I’m walking with Jesus . . .
I embarked on a journey on January 1, 2023, to walk with Jesus daily. This is the name of one reading plan on our church website, “Walking with Jesus.” This reading plan is a one-year plan that will take you through the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament, as well as a few Old Testament passages, ordered to help you better understand the identity of Jesus Christ.
Take a look at the plan here or click the “resource” link in the top menu on gracechurchcc.com to explore other Bible reading plans. Do you have a daily Bible reading plan? If not I encourage you to start one today.
My prayer to God is that He will open my eyes more and more to Christ’s heart for his people (including me). The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalm 119:18). I ask the Father to “Open my eyes that I may see the heart of Jesus and conform my heart to His. Grant me grace to walk the walk and talk the talk more like Jesus.”
The Holy Spirit is my guide!
But, I’ve been on the journey with two other brothers: J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) and Matthew Henry (1662-1714). Their pens have been a blessing. Both of these men draw out the heart of Christ from the Scriptures.
Meditating on Christ’s heart is a must for our sanctification, our joy, our peace, our assurance.
Here are a few comments from J.C. Ryle regarding Luke 17:1-2. They will convict, and call us not to look into our own hearts, but meditate more and more on our loving Savior’s heart.
“And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”Luke 17:1-2
“We are taught for one thing in these verses, the great sinfulness of putting stumbling-blocks in the way of other men’s souls. The Lord Jesus says, “Woe unto him through whom offences come! It were better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”
“When do men make others stumble? When do they cause “offenses” to come? They do it, beyond doubt, whenever they persecute believers, or endeavor to deter them from serving Christ.—But this, unhappily, is not all. Professing Christians do it whenever they bring discredit on their religion by inconsistencies of temper, of word, or of deed. We do it whenever we make our Christianity unlovely in the eyes of the world, by conduct not in keeping with our profession. The world may not understand the doctrines and principles of believers But the world is very keen-sighted about their practice.
“The sin against which our Lord warns us was the sin of David. When he had broken the seventh commandment, and taken the wife of Uriah to be his wife, the prophet Nathan said to him, “Thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.” (2 Sam. 12:14.) It was the sin which St. Paul charges on the Jews, when he says, “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you.” (Rom. 2:24.) It is the sin of which he frequently entreats Christians to beware:—“Give none offence, neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God.” (1 Cor. 10:32.)
“The subject is a deeply searching one. The sin which our Lord brings before us is unhappily very common. The inconsistencies of professing Christians too often supply the men of the world with an excuse for neglecting religion altogether. An inconsistent believer, whether he knows it or not, is daily doing harm to souls. His life is a positive injury to the Gospel of Christ.
“Let us often ask ourselves whether we are doing good or harm in the world. We cannot live to ourselves, if we are Christians. The eyes of many will always be upon us. Men will judge by what they see, far more than by what they hear. If they see the Christian contradicting by his practice what he professes to believe, they are justly stumbled and offended. For the world’s sake, as well as for our own, let us labor to be eminently holy. Let us endeavor to make our religion beautiful in the eyes of men, and to adorn the doctrine of Christ in all things. Let us strive daily to lay aside every weight, and the sin which most easily besets us, and so to live that men can find no fault in us, except concerning the law of our God. Let us watch jealously over our tempers and tongues, and the discharge of our social duties. Anything is better than doing harm to souls. The cross of Christ will always give offence. Let us not. increase that offence by carelessness in our daily life. The natural man cannot be expected to love the Gospel. But let us not disgust him by inconsistency.
“We are taught, for another thing, in these verses, the great importance of a forgiving spirit. The Lord Jesus says, “if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him, and if he repent, forgive him: and if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him.”
“There are few Christian duties which are so frequently and strongly dwelt upon in the New Testament as this of forgiving injuries. It fills a prominent place in the Lord’s prayer. The only profession we make in all that prayer, is that of forgiving “those who trespass against us.”—It is a test of being forgiven ourselves. The man who cannot forgive his neighbor the few trifling offences he may have committed against him, can know nothing experimentally of that free and full pardon which is offered us by Christ. (Matt. 18:35; Ephes. 4:32.)—Not least, it is one leading mark of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. The presence of the Spirit in the heart may always be known by the fruits He causes to be brought forth in the life. Those fruits are both active and passive. The man who has not learned to bear and forbear, to put up with much and look over much, is not born of the Spirit. (1 John 3:14; Matt. 5:44, 45.)
“The doctrine laid down by our Lord in this place is deeply humbling. It shows most plainly the wide contrariety which exists between the ways of the world and the Gospel of Christ. Who does not know that pride, and haughtiness, and high-mindedness, and readiness to take offence, and implacable determination never to forget and never to forgive, are common among baptized men and women? Thousands will go to the Lord’s table, and even profess to love the Gospel, who fire up in a moment at the least appearance of what they call “offensive” conduct, and make a quarrel out of the merest trifles. Thousands are perpetually quarrelling with all around them, always complaining how ill other people behave, and always forgetting that their own quarrelsome disposition is the spark which causes the flame. One general remark applies to all such persons. They are making their own lives miserable and showing their unmeetness for the kingdom of God. An unforgiving and quarrelsome spirit is the surest mark of an unregenerate heart. What says the Scripture? “Whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Cor. 3:3; 1 John 3:18–20; 4:20.)
“Let us leave the whole passage with jealous self-inquiry. Few passages ought to humble Christians so much, and to make them feel so deeply their need of the blood of atonement, and the mediation of Christ. How often we have given offence, and caused others to stumble! How often we have allowed unkind, and angry, and revengeful thoughts to nestle undisturbed in our hearts? These things ought not so to be. The more carefully we attend to such practical lessons as this passage contains, the more shall we recommend our religion to others, and the more inward peace shall we find in our own souls.”