In our second look at the letters of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, John and Matthew focus on the theme of hope. There is indescribable hope for the Christian found in the preciousness of Christ. But spiritual hope and the preciousness of Christ are impossible realities to the unbeliever.
If you happened to miss last week’s podcast, let us encourage you to stop here. Go back and listen to last week’s podcast discussing the first and second letters from M’Cheyne (click here). Just as M’Cheyne wrote his letters to be read sequentially, so we have ordered our episodes.
In letter three, M’Cheyne points out that the joy a Christian feels in life is hard to describe. The world around us full of sorrows. We sin and grieve our Saviour, resulting in a particular type of sorrow. Loved ones get sick and die. That is also a sorrow, but of a different type. We are outwardly surrounded by the reality and results of sin and death. However, we are internally consumed with joy and love toward the One who conquered sin and death. For the unbeliever, that joy is inconceivable; for the Christian, indescribable.
In letter four, M’Cheyne drives home the point that Christ is precious to the true Christian. Perhaps you have never stopped to ask if Christ is precious to you. But consider the counsel of Scripture. Jesus tells us in a parable that the Kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field. A man finds it, sells all he has and buys the field. It is worth more to him than anything else in his life. Is Christ that precious to you?
Evangelism is the backdrop for each of M’Cheyne’s letters and each episode in this series. But there are wonderful truths to be discovered, or perhaps rediscovered, for Christians as well. Is Christ your hope? Is He precious to you? We pray this episode will be a challenge and an encouragement to you this week.
Look under Show Notes for a list of all the Scriptures mentioned in this episode and the full text of M'Cheyne's letters.
0:00 John and Matthew begin this second episode of our series walking through six of Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s letters by asking that if you are jumping into the series at this episode, please go back and begin at the beginning. These letters, and subsequently these podcasts, are best listened to in order. Doing so will explain why Matthew skips introducing M’Cheyne’s letters and begins reading letter three.
6:00 John parses out the dominant theme of this third letter: joy. There is not much joy in hearing your need of the gospel. You must hear and understand that you are a vile sinner in need of a righteous Savior. But when you grasp the gospel truths, handed to you by the Holy Spirit, there is an indescribable joy. But what is this joy? What if your personality is not bubbly, before or after conversion? Matthew offers some encouragement.
10:00 Matthew begins M’Cheyne’s fourth letter. Remember that, while we are going through these letters quickly, they are spaced months apart for M’Cheyne. If God is dealing with you in the third letter, pause the podcast. Read the letter again. Let God do His work in your soul and then come back. We will be here.
14:00 For the true Christian, Christ is precious. Many church members today, if they were pressed, could say wonderful things about Jesus. But would they say He is precious?
18:00 Here we discuss one reason why the letters of M’Cheyne are so useful today. He says something you won’t often hear from modern evangelists, especially if he has embraced a salesmanship view of evangelism. Salesmanship attempts to give you enough information to entice you to make a purchase, but hides the side effects. We are called to tell people the truth about the Christian life. There is hope, but it will be lived out in a world of sorrows.
21:00 Can Christ really be precious to a person? Examine the smallest parable of the New Testament in Matthew 13, the Parable of the Treasure Hidden in the Field. Look at the context, after the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, and followed by the Parable that says the Kingdom is like a net catching fish. Finding Christ as precious is necessary for the believer.
26: John and Matthew come together again to recap the third and fourth letter from M’Cheyne. Again, these letters are filled with hope. All is ready for the unbeliever to come to faith. And that faith reveals Christ to be precious to every believer.
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Memoirs and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne by Andrew Bonar
1 Peter 2:7