Archive for the Quote Category

Mar 10

John Owen on Putting Sin to Death

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Quote

In the course of Sunday’s sermon, Dying to Live, Ryan quoted several main points from John Owen’s The Mortification of Sin to explain what Paul meant when he wrote, “put to death…what is earthly in you” (Colossians 3:5). If you’d like to read about John Owen and his importance, read Ryan’s helpful article, “Getting to Know Owen,” recently published at The Gospel Coalition’s Blog.

Below are some helpful quotes from The Mortification of Sin, with page numbers from Sin and Temptation, a compilation of three of Owen’s works on the subject edited by Justin Taylor and Kelly Kapic.

  • I hope I may own in sincerity that my heart’s desire unto God, and the chief design of my life in the station wherein the good providence of God has placed me, are that mortification and universal holiness may be promoted in my own and in the hearts and ways of others, to the glory of God; that so the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be adorned in all things. (42, Preface)
  • Mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world. (47)
  • Sin does not only still abide in us, but is still acting, still laboring to bring forth the deeds of the flesh. When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it to be vigorous at all times and in all conditions, even where there is least suspicion. (51)
  • If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and always at work in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, foolish, in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable event? There is not a day but sin foils or is foiled, prevails or is prevailed on; and it will be so while we live in this world. (52)
  • Sin aims always at the utmost; every time it rises up to tempt or entice, might it have its own course, it would go out to the utmost sin in that kind. Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression, every thought of unbelief would be atheism, might it grow to its head. (53)
  • Such outside endeavors, such bodily exercises, such self-performances, such merely legal duties, without the least mention of Christ or his Spirit, are varnished over with swelling words of vanity, for the only means and expedients for the mortification of sin, as discover a deep-rooted unacquaintedness with the power of God and mystery of the gospel. (59)
  • Because those things that are appointed of God as means are not used by them in their due place and order—such as are praying, fasting, watching, meditation, and the like. These have their use in the business at hand; but whereas they are all to be looked on as streams, they look on them as the fountain. (59)
  • He brings the cross of Christ into the heart of a sinner by faith, and gives us communion with Christ in his death and fellowship in his sufferings.(61)
  • There is no man that truly sets himself to mortify any sin, but he aims at, intends, desires its utter destruction, that it should leave neither root nor fruit in the heart or life. He would so kill it that it should never move nor stir anymore, cry or call, seduce or tempt, to eternity. Its not-being is the thing aimed at. Now, though doubtless there may, by the Spirit and grace of Christ, a wonderful success and eminency of victory against any sin be attained, so that a man may have almost constant triumph over it, yet an utter killing and destruction of it, that it should not be, is not in this life to be expected. (69, 70)
  • Let not such persons try their mortification by such things as their natural temper gives no life or vigor to. Let them bring themselves to self-denial, unbelief, envy, or some such spiritual sin, and they will have a better view of themselves. (70)
  • He that changes pride for worldliness, sensuality for Pharisaism, vanity in himself to the con- tempt of others, let him not think that he has mortified the sin that he seems to have left. He has changed his master, but is a servant still. (71)
  • Suffer not your heart one moment to be contented with your present frame and condition. (106)
  • It is impossible to fix bounds to sin. It is like water in a channel—if it once break out, it will have its course. (110)
  • Labor with this also to take down the pride of your heart. What do you know of God? How little a portion is it! How immense is he in his nature! Can you look without terror into the abyss of eternity? You cannot bear the rays of his glorious being. (111)
  • Whoever speaks peace to himself upon any one account, and at the same time has another evil of no less importance lying upon his spirit, about which he has had no dealing with God, that man cries “Peace” when there is none. (125)
  • Consider his mercifulness, tenderness, and kindness, as he is our great High Priest at the right hand of God. Assuredly he pities you in your distress; says he, “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you” (Isa. 66:13). (134)
  • …act faith peculiarly upon the death, blood, and cross of Christ; that is, on Christ as crucified and slain… He died to destroy the works of the devil [1 John 3:8]. Whatever came upon our natures by his first temptation, whatever receives strength in our persons by his daily suggestions, Christ died to destroy it all. (136)

Jul 7

Zaspel: Lessons on Suffering from Job

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Quote,Recommended Link,Sermon Follow-Up

Fred Zaspel was recently at DSC, preaching a wonderfully helpful message on suffering in the book of Job. His outline alone was, frankly, worth memorizing:

  1. Suffering often comes as the result of an unseen conflict in the spiritual world.
  2. The inadequacy of human reasoning in the presence of tragedy and suffering.
  3. God is sovereign and supreme over Satan and our suffering.
  4. We must read this book as Christians.

From an article on the same theme, Fred expounds this last point like this:

Throughout the book Job feels lost, lost in maze of unanswered questions. Chiefest of his concerns is his desire for God. This is why we hear him say things like, “O that I knew where I might find Him!” “O that I had someone to go to Him for me!” And so on.

And it is right here that we find ourselves giant steps ahead of him. He searched for a mediator, someone Who could speak for both parties. We have that mediator, and we know Him. He is Jesus Christ. Job wanted someone Who would not only plead his case, but sympathize with Him. We have Him, and He is the One who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” He is “touched with the feelings of our infirmities,” and so He invites us to come boldly before His throne of grace and there find “grace to help in time of need.”

At this point there is a world of difference between us and Job. We have the revelation of Christ, Who has told us and shown us His great and undying love. He has told us that through Him we have direct access to the Father. And He has told us that we may and should come to Him with every problem we face, and there find Him not only sympathetic, but full of grace & mercy perfectly suited to our specific need.

With that advantage over Job, Job’s faith is all the more remarkable. And ours is all the more reasonable.

If you missed it, please take the time to listen to the whole of Fred’s message; or, even if you did hear it, read through the article version. I know how I need these truths impressed upon my remembrance and affections more and more. Lord, work in us such that we might suffer well!

Jun 30

How We “Examine” Ourselves in Communion

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Lord's Supper,Quote

Tonight (6:30 PM) we meet for the Lord’s Supper. It is a mingling of song, Scripture, and symbol for the purpose of remembrance. We hope you plan to come.

But what if you had a bad week spiritually? Should you still come, knowing that examination is part of Supper? John Piper answers that question well.

Can I take the Lord’s Supper if I’ve had a bad week spiritually?

It depends on the transaction of the moment, not the quality of the week gone by.

Nobody brings a successful week to the Lord’s Table, period. Nobody. We all call into question—and rightly—the effectiveness of our devotions or the quality of our communication with our kids. It’s never been perfect. Therefore, we bring to the table our sin.

That’s the point of the table. It is a recognition of our sin.

However, what you do in preparation—when you take stock of yourself—is that you confess all known sin. You do Psalm 19: “Cleanse me of hidden faults, and hold back your servant from presumptuous sins.”

So you pray specific confession for the sins you know, you pray general confession for the sins you’re unaware of, and you receive afresh the cleansing, the application of the blood of Christ (1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”).

Now, after you’ve appropriated afresh the work of Christ and are enjoying that forgiveness, you eat. And you eat worthily, not because you had a good week, but because you have a great Savior and are united with him by faith and are renouncing all those sins.

That’s what I encourage our people to do. “Set it right with God now, in these next three minutes.” And then as the trays come we celebrate that, we remember the foundation of that forgiveness, by eating.

Jun 25

Zaspel on How We Come to Believe

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Quote,Recommended Link,This Sunday

In view of our Sunday evening talk and Q&A with Fred Zaspel on Romans 9, let me point you to an article Fred wrote on a similar passage — John 1:11-13.

He came to his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

What does it mean to be born of God? How do we come to receive Him? Fred answers these and other similar questions in a methodical, progressive, and clear way. His conclusion is:

To believe in Christ unto salvation requires much more than anything human life can produce. It is not a matter of ridding ourselves of our worst habits. It is not a matter of moral improvement. It requires such a drastic, such a thorough-going transformation that it cannot be brought about by anything we do or will. It is not a matter of human excellence; it is a matter of divine grace.

And so the Biblical writers are careful to tell us not only that “it is not of him that wills or of him that runs,” but also that “it is of God who shows mercy” (Rom. 9:16). They tell us not only that we must believe, but that “God works within us both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). They tell us not only that we cannot do anything to birth ourselves into God’s family but also that God in Christ and by His Spirit does for us what we would not and could not do ourselves. They tell us that those who savingly confess Christ do so only “by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). True confession of faith in Christ is something that is entirely beyond us until we are so enabled by God the Spirit.

In other words, all this comes down to that one big word which we find everywhere in the Bible, and that word is grace. Salvation comes to us entirely from God’s side. “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). It is His doing for us not because of us or even with us. It is His doing for us and in us. It is all a work of His grace; it all stems from His loving kindness.

Read the whole article to see how he comes to these conclusions from the passage itself. Some great, helpful, grace-glorifying stuff!

And we hope to see you Sunday. Fred will be preaching from Job in our Sunday AM services and, again, on Romans 9 that evening.

Jun 18

Z on Community

2010 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Community,Quote

Zach has a great post today on the “Blessing and Ache of Living in Community”:

We have been “homeless” since April 30th.  Dear friends in Albuquerque and Madison have been gracious enough to allow the three ring Nielsen family circus to invade their homes for weeks at a time while we wait for our move in date of July 1st to arrive.  We are living in true community with those who love us.  For this we are endlessly thankful.

This has got me thinking a lot about church community and what it means to live with each other.  Middle class Americans have a hard time doing community.  Part of this is due to technology (FB and Twitter allow me to have “friends”), part of this is due to wealth (we don’t need to depend on anyone else), and part of this is due to the general ethos of Americanism which trumpets the value of “I did it myself!” and “you don’t have a right to tell me what to do!”.

Aside from these cultural influences, living in community with other people is just plain hard.  It exposes our selfishness.  Living alone is easy. You only have to look out for number one.  Relationships are a dance where you have to learn to move and bend with the preferences of those around you.  Being selfish is easy but God said “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18).

Living intentionally with others in community is a blessing but also comes with an acute ache.  Why?  Because our flesh only goes down swinging and the punches of our flesh hurt bad.  Who likes to have their selfishness assaulted?  But that is exactly what we need and therein lies the blessing.  Any means by which I can learn to be less selfish will always, in the end, bless me. Take the punches from the flesh, endure in the fight, and the blessing of your personal sanctification will be more than worth the battle.

Unless our churches can learn to embrace the messiness of community we’ll never grow together into the beautiful body of Christ that Jesus wants us to be.

Pray for this sweet, courageous, church-planting family. May their tribe increase!