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Book Review: Marks of the Messenger

Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the GospelKnowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel by J. Mack Stiles.

A couple of months ago I listened to a lecture by D. A. Carson and heard him recommend this book, so when I was making my January reading list, I added it. (I didn’t, at that point, remember that it had also been reviewed and recommended at a couple of places on my blog roll.) The brief comment by Carson didn’t tell me much about the content of Marks of the Messenger, so I began reading not knowing exactly what to expect.

What I found was a book focused on developing believers with a mindset for evangelism, or growing Christians with heart for the gospel. I’d half-expected a “how to evangelize” book, which tend to leave me feeling guilty and paralyzed, but instead, what this little book is all about knowing, loving and valuing the true gospel so that the gospel soaks into and out from our lives.

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A Catechism for Girls and Boys

Part I: Questions about God, Man, and Sin

22. Q. In what condition did God make Adam and Eve?
      A. He made them holy and happy.

(Click through to read scriptural proofs.)

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Sunday's Hymn

Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

The holy, meek, unspotted Lamb,
Who from the Father’s bosom came,
Who died for me, e’en me to atone,
Now for my Lord and God I own.

Lord, I believe Thy precious blood,
Which, at the mercy seat of God,
Forever doth for sinners plead,
For me, e’en for my soul, was shed.

Lord, I believe were sinners more
Than sands upon the ocean shore,
Thou hast for all a ransom paid,
For all a full atonement made.

When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
Ev’n then this shall be all my plea,
Jesus hath lived, hath died, for me.

This spotless robe the same appears,
When ruined nature sinks in years;
No age can change its glorious hue,
The robe of Christ is ever new.

Jesus, the endless praise to Thee,
Whose boundless mercy hath for me—
For me a full atonement made,
An everlasting ransom paid.

O let the dead now hear Thy voice;
Now bid Thy banished ones rejoice;
Their beauty this, their glorious dress,
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness.

Nikolaus L. von Zin­zen­dorf (Listen to the traditional tune)

Here are the words set to a new tune by Laurie Sealy:

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Hope for a Hurting World

We must never forget that the gospel brings more long-term social good than any governmental program ever developed.

J. Mack Stiles in Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel


Old Testament Gospel

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt, 1854. Hunt had this framed with the quotations “Surely he hath borne our Griefs and carried our Sorrows; Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of GOD and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4) and “And the Goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a Land not inhabited.” (Leviticus 16:2)

Old Testament Gospel

(Hebrews 4:2)

Israel in ancient days
Not only had a view
Of Sinai in a blaze,
But learn’d the Gospel too;
The types and figures were a glass,
In which they saw a Saviour’s face.

The paschal sacrifice
And blood-besprinkled door,
Seen with enlighten’d eyes,
And once applied with power,
Would teach the need of other blood,
To reconcile an angry God.

The Lamb, the Dove, set forth
His perfect innocence,
Whose blood of matchless worth
Should be the soul’s defence;
For he who can for sin atone,
Must have no failings of His own.

The scape-goat on his head
The people’s trespass bore,
And to the desert led,
Was to be seen no more:
In him our surety seem’d to say,
“Behold, I bear your sins away.”

Dipt in his fellow’s blood,
The living bird went free;
The type, well understood,
Express’d the sinner’s plea;
Described a guilty soul enlarged,
And by a Saviour’s death discharged.

Jesus, I love to trace,
Throughout the sacred page,
The footsteps of Thy grace,
The same in every age!
Oh, grant that I may faithful be
To clearer light vouchsafed to me! 

William Cowper

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