Thursday, 25 December 2014

He that made man was made man

'Beloved Friends, we live in a world of sin and sorrow and we are sinful and sorrowful—we need one who can put away our sin and become a sharer in our sorrow. If he cannot go with us through all the rough places of our pilgrimage, how can he be our guide? If he has never travelled in the night, himself, how can he whisper consolation to us in our darkest hours? We have a fully qualified High Priest in our Lord Jesus Christ…

… A heavy atmosphere fills this Tabernacle this morning, making it difficult to speak and more difficult to hear, but yet, if some sudden news came to you, as the burning of your house, or the death of a dear child, you would shake off all lethargy and wake up from all dullness and heaviness of spirit! And, therefore, I claim your liveliest thoughts for the solemn subject which I have introduced to you. Think much of the Son of God, the Lord of Heaven and earth, who, for our salvation, loved and lived and served and suffered! He that made man was made Man! As a Suppliant, with cries and tears He pleaded with God—even He before whom the hosts of Heaven bow adoringly! He has still that tenderness to which He was trained by His suffering! He bids you come to Him now! You that love Him, approach Him, now, and read the love which is engraved on His heart! You who have not, until now, known Him, come boldly to Him and trust Him who has come so near to you. The Man is very near akin to us! Behold how He loves us! He bends down to us with eternal salvation in His hands! Believe in Him and live! God grant it!'

Spurgeon preaching on Hebrews 5:7-10 'Our Sympathizing High Priest'

Saturday, 11 October 2014

CS Lewis in Defence of Dogma

"The god of whom no dogmas are believed is a mere shadow. He will not produce that fear of the Lord in which wisdom begins and therefore will not produce that love in which it is consummated. There is in the minimal religion nothing that can convince, convert, or console; nothing therefore which can restore vitality to our civilization. It is not costly enough." 

C.S Lewis
(From the essay 'Religion Without  Dogma?' God in the Dock)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

John Ross on MLJ, revival, and the Church in our time

"Dr Lloyd-Jones died on Sunday 1st March, 1981. I well remember announcing his passing to an emotional evening congregation. Two decades later came the end of the twentieth century; a century unique in the history of Britain as the only one since the Reformation without national revival...

...Perchance the Church is still too fond of attempting to find solutions to its own problems and has not yet come to an end of itself. As Britain slips inexorably towards its likely dénouement as a disunited group of atheistic republics, and as its national Churches stand in jeopardy of having their candlesticks removed, we dare not lose sight of Martyn Lloyd-Jones' confidence in God's intervention, in answer to prayer, as the true remedy for spiritual decline. If his message had currency in the 1960s and 70s, how much more relevant is it today."

Dr John Ross, 

Friday, 28 February 2014

A Sure and Steadfast Hope

 (from the church newsletter 2 March 2014)

We find ourselves in a season of sorrow.

Funerals are sorrowful services, yet they are also contexts in which we remember the strength of the hope we have in Christ, and how thankful we ought to be that we know Him as Lord and Saviour.

Whilst singing the old hymn ‘Will your Anchor Hold’ earlier today my mind went to the passage which inspired it (Hebrews 6:18-20):

18 These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong. It enters behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place in heaven, 20 where Jesus has gone ahead of us and for us. He has become the high priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek.

In the ancient world there would be a big heavy immovable stone found in every harbour called an ‘anchoria’.

Large ships had their own anchors. Small boats had no anchor, they tied themselves to the anchoria instead.

Sailing was a dangerous way to earn a living in those days and even sailing close to the shore was hazardous. Often a ship wouldn’t be able to get safely into harbour by itself. In this instance, they would send a ‘forerunner’ out. A sailor in a small boat would row to shore with a rope from the ship. He would tie the rope to the anchoria and it would lead them safely home.

Imagine after a long, draining and dangerous voyage, you saw your forerunner successfully venture through the stormy water to the harbour, and tie the rope to the anchoria. What a relief, what joy! You’re nearly home, safely secured to the anchoria, and the harbour.

This is the imagery used at the end of Hebrews 6. The author says:

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, (more literally ‘where Jesus, our forerunner’) has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

The hope we have in Christ, is an anchor for the soul- Christ has already gone home to the great harbour of heaven, through the curtain, into the most Holy place.

The anchor is sure and certain.

We who are believers in Jesus, are on our way home to be with Him.

His promise is sure, we’re nearly there, though the last leg of the journey may be rough, our destination is certain and will be well worth the wait.

Death is never a friend, yet it has lost its sting, and its power to drown out our victory song. We grieve our loss but we rejoice in our brother and sister’s gain.

They have been led home to that heavenly harbour, and in that, we rejoice.

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
    when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
    When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
    will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
        steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
        fastened to the rock which cannot move,
        grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear,
    when the breakers roar and the reef is near?
    While the surges rage, and the wild winds blow,
    shall the angry waves then your bark o’erflow?
        . .
Will your anchor hold in the floods of death,
    when the waters cold chill your latest breath?
    On the rising tide you can never fail,
    while your anchor holds within the veil.

Will your eyes behold through the morning light,
    the city of gold and the harbour bright?
    Will you anchor safe by the heavenly shore,
    when life’s storms are past for evermore?

Yours in His Service