Friday, 9 February 2018

REFLECTIONS

Christ’s Love For His Bride

“Now, observe what this church was by nature…The church that Christ loved was in her origin as sinful as the rest of the human race. Have the damned in hell fallen through Adam’s transgression? So had the saved in glory once. The sin that was imputed to lost spirits was equally and with as fatal consequences imputed to them; had it not been for the incoming of the covenant head, the second Adam, they had forever suffered with the rest. They, too, were alike depraved in nature. Is the heart deceitful above all things in the unregenerate? So it is in the elect before regeneration. Was the will perverse? Was the understanding darkened? Was the whole head sick and the whole heart faint in the case of those who continued in sin? It was just the same at first with those who have been by sovereign grace taken into the heart of Christ. “We were,” says the apostle, “by nature the children of wrath even as others.” Remember that between the brightest saint in heaven and the blackest sinner in hell, there is no difference except that which Christ has made. Had those glorified ones been left to continue in their natural state, they would have sinned as foully and as constantly as the worst of sinners have done. To begin with, there is no difference between the elect and the non-elect. They are all alike fallen: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom 3:12).

Nay, more—this church of Christ is made up of persons who are actually defiled by their own transgressions. Are you and I members of that church? Ah, then, we are compelled to confess that in us by nature dwelt all manner of [lust], vileness, and an evil heart of unbelief, ever prone to depart from the living God and to rebel against the Most High. And what since have we done? Or rather, what have we not done?

We did not all fall into the same vices, but still when the black catalogue of sin is read, we have to weep over it, and to say, “Such were some of us.” But why we should make a part of Christ’s church is a question that never can be answered except with this one reply: “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Mat 11:26). Do the wicked sink to hell with their sins like millstones about their necks? We should have sunk there too, and as rapidly and as fatally, unless eternal love had said, “Deliver him from going down into the pit, for I have found a ransom.” Look at Christ’s church as you see her visibly in the world, and I ask you, brethren, though she has much about her that is admirable, whether there is not much that might cause her Lord to cast her away. Even in her regenerate estate, she speaks truly when she says she is “black as the tents of Kedar” (Song 1:5).”

-C.H. Spurgeon  British Minister  1834-1892

Saturday, 27 January 2018

REFLECTIONS

Made Rich By Faith

"For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever"   (Psalm 9:18).

“Poverty is a hard heritage; but those who trust in the LORD are made rich by faith. They know that they are not forgotten of God, and though it may seem that they are overlooked in His providential distribution of good things, they look for a time when all this shall be righted. Lazarus will not always lie among the dogs at the rich man's gate, but he will have his recompense in Abraham's bosom. Even now the LORD remembers His poor but precious sons, "I am poor and needy; yet the LORD thinketh upon me," said one of old, and it is even so. The godly poor have great expectations. They expect the LORD to provide them all things necessary for this life and godliness; they expect to see things working for their good; they expect to have all the closer fellowship with their LORD, who had not where to lay His head; they expect His second advent and to share its glory. This expectation cannot perish, for it is laid up in Christ Jesus, who liveth forever, and because He lives, it shall live also. The poor saint singeth many a song which the rich sinner cannot understand. Wherefore, let us, when we have short commons below, think of the royal table above.”

-C.H. Spurgeon  British Prince of Preachers  1834-1892



Saturday, 13 January 2018

REFLECTIONS

He Will Carry us Home

“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you”
Isaiah 46:4

“The year is very old, and here is a promise for our aged friends; yes, and for us all, as age creeps over us. Let us live long enough, and we shall all have hoar hairs; therefore we may as well enjoy this promise by the foresight of faith.

When we grow old our God will still be the I AM, abiding evermore the same. Hoar hairs tell of our decay, but He decayeth not. When we cannot carry a burden, and can hardly carry ourselves the Lord will carry us. Even as in our young days He carried us like lambs in His bosom, so will He in our years of infirmity.

He made us, and He will care for us. When we become a burden to our friends, and a burden to ourselves, the Lord will not shake us off, but the rather He will take us up and carry and deliver us more fully than ever. In many cases the Lord gives His servants a long and calm evening. They worked hard all day and wore themselves out in their Master’s service, and so He said to them, “Now rest in anticipation of that eternal Sabbath which I have prepared for you.” Let us not dread old age. Let us grow old graciously, since the Lord himself is with us in fullness of grace.”

-C.H. Spurgeon  British Prince of Preachers  1834-1892

Saturday, 30 December 2017

REFLECTIONS

All Honor To God Only

“You crown the year with Your goodness.” Psalm 65:11.

(Spurgeon remembers the Lord’s goodness to the church.)

"I. And so our first head is DIVINE GOODNESS ADORED.  “You crown the year with Your goodness.”
 
Whatever of acceptable service we have rendered and whatever of real success we have achieved has come from the Lord of hosts who has worked all our works in us. Whatever holy results may have followed from earnest efforts and whatever honor has redounded unto God from them is the Lord’s doings and it is marvelous in our eyes. “Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but unto Your name be glory for Your mercy and for Your truth’s sake.” Your goodness, not ours, has crowned the work. Your goodness, indeed, it is which makes every good work good and gives to every good its crown. From its first conception, even to its ultimate conclusion, all virtue is of You. From blade to full corn, all the harvest is of You, O Lord, and to You let it be ascribed. Let us, therefore, praise the Lord with all our hearts for 25 years of prayer and effort, of planning and working, of believing and rejoicing which He has crowned with His goodness.
 
We will try to follow the run of the psalm and our first note shall be this--praise must be for God alone. “Praise waits for You, O God, in Zion.” Not for men, nor for priests, nor for pastors, presbyters, bishops, ministers, or whatsoever you choose to call them—“Praise waits for You, O God, in Zion.” Whosoever shall have done well in the midst of the church, let him have the love of his brethren, but let all the praise be unto You, O Most High. Far be it for the axe to exalt itself and forget him that fells therewith or for the sword to deprive the conqueror of his glory. Praise is silent while the best of men are passing by—it lays its finger on its lips till the Lord approaches and then bursts forth in gladsome song because He appears.
 
Whatever else you do, my brethren, be sure that your soul magnifies the Lord and abhors the very idea of self-glorification. If the Lord has blessed you, shake off, as Paul shook off the viper from his hand, any idea of ascribing praise to yourself. We are mere vanity and to us belong shame and confusion of face—these are, so to speak, our belongings—the only dowry our fathers have left to us. What are we that the Lord should bless us? Did you bring a soul to Christ the other day? Bless the Holy Spirit who helped you by His power to do so divine a deed. Did you bear bold testimony for the truth but yesterday? Bless Him who is the faithful and true witness, that at His feet you learned how to be true—and by His Spirit were enabled to be brave. “Not unto us! Not unto us!” With vehemence we deprecate the idea of honoring ourselves. Again and again we put away the usurper’s crown which Satan proffers us. How can we endure the base proposal? Shall we rob God of His glory? Even He from whom we derive our very existence? Perish, O pride, abhorred of God and man. O Lord, keep me from the approach of that shameful evil. Brethren, if you have any esteem among men, cast your crown at Jehovah’s feet and there let it be. All honor be to God only.”
 

-Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)


Friday, 15 December 2017

REFLECTIONS

Joy at Christ’s Birth

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10, 11, 12. (NKJV)

“First, then, THE JOY, which is mentioned in our text: from where comes it, and what is it? We have already said it is a “great joy—“good tidings of great joy.” Earth’s joy is small, her mirth is trivial, but heaven has sent us immeasurable joy, fit for immortal minds. Inasmuch as no note of time is appended, and no intimation is given that the message will ever be reversed, we may say that it is a lasting joy; a joy which will ring all down the ages, the echoes of which shall be heard until the trumpet brings the resurrection. Yes, and onward forever and forever, for when God sent forth the angel in his brightness to say, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people,” He did as much as say, “From this time forth it shall be joy to the sons of men. There shall be peace to the human race and goodwill towards men forever and forever, as long as there is glory to God in the highest.” O blessed thought! The Star of Bethlehem shall never set! Jesus, the fairest among ten thousand, the loveliest among the beautiful, is a joy forever!

Since this joy is expressly associated with the glory of God, by the words, “Glory to God in the highest,” we may be quite clear that it is a pure and holy joy. No other would an angel have proclaimed, and indeed, no other joy is joy. The wine pressed from the grapes of Sodom may sparkle and foam, but it is bitterness in the end, and the dregs thereof are death. Only that which comes from the clusters of Eschol is the true wine of the kingdom, making glad the heart of God and man. Holy joy is the joy of heaven, and that you can be sure, is the very cream of joy; the joy of sin is a fire-fountain, having its source in the burning soil of hell, maddening and consuming those who drink its firewater. Of such delights we desire not to drink. It would be worse than damned to be happy in sin, since it is the beginning of divine grace to be wretched in sin, and the consummation of grace to be wholly escaped from sin, and to shudder even at the thought of it. It is hell to live in sin and misery; it is a lower deep still when men could fashion a joy in sin. God save us from unholy peace and from unholy joy! The joy announced by the angel of the Nativity is as pure as it is lasting, as holy as it is great; let us, then, always believe concerning the Christian religion that it has its joy within itself, and holds its feasts within its own pure precincts—a feast whose food all grows on holy ground.”

-C.H. Spurgeon  British Prince of Preachers  1834-1892


Saturday, 2 December 2017

REFLECTIONS

“Deliverance from Dust and Chaff” 

"For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth." Amos 9:9

“The sifting process is going on still. Wherever we go, we are still being winnowed and sifted. In all countries God's people are being tried "like as corn is sifted in a sieve." Sometimes the devil holds the sieve and tosses us up and down at a great rate, with the earnest desire to get rid of us forever.

Unbelief is not slow to agitate our heart and mind with its restless fears. The world lends a willing hand at the same process and shakes us to the right and to the left with great vigor. Worst of all, the church, so largely apostate as it is, comes in to give a more furious force to the sifting process. Well, well! Let it go on. Thus is the chaff severed from the wheat. Thus is the wheat delivered from dust and chaff.

And how great is the mercy which comes to us in the text, "Yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth"! All shall be preserved that is good, true, gracious. Not one of the least of believers lose anything worth calling a loss. We shall be so kept in the sifting that it shall be a real gain to us through Christ Jesus.”

-C.H. Spurgeon  British Prince of Preachers  1834-1892  From “The Check Book of Faith"

Thursday, 9 November 2017

REFLECTIONS

A State Of Sin And Holiness

“Mark, now, I beseech you, what a state of sin, and what a state of holiness is.

He that is in a state of sin, hath habitually and predominantly a greater love to some pleasures, or profits, or honours of this world, than he hath to God, and to the glory he hath promised; he preferreth, and seeketh, and holdeth (if he can) his fleshly prosperity in this world, before the favor of God and the happiness of the world to come. His heart is turned from God unto the creature, and is principally set on things on earth. Thus his sin is the blindness, and madness, and perfidiousness, and idolatry of his soul, and his forsaking of God, and his salvation for nought. It is that to his soul, which poison, and death, and sickness, and lameness, and blindness are to his body: it is such dealing with God, as that man is guilty of to his dearest friend or father, who should hate him and his company, and love the company of a dog or toad much better than his; and obey his enemy against him: and it is like a madman’s dealing with his physician, who seeks to kill him as his enemy, because he crosseth his appetite or will, to cure him. Think of this well, and then tell me, whether this be a state to be continued in. This state of sin is something worse than a mere inconsiderate act of sin, in one that otherwise liveth an obedient, holy life.

On the other hand, a state of holiness is nothing else but the habitual and predominant devotion and dedication of soul, and body, and life, and all that we have, to God; and esteeming, and loving, and serving, and seeking him, before all the pleasures and prosperity of the flesh; making his favour, and everlasting happiness in heaven, our end, and Jesus Christ our way, and referring all things in the world unto that end, and making this the scope, design, and business of our lives. It is a turning from a deceitful world to God; and preferring the Creator before the creature, and heaven before earth, and eternity before an inch of time, and our souls before our corruptible bodies, and the authority and laws of God, the universal Governor of the world, before the word or will of any man, how great soever; and a subjecting our sensitive faculties to our reason, and advancing this reason by Divine revelation; and living by faith, and not by sight: in a word, it is laying up our treasure in heaven, and setting our hearts there, and living in a heavenly conversation, setting our affections on the things above, and not on the things that are on the earth; and a rejoicing in hope of the glory to come, when sensualists have nothing but transitory, brutish pleasures to rejoice in.

This is a state and life of holiness: when we persuade you to be holy, we persuade you to no worse than this; when we commend a life of godliness to your choice, this is the life that we mean, and that we commend to you. And can you understand this well, and yet be unwilling of it? It cannot be. Do but know well what godliness and ungodliness, what grace and sin are, and the work is almost done.”

-From The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, Vol. 1, page 14, Soli Deo Gloria Publications; Baxter lived from 1615-1691; he was an English Puritan Church Leader