“The existence of faith does not depend upon intellectual distinctions” (Abraham Kuyper, The Work of the Holy Spirit, 18).
“I’ve known people in as many as six Bible studies per week who grew only in knowledge but not in Christlikeness because they were not applying what they were learning. Their prayer life wasn’t strong, they weren’t influencing lost people with the gospel, their family life was strained. If we will begin to discipline ourselves to determine at least one specific response to the text before walking away from it [Whitney is referring to devotional Bible reading/Bible intake], we will much more rapidly grow in grace. Without this kind of application, we aren’t doers of God’s Word” (Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 61).
Whitney makes a great point about the pro-active approach to reading one’s Bible in private devotions. But the point he makes is just as applicable to the Lord’s Service, which occurs one day in seven.
A sermon should be both thought provoking and convicting enough for one to dwell and meditate on its message the other six days of the week. But meditating for six days on one sermon takes discipline, it takes a pro-active response to hearing God’s Word.
“Providence,” wrote the seraphic Samuel Rutherford, “hath a thousand keys to open a thousand sundry doors for the deliverance of his own, when it is even come to a conclamatum est [“when it is all over with us”]. Let us be faithful, and care for our own part, which is to do and suffer for Him, and lay Christ’s part on Himself, and leave it there. Duties are ours, events are the Lord’s.” The Lord will establish His kingdom in His own time and in His own way. Our task is that of obedience to His revealed word and will (Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Communicator’s Commentary Series, Vol. 19: Daniel, 80-81).
“Solidarity works for good and for evil. It is scarcely necessary to be reminded of the beneficent influences which have emanated from its application in the realm of grace. Redemption in its design, accomplishment, application, and consummation is fashioned in terms of this principle. And in the realm of evil it is a fact of revelation and of observation that God visits “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate” him (Exod. 20:5)” (John Murray, The Imputation of Adam’s Sin, 22).
“Jesus told those who believed in him: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). He also said to them, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Note that being formed as a disciple is prior to knowing the truth. As we submit to discipleship, we learn to be people who are truthful. Truth is not a set of propositions about the world; rather, truth is Jesus Christ. We know truth by coming to know this person and we know this person by learning to pray as he taught us” (William H. Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life, 16).
“We don’t start with the state’s curriculum, and then attempt to find a Bible passage to justify each part. Rather, we start with the Bible and go from there, learning evermore of who God is, of what he has done, and of what he requires of us” (R.C. Sproul Jr., When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling, 96).
“Changed hearts is the goal, the function, the very purpose of education” (R.C. Sproul Jr., When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling, 29).
“In simplest form, the covenant God has made with man is simply this: Love, trust, and obey God . . . and teach your children to do the same. And to take it one step further, we haven’t taught our children to do the same unless or until we have taught them to teach their children” (R.C. Sproul Jr., When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling, 26).
“Thinking that education is something different from discipling our children is a sure sign that we have been “educated” by the state. Education is discipleship” (R.C. Sproul Jr., When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling, 21).
“There really is no naked, simple gospel. It must be spoken in human language and argued carefully” (From the “Foreword” by William Edgar in K. Scott Oliphint, Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith, 13).