[The following is an excerpt from Bishop J. C. Ryle’s book Holiness. Bishop Ryle (1816-1900)
was the foremost spokesman after evangelicalism in the Church of England in the 19th century].
I have, first, to show what it costs to be a true Christian.
Let there be no mistake about my meaning. I am not examining what it costs to save a
Christian’s soul. I know well that it costs nothing less than the blood of the Son of God to provide
an atonement, and to redeem man from hell. The price paid for our redemption was nothing less
than the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary. We “are bought with a price.” “Christ gave Himself a
ransom for all” (I Cor. 6:20; I Tim. 2:6). But all this is wide of the question. The point I want to
consider is another one altogether. It is what a man must be ready to give up if he wishes to be
saved. It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ.
I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a
place of worship twice on Sunday, and to be tolerably moral during the week, and he has gone as
far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work: it entails no
self-denial or self-sacrifice.
But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There
are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken,
a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting
a man in an arm-chair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in
which it cost much to win the victory.
(1) For one thing, it will cost him his self-righteousness. He must cast away all pride and high
Thoughts, and conceit of his own goodness. He must be content to go to heaven as a poor sinner
saved only by free grace, and owing all to the merit and righteousness of another. He must really
feel as well as say the Prayer-book words—that he has “erred and gone astray like a lost sheep,”
that he has “left undone the things he ought to have done, and done the things he ought not to have
done, and that there is no health in him.” He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality,
respectability, praying, Bible-reading, Church-going, and sacrament-receiving, and to trust in
nothing but Jesus Christ.
(2) For another thing, it will cost a man his sins. He must be willing to give up every habit and
Practice which is wrong in God’s sight. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off
from it, fight with it, crucify it, and labour to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say
or think. He must do this honestly and fairly. There must be no separate truce with any special sin
which he loves. He must count all sins as his deadly enemies, and hate every false way. Whether
little or great, whether open or secret, all his sins must be thoroughly renounced. They may
struggle hard with him every day, and sometimes almost get the mastery over him. But he must
never give way to them. He must keep up a perpetual war with his sins.
This also sounds hard. I do not wonder. Our sins are often as dear to us as our children: we
love them, hug them, cleave to them and delight in them. To part with them is as hard as cutting
off a right hand, or plucking out a right eye. But it must be done. Christ is willing to receive any
sinners. But He will not receive them if they will stick to their sins.
(3) For another thing, it will cost a man his love of ease. He must take pains and trouble, if he
means to run a successful race towards heaven. He must daily watch and stand on his guard, like a
soldier on enemy’s ground. He must take heed to his behaviour every hour of the day, in every
company, and in every place, in public as well as in private, among strangers as well as at home.
He must be careful over his time, his tongue, his temper, his thoughts, his imaginations, his motives,
his conduct in every relation of life. He must be diligent about his prayers, his Bible-reading, and his
use of Sundays, with all their means of grace. In attending to these things he may come far short of
perfection; but there is none of them that he can safely neglect.
This also sounds hard. There is nothing we naturally dislike so much as “trouble” about our religion.
We hate trouble. We secretly wish we could have a “vicarious” Christianity, and could be good by
proxy, and have everything done for us. Anything that requires exertion and labour is entirely against
the grain of our hearts. But the soul can have “no gains without pains.”
(4) In the last palce, it will cost a man the favour of the world. He must be content to be thought ill
of by man if he peases God. He must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered,
persecuted, and even hated. He must not be surprised to find his opinions and practices in religion
despised and held up to scorn. He must submit to be thought by many a fool, an enthusiast, and a
fanatic—to have his words perverted and his actions misrepresented. In fact, he must not marvel if
some call him mad. The Master says—“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not
greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My
saying, they will keep your keep yours also” (John 15:20).
I dare say this also sounds hard. We naturally dislike unjust dealing and false charges, and think it
very hard to be accused without cause. We should not be flesh and blood if we did not wish to have
the good opinion of our neighbours. It is always unpleasant to be spoken against, and forsaken, and
lied about, and to stand alone. But there is no help for it. The cup which our Master drank must be
drunk by His disciples. They must be “despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53:3).
Such is the account of what it costs to be a true Christian. I grant the list is a heavy one. But where
is the item that could be removed? Bold indeed must that man be who would dare to say that we may
keep our self-righteousness, our sins, our laziness, and our love of the world, and yet be saved!
I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But who in his sound senses can doubt that it is worth
any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting
overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and
even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that cost nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without
a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown.
St. Andrew’s Preschool field trip to The Palos Children’s Farm was Thursday, May 19, 2011.
The children enjoyed getting to see baby animals: lambs, a kid, calves, piglets, ducklings, chicks,
plus, horses, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, goats, and sheep.
Saturday, May 21, 2011, was a Work Day here at the church. Flowers were planted, weeds were
pulled, and other yard work was accomplished. Thank you to those who came out to work.
Preschool Graduation and end of the year Music Program took place Thursday, May 26, 2011.
Most students return next year.
RUMMAGE & BAKE SALE
The Woman’s Guild will have their annual rummage sale Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4,
from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. both days. Proceeds will go to missions.
Zachary Robert Gilman was born to Robert & Debbie Gilman on May 20, 2011 at 2:15 a.m.
Zachary weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was 21 inches long. We are so happy for the proud grandparents, Rev. Bob and Dorothy Novak, and aunts, Janet & Cheryl Novak.
SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF MID-AMERICA
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Church of the Holy Communion, Dallas, Texas
53rd GENERAL COUNCIL
OF THE REFORMED EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, June 8-10, 2011
Church of the Holy Communion, Dallas, TX
Saturday, June 25, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sundays at 5:00 p.m. in the chapel
The Rev. Phil Tjoelker is conducting the service.
All are encouraged to attend.
MISSIONARY OF THE MONTH
Please be praying for Rev. Olu and wife, Oye, Olajide and their family as they will be moving
back to Nigeria in July. “We will miss you greatly. God be with you to guide and bless!”
June 3 - Madeline Levi
June 8 - Mildred Buescher
June 9 - Patty Levi
June 13 - Jeremy Hoffman
June 15 - Will Garrison
June 15 - Audrey Garrison
June 16 - River Christenson
June 17 - David Sellers
June 18 - Jacqueline Robertson
June 18 - Paul Sellers
June 21 - Anita Rago
June 22 - Rev. Robert Novak
June 23 - Brian Stultz
June 24 - Jacob Tjoelker
June 30 - Frank Levi, V
WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED
God hath not promised
Skies always blue,
All our lives through;
God hath not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.
But God hath promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
-- Annie Johnson Flint
GOD’S WONDERFUL GRACE
by Helen Kitchell Evans
A little bird was building her nest
On the limb of an old oak tree.
She struggled mightily against the wind,
Determined, as she could be.
Carefully she placed her twigs
Then gusts of wind tore at her nest.
Nothing could deter this bird;
She kept right on just doing her best.
Perhaps the wind held a hidden blessing.
Because of it she built it strong.
Perhaps the heavenly Father knew
What help was right, all along.
So, too, are stormy winds of life;
The trails that each of us must face;
All sent to help us build our strength;
All a part of God’s wonderful grace.