Tag Archives: Preaching

“Beat it into their heads continually” by Martin Luther

“Just as our opponents refuse to concede to us the freedom that faith in Christ alone justifies, so we refuse to concede to them, in turn, that faith formed by love justifies. Here we intend and are obliged to be rebellious and stubborn with them, for otherwise we would lose the truth of the Gospel.

We would lose that freedom which we have, not in the emperor or in kings and princes or in the pope or in the world or in the flesh, but in Christ Jesus.

We would lose faith in Christ, which, as I have said, takes hold of nothing but Christ, the Jewel. If our opponents will let us keep intact this faith by which we are born again, justified, and incorporated into Christ, we are willing to do anything for them that is not contrary to this faith.

But because we cannot obtain this concession from them, we for our part will not budge the least little bit. For the issue before us is grave and vital; it involves the death of the Son of God, who, by the will and commandment of the Father, became flesh, was crucified, and died for the sins of the world.

If faith yields on this point, the death of the Son of God will be in vain. Then it is only a fable that Christ is the Savior of the world. Then God is a liar, for He has not lived up to His promises.

Therefore our stubbornness on this issue is pious and holy; for by it we are striving to preserve the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to keep the truth of the Gospel.

If we lose this, we lose God, Christ, all the promises, faith, righteousness, and eternal life.

But here someone will say: ‘But the Law is divine and holy.’ Let the Law have its glory. But no Law, no matter how divine or holy, has the right to tell me that I obtain justification and life through it.

I will grant that it can teach me that I should love God and my neighbor, and live in chastity, patience, etc.; but it is in no position to show me how to be delivered from sin, the devil, death, and hell.

For this I must consult the Gospel and listen to the Gospel, which does not teach me what I should do—for that is the proper function of the Law—but what someone else has done for me, namely, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death.

The Gospel commands me to accept and believe this, and this is what is called ‘the truth of the Gospel.’ It is also the main doctrine of Christianity, in which the knowledge of all godliness is comprehended.

It is, therefore, extremely necessary that we should know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 26: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4 (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 26; Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 90–91. Luther is commenting on Galatians 2:5.

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“The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the very marrow and kernel of all the Scriptures” by John Flavel

“The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the very marrow and kernel of all the Scriptures; the scope and center of all divine revelations: both Testaments meet in Christ.

The ceremonial law is full of Christ, and all the gospel is full of Christ: the blessed lines of both Testaments meet in Him.

And how they both harmonize, and sweetly concentrate on Jesus Christ, is the chief scope of that excellent epistle to the Hebrews. For we may call that epistle the sweet harmony of both Testaments.

The right knowledge of Jesus Christ, like a clue, leads you through the whole labyrinth of the Scriptures.”

–John Flavel, The Works of the John Flavel (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1820/1997), 1: 34.

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“There is no doctrine more excellent in itself than the doctrine of Jesus Christ” by John Flavel

“There is no doctrine more excellent in itself, or more necessary to be preached and studied, than the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

All other knowledge, how much soever it be magnified in the world, is, and ought to be esteemed but dross, in comparison to the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

–John Flavel, The Works of the John Flavel (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1820/1997), 1: 34.

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“Eternity itself cannot fully unfold Him” by John Flavel

“Though something of Christ be unfolded in one age, and something in another, yet eternity itself cannot fully unfold Him.

I see something, said Luther, which blessed Augustine saw not; and those that come after me, will see that which I see not.

It is in the studying of Christ, as in the planting of a new discovered country.

At first men sit down by the sea-side, upon the skirts and borders of the land. And there they dwell, but by degrees they search farther and farther into the heart of the country.

Ah, the best of us are yet but upon the borders of this vast continent!”

–John Flavel, The Works of the John Flavel (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1820/1997), 1: 36.

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“Do you want an unfailing friend?” by J.C. Ryle

“Do we want an unfailing friend? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The saddest part of all the good things of earth is their instability. Riches make themselves wings and flee away; youth and beauty are but for a few years; strength of body soon decays; mind and intellect are soon exhausted.

All is perishing. All is fading. All is passing away. But there is one splendid exception to this general rule, and that is the friendship of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus is a friend who never changes. There is no fickleness about Him: those whom He loves, He loves unto the end. Husbands have been known to forsake their wives; parents have been known to cast off their children; human vows and promises of faithfulness have often been forgotten.

Thousands have been neglected in their poverty and old age, who were honoured by all when they were rich and young. But Christ never changed His feelings towards one of His friends. He is ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ (Heb. 13:8.)

The Lord Jesus never goes away from His friends. There is never a parting and good-bye between Him and His people. From the time that He makes His abode in the sinner’s heart, He abides in it forever.

The world is full of leave-takings and departures: death and the lapse of time break up the most united family; sons go forth to make their way in life; daughters are married, and leave their father’s house forever.

Scattering, scattering, scattering, is the yearly history of the happiest home. How many we have tearfully watched as they drove away from our doors, whose pleasant faces we have never seen again!

How many we have sorrowfully followed to the grave, and then come back to a cold, silent, lonely, and blank fireside! But, thanks be to God, there is One who never leaves His friends! The Lord Jesus is He who has said, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’ (Heb. 13:5.)

The Lord Jesus goes with His friends wherever they go. There is no possible separation between Him and those whom He loves. There is no place or position on earth, or under the earth, that can divide them from the great Friend of their souls.

When the path of duty calls them far away from home, He is their companion.

When they pass through the fire and water of fierce tribulation, He is with them.

When they lie down on the bed of sickness, He stands by them and makes all their trouble work for good.

When they go down the valley of the shadow of death, and friends and relatives stand still and can go no further, He goes down by their side.

When they wake up in the unknown world of Paradise, they are still with Him.

When they rise with a new body at the judgment day, they will not be alone.

He will own them for His friends, and say, ‘They are mine: deliver them and let them go free.’ He will make good His own words: ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:20.)

Look round the world, and see how failure is written on all men’s schemes. Count up the partings, and separations, and disappointments, and bereavements which have happened under your own knowledge.

Think what a privilege it is that there is One at least who never fails, and in whom no one was ever disappointed! Never, never was there so unfailing a friend as Jesus Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1878/2013), 327-328.

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“The best way to serve the church is to believe and to preach the gospel” by John Stott

“The two chief characteristics of the false teachers are that they were troubling the church and changing the gospel. These two go together.

To tamper with the gospel is always to trouble the church. You cannot touch the gospel and leave the church untouched, because the church is created and lives by the gospel.

Indeed, the church’s greatest troublemakers (now as then) are not those outside who oppose, ridicule and persecute it, but those inside who try to change the gospel. It is they who trouble the church.

Conversely, the only way to be a good churchman is to be a good gospel-man. The best way to serve the church is to believe and to preach the gospel.

The devil disturbs the church as much by error as by evil. When he cannot entice Christian people into sin, he deceives them with false doctrine.”

–John R. W. Stott, The Message of Galatians: Only One Way (The Bible Speaks Today; Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 23-24.

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“Jesus Christ holds out His arms to receive us as often as the gospel is preached to us” by John Calvin

“If our Lord is so good to us to have His doctrine still preached to us, we have by that a sure and infallible sign that He is near at hand to us, and that He seeks our salvation, and that He calls us to Himself as though He spoke with open mouth, and as if we see Him personally before us. Jesus Christ holds out His arms to receive us as often as the gospel is preached to us.”

–John Calvin, Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians, Sermon on Ephesians 4:11-12 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1973), 368.

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