Monday, October 09, 2006

The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

In yesterday's message, we jumped into Philippians 1:1-11 where we discovered Paul's joy in the gospel transformation. (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN)

Together we noted that in his joyful prayer for gospel transformation Paul does not ask FIRST that the Philipppians would "approve the things that are excllent." No! Rather Paul prays first that their "love would abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment" SO THAT they would "approve the things that are excellent."

Why does Paul pray first for their loves/affections before their choices? Because our choices follow our loves. We choose what we love! Love the right things and you will make the right choices. The ramifications for both Gospel parenting and Gospel ministry are immense.

As I was thinking about all this, my mind went back to a famous sermon that I read a while back by the Scottish Pastor, Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847). The sermon is entitled. . .

The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

In my preparation, I did not have a chance to go back and read it, so I went back this morning. What a great encouragement! This is an amazing and deep message that says much about:

1. The operations and desires of the heart.
2. The transforming power of the gospel on the heart.
3. The contrast between love and the law.
4. The purpose and object of Biblical preaching.

So, how can I get you to sit down and read this sermon? Please read it!

Warning: It's deep and it's long and you won't get through it at the office. You're going to need about an hour to do it. Take a pencil and highlighter in hand and go slow. If you take the time, you will gain great insights into your own heart.

If you take the time, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Here's one paragraph to wet your whistle. . . .

The object of the gospel is both to pacify the sinner's conscience and to purify his heart; and it is of importance to observe, that what mars the one of these objects mars the other also. The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one; and by the love of what is good to expel the love of what is evil. Thus it is, that the freer gospel, the more sanctifying is the gospel; and the more it is received as a doctrine of grace, the more will it be felt as a doctrine according to godliness. This is one of the secrets of the Christian life, that the more a man holds of God as a pensioner, the greater is the payment of service that He renders back again. On the venture of “Do this and live,” a spirit of fearfulness is sure to enter; and the jealousies of a legal bargain chase away all confidence from the intercourse between God and man; and the creature striving to be square and even with his creator is, in fact, pursuing all the while his own selfishness instead of God's glory; and with all the conformities which he labors to accomplish, the soul of obedience is not there, the mind is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed under such an economy ever can be. It is only when, as in the gospel, acceptance is bestowed as a present, without money and without price, that the security which man feels in God is placed beyond the reach of disturbance, or that he can repose in Him as one friend reposes in another; or that any liberal and generous understanding can be established betwixt them, the one party rejoicing over the other to do him good, the other finding that the truest gladness of his heart lies in the impulse of a gratitude by which it is awakened to the charms of a new moral existence. Salvation by grace—salvation by free grace—salvation not of works, but according to the mercy of God, salvation on such a footing is not more indispensable to the deliverance of our persons from the hand of justice than it is to the deliverance of our hearts from the chill and the weight of ungodliness. Retain a single shred or fragment of legality with the gospel, and you raise a topic of distrust between man and God. You take away from the power of the gospel to melt and to conciliate. For this purpose the freer it is the better it is. That very peculiarity which so many dread as the germ of Antinomianism, is, in fact, the germ of a new spirit and a new inclination against it. Along with the lights of a free gospel does there enter the love of the gospel, which, in proportion as you impair the freeness, you are sure to chase away. And never does the sinner find within himself so mighty a moral transformation as when, under the belief that he is saved by grace, he feels constrained thereby to offer his heart a devoted thing, and to deny ungodliness.

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