Category Archives: Preaching

“The star is in the east” by Patrick Schreiner

“The magi have come to worship Jesus, but Jerusalem, the scribes, and Herod the king are troubled when they hear that a new king has appeared on the scene.

The narrative reverses the symbolism of the place of exile. The place that was far from God is now the place of exile. The place that was far from God is now the place of true obeisance.

Matthew confirms that the king is on the scene, but His own people don’t recognize Him. As in the Wisdom literature, wisdom demands a choice between two ways.

As Matthew indicated in the genealogy, Jesus is not only the King of the Jews but now also the King of the whole world.

Jesus both fulfills the old covenant and inaugurates the new.

The star is in the east because the King has come to welcome those ‘east of Eden’ who were cast out so long ago (cf. Gen. 3:24; 4:16).”

–Patrick Schreiner, Matthew, Disciple and Scribe: The First Gospel and Its Portrait of Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2019), 80.

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Filed under Advent, Bible, Christian Theology, Christology, Jesus Christ, Matthew, Patrick Schreiner, Preaching, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Wisdom, Worship

“Success without the gospel” by John Owen

“Success without the gospel is nothing but a prosperous conspiracy against Jesus Christ.”

–John Owen, “A Vision of Unchangeable, Free Mercy In Sending The Means of Grace to Undeserving Sinners,” in The Works of John Owen: Sermons to the Nation (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1967), 8: 30.

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“Christ was God, and is God, and will forever remain God” by Herman Bavinck

“Christ was God, and is God, and will forever remain God. He was not the Father, nor the Spirit, but the Son, the own, only-begotten, beloved Son of the Father.

And it was not the Divine being, neither the Father nor the Spirit, but the person of the Son who became man in the fulness of time. And when He became man and as man went about on earth, even when He agonized in Gethsemane and hung on the cross, He remained God’s own Son in whom the Father was well pleased (had all His pleasure).

It is true, of course, as the apostle says, that Christ, being in the form of God, did not think it robbery to be equal with God, yet made Himself of no reputation and emptied Himself (Phil. 2:6–7).

But it is a mistake to take this to mean, as some do, that Christ, in His incarnation, in the state of humiliation, completely or partly divested Himself of His Divinity, laid aside His Divine attributes, and thereupon in the state of exaltation gradually assumed them again.

For how could this be, since God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13), and as the Immutable One in Himself far transcends all becoming and change? No, even when He became what He was not, He remained what He was, the Only-Begotten of the Father.

But it is true that the Apostle says that in this sense Christ made Himself of no reputation: being in the form of God, He assumed the form of a man and a servant.

One can express it humanly and simply in this way: before His incarnation Christ was equal with the Father not alone in essence and attributes, but He had also the form of God.

He looked like God, He was the brightness of His glory, and the expressed image of His person. Had anyone been able to see Him, he would immediately have recognized God.

But this changed at His incarnation. Then He took on the form of a human being, the form of a servant. Whoever looked at Him now could no longer recognize in Him the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, except by the eye of faith.

He had laid aside His Divine form and brightness. He hid His Divine nature behind the form of a servant. On earth He was and He looked like one of us.”

–Herman Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith or The Wonderful Works of God (trans. Henry Zylstra; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016), 305-306.

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“Christ is Himself Christianity” by Herman Bavinck

“Christianity stands in a very different relationship to the person of Christ than the other religions do to the persons who founded them. Jesus was not the first confessor of the religion named after His name.

He was not the first and the most important Christian. He occupies a wholly unique place in Christianity.

He is not in the usual sense of it the founder of Christianity, but He is the Christ, the One who was sent by the Father, and who founded His Kingdom on earth and now extends and preserves it to the end of the ages.

Christ is Himself Christianity. He stands, not outside, but inside of it. Without His name, person, and work there is no such thing as Christianity.

In one word, Christ is not the one who points the way to Christianity, but the Way itself. He is the only, true, and perfect Mediator between God and men.

That which the various religions in their belief in a mediator have surmised and hoped, that is actually and perfectly fulfilled in Christ.”

–Herman Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith or The Wonderful Works of God (trans. Henry Zylstra; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016), 263.

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“If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?” by John Owen

“This will be exceeding effectual to endear thy soul unto God, to cause thee to delight in Him, and to make thy abode with Him.

Many saints have no greater burden in their lives, than that their hearts do not come clearly and fully up, constantly to delight and rejoice in God;—that there is still an indisposedness of spirit unto close walking with Him.

What is at the bottom of this distemper? Is it not their unskilfulness in or neglect of this duty, even of holding communion with the Father in love?

So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in Him, and no more. Every other discovery of God, without this, will but make the soul fly from Him.

But if the heart be once much taken up with this the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto Him.

This, if any thing, will work upon us to make our abode with Him. If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?

Put, then, this to the venture: exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in Him.

I dare boldly say, believers will find it as thriving a course as ever they pitched on in their lives. Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a farther discovery of the sweetness of the streams.

You who have run from him, will not be able, after a while, to keep at a distance for a moment.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 2: 35-36.

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“You have never yet had half an idea, or the tithe of an idea, of how precious you are to Christ” by Charles Spurgeon

“It is in our Lord’s prayer, when He is in the inner sanctuary speaking with the Father, that we have these words, ‘All mine are thine, and thine are mine.’ (John 17:10)

Here is the Son speaking to the Father, not about thrones and royalties, nor cherubim and seraphim, but about poor men and women, in those days mostly fishermen and peasant folk, who believed on Him.

They are talking about these people, and the Son is taking His own solace with the Father in their secret privacy by talking about these precious jewels, these dear ones that are their peculiar treasure.

You have not any notion how much God loves you.

Dear brother, dear sister, you have never yet had half an idea, or the tithe of an idea, of how precious you are to Christ.

You think, because you are so imperfect, and you fall so much below your own ideal, that, therefore, He does not love you much; you think that He cannot do so.

Have you ever measured the depth of Christ’s agony in Gethsemane, and of His death on Calvary? If you have tried to do so, you will be quite sure that, apart from anything in you or about you, He loves you with a love that passeth knowledge.

Believe it. ‘But I do not love Him as I should,’ I think, I hear you say. No, and you never will unless you first know His love to you.

Believe it; believe it to the highest degree, that He so loves you that, when there is no one who can commune with Him but the Father, even then their converse is about their mutual estimate of you, how much they love you: ‘All mine are thine, and thine are mine.'”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Christ’s Pastoral Prayer for His People,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 39 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1893), 39: 507–508. Spurgeon preached this sermon on John 17:9-10 on the Lord’s Day evening of September 1, 1889 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

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“After the cross, death is less” by Herman Bavinck

‘Mors post crucem minor est.’

‘After the cross, death is less.’

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Ethics: Created, Fallen, and Converted Humanity, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2019), 1: 493, fn. #168.

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