Sunday, November 12, 2006


Hmmm I was reading JC Ryle's sermon on Holiness and he said this:

c) A holy person will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.

They will not only live the life of faith in Him, and draw from Him all their daily peace and strength, but they will also strive to have the mind that was in Him, and to be “conformed to His likeness” (Romans 8:29). It will be their aim to bear with and forgive others, just as Christ forgave us-to be unselfish, just as Christ did not please Himself-to walk in love, just as Christ loved us-to be meek and humble, even as Christ made Himself nothing and humbled Himself. They will remember that Christ was a faithful witness for the truth-that He did not come to do His own will-that it was His food and drink to do His Father’s will-that He would continually deny Himself in order to minister to others-that He was meek and patient in spite of undeserved insults-that He thought more of godly poor men than of kings-that He was full of love and compassion to sinners-that He was bold and uncompromising in denouncing sin-that He did not seek the praise of men, when He might have had it-that He went about doing good-that He was separate from worldly people-that He prayed continually-that He would not even let His nearest relatives stand in His way when God’s work was to be done. These things a holy person will try to remember. By them they will endeavor to shape their course in life. They will lay to heart the saying of John, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6); and the saying of Peter, that “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Happy is the person who has learned to make Christ his “everything,” both for salvation and example! A great deal of time would be saved, and a great deal of sin prevented, if men and women would often ask themselves the question, “What would Christ have said and done, if He were in my place?”


Did anyone else know that this What Would Jesus Do phenomenon began nearly 200 years ago? I wonder if Ryle was the first to pose this question. I wonder if in the 1800s they had little bracelets that said WWCSD? Because his question was not exactly What Would Jesus Do but What Would Christ have Said and Done. Maybe we need to add in the said part, it's pretty important. We can nearly murder people with our words, but feel ok if we didn't actually do anything physical to them. As though that was noble self control. That reminds me of the most absurd thing kids say, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." That is a blatent harmful lie. I would rather be hit with sticks and stones than hurtful words. Hurtful words play over and over in your head for years and years long after little physical bruises have healed. There's an entire chapter in James devoted to taming your tongue... That was just a side tangent on the said part Ryle added to our current WWJD. Anyway, I thought the WWJD thing was interesting.

This excerpt came from JC Ryle's sermon on Holiness which you can read by clicking here I certainly recommend that you do. It's excellent

Monday, November 06, 2006

Is Thy Heart Right?

This is an excerpt from J.C. Ryle's Is Thy Heart Right?

III. I will now show, in the last place, the right heart. It is a heart of which the Bible contains many pictures. I am going to try to place some of those pictures before you. On a question like this, I want you to observe what God says, rather than what is said by man. Come now, and see the marks and signs of a right heart.

(a) The right and good heart is a "new heart." (Ezek. xxxvi. 26.) It is not the heart with which a man is born, but another heart put in him by the Holy Ghost. It is a heart which has new tastes, new joys, new sorrows, new desires, new hopes, new fears, new likes, new dislikes. It has new views about the soul, and sin, and God, and Christ, and salvation, and the Bible, and prayer, and Sunday, and heaven, and hell, and the world, and holiness. It is like a farm with a new and good tenant. "Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor. v. 17.) Is this heart your own?

(b) The right and good heart is a "broken and a contrite heart." (Psalm li. 17.) It is broken off from pride, self-conceit, and self-righteousness. Its former high thoughts of self are cracked, shattered, and shivered to atoms. It thinks itself guilty, unworthy, and corrupt. Its former stubbornness, heaviness, and insensibility have thawed, disappeared, and passed away. It no longer thinks lightly of offending God. It is tender, sensitive, and jealously fearful of running into sin. (2 Kings xxii. 19.) It is humble and lowly, and sees in itself no good thing. Is this heart your own?

(c) A right and good heart is a heart that believes on Christ alone for salvation, and in which Christ dwells by faith. (Rom. x. 10; Ephes. iii. 17.) It rests all its hopes of pardon and eternal life on Christ's atonement, Christ's mediation, and Christ's intercession. It is sprinkled in Christ's blood from an evil conscience. (Heb. x. 22.) It turns to Christ as the compass needle turns to the north. It looks to Christ for daily peace, mercy, and grace, as the sunflower looks to the sun. It feeds on Christ for its daily sustenance, as Israel fed on the manna in the desert. It sees in Christ a special fitness to supply all its wants and requirements. It leans on Him, hangs on Him, builds on Him, cleaves to Him, as its physician, guardian, husband, and friend. Is this heart your own?

(d) A right and good heart is a purified heart. (Acts xv. 9; Matt. v.8.) It loves holiness and hates sin. It strives daily to cleanse itself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. (2 Cor. vii. 1.) It abhors that which is evil, and cleaves to that which is good. (Rom. xii. 9.) It delights in the law of God, and has that law engraven on it, that it may not forget it. (Psalm cxix. 11.) It longs to keep the law more perfectly, and takes pleasure in those who love the law. It loves God and man. Its affections are set on things above. It never feels so light and happy as when it is most holy; and it looks forward to heaven with joy, as the place where perfect holiness will at length be attained. Is this heart your own?

(e) A right and good heart is a praying heart. It has within it "the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Rom. viii. 15.) Its daily feeling is, "Thy face, Lord, will I seek." (Psalm xxvii. 8.) It is drawn by an habitual inclination to speak to God about spiritual things,—weakly, feebly, and imperfectly perhaps, but speak it must. It finds it necessary to pour out itself before God, as before a friend, and to spread before Him all its wants and desires. It tells Him all its secrets. It keeps back nothing from Him. You might as well try to persuade a man to live without breathing, as to persuade the possessor of a right heart to live without praying. Is this heart your own?

(f) A right and good heart is a heart that feels within a conflict. (Gal. v.17.) It finds within itself two opposing principles contending one with another for the mastery,—the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. It knows by experience what St. Paul means when he says, "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind." (Rom. vii. 23.) The wrong heart knows nothing of this strife. The strong man armed keeps the wrong heart as his palace, and his goods are at peace. (Luke xi. 21.) But when the rightful King takes possession of the heart, a struggle begins which never ends till death. The right heart may be known by its warfare, quite as much as by its peace. Is this heart your own?

(g) Last, but not least, the right and good heart is honest, and single, and true. (Luke viii. 15; 1 Chron. xii. 33; Heb. x. 22.) There is nothing about it of falsehood, hypocrisy, or part-acting. It is not double or divided. It really is what it professes to be, feels what it professes to feel, and believes what it professes to believe. Its faith may be feeble. Its obedience may be very imperfect. But one thing will always distinguish the right heart. Its religion will be real, genuine, thorough, and sincere. Is this heart your own?

Think not to say within yourself,—"There is no need for such questions as these. There is no need to make such ado about the heart. I go to church or chapel regularly. I live a respectable life. I hope I shall prove right at last."—Beware of such thoughts, I beseech you,—beware of them, if you would ever be saved. You may go to the best church on earth, and hear the best preachers. You may be the best of churchmen, or the soundest member of a chapel. But all this time if your heart is not "right in the sight of God," you are on the high road to destruction. Settle down to quiet consideration of the question before you. Look it manfully in the face, and do not turn aside. Is your heart right or wrong?

Think not to say within yourself,—"No one can know what his heart is. We must hope the best. No one can find out with any certainty the state of his own soul." Beware, I say again,—beware of such thoughts. The thing can be known. The thing can be found out. Deal honestly and fairly with yourself. Set up an assize on the state of your inward man. Summon a jury. Let the Bible preside as judge. Bring up the witnesses. Inquire what your tastes are,—where your affections are placed,—where your treasure is,—what you hate most,—what you love most,—what pleases you most,—what grieves you most. Inquire into all those points impartially, and mark what the answers are. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt. vi. 21.) A tree may always be known by its fruit, and a true Christian may always be discovered by his habits, tastes, and affections. Yes! you may soon find out what your heart is, if you are honest, sincere, and impartial. Is it right or wrong?.

Think not to say within yourself, "I quite approve of all you say, and hope to examine the state of my heart some day. But I have no time just at present. I cannot find leisure. I wait for a convenient season." Oh! beware of such thoughts,—again I say, beware. Life is uncertain, and yet you talk of a convenient season. Eternity is close at hand, and yet you talk of putting off preparation to meet God. Alas! that habit of "putting off" is the everlasting ruin of millions of souls. Wretched man that you are! who shall deliver you from this devil of "putting off?" Awake to a sense of duty. Throw off the chains that pride, and laziness, and love of the world are weaving round you. Arise and stand upon your feet, and look steadily at the question before you. Churchman or dissenter, I ask you this day,—Is your heart right or wrong?

I leave my question with you, and entreat you to consider it well. I pray that the Holy Ghost may apply it with Almighty power to your conscience. The first step in religion is to know yourself.

If you would like to read Is Thy Heart Right? in its entirety click here

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hell on Earth... or Heaven

Taken from the Preface of The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis:

"But what, you ask, of earth? Earth, I think, will not be found by anyone to be in the end a very distinct place. I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself."

Matthew 8:34-38

34And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

35For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.

36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

37For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

38For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

Reflections on this:

If our attitude here is to eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die or to work and climb to success and power we will only be disappointed in the end. We will have lived our lives as though earth is all there is. When we find out there's so much more we will realize we've actually lost our souls and squandered our lives to gain only a region in hell. When we die and stand in the presence of the Father and Son in all their glory we will truly understand God's awesomeness and our sinfulness. If we gave up our souls for this world then we will hear the most horrible words ever spoken to us, Jesus will say, "depart from me I never knew you." BUT if we gave our lives on this earth to Jesus we will hear the most wonderful words every spoken to us, Jesus will say, "well done good and faithful servant." We will feel unworthy of those words, but He will be looking at us through His blood and righteousness. We will fall on our knees at the feet of our Savior in all His glory and worship Him completely. As we look back on this fallen world and our lives here we will see a life we lived for Jesus. It was not worthless, but fruitful. It was a glimpse of God's glory. It was a taste of what is to come. So, when life on this earth is over will you look back on it as Hell on earth... or Heaven?