Saturday, June 27, 2009

When In Doubt

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Romans 14:23
I would leave all such questions [about debatable amusements] to a Christian's own judgment, but let him always remember that, although a thing may be right to other people, it may be wrong to him; and it is wrong to him if he has any doubts about it. The apostle Paul said, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin;" that is, whatever a man cannot do, believing it to be right, is sin to him. If I have any doubt about anything, it is sin to me; though it may not be sinful in itself. Conscience must be the great judge on those points that do not involve morality or immorality; and we thank our God that He has given each of us who know His Name that inward Monitor, the Holy Spirit, who is infinitely superior to our own conscience, and if we go on our knees, and ask Him for direction, we shall not be misled as to our amusements or anythinge else. Our Puritanical forefathers may have been a little too strict, but many, nowadays, have become a great deal too loose. If we became more holy by being more Puritanic and precise, both the Church of Christ and the world at large would have good reason to rejoice.

--Charles Spurgeon, Autobiography Volume 2: The Full Harvest, p.121.
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 1:17

Friday, June 26, 2009

For The Sake Of His Name

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God...to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations...
Romans 1:1,5
The highest of missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God...), but rather zeal--burning and passionate zeal--for the glory of Jesus Christ...Only one imperialism is Christian...and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire.

--John Stott, as quoted by John Piper in Let The Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, p.9.
In other words, spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lost Sons, Prodigal God


And [Jesus] said, "There was a man who had two sons..."
Luke 15:11
Jesus Christ, who had all the power in the world, saw us enslaved by the very things we thought would free us. So he emptied himself of his glory and became a servant (Philippians 2). He laid aside the infinities and immensities of his being and, at the cost of his life, paid the debt of our sins, purchasing us the only place our hearts can rest, in his Father's house.

Knowing he did this will transform us from the inside out...Why wouldn't you want to offer yourself to someone like this? Selfless love destroys the mistrust in our hearts toward God that makes us either younger brothers or elder brothers.

John Newton, the author of the hymn "Amazing Grace," wrote another hymn that puts this perfectly:

Our pleasure and our duty,
though opposite before,
since we have seen his beauty
are joined to part no more.

In a few short words Newton outlines our dilemma. The choice before us seems to be to either turn from God and pursue the desires of our hearts, like the younger brother, or repress desire and do our moral duty, like the older brother. But the sacrificial, costly love of Jesus on the cross changes that. When we see the beauty of what he has done for us, it attracts our hearts to him. We realize that the love, the greatness, the consolation, and the honor we have been seeking in other things is here. The beauty also eliminates our fear. If the Lord of the Universe loves us enough to experience this for us, what are we afraid of? To the degree we "see his beauty" we will be free from the fear and neediness that creates either younger brothers or elder brothers.

John Newton's friend, the poet William Cowper, treats this idea in another hymn:

To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,
and hear his pardoning voice,
changes a slave into a child
and duty into choice.

We will never stop being younger brothers or elder brothers until we acknowledge our need, rest by faith, and gaze in wonder at the work of our true elder brother, Jesus Christ.

--Tim Keller, The Prodigal God, p.87-89.
The problem with the lost older brother is that he isn't a hedonist. The problem with the lost younger brother is that his hedonism is misdirected. So what's the alternative to being a lost son? There's only one: properly directed hedonism in the prodigal God who pursues us relentlessly at infinite cost to Himself. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

This book is a must read for believers and non-believers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Small Decisions Are Really The Biggest

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Luke 16:10
"Your danger and mine is not that we become criminals, but rather that we become respectable, decent, commonplace, mediocre Christians. The twentieth-century temptations that really sap our spiritual power are the television, banana cream pie, the easy chair and the credit card. The Christian wins or loses in those seemingly innocent little moments of decision.

Lord, make my life a miracle!"

--Raymond C. Ortlund, Lord, Make My Life A Miracle, page 151.
HT: Christ Is Deeper Still

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Therefore...Let's Go!



Jesus…suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
Hebrews 13:12-14 (emphasis added)
I don’t think the word therefore every felt mightier than it did for me when I heard John Piper read these verses in Kentucky in April of 2008 as he drew near to the end of preaching a sermon called How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice (video above). The words blasted into my heart like a lightning bolt out of heaven:

Therefore…Let’s go!

Where Lord?

I left Kentucky that day without hearing an answer to my question. But I would have my answer within a couple of weeks. I received a call from my dad the day after I got home from Kentucky informing me that his father, who lives in Kenya, had just died. And he asked me if I would accompany him to Kenya for the burial. So in May of 2008 I traveled to Kenya, the native homeland of my parents, for an unexpected and unplanned trip that lasted less than a week. I got on an airplane to Kenya for the purpose of attending my grandfather’s burial. And I flew home just a few days later having encountered God at a burning bush and having an answer to the question I had asked Him only a few weeks earlier in Kentucky.

The first sign that God was trying to get my attention came when I was sitting in my grandfather’s funeral listening to one of my distant relatives speaking about her memories of my grandfather. She was much younger than me (about 15) and was visibly moved as she communicated all the ways that grandpa taught her about the value of hard work and the importance of always doing her best in order to be successful because it always pays off. I didn’t doubt for one moment that this was true about my grandfather because, throughout my life, my father has always taught me the same thing. And my uncles have always taught me the same thing. That’s how they were able to immigrate to America. And that’s how they’ve lived their lives in America ever since. They have done so because they learned it from their father and this is what I was hearing testimony of as I sat in my grandfather’s funeral that day. For many in Kenya, America and all that it has to offer represents the greatest payoff that hard work and success can secure. Why else would a relative that I was meeting for only the first time, knowing that I was from America, ask me, “What did you bring me?”? From his perspective, if I am from America, then I must be rich and his hope is that I’ll share my wealth with him. Well, compared to all of the people I came into contact with in Kenya, I am rich and so are my parents and all my uncles and aunts who have immigrated to America from Kenya. And whenever they travel back to Kenya, my parent, uncles, and aunts always bring some of that wealth to share. As I sat there listening to this account of the legacy left by my grandfather, the Holy Spirit impressed these words of Jesus upon my heart: If you then have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches (Luke 16:11)? There are two kinds of wealth Jesus contrasts in this verse: unrighteous wealth (worldly riches) and true riches (eternal riches). In that moment, it was as though Jesus was saying to me that in Kenya everyone expects the Americans to bring the unrighteous wealth when they come. And then He left me with this question: But who’s going to bring them the true riches? In light of the legacy that my grandfather has passed on to his sons after probably having received it from his own father, I sensed Jesus asking me what I wanted my legacy to be. I could continue the pattern and pass on to the generation after me a legacy associated with unrighteous wealth or, by the grace of God, I could shatter it and begin a new pattern of passing on the legacy associated with the true riches that Jesus speaks of. To be honest, I didn’t like the implications of what I was hearing so I didn’t think much of it.

But on the last night that I spent in Kenya before leaving, God would capture my attention in an undeniable way to confirm that He was speaking to me that day at my grandfather’s funeral. I spent that last night at the home of a dear friend of mine who is an unbeliever. We spoke much about Jesus that night and he said something to me that I don’t think I’ll ever forget because I didn’t know how to respond. Though I don’t remember the exact words, it was something like this: I’ve been to church before and they talk about a lot of things but it’s not about God. Even if I wanted to know God, who is there to teach me? And I felt my heart break like Jesus’ must have when He saw the crowds that were harassed and helpless, as sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Emotionally overwhelmed, I told my friend that I needed to spend time alone with the Lord. So he excused me to my bedroom where I began to pour out my heart to the Lord in prayer, asking Him why He was burdening my heart in this way and what He wanted me to do about it. What did He want me to do about my dear friend who was like a sheep without a shepherd that I didn’t know where to send and who I would soon be leaving? What did He want me to do about the cousin I had talked to only days earlier who told me that she didn’t know what churches and pastors she could trust since, according to her, one of the easiest ways for someone to earn a comfortable living is to open a church and exploit the congregation by collecting from them in order to fund his desired lifestyle? I don’t remember exactly how, but somehow as I prayed that night the Holy Spirit directed me to Hebrews 11:24-27, which in that moment became for me a burning bush at which I encountered the living God as He re-preached to me the message He had preached to me only a couple of weeks earlier in Kentucky.
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
Hebrews 11:24-27
It wasn’t the first time I had read these four verses. I had just heard them read and preached on in Kentucky. But in that moment the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see something in these verses that I didn’t see in Kentucky and that I had never before seen: I’m Moses. I trembled as I saw all the parallels between Moses’ life and my life that had never before occurred to me:

  • Moses was born and raised in Egypt even though he was ethnically an Israelite, having been born to two Israelite parents. I was born and raised in America even though I am ethnically Kenyan, having been born to two Kenyan parents.
  • Moses wasn’t just born and raised in Egypt. He was born and raised as an Egyptian of highest privilege, being the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. I wasn’t just born and raised in America. I was born and have been raised as an American of highest privilege, being a graduate of Stanford University, receiving one of the most highly marketable degrees they offer (Computer Science), and I work for a top-tier high tech corporation making a prince’s salary.
  • Moses made these decisions as a grown up. I’m no longer living in dependence on my parents.
  • Moses joyfully chose to identify with the Israelites and leave Egypt in spite of all the comfort and pleasures that he could have enjoyed in Egypt. I…
I’m all setup to follow in the footsteps of Moses. The question is: will I? For Moses, the people of God were the Israelites because God was only the God of one nation at that time. For me, the people of God are the people of God in Kenya since God is no longer the God of one nation but is the God of all nations and continues to call to Himself those from every tribe, tongue, and people group. God’s call on my life from these verses is so clear and compelling to me not only because I see myself in these verses, but because of where I was when I first saw myself in these verses and what I had asked the Lord only weeks earlier. It’s impossible for me to convey the significance of this revelation about Kenya coming to me in Kenya other than to say that it was an encounter with God at a burning bush.

Where Lord?

Kenya.

I wept greatly that night as I thought about leaving everything I’ve ever known to come and live in Kenya, a place that I’ve spent no more than six total weeks of my life in. And I prayed that night that God wouldn’t let me wake up and think that this was all just a dream even though part of me wished that would happen. I told God that night that I was wholly surrendered to Him and I would do whatever He wanted me to do. He just needed to make the way straight by opening a door in Kenya and showing me when He wants me to come.

One year later, He’s answered part of that prayer by connecting me to a dear family that is faithfully serving His church in Kenya. I’ll be spending two weeks with them learning about their ministry and praying that God would answer the other part of my prayer by showing me when He wants me to come to Kenya and what my role will be when I come. Lord willing, I depart for Kenya on June 27th (one week from today) and will return on July 12th. I would love your prayers for me over these next several weeks:

  • That God would enable me to discern with open eyes and ears and a surrendered heart, first and foremost, if He indeed wants me to be in Kenya. Please pray for confirmation of what I feel He has been leading me in and, if so, for wisdom to discern when the right time to go is and what particular ministry He is calling me to.
  • That God would grant me great compassion for the people of Kenya and sensitivity to the needs of His church in Kenya so that I might know how to best serve and pray for them and not view them through the lens of American church culture.
  • That God would grant me sweet fellowship and oneness of heart and mind with Pastor Daniel, his son Josiah, and the rest of their family, who I will be staying with as we pray and plan and dream of seeing more gospel transformation in Kenya and among the nations for the glory of Christ.
  • That God would grant me grace to preach His Word in a way that would above all exalt Jesus while building up and encouraging His people, especially for the high school students I will have the opportunity to speak to. I’m praying for God to give them a holy ambition to make a name for Christ and that somehow my life would be undeniable evidence, if any of them seek the privilege I have been granted, that there is something more secure, more durable, more enduring, more life-giving, more joy-producing, and infinitely greater to seek after.
You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many…For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 1:11, 4:15
Thank you for holding me up in prayer. May our lives be spent outside the camp as we labor to bring as many with us to be with Jesus where He is.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jesus Is The Manna

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna...
Revelation 2:17
But the manna, most assuredly, is Jesus Himself. Let's look again in John 6 at his stunning claim.

"Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst...I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." (John 6:31-35, 48-51)

The promise to those who conquer in Revelation 2:17, therefore, is the assurance that they will feast forever on the person of Christ. That's a wonderful thought, a moving metaphor, but what does it mean?

It means that Jesus, and only Jesus, will be the sustenance of our body and soul for all eternity. On him alone shall we spiritually feed and draw strength. He is the source of our ongoing and eternal life. We are forever dependent on the infusion of his grace and mercy, upheld in existence by the exertion of his marvelous power.

It means we will experience, in relation with him, depths of intimacy utterly inconceivable in our present state of being. Our fallen minds cannot conceive the dimensions of spiritual ecstasy that await us in the ages to come. Our deceitful hearts cannot fathom the spiritual joy we'll feel forever as the magnitude of his affection for us is made known afresh each moment of each passing day.

It means that when it comes to our knowledge of his personality and the glory and wisdom of his ways, words such as consummation and termination and completion will be utterly out of place. The revelation of his character will be eternally incessant. The display of heretofore unknown facets of his beauty will suffer no lack.

It means that we will never grow weary of seeing his splendor or become bored with the disclosure of his grace. Jesus, as the manna of eternal life, will be an infinite supply of refreshment and joy and affirmation and delight.

It means that just as eating now brings a physical satisfaction, as hunger pains are silenced and cravings are met, so the "bread of life" will satisfy our souls and enrich our resurrected bodies and fascinate our glorified minds beyond our wildest and most outrageous dreams.

It means that Jesus will be for us an endless, self-replenishing spring of refreshing water, an inexhaustible, infinitely abundant source of excitement and intrigue, an eternal, ever-increasing database of knowledge and insight and discovery that will never diminish in its capacity to enthrall and captivate.

It means that because of Jesus, and Jesus alone, we will experience the odd but glorious sensation of never being deficient but always desiring increase, of ever being filled but constantly hungry for more.

--Sam Storms, To The One Who Conquers: 50 Daily Meditations on the Seven Letters of Revelation 2-3, p.96-97.
Now that's a mouthful. And yet those are only crumbs falling from the table of one who is eating. Let us eat the Bread and not merely the crumbs!

Friday, June 12, 2009

See Him

...for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
Hebrews 11:27
"On these pages you will find the living Christ and you will see Him more fully and more clearly than if He stood before you, before your very eyes."

Erasmus' preface to his Greek New Testament, quoted in Earl D. Radmacher, editor, Can We Trust The Bible?, page 92.
HT: Christ Is Deeper Still

Freedom Summit Online

I was able to attend the Freedom Summit, a two-day conference on modern day slavery and human trafficking, only a month ago. It rocked my world, to say the least, and I'm still feeling the tremors as I work out the implications for my life as one who has been a recipient of God's mercy in the gospel of His glorious Son. All the sessions have now been posted online. I highly recommend taking the time to watch or listen to them, especially Bethany Hoang of the International Justice Mission in plenary session #2, whose message God used to most deeply impact me.

Update: Shortly after writing this, I read this headline: Zimbabwe girls trade sex for food. And I continue to ask myself: How does the gospel demand my response? There's no doubt in my mind and heart that it does demand my response. I continue to seek the Lord to figure out how.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How Moses and Paul Lived Like They Did

Moses:
He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Hebrews 11:26
Paul:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him...
Philippians 3:7-9
And us?



HT: Desiring God Blog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Plea

I preached as never sure to preach again,
And as a dying man to dying men.
--Richard Baxter



HT: Challies

Friday, June 05, 2009

Real Vision

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
--C.S. Lewis


Verse 1 - Trip Lee:
Look I don't know what they told you but if it don't match up/With His holy Word then homie they need to back up/Some they pretend like they get Him they twisting facts up/That's why we dig in the scriptures to know the Master/Homie, we have to if we want to get past the Only thing we know being what we learned from the Pastor/I really hope your listening, my listeners cause after/We want to see Him clear like a big screen plasma/Half of the cats I seen they don't really know the Lord/They think my views are extreme, think I'm going overboard/But they ain't read a page of the place where He's spoken for Himself in the matters, man that's what I be quoting for/Some say He don't exist, nah that don't even make sense/This Earth is masterpiece somebody had to paint this/Forget the big bang, or evolution and face this/He's the King of Kings and author of all creation/Some say He made it then lets it run like a clock/Nah, He controls every soul and every action on the block/If it happened then He watched and it happens on His watch/No surprise in His eyes, no my God's never shocked

Hook:
I don't know what you heard, I don't know what you heard/I don't know what you heard, hope it matches with the Word/I don't know what you think, I don't know what you think/I don't know what you think, homie time to get it straight

Verse 2 - Tedashii:
Wonderful, Counselor, Masterful/This is Jesus Christ, LORD, all capitals/This is why Trip and I trip after the mass appeal/Of people, who pigeonhole Jesus as a pacifist, Whoa!/A prophet with no power in His plasma/Still we preach against the views that Arius profess to have of Him (look it up!)/Meaning the deifying of Jesus was nothing more than an accident/But the Bible's the proof that refutes and gives us facts on Him/That He was, what His Daddy was Homousia, the God-Man/sent to save us all that He loves/And set us free from sin and shut it down like it was Attica/Anyone disbelieving this truth may want to back it up or back It up/Because the Son of Man is coming that's what's up and at His judgment seat is where you will see/His holy wrath is just/But God is Love, that don't mean He's weak! Hey check His resume/Just cause He lets you breath don't mean He won't take His breath away
Hook

Verse 3 - Trip Lee:
These days in the church, most cats got it twisted/Don't let them fool you on how we posed to live this/For instance, some say to come to Christ for riches/Or maybe your blessing, but my question is what is this?Cause that ain't the gospel, that if you put your faith in Him/To come to the Savior, and then you'll rake that paper in? Face it friends, they made Jesus they holy ATM/Paul would appalled, this gospel would be disgrace to Him/This false gospel strips Him of His flyness/He's more like your servant and less like His Highness/So please don't buy it, that idea is absurd/Jesus said the Christian life can be strife and it's filled with hurt/ Look homie I would hate for, cats to get that fake stuff/And never know it's wrong cause they wont open a page up/I pray we erase the wrong views and embrace the Holy Word that testifies to us about the Savior

They're playing this on national television (BET)! Vote for it to be best video!

Jesus Everything

...Christ in [me], the hope of glory...
Colossians 1:27

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Alone And In The Sight Of Babylon

"All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O King, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it can not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked." Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction. When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.
Daniel 6:7-11
If we practice our religion on the reservation and do not attempt to bring it out into the real world, the world will tolerate us. But if we determine to take a stand on any important issue on the basis of genuine religious principle, the fury of our secular society will break all bounds.

...

I want you to see two things about Daniel at this point. First, Daniel was the smallest of all possible minorities at this time--a minority of one--but although he was only one man among many hostile enemies, he was the one man who knew the true state of affairs in this struggle. Darius did not know what was going on. He had not even been able to see through the strategy of the administrators and satraps, and he perceived nothing of the spiritual struggle. The conspirators did not understand the situation. They did not know Daniel's God, and they though it would be an easy thing to get Daniel executed.

At this time Daniel probably did not even have the support of his three friends, for they are not mentioned as they were in the incident involving Nebuchadnezzar's dream (cf. Daniel 2:17-18). Either they had been transferred to other parts of the empire or they had die; Daniel was now elderly. Here was one man standing alone in the midst of an utterly pagan culture. All were against him. Any who knew his convictions would have laughed at them. Yet in all this vast empire Daniel was the one man who really had it together. He knew that there was a true God, and he knew who that true God was. He knew that God was powerful. He knew that God could deliver him, if he chose to do so. Above all, he knew that obeying and serving the one true God had to be the supreme goal in his life.

That leads to the second important thing about Daniel, namely, what he knew he practiced openly. Some people maintain their belief in God privately and confess him if asked. But they do not want to offend anyone. They do not want to be seen as religious. So they back off. They retreat. They privatize their convictions. Daniel did not do that, and in this he showed true greatness. Instead of hiding his convictions, he knelt before his window in the sight of Babylon and prayed as he had always done.

We need more Daniels. We need more people who are willing to bring their awareness of God and his laws off reservation, who are willing to open their windows and honor him before a watching world.

--James Montgomery Boice, Daniel, An Expositional Commentary, p. 70-71.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Get Into The Ark!

By faith Noah ... constructed an ark for the saving of his household.
Hebrews 11:7
So here was a temporal salvation in an ark, which was a figure of our spiritual deliverance by Christ. There is a great deal of similitude between Christ and the ark. The ark was the only means of salvation, and so is Jesus Christ: Acts 4. 12, 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.' If they had builded towers, and gone up to the tops of mountains, though they were of a giant-like stature, they could not escape the flood that overwhelmed them. So all other things are but vain confidences; though you are strict and severe in life, and practise many duties, yet out of Christ they signify nothing. So again, all without the ark perished in the waters. Many saw the ark; but unless they entered into it, they were not safe. So, though you hear of Christ, and are of this opinion that there is a Christ, yet unless you be in Christ it will not avail you anything; there is salvation in no other, and you must be in him before you can have any benefit by him. Therefore say as the apostle, 'Oh that I might be found in him,' Philippians 3.9; that I may not only know Christ outwardly, but that there might be a real union between him and me. And look, as all that were gathered into the ark, so all tht shall be saved shall be added and gathered to the church: Acts 2.47, 'The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.' Those that were out of the ark, though many of them had large possessions and a great deal of money, yet that would not avail them. So 'riches profit not in the day of wrath,' Proverbs 11.4. When God comes to take us away in judgment, our estates which we idolise will be our greatest burden, and sit heavy upon our consciences; they will be a trouble and no profit to us. Again, those that were once in the ark were sure and safe, and could not miscarry. So there is a sure salvation in Christ; once in Christ, and salvation for ever; all the floods of calamity can never overwhelm them, they will be your safety, and not your ruin. The flood mounted the ark higher, and made it safe from rocks. There is a notable expression of the apostle, 1 Peter 3.20, 'They were saved by water,' the water that drowned others saved them, by hoisting up of the ark from the hills and mountains; so all those conditions of life which to the wicked are a snare, shall be to you a blessing. When floods arise, this will be a great advantage; afflictions and outward blessings are all faithful administrations.

Again, as Noah was buried alive in the ark for a good while, then had a joyful deliverance; so we are 'buried with Christ in baptism,' Romans 6.4, mortified with affliction; and we should live as if we were dead to the pomps of the world, and then the end will be glorious as it was to Noah. He came out and enjoyed the whole world; so shall we when we are delivered from the prison of the body; when our souls go forth as Noah out of the ark, we shall reign and triumph with Christ for evermore. Oh then, get into the ark, get an interest in Christ. Noah prepared the ark himself; but the Lord hath prepared an ark for us; all things are ready, there [lacks] nothing but our faith. The ark is built to our hands, and Christ is a complete saviour, fit to shelter us and save us. Oh, let us enter into this ark!

--Thomas Manton, Works of Thomas Manton, Volume 14, p. 204-205.