3 short ‘Chapel of the Air’ LIVE Interviews with Leonard Ravenhill

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian
leonard ravenhillLeonard Hill interviewed on the following 3 topics on a radio program called ‘Chapel of the Air’. Here are some very brief highlights from the 3 interviews featured on this video:

  1. Local Church – Ravenhill is asked to give the church in North America a grade and to tell why he picks that number. Responds Ravenhill: „On a scale of 1 to 1-, I would give the church, I am thinking of the Evanglical Church, about a 4, because I sense a lack of a eternity and the majesty of God in current evangelism.” When asked how he would strive to correct and what he would change, Ravenhill responds: „We need to have a recovery, I’m sure, of the awesome majesty of God.I asked a congregation last Sunday: Did you come here tonight to meet God, or to hear a sermon about God? I’ve asked that many times, in many churches, and only once did I get a response from one person: ‘Well, I do come to meet God’…….”
  2. 13th minute mark – Seminaries – Leonard is asked, of all the men he has trained under, formal and informal, which one influenced him the most. Ravenhill responds: „Without question, Samuel Chadwick. I happened to be born in Leeds, England, at about the time that Samuel Chadwick had a local revival in the city, that cleared up the night spots, closed taverns and everything. And again, it was only in the course of his preaching, which by the way was the same as the revival of 1725 that came in the ordinary course of a faithful pastor’s ministry, that was Jonathan Edwards. He could have held up and said: „George Whitfield’s coming into town, soon, but there was no staging of anything, there was no projecting of human personalities. It was just that the Holy Ghost came. ” Ravenhill is asked about seminaries and if he were to teach a course, what subject would he want to teach that course on? Ravenhill responds: „I think I would teach it on revival. I am sometimes accused of being anti-intellectual. But the great Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his great church at Westminster Abbey, he taught with me about revival. And he said that he believed that Jonathan Edwards was the greatest intellectual America has ever had…..”
  3. 24th minute mark – How religion is seen on radio and television. Ravenhill is asked if religious radio and television is good or bad. Ravenhill responds: „We haven’t much in England and of course it’s state controlled. In the United States, the stuff that’s offered is so shallow. I mean, this is too severe, again, I say: if John the Baptist preached on radio on Sunday, would he get on the next Sunday? Or Elijah?” Ravenhill wrote about the dangers of misusing media in some of his early books: „Finney inspired countless evangelists to seek revival and that they could produce revival anywhere, using means selected by themselves, to decide what they should use…. In TV evangelism today, I find people totally revolted at the begging that goes on. I mean, why should a man that has $15,000 income a year and who is struggling to keep his farm or his family together, why should he send his tithes to a man who has $55,000 a year and all his expenses paid? I think it’s immoral. I mean, in the old stories in England, Robin Hood robbed the rich to help the poor. Now we rob the poor to help the rich. These big fellows live in ostentation, and they have private jets. I think that most of these ministers are filthy with filthy lucre. And I used to say that before long, the church will suffer for the sin of America. Now, I believe America will suffer for the sin of the church. When you think, a number of them get in almost a million dollars a week, coming in. How will they answer at the judgment seat for the ways they use it.” When asked, if he were asked to address the National Religious Broadcasters Group, and he felt led to accept, what would Ravenhill preach to that group? Ravenhill answers: „I would preach on hell. All the great revivalists were strong on hell. You can take Moody, you can take Finney, you can take Jonathan Edwards. They didn’t do it with a barking, horrible, gravel voice. They did it with tears and brokenness. I don’t see very much brokenness and tears. I believe the next revival will come through the local churches with men who have been waiting on God…..

VIDEO by SermonIndex.net

Între „marea trezire” și „marele declin”

Abandoned Desert Church

Creștinismul este în impas. După două milenii, religia care a schimbat fața pământului își regăsește cu dificultăți cadența și forța. Impactul asupra lumii civilizate este tot mai scăzut, iar plecările masive din biserici sunt consecința firească a acestei stări de fapt.

Cândva, în timpuri tulburi, creștinismul era în creștere. Acum, sub efectul libertăților nelimitate, cunoaște un recul pe care nu l-a mai experimentat în îndelungata sa istorie. Secularizarea i-a dat lovituri repetate, însă nu aceasta este singura cauză a crizei actuale. Problemele de ordin intern au jucat un rol determinant în crearea unei stări de neîncredere față de instituția bisericii. Drept urmare, formalismul (acolo unde creștinismul supraviețuiește) sau hemoragia (acolo unde acesta suferă pierderi imense) au devenit emblemele unei religii căreia, cu ani în urmă, Voltaire îi anticipa deja decesul. Să fi avut filosoful francez dreptate?

Noua față a Americii – Deja în 2013 situația era gravă, fapt descris într-o manieră mai mult decât sugestivă de jurnaliștii de la RNS: „Importanța religiei în viața oamenilor? Scăzută. Prezența la Biserică? Scăzută. Oamenii care afirmă ca nu au nicio religie? Crescută. Rezultatul: 2013 a înregistrat cel mai scăzut nivel de religiozitate de când facem aceste măsurători”.

Mai precis, spun aceeași jurnaliști, dacă perioada anilor 1950 ar putea fi numită „Marea Trezire”, începutul mileniului al treilea poate fi etichetat ca „Marele Declin”. „The Great Awakening” este, de fapt, o denumire generică pentru o suită de revitalizări religioase pe care mediul american le-a cunoscut în istoria ei. Prima a avut loc în secolul XVIII și i-a avut ca principali artizani pe renumiții Jonathan Edwards sau George Whitefield.

Au urmat apoi alte treziri religioase succesive. După al Doilea Război Mondial a fost înregistrată o explozie a mișcărilor charismatice care au acționat în contrapondere cu ramurile principale ale confesiunilor protestante. Astfel, anii 1950 au fost marcați de o creștere rapidă a fenomenului neoprotestant, pe fondul unor lupte teologice intense. Creștinismul american s-a întărit, devenind solid și din punct de vedere politic. În momentul de față, SUA s-a schimbat la față, dar nu în bine.

Dacă bisericile și-au pierdut relevanța și capacitatea de a oferi răspunsuri profunde la probleme actuale, poate că a sosit momentul unor strategii de schimbare nu doar a oamenilor, ci și a bisericilor. Reacția defensivă a celor din urmă (o variantă prea des adoptată), ar trebui să facă loc uneia de autoevaluare și de repoziționare. Iar în această privință, nu o pierdere de identitate este soluția, ci o întoarcere la origini, adică chiar la ceea ce imprimase odată forță creștinismului. La aceasta face referire Corne Bekker, profesor la Regent University, care intervievat de CBN, nu întrevede decât o singură soluție: „Avem nevoie să readucem Biblia în centrul a tot ceea ce facem”. Iar aceasta nu pentru a introduce un nou obicei expus formalismului, ci pentru ca „Biserica să devină un loc de speranță”.

Citeste mai mult aici – http://semneletimpului.ro/religie/crestinism/intre-marea-trezire-si-marele-declin.html

Sinners in the hands of an angry God by Jonathan Edwards (American Puritan Theologian)

Photo credit en.wikipedia.org

Where there is talk about preaching and hell, Jonathan Edwards’s name is never far behind. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is the most famous sermon in American history. And undoubtedly Edwards is the most caricatured preacher because of it.

You can read the whole sermon online, or listen to someone like Mark Dever read it.

But few people know that Edwards often preached on heaven, too. And his sermons on heaven are as beautiful as his sermons on hell are sobering.

For a wonderful introduction to Edwards on heaven, I’d encourage you to listen to Sam Storms’s talk on “Joy’s Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven.” But first you might want to read the text of Edwards’s sermon, “Heaven, A World of Love.

We’ve all heard the line about the danger of “being so heavenly-minded that we’re no earthly good.” But surely C. S. Lewis was right: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. . . . It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this” (Mere Christianity, chapter 10).

Read it here –

– Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

 

 

John Piper – What will you do your last 2 days?

5PIPER12xx.jpgCloseness to God at the end of your life does not remove the need or the desire to read and be spiritually nourished.  2 Timothy 4:13 „When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” Now, we do not know what these are. But, the scrolls and the parchments are both plural,  which suggests to me it’s more than the Bible, it could be his own notes, for all I know. He kept notes, and he wanted his notes. He could be working on messages or it could be Scripture, or it could be books about the Scripture, or things he’d written in his journal to help him understand the Scriptures. We don’t know. But, what we know is here’s a man, who is enjoying sweet, close, fellowship with Jesus- „The Lord stood by him- I’ve got the Lord standing by me, and my life is getting ready to be poured out as an offering. I’m not long for this world”.

Now, at that point I would be inclined to say, so what’s with the theological education? I mean you are gonna be known, even as you are known in about 2 weeks. (Speaking here about Pauls impending death). Why would you wanna read anything?  You’re going to see Him face to face. That’s what I would ask. Then I back up and I think a minute. That’s what you are supposed to do with a Bible, think about it- go over what I say Timothy, the Lord will give you  understanding,

What are you gonna do in your last two days?

Doctor says you got a week, maybe. You can call up your wife and you could say, „Would you get my copy of Edwards?” Yes, yes. You think I’m joking? Nobody, nobody on the planet gets you in touch with Jesus, outside the Bible, than Jonathan Edwards.  Yes, I wanna read a sermon from this man who has ministered to my soul like nobody’s ministered to my soul as I get ready to meet my Jesus. You pick your own favorite helper. My point is, it doesn’t follow to say, „Okay, in a few days, I’m gonna see him face to face, so I don’t need the book anymore. You do need the book. „The book” and books. You need them both, because those are the means by which you die well. They’re not superfluous. „Bring the books and bring the parchments. I have a few weeks left to live, and they help me die.

(Turning to the seminary students of SBC: You’re all in school, and that’s a good place to be for a season, and I hope you stay in love with God centered Bible saturated, Christ exalting literature ‘til you breathe your last.)

The 7 Books Recommended for Pastors at the Desiring God National Conference 2013

by John Piper | February 4, 2013

1. Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry

2. Jonathan Edwards, End for Which God Created the World

3. David Daniell, William Tyndale

4. Joel Beeke, A Puritan Theology

5. Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students

6. G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

7. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Iosif Ton – Mesaj, Intrebari si Raspunsuri si Brosuri noi (Carti)

PAGINA Iosif Ton aici

In toate trezirile spirituale, cand Duhul lui Dumnezeu coboara si sfinteste si transforma, intotdeauna apar si manifestari ciudate de toate felurile- lesinuri, rasete, tipete. In multe locuri in trezirea spirituala sunt scene pe care oamenii zic: Pai, aia-i de la Dumnezeu? Nu stim de ce-i asa, dar, in toate marile treziri a fost asa. A fost o trezire cu 10 ani inainte de John Wesley, a fost o trezire in America prin Jonathan Edwards care a fost insotita tot asa, de manifestari ciudate. Si Wesley, care a auzit de aia, a zis: Doamne, eu vreau trezire, dar fara manifestarile alea. Dar Doamne, daca nu se poate fara alea, da-mi trezire cu manifestari cu tot. Si pana la urma a primit cu manifestari cu tot, ca si pe el il acuzau de astea.

Din introducere de la un mesaj din Arad – Iulie 2012:

Nu mi-am schimbat invataturile, toate sunt valabile, in special ultimele doua pe care le consider suma a ceia ce mi-a dat Dumnezeu:

  1. Umblarea cu Dumnezeu in unire cu Domnul Isus si sub calauzirea Duhului Sfant este manualul de baza pentru viata spirituala. Si imediat dupa el-
  2. Bunatate: O teologie bazata pe invatatura Domnului Isus, publicata in 2010

Ce am schimbat e adaos la ele. Eu nu mi-am schimbar crezul, eu am adaugat la crezul meu lucruri pe care am vazut dinainte, lucruri pe care nu le-am vazut si acuma le vad si pe care acuma le trambitez. Si astea-s lucruri care deranjeaza.

Tinerii de astazi nu mai citesc carti. Pe ei ii sperie o carte si atunci nu mai public carti, public brosuri, ca o brosura mai usor o ia. In loc de o carte am facut 3 brosuri:

  1. Puncte de cotitura in istoria crestinismului – O carte foarte importanta. Cine nu stie istorie risca sa o repete. Adica sa ii repete greselile. Citeste istoria, sunt (de la mine) vreo 9 puncte de cotitura a crestinismului. Citez pe Peter Wagner, un teolog din vremea mea care acum, la 80 de ani si-a scris biografia lui, spune ca in anii lui de misionar si apoi de profesor si-a schimbat mereu teologia. Si ne spune de cate ori si-a schimbat-o, de la ce la ce, si de ce. El le zice ‘tranzitii‘. El are 14 tranzitii. In 14 domenii si-a schimbat gandirea. NOI NE TEMEM DE SCHIMBARE. Noi n-avem curajul sa ne revizuim crezul, sa zicem: „Oare, bine ma duc?” si sa ascultam ce zic altii. Cele mai fascinante evenimente in crestinism, in tari ca Argentina si cei mai fascinanti baptisti pentru mine sunt baptistii Argentinieni, care sunt macar cu cativa ani lumina inaintea noastra. Eu le-am citit operele in ultimii ani sa inteleg ce s-a schimbat si de ce s-a schimbat si in ce directie merg pentru ca ma intreb, nu cumva Dumnezeu
  2. O Evanghelie completa
  3. Manifestul Imparatiei lui Dumnezeu

M-am hotarat sa ies inca odata cu un manifest pentru ca in 1974 am indraznit sa scriu Manifestul Crestin, si lumea tremura (zicand) „Nu il omoara pentru asta?” Atunci am fost arestat, pus sub arest la domiciliu, s-a facut ancheta, acuzat de propaganda care pune in primejdie statul. Dragii mei, eu cred in toate darurile Duhului Sfant si printre altele cred in darul proorociei. Atunci cand ma auzeati la Europa Libera ca se va prabusi comunismul brusc, ce era aia? A venit (proorocia) in urma unei viziuni. Am vazut clar in Iunie 1977, cum dintr-o data toate popoarele din lumea comunista arunca comunismul afara. Mi-aduc aminte ca prin 1987 a venit in America un prieten scump de la Oradea (si zice): Mai, frate Ton, tot ce spui la Europa Libera e extraordinar, dar nu mai spune ca se va prabusi comunismul ca asta nu se poate.” Si i-am spus asa: „Problema voastra este ca voi vedeti numai cat de tare este dusmanul. Avantajul meu este ca eu vad deasupra dusmanului pe Tata, si Tata intr-o zi va face cu mana asa (de sus in jos) si comunismul se va prabusi.”

Si pe la jumatatea anului 1989, Tata a facut cu mana asa si dintr-o data tara dupa tara a aruncat comunismul afara, exact cum am vazut eu in Iunie 1977. Acum, daca m-as duce pe linia asta a profetiilor as vorbi despre Islam si planurile lui Dumnezeu cu Islamul dar asta ar fi abatere de la subiect.

Iosif Ton – la Arad 28 August 2013 VIDEO by Emanuel Holhos-Vaida:

Cel mai recent punct de cotitura in crestinism

V-am spus ca sunt vreo 9 puncte de cotitura (in brosura – Puncte de cotitura in istoria crestinismului), va spun doar de ultimul. Pe la 1967 a aparut o carte de teologie, de escatologie in America de un oarecare George Eldon Ladd. Cartea se intituleaaza Prezenta Viitorului. Eu m-am indragostit de ea, deci publicata in 1967. In 1970, la Oxford ne-a fost prezentata ca manual. Acuma in primul rand era scrisa de un American, la Oxford Americanii nu erau prea bine vazuti. Ca la Oxford, un (autor) American sa devina imediat manual e ceva fantastic. George Ladd studiaza in cartea aceasta invatatura Domnului Isus despre imparatia lui Dumnezeu si considerata punct de cotitura in teologie. Pe vremea aceia in Caifornia, George Ladd a fost la seminarul Fuller. In California traia un tinerel care venea din muzica si avea un grup rival cu Beatles si s-a pocait. Cand s-a pocait, cumva, cineva i-a dat sa citeasca cartea lui Ladd.

Si pentru el, el nu stia ca acesta e lucru nou, ca crestinii nu gandesc in termenii imparatiei lui Dumnezeu. El a studiat cartea si a zis: Stai putin, imparatia lui Dumnezeu a venit aici, cum zice „already/not yet” – e aici/ dar nu inca. E aici pentru ca Domnul Isus a pornit-o si El ne-a scolat pe noi sa continuam asaltul, sa impingem imparatia diavolului tot mai incolo, pana ce cucerim toata planeta pentru imparatia lui Dumnezeu, aici si acum prin trei lucruri:

  1. Predicarea imparatiei lui Dumnezeu
  2. Eliberarea de duhuri necurate si
  3. Vindecarea de boli

pentru ca asa facea Isus si asa i-a educat pe ucenici sa faca. Si acest fost (tip)-Beatles devenit predicator, in 1980, la biserica lui din Anaheim, Caifornia a anuntat biserica: Eu trebuie sa fac ce face Isus. Ca sa imping imparatia lui Dumnezeu mai departe trebuie sa predic evanghelia, sa eliberez oameni de duhuri rele si sa vindec de boli. Atunci trebuie sa fac cum citesc, cum ne-a spus Domnul Isus: „Tu sa predici Evanghelia, si Eu o voi insoti cu semne si minuni”. Sau cum spune in Fapte 4- Da-le lor curajul sa predice si Tu intindeti mana si fa vindecari. „Fratilor”, a spus John Wimber, „Vin in fata si cer oamenilor sa ma rog pentru vindecarea lor si astept ca Dumnezeu sa ma onoreze si astept sa se vindece. Si a facut-o si nu s-a intamplat nimic. Noua luni de zile nu s-a vindecat nici un bolnav. Si i s-a spus: Nu vezi ca esti nebun, inceteaza, nu vezi ca nu se intampla nimic?” El: „Eu il ascult pe Domnul, partea cealalta e treaba Lui”. Dupa 9 luni, la o asemenea rugaciune s-a vindecat o sora de gripa si imediat dupa asta a venit potopul. Au inceput vindecari si la biserica lui era pelerinaj. Si Wimber s-a dus in toata lumea sa predice si sa vindece bolnavii.

(Puteti sa cititi un articol despre John Wimber aici la saitul lui John Piper- Desiring God- http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/john-wimber-doin-the-stuff)

Cotitura in crestinism, produsa de John Wimber, intoarcerea la invatatura Domnului Isus despre imparatia lui Dumnezeu. Pana la el nu exista asa ceva. Adica, in general se spune asa: La Domnul Isus mergem pentru manturie. La apostolul Pavel mergem pentru invatatura. Domnul Isus a venit doar sa isi dea viata pentru noi. Si unul din astia care ma linsat pe mine in internet a scris direct ca eu am vorbit despre invatatura asta a Domnului Isus si a zis: „Ce invatatura a Domnului Isus? Domnul Isus a venit doar sa moara pentru pacatele noastre. ” Deci, inca persista aceasta conceptie- (ca) ceea ce ne-a invatat Domnul Isus, aia inca-i lege. De fapt, spune un teolog, nu mai spun cine (e): „Invatatura lui Isus e cea mai inalta lege, ii data numai ca sa ne sperie”. Vrei lege? Iti dau eu lege. „Pai, eu nu o pot tine asta”. „Asa-i, de aia ti-am dat-o ca sa vezi ca nu o poti tine. Fugi la cruce, la har! Deci fratilor, Domnul Isus era inca sub lege. Noi nu mai suntem sub lege, noi suntem sub har. Asa ca invatatura Domnului Isus despe imparatia lui Dumnezeu o lasam deoparte. Poate se va aplica in mileniu sau … dar oricum nu-i pentru noi astazi. Aceasta este atitudinea teologica  predominanta.

Acum, dragii mei, ce se intampla cand Il iei in serios pe Fiul lui Dumnezeu? Si afli ce spune apostolul Ioan, care l-a captat asa de bine: Fiul lui Dumnezeu s-a aratat ca sa nimiceasca lucrarile diavolului. 1 Ioan 3:8. Domnul Isus a venit aici si a vazut ca e numai imparatia celui rau. „Eu trebuie sa nimicesc tot ce a facut vrasmasul”. Si a pornit la drum cu asta. In loc de imparatia lui (diavolului) aduc aici imparatia lui Tata- imparatia lui Dumnezeu. Cum? Predicand Evanghelia imparatiei lui Dumnezeu, eliberand oamenii de duhuri rele si vindecand bolnavii. Si i-a invatat pe ucenici aceleasi 3 lucruri: „Duceti-va si predicati aceasta evanghelie a imparatiei la toate natiunile. Si cu aceasta invatatura ucenicizati toate natiunile. Si iata ca Eu sunt cu voi pana la capat.

Si ca sa intelegeti mai bine viziunea aceasta, pe care apostolul Pavel a prins-o cel mai bine: Fiul lui Dumnezeu nu numai ca a murit pentru noi (1 Cor. 15), nu numai ca a fost inviat, El a fost inaltat la dreapta lui Dumnezeu si Dumnezeu i-a dat sarcina sa conduca operatia de instalare a imparatiei lui Dumnezeu pe pamant, pana va nimici pe toti dusmanii Sai. Cand a nimicit toti dusmanii, cand imparatia lui Dumnezeu e asezata pe tot pamantul, FIul lui Dumnezeu se va intoarce spre Tata si va zice: „Tata, iata imparatia. Am implinit ce mi-ai dat”. Cum? Domnia Lui e fara sfarsit. Sabia Lui e una singura- Cuvantul. Si El nu se va lasa pana nu va instala dreptatea pe pamant. Si nu se va mai face nici un rau pe pamant pentru ca tot pamantul va fi plin de cunoastere ca fundul marii de apele care il acopera.

Daniel 7:13-14 „L-am vazut pe unul, ca un fiu al omului care a venit pe norii cerului la Dumnezeu si Dumnezeu l-a instalat la dreapta Sa si i-a dat imparatia peste toate natiunile pamantului. La judecata lui Caiafa, Domnul Isus citeaza Daniel 7:13-14. „Cine esti Tu?” „Eu sunt acel fiu al omului si de aici inainte se va implini asta. Eu ma voi duce si voi fi instalat acolo si apoi veti vedea cum sfintii celui prea inalt, care vor trece prin perioade lungi de persecutie, pana la urma li se va da imparatia.

Sa stabilim rostul crucii

Aceasta imagine, ce insemneaza atunci aceasta? In primul rand e foarte important sa stabilim  rostul crucii. Niciodata, crucea nu trebuie sa fie minimalizata sau plasat unde nu trebuie. Cand Domnul Isus a venit sa instaureze imparatia lui Dumnezeu  si El a anuntat (Luca 16:16) „Pana la Ioan botezatorul a fost legea proorocilor, de atunci a inceput noua entitate numita imparatia lui Dumnezeu si cine vrea sa intre in ea trebuie sa dea navala. De acuma, se poate iesi de sub diavolul si se poate intra sub Dumnezeu.

Se poate, dar nu se poate. Sunt doua piedici.

  1. Una- diavolul are deptul de a tine omenirea sub autoritatea lui; certificatul lui de proprietar sunt pacatele noastre.
  2. Doi – Justitia lui Dumnezeu zice: Plata pacatului e moartea.

Diavolul nu ne lasa sa plecam si Dumnezeu zice: Nu veniti la Mine. El nu vrea sa ne primeasca. Nici nu ne poate primi pentru ca suntem nedrepti.  Si Domnul Isus s-a dus la cruce. Si la cruce a anulat dreptul diavolului de a ne stapani pentru ca a luat certificatul de proprietar, l-a tintuit pe cruce si l-a spalat. Coloseni 2:14-15. L-a facut pe diavolul de rusine ca a ramas fara certificat.

Si doi- justitia divina a cazut peste el si Dumnezeu si-a rezolvat problema justitiei Lui, in Hristos impacand lumea cu Sine. Si dintr-o data Satana nu ne mai poate tine si Dumnezeu zice: Abia astept sa va primesc. Crucea se aseaza intre aceste doua imparatii si e poarta de trecere. Evrei 10:19 Sa ne apropiem dar pe calea cea noua si vie pe care ne-a deschis-o El prin trupul Sau pe cruce.

Scoala lui Isus – 

Orice ucenic care a terminat scoala este ca invatatorul lui.  

Crucea e trecerea. Imediat dupa trecere e o scoala. Ca Domnul Isus cand a venit a facut scoala. Si in scoala asta s-a predat un singur subiect: Imparatia lui Dumnezeu. Uitati-va de la inceput la sfarsit ca El nu vorbea decat despre imparatia lui Dumnezeu, in pildele Lui si dupa inviere (Fapte 1:3) 40 de zile a discutat cu ei problemele  imparatiei lui Dumnezeu. Scoala asta ce produce” Ii produce fii lui Tata, fii care seamana cu Tatal lor.

In scoala lui Isus se formeaza oameni dupa chipul si asemanarea lui Dumnezeu. Predica de pe munte e o mostra a evangheliei imparatiei lui Dumnezeu si in acelasi timp e o descriere- ce inseamna un om dupa chipul si asemanarea lui Dumnezeu. Si in scoala aceasta, Domnul Isus adauga: Nu numai ca te formez dupa chipul lui Dumnezeu, ii formez ca agentii Mei. Pentru ca in momentul cand termina scoala, ei trebuie sa fie ca mine”. Luca 6:40. Orice ucenic care a terminat scoala este ca invatatorul lui.  Cand ei vor fi ca Mine, le voi zice: „Acuma, tot ce am inceput Eu, continuati voi. Va duceti si va invatati ucenici tot ceea ce v-am invatat Eu pe voi si faceti tot ce v-am invatat Eu pe voi si faceti tot ce am facut Eu. Si prin voi vom nimici lucrarile celui rau”. Si cand s-au intors cei 70: „Doamne, si demonii ne sunt supusi”. „L-am vazut pe diavolul cazand ca un fulger din cer pentru ca ori de cate ori un ucenic de al Meu face o vindecare, el ii mai da o lovitura de moarte diavolului. Si Pavel, care a captat foarte bine gandirea Domnului Isus, spune Romanilor, in Romani 16:20- In curand Dumnezeu va zdrobi pe Satana sub picioarele voastre. Aceasta este viziunea imparatiei lui Dumnezeu.

Noi putem desfiinta coruptia din Romania

predicand Evanghelia imparatiei lui Dumnezeu

In cadrul acesta general, deci, imparatia lui Dumnezeu e cadrul general. In cadrul acesta in care Dumnezeu nimiceste lucrarile diavolului Domnul Isus facea 3 lucruri: Predica Evanghelia imparatiei lui Dumnezeu, elibera oamenii de duhuri si vindeca bolnavii pentru ca astea 3 sunt lucrarile de seama ale diavolului- Coruptia morala, stapanirea demonica si boala. Si, Domnul Isus, ca sa desfinteze coruptia predica evanghelia imparatiei lui Dumnezeu  si provocarea pe care v-o fac eu este aceasta: Noi putem desfiinta coruptia din Romania predicand Evanghelia imparatiei lui Dumnezeu. Asta e in cartea a 3-a- Manifestul imparatiei. Cartea a 2-a ‘O Evanghelie Completa’ se ocupa de vindecari si de eliberari de duhuri rele.

O provocare

Ce s-a schimbat? Eu am vorbit de imparatia lui Dumnezeu si inainte. Dar, n-am vazut sau asa am fost invatat ca minuni si vindecari, alungari de demoni- astea au fost numai pentru atunci. Astea au incetat odata cu apostolii, nu mai sunt. Aici eram eu orb pana cand am inceput sa vad urmatorul lucru: Predicarea Evangheliei, vindecaea bolnavilor, eliberarea de duhuri sunt cele 3 metode prin care Domnul Isus a spart imparatia diavolului si ne porunceste sa o ducem pana la capat, pana vom uceniciza toate natiunile, pana cand evanghelia imparatiei v-a birui pe tot pamantul.

Dar, eu nu mi-am dat sema ce cred. „Pai, stai frate ca Domnul Isus a inceput asa, dar dupa aceia s-a razgandit si a spus: Nu mai facem asa, nu mai dau putere nimanui. Nu mai dau darurile astea miraculoase. Am inceput un razboi, dar m-am razgandit. Il lasam balta.Si reduc totul, numai sa scot pe cativa oameni din lume sa-i duc in cer”. Asta credeam, fara sa o pun in cuvintele astea de acuma. Cand o pun in cuvintele astea ma ingrozesc ce am crezut.

Si acuma, din moment ce am vazut, am spus: Evanghelia completa are 3 componente: predic evanghelia imparatiei, eliberez oamenii de duhuri si vindec bolile. Asta inseamna conform cu Marcu 16 ca noi predicam Cuvantul, si Domnul insoteste predicarea noastra cu vindecari si alte semne.

Atunci, acum un an de zile am luat aceasta decizie: De aici inainte fac si eu ca si John Wimber- predic evanghelia, apoi vin in fata si spun, „toti cei ce sunt bolnavi, veniti in fata”. Si intai eu ma rog pentru voi toti si apoi ma rog pentru fiecare in parte. Pun mainile, ma rog pentru vindecarea voastra. Daca nu se intampla nimic? Vocea diavolului, „te faci de rusine”. John Wimber a spus, „Credinta inseamna risc. Risti sa te faci de minune. Dar, eu risc si Il cred pe Domnul Isus. Eu predic evanghelia, eu ma rog pentru bolnavi si vindecarea e treaba Lui, pentru ca El face vindecarea daca eu ii dau ocazia. Tu predica evanghelia, cheama-i in fata, roaga-te pentru ei si restul face El. „Dar, daca tu nu creezi cadrul necesar, Eu nu pot sa fac nimic. Crede-ma si demonstreaza ca Eu sunt viu si astazi”. Aceasta este provocarea pe care o arunc eu astazi tuturor fratilor mei.

Eu ma opresc aici si dau loc la intrebari, dar, inca odata, eu nu mi-am schimbat crezul cum zic multi, eu doar am adaugat. Ce-am adaugat e o mai mare intoarcere la invataturile Domnului Isus si o cladire a intregii mele viziuni e porunca Domnului Isus sa extindem imparatia Lui peste tot si sa predicam aceasta imparatie intr-asa fel incat sa ducem la desfintarea coruptiei. Apoi sa credem ca El intareste predicarea noastra cu semne si minuni. Cati se vindeca? El stie, DAR EU IL ASCULT. Ascult. Am vazut minuni formidabile de un an incoace, dar mie nu imi place sa spun asta, nu-mi place. Am vazut din astia care fac spectacol la televizor de vindecari. Eu am inceput sa invat de la unul care predica evanghelia imparatiei si face vindecari extraordinare si intr-una din cartile lui el spune:

Sfintenie inseamna excelenta + smerenie. 

La minutul 38 incep intrebarile puse fratelui Iosif Ton:

(1) Sa va referiti putin la importanta curatirii in marturisirea pacatelor (38:00)-

Iosif Ton: In primul rand aici intram in domeniul care e cel mai controversat si pentru care am fost cel mai tare atacat. Fiti atenti: Dumnezeu ne cheama la sfintenie si eu cred impreuna cu John Wesley ca telul nostru trebuie sa fie sfintenia si sa staruim dupa sfintenie pana ne umple Duhul Sfant si ne da puterea de a trai in sfintenie. Eu in teologie sunt Wesleyan. Acuma, unde-i problema? Apostolul Pavel ne spune in Romani 6 – ai murit fata de pacat, esti viu pentru Dumnezeu. Acuma fi atent, nu te mai da in slujba celui rau. Cand spui o minciuna, ti-ai dat gura celui rau. Si fi atent, sunteti robii a celui de care ascultati, pe modelul lui Anania din Fapte 5. „Anania, de ce ti-a umplut Satana inima ca sa minti pe Duhul Sfant?” Cand minti inseamna ca i-ai dat inima diavolului si il minti pe Duhul Sfant. „Pe Dumnezeu L-ai mintit”, spune Petru in continuare. Principiul e acesta: Cand un pocait pacatuieste, el se da din nou celui rau si ce se intampla este confrom Efeseni 4:26- Nu va maniati, pentru ca la manie dati prilej diavolului. Ii dati un cap de pod. Deci la orice pacat tu ii dai un cap de pod diavolului, cap de pod si el face semn la altii, „Veniti, eu am stabilit capul de pod”. Si dupa unul vine altul si vine altul ca faci alte pacate. Si acuma, incredibilul, pentru multi asta e incredibil, la urma Duhul Sfant e sufocat acolo si pleaca de acolo.

Nu credeti? In Ioan 14 Isus spune „Duhul Sfant vine sa ramana. Nu spune- vine si ramane cu orice pret acolo. El vine sa ramana, dar voi ramaneti in Mine. Ramane-ti in Mine, ascultandu-Ma pe Mine, pentru ca daca nu ma ascultati pe Mine si nu ramaneti in Mine, Tata va taie si va arunca afara. Sunteti separati si de Duhul Sfant si de Mine. Neascultarea noastra ne scoate din Domnul Isus si ne scoate din Duhul Sfant. „Ramaneti in Mine, nu plecati din Mine”. Va rog fiti atenti. Dumnezeu nu ne aduce cu sila, nici dupa ce ne-a platit si nici nu ne tine cu sila. El ne respecta libertatea si inainte de a veni la El si dupa ce am venit la El.  „Nu Ma tradati, nu va mai dati celui rau. De ce? Pentru ca plata pacatului este moartea”. Fratilor, asta scrie in Romani 6:23 – un capitol adresat numai pocaitilor.

Dar pocaitii au dezvoltat o teologie foarte folclorica, adica una care nu se spune pe fata teologia, spune asa: Auzi, noi am capatat imunitate la pacat, noi pocaitii putem pacatui ca nu mai murim. ‘Plata pacatului e moartea’ nu se aplica si la noi. Asta numai la aia nepocaiti se aplica.

Fratele Florin m-a intreabat la necesitatea sfinteniei. Acuma, Domnul Isus, cand veneau bolnavii la El ii vindeca pe toti. Pe modelul Lui, cand vin oamenii sa ma rog pentru vindecarea lor nu-i intreb ce religie au, sau ce viata au; ma rog sa fie vindecati. Dar, cand ii vorba de pocaiti care’s bolnavi, Iacov imi spune: Fii atent, acolo e nevoie de marturisire. Sa-si marturiseasca pacatul si dupa aceia te rogi sa fie iertat si vindecat. Asa ca, in cazul credinciosilor trebuie facuta aceasta igiena, aceasta purificare, aceasta eliberare de stapanirea demonica si ungerea cu untdelemn e semnul repunerii sub puterea lui Dumnezeu. Preotul, imparatul si profetul cand erau puis in slujba erau unsi cu untdelemn; adica, sunt scosi din lumea profana si sunt pusi sub proprietatea lui Dumnezeu. Cand un bolnav pocait marturiseste ca el prin pacate a ajuns sub duhuri rele care i-au adus boala si cand eu ma rog pentru iertarea lui, inainte-l intreb: Vrei sa Il readuci pe Domnul Isus in calitate de propietar al fiintei tale? Vrei ca Domnul Isus sa fie propietarul tau de care asculti de aici inainte? Daca da, atunci te ung cu untdelemn si te declar propietatea Lui pentru ca totdeauna ungerea insemneaza punerea de o parte pentru Dumnezeu.

2) Din perspectiva istorica, cine credeti sau care este fortele care se opun in comunitatea crestina, in general? (50:00) Nu sunt membru al bisericii Baptiste, nici Penticostale, dar oricum va stiu problemele, stiu necazul dumneavoastra. Nam citit mult pentru ca m-a deranjat si n-am mai citit. Sunt profesor de istorie. Am citit o carte in sanul bisericii Penticostale cu dezvaluiri. Imi permit sa va provoc la o pespectiva istorica. Crestinii de la inceput au avut dispute- personale…  incepand din Noul Testament. Dupa ce biserica s-a oficializat, … dupa Constantin au aparut dispute… si apoi asistam in cursul istoriei la foarte multe razboaie intre crestini. Sigur ca disputele au continuat dar, avand in vedere statul care intr-un fel opresiv Biserica s-a mobilizat impotriva statului. A disparut statul acesta, libertate deplina si din nou asistam la dispute- se bat intre ei. Si apropo de minuni, descoperirea penicilinului e o minune?

Iosif Ton: Niciodata vindecarile miraculoase nu inlocuiesc  medicina si Domnul Isus spune ca cel bolnav are nevoie de medic. Prin urmare, cei care cred in vindecari miraculoase, unii sunt chiar medici si ginerele meu care crede in vindecari miraculoase si se roaga pentru vindecari este anestezist, deci medic. Exista o asociatie a medicilor crestini in America care cred in vindecari miraculoase. Sunt medici si studiaza problema vindecarilor prin credinta din punctul lor de vedere medical.

Din punct de vedere a istoriei, eu, fiindca am fost profesir de limba Romana (nu opti sa faci Romana fara sa faci istorie), m-am ocupat de problema istoriei crestinismului in cartea mea intitulata ‘Caderea in ritual‘ si urmaresc procesul acesta al ritualizarii- primejdia ritualizarii crezului. Si tot mereu, chiar si cultele mai noi, primejdia e ca cad in ritualism. Si la un moment dat dispare viata si ramane ritualismul. Si asta e unul dintre primejdiile care ne pasc in toate cultele. Fiti atenti la derapajul in ritual. „Avem si noi traditiile noastre, sa nu te atingi de traditiile noastre pentru ca ale noastre sunt sacrosancte”.

Acuma, lupta noastra nu-i cu statul. Eu, si in anii ’70 cand am scris lucrarile acestea, ce am fost in anchete datorita lor, le-am spus mereu prietenilor mei: Nu ma atrageti in lupta politica. Eu sunt predicator al Evangheliei si daca lupt pentru drepturi, lupt numai in contextul faptului ca Dumnezeu imi spune sa-mi apar fratii- e partea slujbei mele. Deci, noi nu luptam impotriva statului nici atunci, nici acum. Ci lupta noastra este impotriva duhurilor rautatii, care sunt aici in vazduh. Noi ne luptam cu rautatea diavolului si cautam sa-i facem pe oameni buni prin bunatatea lui Dumnezeu. Nu ma las atras in lupte, nici macar cu fratii mei care isi apara crezul lor. Fratii mei baptisti au impresia ca prin schimbarile mele sunt primejdios si eu le respect si frica lor. Daca ei asa considera ca trebuie sa isi apere crezul asa cum l-au primit si vad pe unul care da buzna inainte si zice „Hai sa mai mergem inainte, hai sa descoperim noi teritorii ei se sperie. „Nu cumva ne duce pe cai gresite? Nu cumva se ascunde aici o erezie? Le respect ‘prudenta’- sa zicem. Deci, eu am fost sa le raspund. E prima data dupa doi ani de cand a izbucnit criza ca eu ies pe piata si ies pe piata cu mesajul „nimic nu s-a schimbat la mine, ci doar am adaugat. Iata ce-am adaugat”.

3) Intrebare de vita care nu aduce rod si taierea ei. 

Iosif Ton: Doctrina justificarii- sau a indreptatirii prin credinta insemneaza un singur lucru. Noi, cand am pacatuit am devenit nedrepti. Dumnezeu e drept. Dumnezeu nu ne mai poate primi la El pentru ca e judecatorul drept si daca ne-ar primi la El ne-ar declara drepti si noi suntem nedrepti si ar deveni El nedrept. De aceea Pavel vorbeste in Romani 1 de faptul ca Dumnezeu si-a aratat dreptatea Lui, ca desi noi eram pacatosi, El ne poate primi la Sine. Cum? Fiul Lui a luat asupra Lui pacatele noastre, a rezolvat problema pacatului si acuma Dumnezeu zice: Voi nu mai aceti pacat, voi a-ti murit impreuna cu Hristos, voi sunteti indreptatiti. Adica, a-ti capatat aceasta calitate de la Fiul Meu si Eu va pot primi. Dar, inca odata, dupa ce m-a indreptatit si am venit la El, El imi spune: Acuma nu te mai da in slujba celui rau ca iar devii nedrept.

Aici este problema, ca noi trebuie sa ne gandim intotdeauna in termenii a doi stapani. Asta ne invata Domnul Isus si apostolul Pavel. Nu va mai dati in slujba fostului stapan pentru ca va dati in propietatea lui. Legea lui Dumnezeu este ca suntem robii celui pe care Il ascultam. In momentul in care il asculti pe daivolul esti: „Imi place de tine (diavolul), imi place ca eu cu minciuna reusesc, asa ca dragul meu, eu iau minciuna ta si imi fac din ea metoda mea”. Tu te-ai dat celui pe care il asculti si esti robul lui. Tineti cont ca Dumnezeu ne respecta libertatea si dupa ce ne-a platit la calvar. Daca vrem sa ramanem sub diavolul, El nu ne obliga sa venim. El ne-a deschis poarta, El ne-a facut posibil sa venim. Si dupa ce venim El nu ne bate si zice: De-acuma nu mai poti pleca de aici. Daca fiul risipitor zice: Tata, m-am plictisit de casa ta, eu vreau sa ma duc acolo in lume.” „Bine fiule, poftim- du-te. Imi ranesti inima, ma doare cumplit, te astept. Doar atat”. Deci, doctrina justificarii prin credinta nu are nimic de a face cu alte doctrine.

Prima este sfintenia vietii. Dupa ce am fost indreptatit Dumnezeu imi cere sa Il ascult numai pe El- roada e sfintirea si sfarsitul e viata vesnica. Deci, trebuie sa urmaresc sfintenia si in acelasi timp sa il ascult pe Domnul Isus care zice: Ramai in Mine. Nu pleca din Mine, nu Ma trada din nou cu celalalt pentru ca daca o faci, Tata nu are ce face decat sa te taie si sa te arunce afara. Eu cred ca se armonizeaza suficient.

4) Viziunea imparatiei in termenii pe care dumneavoastra ii prezentati acum va intreb: Nu este cumva o oferta la cererea pietii oferta noastra?  Credinciosii sunt susceptibili la ceea ce inseamna supranatural. De multa vreme am predicat Evanghelia, ne-am straduit sa o traim. Traim vremuri in care apatia ne omoara. Nu cumva este o oferta la cererea vietii lucrurile astea?

Iosif Ton: Imparatia lui Dumnezeu este oferta lui Dumnezeu. El imi spune: Eu ti-am creat conditiile sa iesi de acolo si sa intri in imparatia Mea. Venirea in imparatie e oferta lui Dumnezeu, e privilegiu pe care mi-L da datorita calvarului. Cred ca ce vrei sa insinuezi e ca toata dorinta asta de vindecari, de supranatural e numai dorinta oamenilor, dorinta pietii, cum zici tu. Eu vorbesc in termenii Domnului Isus. Domnul Isus a venit si ne-a dus imparatia. Si Domnul Isus ne-a invatat Evanghelia imparatiei si Domnul Isus ne porunceste sa ducem Evanghelia imparatiei la toate natiunile si tot ce v-am spus ca apartine de aceasta viziune a imparatiei- inclusiv eliberari si vindecari, dar mai ales transformarea morala. Pe asta o accentuez cel mai mult. Nu cred ca asta e doar raspuns la cererea vietii. Eu zic ca-i oferta Fiului lui Dumnezeu.

Nu cred ca trebuie sa cadem in ceea ce asteapta lumea (spectacol) pentru ca aici e acentul meu. Si cand vorbesc despre trezire spirituala, accentul e asa cum ne-a invatat John Wesley. Dupa convertire e o perioada in care nu ne-am despartit suficient de viata lumii. Pana cand vine acea criza in care Domnul Isus ne spune: Mai ai pacate, mai ai cutare… si cand eu sunt chemat sa fac o predare totala atunci vine o umplere cu Duh Sfant. Daca vreti sa spuneti botez cu Duh Sfant. Botezul cu Duhul Sfant sau umplerea cu Duhul Sfant se face pentru ca dorim sfintirea vietii. Si El ne da Duhul Sfant pentru sfintire personala si pentru puterea de a fi martori, adica puterea aceasta sa facem toate lucrurile care ne-a invatat Domnul Isus sa le facem.

Eu vin acum de la Timisoara. Am inregistrat 14 ore de emisiune cu titlul generic „Imparatia lui Dumnezeu, aici si acum”. In una din ultimile lectii am explicat fenomenul acesta al trezirilor spirituale. In toate trezirile spirituale, cand Duhul lui Dumnezeu coboara si sfinteste si transforma, intotdeauna apar si manifestari ciudate de toate felurile- lesinuri, rasete, tipete. In multe locuri in trezirea spirituala sunt scene pe care oamenii zic: Pai, aia-i de la Dumnezeu? Nu stim de ce-i asa, dar, in toate marile treziri a fost asa. A fost o trezire cu 10 ani inainte de John Wesley, a fost o trezire in America prin Jonathan Edwards care a fost insotita tot asa, de manifestari ciudate. Si Wesley, care a auzit de aia, a zis: Doamne, eu vreau trezire, dar fara manifestarile alea. Dar Doamne, daca nu se poate fara alea, da-mi trezire cu manifestari cu tot. Si pana la urma a primit cu manifestari cu tot, ca si pe el il acuzau de astea.

Ce se intampla e ca dusmanii trezirii numai alea le vad si le pun pe bloguri si spun: Uite ce se intampla acolo. Uite ce face, voi vreti aia? Dar nu se duc sa vada. Stai domnule, se fac transformari de vieti acolo? Se face sfintirea oamenilor? Se fac eliberarari si vindecari? Asa ca fiti atenti sa faceti distinctie intre fenomenul sfintirii al trezirii si manifestarile ciudate care o insotesc. Nu stim de ce Duhul Sfant la toate trezirile lasa sa fie si aceste manifestari. Dar, daca nu vreti trezire spirituala, ca va e frica de manifestari din astea atunci luptati impotriva trezirii spirituale, ca atunci sunteti linistiti.

5) Min. 68 Botezul cu Duhul Sfant si umplerea cu Duhul Sfant este unul si acelasi lucru? Eu va recomand cartea care am publicat-o noi cu ani in urma „Experiente cu Duhul Sfant’. Are 22 de mari oameni ai lui Dumnezeu care au trait inainte de epoca penticostala si care vorbeau, unii de plinatatea Duhului, altii de botezul cu Duhul Sfant si era si intre ei discutie. Unul sau doi au zis: Zi cum vrei, important e s-o ai.

Haideti sa va spun o pilda. In 1960, cand a izbucnit miscarea carismatica, care e deosebita de miscarea penticostala, pune accentul, mai ales pe inchinare. Cand a aparut asta, o gramada de catolici au trecut si ei la miscarea carismatica. Au vorbit in limbi, au vorbit de innoire, prin Duhul Sfant care ii boteaza si s-a alertat Papa: Ce-i asta. Si Papa a ordonat atunci  o conferinta teologica, a insarcinat un cardinal din Belgia  sa adune grupul de teologi si sa dea verdictul. Daca asta-i de admis in catolicism sau nu. Mi-a placut inteligenta acestor oameni care au zis: Deja sunt milioane de catolici carismatici. Daca spune-mi ca nu-i permis, toti astia merg la protestanti si au venit cu urmatoarea formula. Dupa doctrina catolica, botezul cu Duhul Sfant are loc odata cu botezul in apa a copilului mic. Atunci are loc nasterea din nou, atunci are loc botezul cu Duhul Sfant- asta-i dupa dogma catolica. Dar, uneori Duhul Sfant alege sa lucreze altfel decat dupa doctrina noastra si daca Duhul Sfant decide sa lucreze altfel decat dupa doctrina noastra, cine suntem noi sa-L oprim?

Duhul Sfant lucreaza uneori altfel decat dupa doctrina noastra. Cred ca si baptistii si penticostalii ar trebui sa asculte.

5) Intrebare de la o femeie despre dragoste si adevar.Dragostea nu e mai mare decat dreptatea? Nu ajunge dragostea? E nevoie de dreptate?

Iosif Ton: In Efeseni 4:15 ni se spune sa fim credinciosi adevarului, in dragoste. Cand iubim avem tendina sa sacrificam adevarul de dragul dragostei si ni se spune: Nu o face niciodata. In dragoste fi credincios adevarului. Dragostea nu desfinteaza nevoia de dreptate. Asta trebuie sa ife raspunsul. Dumnezeu nu le da ori ori. Dumnezeu ca sa ne dea dreptatea Lui a trebuit sa ne plateasca la calvar si in felul acesta si-a manifestat dragostea. Si El ne spune: Fii atent, pentru ca m-a costat pe mine atata, eu iti pretind sa traiesti in sfintenie. Eu te iubesc, te iubesc tocmai pentru ca nu vreau sa te mai pangaresti. Te iubesc pentru ca vreau sa fi curat ca Mine. Dar nevoia de dreptate ramane nevoia de dreptate. Cele doua nu se exclud ci trebuie sa gasesti formula prin care le combini.

Cu privire la rolul femeii in lucrarea lui Dumnezeu, eu cred ca deja din vremea Noului Testament s-a spus: In Hristos nu mai este diferenta intre barbat si femeie. Pe baza aceasta erau profetese, erau diaconite in biserica primara.

John Wesley Biography (Online Book)

The biography of John Wesley, a contemporary of the other 2 revivalists of his time – George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, provided by  Wesley Nazarene University :

John Wesley – Evangelist

BY THE REV. RICHARD GREEN

Author of, The Life of John Wesley, The Mission of Methodism (The Fernley Lecture for 1890), The Works of John and Charles Wesley: A Bibliography 

LONDON THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY 

 4 Bouverie Street and 65 St. Paul’s Churchyard, E.C. 1905

Table of Contents

Sam Storms – How to wage war with sins like sexual temptation, pride, envy ….(on Jonathan Edwards)

The Sin-Killing power of Christian Hedonism

To read the  Jonathan Edwards sermon quoted by Sam Storms, go to – Youth and the Pleasures of Piety.

(paraphrased from the video below from lecture given by Sam Storms) wwwdesiringGod.org

How does christian hedonism help you wage war with sin like sexual temptation, pride, envy, and so on?

Christians usually employ 1 of these 3 tactics to face the battle with sin:

  1. By portraying sin in the most unappealing way in order to frighten people away from sin. They will describe in graphic detail the consequences of that particular sin, like the sexual diseases that can result from sex outside of marriage; or, the horrors of prison if you embezzle, or, the horrors of destroying your family over the sin of adultery. While truth is spoken in this kind of information; mostly, it does not prevent people from sinning.
  2. By reverting to legalism by making a list of regulations and prohibitions, many times without any biblical support in order to control impulses and adding predictions (again) of what will happen if you don’t obey the regulations imposed. This also does not work because for a person who is sinning, they are only looking at the immediate gratifications and pleasures of sin, which can be more powerful than the fear of the long term consequences.
  3. By claiming that yearning or actual desire in man’s heart to have happiness and excitement is bad in itself.

Although there are elements of truth in all these methods, SOMETHING MORE is needed.

What Jonathan Edwards preached in May of 1734, a sermon entitled ‘Youth and the Pleasures of Piety’ gives an insight as to what does work in keeping us from sinning. Even though Edwards himself was fully capable of describing the horrible consequences of sin; he was far more adept and far more given to appealing ‘Superior Joys of Pleasure to be found” in what he called true religion- which really meant devotion to God, purity of life, biblical spirituality. Edwards believed that the greatest objection voiced by the young people in his own day was that they were living in fear that religion would undermine their pursuit of pleasure. As far as they were concerned, it was either Jesus or joy, but certainly not both. He said, „This is what they aim at- to spend their youth pleasantly, and they think that if they should forsake sin and youthful vanity and give themselves to a religious course of life, this will hinder them in the pursuit. So they think if they embrace it (religion) they must have done with their pleasures.

Jonathan Edwards says that the problem isn’t the pursuit of pleasure, but, the uninformed minds that settle for comparatively inferior joy when God offers us unsurpassed and far more durable delights. And he preaches that religion is not the hindrance to pleasure but in fact is the most effective and direct way to attain it (pleasure). He bases the sermon on Proverbs 24:13-14.

In his book When I Don’t Desire God, John Piper tells us to put ourselves in the way of God’s allurements by meditating on the Bible, memorizing it, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, praying, worshiping, reading books on God, experiencing community with others who have a life passion, eliminating distractions in our life, etc.

Here are five ways to work for your own joy and the joy of your people:

  1. Weave into the spiritual and intellectual fabric of your people the awareness that God’s designs in the moral commandments of Scripture are to expand their capacity to enjoy him and not to inhibit it. (See Jonathan Edwards’ sermon „Christian Happiness.”)
  2. Preach often on the bigness and the beauty of God.
  3. Labor to turn their eyes from the pathetic, little, transient pleasures of what can be seen and felt and tasted to the grand and eternal pleasures of the glory that is to come.
  4. Build into the mental, emotional, and theological framework of your people an understanding of how suffering serves joy. (For a good resource, direct your people to Matt Chandler’s videos about the brain cancer he is facing.)
  5. Be an example to them of joy in your own life and relationship with God.

My greatest desire for you is that you and I would be utterly captivated and consumed by the same spiritual energy that led the apostle Paul to cry out, „Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33–36).

What your people need most is for you to immerse yourself in the fountain of this joy-generating revelation of God and to be saturated to the bone with what caused Paul to explode with this declaration. People are in bondage to sin today because they are bored stiff with God, and that’s our fault. If your people don’t hear you speak the same truths that Paul did and if they don’t sense the enthusiasm in you that was in him, they will just go home and turn on whatever anesthetizes their pain.

May God help us to serve and to love and to teach and to pray and to shepherd and to lead, by the grace of God, all the people of God into the enjoyment of God for the glory of God.

Faith and Reason – Pastor John Piper

This 60 minute sermon was given at the Ligonier 2007 Conference and is drawn from Pastor John Piper’s meditation on Scriptures (rather than using apologetics). The text used is Matthew 16:1-4 – And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them,“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

The sermon consists of 3 parts-

  1. Contemplating Reason
  2. Contemplating Faith and its Nature
  3. How they relate to each other

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You can also listen to audio or read a related sermon on faith and reason here at DesiringGod.org. In this sermon Pastor Piper considers six observations from the text.

John Piper:

Our theme is faith and reason. We’ll begin with reflections on reason and then on faith and then on the relationship between the two in the awakening of saving faith.

Reflection on Reason

Let’s begin our reflection on reason by looking at Matthew 16:1-4.

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven [in other words, some evidence that would help them believe]. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

When I was in seminary, there was much talk about Hellenistic thinking versus Hebraic thinking. An example of Hellenistic (or Greek) thinking would be Aristotelian logic, which has the syllogism at its foundation: “All men are mortal; Plato is a man; therefore, Plato is mortal.”1 The point of this distinction between Hebraic and Hellenistic was that the Bible tends to be Hebraic, but we tend to be the heirs of Hellenistic thinking. So if one uses Aristotelian logic in understanding the Scriptures, one is presumably historically uninformed. The Bible does not have its roots in linear, Aristotelian (sometimes called “western”) logic, they said, but in relational, experiential knowledge.

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Jonathan Edwards – The Precious Importance of Time and the Importance of Redeeming it

„Holy and humble Christian love, is a principle of wonderful power to give ineffable quietness and tranquillity to the soul. It banishes all disturbance, and sweetly composes and brings rest to the spirit, and makes all divinely calm and sweet and happy. In that soul where divine love reigns and is in lively exercise, nothing can cause a storm, or even gather threatening clouds.”
-Jonathan Edwards

„Redeeming the time.” (Ephesians 5:16)

Christians should not only study to improve the opportunities they enjoy, for their own advantage, as those who would make a good bargain; but also labor to reclaim others from their evil courses; that so God might defer his anger, and time might be redeemed from that terrible destruction, which, when it should come, would put an end to the time of divine patience. And it may be upon this account, that this reason is added, „Because the days are evil.” As if the apostle had said, the corruption of the times tends to hasten threatened judgments, but your holy and circumspect walk will tend to redeem time from the devouring jaws of those calamities. However, thus much is certainly held forth to us in the words- That upon time we should set a high value, and be exceeding careful that it be not lost; and we are therefore exhorted to exercise wisdom and circumspection, in order that we may redeem it. And hence it appears, that you is exceedingly precious.

SECTION 1 Why time is precious
Time is precious for the following reasons:
1. Because a happy or miserable eternity depends on the good or ill improvement of it. Things are precious in proportion to their importance, or to the degree wherein they concern our welfare. Men set the highest value on those things upon which they are sensible their interest chiefly depends. And this renders time so exceedingly precious, because our eternal welfare depends on the improvement of it. Indeed our welfare in this world depends upon its improvement. If we improve it not, we shall be in danger of coming to poverty and disgrace. But by a good improvement of it, we may obtain those things which will be useful and comfortable. But it is above all things precious, as our state through eternity depends upon it. The importance of the improvement of time upon other accounts, is in subordination to this.

Gold and silver are esteemed precious by men; but they are of no worth to any man, only as thereby he has an opportunity of avoiding or removing some evil, or of possessing himself of some good. And the greater the evil is which any man has advantage to escape, or the good which he has advantage to obtain, by any thing that he possesses, by so much the greater is the value of that thing to him, whatever it be. Thus if a man, by any thing which he has, may save his life, which he must lose without it, he will look upon that by which he has the opportunity of escaping so great an evil as death, to be very precious. Hence it is that time is so exceedingly precious, because by it we have opportunity of escaping everlasting misery, and of obtaining everlasting blessedness and glory. On this depends our escape from an infinite evil, and our attainment of an infinite good.

2. Time is very short, which is another thing that renders it very precious. The scarcity of any commodity occasions men to set a higher value upon it, especially if it be necessary and they cannot do without it. Thus when Samaria was besieged by the Syrians, and provisions were exceedingly scarce, „a donkey’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.” 2 Kings 6:25. So time is the more to be prized by men, because a whole eternity depends upon it, and yet we have but a little of time. „When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.” (Job 16:22.) „My days are swifter than a runner. They are passed away as the swift ships, as the eagle that hastens to the prey.” Job 9:25, 26. „Our life, what is it? it is but a vapor which appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.” James 4:14. It is but as a moment to eternity. Time is so short, and the work which we have to do in it is so great, that we have none of it to spare. The work which we have to do to prepare for eternity must be done in time, or it never can be done; and it is found to be a work of great difficulty and labor, and therefore that for which time is the more requisite.

3. Time ought to be esteemed by us very precious, because we are uncertain of its continuance. We know that it is very short, but we know not how short. We know not how little of it remains, whether a year, or several years, or only a month, a week, or a day. We are every day uncertain whether that day will not be the last, or whether we are to have the whole day. There is nothing that experience does more verify than this. If a man had but little provision laid up for a journey or a voyage, and at the same time knew that if his provision should fail, he must perish by the way, he would treasure it all the more. How much more would many men prize their time if they knew that they had but a few months, or a few days, more to live! And certainly a wise man will prize his time the more, as he knows not how much he has himself. This is the case with multitudes now in the world, who at present enjoy health, and see no signs of approaching death: many such, no doubt, are to die the next month, many the next week, yes, many probably tomorrow, and some this night; yet these same persons know nothing of it, and perhaps think nothing of it, and neither they nor their neighbors can say that they are more likely soon to be taken out of the world than others. This teaches us how we ought to prize our time, and how careful we ought to be, that we lose none of it.

4. Time is very precious, because when it is past, it cannot be recovered. There are many things which men possess which if they part with, they can obtain them again. If a man has parted with something which he had, not knowing the worth of it, or the need he should have of it; he often can regain it, at least with pains and cost. If a man has been taken in a bargain, and has bartered away or sold something, and afterwards repents of it, he may often obtain a release, and recover what he had parted with. But it is not so with respect to time; when once that is gone, it is gone forever; no pains, no cost will recover it. Though we repent ever so much that we let it pass, and did not improve it while we had it, it will be to no purpose. Every part of it is successively offered to us, that we may choose whether we will make it our own, or not. But there is no delay; it will not wait upon us to see whether or no we will comply with the offer. But if we refuse, it is immediately taken away, and never offered more. As to that part of time which is gone, however we have neglected to improve it, it is out of our possession and out of our reach.

If we have lived fifty, or sixty, or seventy years, and have not improved our time, now it cannot be helped- it is eternally gone from us. All that we can do, is to improve the little that remains. Yes, if a man have spent all his life but a few moments unimproved, all that is gone is lost, and only those few remaining moments can possibly be made his own, and if the whole of a man’s time be gone, and it be all lost, it is irrecoverable.

Eternity depends on the improvement of time; but when once the time of life is gone, when once death is come, we have no more to do with time, there is no possibility of obtaining the restoration of it, or another space in which to prepare for eternity. If a man should lose the whole of his worldly substance, and become a bankrupt, it is possible that his loss may be made up. He may have another estate as good. But when the time of life is gone, it is impossible that we should ever obtain another such time. All opportunity of obtaining eternal welfare is utterly and everlastingly gone.

SECTION 2 Reflections on time past. You have now heard of the preciousness of time; and you are the persons concerned, to whom God has committed that precious talent. You have an eternity before you. When God created you, and gave you reasonable soul- he made you for an endless duration. He gave you time here in order to prepare for eternity, and your future eternity depends on the improvement of time. Consider, therefore, what you have done with your past time. You are not now beginning your time, but a great deal is past and gone; and all the wit, and power, and treasure of the universe, cannot recover it. Many of you may well conclude, that more than half of your time is gone; though you should live to the ordinary age of man, your glass is more than half run out; and it may be there are but few sands remaining. Your sun is past the meridian, and perhaps just setting, or going into an everlasting eclipse. Consider, therefore, what account you can give of your improvement of past time. How have you let the precious golden sands of your glass run?

Every day that you have enjoyed has been precious; yes, your moments have been precious. But have you not wasted your precious moments, your precious days, yes your precious years? If you should reckon up how many days you have lived, what a sum would there be! and how precious has every one of those days been! Consider, therefore, what have you done with them? What is become of them all? What can you show of any improvement made, or good done, or benefit obtained which is answerable to all this time which you have lived? When you look back, and search, do you not find this past time of your lives in a great measure empty, having not been filled up with any good improvement? And if God, that has given you your time, should now call you to an account, what account could you give to him?

How much may be done in a year! how much good is there opportunity to do in such a space of time! How much service may persons do for God, and how much for their own souls, if to their utmost they improve it! How much may be done in a day! But what have you done in so many days and years that you have lived? What have you done with the whole time of your youth, you that are past your youth? What is become of all that precious season of life? Has it not all been in barren to you? Would it not have been as well or better for you, if all that time you had been asleep, or in a state of non-existence?

You have had much time of leisure and freedom from worldly business; consider to what purpose you have spent it. You have not only had ordinary time, but you have had a great deal of holy time. What have you done with all the sabbath-days which you have enjoyed? Consider those things seriously, and let your own consciences make answer.

SECTION 3 Who are chiefly deserving of reproof from the subject of the preciousness of time.
How little is the preciousness of time considered, and how little sense of it do the greater part of mankind seem to have! And to how little good purpose do many spend their time! There is nothing more precious, and yet nothing of which men are more wasteful. Time is with many, as silver was in the days of Solomon- as the stones of the street, and nothing accounted of. They act as if time were as plenty as silver was then, and as if they had a great deal more than they needed, and knew not what to do with it. If men were as lavish with their money as they are of their time, if it were as common a thing for them to throw away their money, as it is for them to throw away their time, we should think them beside themselves, and not in the possession of their right minds. Yet time is a thousand times more precious than money; and when it is gone, cannot be purchased for money, cannot be redeemed by silver or gold. There are several sorts of persons who are reproved by this doctrine, whom I shall particularly mention.

1. Those who spend a great part of their time in idleness, or in doing nothing that turns to any virtuous account, either for the good of their souls or bodies; nothing either for their own benefit, or for the benefit of their neighbor, either of the family or of the neighborhood to which they belong. There are some persons upon whose hands time seems to lie heavy, who, instead of being concerned to improve it as it passes, and taking care that it pass not without making it their own, act as if it were rather their concern to contrive ways how to waste and consume it; as though time, instead of being precious, rather a mere encumbrance to them. Their hands refuse to labor, and rather than put themselves to it, they will let their families suffer, and will suffer themselves:
„An idle soul shall suffer hunger.” (Proverbs 19:15.) „Drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” (Proverbs 22:21.)

Some spend much of their time at the tavern, over their cups, and in wandering about from house to house, wasting away their hours in idle and unprofitable talk which will turn to no good account. Proverbs 14:23. „In all labor there is profit; but the talk of the lips tends only to poverty.” The direction of the apostle, in Ephesians 4:28 is, that we should „labor, working with our hands the thing that is good, that we may have to give to him that needs.” But indolent men, instead of gaining any thing to give to him that needs, do but waste what they have already- „He that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster.” (Proverbs 18:9.)

2. They are reproved by this doctrine who spend their time in wickedness, who do not merely spend their time in doing nothing to any good purpose, but spend it to ill purposes. Such do not only lose their time, but they do worse; with it they hurt both themselves and others. Time is precious, as we have heard, because eternity depends upon it. By the improvement of time, we have opportunity of escaping eternal misery, and obtaining eternal blessedness. But those who spend their time in wicked works, not only neglect to improve their time to obtain eternal happiness, or to escape damnation, but they spend it to a quite contrary purpose- to increase their eternal misery, or to render their damnation the more heavy and intolerable.

Some spend much time in reveling, and in unclean talk and practices, in vicious company-keeping, in corrupting and ensnaring the minds of others, setting bad examples, and leading others into sin, undoing not only their own souls, but the souls of others. Some spend much of their precious time in detraction and backbiting; in talking against others; in contention, not only quarreling themselves, but fomenting and stirring up strife and contention. It would have been well for some men, and well for their neighbors, if they had never done any thing at all; for then they would have done neither good nor hurt. But now they have done a great deal more hurt than they have done or ever will do good. There are some persons whom it would have been better for the towns where they live, to have been at the charge of maintaining them in doing nothing, if that would have kept them in a state of inactivity.

Those who have spent much of their time in wickedness, if ever they shall reform, and enter upon a different mode of living, will find, not only that they have wasted the past, but that they have made work for their remaining time, to undo what they have done. How will many men when they shall be with time, and shall look back upon their past lives, wish that they had had no time! The time which they spend on earth will be worse to them than if they had spent so much time in hell, for an eternity of more dreadful misery in hell will be the fruit of their time on earth, as they employ it.

3. Those are reproved by his doctrine, who spend their time only in worldly pursuits, neglecting their souls. Such men lose their time, let them be ever so diligent in their worldly business, and though they may be careful not to let any of it pass so, but that it shall some way or other turn to their worldly profit. They that improve time only for their benefit in time, lose it, because time was not given for itself, but for that everlasting duration which succeeds it. They, therefore, whose time is taken up in caring and laborings for the world only, in inquiring what they shall eat, and what they shall drink and wherewithal they shall be clothed, in contriving to lay up for themselves treasures upon earth, how to enrich themselves, how to make themselves great in the world, or how to live in comfortable and pleasant circumstances, while here, who busy their minds and employ their strength in these things only, and the stream of whose affections is directed towards these things; they lose their precious time.

Let such, therefore, as have been guilty of thus spending their time, consider it. You have spent a great part of your time, and a great part of your strength, in getting a little of the world; and how little good does it afford you, now you have gotten it! What happiness or satisfaction can you reap from it? Will it give you peace of conscience, or any rational quietness or comfort? What is your poor, needy, perishing soul the better for it? and what better prospects does it afford you of your approaching eternity? and what will all that you have acquired avail you when time shall be no longer?

SECTION 4 An exhortation to improve time.
Consider what has been said of the preciousness of time, how much depends upon it, how short and uncertain it is, how irrecoverable it will be when gone. If you have a right conception of these things, you will be more treasuring of your time than of the most fine gold. Every hour and moment will seem precious to you. But besides those considerations which have been already set before you, consider also the following.

1. That you are accountable to God for your time. Time is a talent given us by God; he has allotted us our day; and it is not for nothing- our day was appointed for some work; therefore he will, at the day’s end, call us to an account. We must give account to him of the improvement of all our time. We are God’s servants; as a servant is accountable to his master, how he spends his time when he is sent forth to work, so are we accountable to God. If men would consider this aright, and keep it in mind, would they not improve their time otherwise than they do? Would you not behave otherwise than you do, if you considered with yourselves every morning, that you must give an account to God, how you shall have spent that day? and if you considered with yourselves, at the beginning of every evening, that you must give an account to God, how you shall have spent that evening? Christ has told us, that „for every idle word which men speak, they shall give account in the day of judgment,” Matthew 12:36. How well, therefore, may we conclude, that we must give an account of all our idle misspent time!

2. Consider how much time you have lost already. For your having lost so much, you have the greater need of diligently improving what yet remains. You ought to mourn and lament over your lost time; but that is not all, you must apply yourselves the more diligently to improve the remaining part, that you may redeem lost time. You who are considerably advanced in age, and have hitherto spent your time in vanities and worldly cares, and have lived in a great measure negligent of the interests of your souls, may well be terrified and amazed, when you think how much time you have lost and wasted away. In that you have lost so much time, you have the more need of diligence, on three accounts.

(1.) As your opportunity is so much the shorter. Your time at its whole length is short. But set aside all that you have already lost, and then how much shorter is it! As to that part of your time which you have already lost, it is not to be reckoned into your opportunity; for that will never be any more, and it is no better, but worse to you, than if it never had been.

(2.) You have the same work to do that you had at first, and that under greater difficulties. Hitherto you have done nothing at all of your work- all remains to be done, and that with vastly greater difficulties and opposition in your way than would have been if you had set about it seasonably. So that the time in which to do your work is not only grown shorter, but your work is grown greater. You not only have the same work to do, but you have more work, for while you have lost your time, you have not only shortened it, but you have been making more work for yourselves. How well may this consideration awaken you to a thorough care, not to let things run on in this manner any longer, and rouse you up immediately to apply yourselves to your work with all your might!

(3.) That is the best of your time which you have lost. The first of a man’s time, after he comes to the exercise of his reason, and to be capable of performing his work, is the best. You who have lived in sin until past your youth have lost the best part. So that here are all these things to be considered together- that your time in the whole is but short, there is none to spare, a great part of that is gone, so that it is become much shorter; that which is gone is the best part, yet all your work remains, and not only so, but with greater difficulties than ever before attended it and the shorter your time is, the more work you have to do.

What will make you sensible of the necessity of a diligent improvement of remaining time, if these things will not? Sometimes such considerations as these have another effect- to discourage persons, and to make them think that seeing they have lost so much time, it is not worth their while to attempt to do any thing now. The devil makes fools of them for when they are young, he tells them, there is time enough hereafter, there is no need of being in haste, it will be better seeking salvation hereafter and then they believe him. Afterwards, when their youth is past, he tells them, that now they have lost so much, and the best of their time, that it is not worth their while to attempt to do anything, and now they believe him still. So that with them no time is good. The season of youth is not a good time, for that is most fit for pleasure and mirth, and there will be enough afterwards- and what comes afterwards is not a good time because the best of it is gone. Thus are men infatuated and ruined.

But what madness is it for persons to give way to discouragement, so as to neglect their work, because their time is short! What need have they rather to awake out of sleep, thoroughly to rouse up themselves, and to be in good seriousness that if possible they may yet obtain eternal life! Peradventure God may yet give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth, that they may be saved. Though it be late in the day, yet God calls upon you to rouse, and to apply yourselves to your work; and will you not hearken to his counsel in this great affair, rather than to the counsel of your mortal enemy?

3. Consider how time is sometimes valued by those who are come near to the end of it. What a sense of its preciousness have poor sinners sometimes, when they are on their death-beds! Such have cried out, „O, a thousand worlds for an inch of time!” Then time appears to them indeed precious. An inch of time could do them no more good than before, when they were in health, supposing a like disposition to improve it, nor indeed so much; for a man’s time upon a death-bed is attended with far greater disadvantage for such an improvement as will be for the good of his soul, than when he is in health. But the near approach of death makes men sensible of the inestimable worth of time. Perhaps, when they were in health, they were as insensible of its value as you are, and were as negligent of it. But how are their thoughts altered now! It is not because they are deceived, that they think time to be of such value, but because their eyes are opened; and it is because you are deceived and blind that you do not think as they do.

4. Consider what a value we may conclude is set upon time by those who are past the end of it. What thoughts do you think they have of its preciousness, who have lost all their opportunity for obtaining eternal life, and are gone to hell? Through they were very lavish of their time while they lived, and set no great value upon it; yet how have they changed their perspectives! How would they value the opportunity which you have, if they might but have it granted to them! What would they not give for one of your days, under the means of grace! So will you, either now or at the last, be convinced. But if you be not convinced except in the manner in which they are, it will be too late.

Revelation 10:5-6 ..there shall be time no longer

There are two ways of making men sensible of the preciousness of time. One is, by showing them the reason why it must be precious, by telling them how much depends on it, how short it is, how uncertain, etc. The other is experience, wherein men are convinced how much depends on the improvement of time. The latter is the most effectual way; for that always convinces, if nothing else does. But if persons be not convinced by the former means, the latter will do them no good. If the former be ineffectual, the latter, though it be certain, yet is always too late. Experience never fails to open the eyes of men, though they were never opened before. But if they be first opened by that, it is no way to their benefit. Let all therefore be persuaded to improve their time to their utmost.

SECTION 5
Advice respecting the improvement of time. I shall conclude with advising to three things in particular.
1. Improve the present time without any delay. If you delay and put off its improvement, still more time will be lost, and it will be an evidence that you are not sensible of its preciousness. Do not talk of more convenient seasons hereafter, but improve your time while you have it, after the example of the psalmist, „I made haste, and delayed not to keep your commandments.” (Psalm 119:60.)

2. Be especially careful to improve those parts of time which are most precious. Though all time is very precious, yet some parts are more precious than others; as, particularly, holy time is more precious than common time. Such time is of great advantage for our everlasting welfare; therefore, above all, improve your sabbaths, and especially the time of public worship, which is the most precious part. Lose it not either in sleep, or in carelessness, inattention, or wandering imaginations. How sottish are they who waste away, not only their common, but holy time, yes the very season of attendance on the holy ordinances of God! The time of youth is precious on many accounts. Therefore, if you are in the enjoyment of this time, take heed that you improve it. Let not the precious days and years of youth slip away without improvement. A time of the strivings of God’s Spirit is more precious than other time. Then God is near; and we are directed, in Isaiah 55:6. „To seek the Lord while he may be found, and to call upon him while he is near.” Such especially is an accepted time, and a day of salvation- 2 Corinthians 6:2. „I have heard you in a time accepted, and in a day of salvation have I succored you: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

3. Improve well your time of leisure from worldly business. Many persons have a great deal of such time, and all have some. If men be but disposed to it, such time may be improved to great advantage. When we are most free from cares for the body, and business of an outward nature, a happy opportunity for the soul is afforded. Therefore spend not such opportunities unprofitably, nor in such a manner that you will not be able to give a good account thereof to God. Waste them not away wholly in unprofitable visits, or useless diversions or amusements. Diversion should be used only in subserviency to business. So much, and no more, should be used, as does most fit the mind and body for the work of our general and particular callings.

You have need to improve every talent, advantage, and opportunity, to your utmost, while time lasts; for it will soon be said concerning you, according to the oath of the angel, in Revelation 10:5, 6.

„And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and swore by him that lives for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.”

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Related posts

Jonathan Edwards – How Far We Have Fallen (via) Desiring God

How Far We Have Fallen from Josh Etter at Desiring God:

Jonathan Edwards’ vivid description of what happened when we fell from God into sin:

The ruin that the fall brought upon the soul of man consists very much in his losing the nobler and more benevolent principles of his nature, and falling wholly under the power and government of self-love. Before, and as God created him, he was exalted, and noble, and generous; but now he is debased, and ignoble, and selfish.

Immediately upon the fall, the mind of man shrank from its primitive greateness and expandedness, to an exceeding smallness and contractedness; and as in other respects, so especially in this. Before, his soul was under the government of that noble principle of divine love, whereby it was enlarged to the comprehension of all his fellow creatures and their welfare. And not only so, but it was not confined within such narrow limits as the bounds of the creation, but went forth in the exercise of holy love to the Creator, and abroad upon the infinite ocean of good, and was, as it were, swallowed up by it, and became one with it. But so soon as he had transgressed against God, these noble principles were immediately lost, and all this excellent enlargedness of man’s soul was gone; and thenceforward he himself shrank, as it were, into a little space, circumscribed and closely shut up within itself to the exclusion of all things else.

Sin, like some powerful astringent, contracted his soul to the very small dimensions of selfishness; and God was forsaken, and fellow creatures forsaken, and man retired within himself, and became totally governed by narrow and selfish principles and feelings. Self-love became absolute master of his soul, and the more noble and spiritual principles of his being took wings and flew away.

Excerpted from „The Spirit of Love the Opposite of a Selfish Spirit”.

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