Category Archives: Preaching

“A Bridegroom who is beautiful wherever He is” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430)

“God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness more powerful than human strength. Let us who believe, therefore, run to meet a Bridegroom who is beautiful wherever He is.

Beautiful as God, as the Word who is with God, He is beautiful in the Virgin’s womb, where He did not lose His Godhead but assumed our humanity.

Beautiful He is as a baby, as the Word unable to speak, because while He was still without speech, still a baby in arms and nourished at His mother’s breast, the heavens spoke for Him, a star guided the Magi, and He was adored in the manger as food for the humble.

He was beautiful in heaven, then, and beautiful on earth: beautiful in the womb, and beautiful in His parents’ arms.

He was beautiful in His miracles but just as beautiful under the scourges.

Beautiful as He invited us to life, but beautiful too in not shrinking from death.

Beautiful in laying down His life and beautiful in taking it up again.

Beautiful on the cross, beautiful in the tomb, and beautiful in heaven.

Listen to this song (i.e. Psalm 45) to further your understanding, and do not allow the weakness of His flesh to blind you to the splendor of His beauty.

He is lovely in all respects.”

–Augustine of Hippo, Exposition of Psalm 44, in Expositions of the Psalms, 33–50, ed. John E. Rotelle, trans. Maria Boulding (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2000), 283.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Augustine, Bible, Book of Psalms, Christian Theology, Incarnation, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“No one is too bad to be saved” by J.C. Ryle

“No one is too bad to be saved, or beyond the power of Christ’s grace. The door of hope which the Gospel reveals to sinners is very wide open.

Let us leave it open as we find it. Let us not attempt in narrow-minded ignorance, to shut it.

We should never be afraid to maintain that Christ is ‘able to save to the uttermost,’ and that the vilest of sinners may be freely forgiven if they will only come to Him.

We should offer the Gospel boldly to the worst and wickedest, and say, ‘There is hope. Only repent and believe. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.’ (Isaiah 1:18.)

Such doctrine may seem to worldly people foolishness and licentiousness. But such doctrine is the Gospel of Him who saved Zacchaeus at Jericho.

Hospitals discharge many cases as incurable. But there are no incurable cases under the Gospel. Any sinner may be healed, if he will only come to Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 2: 216-217.

1 Comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Gospel according to Luke, grace, J.C. Ryle, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, salvation, Sin, The Gospel

“He could have used anyone” by C.S. Lewis

“To Lucy Matthews:

The Kilns,
Headington Quarry,
Oxford
Sept 14th 1957

Dear Lucy Matthews,

I am so glad you like the Narnian stories and it was nice of you to write and tell me. I love E. Nesbit too and I think I have learned a lot from her about how to write stories of this kind.

Do you know Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings? I think you would like it. I am also bad at Maths and it is a continual nuisance to me– I get muddled over my change in shops. I hope you’ll have better luck and get over the difficulty! It makes life a lot easier.

It makes me, I think, more humble than proud to know that Aslan has allowed me to be the means of making Him more real to you. Because He could have used anyone–as He made a donkey preach a good sermon to Balaam.

Perhaps, in return, you will sometimes say a prayer for me? With all good wishes.

Yours sincerely,

C. S. Lewis”

–C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950 – 1963, Ed. Walter Hooper (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), 3: 882-883. Lewis was born on November 29, 1898.

1 Comment

Filed under Aslan, C.S. Lewis, Christian Theology, Humility, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jesus Christ, Literature, Narnia, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Worldview, Writing

“A deluge of self” by Stephen Charnock

“The whole little world of man is so overflowed with a deluge of self.”

–Stephen Charnock, “On Practical Atheism,” in The Existence and Attributes of God, in The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 1: 225.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banner of Truth, Bible, Christian Theology, Communion with God, doctrine of God, God the Creator, God the Father, Good News, grace, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sin, Stephen Charnock, The Gospel, Worldliness

“My soul is very sick, but my Physician is infallible” by John Newton

“I see, I know, I cannot deny, that Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. He can, and does pity and help me, unworthy as I am.

And though I seldom enjoy a glimpse of sunshine, yet I am not wholly in the dark. My heart is vile, and even my prayers are sin.

I wish I could mourn more, but the Lord forbid I should sorrow as those that have no hope. He is able to save to the uttermost.

His blood speaks louder than all my evils. My soul is very sick, but my Physician is infallible.

He never turns out any as incurable, of whom He has once taken the charge. That would be equally to the dishonour of His skill and His compassion.

Had He been willing I should perish, He would not have wrought a miracle (for I account it no less) to save me from sinking into the great deep, when He first put it in my heart to cry to Him for mercy.

And, oh, what astonishing goodness has followed me from that day to this! Help me to praise Him.

And may He help you to proclaim the glory of His salvation, and to rejoice in it yourself.

I am affectionately your servant,

John Newton”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 6 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 6: 180.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Great Commission, Heaven, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Worship

“It was right there in the text” by D.A. Carson

“Paul assesses the significance of Israel and the Sinai covenant within the larger biblical narrative. It is this essentially salvation-historical reading of Genesis that enables him to come within a whisker of treating the Sinai covenant as a parenthesis: the law’s most important function is to bring Israel, across time, to Christ—and to bring others, too, insofar as the ‘law’ is found among those ‘without the law.’

Here, then, too, we obtain a glimpse of how something could be simultaneously long hidden / eventually revealed and long prophesied / eventually fulfilled. It was right there in the text (provided one reads the Scriptures with careful respect for the significance of the historical sequence), even though, transparently, this was not how it was read by Paul the Pharisee.

Doubtless it took the Damascus road Christophany to make Saul of Tarsus recognize that his estimate of Jesus was wrong: Jesus could not be written off as a (literally) God-damned malefactor if in fact His glorious resurrection proved He was vindicated, and so the controlling paradigm of his reading of the Old Testament had to change.

But when it changed, Paul wanted his hearers and readers to understand that the Old Testament, rightly read in its salvation-historical structure, led to Christ.

In other words, as far as Paul was concerned the gospel he preached was announced in advance in the Scriptures, and was fulfilled in the events surrounding the coming, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus—even if this gospel had long been hidden, and was now revealed in those events and thus in the gospel Paul preached—the gospel revealed, indeed, through the prophetic writings.”

–D.A. Carson, “Mystery and Fulfillment: Toward a More Comprehensive Paradigm of Paul’s Understanding of the Old and the New,” in Justification and Variegated Nomism: The Paradoxes of Paul (ed. Peter T. O’Brien and Mark A. Seifrid; vol. 2, 181st ed.; Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament; Grand Rapids, MI; Tübingen: Baker Academic; Mohr Siebeck, 2004), 2: 427–428.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, D.A. Carson, Jesus Christ, Justification, Pentateuch, Preaching, Quotable Quotes, Reading, salvation, Sola Scriptura, The Gospel

“Take a lodging as near as you can to Gethsemane and walk daily to mount Golgotha” by John Newton

“Did I not tell you formerly, that if you would take care of His business He will take care of yours? I am of the same mind still. He will not suffer them who fear Him and depend upon Him to want anything that is truly good for them.

In the meanwhile, I advise you to take a lodging as near as you can to Gethsemane, and to walk daily to mount Golgotha, and borrow (which may be had for asking) that telescope which gives a prospect into the unseen world.

A view of what is passing within the vail has a marvelous effect to compose our spirits, with regard to the little things that are daily passing here.

Praise the Lord, who has enabled you to fix your supreme affection upon Him who is alone the proper and suitable object of it, and from whom you cannot meet a denial or fear a change. He loved you first, and He will love you forever.

And if He be pleased to arise and smile upon you, you are in no more necessity of begging for happiness to the prettiest creature upon earth, than of the light of a candle on mid-summer noon.

Upon the whole, I pray and hope the Lord will sweeten your cross, and either in kind or in kindness make you good amends.

Wait, pray, and believe, and all shall be well. A cross we must have somewhere; and they who are favoured with health, plenty, peace, and a conscience sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, must have more causes for thankfulness than grief.

Look round you, and take notice of the very severe afflictions which many of the Lord’s own people are groaning under, and your trials will appear comparatively light.

Our love to all friends,

John Newton”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 2, Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 127–129.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Patience, Preaching, Providence, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Suffering, The Gospel