THE GREATEST LOSS

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Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

 

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OUR DAILY EMPLOYMENT OF TIME

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“Occupy until I come.” Luke 19:13

“How instructive are these words to all who are troubled by doubts about mingling with the world, and taking part in its vain amusements. It is obvious that races, and balls, and theaters, and operas, and cards—are not forbidden by name in Scripture. The question which we should ask ourselves is simply this—”Am I occupying, as one who looks for Christ’s return—when I take part in these things? Would I like Jesus to return suddenly—and find me on the race-course, or in the ball-room, or at the theater, or at the card-table?”

Oh, dear reader, this is the true test by which to try our daily employment of time! That thing which we would not do, if we thought Jesus was coming tonight—that thing we ought not to do at all! That place to which we would not go, if we thought Jesus was coming this day—that place we ought to avoid. That company in which we would not like Jesus to find us—in that company we ought never to sit down. Oh, that we would live as in the sight of Christ!”

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16

— J. C. Ryle

MARY’S AND MARTHA’S

Observe how different the characters and personalities of true Christians may be. The two sisters of whom we read in this passage  were faithful disciples. Both had believed. Both had been converted. Both had honored Christ when few gave Him honor. Both loved Jesus, and Jesus loved both of them. Yet they were evidently women of very different character.

Martha was active, stirring, and impulsive, feeling strongly, and speaking out all she felt.
Mary was quiet, still, and contemplative, feeling deeply, but saying less than she felt.

Martha, when Jesus came to her house, rejoiced to see Him, and busied herself with preparing a suitable refreshment.
Mary
, also, rejoiced to see Him, but her first thought was to sit at His feet and hear His word.

Grace reigned in both hearts, but each showed the effects of grace in different ways.

We shall find it very useful to ourselves to remember this lesson. We must not expect all believers in Christ to be exactly like one another. We must not set down others as having no grace, because their experience does not entirely tally with our own.

The sheep in the Lord’s flock have each their own peculiarities.

The trees in the Lord’s garden are not all precisely alike.

All true servants of God agree in the principal things of religion. All are led by one Spirit.
All feel their sins, and all trust in Christ.
All repent, all believe, and all are holy.

But in minor matters, they often differ widely.

Let no one despise another on this account.

There will be Martha’s and there will be Mary’s in the Church, until the Lord comes again.

J.C. Ryle, New Testament Commentary, Luke 10:38-42

HALF THE DISEASES OF CHRISTIANITY

“These are the names of the twelve apostles . . .and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.” Mt. 10:2-4

We are taught here, that all ministers are not necessarily saved men. We see our Lord choosing a Judas Iscariot to be one of His apostles. We cannot doubt that He who knew all hearts, knew well the characters of the men whom He chose. And He includes in the list of apostles one who was a traitor!

We shall do well to bear in mind this fact.

Ordination does not confer the saving grace of the Holy Spirit. Ordained men are not necessarily converted. We are not to regard them as infallible, either in doctrine or in practice.

We are not to make popes or idols of them, and insensibly put them in Christ’s place. We
are to regard them as “men of like passions” with ourselves, liable to the same infirmities,
and daily requiring the same grace.

We are not to think it impossible for them to do very bad things, or to expect them to
be above the reach of harm from flattery, covetousness, and the world.

We are to prove their teaching by the word of God, and follow them so far as they follow
Christ, but no further.

Above all, we ought to pray for them, that they may be successors not of Judas Iscariot; but of James and John. It is an dreadful thing to be a minister of the Gospel!

Ministers need many prayers.

It is plain that the life of a faithful minister of Christ cannot be one of ease. He must be ready to spend body and mind, time and strength, in the work of His calling. Laziness and frivolity are bad enough in any profession, but worst of all in that of a watchman for souls.

It is plain, for another thing, that the position of the ministers of Christ is not that which
ignorant people sometimes ascribe to them, and which they unhappily sometimes claim for themselves. They are not so much ordained to rule as to serve. They are not intended so much to have dominion over the Church, as to supply its needs, and serve its members.

Happy would it be for the cause of true religion, if these things were better understood! Half the diseases of Christianity have arisen from mistaken notions about the pastor’s office!

Money can hire workers.

Universities can give learning.

Congregations may elect.

Bishops may ordain.

But the Holy Spirit alone can make ministers of the Gospel.

— J C Ryle

THAT HAND CAN NEVER SMITE YOU

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“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” John 3:16

Reader, if God has given you His only begotten Son, beware of doubting His kindness and love, in any painful providence of your daily life! Never allow yourself to think hard thoughts of God. Never suppose that He can give you anything which is not really for your good. Remember the words of Paul: “He who spared not His own Son—but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32)

See in every sorrow and trouble of your earthly pilgrimage—the hand of Him who gave Christ to die for your sins! That hand can never smite you—except in love! He who gave His only begotten Son for you, will never withhold anything from you which is really for your good. Lean back on this thought and be content. Say to yourself in the darkest hour of trial, “This also is ordered by Him who gave Christ to die for my sins. It cannot be wrong. It is done in love. It must be well.”

— J C Ryle

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Hebrews 12:5-7 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?