Spiritual Mindedness

by Frank Jones


For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom 8:6)

"Wherefore, the “minding of the Spirit” is the actual exercise of the mind as renewed by the Holy Ghost, as furnished with a principle of spiritual life and light, in its conception of spiritual things and the setting of its affections [inclinations] on them, as finding that relish and savour in them wherewith it is pleased and satisfied. ... “To be spiritually minded;” that is, to have the mind changed and renewed by a principle of spiritual life and light, so as to be continually acted and influenced thereby unto thoughts and meditations of spiritual things, from the affections cleaving unto them with delight and satisfaction. ...

It will therefore be no small advantage unto us to have our souls and consciences always affected with and in due subjection unto the power of this truth,—namely, that “to be spiritually minded is life and peace;” whence it will follow, that whatever we may think otherwise, if we are not so, we have neither of them, neither life nor peace. It will, I say, be of use unto us if we are affected with the power of it; for many greatly deceive themselves in hearing the word. They admit of sacred truths in their understanding, and assent unto them, but take not in the power of them on their consciences, nor strictly judge of their state and condition by them, which proves their ruin; for hereby they seem to themselves to believe that whereof in truth they believe not one syllable as they ought. They hear it, they understand it in the notion of it, they assent unto it, at least they do not contradict it, yea, they commend it oftentimes and approve of it, but yet they believe it not; for if they did, they would judge themselves by it, and reckon on it that it will be with them at the last day according as things are determined therein. ...

When there is in any a love of earthly things that is predominant, whence a person may be rightly denominated to be earthly minded, he is not, nor can be, spiritually minded at all; he hath no interest in the frame of heart and spirit intended thereby. And thus it is evidently with the greatest part of them who are called Christians in the world, let them pretend what they will to the contrary." (John Owen, Of Spiritual Mindedness, vol. 7, 270-273)


Man's Great End (Valley of Vision)

by Frank Jones


LORD OF ALL BEING,

There is one thing that deserves my greatest care,
that calls forth my ardent desires,

That is, that I may answer the great end for which I am made –
to glorify thee who hast given me being,
and to do all the good I can for my fellow men;

Verily life is not worth having
if it be not improved for this noble purpose.

Yet, Lord, how little is this the thought of mankind!

Most men seem to live for themselves,
without much or any regard for thy glory,
or for the good of others;

They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue
the riches, honours, pleasures of this life,
as if they supposed that wealth, greatness, merriment,
could make their immortal souls happy;

But, alas, what false delusive dreams are these!

And how miserable ere long will those be that sleep in them,
for all our happiness consists in loving thee,
and being holy as thou art holy.

O may I never fall into the tempers and vanities,
the sensuality and folly of the present world!

It is a place of inexpressible sorrow, a vast empty nothingness;

Time is a moment, a vapour,
and all its enjoyments are empty bubbles,
fleeting blasts of wind,
from which nothing satisfactory can be derived;

Give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee,
and to reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter,
together with all sinful pleasures or profits.

Help me to know continually
that there can be no true happiness,
no fulfilling of thy purpose for me,
apart from a life lived in and for the Son of thy love.

(Valley of Vision, 22-23)


Entangling Our Affections

by Frank Jones


"When the world fills our thoughts, it will entangle our affections. ... Hence men walk and talk as if the world were all, when comparatively it is nothing." (John Owen)


Terror of Conscience

by Frank Jones


"Our heavenly Father does not usually cause us to seek the Saviour till He has whipped us clean out of all our confidence; He cannot make us in earnest after heaven till He has made us feel something of the intolerable tortures of an aching conscience, which is a foretaste of hell." (Charles H. Spurgeon)


Gospel Progressing in Conflict

by Frank Jones


"The suffering of the Puritans, the illustrations in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, the bloody strictures of Bonner and his crew, the Pope and his crew, the progress made for truth and the gospel through stocks, prison, burnings, and blood permeated Spurgeon’s understanding of mission theology. That they did not count their lives dear to themselves in comparison to the great calling of working for the defense and propagation of the gospel—such scenes settled in Spurgeon’s memory and molded his conscience. God’s gospel would make progress when its propagators looked death in the face and did not relent. The issues of eternity overwhelm any temporal and, relatively speaking, momentary suffering that a gospel missionary might endure. When Baptist missionaries returned from Ireland because the Irish hooted them, and threw stones at them, Spurgeon snarled, “Now don’t you think you see Paul taking a microscope out of his pocket, and looking at a little man who should say to him, ‘I shall not go there to preach, because the Irish hooted me!’” What a small edition of a preacher such an intimidated creature must be. But they threw stones! Tell that to Paul with a face unashamed. But the police interfered, they might put us in stocks, and some might even die. “Our business is to preach the word,” Spurgeon responded; “Where is that zeal which counted not its life dear, so that it might win Christ?” The killing of a few of our ministers would prosper Christianity, he preached; if men die by the hundreds and thousands in defense of hearth and home, so surely it is no great grief to lose a dozen to death in the cause of the gospel. “I would count my own blood most profitably shed in so holy a struggle,” Spurgeon affirmed. When the gospel prospered aforetime, it did so because some laid down their lives for it and others walked “to victory over their slain bodies.” (Nettles, T. J. Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Revised edition ed.). Mentor, 25.)


God in Action

by Frank Jones


And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers (1 The 2:13)

"Paul's conviction that the preached word of God 'is at work in you believers' is similar to the view of the Old Testament prophets that God's word is God's deed: God's word goes out into the world as a powerful force that accomplishes his purposes. Peter also echoes this belief when he reminds his readers: 'You have been born anew ... through the living and abiding word of God.' If anyone should wonder what that word of God is precisely, Peter explains: 'That word is the good news which was preached to you' (1 Pet 1:23, 25). Like the prophets and Paul, Peter is convinced of the power of the preached word. that power is not some magical force in the words themselves but is the power of God whose word it is, for the gospel 'is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith' (Rom 1:16). The New Testament, therefore, views preaching as 'God in action.' Preaching is not merely a word about God and his redemptive acts but a word of God and as such is itself a redemptive event. (Greidanus, S. The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature, 5)


Authority in the Word

by Frank Jones


"Because God gave them his word, the [Old Testament] prophets were able to proclaim: Thus says the Lord, and Hear the word of the Lord! Since the prophets proclaimed God's word, their preaching was authoritative. This relationship suggests that the authority of the prophets did not reside, ultimately, in their person, their calling, or their office; rather, their authority was founded in the word of God they proclaimed." (Greidanus, S. The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature, 2)


The Word Effecting its Purpose

by Frank Jones


"In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God laid the foundation for the redemption of all people, but this redemptive event had to be proclaimed in order to become effective. Paul in particular underscores the indispensability of preaching. After quoting the Old Testament promise that every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved, he asks in Rom 10:14-15: But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent?" (Greidanus, S. The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature, 3)


No One Good but God

by Frank Jones


"Thou bottomless fountain of all good, I give myself to thee out of love, for all I have or own is thine, my goods, family, church, self, to do with as thou wilt, to honor thyself by me, and by all mine.

If it be consistent with thy eternal counsels, the purpose of thy grace, and the great ends of thy glory, then bestow upon me the blessings of thy comforts; if not, let me resign myself to thy wiser determinations." (The Valley of Vision, The All-Good, 11)


God, My Savior

by Frank Jones


"Give me to feel a need of his continual saviourhood, and cry with Job, 'I am vile', with Peter, 'I perish', with the publican, 'Be merciful to me, a sinner'. Subdue in me the love of sin, let me know the need of [renewing] as well as forgiveness, in order to serve and enjoy thee for ever." (The Valley of Vision, God the Source of All Good, 6)


Let the Word of Christ Abide

by Frank Jones


"I would have every Christian wish to know all that he can know of revealed truth. Somebody whispers that the secret things belong not to us. You may be sure you will never know them if they are secret; but all that is revealed you ought to know, for these things belong to you and to your children. Take care you know what the Holy Ghost teaches. Do not give way to a faint-hearted ignorance, lest you be great losers thereby" (Charles Spurgeon, MTP, 1891:318).