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From the Mouth of God: Trusting, Reading, and Applying the Bible (East Peoria IL: Versa Press, 2014)

As the subtitle suggests, Sinclair Ferguson here gives a three-part encouragement for Christians to follow Christ by knowing and obeying the Bible.

In Part One, Ferguson gives an explanation of how one can know that the Bible’s writings are God’s revelation, and not merely the product of human imaginings. He also demonstrates why the Bible consists of the books it does, and not other writings.

“He’s a slice of bacon in funky trousers…”

So said one member of a knife-throwing, fire-wielding, stun-gun-juggling act about another member’s thinness, which was much appreciated, given the nature of their repertoire.

Beholding Jesus Means Weeping No More

Lampstands, No. 11

There is plenty of cause for weeping in the world today.

Sex trafficking. Abortion. Poverty. Warfare. Disease. Murder.

John wept when it appeared that no one would be able to open the scroll of destiny heaven, and thus set right everything that is wrong in the world.

But he was told to “weep no more; behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah…” (Revelation 5:5).

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How important, may we not pause to remark, that the ministers of the Gospel — those who stand between the living and the dead — should model their ministry, as closely as they can, after their blessed Lord’s; that they should be careful how they preach — that their preaching should be discriminating without being harsh, pointed without being personal, searching without being caustic; that no hearer should go away from beneath their ministrations, without a faithful delineation of his own character, the voice sounding in his conscience, and following him amid all his windings and wanderings, “Thou art the man.”

Octavius Winslow, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul (Carlisle PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009), 147-148

What the Reign of God Looks Like

Lampstands, No. 10

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Many times we see the world and our lives in it like the traveler lost on the airport tarmac: the chaos on the ground doesn’t encourage him that there will be order in the air.

This is why God gives us a picture of the throne room in Revelation 4 and 5. He wants us to see things from a better vantage point. He wants us to see things from a heavenly perspective.

Here, in the throne room, events on the cosmic stage are no less chaotic, disturbing, and frightening, but in the presence of the throne and the one who occupies it, no one appears anxious.

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A Fishy Freedom

fish

People aren’t as free as we think, nor should we be as free as we would like.

This is not a welcome idea in today’s world, or in any world, for that matter. Autonomy and freedom in all areas, the right to choose among many options or to create an option that doesn’t yet exist is taken as the hallmark of human progress and evolution.

But for such an ideal to truly work would require a fundamental transformation of our nature.

Consider a fish.

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Sometimes we’re going to give people fish, sometimes we’re going to teach them to fish, but all the time we want to attempt to introduce them to the Creator of fish.

John Babler, Journal of Biblical Counseling, 18:1.

When the Reward for Service is Opportunity for More Service

Lampstands, No. 8

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If we are not careful, Christians can begin to suppose that we serve others in order to get something else. But as Jesus instructed the church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13), the reward for clinging fiercely to God’s grace is the opportunity to give grace.

Set Proper Goals

The world and our own fleshly (sinful) nature suggest goals to us that would distract us from our calling, but the believer sets deliberate goals that reflect his calling. One goal for the believer is that he be kept from falling away, from apostasizing. Jesus says that those who “keep his word” he will keep from apostasy. God does not promise to keep believers from suffering, but he does promise to keep us from surrendering.

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God has so constituted man, implanting in him such a capacity for happiness, and such boundless and immortal desires for its possession, as can find their full enjoyment only in infinity itself. He never designed that the intelligent and immortal creature should sip its bliss at a lower fountain than himself.

Octavius Winslow, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul (Birmingham AL: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009), 42

Service for the Christian is not drudgery to be endured in order to gain something better, but is training to be welcomed in order to be something better.

Rob Faircloth