Thursday, July 28, 2016

preaching to yourself

"[You] were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."  (Ephesians 4:21-24 ESV)

"The whole matter of putting on the new man is in essence the application of truth to ourselves.  It is the most important thing that one can ever discover in the Christian life.  The real secret of Christian living is to discover the art of talking to yourself.  We must talk to ourselves, we must preach to ourselves, and we must take truth and apply it to ourselves, and keep on doing so.  That is the putting on of the new man.  We have to hammer away at ourselves until we have really convinced ourselves.  In other words, this is not something that you wait for passively.  If you wait until you feel like the new man it will probably never happen.  We must be active in this.  There is no greater snare in the Christian life than to entertain the idea of waiting until we feel better, and of then putting on the new man.  On the contrary, we have got to go on telling ourselves the new man is already in us.  In his Epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul says, 'Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God' (6:11).  Reckon yourselves! Say it to yourself!  Persuade yourself, argue, say it to yourself, announce it to yourself.  The moment you wake up in the morning say to yourself, I am the new man in Christ Jesus, I am not the old man, I do not belong to the world, I belong to God, I belong to Christ.  That is the truth about you whatever your feelings may be. 

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Darkness and Light, pp 191-192.






the new self, the whole of life

"But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."  (Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV)

"The putting on of the new man is something that must be done completely, it must always be done as a whole, and it must apply to the whole of our life continuously.  In other words, we must never do the work in compartments; we must put on the new man not only in certain parts of our lives, it must be the whole of our life.  We must not put on the new man only at certain times or when we are in certain company, or when we are in certain places.  That would be to deny the whole principle.  The new man must be the reigning and the governing principle of the whole of our life; having been born again we have been moved from the world into the Kingdom of God; and therefore the whole of our life and of our conduct will and must be entirely different from our life and conduct in the past."  

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Darkness and Light, p. 190. 



Thursday, July 14, 2016

something which takes us up

But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."  (Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV)

In a sermon on this passage, specifically verse 23, Lloyd-Jones writes...


"We now recognize that becoming a Christian does not mean that you simply change your moral suit or your outward behaviour.  Nor does it merely mean that you change your opinions, or change your mind.  But it most certainly means changing the spirit of your mind.  What a distinction!  In other words, Christianity is not something that you and I take up intellectually; it is something that takes us up, and captivates us, and governs us, and controls us."

"The Christian is tested, not simply by what he says, not simply by the opinions he puts forward, but by the spirit of his mind.  We must take Paul's message to heart.  If the spirit of our mind is changed and is renewed, we shall be thinking in such a way that we shall put off the old man, and will put on the new man." 

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Darkness and Light: An Exposition of Ephesians 4:17--5:17, p 165-66.

The original sermon can be streamed or downloaded from here


Friday, July 8, 2016

the christian mind

From my bookshelf I picked up again the classic little work, The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think (SPCK, 1963; Servant Books, 1978), by Harry Blamires.  This author was encouraged to write by none other than C. S. Lewis, his tutor at Oxford.  Writing from mid-twentieth century Britain, Blamires examines our wholesale surrender to secularism and how to recover a uniquely Christian approach to thinking and dialogue.  


"We twentieth-century Christians have chosen the way of compromise. We withdraw our Christian consciousness from the fields of public, commercial, and social life.  When we enter these fields we are compelled to accept for purposes of discussion the secular frame of reference established there.  We have no alternative -- except that of silence.  We have to use the only language spoken in these areas." (p. 27)

"We have stepped mentally into secularism.  We have trained, even disciplined ourselves, to think secularly about secular things and -- irony of ironies -- have even managed to persuade ourselves that there was something more Christian about giving way in this matter and accepting the other fellow's mental environment.  In this way the Christian mind has died of neglect and disuse."  (p. 39)

Then Blamires goes on to identify the key marks or characteristics of Christian thinking:  Its supernatural orientation, its awareness of evil, its conception of truth, its acceptance of authority, its concern for the person, and its sacramental cast. These are notes sorely missing from today's discussions on our societal problems in twenty-first century America.  What Christian discussion brings to the table is that human life and flourishing involves something higher than mere nature or materialism, and that we must be able to discuss the existence of evil, the pursuit of truth (and avoidance of error), the proper role of authority, the worth of the individual, and the sacredness of life given by God.   

As an example, on the nature of truth, he writes...


"Christian truth is objective, four-square, unshakable.  It is not built of men's opinions.  It is not something fabricated either by scholars or by men in the street, still less something assembled from a million answers, Yes, No, and Don't know, obtained from a cross-section of the human race.  Christian truth is something given, revealed, laid open to the eye of the patient, self-forgetful inquirer.  You do not make the truth.  You reside in the truth.  A suitable image for truth would be that of a lighthouse lashed by the elemental fury of undisciplined error.  Those who have come to reside in the truth must stay there.  It is not their business to go back into error for the purpose of joining their drowning fellows with the pretense that, inside or outside, the conditions are pretty much the same.  It is their duty to draw others within the shelter of the truth.  If we start to dismantle it and give it away in bits to those outside, there will be nothing left to protect our own heads-- and no refuge in which to receive the others, should they at length grow weary of error." (pp. 113-14)

The print copy of this book, only 190 pages, is available in used condition for only pennies. It should be looked at again.