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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Images of the Savior (10 - Deborah and Barak) | Main | Questions & Answers on Reformed Theology »

    Invitation to the Table

    Away, away! all you who stand erect,
    And you who lift your forehead to the clouds;
    And all who are with golden rings bedecked,
    And in fine linens wrapped, as white as shrouds;
    And you who healthy are, and wise, and strong,
    Who have full-stuffed with minted coin your purse,
    You are not welcome here, howe'er so long
    You thumb your ros'ry or bejewel your hearse;
    Get hence! your fond excesses all are wrong,
    Your feigned good deeds and penances are worse.
    Feigned-free, you 're slaves; feigned-blest, you are a curse.

    But come, stooped-over, come grotesque and maimed;
    All naked, come, and halt and blind and poor;
    Come, feast, who guilty are, and pale-ashamed,
    And covered with full many an oozing sore.
    You will not stain this table with your slime
    Nor turn the cup to salt with bitter tears,
    Convicted though you be of many a crime,
    And tortured by grim-stalking doubts and fears, –
    You are welcome here, who've squandered all your time,
    And left your whole estate in sad arrears!
    Come, enemies, come – and leave God's choicest dears.

    Here richest wine from Eshcol's cluster flows,
    And dainty angels' food down-dropped from heaven
    Full thick upon the family table strows
    The Father – honied dew wherein's no leaven.
    The thirsty here may drink full deep, who hath
    No money in his hand, and find rich food;
    But he will find a foaming cup of wrath
    Who dare to offer but a penny would.
    No manna will he taste, but coursest chaff,
    Who yearns and sighs for this world's galling good.
    Thrice woe! if you so scorn the Savior's blood.

    Posted by Nathan on November 12, 2010 12:48 AM

    Comments

    Nathan? Is that like "Cher?"

    Cher? I must confess, I don't understand the allusion -- but I really know nothing about Cher. The poem's about how the Lord's table, that is, the holy sacrament of communion, is for sinners, beggars, and thieves who have cast off all hope in their own merits and come trembling to Christ alone for salvation -- it is not for the proud and arrogant who do not see the depths of their poverty and depravity.

    Nathan

    Wow, this is so good!

    Truly excellent Nathan. I have re-posted this at my blog. Hope you do not mind.

    Two kinds of grapes make for drinking.

    One kind is from the grapes of wrath:

    Joh 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
    Joh 4:8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
    Joh 4:9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
    Joh 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

    Rev 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
    Rev 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

    Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
    Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

    These things so comfort me especially out of his knowledge of all we need in these tomes so trying.
    This is todays grace gems (from gracegems.org) which added so much for me as did also this poem in such a time of need! Ask!

    Our Almighty Friend!

    (Mary Winslow, "Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy")

    "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

    The Lord knows what we require every step we take through this poor, trying, wilderness world--and stands ready to supply our needs, small and great. He is concerned in all that concerns us. Let it be our daily habit to cast our care upon Him--who cares for us.

    We must be growing in a better acquaintance with our own souls--as poor and needy; and with Christ--who is all and everything to us. For in Him all fullness dwells--and that fullness is for us! He is our rich storehouse. We need only to go and tell Him--and His heart is open to us in a moment. Let us live upon Him--and go to Him constantly! He is our Almighty Friend!

    Surly he answers!

    Could we look into His heart, and see how precious we were to Him, and how truly He is near to us, watching over us, directing all things for our good and His glory--how would our present grievances vanish from our minds, as we sit as beloved children at the feet of Jesus.

    Do not forget the poor!!!

    As the light of my mind falls dim many times, I come to see not all christians possess the strength and energy to be a reformer. They lack much not given them as others so have been given!
    Like the apostles who were of great knowledge from their past training and knowledge of Gods ways and truth, they protected that which was laid and its foundation as do many reformers today!
    But we the gentiles having not all they have been given or have learned and so possess much strength of human intelligence by upbringing, and schooling, yet we have not that great ability to defend all onslaughts which come against the truth in this darkened day, Yes, it is so needed to defend against error!

    Many are given much and so are accounted to do much! But some are not given so much and can do but a little!

    But it is very important and valuable to me to understand what the reformers fight for and why and how it is we shall be protected from all the many onslaughts of brilliant and crafty men of religion! For we know It is the very foundation once laid for all the saints! It is that very foundation of Christ crucified and our justification by faith alone in the all sufficiency of Christ alone! In Gods power to save us! We know you seek to protect this foundation against every thing which sets itself up against the Christ and the truth come and flow from Him!
    But don't forget us the poor!!
    We the poor, the sinners, the hungry, the dejected, the rejected, the needy, the imprisoned, the isolated, who have nothing to give ourselves, as also are like Lazarus where the dogs licked his sores as he begged but for a crumb be given by all the richness of those having been given so much, and find ourselves needing something far better than all the knowledge and its sciences that others have been given! We need something far more than all you have been given, having few possessions and not much which has been given you! The rich must be accounted before God to feed the poor else they be found lacking and wanting as the rich man in hell!

    I love all you do and it so helps me greatly to see all which comes against the truth by error and mans pride and riches! I am eternally grateful for all these things the rich possess and give the poor!

    But as Paul, the apostle to the gentiles taught with great passion and truth - THE SIMPLICITY OF HIM CRUCIFIED!!!!! He abandoned all things to preach the simplicity to the poor; "him crucified"! The simplicity of the gospel!

    For the far greater number of all christians are the poor and have nothing much to give to others as do the rich who were schooled in much! It came not of man but of God and we must remember that! It is not ours but has been given some and not others! To these poor, where eyes of the mind are dimmed of knowledge and cannot see all the many struggles come against the truth, as those who have been given so much, their (the poor) greatest treasure and need is Him crucified for sin alone! The very thing the apostles sought to protect with all God had given them! The foundation for the poor and the lost in the great maze of and abundance of knowledge and its science's! Do not forget the poor!

    Should God grant to me all things, I would want this which the poor seek alone - Him crucified to know and see for my sin and to be rich in all my poverty by His great promise to fulfill with the living waters of heavenly joy and bliss which accompany salvation as also did Lazarus!

    But, if I was a reformer as many are, I would also work hard to protect that one thing laid by the apostles - Him crucified for sin! Him all sufficient for all sin for all who come to Him in their great poverty and need of him! God gave to many much work to do but he also said that many will not work yet they too will be saved! For the greatest gift and treasure comes from Him, the the gift of God to see Him crucified for our sin and to know him in all things!

    I'd rather die with an empty head having Christ crucified to see than to die with a full head and him not to see! The light of a full head will always dim near our death but the light of Him crucified will remain in our souls to live through death! Many are the poor!!

    Should you know all mysteries and have faith which moves mountains and have not love you are nothing! Should the rich be given much it must be with this single possession - love to know and be given by God to see him crucified for sin!

    I am a but a reformee and do what little I can to protect this single foundation once laid and given to all the Saints! For it is my only strength and hope! Him crucified! Apart from this nothing else really matters much near our deaths in in our poverty!

    Never forget the poor as they have not all you have been given! Feed the poor as well as the rich but never make this greater than Christ! For to have much also requires a thorn in the flesh as Paul had!
    Don't forget the poor!! This is what the poem seems to say to me who is also poor of so many things though I love the single treasure above all else given me! Him crucified for sin and his compassion for the poor having so little!
    This is not against anyone here! It is for the poor to know him crucified as our strength in all our poverty and weaknesses and even through death!

    Yes, you are right! God is sovereign! This was but my prayer that he not reject me who so loves Christ! For He had brought me to my end in such a huge way! And He gave to me that which the poor so need - Christ to see, his great love yet, it be far too great to understand! A worm like me!!!
    The most incredible comforting of all truth i have ever known is that God is sovereign! Christ is my treasure but Gods sovereign hand is my comfort! Though he slay me, I shall always praise his name! But, not by my strength but by my heart never to bite the hand which feeds me all which he knows is good for me!
    This is my great joy! He is a merciful God!!

    God has appointed that responsible action should be that of free agents in the exercise of their choice as it commends itself to them and as they shall answer for it.

    Maybe I have it all wrong! Maybe all the poverty I have suffered is due to my own sin and so I will be accountable to God for it all! That I have not used my freedom as I should have and so reap the consequences in all my sufferings and losses!
    That I am to be a free agent and am not doing that which I ought to be doing!

    God help me in my great poverty and my disobedience to do that which I should! Maybe this too is wrong. But how I read the above is that poverty is known in our own ability to be unable to so that which we know we should and cannot! That I must now ask of God to set me free to do that which I know I should so that I will not know poverty which so needs Him!

    I am sorry to have made such a claim as to know poverty in my inability! That I have not been fee to do what I should have and so suffer the consequences of my own doing!

    This is so sad in my condition! I shall try to do that which i know even harder in order that God can show me my poverty again!
    This as a result of "The doctrine of the sovereignty of God"! God help me a man incapable but will try again in the hope you can give me the strength of freedom of a free agent! This is not meant to be taken bad. I speak my heart out of its great need! It is really sad in my poverty to see! My heart flows with many tears!

    It seems so necessary that I say this of myself and my own will which might not have been freed. Maybe it is my own conviction which is being challenged here.

    I read it said, "The creature will is free as it chooses what the person sees to be good for choice. It was made to be free and the purpose to make it was a purpose to make it what it was meant to be."
    Now I ask this, 'why is it that others have come against my free will in my career with theirs? Why is it that my health and so much other came against my free will which should have been free? Why is it that so many other things have befallen me and caused me to find my only hope in God having not the free will to choose that which I should have no matter others or circumstances or health or even poverty come against my own prosperity?
    That is God gives to us free will so to choose freely, than why do others interfere with it and I fall into this great state of poverty felt and known? And worse, to hear that it might be God who passed over me to leave me in the state of poverty?
    Why not tell people that God has sent Christ so to set our wills free to make the right choices and prosper by them as a freed man! That others too will not interfere with them unless God chooses them to do so? If Christ died to free the will than why is it my will is not freed to do the things I so new to do? But to have others come against it! The world and many others I shall not mention here! Is this all about God giving to man here on earth a free will - freed to so that which he is responsible to do in this life? Why than do I suffer many things come against my free will? Is it because God has not given me his grace to be freed in will?
    If this is truly about mans freed will by God as an agent of freedom in this world, than why does the world come against it as well as other things and people?
    Is my poverty because of my not been given the freedom of my will?? Am I sick, suffering and even destitute because I lacked my responsibilities in free will? Has God stripped from me, all my jewels and given me poverty in so many ways so to show his judgements on me a great sinner who knows his sin and hats it with his whole being? Who is helpless to do anything about the poverty I have? To hear that I might die in this horrible state or poverty because of my lack of free will?
    This stuff is good for me to read and know and i love it all, but to think that my state in the boondocks and in poverty away from a good church to be in, makes me a non-christian (not being in the church) to be passed over by Gods grace and mercy to have is worse than anything! That it is because of my will not being feed when the wills of others came against my free will!!!
    This poem made perfect sense to me until this! I am not a freed man having free will for my dependence is upon God to do that which he knows is good for me! Have I not performed my responsibilities of free agency and so will have to give an account to God for my condition? Yes, I feel guilty here! But I could do no different for many reasons! Now, what can I do? Is it too late for me to be freed of will to make all the right choices which I never had the wisdom or strong enough freed will to do?
    What is poverty but that which God gives so to be shown his mercy? He has shown me his mercy through Christ and in christ! What else must I do??

    One messed up guy who thought he knew the truth and so loved it! Can I not map my life by all that God shows in his word and by the many people in it so to know why it is God does what he does?
    This has taken me away from what I thought my poverty was all about! Now, I do not know unless it is all my own lack of strength and freed will!

    I shall never forget this day!!! Gods judgement was great as he showed to me his power in judgement of Pharaoh! I was Him! He used me to show his power of wrath!
    From your article which gave me much comfort:
    but also to perceive and realize that this Word comes to him directly from God; that it affects and condemns his very being, thus causing him to penetrate into its hidden essence and feel the sharp sting which effects conviction.

    Lastly, the Holy Spirit plies this conviction — which otherwise would quickly vanish — so long and so severely, that finally the sting, like the keen edge of a lancet, pierces the thick skin and lays open the festering sore. This is in the called a very wonderful operation. The general understanding puts the matter before him; the illumination reveals to him what it contains; and the conviction puts the sharp two-edged sword directly upon his heart. Then, however, he is inclined to shrink from that sword; not to let it pierce through, but to let it glance harmlessly from the soul. But then the Holy Spirit, in full activity, continues to press that sword of conviction, driving it so forcibly into the soul that at last it cuts through and takes effect.

    The knife went through me ever so greatly! God has used me to show his power and wrath and judgement! He brought it to me so greatly! I do not know what to do now! But he can raise me! I am so worn now!

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