James Torrens’ quotes on Glory

James Torrens of Highland International Church, Inverness used these quotes in his sermon at Presbytery yesterday

David Wells: ‘It is one of the defining marks of our time that God is now weightless. I do not mean by this that he is ethereal but rather that he has become unimportant. He rests upon the world so inconsequentially as not to be noticeable….Weightlessness tells us nothing about God but everything about ourselves, about our condition, about our psychological disposition to exclude God from our reality.’

John Stott (commenting on Acts 17 v 16): ‘[T]he pain or ‘paroxysm’ which Paul felt in Athens was due neither to bad temper, nor to pity for the Athenians’ ignorance, nor even to fear for their eternal salvation. It was due rather to his abhorrence of idolatry, which aroused within him deep stirrings of jealousy for the Name of God, as he saw human beings so depraved as to be giving to idols the honour and glory which were due to the one, living and true God alone.’

John Stott (commenting on Romans 1 v 5): ‘If…God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess him, so should we. We should be ‘jealous’ (as Scripture sometimes puts it) for the honour of his name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it.

The highest of all 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, Romans 1 v 18), but rather zeal – burning and passionate zeal – for the glory of Jesus Christ.’

John Piper: ‘Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t.’

‘Worship…is the fuel and goal of missions… The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God (Ps 97 v 1; 67 v 3,4). But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish. Missionaries will never call out, “Let the nations be glad!” who cannot say from the heart, “I rejoice in the Lord…I will be glad and exult in you, I will sing praise to your name, O Most High” (Ps 104 v 34; 9 v 2). Missions begins and ends in worship.’

Henry Martyn: ‘I could not endure existence if Jesus was not glorified; it would be hell to me, if he were to be always…dishonoured.’

Tim Keller: ‘The more we look upward, the more we look outward.’

 

Day 286

Day 286 – Fri 16 June – We began with Church Planting Committee. I made a valiant attempt to get off the committee but was only scuppered when Jonty Rhodes returned from the Loo. I’m on for the next while but I think it would be good for newer folk to the denomination to take my place. We had a great lunch together and then to kick off proceedings James Torrens from HIC Inverness preached on the Glory of Christ from 2 Cor 3/4.James has been away from Presbytery for a while so it was a delight to have him back. He had 3 questions – 1. What is glory? 2. What kind of glory does Jesus have? 3. Where do we see the glory of Jesus? He had some wonderful quotes on a handout which I’ve put here.

Following on from that we went round the churches hearing news, my friend S from the Middle East was able to give a short account of his life and how the Lord has used him. Graham Nicholls from Affinity was also there and reported on his work.

A few of us ended up at the Drayton Court until late discussing worship. Amazingly it was National Pint Day or something like that so no one had to buy any drinks.

Day 285

Day 285 – Thu 15 June – Simon Arscott gave his last exposition of the conference on Matthew 28:16-20. It was a remarkable sermon on the Lost Mother looking at the centrality of the church in discipleship. It’s a remarkable sermon, I wish everyone could listen to it.

The rest of the day I was in and out during the sessions whilst working on sermons. In the evening I was in and David Gibson was around. Conferences are exhausting even when you don’t go to many of the sessions

Day 284

Day 284 – Wed 14 June – It was Day 2 of Catalyst. My friend Jose Sagovia once told me he treated conferences as a Menu rather than a syllabus and I have adopted that approach. Catalyst really is the only conference I go to and it’s held in Ealing but I go to the Sessions I want. If everyone did that it would be a disaster but it works for me. I was there all morning. Simon Arscott opened the day with an exposition from Matthew 23 on the Lost Preacher. It was brilliant, one big point majored on throughout – Jesus is the Teacher in your church. There were great lines on “Jesus is preaching this Sunday at your church”. I loved the illustration of going to a Piano Concerto and the crowd on the way out arguing over good or bad the piano is. It’s the pianist is the big thing. As preachers we are just the instruments. Simon defended the importance of Ordination – the point of ordination is not that you are special but it is driven by the connection that there is only 1 teacher. The British Ambassador to Paris does not get in the way of the queen but reinforces her. Some preachers are more effective than others – a higher means of grace bandwith – some have dialup, some have broadband. There are 10 talent preachers, some 5, some 1.

When we teach one another, we are talking together about what Christ is saying. When a preacher speaks Christ is speaking. How does Jesus keep in touch with his church? By Word and Sacrament.

 

This doesn’t do it justice, it’s the kind of sermon that will keep me going for weeks.

 

Michael Maclennahan was up next on WCF Chapter on Providence –  It was again magnificent. It was a lecture that turned into a sermon. It’s a beautiful chapter and very moving. One line that will stick was ‘We wrap the why question in the doctrine of God’. It was the best morning at a conference I can remember. I’ll post up the recordings once they are on the website. It’s been good to have lots of Non IPC folks with us, particularly good to have Dan Green from Banstead with us.

 

In the afternoon I worked on Sunday’s sermons and References, I’m in one of those patches where I’ve got endless references to write. I was back to hear one of “under care” men give his sermon on “Faith” those of us who are elders and ministers gave crit. Quick dash home to bath the kids and then I was back at church for  a Persian Meal. It was brilliant to have  some of our Iranians cooking for  the church and Catalyst folk. Matthew Roberts gave an excellent lecture “Image, Identity and Idolatry: Thinking clearly about LGBT issues”. I hope he’ll write it up soon.

Day 283

Day 283 – Tue 13 June – Today was the first day of Catalyst our conference for  Men under care and basically any other folk who want to come. Encouragingly there’s about 85 folk there. I wasn’t really in any of the sessions but people raved about Simon Arscott’s first session on the Church’s Lost Keys.  I watched a bit of the Lions and then finished preparing for ELT on John 1. ELT again had lower numbers it’s been like that for a few weeks now and it’s difficult to work out why. I had a meeting in the afternoon so missed the Catalyst sessions. Marty Cowan and Michael Maclennahan are both teaching the Westminster Confession and seem to be working from pretty full handouts. Loads of us caught up in the evening at the Drayton Court which was very good fun.

Day 282

Day 282 – Mon 12 June – This week is full on so I had an early start on sermons. Donald was round in the morning for a quick catch up and he wonderfully mowed my lawn. I’ve got three sermons this week so got to work on Isaiah 64-66. I’m also on John 1 for ELT tomorrow. It was a pretty nondescript day and the evening I worked before catching up with David Gibson when he got in to Catalyst.

Day 281

Day 281 – Sun 11 June The morning felt pretty rushed but it ended up ok. We had the final elders training session which has been so encouraging. We announced in the morning that we’ll be putting the 4 men forward for eldership with a vote on 25th of this month. We welcomed the Myatt family and Rachel S into membership then I preached on Isaiah 64/64 which is full of wonderful verses – Praying to God about God really struck me in preparation.

We were at the Little’s for lunch with this amazing BBQ’d Rotisserie Chicken. In the evening we baptised Tazi on profession of faith and then I preached the last in my series on How the Lost are found from Romans 9/10. Daphne and Gethin came back for supper, it was a good full day.

I’ve got 3 more sermons to prepare before I get an extended break from preaching. This week looks to be total chaos with Catalyst and Prebsytery but if I make it to next Sunday, I’ve got time to breathe!