The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

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Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century revivalist, sat down at age 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. He later added to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions. Edwards didn’t casually make New Year’s resolutions with an expectation of eventually breaking them. Each week he did a self-check. He regularly summed up how he was doing and sought God’s help in the process.

This list is organised by subheadings and categories and as such is not in the normal order as listed here.

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Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

Overall Life Mission1

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

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Some Proven Weapons in the Fight for Holiness

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This post is an exerpt from DESIRING GOD written by John Piper.

“When Paul says to put to death the deeds of the body “by the Spirit”
(), I take him to mean that we should use the one weapon in the Spirit’s armor that is used to kill. Namely, the sword. Which is the word of God. ().

So when the body is about to be led into a sinful action by some fear or craving, we are to take the sword of the Spirit and kill that fear and that craving. In my experience that means mainly severing the root of sin’s promise by the power of a superior promise.    Continue reading Some Proven Weapons in the Fight for Holiness

13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

Children and Discipline

I want to thank again all those who have responded to our request for blog topics. Here is a response to a question we were asked. The question: “What are the implications of this verse?” Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Great question! And this is very topical in Melbourne and Australia generally at the moment. The discipline of children, particularly the question of smacking children, has been raised again and again. Recently a paediatrician in Melbourne called, once again, for smacking children to be outlawed. Emotions run high when this topic is raised, because we all think differently, and our children’s upbringing is very important to us.

Psychologists rightly point out to us how incredibly Continue reading Children and Discipline

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

A Call to Ministry

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Many fine Christians believe in a call to ministry.  I have often been asked whether I am called to ministry myself.  What does the Bible say about such a call?

I wonder if the idea of a call comes from the call of prophets in the Old Testament.  Isaiah and Jeremiah were called to be prophets; Saul and David were called to be kings.  However if this is where the idea comes from it would be on very shaky ground!  We must read the Old Testament as fulfilled in Christ ().  The kings and prophets are types of Christ, not us.  We are not kings and prophets; we are like the normal Israelites.  We need to move from the Old Testament to us in application by a two stage process, not a one stage process.  A one stage process jumps from the Old Testament straight to us in application, bypassing Jesus and the gospel.  Many errors result from such a reading of the Bible.  A two stage process moves from the Old Testament to its fulfilment Continue reading A Call to Ministry

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

Questions for Bible Reading

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Steve Farrar in his book “Point Man” says that reading the Bible is the equivalent of a soldier eating his rations.  The Bible is our spiritual food, and without it we become weak and easy prey for the enemy.

This month’s Briefingmagazine (www.Matthiasmedia.com/Briefing) contains a series of questions to use when reading the Bible.  These come from the Cornerstone church in Kingston, south-west London.  Their church uses these questions when reading large slabs of the Bible, and they can be used individually as well.  They’re great questions and I hope they can be of use to you in your Bible reading.  Not all questions will apply to every passage.

  1. What strikes you? What questions does this passage raise?
  2. What dangers/ warnings/ sins are there? ()
  3. What do you learn about God – Father/ Son/ Holy Spirit?
  4. How is Jesus previewed/ revealed? ()
  5. How are you corrected and rebuked? ()
  6. How are you encouraged to endure? ()
  7. What do you learn about doing works of service and building up the church? ()
  8. What do you learn about loving God?
  9. What do you learn about loving your neighbour as yourself?
  10. How do you feel you need to change to live as a man/ woman of God?

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Little Big Decisions – sweat the small stuff

Sometimes little decisions are much bigger than they may appear at first glance.  Let’s say that my boss at work wants me to stay back late, but it’s Bible study night.  Should I go to Bible study?  Or should I stay at work?

It seems to be rare that someone would fall away from the faith by making a one time decision that Christianity is not true.  Usually people drift away from the faith, slowly.

A friend of mine works in ministry to the medical profession.  He told me once that a survey showed that 70% of medical students who were Christian fell away from the faith.  That’s an enormous percentage.  The reason why this is the case is probably due to the fact that medicine is a career that is all consuming.  Enormous hours at all sorts of times are required.  Medicos can start to miss church and Bible study.  They can find it difficult to find the time to keep reading the Bible.  After several months they may find that they haven’t read the Bible or been to church, and it no longer seems to matter.  Slowly they drift off.

Of course this is not true of all medicos (there’s the 30%!).  And it’s not just doctors who are in such spiritual danger.  There are some law and accounting firms that seem to demand similar hours from their workers.  No doubt there Continue reading Little Big Decisions – sweat the small stuff

The Ministry of the Word and Prayer

In Acts , a dispute arose between the Hellenist and Hebrew Christians regarding the daily distribution to widows.  The apostles handed over the responsibility for this task to seven chosen men.  Why?  So that they could devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word ().  This is a key verse, I think, about ministry.  Ministry is made up particularly and especially of two things: the word and prayer.

This has long struck me as being very significant, particularly when it comes to prayer.  I spend many hours a week preparing my sermon, as I should.  I study the passage of Scripture, usually in the original language, and pour over it with commentaries, making notes and thinking about meaning and application.  There’s no easy way around sermon preparation – it takes hours.  It probably takes me about 10 hours or so these days.  Immediately after Bible College it was double that.  So do I spend 20 hours, even 10, in prayer?  If my ministry as a pastor is prayer and the word of God, should I not be giving a lot of time to prayer as well?

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But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Nothing Special about a Bible Reading Schedule

In James last post, he wrote about Holiday Guilt.

His post addressed his sense of guilt arising from a slip in discipline. His reaction to a failure to maintain a Bible reading and prayer schedule was that he was displeasing God and that in so doing he would somehow earn God’s disfavour.

Well, James post points out the folly of this logic, so I won’t repeat what he has writes there.

Prior to James post and without collaboration on the subject of spiritual discipline, I independently decided to commence a new through-the-Bible reading schedule as it’s been a few years since I systematically read the Bible right through. I started this just before Christmas.

I’ve looked at many Bible reading schedules and each has its own merits, but I’ve been impressed with the new electronic through-the-Bible programs from YouVersion™. It’s a feature-rich website that offers over 50 reading plans, many Bible versions, and a 30/90/365 or 730 day pace, so you Continue reading Nothing Special about a Bible Reading Schedule

70 Resolutions – Johnathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century revivalist, sat down at age 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. He added to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions. Edwards didn’t casually make New Year’s resolutions with an expectation of eventually breaking them. Each week he did a self-check. He regularly summed up how he was doing and sought God’s help in the process.

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Resolutions 1 through 21 written in one sitting in New Haven in 1722

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by His grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake.  Remember to read over these resolutions one a week.

1.    Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2.    Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

Continue reading 70 Resolutions – Johnathan Edwards