Standing for Truth – J.C. Ryle

Let us resist false doctrine, and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Let us not be ashamed of showing our colors and standing out for New Testament truth.   Let us not be stopped by the cuckoo cry of “controversy.”  The thief likes dogs that do not bark, and watchmen that give no alarm.  The devil is a thief and a robber.  If we hold our peace, and do not resist false doctrine, we please him and displease God.

Excerpt from the book “Warnings To The Churches” – J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

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Cross Exchanged For A Crown

J.C. Ryle

Humbling and painful as these truths may sound, it is good for all of us to realize them and take them to heart. The houses we live in, the homes we love, the riches we accumulate, the professions we follow, the plans we formulate, the relations we enter into—they are only for a time. “What is seen is temporary.” “This world in its present form is passing away.” (2 Corinthians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 7:31)

The thought is one that ought to awaken everyone who is living only for this world. If his conscience is not completely seared, it should stir in him a great searching of his heart. Oh, be careful what you are doing! Awake to see things in their true light before it is too late. The things you live for now are all temporary and passing away. The pleasures, the amusements, the recreations, the profits, the earthly callings, which now absorb all your heart and drink up your entire mind, will soon be over. They are poor fleeting things that cannot last. Oh, do not love them too much; do not hold on to them too tightly; do not make them your idols! You cannot keep them, and you must leave them. Seek first the kingdom of God, and then everything else will be given to you. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Oh, you that love the world, get wisdom! Never, never forget that it is written, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (Colossians 3:2; 1 John 2:17)

The same thought ought to cheer and comfort every true Christian. Your trials, crosses, and conflicts are all temporary. They will soon come to an end; and even now they are working for you “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) Receive them patiently; bear them quietly; look upward, forward, onward, and far beyond them. Fight your daily fight under a steadfast conviction that it is only for a little while, and that rest is not far off. Carry your daily cross always remembering that “what is seen is temporary.” The cross will soon be exchanged for a crown, and you will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God.

J.C. Ryle - “Eternity”

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This Must Be a Soldiers Battle

C.H. Spurgeon

Finding ourselves in a community which had no articles of faith, and seeing deadly error rising up, we had no course but to withdraw. Whether others think fit to do so or not is no part of our responsibility; but nothing can free any true believer from the duty of maintaining pure and undefiled religion in its doctrine, as well as in its practice, by every means in his power. The most quiet country minister, the most retiring deacon or elder, the most obscure Christian man or woman—each one must come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

The crisis becomes every day more acute: delays are dangerous; hesitation is ruinous. Whosoever is on the Lord’s side must show it at once, and without fail. Let those who so sadly pine for “another reformation,” and a remodelled creed, stand out and say so, and no longer conceal their sentiments, or eat the bread of men at whose most cherished convictions they are stabbing with might and main. Let these be honest, and let the Evangelicals be true. The church expects every man to do his duty.

(Downgrade Controversy – Dec 1889 Sword and Trowel)

C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

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Hold Fast That Which Is Good

Hold Fast

J.C. Ryle

(1816-1900)

Hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

There are few things in religion which men are so ready to forget as the duty of “contending earnestly for the faith,” and holding fast the truth.

Controversy is seldom popular. Most men like a quiet life in religion. They dislike anything like strife, trouble, contest, and exertion. They will give up much for the specious pretext of securing peace. They are apt to forget that peace procured at the expense of truth is not worth having. In short, they need reminding of St. Paul’s golden words: “Hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 1:21).

Reader, when St. Paul said, “Hold fast,” he wrote as one who knew what the hearts of all Christians are. He knew that our grasp of the Gospel, at our best, is very cold,—that our love soon waxes feeble,—that our faith soon wavers,—that our zeal soon flags,—that familiarity with Christ’s truth often brings with it a species of contempt,—that, like Israel, we are apt to be discouraged by the length of our journey,—and like Peter, ready to sleep one moment and fight the next,—but like Peter, not ready to “watch and pray.” All this St. Paul remembered, and, like a faithful watchman, he cries, by the Holy Ghost, “Hold fast that which is good.”

He wrote as if he foresaw by the Spirit that the good tidings of the Gospel would soon be corrupted, spoiled, and plucked away from the Church. He wrote as one who foresaw that Satan and all his agents would labour hard to cast down Christ’s truth. He wrote as if he would forewarn men of this danger, and he cries, “Hold fast that which is good.”

Reader, the advice is always needed—needed as long as the world stands. There is a tendency to decay in the very best of human institutions. The best visible Church of Christ is not free from this liability to degenerate. It is made up of fallible men. There is always in it a tendency to decay. We see the leaven of evil creeping into many a Church, even in the Apostle’s time. There were evils in the Corinthian Church, evils in the Ephesian Church, evils in the Galatian Church. All these things are meant to be our warnings and beacons in these latter times. All show the great necessity laid upon the Church to remember the Apostle’s word: “Hold fast that which is good.”

Many a Church of Christ since then has fallen away for the want of remembering this principle. Their ministers and members forgot that Satan is always labouring to bring in false doctrine. They forgot that he can transform himself into an angel of light,—that he can make darkness appear light, and light darkness; truth appear falsehood, and falsehood truth. If he cannot destroy Christianity, he ever tries to spoil it. If he cannot prevent the form of godliness, he endeavours to rob Churches of the power. No Church is ever safe that forgets these things, and does not bear in mind the Apostle’s injunction, “Hold fast that which is good.”

Reader, if ever there was a time in the world when Churches were put upon their trial, whether they would hold fast the truth or not, that time is the present time, and those Churches are the Protestant Churches of our own land. Popery, that old enemy of our nation, is coming in upon us in this day like a flood. We are assaulted by open enemies without, and betrayed continually by false friends within. Roman Catholic churches, and chapels, and schools, and conventual and monastic establishments are continually increasing around us. Month after month brings tidings of some new defection from the ranks of the Church of England to the ranks of the Church of Rome. Already the Pope has parcelled our country into bishoprics, and speaks like one who fancies that by and by he shall divide the spoil. Already he seems to foresee a time when England shall be as the patrimony of St. Peter’s, when London shall be as Rome, when St. Paul’s shall be as St. Peter’s, and Lambeth Palace shall be as the Vatican itself. Surely now, or never, we ought all of us to awake, and “hold fast that which is good.”

We supposed, some of us, in our blindness, that the power of the Church of Rome was ended. We dreamed, some of us, in our folly, that the Reformation had ended the Popish controversy, and that if Romanism did survive, Romanism was altogether changed. If we did think so, we have lived to learn that we made a most grievous mistake. Rome never changes. It is her boast that she is always the same. The snake is not killed. He was scotched at the time of the Reformation, but was not destroyed. The Romish Antichrist is not dead. He was cast down for a little season, like the fabled giant buried under Ætna, but his deadly wound is healed, the grave is opening once more, and Antichrist is coming forth. The unclean spirit of Popery is not laid in his own place. Rather he seems to say, “My house in England is now swept and garnished for me; let me return to the place from whence I came forth.”

And, reader, the question is now, whether we are going to abide quietly, sit still and fold our hands, and do nothing to resist the assault. Are we really men of understanding of the times? Do we know the day of our visitation? Surely this is a crisis in the history of our Churches and of our land. It is a time which will soon prove whether we know the value of our privileges, or whether, like Amalek, “the first of the nations,” our “latter end shall be that we perish for ever.” It is a time which will soon prove whether we intend to allow our candlestick to be quietly removed, or to repent and do our first works. If we love the open Bible,—if we love the preaching of the Gospel,—if we love the freedom of reading that Bible, no man letting or hindering us, and the opportunity of hearing that Gospel, no man forbidding us,—if we love civil liberty,—if we love religious liberty,—if these are precious to our souls, we must all make up our minds to “hold fast,” lest by and by we lose all.

Reader, if we mean to hold fast, every parish, every congregation, every Christian man, and every Christian woman, must do their part in contending for the truth.

If we would hold fast that which is good, we must not tolerate or countenance any doctrine that is not the pure doctrine of Christ’s Gospel. There is a hatred that is downright charity: that is the hatred of erroneous doctrine. There is an intolerance which is downright praiseworthy: that is the intolerance of false teaching in the pulpit. Who would ever think of tolerating a little poison given to him day by day? If men come among you who do not preach “all the counsel of God,” who do not preach of Christ, and sin, and holiness, of ruin, and redemption, and regeneration,—or do not preach of these things in a Scriptural way, you ought to cease to hear them. You ought to act upon the injunction given by the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament: “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27). You ought to carry out the spirit shown by the Apostle Paul, in Galatians 1:8 “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed.” If we can bear to hear Christ’s truth mangled or adulterated,—and can see no harm in listening to that which is another Gospel,—and can sit at ease while sham Christianity is poured into our ears,—and can go home comfortably afterwards and not burn with holy indignation,—if this be the case, there is little chance of our ever doing much to resist Rome. If we are content to hear Jesus Christ not put in His rightful place, we are not men and women who are likely to do Christ much service, or fight a good fight on His side. He that is not zealous against error, is not likely to be zealous for truth.

Reader, if you have not yet laid hold on this hope in Christ, seek it at once. Call on the Lord Jesus to give it to you. Give Him no rest till you know and feel that you are His.

If you have laid hold on this hope, hold it fast. Prize it highly, for it will stand by you when everything else fails.

AMEN

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