Friday, January 29, 2010

The Perils of Idleness

Some men have not enough force of character in them to be downright wicked; they are mere chips in the porridge, with nothing of manhood in them. They are so idle that they are not even good enough to be diligent servants of Satan. There be some who would if they could, I think, lie in bed and rot of slothfulness, to whom it would be their supremest bliss for ever to have nothing to do, and nothing to think of, except it may be a little eating and drinking by way of variety. Because this indolence abounds, many men sleep on and awake not to righteousness and to the service of God. To repent is troublesome; to believe in Jesus Christ requires the exercise of thought; to be a Christian is too laborious; to watch your conduct and conversation is too much to require of them. If heaven could be reached in a sound sleep, and sleeping cars could be run all the way to the Celestial City, they would be among the best of pilgrims; but they cannot rub their eyes even to see Jesus, or leave their couch to win heaven itself.

How will these simpletons wake up one day when they find that their life of trifling has brought them within the fast closed gates of hell! God is not to be trifled with. He does not make immortal beings that they may sport like butterflies from flower to flower. He does not create souls and give them lives to spend in child’s play, fashionable frivolities, and killing of time. Yet in the face of eternity, life, death, heaven, and hell, multitudes upon multitudes are ruined simply because they neglect the great salvation, and are absolutely too idle to concern themselves about eternal matters. They doze into damnation, they sleep into eternal fire! But what a waking! O my
fellow men, run not the risk, run not the risk!

From a sermon entitled "Sins Of Omission," delivered October 25, 1868. Image by joiseyshowaa under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How God uses affliction

Our spirits, under God, live by passing through the sorrows of the present; for first, let me remind you, that by these trials and afflictions we live, because they are medicinal. There are spiritual diseases which would corrupt our spirit if not checked, kept down, and destroyed as to their reigning power by the daily cross which the Lord lays upon our shoulders. Just as the fever must be held in check by the bitter draught of quinine, so must the bitter cup of affliction rebuke our rising pride and worldliness. We should exalt ourselves above measure, and provoke the Lord to jealousy against us, were it not that trouble lays us low.

None of us shall know until we read our biography in the light of heaven, from what inbred sins, foul corruptions, damnable uncleanliness, and detestable lusts we have been delivered, by being driven again and again along the fiery road of affliction. Adversities are the sharp knives with which God doth cut from us the deadly ulcers of our sins; these are the two-edged swords with which he slays our enemies and his own which lurk within us. He must prune us and trim us as the gardener his trees, otherwise we shall bring forth no fruit.

From a sermon entitled "All These Things - A Sermon with Three Texts," delivered October 18, 1868. Image by Neal Fowler under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waiting for God's Conclusion

Only little children put their seeds into the ground and then turn up the mould to discover whether the seeds are growing on the morrow. It was said of the northern nations, near the pole, and said truthfully, that they sowed their barley in the morning and reaped it at night, because the sun goes not down for four mouths at a time; but in sober truth we must not expect to have the rewards of grace given to us immediately we believe.

This is the time for running, not for tarrying to gaze upon the prize. This is the hour for the battle, not yet may we rest on our laurels. There must be a trial of our patience and our faith. God delights that his servants should be put through many exercises and ordeals, in order that the praise of the glory of his grace may be manifest in them and through them, to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Wait, then, Christian; be content to wait. The Bridegroom cometh quickly; rest assured of that; and if you think he lingereth, ask for greater patience, that you may patiently work on, continuing steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Expect not your full reward of joy tomorrow; your lot is on the other side of Jordan; the bells of your wedding day shall ring out in another world, and your coronation will be received in the ivory palaces, upon which the sun hath never shone. You are espoused to a Husband who is not here; you look for a kingdom far above these changeful skies. Have patience, then, till the great hour shall come, and the King shall descend to take his own.

From a sermon entitled "Sown Light," delivered October 11, 1868. Image by Jeff Kubina under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Everyone called to cheerful giving

Some are enabled, being made stewards of wealth, to give largely of their substance. They are bound to do so, but they should not give it merely as being bound, but feeling it to be their privilege to give whatsoever they can to him who gave them their all, and who is their all. The poorest Christian is not exempted from this privilege. If he hath but little, God accepteth according to that which a man hath, and not according to that which he hath not, and if he be so poor that he cannot even give the two mites which make a farthing, still he may give to God of his time, he may give to God of such ability as he hath in the teaching of the young, in the distribution of the printed word, or in some other form of service which shall come conveniently within his reach. But none must escape from being givers to God in some way, for we are all receivers and should be all dispensers. Give him our prayers, give him our praises, give him such efforts as we can, but let us all be givers, and let us take heed to the text, and be cheerful givers too.

From a sermon entitled "A Cheerful Giver Beloved Of God," delivered August 27, 1868. Image by P J Hansen under Creative Commons License.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Blessed Substitute

But, beloved, when I first understood that Jesus Christ stood in the place of all those that believe in him, and that, if I trusted him my sins were all forgiven, because they had been already punished in the person of my blessed substitute, then I had no longer occasion for despair; then I listened to the word of the gospel, feeling, “There is hope for me, even for me.” When I understood that there was nothing expected from me in order to salvation, but that all must come from Jesus; that I was not to be wounded, nor to be made to smart, but that he had been smitten and had been made to bleed on my behalf; and that my life must be found in his death, and my healing in his wounds, then hope sprung up - bright-eyed hope - and my soul turned unto her Father and her God with loving expectations. Was it not so with you?

From a sermon entitled "The Universal Remedy," delivered October 4, 1868. Image by Stephanie Klocke under Creative Commons License.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We shall give eternal praise

The sun shall grow dim with age, and the whole universe shall shrivel up like a scroll that is burnt in the flame; but God has selected immortal men who cannot die, and in these he has wrought a work which they never can forget, a work which has plunged them under solemn obligations to him which they never can discharge, bound them to himself by grateful ties of affection which nothing can dissolve. He has plucked us out of the horrible pit, and put us into such a place that throughout eternity it shall be our delight, cur very life, to praise and magnify his name.

Oh, how will we tell angels what he has done! How will we show forth in every street to the sacred inhabitants what grace has done for us, and how the love of God accomplished a mighty triumph over our sins! We will tell the cherubim and seraphim what God has done, and make them think they never saw God before till they beheld him working in men. Long adown the ages, when the morning star is laid asleep, we will tell our fellow immortals, of Golgotha, of Calvary, of Jesus and his love; we will repeat the story of the cross; we will publish abroad the story of the God that loved and died, and of the triumph of the pierced and crucified One when he entered the doors of our hearts and captured us by the force of his love. This then will be an everlasting sign unto the Lord our God. Let this encourage Christians.

From a sermon entitled "The Lord's Name And Memorial," delivered September 27, 1868. Image by Jeff under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


When a man has all other excellencies, when the grace of God has wrought in him all other virtues, then zeal is still needed to elevate and perfect his entire manhood. Behold the altar, built of unhewn stones, and after God’s own law; behold the wood laid thereon; see the victim slain and the blood flowing; but you cannot make a sacrifice without fire — unless the fire from heaven shall perfect the sacrificial preparations, all will be useless.

Behold in the altar the figure of the man; he has faith, courage, love, consecration; but if he lacks the fire of fervent zeal his life will be a failure; he will remain an offering unconsumed, and consequently worthless and unaccepted. By this, indeed, may you know the genuine from the false when other things might raise a question: the false is like the altar of Baal whereon there is much wood and a well fed bullock, and around it are active genuflexions and vigorous ritualisms, but there is no true fire from heaven; while the true is like the altar of Elias, upon which, in answer to fervent prayers, the hallowed flames descend. One of the first requisites of an earnest, successful, soul-winning man, must be zeal. As well a chariot without its steeds, a sun without its beams, a heaven without its joy, as a man of God without zeal.

From a sermon entitled "The Best Cloak," delivered. Image by Kevin Dolley under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To worship Him in spirit and in truth

We know of no holy place now, nor holy days, nor holy implements. Our soul serves God in spirit, for He is a Spirit and seeketh those to worship Him who do so in spirit and in truth. Our soul gives to Jesus Christ pre-eminence in all her trusting, coming only to God through Him, and never thinking that she can either serve, or worship, or live aright, except as she dwells in Christ, and the merit of Christ commends her to the Father.

From a sermon entitled "The Altar," delivered September 20, 1868. Image by Chris Bartnik under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gradual Decline

Remember, brethren, that decays in grace and backsliding are usually very much like the fall of the autumn leaves. You are watching the trees, forever now they are beginning to indicate the coining fall. They evidently know that their verdant robes are to be stripped from them, for they are casting off their first loose vestments. How slowly the time of the brown leaf comes on! You notice here and there a tinge of the copper hue, and anon the gold leaf or the bronze is apparent. Week after week you observe that the general fall of the leaves is drawing nearer, but it is a matter that creeps slowly on. And so with backsliders. They are not put out of the visible church all at once, they do not become open offenders all at once. The heart by slow degrees turns aside from the living God, and then at last comes the outward sin and the outward shame. God save us from falling by little and little! The devil’s little strokes have felled many great oaks.

From a sermon entitled "Grey Hairs," delivered September 13, 1868. Image by Chris Darling under Creative Commons License.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Imagining His Love

We try to guess at what God’s love to one of his people may be by our love to our own children, to our spouse, to our friend. Now in a far higher degree and sublime sense, and after a loftier sort, even so God loves the people of his choice. Consider this, believer, and be astonished, that love should come from God to such a one as yourself. The Lord loves you. He has a complacency and a delight in you. You give him pleasure; he watches for your good; you are one of his household; your name is written on his heart. He loves you; can you catch the thought? If so there is no praise that can express your gratitude. Solemn silence will perhaps be the only vehicle that shall seem fitting for your soul’s adoration. Revolve the personal thought again and again in your soul! He that made the heavens and the earth loves me! He whose angels fly as lightning to obey his behests, the tramp of whose marching shakes both heaven and earth, whose smile is heaven, and whose frown is hell, loves me! Infinite, almighty, omniscient, eternal, a mind inconceivable, a spirit that is not to be comprehended; but he, even he has set his love upon the sons of men, and upon me.

From a sermon entitled "The Perfuming of the Heart," delivered September 6, 1868. Image by Michel Villeneuve under Creative Commons License.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Where we're headed!

I say our souls shall come back to their bodies to a new marriage. The spirit and the body shall be knit together once again, so that our manhood shall be again entire, body, soul, and spirit, all being in glory even as we are here on earth, but far more gloriously developed. Believers in Christ know that the first resurrection delivers them from all fear of second death. We shall reign with Christ upon the earth: a thousand years of glory shall be given unto the saints; on this selfsame globe in which they suffered with their Master they shall triumph with him. Then in the last time when Jesus shall have delivered up the kingdom unto God, even the Father, then the people of God shall reign forever and ever in unsurpassed and unimaginable delight.

From a sermon entitled "Dying Daily," delivered August 30, 1868. Image by Till Krech under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The medicine for your conscience

Only at Calvary is the medicine for a wounded conscience to be found. From those five wounds of our blessed Lord healing fonts are streaming still; he that looks to him shall find peace and comfort and full salvation; but the doing and the feeling, and the performing of this and that, and ten thousand things beside, are all a mockery, a delusion, and a snare, they touch not the case. The disease of fallen humanity is wholly incurable except by the hand of Omnipotence. It is as easy for us to create a world as to create a new heart; and a man might us well hope to abolish cold and snow as hope to eradicate sin from his nature by his own power; he might us well say to this round earth, “I have emancipated thee from the curse of labor,” as say to himself, “I will set myself flee from the thraldom of sin.” Jehovah alone can save, it is his prerogative...

From a sermon entitled "The Faculty Baffled, The Great Physician Successful" delivered August 23, 1868. Image by Reinante El Pintor de Fuego under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Christ Alone Be The Glory

Now, here is the touchstone to try your religion by. When you pray, to whom do you pray? Through whom do you pray? When you sing, for whom is the song meant? When you preach, to whose honor do you preach? To whom do you intend to do service? When you go out among the poor, when you distribute alms, when you scatter your tracts, when you talk about the gospel, for whom do you do this? For, as the Lord liveth, if you do it for yourselves, or for any beside the Lord Jesus, you do not know what the vitality of godliness is, for Christ and Christ only must be the grand object of the Christian; the promotion of his glory must be that for which he is willing to live, and for which, if needs be, he would be prepared to die.

Oh! down, down, down, with everything else, but up, up, up, with the cross of Christ! Down with your baptism, and your masses, and your sacraments! Down with your priest-craft, and your rituals, and your liturgies! Down with your fine music, and your pomp, and your robes, and your garments, and all your ceremonials. But up, up, up, with the doctrine of the naked cross, and the expiring Savior.

From a sermon entitled "Christ the Glory of His People," delivered March 22, 1868. Image by johnny myreng under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

He will sift and purify His Church

The church of God since its institution has never been perfectly pure. It has been the object of all true ministers, as the Lord’s watchmen, to keep his church pure; and the servants of God in every age have longed and desired that the tares might be rooted up from amongst the wheat, but it has never been so. The church has shared in the imperfection of everything else that is human, and hence upon God’s floor there has never been a heap of perfectly pure well-winnowed wheat, some chaff has always been introduced by some means or other. No matter how stringent your regulations, how scriptural your rules, how judicious your officers, how precise your examinations, for all that, as certainly as Judas thrust himself in among the twelve, so will there creep in unawares among us ungodly men who were of old ordained unto this condemnation, who shall be as chaff in the midst of the wheat.

Because of this we must expect, wherever and whensoever God has a church, to find that it is in the sieve. As long as the farmer’s corn is not clean, he will keep on sifting it; and as long as God’s church is not pure, he will continue to purify it; he will, in fact, fulfill the words of the text, “Sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve." (Amos 9:9)

From a sermon entitled "The Sieve," delivered August 16, 1868. Image by Kevin Lallier under Creative Commons License.

Monday, January 11, 2010

They shall see His face

Whether dying young or old, whether departing after long service of Christ, or dying immediately after conversion as with the thief, of all the saints shall it be said in the words of the text, “They shall see his face.” What more can apostles and martyrs enjoy? Do you regret that your friends have departed? Do you lament that wife, and husband, and child, and father, and grandparent, have all entered into their rest? Be not so unkind, so selfish to yourself, so cruel to them.

Nay, rather, soldier of the cross, be thankful that another has won the crown before you, and do you press forward to win it too. Life is but a moment: how short it will appear in eternity. Even here hope perceives it to be brief; and though impatience counts it long, yet faith corrects her, and reminds her that one hour with God will make the longest life to seem but a point of time, a mere nothing, a watch in the night, a thing that was and was not, that has come and gone.

From a sermon entitled "The Heaven Of Heaven," delivered August 9, 1868. Image by James Jordan under Creative Commons License.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rich and poor alike must come to Him

As the great man will not purchase an escape by all that which he hath stored up, so neither will the man be delivered because of his poverty. There was a rich man in hell, we read: poor men have been there, and are there now. As riches cannot save from hell, so neither can poverty raise to heaven. The grace and justice of God are independent of society, and rank, and state, and condition. What mattereth it to the Lord how much or how little of yellow metal thou hast about thee! he measures no man by his purse, but by his soul; and he whose soul is unpardoned is lost, be he rolling in plenty or pining in want. You must be born again; you must believe in Jesus; you must, in one word, get into the ark, or when the flood comes it will sweep you all away, be you rich as Dives, or poor as Lazarus.

From a sermon entitled "Noah's Flood," delivered March 5, 1868. Image by Duncan Rawlinson under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why do we wander?

“As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” - Psalm 42:1.

There is something to be lamented in this state of mind, for if the psalmist had maintained unbroken communion with his God, he would not have been so much panting after him as enjoying him. It is deeply to be deplored that we who sometimes bask in the sunshine of God’s countenance cannot live so as always to enjoy it.

Wherefore do we wander? Why do we grieve his Holy Spirit? Why do we turn aside from God, our exceeding joy? Wherefore do we provoke him to jealousy, and cause him to make us grope in darkness, and sigh out of a lonely and desolate heart? There is much of an evil heart of unbelief in these departings from the living God; if, therefore, we can join in the language of the text, we must not too much congratulate ourselves, for though it be a sign of grace to pant after God as the hart pants for the waterbrooks, yet it is an equally certain sign of a want of more grace, and the loss of a privilege which we should strive always to possess. We are yet but poor in spiritual things when we might be rich; we are thirsting when we might put flagons to our lips.

From a sermon entitled "The Panting Hart," delivered July 20, 1868. Image by Brandon Godfrey under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hope in Hopeless Cases

“Bring him hither to me.”-Matthew 17:17.

The disciples were baffled. The Master, however, remained undefeated, and cried, “Bring him unto me.” We ought to use the means so far as the means will go. We are bound, further, to make the means more effectual than they ordinarily are. Prayer and fasting are prescribed by our Lord as the means of stringing up ourselves to greater power than we should otherwise possess.

There are conversions, which will never be wrought by the agency of ordinary Christians. We have need to pray more, and by self-denial to keep our bodies more completely under, and so to enjoy closer communion with God before we shall be able to handle the more distressing cases. The church of God would be far stronger to wrestle with this ungodly age if she were more given to prayer and fasting. There is a mighty efficacy in these two gospel ordinances. The first links us to heaven, the second separates us from earth. Prayer takes us into the banqueting-house of God; fasting overturns the surfeiting tables of earth. Prayer gives us to feed on the bread of heaven, and fasting delivers the soul from being encumbered with the fullness of bread which perisheth. When Christians shall bring themselves up to the uttermost possibilities of spiritual vigor, then they will be able, by God’s Spirit working in them, to cast out devils, which to day, without the prayer and fasting, laugh them to scorn.

But for all that, to the most advanced Christian, there will still remain those mountainous difficulties, which must be directly brought to the Master’s personal agency for help. Still he tenderly commands us, “Bring them unto me.”

From a sermon entitled "Hope In Hopeless Cases," delivered July 19, 1868. Image by brokinhrt2 under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Careful with the Word

If we sometimes looked a little more to the connection of sentences, we should be kept from very dangerous errors. The Bible ought to be treated in conformity with common sense, as you would use any other book. If you took the writings of any author, however carefully he might express himself, if you picked out a sentence here and a sentence there, [you] might make the man to say what he never believed; nay, even make him to be the supporter of opinions which he abhors. So it is with the Bible: if you pay no regard to the connection and general run of the passage, you miss the mind of the Spirit of God, and rather thrust your own mind into God’s words than bring out God’s mind from the words of the Holy Ghost.

From a sermon entitled "Working Out What Is Worked In," delivered July 12, 1868. Image by Luis Argerich under Creative Commons License.

Monday, January 4, 2010

When the Church intercedes

God will bless his church when she acknowledges her faults and humbles herself; when, with an evangelical repentance, she stands before the mercy-seat, and cries, “God be merciful unto us.”

We must never expect that the Lord will bless a proud and conceited church, a hard-hearted and indifferent church. When humbled and laid in the dust under a sense of her own shortcomings, then shall God be pleased to look upon her in mercy. I gather from the tenor of the first verse, that God blesses his people when they begin to pray, as well as when they confess their sins. The prayer is urgent, humble, and believing, and therefore it must speed....

We are sure to receive the benediction from God when the entire church is instant and constant in intercession. Prayer is the best resort of an earnest people. Are we not witnesses of it? We have had prayer meetings in this house, in which we have all been stirred as the trees of the wood are moved in the wind, and then we have always had the presence of God afterwards in the conversion of souls. Our best praying times have always been followed by joyful harvest homes. The churches everywhere must be prayerful, intensely so, or else they cannot expect that the sound of abundance of rain should be heard throughout their land. Awake to confess sin, O Zion, awake to soul-travail for the souls of men, and then shall God, thy Lord, visit thee from on high. Come, Holy Spirit, and arouse thy slumbering people; bestir thy sluggard host, for when thy power is felt, then hath the bright day of triumph dawned upon us.

From a sermon entitled "The Minstrelsy Of Hope," delivered July 5, 1868. Image by Paulo Brandão under Creative Commons License.