Sinclair Buchanan Ferguson in words

Words

GoodReads

  1. “You cannot open the pages of the New Testament without realizing that one of the things that makes it so ‘new,’ in every way, is that here men and women call God ‘Father.’ This conviction, that we can speak of the Master of the universe in such intimate terms, lies at the heart of the Christian faith.”
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  2. there are no new heresies, it seems, only old ones masquerading as new.
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, Church History 101: The Highlights of Twenty Centuries
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  3. God demonstrated His wisdom in that, even as people in Europe began despising the gospel, He was already preparing to go somewhere else.”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, Church History 101: The Highlights of Twenty Centuries
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  4. “If the benefits of Christ’s work (justification, reconciliation, adoption, and so on) are abstracted from Christ himself, and the proclamation of the gospel is made in terms of what it offers rather than in terms of Christ himself, the question naturally arises: To whom can I offer these benefits?”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters
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  5. We best defend the Lord’s glory by speaking first TO Him about unbelieving men rather than speaking first ABOUT Him to unbelieving men.
    ― Dr. Sinclair Ferguson
  6. “God’s covenant is his sovereign, freely bestowed, unconditional promise: “I will be your God,” which carries with it a multidimensional implication: therefore “you will be my people.”
    By contrast, a contract would be in the form: “I will be your God if you will live as becomes my people.”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters
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  7. “Jesus did not come to add to our comforts. He did not come to help those who were already helping themselves or to fill life with more pleasant experiences. He came on a deliverance mission, to save sinners, and to do so He had to destroy the works of the Devil (Matt. 1:21; 1 John 3:8b).”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
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  8. “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
    But the final rehearsed words, “Treat me as one of your hired servants” are smothered by his father’s embrace! He will not have his son home only on condition that he “does penance” in order to work his way back into his father’s grace. He does not need to “repent enough” to be accepted.
    Sinclair B. Ferguson. The Whole Christ (Kindle Locations 1913-1916). Crossway.”
    ― Sinclair Ferguson
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  9. “Antinomianism may be couched in doctrinal and theological terms, but it both betrays and masks the heart’s distaste for absolute divine obligation, or duty. That”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters
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  10. What the prophets of God did spiritually, the Prophet of God did quite literally and physically.”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
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  11. “pastors need themselves to have been mastered by the unconditional grace of God. From them the vestiges of a self-defensive pharisaism and conditionalism need to be torn. Like the Savior they need to handle bruised reeds without breaking them and dimly burning wicks without quenching them.
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters
    Link
  12. “When the benefits are seen as abstractable from the Benefactor the issue becomes: 1) For the preacher: “How can I offer these benefits?” and 2) For the hearer: “How can I get these benefits into my life?” But when it is seen that Christ and his benefits are inseparable and that the latter are not abstractable commodities, the primary question becomes: 1) For the preacher: “How do I preach Christ himself?” and 2) For the hearer: “How do I get into Christ?”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters
    Link
  13. The work of atonement took place in the presence of the God of heaven. Indeed, it involved a transaction within the fellowship of the persons of the eternal Trinity in their love for us: the Son was willing, with the aid of the Spirit, to experience the hiding of the Father’s face. The shedding of the blood of God’s Son opened the way to God for us (Acts 20:28). That is both the horror and the glory of our Great High Priest’s ministry.
    Terrible”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
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  14. Man’s insulting God is not reversed by our insulting man.”
    ― Dr. Sinclair Ferguson
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  15. …we are always entertaining the delusion that we will go on forever in this world. The result is that the very things which ought to be of assistance to us in our pilgrimage through life, become chains which bind us.
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction
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  16. In undiluted monergism, He called the galaxies into being, and He gives life to the dead in the same way
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
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  17. “There had been occasions when David could have seized position and power by means that would have compromised his commitment to the Lord.”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
  18. “The Father of Glory does not lurk behind His Son with sinister intent to do us ill, restrained only by the cruel and bloody sacrifice His Son has made! No, a thousand times no! The Father loves us in the love of the Son and the love of the Spirit (John 16:27).”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
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  19. Thus, for example, fruitful Christian service will encourage assurance; we recognize the work of the Spirit creating new desires and dispositions. We
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters
    Link
  20. “To become a Christian believer is to be brought into a reality far grander than anything we could ever have imagined. It means communion with the triune God.
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen
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  21. “Such experiences can make us bewail how the Western world gives itself over annually to its Claus-mass or commerce-mass. We celebrate a reworked pagan Saturnalia of epic proportions, one in which the only connection with the incarnation is semantic. Santa is worshiped, not the Savior; pilgrims go to the stores with credit cards, not to the manger with gifts. It is the feast of indulgence, not of the incarnation.
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
  22. Knowing God is your single greatest privilege as a Christian
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  23. The foundation of worship in the heart is not emotional…it is theological.
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson
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  24. “God protects us from Satan even at times when we are not aware of His protection. But how can we develop Jesus-like discernment? By Spirit-aided digestion of the solid food of God’s wisdom.”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
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  25. “So long as Jesus Christ is there, in heaven before God for us, our salvation will last.”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
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  26. “That life begins with God’s working, not with our “doing.”
    ― Sinclair B. Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
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Grace Quotes

    1. [Pastors], you are the ones most under your ministry.
      Reference: Shepherd’s Conference, 2019.
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    2. Those to whom God is faithful become faithful.
      Reference:   Shepherd’s Conference, 2019.
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    3. If Christ is not ashamed to indwell them I will not be slow to embrace them. Reference:   Union with Christ: Life-Transforming Implications, 2014 Desiring God Conference.
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    4. Pastoral Ministry Candidacy [ Link ]
      1. a) While we will regret setting the bar below the standards of Scripture in recognizing men called to the eldership, we can also in our zeal set it artificially higher than the Scriptures, and fail to recognize that some of the best gifts grow in ministry.

      2. b) Especially remember that “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:3), with its corollary of being able to “rebuke” (Tit. 1:9, i.e. to use the Scriptures for the ends for which they were given [2 Tim. 3:15-16]) does not specify an arena. Some are “able to teach” who are not suited to regular public preaching.

      3. c) Look for men whose lives exhibit the spirit of, as well as an intellectual grasp of, sound doctrine. Orthodoxy with approachability is a great desideratum in an elder (approachability being the very least that “hospitable” means; Tit. 1:8).

      4. d) Pose the most neglected question—”Do outsiders think well of him?” (1 Tim. 3:7)—and ponder why that question is important.

      5. e) Choose those who are already “among” the flock, and the flock “among” them (1 Pet. 5: 2). Moral, domestic, occupational, didactic qualifications being met, ask, “Does this man love the flock and is he beloved by them?” Commitment to corporate prayer is often a litmus test.

      6. f) Avoid appointing those who would commit to loving the flock if they were asked to be elders. Better by far to have men who love the sheep than men who love being shepherds (the former will become the latter, but not vice-versa).

      7. g) Seek men who are simultaneously gentle but prepared to be courageous, and prepared to suffer if need be—to get in front to protect as well as behind to follow! An elder must be capable of both biblical rebuke and gentle restoration (Gal. 6:2). Quieter men, with quiet hearts, are worth their weight in gold and may astonish us by their wisdom.

      8. h) Ask the question, “Would our church be willing, if need be, to pay this man a stipend to labor among us as an elder?” The answer may tell a great deal about his ministry in the flock and his esteem in their eyes.

      9. i) Consider how well a man’s life echoes the principles of the Lord’s shepherding in Psalm 23.

        Reference:   A Pastors’ and Theologians’ Forum on Selecting Elders, IX Marks, Used by Permission.
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    5. Pastoral Perspective
      • If it is important that we learn to know the condition of the hearts of our hearers, the best place to begin is, of course, with our own hearts. Apply the Word there, and we will soon learn to be like surgical attendants: our exposition of the text will become like sterilized knives, perfectly tooled, which we hand to the Spirit for the precise spiritual surgery that our people actually need.
        Reference:   Feed My Sheep, ed. Don Kistler, Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, 2002, p. 208.
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    6. Preaching Effectiveness
      • Preaching to the heart addresses the understanding first, in order to instruct it; but in doing so it also reaches through the mind to inform, rebuke, and cleanse the conscience. It then touches the will in order to reform and transform life and equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12).
        Reference:   Feed My Sheep, ed. Don Kistler, Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, 2002, p. 201.
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      • In the last analysis, this is what preaching to the heart is intended to produce: inner prostration of the hearts of our listeners through a consciousness of the presence and the glory of God. This distinguishes authentic biblical, expository preaching from any cheap substitute for it; it marks the difference between preaching about the Word of God and preaching the Word of God.
        Reference:   Feed My Sheep, ed. Don Kistler, Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, 2002, p. 196.
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    7. Expository Preaching
      • The explanation of Scripture forms the dominant feature and the organizing principle of the message. All preaching should be based on the apostolic kerygma and didache. Exegetical preaching is governed by the goal of expounding the meaning and significance of this “faith once-delivered” in terms of the actual way in which it has been delivered, namely the structure and content of the biblical revelation, in which truth is revealed not in the form of a series of theological or topical loci (God, sin, justification, sanctification; war, money, social ethics, etc.), but through history, parable, narrative, argumentation, poem, and so on. Exegetical preaching therefore sees as its fundamental task the explanation of the text in its context, the unfolding of its principles, and only then their application to the world of hearers.
        Reference:   The Preacher and Preaching: Reviving the Art in the Twentieth Century, ed. Samuel T. Logan, P&R, 1986, p.192-193.
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    8. Creation
      • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). …When these words were first written, they presented a challenge to all religions of the world.  They made a claim for the God of Israel, the God of the BibleHe alone is God; He alone is the Creator.  Ever since, they have challenged the philosophies and world views of mankind, and continue to do so today.  They affirm, without reservation, that the universe in which we live is not an accident, not the chance result of ‘nature’ or ‘evolution.’  It is the handiwork of the living God.
        Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 24, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.
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    9. Spiritual Warfare
      • If the world is not rooted out from our hearts, it will devour them. There must be weeding, if the good seed of grace is to grow. But what weed-killer can we use against the spirit of the world? Here is a potent, three-fold formula from the Bible:

        • a) Recognize that love of the world is the enemy of the love of the Father (1 John 2:15). You cannot have both. You must choose one only. Make the right choice.

        • b) Remember that it was the world that crucified Christ and that it took the sacrifice of the Cross to deliver you from it (Gal. 6:14). How can you negotiate with the spirit which plotted the assassination of your Savior

        • c) Reflect on the fact that the world, in this sense, is transient and ephemeral (1 John 2:17); it is not a solid investment. Devote yourself instead to having “treasure in heaven” (Matt. 6:19-21).

          Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 19-20.
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    10. God’s Call

      • There is a strange ambiguity here. On the one hand, God’s call seems to have its own creative power. On the other hand, God opens His arms and His heart to the rebellious as He calls them, but His summons seems to fall empty on the ground and met with no positive response. It is irresistible, and yet it seems to be rejectable!
        Reference:   The Christian Life, p. 31, 1997, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.
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    11. Healthy Christian Life
      • We must not think that obedience leads to an easier life, nor should we assume that when things fall apart it is always a sign of our specific disobedience – God’s ways with us in the Christian life are usually much more intricate and complex than that!
        Reference:   Healthy Christian Growth, by Permission of the Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 16.
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    12. Depravity – Human Sin – Perspectives

      • Who knows the extent to which we would give in to sin, were we to be given a guarantee of immunity from discovery and exposure?
        Reference:   Heart for God, 1987, p. 90, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.
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    13. Conviction – Deception
      • No one enjoys being cross-examined, or accused of having something wrong in their lives. But as we grow as Christians we come to the painful recognition that we have an almost unlimited capacity for self-deception. We slowly learn that we need to be stopped in our tracks by God. He uses Scripture to do this… We cannot reach our destination if we are travelling in the wrong direction.
        Reference: Healthy Christian Growth, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA. 1991, p. 5.
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      • There can be few more alarming sights than the sight of what we would be were we left to ourselves, of what we are by nature in and of ourselves. It is a sight which few of us are able to bear for any length of time. That is why such experiences are usually brief, pointed but not prolonged. God shows us enough to make us see our need, to break down any illusions we may have had about ourselves. Like a skilled surgeon His knife work is fast, accurate and clean.
        Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 119.
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      • The spiritual life is lived between two polarities: our sin and God’s grace. The discovery of the former brings us to seek the latter; the work of the latter illuminates the depths of the former and causes us to seek yet more grace… The heart-conviction of sin is the way grace prepares the heart for more grace.
        Reference:   Theologian of the Spirit, Tabletalk, Oct. 2004, p. 18, Used by Permission.
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    14. Spiritual Gifts
      • When we exercise the gifts which Christ has given us we are really saying to our fellow Christians and others: See how much the Lord Jesus Christ loves you and cares for you; He has sent me to serve you in this way; He is using my hands and feet, my lips and ears, to show His love. It is a tragic mistake if we think that the message is: See what a superb Christian I am; see the wonderful gifts I have… Gifts are for service, not self-advancement.
        Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 69.
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      • In the climate of our modern church, it is essential for us to realize that God’s Word is the central gift Christ gives to the church. The major gifts of the New Testament era were given either to write that word (apostles), apply it (prophets) or teach it (pastors and teachers). Whenever we dislocate our own spiritual gift from this anchor we begin to flounder in a sea of instability. We must see to it that our gifts are fed on the teaching of Holy Scripture, so that they grow strong and are channeled in the right direction, and so bring glory to Christ.
        Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 71.
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    15. Spiritual Growth
      • A wrong view of God leads inevitably to a failure to enjoy and grow in His grace. Failure to appreciate His love, His kindness and generous heart leads eventually to a life which bears no fruit and makes no progress. The lesson is clear: if you would grow in grace, learn what grace is. Taste and see that the Lord is good (see I Peter 2:2).
        Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 107.
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    16.  Anxiety
      • It is only when we want to take our lives out of the Father’s hands and have them under our own control that we find ourselves gripped with anxiety. The secret of freedom from anxiety is freedom from ourselves and abandonment of our own plans. But that spirit emerges in our lives only when our minds are filled with the knowledge that our Father can be trusted implicitly to supply everything we need.
        Reference:   The Sermon on the Mount, 1987, p. 144. By permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.

    17. Sabbath
      • Genesis 2 does not tell us much more about the significance of this seventh day. But as we learn more about it from Scripture we realize that the “rest” involved was not a lazy rest. Rather, it was intended to be a day when the working man could enjoy the Creator as well as the creation. He could devote himself more directly to fellowship with God and the worship of His Name.

      • This “sabbath,” or “rest-day,” was a further special blessing which God gave to man so he would be refreshed and strengthened, encouraged and heartened by contemplating all that God had done and stimulated to worship God in response.
        Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 33, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.
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    18. The hallmark of the preaching which the Spirit effects is “boldness”… As in the Old Testament, when the Spirit fills the servant of God He “clothes himself” with that person, and aspects of the Spirit’s authority are illustrated in the courageous declaration of the Word of God. This boldness appears to involve exactly what it denotes: there is freedom of speech. We catch occasional glimpses of this in the Acts of the Apostles. What was said of the early New England preacher Thomas Hooker becomes a visible reality: when he preached, those who heard him felt that he could pick up a king and put him in his pocket!
      Reference:   The Holy Spirit, InterVarsity Press, 1996, p. 238.
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    19. Scripture is like a working museum of which the Spirit is the Curator, showing us around and explaining the wonders of the mind of the Maker. In this museum we are taken behind the scenes to learn from God Himself. In growing to know God, therefore, there is no substitute for the discipline of Bible study and Scripture reading and meditation. We cannot bypass the handbook God has given to us and then expect that we can know Him in our own way. The only god we can know in our own way is a god that we make in our own image.
      Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 8, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.
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    20. The providence of God is the way in which He governs everything wisely, first for the glory of His own Name, and second for the ultimate blessing of His children.
      Reference:   A Heart for God, 1987, p. 94, by permission Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA.
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    21. We tend to be a generation of Christians who major on minor matters but do not seem to possess the true measure of the gospel in the knowledge of God.  We do not really know God.  At best we know about Him.
      Reference:   Grow in Grace, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 1989, p. 41.
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