A great encouragement to persevering prayer! Rev. Murray uses the example from Gen. 32 of Jacob wrestling with God to say, "Our prayers detain God." What an amazing truth: the Sovereign of the whole universe not only permits Himself to be detained by His weak, sinful creatures, but even desires our tenacious persistence in pursuit of His blessing.
Why do we not experience greater practical holiness in our personal lives, more definite answers to prayer, or more signs of awakening and revival in our churches? Is it perhaps because we give up too easily when we don't immediately receive what we ask for? When an answer to a prayer that is fully in accord with God's will as revealed in Scripture is delayed, don't we often assume that it must not have been God's will after all? Don't we comfort ourselves by ascribing the results of our spiritual sloth, unbelief, and impatience in prayer to God's sovereign will and inscrutable providence?
Jesus told us that we ought always to pray and not to faint, and that God would intervene for His own who cry to Him day and night. Jacob wanted God's blessing badly enough to cling to Him even when his natural strength was exhausted, and He prevailed.
Rev. Murray says, "God does not bring our prayers to an end." We may continue in a spirit of prayer even after we conclude our formal praye
Great Sermon! This is the clearest and most helpful sermon on sanctification I have heard. While we Reformed folk rightly look to Christ alone for our pardon and justification, we too often fall back on our own methods and natural willpower to help us overcome sin and make us holy. Yet it is "Christ Jesus who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (1 Cor. 1:30-31). Rev. Craig points us to God's way - not man's - for attaining humility and holiness: we are transformed into Christ's image as we fix our eyes on Him and behold His glory and rely on His Holy Spirit, who indwells every regenerate believer, to do in us what we can never do for ourselves.
Not that we don't need to be watchful and to mortify sin, but it is through the Spirit of Christ that we mortify the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13). He alone is able to write God's Law in our hearts and make Christ's victory over sin manifest in our own hearts and lives, all to the praise of the glory of His grace.
This is a message I've listened to over and over and want to share with many friends.
Great Sermon! This is a wonderful encouragement to all of us who are burdened by the great needs within the Body of Christ and aware of our own weakness and inadequacy to meet those needs. How good to know we are personally responsible only to be faithful to Christ and to persevere in the work He has called us to do. It is His work, and the results are His responsibility.
Rev. Craig doesn't often talk about himself, so the brief glimpse into God's encouragement of him early in his ministry through this text in Revelation 3:7 was especially precious. We should remember that even our most godly and zealous ministers are human and need our prayers as we need theirs. Even Elijah got dejected and needed supernatural encouragement after a time of demanding and fruitful labor for God! (See 1 Kings 19.)
Great Sermon! I wish every Christian in America could hear this sermon. We are too often led to view faith as a path to an easier, more comfortable and prosperous earthly life and too seldom trained to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ". How good to be reminded that even in the midst of persecution and trial, "Christ yet reigns". We are His, and even death cannot snatch us out of His Father's hands. I pray that we will not fear those who can only kill the body, but rather fear and love the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell, and who can also preserve us in His grace in the midst of every trial. May we be ready to suffer out of love for Christ and even to be faithful unto death if need be rather than to commit sin or compromise His truth. We have much to learn from this church in Smyrna that was so poor in earthly goods, but so rich towards God.
Amen! This is a sobering, humbling message that we much need. Christ died to redeem a Bride for Himself who will love Him with all her heart and soul, not merely to acquire efficient servants. If our service is motivated by anything less than love for Him, it is not worthy of His much greater love for us. Lord, renew our hearts by your Spirit, and rekindle our first love for you!
Great Sermon! This is a wonderful sermon to help us forgive others from the heart. First, Rev. Craig makes the point that real sins produce real guilt that calls for punishment and must not be excused or ignored. Only when we acknowledge this will the cross have real meaning and value to us as a refuge from God's well-deserved wrath. If we're tempted to hold onto grudges and resentments, we should ask God for a fresh view of what it cost Him to forgive our own sins. How can we refuse to forgive when we have been forgiven so much more than we will ever have to forgive others for?
Finally, only when we know ourselves to be in God's hands and not helplessly at the mercy of our enemies can we really leave our vindication to Him and forgive as we have been forgiven. Rev. Craig uses the example of Joseph in Genesis 50 to show how God's loving providence overrules even the sins of our enemies for His glory and our good, bringing blessing out of a situation they intended for harm. God's sovereignty and the cross of Christ are a strong refuge when we have been greatly wronged, and Christ's resurrection assures us of final victory in our Savior over all injustice.
Great Sermon! This sermon is full of practical and helpful wisdom from God's Word to help us put sin to death rather than just trying to manage its effects, as so much psychological counseling does. With the heart of a true shepherd, Rev. Craig goes to the root of the problem in a clear and gracious way that works and that exalts Christ. How can we look on Him whom our sins pierced and yet continue to trifle with temptation? Indifference to sin is indifference to Christ and to the terrible suffering He willingly bore in our place, not only to purchase our forgiveness, but to break the stranglehold sin had on us. I recommend this message to everyone who really wants to overcome sin--whether grievous, life-destroying wickedness or those pesky little habits that we fail to take seriously enough.
Great Sermon! Thank you, Rev. Craig, for holding Christ crucified constantly before our eyes. How much better we would love and worship Him if we thought more deeply on His love for us and on what it cost Him to redeem us. Is it because we don't take our own sins all that seriously that we don't realize the horror of that living hell He endured for us on the cross, being accursed and forsaken by His Father in our place? Truly, He is the only One worthy of all our love.
Grace Abounding! This message is a wonderful encouragement to all of us who have wasted part of our lives in sin or by following Christ afar off. How amazing that our Lord not only took the punishment for our sins upon Himself, but then restores to us what we robbed Him of! Who ever heard of a crime victim making restitution to the criminal? Mercy heaped on mercy and grace piled upon grace, to overflowing! How could we not love such a Savior and stand in awe of His grace?
Great Sermon! A beautiful, uplifting word of encouragement! How easily our love for Christ and our joy in obeying Him would grow if we would take more time to ponder His Word as Mary did, and let it work its way deep into our heart and transform us. Yet we are often too busy for the one thing--and the one Person--that is most important. I'm sharing this message with my friends. God bless you, Rev. Craig, for sharing these riches with us who live far away, but are one with you in heart and soul.
Great Sermon! What a beautiful example Mary is to us! Rather than focusing on all the hardships and difficulties the virgin birth would cause her, she rejoiced in God and in the honor of being chosen by Him for a special purpose. Her focus was on God's glory, not on the cost to her. May we learn to rejoice in God and in His callings on our lives in the same way! I loved the story of Billy Bray, the converted tin miner with the joyful feet who had a testimony of praise to God always on his lips. Thomas Watson said, "It is a sin as well not to rejoice as not to repent." Shouldn't we be rejoicing at least as much in God's grace and forgiveness as we mourn over our sin and corruption? It is the joy of the Lord that is our strength.
Great Sermon! This message moved me to tears as I considered the depths of Christ's love for us. How much our Savior humbled Himself, not only in His last suffering and death, but throughout the whole of His earthly life, in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest to us! There is much encouragement here for anyone in affliction, to entrust ourselves wholly to Christ as the One able to heal our whole nature in whatever way is most for His glory and our good.
Great Sermon! This is one of the most beautiful sermons I've ever heard, full of truth and tender love for Christ. If His fruit is so sweet to us even here, what will heaven be? I want to sit under this Apple Tree forever! Thank you, Rev. Craig, for bringing Christ so near and magnifying His love and beauty. I'm recommending your sermons to my closest friends.