Some outtakes or summary from Sunday’s talk with our church family…….
From the brilliance of Jonathan Edwards – the puritan, not the triple-jumper! As a young adult mid 1800’s – Jonathan Edwards set down on paper a series of thoughts and practices to help cultivate growth in grace. These resolutions are immense, and Edwards would re-read this list at least once a week to keep his mind focused and renewed. The result: A man of humble godliness, who was to become a significant spark used to ignite one of the greatest revivals known to history. Even many unbelieving scholars admit Edwards may have been the greatest mind to be born on the North American continent.
The seventy resolutions of Jonathan Edwards are still a practical and beneficial tool for spiritual life if a little stuck in 18th century language that makes it sometimes difficult to grasp what Edwards wrote. Here’s some of these refreshed as a scene setter…… “Aware that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do pray that, by his grace, he will enable me to do all that will honour Christ.
1. Resolved: I will do whatever I think will be most to God’s glory; and will provide the most good and benefit to mankind in general.
3. Resolved: If ever – really, whenever – I fail & fall or grow weary & dull; I will repent of everything I can remember that I have violated or neglected, …as soon as I come to my senses again.
6. Resolved: To live with all my might, …while I do live.
7. Resolved: Never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
10. Resolved: When I feel pain,…… to think of the pains of martyrdom – both of Jesus and of believers around the world; and remind myself of the reality of hell.
14. Resolved: Never to do anything out of revenge…….Never to suffer the least emotions of anger about irrational beings.
16. Resolved: Never to speak badly of anyone, except if it is necessary for some real good.
30. Resolved: To strive to my utmost every week to be brought to a higher spiritual place, and to a greater experience of grace, than I was the week before.
65. Resolved: To declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires; and every thing in every circumstance.
70. Let there be something of good and grace, in all that I speak.
Matthew 10 v 29-42 shows a pattern in following Jesus.
1. Following Jesus means taking up your cross & laying down your life – v24 and this cross, is ‘not a velvet cross’
2. Following Jesus means Rejection v21, v22 & v36. In survey conducted in 2014 of thousands of British Christians – over half said they’d experienced some measure of persecution for their faith.
3. Following Jesus means Persecution – See v17, v19, v21 and v28
Political correctness, conceived to protect the minority has ended up discriminating against Christian free speech & free expression. Christians and Churches that remain true to orthodoxy will become a persecuted and prosecuted minority. The only way to reverse this is revival……
In the twentieth century more Christians have been martyred than all personnel killed directly as combatants in all the wars in the same period.
4. Following Jesus is worth everything
The great anthem of heaven “worthy is the Lamb” – Put it another way – martyrs cry ‘worth it every time” Notice v37-38, three times Jesus uses the phrase, “worthy of me!” This is the invitation, to live worthy of Jesus!
Alex Early say it this way “He is God almighty, who has got off his throne and has poured out relentless, reckless, scandalous grace on you, not at your best moment but at your worst. What makes him worth all this, why should I suffer and have the world hate me on his behalf, and have a life of controversy – here’s what, I get Jesus in the middle of it”
Will you dare with me :- To live your best year for Christ?
Dare to live your best year with Jesus.