The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan-Edwards-Banner

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.

***************

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.

Continue reading The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

Evangelism: Words vs Deeds

Let’s face it: we’re chicken.  No one likes being ostracised, ridiculed, or shown hostility.  So we often stay quiet and don’t evangelise our friends and family.  However, I must say that reactions of ostracism, ridicule and hostility are actually quite rare.  But we fear it nonetheless.

What I want to deal with here, though, is something I have come across in every church I have attended.  There is a rationalisation common amongst Christians that says if we live a good life before others, that will be enough.  Recently Duane Litfin wrote an excellent article on this topic in Christianity Today (“Works and Words: Why you can’t preach the Gospel with Deeds”).  He says: “How often do we hear these days, with passion and approval, the famous dictum attributed to Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary”?”

As someone who grew up in the Jewish religion, let me tell you that I would not be a Christian now if the Christians around me held to this view.  I grew up knowing nothing about Jesus whatsoever.  The actions of Christians around
me told me precisely nothing.  I could not know about my sin, and Jesus’ death paying the penalty for my sin in my place, by looking at the behaviour of Christians.  That notion is patently ridiculous.

I thank God for the godly Christians who told me about Jesus.  Their behaviour was indeed different and was one of the things that led me to ask them about their beliefs.  Behaviour is indeed important.  But it is no substitute whatsoever for preaching the gospel.  We have to use words.

To quote Litfin again: “The belief that we can “preach the gospel” with our actions alone represents muddled thinking. However important our actions may be (and they are very important indeed) … they are not “preaching the gospel.” … If the gospel is to be communicated at all, it must be put into words.”

An example from Litfin: “Imagine you have been assigned the task of communicating the following idea to a particular individual: Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great at the Macedonian court between 342 and ca. 339 B.C. Unfortunately, you discover that your pupil has no previous knowledge of either Aristotle or Alexander, what a tutor is, what Macedonia is, who Christ was, or consequently, what B.C. means. What’s worse, you do not have the verbal code available to you. Your pupil does not speak your language, and you do not speak his. All you have available are nonverbal channels of communication. How would you go about your task?

Your assignment would be impossible. You cannot communicate this type of content nonverbally. What facial expressions, or gestures, or eye behaviour, or actions could express information about Alexander or Macedonia or B.C.? The nonverbal code is incapable of bearing this kind of weight. You require a verbal code—that is, words and sentences and paragraphs—to convey your meaning. Without them, your task is undoable.”

I would love honesty from my fellow brothers and sisters.  Don’t say that you will just try and evangelise through your actions.  There is no such thing.  People are only saved through hearing and believing the message of the gospel, in words.  Admit that you are scared, and then we can do something about that and move forward!  I find evangelism scary.  But it is always such a blessing to share the good news of Jesus with others.  And when someone accepts the gospel and is saved – there is nothing better.

 


Posted May 30, 2012.

What Adulterers Want You to Know About Protecting Your Marriage

© Arto – Fotolia.com

Excerpted from the Focus on the Family broadcast “Friendship or Flirtation: Danger Signs for Couples” featuring the Rev. Dave Carder.

19 Dangerous Behaviors

  1. Saving topics of conversation for your “special friend.”
  2. Sharing spousal difficulties with your friend (e.g., “My husband (or wife) never … “).
  3. Allowing the friend to share their relationship difficulties with you (e.g., “My boy/girlfriend always … “).
  4. Anticipating seeing this person more than your spouse.
  5. Comparing the friend and your spouse (“If only my spouse was nicer to me like s/he is … “). Continue reading What Adulterers Want You to Know About Protecting Your Marriage

Divorce and “Blame”

My parents divorced when I was one year old.  I grew up without my father.  My wife’s parents divorced when she was eleven.  We have both been damaged greatly by divorce.  We hate divorce!

But I have to admit it: I must be a wimp; I have never preached on divorce.  In every congregation I have been in there have been people who are divorced.  And I fear I would upset them if I preached on the topic.  I’m not avoiding the topic, but I’m glad that it hasn’t come up so far in the books I have preached on.

Continue reading Divorce and “Blame”

Regrets, I’ve had a few ….

This post was contributed by Lindsay, Trustee at HBC


Regrets, I’ve had a few, sang Frank Sinatra – but then he did it “his way”.

A blog receiving attention from columnists recently is one by Dr. Bronnie Ware, who worked in palliative care for many years and spoke to many dying patients. She has shared what they told her and reports that the top five regrets of the dying are:

 

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. (This was the most common regret of all.)

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Continue reading Regrets, I’ve had a few ….

Only what’s done for Christ will last

© AlienCat – Fotolia.com

My brother visited the grave-site of our relatives yesterday and sent me this comment. “Kinda sad, such a wet, damp and solitary place. No matter what our lives are like, we all end up forgotten after a surprisingly short period of time.”

His forlorn words reminded me of C.T. Studd’s poem which I’ve added below.

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, Continue reading Only what’s done for Christ will last

A Scriptural Formula For Holy Living

Aaron Armstrong, author of Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, posted this last week over at Blogging Theology. I found this personally helpful; perhaps you will also.

“In his book Living for God’s Glory, Joel Beeke offers several diagnostic questions based on 1 Corinthians that provide, as he calls it, a biblical formula for holy living before God and man. When contemplating a course of action, he suggests we test it with these questions: Continue reading A Scriptural Formula For Holy Living

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

Does the End Justify the Means? – part 2

In “Does the End Justify the Means: part 1” we saw in 1_Samuel 24 that David had the chance to kill Saul and take the throne.  God had anointed him as king, so he would certainly take the throne at some stage.  Saul had been trying to kill David.  Now Saul was handed to David on a platter.  Should he not kill him and take the throne?

David did not kill Saul.  He was conscience-stricken and refrained ().  However I think he was not entirely clear on why this was wrong.  But in the next chapter, in a seemingly unrelated incident, the foolish Nabal, a wealthy cattle baron, refused to share his good fortune with David and his men, even after David’s men had protected him.  David was furious at this slap in the face and took his men with him to attack Nabal.  However Nabal’s wife Abigail, knowing the wrong her husband had done, went to David to appease him.  Her speech is all important ():

Continue reading Does the End Justify the Means? – part 2

And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.”

26 Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from saving with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. 29 If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the Lord your God. And the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30 And when the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you and has appointed you prince over Israel, 31 my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord taking vengeance himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”