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Chapters 10 and 11 of Richard Sibbes The Bruised Reed

In typical Puritan fashion, Pastor Sibbes extracts gem after gem from the mine of Matthew 12:18-20

18 s “Behold, my t servant whom I have chosen,

my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.

u I will put my Spirit upon him,

and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,

nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;

20 a bruised reed he will not break,

and a smoldering wick he will not quench,

until he brings justice to victory;

This week, Dr. Sibbes focuses in chapter 10 on the “various sorts of men that offend deeply against this merciful disposition of Christ

  1. “Those who go on in all ill course of life on this pretense, that it would be useless to go to Christ”
  2. “Those who take up a hope of their own, that Christ will allow them to walk in the ways of hell, and yet bring them to heaven”
  3. “Those who…cast water on those sparks that Christ labors to kindle in them”
  4. “Those who presume upon Christ’s mercy thinking that if Christ will not quench the smoking flax, what need we fear that any neglect on our part can bring us unto a comfortless condition?”
  5. “Those who seek any other source, any other mediator than Christ, for mercy”
  6. “Those who receive mercy, then turn to mistreat other recipients of it”
  7. “Those who are not governed by mercy, in their relationships with others”
  8. “Those who abuse and take advantage of other bruised reeds”

A few gems from chapter 10:

  • “…the lamb can be angry and…they who will not come under his scepter of mercy shall be crushed in pieces by his scepter of power”
  • “We must consider all those means whereby Christ preserves grace begun:”
  • “Holy communion, by which one Christian warms another”
  • “Communion with God in prayer and meditation”
  • “the breath of the Spirit to go along with the breath of his ministers”
  • “Grace is strengthened by the exercise of it”
  • “Stir up the grace that is in you, for in this way holy motions turn to resolutions, resolutions to practice, and practice to a prepared readiness to every good work.”  – I loved this!  Reminds me of Paul’s words to young Timothy, “Fan into flame the gift of God that is in you…” (2 Tim 1:6) and Peter’s words, “add to your faith…” (2 Peter 1:5-8)
  • “The heart of a Christian is Christ’s garden, and his graces are as so many sweet spices and flowers which, when his Spirit blows upon them, send forth a sweet savor”
  • “What need do we have to knock at any other door?  Can any be more tender over us than Christ?” – Oh, the Grace and Gentleness of Christ!
  • “What a joyful spectacle is this to Satan and his faction, to see those that are separated from the world fall in pieces among themselves!  Our discord is our enemy’s melody.” -Reminded me of this picture:

-notice the guy in the middle with cannon aimed at his brother-

  • “What greater unthankfulness can there be than to despise any help that Christ in mercy has provided for us?”

Ch 11 was good as well.  Here, Sibbes writes on God’s promises to continue the good work He has begun in those who are his.   Pardon will lead to obedience. Justification will lead to sanctification.  Here’s the gems that stood out to me –

  • “…the gracious frame of holiness set up in our hearts by the Spirit of Christ shall go forward until all contrary power is subdued” – In other words, our best life is not now, but in the days ahead, in eternity.
  • “If God’s builders fall into errors and build stubble on a good foundation, God’s Spirit, as a spiritual fire, will reveal this is time and destroy it”
  • “The same Spirit that convinces us of the necessity of his righteousness to cover us convinces us also of the necessity of his government to rule us” – Sibbes chiming in on the Lordship-Salvation debate!
  • “…if we are overtaken with any sin, we must remember to have recourse first to Christ’s mercy to pardon us, and then to the promise of his Spirit to govern us.”
  • “They seek for heaven in hell that seek for spiritual love in an unchanged heart.”

Summary thoughts:

We have been bought with a price by an infinitely merciful Savior and King.  We are never to presume on this mercy and abound in sin, but always rest in this mercy and abound in good works.  In light of the mercy we have received, we ought to extend the same to others.  An unmerciful Christian is a garden hose with a kink.

Intended to be a conduit of grace, it only receives and does not pass along.  We would throw out a hose that was permanently stopped or severed, deeming it useless.  What will God do to me if I too do not not show mercy to others?