Category Archives: General

Ask, Seek, Knock!

“In all this the world and history embracing preaching of the kingdom assumes a form which does not keep aloof from the most trivial and commonplace things of life, but reveals itself as a preaching of God’s fatherly mercy capable of fathoming the hidden distress of every human being. This unity of God’s fatherhood and kingship in Jesus’ preaching constitutes the inexhaustible richness of the gospel.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 240).

“When we have tasted something of the breadth and length and depth and height of of the love that passeth knowledge there is a corresponding enlargement of heart and of mind, there is an establishing of communion, there is an exploring of the riches of the covenant of grace and of the treasures wisdom and knowledge that constrains to enlarging, ever-widening, ever rising prayer and praise. Make every experience of his mercy the reason and ground for increased more abundant prayer. ‘Ask and shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened unto him’ (Luke 11:9–10).” (Collected Writings of John Murray, Vo. 3, p. 171).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

Why Tragedy and Suffering?

The church I serve, Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC, is spending time on Saturday in prayer and (for some) fasting. Facing our current situation, we ask “Why?” As we gather, via Zoom, for Scripture reading and corporate prayer, one of the passages we will read is Luke 13:1–5. Jesus pushes us past simplistic answers to the why question. The following quotes are worth considering.

“By virtue of union with Christ, Paul is saying, the power of Christ’s resurrection is realized in the sufferings of the believer; sharing in Christ’s sufferings is the way the church manifests his resurrection-power.”

“Romans 8:18ff. especially disclose the breadth of what ought to be our conception of Christian suffering. Suffering has to be seen in the context of the “frustration”/“futility” (mataiotes), the “bondage to decay” to which the entire creation has been subjected, not by the inherent nature of things but because of God’s curse on Adam’s sin (v. 20-21 are, in effect, a Pauline commentary on Gen. 3). Suffering is a function of the futility/decay principle pervasively at work in the creation since the fall; suffering is everything that pertains to creaturely experience of this death-principle.” (Gaffin, “Theonomy and Eschatology: Some Reflections On Postmillennialism” pages 10 & 11)

Lead Us Not into Temptation

“When we suffer [allow] a temptation to enter into us, then we ‘enter temptation.’ While it knocks at the door we are at liberty; but when any temptation comes in and parleys with the heart, reasons with the mind, entices and allures the affections, bi it a long or a short time, do it thus insensibly and imperceptibly, or do the the soul take notice of it. We ‘enter into temptation.’”

“Our blessed Savior knows full well our state and condition; he knows the power of temptations, having had experience of it (Heb. 2:18); he know our vain confidence, and the reserves we have concerning our ability to deal with temptations, as he found it in Peter; but he knows our weakness and folly, and how soon we are cast to the ground, and therefore does he lay in this provision for instruction at the entrance of his ministry, to make us heedful, if possible, in that which is of so great concern to us. If then, we will repose [place] any confidence in the wisdom, love, and care of Jesus Christ toward us, we must grant the truth pleaded for.” (John Owen, Overcoming Sin and Temptation, ed. By Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor, pages 160, 167–168).

“We are here taught to ask God to deliver us from the evil that is in the world, the evil that is within our own hearts, and not least from that evil one, the devil. We confess that, so long as we are in the body, we are constantly seeing, hearing, and feeling the presence of evil. It is about us, and with us, and around us on every side. And we entreat Him, who alone can preserve us, to be continually delivering us from its power.” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 1, pages 54–55).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

John on the Witness Stand

“Noteworthy is the way in which all four Gospels record the preparatory ministry and proclamation of John the Baptist, in particular the contrast John draws between himself and the coming Messiah. His witness in the unit John 1:29–34 is that of the work of Jesus as ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (v. 29), and ‘the Son of God” (v. 34), climaxes and focuses in the fact that, while John has been sent to baptize with water (vv. 31, 33), Jesus is ‘the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’ (v. 33).” (Richard B. Gaffin, Perspectives on Pentecost, p. 14)

“‘And grace for grace.’ We get grace to reach out to another grace, each grace becoming a stepping-stone to something higher. I do not believe in our rising on the ‘stepping-stones of our dead selves.’ They are poor stones; they all lead downwards. The stepping-stones of the living Christ lead upwards; grace for grace, grace upon grace, till grace is crowned with glory.” (Charles H. Spurgeon on John 1:16)

“Right at the beginning of his Gospel John points us forward to the cross and to the significance of the cross.” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, NICNT, p. 148)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church