Category Archives: M’Cheyne

The importance of family worship

“Worship God in your family. – If you do not worship God in your family, you are living in positive sin; you may be quite sure you do not care for the souls of your family. If you neglect to spread a meal for your children to eat, would it not be said that you did not care for their bodies? And if you do not lead your children and servants to the green pastures of God’s Word, and to seek the living water, how plain is it that you do not care for their souls! Do it regularly, morning and evening. It is more needful than your daily food, more needful than your work. How vain and silly all your excuses will appear, when you look back from Hell! Do it fully. Some clip off the psalm, and some the reading of the Word; and so the worship of God is reduced to a mockery. Do it in a spiritual, lively manner, go to it as to a well of salvation.”

- Robert Murray M’Cheyne

The silenced M’Cheyne learns humility

“July 8 [1836 diary] – Since Tuesday have been laid up with illness. Set by once more for a season to feel my unprofitableness and cure my pride. When shall this self-choosing temper be healed? ‘Lord, I will preach, run, visit, wrestle,’ said I. ‘No, thou shalt lie in thy bed and suffer,’ said the Lord. Today missed some fine opportunities of speaking a word for Christ. The Lord saw I would have spoken as much for my own honor as His, and therefore shut my mouth. I see a man cannot be a faithful minister, until he preaches Christ for Christ’s sake – until he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and seeks only to attract them to Christ. Lord, give me this!”

- Robert Murray M’Cheyne in Andrew Bonar, Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Banner of Truth: 1844/2004), p. 45

Earnest preaching and earnest conversation

When I think of being earnest in the pulpit many quotes from preachers come to mind (see the quotes here by John Angell James). But what about earnestness during a one-on-one lunch or breakfast meeting? This is where I must learn more about earnestness and feel the same weight as when I climb behind the pulpit. If what people see inside and outside the pulpit are inconsistent, our preaching loses authority. If we are to be earnest in the pulpit we must be earnest outside the pulpit as well. This is the great warning from the life of M’Cheyne:

“Whatever be said in the pulpit men will not much regard, though they may feel it at the time, if the minister does not say the same in private, with equal earnestness, in speaking with his people face to face; and it must be in our moments of most familiar intercourse with them, that we are thus to put the seal to all we say in public. Familiar moments are the times when the things that are most closely twined round the heart are brought out to view; and shall we forbear … We must not only speak faithfully to our people in our sermons, but live faithfully for them too. Perhaps it may be found that the reason why many who preach the gospel fully and in all earnestness are not owned of God in the conversion of souls, is to be found in their defective exhibition of grace in these easy moments of life … It was noticed long ago that men will give you leave [permission] to preach against their sins as much as you will, if you will but be easy with them when you have done, and talk as they do, and live as they live. How much otherwise was it with Mr. M’Cheyne, all who knew him are witnesses.”

Andrew Bonar, Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Banner of Truth: 1844/2004), p. 74

Church discipline

“When I first entered upon the work of the ministry among you, I was exceedingly ignorant of the vast importance of church discipline. I thought that my great and almost only work was to pray and preach. I saw your souls to be so precious, and the time so short, that I devoted all my time, and care, and strength, to labor in word and doctrine. When cases of discipline were brought before me and the elders, I regarded them with something like abhorrence. It was a duty I shrank from; and I may truly say it nearly drove me from the work of the ministry among you altogether. But it pleased God, who teaches His servants in another way than man teaches, to bless some of the cases of discipline to the manifest and undeniable conversion of the souls of those under our care; and from that hour a new light broke in upon my mind, and I saw that if preaching be an ordinance of Christ, so is church discipline. I now feel very deeply persuaded that both are of God – that two keys are committed to us by Christ: the one the key of doctrine, by means of which we unlock the treasures of the Bible; the other the key of discipline, by which we open or shut the way to the sealing ordinances of the faith. Both are Christ’s gift, and neither is to be resigned without sin.”

- Robert Murray M’Cheyne in Andrew Bonar, Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Banner of Truth: 1844/2004), p. 73.

See Matthew 18:15-20 (clearly defined steps of church discipline), 1 Cor. 5:4-5 with 5:9-13; 2 Cor. 7:8-12 (the fruit of godly confrontation); 1 Tim. 1:18-20; Tit. 3:9-11 (notice the difference between church discipline and dealing with the divisive man); Rev. 2:1-7 (notice how a disciplining and discerning church can still lack in passionate love for Christ).

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