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More nuggets from Matthew Henry in John 7

[i]"Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?" John 7:19[/i]

"(1.) He argues against them by way of recrimination, convicting them of far worse practices, v. 19. How could they for shame censure him for a breach of the law of Moses, when they themselves were such notorious breakers of it? Did not Moses give you the law? And it was their privilege that they had the law, no nation had such a law; but it was their wickedness that none of them kept the law, that they rebelled against it, and lived contrary to it. Many that have the law given them, when they have it do not keep it. Their neglect of the law was universal: None of you keepeth it: neither those of them that were in posts of honour, who should have been most knowing, nor those who were in posts of subjection, who should have been most obedient. They boasted of the law, and pretended a zeal for it, and were enraged at Christ for seeming to transgress it, and yet none of them kept it; like those who say that they are for the church, and yet never go to church. It was an aggravation of their wickedness, in persecuting Christ for breaking the law, that they themselves did not keep it: "None of you keepeth the law, why then go ye about to kill me for not keeping it?"

[b]Note, Those are commonly most censorious of others who are most faulty themselves. Thus hypocrites, who are forward to pull a mote out of their brother's eye, are not aware of a beam in their own."[/b]

"Those who would be like Christ must put up with affronts, and pass by the indignities and injuries done them; must not regard them, much less resent them, and least of all revenge them. [i]I, as a deaf man, heard not. When Christ was reviled, he reviled not again."[/i]

"It is very absurd and unreasonable for us to condemn others for that in which we justify ourselves."

[i]"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." John 7:24[/i]

"He concludes this argument with that rule (v. 24): Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. This may be applied, either, First, In particular, to this work which they quarrelled with as a violation of the law. Be not partial in your judgment; judge not, kat opsin—with respect of persons; knowing faces, as the Hebrew phrase is, Deut. i. 17.

[b]It is contrary to the law of justice, as well as charity, to censure those who differ in opinion from us as transgressors, in taking that liberty which yet in those of our own party, and way, and opinion, we allow of; as it is also to commend that in some as necessary strictness and severity which in others we condemn as imposition and persecution. [/b]

Or, Secondly, In general, to Christ's person and preaching, which they were offended at and prejudiced against. Those things that are false, and designed to impose upon men, commonly appear best when they are judged of according to the outward appearance, they appear most plausible prima facie—at the first glance. It was this that gained the Pharisees such an interest and reputation, that they appeared right unto men (Matt. xxiii. 27, 28), and men judged of them by that appearance, and so were sadly mistaken in them. "But," saith Christ, "be not too confident that all are real saints who are seeming ones."

With reference to himself, his outward appearance was far short of his real dignity and excellency, for he took upon him the form of a servant (Phil. ii. 7), was in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. viii. 3), had no form nor comeliness, Isa. liii. 2. So that those who undertook to judge whether he was the Son of God or no by his outward appearance were not likely to judge righteous judgment. The Jews expected the outward appearance of the Messiah to be pompous and magnificent, and attended with all the ceremonies of secular grandeur; and, judging of Christ by that rule, their judgment was from first to last a continual mistake, for the kingdom of Christ was not to be of this world, nor to come with observation. If a divine power accompanied him, and God bore him witness, and the scriptures were fulfilled in him, though his appearance was ever so mean, they ought to receive him, and to judge by faith, and not by the sight of the eye. See Isa. xi. 3, and 1 Sam. xvi. 7. Christ and his doctrine and doings desire nothing but righteous judgment; if truth and justice may but pass the sentence, Christ and his cause will carry the day.

[b]We must not judge concerning any by their outward appearance, not by their titles, the figure they make in the world, and their fluttering show, but by their intrinsic worth, and the gifts and graces of God's Spirit in them."[/b]

[url=]Matthew Henry[/url]

 2008/10/13 12:15


This is a great thread, Joy. I was thinking of making my own thread on God's faithful working contentment in me. : ) Someone quoted Jeremiah Burroughs to me because they thought I was acting discontent. Well that's why I like Jeremiah Burroughs because I do struggle with contentment. Oh, I would love to say though I have mastered contentment. Wow, could you imagine that? : ) Hopefully soon, yep God's faithful working in me too sister!

 2008/10/13 12:24


I just read this excellent piece by A.W. Pink on another thread. It fits in well with the topic of judging and censuring our brethren so I thought I would add it for the edification of anyone who might happen to read this thread.

[b]Keep watch over the door of my lips![/b]

(Arthur Pink, "Evil Speaking" 1935)

"Do not speak evil against each other, brethren." James 4:11

That which is here forbidden, is the saying of anything, be it true or false, to the harm of another. God requires that our words should be governed by "the law of kindness" (Proverbs 31:26), and anything which would hurt or injure the reputation of another, is to be rigidly shunned. Whenever I cannot speak well of my brother or sister, I must say nothing at all. To speak evil of others, proceeds from ill will or malice--desiring that they should be made odious in the esteem of others.

It is devilish to take delight in exposing the faults of fellow-Christians, and stirring up prejudice and bitter feelings against them (Rev. 12:10). God requires that our words should agree with love--as well as with truth. Since Christians are brethren, the last thing they should be guilty of is defaming one another!

Except where the glory of God plainly requires it, and the good of that person demands it--we must refrain from all evil speaking of others. If we are duly occupied with and humbled over our own many faults--we shall have neither time nor inclination to dwell upon or publish those of others! If we properly heed the exhortation of Philippians 4:8, we shall cultivate the habit of admiring the graces in our brethren--instead of being like filthy flies, settling on their sores!

Well may we pray, "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord! Keep watch over the door of my lips!" Psalm 141:3

[url=]Taken from this thread[/url]

 2008/12/15 21:02


by Alan Martin

How can we know whether we are walking as advocates or adversaries towards fellow believers and other people in our lives? We can’t know it by truth alone, for truth can be used effectively to advocate or accuse, for and against others. Jesus Christ was sent into this world not merely full of truth, for truth was already in the world through the Law of Moses (Romans 2;20); Christ came full of GRACE and truth! Truth not mixed with grace will produce the same effect that the letter of the law has always produced, DEATH: “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” Commands, principles, rules, and laws, by themselves, can never produce life; rather, its intended purpose was, “That every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”

Few people are aware that the law was actually written down and preserved as a witness against Israel Deuteronomy 31: 24-27 states, “After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord: Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are.” Paul was given great insight into this mystery, and it was he who wrote, “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross,” Colossians 2:14

We would do well to ask ourselves, are we known as advocates for others, or for the many things that we are against. Are we viewed as advocates or adversaries? Many of us have taken clear stands against certain modes of dress, against observance of worldly holidays, against traditional church services, against popular ministries and movements etc; but are we equally known as passionate advocates for sinners in the same way that Christ was while He walked among men. “He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.” Are we known for all the things we are willing to bear? Paul was, “Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Jesus Christ.” Here was a man compelled by the love of Christ, who bore all things, hoped all things, believed all things, and endured all things. How many of us are experiencing this love of Christ?

It is not surprising that it says of Christ, “To Him was given the Spirit without limit,” for He did as He taught. He continually prayed to His Father like the man who went to his neighbor seeking to obtain provisions for them. Christ sought no spiritual highs, no new and exciting experiences; rather, He sought what men needed, grace and reconciliation with God. He was selfless in His seeking, His groans, tears and agonies were for others’ infirmities, and sorrows. He was pierced for our transgression, and took the punishment that brought us peace. How many of us, like Christ, see men’s transgressions clearly, yet not with adversarial eyes? Remember how Paul described Christ’s ministry: “That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” The question is not whether we can see men’s sins clearly, this is no great feat; Satan is better at seeing men’s sins than all of us combined, and he is more than willing to lend us a hand if we have failed to notice a particular fault in someone. The real difference is seen in how we react when we see men’s sins; do we count them against them, or like Christ, see them and rather than count them against men, choose to make intercession as their advocate.

Seeing sin clearly is not a clear manifestation of spirituality or righteousness; who on earth sees sin better than Satan? It is worth noting that the same Greek word used in II Corinthians 5:19 for “counting against” is also found in I Corinthians 13:5, as an attribute of love: “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” In both passages the word denotes that sins were not registered in the memory bank to be used like a prosecutor to prove the criminality of someone. This practice is called “accusation” and comes from the Greek word “katagoras,” we derive our English word “to categorize” from this term. Truth apart from grace serves only to categorize men as sinners and to condemn them as guilty by the light of scripture. Prosecutors use the facts of truth to categorize those they are standing against, and to convince jurors and judges that men or women are guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. If Christ were to take this role towards us, we would all be found guilty beyond all shadow of doubt; however, He chose the role of an advocate pleading not for our innocence, but for our pardon. His groans before the Father came from the perfect love that knew His grace could rehabilitate the vilest sinner He had seen.

Who knew this reality better than Paul, the persecutor, the violent blasphemer, public enemy number one to the church. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst, But for this very reason I was shown mercy so that in me the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would later believe on Him and receive eternal life.” When God wanted to demonstrate His love and patience, He used Saul of Tarsus, who was persecuting Christ Himself, and showered him with grace, love, and mercy; too few know all too little of this love. Can we even endure dull services without powerful praise and worship, or an assembly of people in much need of grace and help form God? There are those who almost boast that they are against Sunday school, against stifling traditions, against One Pastor churches, against Calvanists, against eternal security, against instruments, against contemporary praise choruses etc., etc. and on and on. Such stands, if not taken in the love and grace of Christ, serve only to puff up the mind of the flesh in vain pride unto a subtle form of Gnosticism, the subtle cult of the “we have more knowledge”!

Will we wake up to the reality that when such divisions are among us, they likely indicate what Paul said, “you are completely defeated already!” O that God would raise up men and women who know how to contend for others rather than against them, “striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Where are men like Paul, who say, “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish” and I have become all things to all men that I might possibly when some”? There are families who want no part of feeling obligated to anyone, much less to commit themselves to help a local assembly of believers whose condition repels them. It seems more believers can relate to having dreams like “take my son and flee to Egypt” than are compelled by dreams with “someone in Macedonia saying, come over and help us”; something is very wrong about this picture!

Are we advocates for others, for the church, for the wise and the foolish alike, or are we adversaries taking a firm stand against anything we deem as untrue? What if God were to act towards us in the same way we act towards others; would we experience His patience, kindness, gentleness and mercy; or would we find that He has withdrawn from us like we have from those we have judged as incomplete, or impure? If we would be filled with the Spirit of Christ, it will not be for a self-fulfilling end. Why should God the Father send His precious Spirit just to make us feel good, and enjoy some new spiritual high? This attitude knows nothing of the spirit and purpose of the cross of Christ. Those who spend themselves on behalf of the hungry, who give themselves to make intercession for the transgressors, will be the ones who experience the Spirit of God in power and might. Consider the promises given ONLY to God’s servants in Isaiah 65: 13-14, “My servants will eat, but you will go hungry, my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty, my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of spirit.”

Does this describe our lives: servants with a lavish supply of grace and mercy, sharing spiritual bread with the hungry and destitute? Are we eating and drinking the full supply of the fruit of the Spirit, rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory, singing out of the joy of our hearts? Those ministering in the Spirit experience the “living water flowing out of their inner most being.” If we only live in the truth of the Law, we experience a yoke of bondage that Peter said, “Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?” The Spirit is given to those asking to be filled, not for themselves but to enable them to minister the grace of God to others in need.

One last word just in case someone is wondering: “What about Laodiceans?” We should remember two things: the Spirit directed John to write “to the church of Laodicea” not just about it; secondly, Paul agonized in prayer for (as an advocate) this very church, as did Epaphras. It takes spirit filled, faith filled, and wisdom filled saints, to advocate for the body of Christ, any backslider in heart can categorize and tear down assemblies. One more thing, even Jesus words to John indicated He was knocking on the door seeking to enter rather than exit.

Are we advocates or adversaries?

 2009/5/8 17:12

 Re: Christ Anointed at Bethany

[b]Christ Anointed at Bethany.[/b]

[i]6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her. Matthew 26[/i]

In this passage of story, we have,

I. [b]The singular kindness of a good woman to our Lord Jesus in anointing his head[/b], v. 6, 7.
It was in Bethany, a village hard by Jerusalem, and in the house of Simon the leper. Probably, he was one who had been miraculously cleansed from his leprosy by our Lord Jesus, and he would express his gratitude to Christ by entertaining him; nor did Christ disdain to converse with him, to come in to him, and sup with him. Though he was cleansed, yet he was called Simon the leper. Those who are guilty of scandalous sins, will find that, though the sin be pardoned, the reproach will cleave to them, and will hardly be wiped away. The woman that did this, is supposed to have been Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. And Dr. Lightfoot thinks it was the same that was called Mary Magdalene. She had a box of ointment very precious, which she poured upon the head of Christ as he sat at meat. This, among us, would be a strange sort of compliment. But it was then accounted the highest piece of respect; for the smell was very grateful, and the ointment itself refreshing to the head. David had his head anointed, Ps. xxiii. 5; Luke vii. 46. Now this may be looked upon,

1. As an act of faith in our Lord Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed. To signify that she believed in him as God's anointed, whom he had set king, she anointed him, and made him her king. They shall appoint themselves one head, Hos. i. 11. This is kissing the Son.

2. As an act of love and respect to him. Some think that this was she who loved much at first, and washed Christ's feet with her tears (Luke vii. 38, 47); and that she had not left her first love, but was now as affectionate in the devotions of a grown Christian as she was in those of a young beginner. [i]Note, Where there is true love in the heart to Jesus Christ, nothing will be thought too good, no, nor good enough, to bestow upon him.[/i]

[b]II. The offence which the disciples took at this.[/b]
They had indignation (v. 8, 9), were vexed to see this ointment thus spent, which they thought might have been better bestowed.

1. See how they expressed their offence at it. They said, To what purpose is this waste? Now this bespeaks,

[color=CC0000](1.) Want of tenderness toward this good woman, in interpreting her over-kindness (suppose it was so) to be wastefulness. Charity teaches us to put the best construction upon every thing that it will bear, especially upon the words and actions of those that are zealously affected in doing a good thing, though we may think them not altogether so discreet in it as they might be. It is true, there may be over-doing in well-doing; but thence we must learn to be cautious ourselves, lest we run into extremes, but not to be censorious of others; because that which we may impute to the want of prudence, God may accept as an instance of abundant love. We must not say, Those do too much in religion, that do more than we do, but rather aim to do as much as they.
(2.) Want of respect to their Master. The best we can make of it, is, that they knew their Master was perfectly dead to all the delights of sense; he that was so much grieved for the affliction of Joseph, cared not for being anointed with the chief ointments, Amos vi. 6. And therefore they thought such pleasures ill bestowed upon one who took so little pleasure in them. But supposing that, it did not become them to call it waste, when they perceived that he admitted and accepted it as a token of his friend's love. Note, We must take heed of thinking any thing waste, which is bestowed upon the Lord Jesus, either by others or by ourselves. We must not think that time waste, that is spent in the service of Christ, or that money waste, which is laid out in any work of piety; for, though it seem to be cast upon the waters, to be thrown down the river, we shall find it again, to advantage, after many days, Eccl. xi. 1.

2. See how they excused their offence at it, and what pretence they made for it; This ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. Note, It is no new thing for bad affections to shelter themselves under specious covers; for people to shift off works of piety under colour of works of charity.

III. [b]The reproof Christ gave to his disciples for the offence at this good woman[/b] (v. 10, 11);
[color=CC0000]Why trouble ye the woman? Note, It is a great trouble to good people to have their good works censured and misconstrued; and it is a thing that Jesus Christ takes very ill. He here took part with a good, honest, zealous, well-meaning woman, against all his disciples, though they seemed to have so much reason on their side; so heartily does he espouse the cause of the offended little ones, ch. xviii. 10.[/color]

Observe his reason; You have the poor always with you. Note,

1. There are some opportunities of doing and getting good which are constant, and which we must give constant attendance to the improvement of. Bibles we have always with us, sabbaths always with us, and so the poor, we have always with us. Note, Those who have a heart to do good, never need complain for want of opportunity. The poor never ceased even out of the land of Israel, Deut. xv. 11. We cannot but see some in this world, who call for our charitable assistance, who are as God's receivers, some poor members of Christ, to whom he will have kindness shown as to himself.

2. There are other opportunities of doing and getting good, which come but seldom, which are short and uncertain, and require more peculiar diligence in the improvement of them, and which ought to be preferred before the other; "Me ye have not always, therefore use me while ye have me." Note,
(1.) Christ's constant bodily presence was not to be expected here in this world; it was expedient that he should go away; his real presence in the eucharist is a fond and groundless conceit, and contradicts what he here said, Me ye have not always.
(2.) Sometimes special works of piety and devotion should take place of common works of charity. The poor must not rob Christ; we must do good to all, but especially to the household of faith.

[url=]Matthew Henry's Commentary on Matthew 26[/url]

 2009/8/24 14:30

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