I learned recently about a text from the 1800′s called The New Whole Duty of Man, which seems to be a book of devotions and catechism for families. From what I gather it is quite sound doctrinally, and this excerpt, sent to me by the friend who told me about the book, makes a point that is equally valid today:
Therefore, though there be some things in the scriptures, which our reason and understanding cannot fathom; yet, because we are satisfied they are revealed by God, who cannot lie, whose knowledge is infallible, and whose word is true, we ought, upon this higher and superior reason, to yield a firm assent to the truth of them. And I add, that though some complain the Bible is not clear and determinate enough as to certain points; yet, if I mistake not, the main quarrel against it will prove to be, that it is too clear and determinate in enjoining certain duties, and forbidding certain vices. And though we meet therein with many precepts of life, which corrupt nature may be unwilling to put in practice; yet we must remember it is the Lord who commands them, and we must, obey with the resignation becoming a child of God; Lord, not my will but thine be done; who by the mouth of his apostle has expressly commanded us to live SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, and GODLY in this present world: where, by the word soberly, we are to understand our duty to OURSELVES; by the word righteously, our duty to our NEIGHBOUR; and by the word godly, our duty to GOD. And as religion itself is that purity, or that virtuous temper and disposition of mind, which exerts itself in a constant endeavour of being like unto God, and of obeying his commands; which is the principal distinction of men from the inferior orders of creatures, and upon which alone are grounded all hopes of life and happiness hereafter; so the great end and design of religion is, by the trial of men’s virtue and integrity in the present world, to qualify them for the happiness of that which is to come; that they, who have been faithful in a small and temporary trust committed to them here, may hereafter be put in possession of a never-fading inheritance which shall be their own forever.
This is something of a “blast from the past”: Neil Diamond singing his song “Shilo” in 1967. What a career he has had.
From the Church of the Good Shepherd in North Carolina we have another audio sermon by the Rev. Kyle Wallace, titled Rest for the Weary. In this message, based on Matthew 11:25-30, Rev. Wallace talks about the reality that in Jesus we may find constant relief from the toils and stresses of life – and asks: are we getting this rest? (I should note that I had to turn up my speaker volume quite a bit.)
Here is a thoughtful audio sermon on the subject of true stewardship, titled Your Money and Your Life, by the Rev. Charles Roberts of Ballston Center ARP Church in New York. In this message, he speaks on Luke 16:1-13 and gives us his thoughts on a passage that can be easily misunderstood: the Parable of the Dishonest Steward- and what Jesus here teaches about how we should manage our resources for His glory. As the Literary Study Bible (ESV) says, “rather than being mastered by money, a wise and faithful servant will use material wealth to gain eternal treasure.”
Here, from the Preaching Matters media ministry of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in the United Kingdom, is a video message by William Taylor on what to do when our preaching is poor. This could be edifying for anyone who preaches or appreciates good preaching.
Perhaps one of the main themes of Dr. J.I. Packer’s ministry and lifework has been that each of us is called to be a theologian in some aspect – and this video, “Theology is for Everyone”, is a message on that theme. I think it is a profitable message for any of us to hear and heed.
From the Rev. Clive Hawkins of St. Mary’s Church, Basingstoke in the United Kingdom, here is an audio sermon on What did Jesus think of the Old Testament? that is based on Matthew 5:17-20. Here, Rev. Hawkins addresses an issue we often see in our day: what authority does the Old Testament have? Was it superseded by the New? This is sometimes invoked, if you will, by those who would drive a wedge between the Old Testament and the Church of today. Rev. Hawkins makes it very clear that Jesus held the Old Testament in highest regard, and asserted that He came to fulfill it – not do away with it.
From Dean Phillip Jensen of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia, here is the next in a video series on spiritual gifts, titled “Loving Gifts: Diversity and Unity”. In this one he talks about 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.