Author Archives: pastorcook

About pastorcook

I pastor a small baptist church and love to study the Bible and study the Puritans. I also have a great desire to spread the gospel,and teach the Bible to believers, as they grow in the personal relationship they have we the Lord.

Extracts from “A Description of Christ” by Richard Sibbes

Extracts from “A Description of Christ”

by Richard Sibbes


 

And what a comfort is it now, in our daily approach to God, to minister boldness to us in all our perplexities, that we go to God in the name of one that he loves, ‘in whom his soul delights,’ that we have a friend in court, a friend in heaven for us, that is at the right hand of God, and interposeth himself there for us in all our suits, that makes us acceptable, that perfumes our prayers and makes them acceptable. He intercedes by virtue of his redemption. If God loves him for the work of redemption, he loves him for his intercession, therefore God is required to regard the prayers made by him, by virtue of his dying for us, when he loves him for dying for us. Be sure therefore, whenever we bring our needs to God, to take along our elder brother, to take our beloved brother, take Benjamin with us, and offer all to God in him, our persons to be accepted in him, our prayers, our hearing, our works, and all that we do, and we shall be sure to speed; for he is one in whom the soul of God delights. There must be this passage and repassage, as God looks upon us lovely in him, and delights in us as we are members of him. All God’s love and the fruits of it come to us as we are in Christ, and are one with him. Then in our passage to God again we must return all, and do all, to God in Christ. Be sure not to go to a naked God; for so he is ‘a consuming fire,’ but go to him in the mediation of him whom he loves, ‘and in whom his soul delighteth.’

 

The very beholding of Christ is a transforming sight. The Spirit that makes us new creatures, and stirs us up to behold this Saviour, causes it to be a transforming beholding. If we look upon him with the eye of faith, it will make us like Christ; for the gospel is a mirror, and such a mirror, that when we a look into it, and see ourselves interested in it, we are changed from glory to glory, 2 Cor. iii. 18. A man cannot look upon the love of God and of Christ in the gospel, but it will change him to be like God and Christ For how can we see Christ, and God in Christ, but we shall see how God hates sin, and this will transform us to hate it as God cloth, who hated it so that it could not be expiated but with the blood of Christ, God man. So, seeing the holiness of God in it, it will transform us to be holy. When we see the love of God in the gospel, and the love of Christ giving himself for us, this will transform us to love God. When we see the humility and obedience of Christ, when we look on Christ as God’s chosen servant in all this, and as our surety and head, it transforms us to the like humility and obedience. Those that find not their dispositions in some comfortable measure wrought to this blessed transformation, they have not yet those eyes that the Holy Ghost requireth here. ‘Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul delighteth.’

 

And let us commit the fame and credit of what we are or do to God. He will take care of that. Let us take care to be and to do as we should, and then for noise and report, let it be good or ill as God will send it. We know oftentimes it falls out that that which is precious in man’s eye is abominable in God’s. If we seek to be in the mouths of men, to dwell in the talk and speech of men, God will abhor us, and at the hour of death it will not comfort us what men speak or know of us, but sound comfort must be from our own conscience and the judgement of God. Therefore, let us labour to be good in secret. Christians should be as minerals, rich in the depth of the earth. That which is least seen is his riches. We should have our treasure deep. For the discovery of it we should be ready when we are called to it, and for all other non-essential things, let them fall out as God in his wisdom sees good. So let us look through good report and bad report to heaven; let us do the duties that are pleasing to God and our own conscience, and God will be careful enough to get us applause. Was it not sufficient for Abel, that though there was no great notice taken what faith he had, and how good a man he was, yet that God knew it and discovered it? God sees our sincerity and the truth of our hearts, and the graces of our inward man, he sees all these, and he values us by these, as he did Abel. As for outward things there may be a great deal of deceit in them, and the more a man grows in grace, the less ho cares for them. As much reputation as is fit for a man will follow him in being and doing what he should. God will look to that. Therefore we should not set up sails to our own imaginations, that unless we be carried with the wind of applause, to be becalmed and not go a whit forward, but we should be carried with the Spirit of God and with a holy desire to serve God and our brethren, and to do all the good we can, and never care for the speeches of the world, as St Paul saith of himself: ‘I care not what ye judge of me, I care not what the world judgeth, I care not for man’s judgement,’ 1 Cor. iv. 3. This is man’s day. We should, from the example of Christ, labour to subdue this infirmity which we are sick of naturally. Christ concealed himself till he saw a fitter time. We shall have glory enough, and be known enough to devils, to angels, and men ere long. Therefore, as Christ lived a hidden life, that is, he was not known what he was, that so he might work our salvation, so let us be content to be hidden men. A true Christian is hidden to the world till the time of manifestation comes. When the time came, Christ then gloriously discovered what he was; so we shall be discovered what we are. In the mean time, let us be careful to do our duty that may please the Spirit of God, and satisfy our own conscience, and leave all the rest to God. Let us meditate, in the fear of God, upon these directions for the guidance of our lives in this particular.

Concerning our own Reputations

Transformed by the Beholding of Christ

Coming to God in Him

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Psalm 73: Desire By Paul Tripp

Psalm 73: Desire

“…And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” (v.25b)

You and I are creatures of desire. There is nothing you ever choose, do, or say that is not the product of desire. Desire not only directs your choices, it shapes your dreams. Desire forms your moments of greatest joy and darkest grief. Desire makes you envious of one person while being glad you’re not another. Desire keeps you awake at night or puts you soundly to sleep. Desire makes you willing to get up in the morning or causes you to be frustrated at the end of the day. Desire makes you expectant and hopeful in one moment, and demanding and complaining in the next. Desire sometimes makes you susceptible to temptation and at other times is the thing that defends you against it. Desire can lift you up to God or it can make you a willing friend of the devil. Desire can make you a celebrant or drive you to the pit of depression. Desire can make you the best of friends or cause you to drive people away. Desire can cause you to lovingly edit your words or make you willing let it rip with little regard for the damage your words will do. Desire will make you willing to give or cause you to hoard everything you have. Desire will cause you to submit to the King or to set yourself up as king. Desire can cause you to fight for freedom or can be the very thing that causes you to be addicted. Desire can give you power or rob you of the power that could be yours. Desire is your biggest problem and one of God’s sweetest graces. But there is one thing for sure; your life is always shaped by desire.

The great spiritual war that is being fought for control of our hearts is a war of desire. (See James 4:1-4 and I Peter 2:11). Remember this biblical principle; whatever rules your heart will control your words and behavior. You and I are human beings. We do not live by instinct. We have been designed by God with the capacity to desire. This means that everything you do or say is done or spoken out of the want for something. You and I are always seeking something. You and I are always living for something. Beneath everything we do is the desire for something. It is here that the war of right and wrong is fought. It is here that the direction of our lives will be shaped. You cannot let yourself think that the war for what is right is a war of behavior. If you fight the battle of behavior alone, the battle will not be won. You must be willing to fight the spiritual fight at the place where your behavior is formed; in the desires of the heart.

Every day, in all the situations and relationships of your life, this war rages. It is about whether you will live in fear of man of fear of God. It is about whether you will live to possess some part of the creation or live to please the Creator. It is about whether you will live to achieve some personal success or live in the way the Creator designed you to live. This war is about what you treasure the most and want the most. This war is about what set of desires will set the agendas for the way that you will respond in the situations and relationships where God has placed you. Spiritual warfare is all about the desires of the heart.

Now, I would invite you to be humbly honest in this moment. What do you really want? If you were to respond to the following, how would you fill in the blanks? “If only I could have ______________ then my life would be ______________ ? It is so easy for us to say that we are living for God, when, in fact, at the street level our lives are often shaped by the anxious pursuit of other things. Perhaps for you that is the desire to get married that preoccupies too much of your thinking and shapes too many of your choices. Perhaps for you it is the desire to be successful that has eaten your schedule with frantic workaholism. Perhaps it is the desire for physical things that has left you empty and in debt. Perhaps it is the desire to avoid failure that has made you more demanding and controlling than you thought you would ever be. Perhaps it is the desire for physical health that has reduced you to fearful body self-consciousness. Perhaps it is the desire for ministry success that has turned you into more of a mini-messiah than a servant. Perhaps it is the desire for comfort and ease that has caused you to be way too self-absorbed. Or maybe it is the desire to be affirmed and respected that causes you to ride the roller-coaster of people’s responses to you. Where does the war of desire rage for you?

Could you say with David, “There is nothing on earth I desire besides you?” Does this sound ethereal and impractically super-spiritual to you? Does it feel like a moral impossibility to you? In fact, David is expressing in a phrase exactly where God wants each of us to be. It is the reason each of us was given life and breath. We were made for God. We were created to love him above all else. We were designed to live with his glory as the single motivator of all that we do. Desire for him was intended to shape all the other desires that we would rightly have. You see, it is not wrong to desire comfort, acceptance, peace, success, order, health, etc… In fact, there would be something wrong with you if you did not desire these things in some way. But these desires must never rule you, because when they do they replace God as the ruler of your heart. The move from desire to idolatry is a shockingly short step.

So, we all need to cry out for help once more, we all need to seek God’s rescue and his power, because we must all humbly admit that there is evidence in our daily living that the war of desire still rages in our hearts. There are times when Jesus is our priceless treasure, but there are other times when we would rather have other things than him. This means that we cannot quit seeking his help until the day when we are able to say with complete singleness of heart, “…There is nothing on earth I desire besides you.”   


The Properties of God’s Decrees Explained

by Thomas Boston


1. They are eternal. God makes no decrees in time, but they were all from eternity. So the decree of election is said to have been “before the foundation of the world,” Eph. 1:4, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” Indeed, whatever he does in time, was decreed by him, seeing it was known to him before time, Acts 15:18, “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” And this foreknowledge is founded on the decree. If the divine decrees were not eternal, God would not be most perfect and unchangeable. Weak like man, he would have to change his plans and would be unable to tell every thing that would to come to pass.

2. They are most wise, “according to the counsel of his will.” God cannot properly deliberate or take counsel, as men do; for he sees all things together and at once. And thus his decrees are made with perfect judgment, and laid in the depth of wisdom, Rom 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” So that nothing is determined that could have been better determined.

3. They are most free, according to the counsel of his own will; depending on no other, but all flowing from the mere pleasure of his own will, Rom 11:34, “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” Whatsoever he decrees to work outside of himself is from his free choice. So his decrees are all absolute, and there are none of them conditional. He has made no decrees suspended on any condition outside himself. Neither has he decreed any thing because he saw it would come to pass, or as that which would come to pass on such or such conditions; for then they should be no more according to the counsel of his will, but the creature’s will.

God’s decrees being eternal, they cannot depend upon a condition which is temporal. They are the determinate counsels of God, but a conditional decree determines nothing. Such conditional decrees are inconsistent with the infinite wisdom of God, and are in men only the effects of weakness; and they are inconsistent with the independence of God, making them depend on the creature.

4. They are unchangeable. They are the unalterable laws of heaven. God’s decrees are constant; and he by no means alters his purpose, as men do. Psalm 33:11, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.” Hence they are compared to mountains of brass, Zech. 6:1. As nothing can escape his first view, so nothing can be added to his knowledge. Hence Balaam said, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Num 23:19. The decree of election is irreversible: “The solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” 2 Tim 2:19

5. They are most holy and pure. For as the sun darts its beams upon a dunghill, and yet is no way defiled by it; so God decrees the permission of sin, yet is not the author of sin: 1 John 1:5. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” James 1:13, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone,” and verse 17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

6. They are effective; that is, whatsoever God decrees, comes to pass infallibly, Isa 46:10 “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” He cannot fall short of what he has determined. Yet the liberty of second causes is not hereby taken away; for the decree of God offers no violence to the creature’s will; as appears from the free and unforced actions of Joseph’s brethren, Pharaoh, the Jews that crucified Christ, etc. Nor does it take away the contingency of second causes, either in themselves or as to us, as appears by the lot cast into the lap. Nay, they are thereby established, because he hath efficaciously foreordained that such effects shall follow on such causes.


Is preaching enough?

 In the church today, it seems that most people think you have to have more than just the preaching of the Word. We have many programs today to fit all our “needs” and groups that  fit the different fads that are out there. But what has happened to just the preaching of the Word? We need to understand that that is all we need! Today, we tend to look for numbers and not revivel. But the preaching of the Word of God will bring about true revivel. We see this in Acts.2:37-41, ” 37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ 38And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’ 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation.’ 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” It was after the preaching of the Word that the people were cut to the heart. We see this again in Acts.2:42, “42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” We see that after they came to Christ they kept to the teaching of the Word, and the Lord was adding to them those who were being saved. Again in Acts.10:42-45, “42And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. 44While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.” The Jewish Christians were amazed that the non-Jew could come to faith in Christ, but they witnessed that it was through the preaching of the Word they had believed. Paul states in Rom.10:14-15, “14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ ”  We can see that God uses the preaching of His Word to save souls and grow believers! This is His way and not ours. So preaching is enough! And if we have numbers without good strong preaching, we need to look and see if the numbers are true or not. What we want to see is true revivel, no matter what the numbers look like; that comes from God!


The Divine Light

An extract from a sermon by Jonathan Edwards. (For the complete sermon, follow the link below.)


A sense of the beauty of Christ is the beginning of true saving faith in the life of a true convert. This is quite different from any vague feeling that Christ loves him or died for him. These sort of fuzzy feelings can cause a sort of love and joy, because the person feels a gratitude for escaping the punishment of their sin. In actual fact, these feelings are based on self-love, and not on a love for Christ at all. It is a sad thing that so many people are deluded by this false faith. On the other hand, a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ causes in the heart a supreme genuine love for God. This is because the divine light shows the excellent loveliness of God’s nature. A love based on this is far, far above anything coming from self-love, which demons can have as well as men. The true love of God which comes from this sight of His beauty causes a spiritual and holy joy in the soul; a joy in God, and exulting in Him. There is no rejoicing in ourselves, but rather in God alone.

The sight of the beauty of divine things will cause true desires after the things of God. These desires are different from the longings of demons, which happen because the demons know their doom awaits them, and they wish it could somehow be otherwise. The desires that come from this sight of Christ’s beauty are natural free desires, like a baby desiring milk. Because these desires are so different from their counterfeits, they help to distinguish genuine experiences of God’s grace from the false.


Do not love this world!

 This world has nothing to offer the Christian. Do we really believe that. If we do, we will show it in the way we live for Christ!When I say world, I am speaking of worldliness. Read 1Jn.2:15-17. This means sin. I can even take good things, like hunting and fishing, and hiking. And if they become my desire over God, they become my God, that is sin. So when I say world, …it is the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the father but is from the world. (1Jn.2:16) Also it says in Deut.5:7 “You shall have no other gods before me.” so look at it this way NOTHING CAN COME BEFORE GOD. Also I am to love my family! But not more than God (read Matt.10:37 “whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”) Jesus said this! This sounds radical, but this is how it should be. But if I put God first I will be the “family man” I need to be. And when We pick up our cross and follow Him, and put nothing before Him, we will be that light in the dark, we will what to show mercy and proclaim the Gospel to the lost, and  love  other believers! But always remember, living the Christian life will cost you something. Let us be set apart from this world!

Here are some good quotes!

Quotations from Thomas Brooks

 

Let those be thy choicest companions who have made Christ their chief companion.

The lives of ministers oftentimes convince more strongly than their words; their tongues may persuade, but their lives command.

Christ choosing solitude for private prayer, doth not only hint to us the danger of distraction and deviation of thoughts in prayer, but how necessary it is for us to choose the most convenient places we can for private prayer. Our own fickleness and Satan’s restlessness call upon us to get into such places where we may freely pour out our soul into the bosom of God [Mark 1.35].

Suffering times are sealing times. The primitive Christians found them so, and the suffering saints in Mary’s days found them so. When the furnace is seven times hotter than ordinary, the Spirit of the Lord comes and seals up a man’s pardon in his bosom, his peace with God, and his title to heaven. Blessed Bradford looked upon his sufferings as an evidence to him that he was on the right way to heaven.

It is better to have a sore than a seared conscience.

God sees us in secret, therefore, let, us seek his face in secret. Though heaven be God’s palace, yet it is not his prison.

God’s hearing of our prayers doth not depend upon sanctification, but upon Christ’s intercession; not upon what we are in ourselves, but what’ we are in the Lord Jesus; both our persons and our prayers are acceptable in the beloved [Eph 1.6].

Christ is the sun, and all the watches of our lives should be set by the dial of his motion.

An idle life and a holy heart is a contradiction.

Repentance is a grace, and must have its daily operation, as well as other graces. A true penitent must go on from faith to faith, from strength to strength; he must never stand still or turn back. True repentance is a continued spring, where the waters of godly sorrow are always flowing. ‘My sin is ever before me’.

It was a choice saying of Augustine, ‘Every saint is God’s temple, and he who carries his temple about him, may go to prayer when he pleaseth’.

Prayer is nothing but the breathing that out before the Lord, that was first breathed into us by the Spirit of the Lord.

Those years, months, weeks, days, and hours, that are not filled up with God, with Christ, with grace, and with duty, will certainly be filled up with vanity and folly. The neglect of one day, of one duty, of one hour, would undo us, if we had not an Advocate with the Father.

You had better be a poor man and a rich Christian, than a rich man and a poor Christian. You had better do anything, bear anything, and be anything rather than be a dwarf in grace.

Much faith will yield unto us here our heaven, but any faith, if true, will yield us heaven hereafter.

A man’s most glorious actions will at last be found to be but glorious sins, if he hath made himself, and not the glory of God, the end of those actions.

The two poles could sooner meet, than the love of Christ and the love of the world.

‘My sin is ever before me’ [Psalm 51.3]. A humble soul sees that he can stay no more from sin, than the heart can from panting, and the pulse from beating. He sees his heart and life to be fuller of sin, than the firmament is of stars; and this keeps him low. He sees that sin is so bred in the bone, that till his bones, as Joseph’s, be carried out of the Egypt of this world, it will not out. Though sin and grace were never born together, and though they shall not die together, yet while the believer lives, these two must live together; and this keeps him humble.

The only way to avoid cannon-shot is to fall down. No such way to be freed from temptation as to keep low.

The best and sweetest flowers of Paradise God gives to his people when they are upon their knees. Prayer is the gate of heaven, a key to let us in to Paradise.