Reflections Of An Octogenarian
Notes on John Stott’s lecture Reflections of an Octogenarian, q.v..
A conviction about priorities
Stott recommends one day a month of solitude.
A conviction about people
- How can you continue to love people who do not immediately appear to be lovable? Stott recommends Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor.
- Acts 20:28 — “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” He purchased these people with his own blood.
- The only way to persevere in care is to “remember who they are, and how precious they are in the sight of God.” All three persons of the Trinity are dedicated to their welfare.
- How small is our labor in comparison with Christ’s labor for his church?
A conviction about relevance
- “the task of christian communicator, which is not to make Jesus Christ relevant but to demonstrate his relevance to the modern world.”
- “in this simple, maybe rather elementary . . . diagram, evangelicals are biblical but not contemporary, liberals are contemporary but not biblical, and almost nobody is building bridges.”
- “we have to struggle to be as relevant as we are biblical”
A conviction about study
- “In our busy lives, study is usually the first thing to be dropped.”
- Lloyd-Jones: “you will always find that the men whom God has used signally have been those who have studied most, known their scriptures best, and given time to preparation.”
- Stott recommends one hour of study per day, one 4-hour session every week, one day every month, and one reading week every year.
- We have to study on both sides of the divide… students of scripture, but we need also to be students of the modern world.
A conviction about obedience
- John 14:21 — Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
- Jesus will reveal himself to his lovers; his lovers are proved not by their words but by their obedience.
- “The test of love is obedience, and the reward of love is the self-manifestation of Christ.”
A conviction about humility
- “insidious temptation to pride”
- “humility is not a synonym for hypocrisy; humility is a synonym for honesty”
- Michael Ramsey, ”Sermons addressed to young men on the eve of their ordination”
- “thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow”
- “take care about the confession of your sins”
- “be ready to accept humiliations, they can hurt terribly but they help you to be humble . . . these are opportunities to be a little nearer to our humble and crucified Lord”
- “do not worry about status; there is only one status that our Lord bids us be concerned with, and that is the status of proximity to himself.”
- “use your sense of humor; laugh about things. laugh at the absurdities of life; laugh about yourself and about your own absurdity . . . you have to be serious of course, but never be solemn, because if you are solemn about anything, there is a danger of your becoming solemn about yourself”
- “it is at the foot of the cross that humility finally grows”
Galatians 6:14 — But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.