You may know of Maurice Roberts as being an editor of the Banner of Truth magazine. The wonderful articles he wrote for Banner have been collected into great books, which is where I was first introduced to him: Great God of Wonders, The Christian’s High Calling, and The Thought of God. The depth of insight in these small volumes reveals a man studied in the deep waters of Scripture and powerfully amazed with the living God. Maurice Roberts is a spiritual giant, in my estimation.
I was thrilled to find some of his audio sermons at Monergism.com. I must mention that Maurice Roberts pulpit ministry is similar to that of John Murray’s in character. That is, their sermons are incredibly well thought out and packed full of great depths — yet the delivery of their speech tends toward the monotone and monotonous.
This series of messages on Christian Joy’s and Duties looks at the joy the Christian has, which includes very excellent treatments on Sonship and Adoption, and considers the duties we have in Christ and the joy found in them.
Here’s just one lengthy quote to whet your appetite:
The Bible was given in order to do two things. First of all, to make the unconverted man miserable. And secondly, to make the converted man joyful. And these are two very difficult tasks that the minster of the gospel has to perform. I say to make the uncvonverted man miserable because until a man is miserable and weary of this prensent world, he will never truly seek after God. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.
And the fear of the Lord is wrought in men and created in men by the power of the Holy Spirit. And the common way by which God prepares men to seek that wisdom is by taking from them their enjoyment of the pleasures of this life. God does not do this with a bad motive, of course. He does it on the motive that until people see the emptiness and vanity of things here below they will never seek him, and they will never enjoy those things which are above.
And once we come to Christ, the purpose of the Bible is to make us joyful. But then that itself is a difficult task again. It is harder to make Christians rejoice. And the reason for that is, because when we are Christians, we can see the sadness of life. We realize how many thousands, yea millions, are passing along on the wide road to destruction and are not seeking God, nor desiring his salvation. And we as believers understand what their latter end will be.
And not only that, but the devil himself continually labors and strives to steal from us our comfort and our assurance and our joy. Because the devil well knows that the joy of the Lord is a Christian’s strength. And once we loose our joy, our mouth is shut. We are poor witnesses. And all the streams of our spiritual life become stagnated.
To put it into a simple Biblical phrase from the book of Isaiah, the Bible was given for these two purposes:
“Say to the righteous it is well with him because he shall eat of the fruit of his hands. And say to the wicked, Woe unto him, because the fruit of his hands shall be returned to him.”
Roberts texts are 1 Corinthians 1:17 to 2:16, 1 John 3:1-3, and Isaiah 35.