–that no painter under heaven is able to draw him!¬†

Scipio Africanus¬†was so lovely a person, that the Spaniards stood amazed at his loveliness. Holiness puts such a loveliness, and such an amiableness upon a person–that many admire it, and stand amazed at it.¬†

O sirs, as ever you would be amiable and desirable–be holy!¬†

As ever you would be attractive and lovely–be holy!¬†

As ever you would outshine the sun in splendor and glory–labor to be holy!

Many have ventured their names, their estates, their liberties, their lives, yes, their very souls–to enjoy a lovely¬†Bathsheba, an attractive¬†Helena, a beautiful¬†Diana, a lovely¬†Cleopatra, etc.–whose beauties have been but¬†clay, well-colored. Oh, how much more, then, should you be provoked to labor and venture your all for holiness–which will imprint upon you that most excellent and most exquisite beauty; which will go to the grave and to glory with you; yes, which will render you not only amiable and excellent in the eyes of men–but also lovely and lovely in the eyes of God!

Unholy souls are . . .
  foul souls,
  ugly souls,
  deformed souls,
  withered souls,
  wrinkled souls,
  altogether unlovely souls.


Tears have a voice!

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Tears have a voice!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness”, 1662)

“The Lord has¬†heard¬†the¬†voice of my weeping.” Psalm 6:8

Tears have a voice.¬†God has an eye upon a man’s tears, as well as upon his prayers. Penitent tears are divine ambassadors, which never return from the throne of grace without answers of grace. Peter said nothing, but went out and wept bitterly–and obtained mercy. Tears are a kind of silent prayers, which will at last prevail for mercy.¬†

A sinner’s face never shines so beautiful, as when it is bedewed with penitential tears.

“I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears!” Isaiah 38:5

#20 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#20. To truly love YOURSELVES, you must love Jesus supremely. 

¬†Does that man truly love himself, who does not regard the salvation of his soul–who ruins himself, and damns himself, and shuts himself out of Heaven? Does that man truly love himself, who exposes himself to the wrath of God, to the damnation of Hell, and to banishment from the glorious presence of the blessed God? All these things a man brings upon himself for lack of love to Jesus. If then you desire to truly love yourself, you must love Jesus supremely.

He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!

 

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He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!

(R.C. Sproul, “The Holiness of God”)

A god who is all love, all grace, all mercy–but no sovereignty, no justice, no holiness, and no wrath–is an idol!

The most violent expression of God’s wrath and justice is seen in the Cross. If ever a person had room to complain for injustice it was Jesus.¬†He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!¬†

If we stagger at the wrath of God, then let us stagger at the Cross. Here is where our astonishment should be focused.

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God!” 2 Corinthians 5:21¬†

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us!” Galatians 3:13¬†

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8¬†

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree!” 1 Peter 2:24

“Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God!” 1 Peter 3:18¬†

 


#19 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#19. Will you love worldly things, which you might easily love too much–and not Jesus whom you can never love too much?¬†

¬†You might love your riches, your relations, your pleasures, yourself, your liberty and your life too much. In these things your love might easily be too much and transgress the lawful bounds. And indeed, so much love as you give to these things, more than to Jesus–is too much love. But if you were able to bear it, and could you love Jesus with as much love as all the angels in Heaven love Him–it would not be too much love for Him. Many have complained they loved Christ too little, but no one ever said that Jesus had too much of their love. God blames you, and your conscience accuses you–for your inordinate love to things on earth. But neither God nor conscience will condemn you for the highest degrees of love to Jesus.

How wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!

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How wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should–how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!¬†May you¬†experience¬†the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” Ephesians 3:18-19¬†

The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fullness, its greatness, its faithfulness–surpasses all human comprehension. Where shall language be found–which could describe His matchless, His unparalleled love towards His redeemed people? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow but¬†skims¬†the water, and dives not into its depths–so all descriptions of Jesus but touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie beneath. Well might the poet say, “O love–you fathomless abyss!” for this love of Christ is indeed¬†measureless¬†and¬†fathomless; none can attain unto it!

Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand His previous¬†glory¬†in His height of majesty–and His¬†humiliation¬†upon the earth in all its depths of shame.¬†

But who can fathom the majesty and glory of Christ, when . . . 
  He was enthroned in the highest heavens;
  He was very God of very God;
  He made the heavens and all the hosts thereof;
  His own almighty arm upheld the spheres;
  the full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe unceasingly flowed to the foot of His throne;
  He reigned supreme above all His creatures, as God over all, blessed forever! 
Who can fathom His height of glory then? 

And who, on the other hand, can fathom how low He descended? 
To become a¬†man¬†was something–to be a man of¬†sorrows¬†was far more.¬†
To bleed, and die, and suffer–these were much for Him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony, to endure a death of shame and desertion by His Father–this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to penetrate!¬†

Herein is love! and truly it is love that surpasses knowledge!

O let His love for such unworthy sinners as us, fill our hearts with adoring gratitude. 


#18 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#18. Can you do anything less than love Jesus–and can you do anything more?¬†

 

Jesus has done such great things for you, is it not a small thing that Jesus should have your love in return? If Jesus had asked you to lay down your life for Him, had He called you to give your bodies to be burned for Him–would you not have done it? How much more when He says, “just let your hearts but burn in love unto Me”–when that burning will not be painful, but delightful!¬†
When Naaman came to the prophet to be cleansed of his leprosy, being directed to go and wash in the Jordan that he should be clean–in anger he went away. But his servant came to Him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when He says unto you–wash, and be clean?” In the same way, if Jesus had required some great thing, that you might escape great torments, and be partaker of His great salvation–would you not have gladly done it? How much rather, then, when He says, “Love Me, and be saved?”
When you have received a great kindness from a friend whom you cannot repay, do you not say, “I cannot do less than love him”. Yet this small thing of loving Jesus is of greater value to Him than all else. You pray to Him, but to love Him is better. A heart full of love means more to Jesus than a thousand prayers full of the most eloquent expressions, without love. You study His Word, but to love Him is better. You might suffer for Him, but to love to Him is better. Should you give all your goods to the poor, and your body to the fire for Him–yet to give your heart and to love Him is still better. And, indeed, except all the former things proceed from love and are accompanied with love–they are not pleasing to Jesus.

Walk in the Spirit!

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Walk in the Spirit!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18¬†

Walk in the Spirit¬†(let your steps be guided by the Spirit,)¬†and you will not gratify the evil desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

Rich would the blessings of this day be, if we were filled with the Holy Spirit. The consequences of this¬†sacred filling of the soul, would be impossible to overestimate. Life, comfort, light, purity, power, peace; and many other precious blessings are inseparable from the Spirit’s gracious presence.

As¬†sacred oil–He anoints the head of the believer, sets him apart to the priesthood of saints, and gives him grace to execute his duties aright.¬†

As the only truly¬†purifying water–He cleanses us from the power of sin and sanctifies us unto holiness, working in us to will and to do of the Lord’s good pleasure.¬†

As the¬†holy light–He reveals the Lord Jesus to us, and guides us in the way of righteousness. Enlightened by His pure celestial ray, we are no longer walk in darkness–but in the light of Scripture truth.¬†

As¬†purifying fire–He both purges us from dross, and sets our consecrated nature ablaze. He is the sacrificial flame by which we are enabled to offer our whole souls as a living sacrifice unto God.¬†

As¬†heavenly dew–He removes our barrenness and nourishes our lives. O that He would drop from above upon us at this early hour! Such¬†morning dew¬†would be a sweet commencement for the day.¬†

As the¬†heavenly Dove, with wings of peaceful love–He broods over the souls of believers; and as a¬†Comforter¬†He dispels the cares and doubts which mar the peace of His beloved ones. He descends upon His chosen people, and bears witness to their sonship by working in them a filial spirit by which they cry¬†Abba, Father!¬†

As the¬†wind–He brings the breath of spiritual life to men. He performs the quickening operations by which the spiritual creation is animated and sustained.¬†

O that we might feel the Spirit’s presence and influence this day and every day!¬†


#17 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#17. Is it not the WISEST CHOICE to love Jesus, and not the things of this world? 

Everyone loves something. And do those act as rational creatures, as men endued with reason–who do not love Jesus, but give their affections to the world and sin? They love that which cannot love them back, nor satisfy them, and which they must soon part with. “He who loves silver shall never be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This is also meaningless.” “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out.”

Might you not be rich today, and poor tomorrow? Healthy today, and sick tomorrow? In honor today, and in disgrace tomorrow? Was it not so with Haman? 
When you have riches and love them, you are not sure to keep them. Will you set your eyes, your heart and your love, “upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings, and fly away as an eagle towards heaven.” Death carries the lovers of this world far away–far from the things they love. The pleasures of sin, and also the profits of the world, are but for a season; and when the season is over, they are gone! But Jesus will never leave you, nor ever forsake you!¬†

The Weaver!

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The Weaver!

(J.R. Miller)

The life that is given up to God in true devotion, need fear nothing. We may have our sorrows, our disappointments, our losses, but all of our life is in the hands of God–and no real harm can come to us. In all the events and experiences of our most difficult days–God is developing our graces and character!

Very beautiful is the figure of¬†the loom. God is¬†the Weaver. He has before Him the pattern into which He would fashion our lives. Some threads are white, some are dark–but the great Weaver will blend them so that the finished work will be beautiful.¬†

The Weaver! 
(Author unknown)

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper
And I the under-side.

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28¬†


#16 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#16. Is not love to Jesus the most ENDURING love?

It is a love that shall never end. Before long, everyone will be done loving this world–even those who love it most and have their hearts most set upon it. Those who now have their hearts full of earth, shall soon have their mouths full of earth, when their bodies lie rotting in the earth–then they will be done loving it. Death, which ends their life in this world–shall end their love to this world!
But you, the true lover of Jesus, shall never be done loving Him. It is sweet to love Jesus, but this makes it even more sweet–to think you shall ALWAYS love Him–love Him in life, love Him in death and love Him after death. Oh blessed love that shall never be lost, but last forever!
What can those who never loved Jesus in this world, love in the next world? What can damned souls in Hell love? 
Can they love God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, angels or believers? No! their hatred to all these is, and shall be, more deeply rooted in them than it ever was while upon earth. 
Can they love their location in Hell? No, they will wish they never had come there. 
Can they love the pains of Hell? No, they grieve and groan under these torments, and are weary to bear them.
Can they love the devils in Hell? No, they curse them for tempting them to the sin which brought them to their place in Hell. 
Can they love their companions in Hell? No, they are an aggravation of one another’s misery.
Can they love their sin in Hell? Alas! all that was pleasurable in sin is gone, and only the pain and sting of sin remain. 
Can they love their being in Hell? They had rather die than live, and cease to be at all–than to continue to be in Hell.
Oh loathsome place, where there is, and can be, no love!
Oh! how lovely is Heaven to us! Where love reigns and where love lives! Our life shall be forever a life of love! 
Dear Lord! save me from Hell, because in Hell there is no love to You, nor to anything that is good. Sweet Savior! lead me in the way to Heaven, and bring me there, where love to You shall live and last forever!

The road by which the Spirit leads God’s children!

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The road¬†by which the Spirit leads God’s children!

(J.C. Ryle, “Heirs of God” 1878)

“As many as are¬†led by the Spirit of God–they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14

All true Christians are under the¬†leading¬†and¬†teaching¬†of a power which is Almighty, though unseen–even the power of the Holy Spirit. They no longer turn to their own way, and walk in the light of their own eyes, and follow their own natural heart’s desire. The Spirit¬†leads¬†them. The Spirit¬†guides¬†them. There is a movement in their hearts, lives, and affections, which they feel–though they may not be able to explain; and a movement which is always more or less in the¬†same direction.

They are all led . . .
  away from sin, 
  away from self-righteousness, 
  away from the world!

This is¬†the road¬†by which the Spirit leads God’s children.¬†
Those whom God adopts as His children–He¬†teaches¬†and¬†trains.¬†
He shows them their own hearts. 
He makes them weary of their own ways. 

They are all led to Christ. 
They are all led to the Bible. 
They are all led to prayer. 
They are all led to holiness. 
This is the beaten path along which the Spirit makes them to travel.
Those whom God adopts–He always sanctifies.¬†
He makes sin very bitter to them. 
He makes holiness very sweet.

When they are taken into the¬†wilderness, and taught to see their own emptiness–it is the leading of the Spirit.¬†

It is He who leads them to Mount¬†Sinai, and first shows them the law–that their hearts may be broken.¬†

It is He who leads them to Mount¬†Calvary, and shows them the cross–that their hearts may be bound up and healed.

It is He who leads them to Mount¬†Pisgah, and gives them distinct views of the promised land–that their hearts may be cheered.¬†

Each and all of God’s children is the subject of these leadings.¬†
Each and all is led by the right way, to bring him to a city of habitation.

Settle this down in your heart, and do not let it go: the children of God are a people “led by the Spirit of God,” and always led more or less in the same way. Their experience will tally wonderfully when they compare notes in Heaven.

“I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” Proverbs 4:11¬†

“In your unfailing love You will¬†lead¬†the people You have redeemed.
¬†In Your strength You will¬†guide¬†them to Your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13¬†

The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

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The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

(John Piper)

What makes sin sin is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God. 
This is the ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe.

Sin is . . .

  the glory of God not honored,

    the holiness of God not reverenced,

     the greatness of God not admired,

      the power of God not praised,

       the truth of God not sought,

        the wisdom of God not esteemed,

          the beauty of God not treasured,

            the goodness of God not savored,

              the faithfulness of God not trusted,

           the commandments of God not obeyed,

        the justice of God not respected,

      the wrath of God not feared,

    the grace of God not cherished,

  the presence of God not prized,

the person of God not loved.

The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist (Romans 11:36)–who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25)–is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored by everybody in the world. That is the ultimate outrage of the universe.


#14 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#14. Is not love to Jesus the SUREST love?             

Love to other things is often turned into hatred–love today, and hate tomorrow. But love to Jesus remains firm. Jesus is the surest object of your love–neither men, nor death, nor demons, can take Him away from you. Though others might keep us from reading His Word, none can keep us from loving Jesus.

The sum of my complaints amounts to this!

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The sum of my complaints amounts to this!

(Letters of John Newton)

“Oh, what a wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Romans 7:24¬†

I see much daily cause for humiliation–whether I look backward or inward.¬†The sum of my complaints amounts to this–that I am a sick sinner, diseased in every part. I am burdened with a body of sin and death.¬†

But I have a little book, which I am enabled to believe is the sure Word of God. The doctrines and promises I meet with in it, which we call¬†the gospel, exactly suit my needs–and the temper and conduct it is designed to form, agrees with my leading desires.¬†

I was once far otherwise minded, and would doubtless have remained so–had not almighty power and sovereign mercy softened my heart. I would therefore praise Him for what he has done, and wait upon Him to do more, for I can do nothing for myself. In the mean time, instead of complaining–I would try to be thankful.¬†

If He has begun a good work, I dare not indulge a doubt of His carrying it on to completion. If He who is¬†the infallible Physician¬†has undertaken my case–I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord!


Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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(Samuel Davies, “The Preaching of Christ Crucified, the Means of Salvation”)

“Christ died for the ungodly!” Romans 5:6

In¬†the cross of Christ,¬†God’s hatred to sin¬†is manifested in the most striking light–and¬†the evil of sin¬†is exposed in the most dreadful colors! Now it appears, that such is the divine hatred against all sin, that God can by no means forgive sin, without punishment; and that all the infinite benevolence of His nature towards His creatures cannot prevail upon Him to pardon the least sin–without an adequate atonement.

Nay, now it appears that when so malignant and abominable a thing is but imputed to His dear Son, His co-equal, His darling, His favorite–that even He could not escape unpunished, but was made a¬†monument of vindictive justice¬†to all worlds!¬†

What can more strongly expose the evil of sin–than the cross of Christ?¬†Sin is such an intolerably malignant and abominable thing, that even a God of infinite mercy and grace cannot let the least instance of it pass unpunished!

It was not a small thing which could arm God’s justice against the Son of His love. Though He was perfectly innocent in Himself–yet when He was made sin for us–God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up unto death–the shameful, tormenting, and accursed death of the cross!

Go, you fools, who make a mock at sin! 
Go and learn its malignity and demerit–at the cross of Jesus!¬†

WHO is it that hangs there writhing in the agonies of death
 . . .
  His hands and feet pierced with nails,
  His side gashed with a spear,
  His face bruised with blows, 
  drenched with tears and blood,
  His heart melting like wax,
  His whole frame racked and disjointed,
  forsaken by His friends, and even by His Father,
  tempted by devils, 
  and insulted by men? 
Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?
 It is . . .
  Jesus, the eternal Word of God,
¬† God’s Elect, in whom His soul delights,
¬† God’s beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased!

And¬†WHAT¬†has He done?¬†He did no wickedness; He knew no sin–but was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.¬†

And WHY then, all these dreadful sufferings from Heaven, earth, and Hell? 
Why, He only stood in the law-place of sinners–He only received their sin by imputation.¬†
And you see what it has brought upon Him! 
You see how low it has reduced Him! 
What a horrid evil must that be–which has such tremendous consequences, even upon the Darling of Heaven!

Oh! what still more dreadful havoc would SIN have made, if it had been punished upon the sinner himself in his own person! Surely all the various miseries which have been inflicted upon our guilty world in all ages, and even all the punishments of Hell–do not so loudly proclaim the terrible¬†desert¬†and¬†malignity¬†of sin, as the cross of Christ!

The infinite malignity of sin and God’s hatred to it, appear nowhere in so striking and dreadful a light–as in the cross of Christ! Let a reasonable creature take but one serious view of that cross–and surely he must ever after tremble at the thought of the least sin!

#12 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#12. Is not love to Jesus the SWEETEST love?         

The one who loves other things instead of Jesus, loves nothing but vanity–and to love vanity will prove troublesome. He who loves riches has disturbing sorrow, fretting fears, and perplexing, anxious cares.

So without love to Jesus, love to other things will always be a bitter love. Oh now, how sorry I am that ever I loved the world as I have done–that ever I loved my pleasures, my sin as I have done. But you will never have cause to say, I am sorry that ever I loved Jesus. Never was such a word ever heard. Those who never repent of their love to the world and sin–their worldly love will certainly end in sorrow, and with bitterness of soul be sadly lamented in Hell. But what contentment, satisfaction, delight, comfort and joy is there in the loving of Jesus! None can tell so well, as those who love Him.

An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation

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An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation

(J.I. Packer, “The Puritan View of Preaching the Gospel”)

“You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their¬†sins.”¬†Matthew 1:21¬†

If we do not preach about¬†sin¬†and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Savior from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from the sorrows of this world–then we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible. We are, in effect bearing false witness, preaching a false Christ, and our message is another gospel. Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Savior from sin, will not be found to save from anything else.

An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation
; and a half-truth presented as the whole truth is a complete untruth.


He that has learned to feel his sins, and to trust Christ as his Savior, has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity.

“He was delivered over to death for our¬†sins¬†and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25¬†

“He Himself bore our¬†sins¬†in His body on the tree” 1 Peter 2:24

I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:

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I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:

The Aged Christian’s Final Farewell to the World and its Vanities” John Whitson, 1558-1629)

I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:¬†Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.¬†When can I go and meet with God?”¬†

Oh! when shall I ascend to the eternal throne of blessedness, where no comforts are lacking? 

When shall I be covered with the glorious robe of immortality, and shine in the brightness of my Redeemer’s innocence?¬†

When shall I behold the lovely face of my Lord and dwell in the courts of His holy temple, where . . .
  all tears shall be wiped away from my eyes,
  all sorrows removed from my heart,
  and all sins and spots are done away? 

Where I shall exchange the dross of this world, for true and durable riches! 

Where, instead of these¬†earthly riches¬†which moth and rust corrupt–I shall enjoy the heavenly riches of perfect peace and good conscience, never to be lost!¬†

Instead of these false and flattering honors, I shall enjoy everlasting glory, and be admitted into the fellowship of my Redeemer to reign with Him in His glorious kingdom! 

Instead of vain and momentary pleasures, I shall be filled with fullness of joy and be ravished with those delights which neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive! 

Instead of this dark and cloudy knowledge, I shall have my heart enlightened with the beams of the true light! 

Instead of this feeble strength, I shall be endowed with the might of angels! 

Instead of this transitory health, I shall enjoy a powerful and immortal vigor! 

Instead of this¬†fading beauty, I shall be adorned with the loveliness of Christ’s spouse!¬†

Instead of long life, I shall be crowned with life eternal! 

We shall sing, Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God almighty! Heaven and Earth are full of your glory. Glory be to You, O Lord, most High.

And now, as the deer pants for the water-brooks, so longs my soul after You, O God! 
O that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!
For whom have I in Heaven but You–and who is there upon earth that I desire but You?¬†
My heart and my strength fail me, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever!

#10 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#10. Has not Jesus DESERVED your love–by what He has suffered, done, given, purchased, promised and prepared for you?¬†¬† ¬† ¬†

Behold the wounds which He has endured for you!¬†Behold the crown of thorns on His head, that there may be a crown of glory upon your head!¬†Behold Him dying, that you might live!¬†Behold Him suffering, that you may be saved!¬†Behold Him poor, that you may be made rich with the best, surest and most durable of riches.¬†Behold Him condemned, that you may be absolved!Behold Him in an agony, that you might have rest and ease in glory.Behold Him bearing the cross, and the cross bearing Him–that you might not bear the curse!¬†Behold Him bearing the Father’s wrath–that you might be made the subject of His grace, and the object of His everlasting love!

And now tell me–does not this Jesus deserve your love? Should you love any other like Him, when none other has done so much for you as He has done? Does the small kindness of a fellow creature draw out your love–and shall not all these great things that Jesus has done for you, kindle a fire of love towards Him? How can you bear not to love Him?

Depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness!

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Depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness!

(Cornelius Tyree, “The Glorious Sufficiency of Christ!” 1879)

The more we love Him, the more lovely He will become to us.

We soon exhaust the most excellent characters of earth. But in the character of our blessed Redeemer there are¬†depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness¬†that we can never exhaust through time or eternity. After, in Heaven, we shall have seen the King in His beauty as many millions of years as there are grains of dust in our globe–there will still be in Him an infinitude of unrevealed beauties to transport our ever expanding souls.

“He is fairer than the children of men,” and infinitely more lovely than all the holy angels, comprising in Himself all the graces of time and all the perfections of eternity.¬†

“He is the chief among ten thousand! Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!” As every ray of light in the natural world may be traced up in converging rays to the sun–so every trait of moral loveliness found in good men and angels is but a feeble ray from Him, the sun of the moral universe.¬†

#9 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#9. Is not Jesus a SURE GOOD?     

Other things God may give, and afterwards call for them back again, “Therefore I will take away My grain when it ripens, and My new wine when it is ready. I will take back My wool and my linen…” Hosea 2:9. But God never said, “I gave such a man my Jesus, but I will take Him away.” God may take riches out of your hand; but if you once receive the Lord Jesus, God will never take Jesus out of your heart.

The school of spiritual knowledge

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The school of spiritual knowledge

(Octavius Winslow, “Trial, A Help Heavenward“)

The school of trial is the school of spiritual knowledge. 

“Blessed is the man whom You¬†chasten, O Lord; and¬†teach¬†out of Your law.”¬†
Oh yes, in severe trials we learn more of . . .
¬† God’s¬†power¬†to support us,¬†
  His wisdom to guide us, 
  His love to comfort us, 
  in a degree we could not have learned but in the way of trial!

In affliction, we grow in a knowledge of¬†ourselves, learning more of our superficial attainments, shallow experience, and limited grace. We learn, too, more of our weakness, emptiness, and vileness–the plough-share of trial penetrating deep into the heart and turning up its veiled iniquity. And oh, how does this deeper self-knowledge lay us low, humble and abase us. And when our self-sufficiency and our self-seeking and our self-glorying is thus mowed down–then the showers of the Savior’s grace descend “as rain upon the mown grass,” and so we advance in knowledge and holiness heavenward.¬†

Trial, too, increases our acquaintance with Christ. We know more of the Lord Jesus through one sanctified affliction, than by all the treatises the human pen ever wrote! Christ is only savingly known, as He is known personally and experimentally. 
Books cannot teach Him, 
sermons cannot teach Him, 
lectures cannot teach Him. 
They may aid our information and correct our views–but to know Him as He is, and as we ought, we must have¬†personal dealings¬†with Him.¬†

Our sins must bring us to His sin-atoning blood, 
our condemnation must bring us to His righteousness, 
our corruptions must bring us to His grace, 
our needs must bring us to His fullness, 
our weakness must bring us to His strength, 
our sorrow must bring us to His sympathy, and
His own loveliness and love must attract us to Himself. 

And oh, in one hour, in a single transaction, in a lone sorrow, which has brought us to Jesus–who can estimate how rapidly and to what an extent we have grown in a knowledge of His person and work, His character and love?¬†

Oh yes, times of trial are times of growth in experimental knowledge. We see God and Jesus and truth from new standpoints, and in a different light; and we thank the Lord for the storm which dispelled the mist which hid all this glory, unveiling so lovely a landscape and so serene a sky to our view. 

I have seen more of my own vileness, 
and known more of Jesus, 
and have penetrated deeper into the heart of God, 
and have a clearer understanding of revealed truth, 
and have learned more of the mysteries of the divine life
–on this bed of sickness, in this time of bereaved sorrow, in this dark cloud that has overshadowed me–than in all my life before!¬†

A corrupt heart was the source of all!

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A corrupt heart was the source of all!

(Thomas Boston, “Human Nature in its Fourfold State“)

We have seen what man¬†was¬†as God made him–a lovely and happy creature.

Let us view him now as he has unmade himself–we shall see him a sinful and a miserable creature. This is the sad state we are brought into by the fall. Man’s nature is now wholly corrupted. There is a sad alteration–an astonishing overturning in the nature of man. Where, at first, there was nothing evil–now there is nothing good.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that¬†every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5

All our wicked practices are here traced to the fountain and spring-head–a corrupt heart was the source of all.¬†

The¬†soul, which was made upright in all its faculties–is now wholly disordered.¬†

The¬†heart, which originally was made according to God’s own heart–is now the reverse of it . . .
 a forge of evil imaginations,
 a sink of inordinate affections,
 and a storehouse of all impiety! Mark 7:21, 22 

Behold the heart of the natural man, as it is opened in our text: 

The mind is defiled.

The thoughts of the heart are evil.

The will and affections are defiled. 

The imagination of the thoughts of the heart, that is, whatever the heart frames within itself by thinking, such as judgment, choice, purposes, devices, desires, every inward motion–is evil. Yes, and¬†every¬†imagination–every frame of his thoughts, is evil continually.¬†

But is there not, at least, a mixture of good in them? No, they are only evil. Whatever changes may be found in them, are only from evil to evil; for the imagination of the heart, or frame of thoughts in natural men, is evil continually. Not one holy thought can ever be produced by an unholy heart.

O, what a vile heart is this! 

O, what a corrupt nature is this! 

What can that heart be, whereof every imagination, every set of thoughts–is only evil, and that continually!¬†

Surely that corruption is ingrained in our hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk deep into our souls, and will never be cured but by a miracle of grace. Now such is man’s heart, such is his nature–until regenerating grace changes it!

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances!” Ezekiel 36:26-27¬†

All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!

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All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!¬†

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away, and will present you¬†faultless¬†with great joy into His glorious presence!” Jude 1:24¬†

Revolve in your mind that wondrous word “faultless”! We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in His work of redeeming love, every saved sinner shall be¬†without blemish¬†one day. The Savior who will keep His people to the end, will also present them at last to Himself as “a glorious Church,¬†without spot or wrinkle¬†or any such thing–but holy and without blemish!”

All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!¬†

But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in His own blood, until we are as white and lovely as God’s purest angel! We shall be clothed in His perfect righteousness, which makes the saint who wears it truly faultless, perfect in the sight of God.

Also, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. We shall be as holy as God is holy, and we shall dwell in His presence forever! 

“You are¬†altogether beautiful, My beloved–there is¬†no spot¬†in you!” Song of Songs 4:7

Sin gone, 
Satan shut out,
temptation past forever, 
and ourselves “faultless” before God
–this will be Heaven indeed!

#6 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#6. Is not Jesus the most NECESSARY GOOD to you? 

Do you need food so much when you are hungry,¬†or liberty so much when you are in prison,¬†or medicine so much when you are sick–as much as Jesus when you are a sinner?¬†

You could never have been truly happy, pardoned, reconciled, and forever saved without Jesus. Jesus is needful, because without Him, your sin-sick soul would have no cure. He gave you the choicest and the richest cordial. And when you die, He will secure your departing soul. And after death, He will be your friend forever. When all worldly things shall leave you at your grave, Jesus will be yours forever!

Unto you who believe–He is precious!

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Unto you who believe–He is precious!

(Author unknown, 1872)

Unto you who believe–He is precious!” 1 Peter 2:7

It is to unbelievers only, that Christ is “as a root out of a dry ground”–having no form nor loveliness.¬†

To those who know Him, and put their trust in Him–He is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely! To those who believe, He is precious . . .
  in all the offices He sustains,
  in all the relations He bears,
  as their atoning Sacrifice, 
  as the Lord their righteousness, 
  as the source of their spiritual life,
  as their Teacher,
  as their Example, 
  and as their Guide. 

O my soul, is Jesus precious to you? 

Do you realize something of His worth? 

Is He your Refuge, your Hiding-place? 

Are you sheltered in Him? 

Is He your Shepherd, your Guardian, your Friend? 

Do you feel that, whatever you are called to part with–you cannot part with Christ?¬†

Do you feel that that He is your Savior, your Life, your All? 

Oh, then cleave to Him, serve Him earnestly, and live to His glory! 

And know to your comfort, that as unworthy and sinful as you are–you are precious to Him. He bought you with His precious blood, He claims you as His own, and He will treasure you among His jewels when He comes to gather them up!

“Yes, Christ is precious to my soul,
 My transport and my trust;
 Jewels to Him are gaudy toys,
¬†And gold is sordid dust!”

#5 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#5. Is not Jesus a SPECIAL GOOD to you? 

When¬†He was given by special love, to a chosen people, and brings with Him incredible privileges! All other things you might love are as common to lost people, as well as to the saved. Though a worldly man, whose heart and hands and house, are full of the world, might say, “Riches are mine”–yet he cannot truly say, “Jesus is mine”. Let Jesus have the best of your love, because you are the object of His special, electing, redemptive love!

Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

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Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

(William S. Plumer, “Providence Asserted” 1856)

“Our God is in Heaven;¬†He does whatever pleases Him!”¬†Psalm 115:3¬†

“The Lord does whatever pleases Him, throughout all Heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.” Psalm 135:6

To deny God’s¬†providence¬†is as atheistic as to deny His existence.¬†

Nothing more derogatory to the character of God can possibly be said, than that He does not rule His world.

The world may as well be without a God, as have one who is incompetent to rule it. 

A God, who neither sees, nor hears, nor knows, nor cares, nor helps, nor saves–is a vanity, and can never claim homage from intelligent men.¬†Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

“The Lord reigns,¬†let the nations tremble!”¬†Psalm 99:1¬†

“Hallelujah!¬†For our Lord God Almighty reigns!”¬†Revelation 19:6¬†

Calvary’s stupendous scene!

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Calvary’s stupendous scene!¬†

(Henry Law, “Family Prayers”)

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins!” 1 John 4:9-10¬†

Holy Father, 
The heavens, the earth, and all that are therein, proclaim Your wondrous goodness. But Your love shines forth in surpassing luster at¬†Calvary’s stupendous scene!¬†At the cross we see Your heavenly grace removing the tremendous load of our iniquities from us–and¬†heaping them all on Your beloved Son!¬†We see Him standing as a transgressor in our place.¬†
We see Him, who knew no sin–made sin for us.¬†
We see Him, the all-holy One–accounted as a curse!¬†
We see Your justice leading the spotless Lamb to the slaughter, and rigorously demanding the full payment for all our sin-debt!

Your avenging sword enters into His very heart! 

The stream of sin-atoning blood flows! 

Full recompense is meted out!

Divine Justice can ask no more. 

Charges against us are all obliterated. 

The debt-book is cancelled. 
If our sins are searched for, they cannot now be found!

The¬†spotless Lamb¬†is devoted to all anguish–that we may be inheritors of all joy.¬†

He is cast off from You–that we may be brought near to You.¬†

He is treated as Your enemy–that we may be welcomed as Your friends.¬†

He is deserted by You–that we may be received to Your everlasting favor.¬†

He is surrendered to Hell’s worst–that we may attain Heaven’s best.¬†

He is stripped–that we may be clothed.¬†

He is wounded–that we may be healed.¬†

He thirsts–that we may drink of the water of life.¬†

He is in darkness–that we may rejoice in the glories of eternal day.¬†

He weeps–that all tears may be forever wiped from our eyes.¬†

He groans–that we may sing an endless song.¬†

He endures all pain–that we may rejoice in unfading health.¬†

He wears a crown of thorns–that we may receive a crown of glory.¬†

He bows His head in death–that we may lift up our head in Heaven.¬†

He bears earth’s reproach–that we may receive Heaven’s welcome.¬†

He is tormented–that we may be comforted.¬†

He is made all shame–that we may inherit all glory.¬†

His eyes are dark in death–that our eyes may gaze on unclouded brightness.¬†

He dies–that we may escape the second death, and live forevermore.¬†

O gracious Father, thus You spared not Your only begotten Son–that You may spare us!¬†

All our sins are cast behind Your back–all are¬†buried in the ocean of reconciling blood!¬†

We can only fall low and cry, “We adore You for the gift of Your Son as our substitute; for the death of Your Son as our ransom!”


Blessed Jesus, we have been standing beneath Your cross. 
The sight constrains us to the deepest humility. 
Our vile iniquity–is the cause of Your shame!¬†
We cannot fathom the sins which plunged You into such depths of unutterable woe! 
We cannot estimate the burden of wrath which thus crushed You. 
We cannot deny that the sins which stain us are evils of infinite malignity, since nothing but Your blood could wash away their guilty stains! As transgressors, we abhor ourselves before You.

While we humbly gaze–may we anxiously ponder,¬†“Why, blessed Jesus–why did You thus die?”¬†

May His precious answer sound through every part of our hearts and souls, 
“I die–that you may not die.¬†
¬†I lay down My life–to purchase your life.¬†
¬†I present Myself as a sin-offering to–expiate all your sins.¬†
¬†My blood thus streams–to wash out all your guilt.¬†
¬†The fountain is thus opened in My side–to cleanse you from all impurity.¬†
 I thus endure your curse.
 I thus pay your debt. 
 I thus rescue you from all condemnation. 
¬†I thus satisfy divine justice for you!”

How then distinguish them?

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How then distinguish them? 

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

You may know a¬†sheep¬†from a¬†swine, when both have fallen into the same mire–and are, in fact, so bemired, that neither by coat nor color can the one be distinguished from the other.¬†

How then distinguish them? Nothing more easy! 

The¬†¬†sheep–a type of the godly–strives and struggles to¬†get out¬†of the muck.

But the swine, in circumstances agreeable to its nature, wallows in the filth. 

“What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and¬†the swine, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”¬†2 Peter 2:22

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?¬†Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.¬†A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.¬†Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire!¬†Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”¬†Matthew 7:16-20¬†

What are the marks of a true shepherd?

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What are the marks of a true shepherd?

(Arthur Pink, 1939)

“Be an¬†example¬†to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your¬†faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

How diligently should those¬†who think of entering the ministry, scrutinize their¬†motives; for thousands have abused this Divine institution through love of ease, desire for authority and fame, or love of money–and brought upon themselves “greater condemnation” (James 3:1). Thousands have invaded the pastoral office in an unauthorized manner–to¬†fleece¬†sheep rather than¬†feed¬†them–robbing Christ of His honor and starving His people.¬†

Solemn beyond words is it to observe how sternly our Lord denounced these false shepherds of His day. (Matthew 23). As Ryle rightly said, “Nothing seemed so offensive to Christ as a false shepherd. Nothing ought to be so much feared by the Church, and be so plainly rebuked, opposed and exposed.”

What are the marks of a true shepherd?¬†How are God’s people to identify those called and qualified by Him to minister unto His people?¬†

First, the genuine pastor has¬†the doctrine of Christ on his LIPS. The ministers of the new covenant are described as those who had “renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness.” Christendom today is infested with men who are full of deceit and hypocrisy, trimming their sails according to whatever direction the¬†breeze of public opinion¬†is blowing.¬†

“We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2). The true servant of Christ holds back nothing which is profitable, no matter how unpalatable it may be unto his hearers. He is one who magnifies not himself, nor his denomination, but Christ–His wondrous Person, His atoning blood, His exacting claims.¬†

Second, the genuine pastor has¬†the Spirit of Christ in his HEART. It is the Spirit who opens to him the mysteries of the Gospel, so that he is “the faithful and wise servant” (Matthew 24:45). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives him a love for His sheep, so that it is his greatest delight to lead them into the green pastures of His Word. It is the Spirit of Christ who enables him to use “great boldness of speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12), so that he shuns not to declare all the counsel of God. It is the Spirit of Christ who makes him to be “prepared in season and out of season; to correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives efficacy to his ministry, making it fruitful according to the sovereign pleasure of God.¬†

Third, the genuine pastor has¬†the example of Christ in his LIFE, which is a conforming of him to the image of his Master. It is true, sadly true, that there is not one of them who does not fall far short both of the inward and outward image of Christ. Yet there are some faint tracings of His image visible in all His true servants. The image of Christ is seen in their words, spirit, and actions; otherwise we have no warrant to receive them as God’s servants.

Find a man (no easy task today!) who has . . .
   the doctrine of Christ on his lips,
   the Spirit of Christ in his heart,
   the example of Christ in his life,
and you find one of His genuine ministers. All others are but thieves and robbers!

#2 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#2. Is not Jesus the most SUITABLE GOOD for you? 

Is liberty so suitable to a captive man, or bread to a hungry man, or health to a sick man, or ease to a suffering man–as Jesus is to a sinful man? Were you not lost, undone and in danger to be eternally damned? Jesus was your Savior, your Keeper and your Redeemer. “The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost!” “Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.” Jesus is “Mighty to save!”

Were you not ignorant, dark and blind, not knowing the way to Heaven and eternal happiness? Did not you weary yourself trying to find the gate of life, and yet missed it when you had done all you could? Jesus became your Teacher and your Guide, to infallibly direct you to Heaven. He anointed your eyes with His eye-salve, even though you were born blind, and then He gave you spiritual sight. Now you are able to see your lost estate, the beauty of Jesus, and the way of salvation.

Were you not sick, and full of spiritual diseases–abounding with soul-ailments? Were you not sick and near to eternal death? Jesus was your able and skillful Physician. None whom He has undertaken to cure, has ever yet perished under His hands. For rather than you justly die of your soul’s disease, He made a potion for you out of His own blood, which, when you drank it, you were made totally well. Therefore He came to be your soul-physician, that He might save incurable sinners like yourself.

Were you not indebted to God? Did not you owe millions to Him, yet had not a penny to pay? If God were to demand payment from you, would it not have proven your damnation? If His justice were to pursue you, and death arrest you–would not your soul be seized and thrown into the prison of Hell, from where you would never have been delivered, until you had paid the last penny you owe, which would never be? But now that Jesus has loved you, He has become your Substitute and made full payment for your unpayable sin-debt!

Were you not spiritually polluted and vile? Had not the leprosy of sin spread over your understanding, your will, your conscience, your memory and all your affections? So that you were defiled all over, and lay wallowing in your blood, cast out because you were so loathsome to God? In this filthy state, you could never enter into the holy kingdom of God. But Jesus loved you, took away your filthy rags, and gave you a change of clothing made of His perfect righteousness. You said to Him, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.” He in love said to you, “I am willing, be clean!” He bathed you in His own blood, and cleansed you from all your sins. Yes, though your sins were as scarlet, they became as white as snow; though they were red like crimson, they became as white as wool.

Were you not a captive to Satan and to sin–drudging elbow deep in the loathsome service of sin? Was not your bondage worse than that of the Israelites in Egypt? And were not Satan and sin as cruel and tyrannical as Pharaoh and his task-masters? Did you not love your chains of sin? Were you not at ease in your shackles? Do you remember how Jesus released you from your fetters? Jesus became your Redeemer and made you free–and then you were free indeed!

Were you not an enemy to God? You were born His enemy, and then continued to live as His adversary. Had you died in this condition, your soul would have been alienated from God forever. But now Jesus has become your blessed peacemaker, and by the blood of His cross He reconciled you to God.

Were you not spiritually dead? Had you not lost the holy image of God? Though you were dead, Jesus gave you spiritual life and eternal glory.

Now, if this was your desperate condition, and Jesus helped you in every respect–then how suitable is He to you? Is not His suitableness to you a foundation for love, and a motive to love Him? What an argument is this to win your heart to Jesus!

You were lost, but Jesus saved you! You were ignorant, but Jesus taught you! You were sick, but Jesus healed you! You were polluted, but Jesus cleansed you! You were a captive to sin and Satan, but Jesus freed you! You were an enemy of God, but Jesus reconciled you! You were spiritually dead, and Jesus gave you spiritual life!

Oh, you never found one so suitable for you! Now, even now, He should be loved by you. O, Jesus is the most excellent object for your love, and you should no longer withhold your devotion from Him. 

We do not know what we might have been!

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We do not know what we might have been!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“God is our refuge and strength–a very present help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1

We do not know what we might have been–if God’s gracious protection had not been like a wall of fire around us, as it still is–for the Lord continues to deliver all who put their trust in Him.¬†

Believe with unquestioning confidence that God is delivering you even now. You know that He¬†has¬†delivered you–be just as sure that He will continue to help you in every time of trouble.

“I am locked in a prison of despair!” Yes, but your Lord has a key that can open the door and let you out.¬†

“I am in great poverty!” another says. But He knows all about it, and He is going to supply all your needs.¬†

Yet another says, “But I am fainting!” God is near, ready to revive and encourage your fainting soul.

Perhaps a person says, “I find faith for the past and the ultimate future quite easy, but I don’t have enough faith for the present.” We sometimes forget that God is “a very¬†present¬†help in times of trouble,” but it is true.¬†

There may be many trials before you, but there is an abundance of mercy ready to meet those trials. There may be troubles that you do not know yet, as well as repetitions of those you have experienced. But the Lord will give you strength and will continue to deliver you.

As the eyes gradually fail, and the limbs grow weak, and the¬†infirmities of old age¬†creep over us–we are likely to be distressed, but our Lord will not forsake us.¬†

When severe¬†sickness¬†invades our earthly bodies and our pains multiply and intensify–we wonder how we will endure.

As we consider our¬†death–we wonder how we will be able to bear our last hours.¬†

Be encouraged: He who¬†has¬†delivered and¬†does¬†deliver–will¬†continue¬†to deliver.¬†
Even as the trial comes, the Lord will show you a way of escape.

He¬†has¬†delivered you–give Him your gratitude.¬†
He¬†is¬†delivering you–give Him your confidence.¬†
He¬†will¬†deliver you–begin now to praise Him for mercies that He has yet to show you, and for grace that you have not yet experienced but that He will grant you in the future.

“He¬†has¬†delivered us from such a deadly peril–and He¬†will¬†deliver us!” 2 Corinthians 1:10¬†

#1 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#1. Can you find a more EXCELLENT OBJECT for your love, than Jesus?

If you search through the whole creation, could you find any like Him? Are riches, honors, pleasures, or other relationships comparable to Jesus, whom you ought to love supremely? Should not the highest good be the best object of your love? Can you love lesser things, and not the greatest good? Is not all the goodness in the creature but as a drop compared to the sea, as a candle compared to the sun, as a speck of sand compared to a mountain–when compared to the goodness that is in Jesus? If David were worth ten thousand other men–then is not Jesus, David’s Lord, better than all the world?

The Lord is My Shepherd!

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The Lord is My Shepherd!

(J.R. Miller, 1905)

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need!” Psalm 23:1¬†

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd.¬†He will carry the¬†lambs¬†in His arms,¬†holding them close to His heart.¬†He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young!”¬†Isaiah 40:11

The¬†shepherd¬†is a favorite Scriptural picture of the divine love and care. In the Old Testament, the twenty-third Psalm gathers the whole wonderful truth in exquisite lines which are dear to young and old wherever the Bible is known. Then in the New Testament, when our Lord would give His friends the sweetest revealings of His heart toward them, and tell them what they are to Him and what He would be to them, He says,¬†“I am the Good Shepherd.”

The Hebrew shepherd¬†lives¬†with his sheep. If they are out in the storm–he is with them. If they are exposed to danger–so is he. Just so, Christ lives with His redeemed people. He enters into closest relations with them.

The shepherd¬†knows¬†his sheep. He has a¬†name¬†for each one and calls them all by their names. Just so, Christ knows each one of His friends–He has intimate personal knowledge of each one. He knows the best in us–and also the worst. He knows our faults, our sins, our wanderings. Yet, knowing us as we are–He loves us still and never wearies of us!

The shepherd is most¬†gentle¬†with his sheep. He does not¬†drive¬†them–but goes before them and¬†leads¬†them. When they need rest on the way–he makes them lie down, and chooses for their resting-place, not the dusty road–but¬†green pastures. He is especially kind to the¬†lambs,¬†carrying them in His arms,¬†holding them close to His heart. All this is an exquisite picture of the¬†gentleness of our Good Shepherd in His care of His sheep.¬†Whatever the need is, there is something in the heart of Christ which meets its craving and supplies its lack!¬†

The shepherd defends his flock in all danger. Often he had to risk his own safety, even his life, in protecting his sheep. Just so, the Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep!

Christ’s sheep are absolutely¬†safe¬†in His keeping. “I give unto them eternal life,” He said; “and they will never perish–ever! No one can snatch them out of My hand!”¬†

Then at last, He will bring His own all¬†safely home, “and they shall become one flock, with one Shepherd!”

The most potent force for the production of virtue!

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The most potent force for the production of virtue!
(Charles Spurgeon)

“The HOPE which is reserved for you in Heaven.” Colossians 1:5¬†

Our hope in Christ for the future, is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here on earth.It will animate our hearts to think often of Heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there. 

Here on earth we are weary and toil-worn. Yonder is the land of rest, where the sweat of labor shall no more bedew the worker’s brow, and fatigue shall be forever banished. To those who are weary and woe-worn, the word “rest” is full of Heaven.

We are always in the field of battle. We are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without–that we have little or no peace! But in Heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be forever sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!”¬†

We have suffered bereavement after bereavement–but we are going to the land of the immortal, where graves are unknown things.¬†

Here on earth, sin is a constant grief to us–but there we shall be perfectly holy, for nothing which defiles shall enter into that pure kingdom! Hemlock does not spring up in the furrows of celestial fields.¬†

Oh! is it not joy, that we are not to be in a state of banishment forever–that we are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inherit everlasting glory!

Nevertheless let it never be said of us, that we are dreaming about the future–and forgetting the present. Let the future sanctify the present to highest uses. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the hope of Heaven is the most potent force for the production of virtue! It is a fountain of joyous effort–it is the cornerstone of cheerful holiness.¬†

The man who has this hope in Jesus goes about his work with vigor, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardor, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labor without present reward, “for here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come!” Hebrews 13:1
 
“The hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time!” Titus 1:2¬†

“While we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!” Titus 2:13¬†

“Having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7¬†

The wedding feast!

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The wedding feast!

(Octavius Winslow) 

“Let us be glad and rejoice and honor Him. For the time has come for¬†the wedding feast¬†of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself.” Revelation 19:7¬†

Jesus sustains no relation to His Church more expressive than this. From all eternity He betrothed her to Himself. He asked her at the hands of her Father, and the Father gave her to Him. He entered into a covenant that she should be His. The conditions of that covenant were great, but not too great for His love to undertake. They were that He should . . . 
  assume her nature, 
  discharge her legal obligations, 
  endure her punishment, 
  repair her ruin, and 
  bring her to glory! 

He undertook all, and He accomplished all–because He loved her!¬†

The love of Jesus to His Church, is the love of the most tender husband. It is . . . 
  exclusive, 
  constant, 
  affectionate, 
  matchless, 
  wonderful. 

Jesus . . . 
  sympathizes with her, 
  nourishes her, 
  provides for her, 
  clothes her, 
  watches over her, and 
  indulges her with the most intimate and endearing communion. 

The Lord Jesus will come in the clouds of Heaven, and this will be the occasion of His public wedding of His Church. Her¬†presentunion to Him is secret and unknown–invisible to the world. But He will appear, openly and visibly to take her to Himself; and before His Father and the holy angels He will solemnize her eternal union.

Oh what a time of splendor and of rejoicing will that be! Arrayed in His nuptial robes, Jesus will descend to make her His own; and she, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” will go forth to meet Him. Then will be heard the song of angels, “Let us be glad and rejoice and honor Him. For the time has come for¬†the wedding feast¬†of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself.”¬†

Yes! “Blessed are they who are called unto¬†the wedding feast¬†of the Lamb.”

Three rules for a happy marriage

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Three rules for a happy marriage

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Mark” 1857)

Of all relationships of life, none ought to be regarded with such reverence and none taken in hand so cautiously, as the relationship of husband and wife. 

In no relationship is so much earthly happiness to be found, if it is entered upon discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God. In none is so much misery seen to follow, if it is taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly, and without thought. 

From no step in life does so much¬†benefit¬†come to the soul, if people marry “in the Lord.” From none does the soul take so muchharm, if imagination, passion, or any mere worldly motive is the only cause which produce the union.¬†

There is, unhappily, only too much necessity for impressing these truths upon people. It is a mournful fact, that few steps in life are generally taken with so much levity, self-will, and forgetfulness of God, as marriage. Few are the young couples who think of inviting Christ to their wedding! 

It is a mournful fact that unhappy marriages are one great cause of the misery and sorrow of which there is so much in the world. People find out too late that they have made a mistake, and go in bitterness all their days. 

Happy are they, who in the matter of marriage observe three rules: 

The first is to¬†marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing.¬†

The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels. 

The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are.

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