Wednesday, November 30, 2011

For God has truly made us

No, we did not become what we are by chance or growth. God made us. This belief is the easiest escape from all difficulties, and besides, it is true, and everything in us tells us so. Now, since the Lord made us, he has a right to us. The property which God has in man is proved beyond dispute by our being his creatures. The potter has a right make the vessel for what use he pleases, still he has not such absolute right over his clay as God has over us, for the potter does not make the clay; he makes the vessel from the clay, but the clay is there from the first. The Lord has in our case made the clay from which he has fashioned us, and therefore we are entirely at his disposal, and should serve him with all our hearts. Why, man, if you make anything, you expect to use it....

Will you not acknowledge his claim? Consider what he has made us. No mean things are we! Who but God could make a man? Raphael takes the pencil in his hand, and with master touch creates upon yonder canvas the most wondrous forms; and the sculptor with his chisel and his hammer develops amazing beauty; but there is no life, thought, intellect, and if you speak there is neither voice nor answering. How different are you from the canvas and the marble, for in your bosom there is a mysterious principle, which makes you akin to the Deity, for your soul can know reason, believe, understand, and love. I had almost called the soul infinite, for God has made it capable of such wondrous things. Thus has he trusted us with high powers and faculties, and lifted us up to to a high position; surely, then, it is ours to serve him with a loving loyalty.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Claims of God," delivered October 11, 1874. Image by rachel_thecat on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Despairing of my good works

If you have anything to do with Jesus, you must get right away from your own good works; I mean from all reliance upon them, and come to rest in him, and him alone, for it never will be Christ and company. He will save from top to bottom, from first to last, or else not at all. Not a drop of his blood and then a drop of your tears; not a work from Christ and then a work from you. Oh no! Such hideous patchwork cannot be endured. It is not the object of the law to drive you to a compromise. But its object is this — to make you accept salvation as the free gift of God — to make you stand and own that you are a sinner, and accept a free, full, perfect forgiveness, according to the infinite grace of the eternal Father.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Stern Pedagogue." Image by Graeme Law on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Where sinners find their hope

Christ is always welcomed by those who know they want him: the self-righteous Pharisees and Scribes murmur at him, but those who are humble and contrite, because conscious of their guilt, approach him, wishing, as it were, but to touch the hem of his garment, that they may be made whole. As the sun is attended by his planets, who borrow all their light from him, so is the Lord Jesus waited on by crowds of sinners, who find in him their hope, their all. As the thirsty harts resort to the water-brooks so do needy souls hasten to Jesus, and it is according to the divine order that it should be so.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Abundant Pardon," delivered September 27, 1874. Image by Parvin on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hold on, brother!

Hold on, brother! and hold out to the end; be humble and quietly faithful. Do not try to be a wonder, but be a wonder. Do not try to do some astonishing thing to attract attention; but “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Do not believe that the common Christianity of the present age will carry anybody to heaven. It is a counterfeit and a sham. It does not make men to differ from their fellows, it pretends to faith and has none, talks about love and does not show it, brags of truth and evaporates it into thin air in its latitudinarian charity.

God give us back the real thing... strong belief in the gospel, real faith in Jesus, real prayer to him, real spiritual power. Then again there will be persecution, but it will only blow away the chaff; and leave the pure wheat! The world likes us better because we like the world better; it calls us friends because we doff our colors and sheathe our swords and play the craven; but if we preach and live the gospel in the old apostolic way, we shall soon have the devil roaring round the camp and the seed of the serpent hissing on all sides, but we fear not, for “the Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "I And The Children," delivered September 20, 1874. Image by Zach Dischner on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Excellence Comes From Effort

Young man, young woman, you desire to be as nearly perfect as may be possible. So be it! God help you and accomplish in you all the good pleasure of his will. But do not vainly dream that the life which you admire in others will readily be reproduced in yourself. Excellence comes of effort; they labored and watched, and prayed; and trusted in the Lord, or they never would have become what they were, and be assured there is no royal road for you, you too must wrestle hard ere victory will be won. Let the ideal be before your mind, but remember it is but an ideal, and grace will be needed to work in you “to will and to do of the Lord’s good pleasure.” To will is present with you even now, but perhaps ere long you will have to say, “How to perform that which I would I find not.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Girding On The Harness," delivered August 6, 1874. Image by ND Strupler on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Monday, November 21, 2011

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Man of Earnest Prayer

When a man becomes cold, indifferent, and careless, one of the first things that will suffer will be his devotion. When a sick man is in a decline his lungs suffer and his voice; and so when a Christian is in a spiritual decline the breath of prayer is affected, and the cry of supplication becomes weak. Prayer is the true gauge of spiritual power. To restrain prayer is dangerous, and of deadly tendency. You may depend upon it that, take it for all in all, what you are upon your knees you are really before your God. What the Pharisee and the Publican were in prayer was the true criterion of their spiritual state.

You may maintain a decent repute among men, but it is a small matter to be judged of man’s judgment, for men see only the surface, while the Lord’s eyes pry into the recesses of the soul. If he sees that you are prayerless he makes small account of your attendance at religious meetings, or your loud professions of conversion. If you are a man of earnest prayer, and especially if the spirit of prayer be in you, so that in addition to certain seasons of supplication your heart habitually talks with God, things are right with you; but if this be not the case, and your prayers be “hindered,” there is something in your spiritual system which needs to be ejected, or somewhat lacking which ought at once to be supplied. “Keep thine heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life;” and living prayers are among those issues.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Hindrances To Prayer," delivered September 13, 1871. Image by Mary Ann Enriquez on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

As we really were

Jesus viewed us as we really were, not as our pride fancies us to be; he saw us to be without God, enemies to our own Creator, dead in trespasses and sins, corrupt, and set on mischief, and even in our occasional cry for good, searching for it with blinded judgment and prejudiced heart, so that we put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. He saw that in us was no good thing, but every possible evil, so that we were lost, — utterly, helplessly, hopelessly lost apart from him: yet viewing us as in that graceless and Godless plight and condition, he died for us.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "For Whom Did Christ Die?," delivered September 6, 1874. Image by Steve Dunleavy on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The best gauge of our spiritual condition

Our estimate of Christ is the best gauge of our spiritual condition; as the thermometer rises in proportion to the increased warmth of the air, so does our estimate of Jesus rise as our spiritual life increases in vigor and fervency. Tell me what you think of Jesus and I will tell you what to think of yourself. Christ is, yea, more than all when we are thoroughly sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost. When pride of self fills up the soul, there is little room for Jesus; but when Jesus is fully loved, self is subdued, and sin driven out of the throne.

If we think little of the Lord Jesus we have very great cause to account ourselves spiritually blind, and naked, and poor, and miserable. The rebel despises his lawful sovereign, but the favored courtier is enthusiastic in his praise. Christ crucified is the revealer of many hearts, the touchstone by which the pure gold and the counterfeit metal are discerned; his very name is as a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap; false professors cannot endure it, but true believers triumph therein. We are growing in grace when we grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let everything else be gone, and let Christ fill up the entire space of our soul, then, and only then, are we rising out of the vanity of the flesh into the real life of God.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "A Song Among The Lilies," delivered August 30, 1874. Image by joiseyshowaa on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Get away to your Father

This is what the sinner has to do, and what the Spirit enables him to do: namely, to come straight away to his God. But, alas! very commonly, when men begin to be anxious, they go round about and hasten to a friend to tell him about it, or they even resort to a deceitful priest, and seek help from him. They fly to a saint or a virgin, and ask these to be mediators for then, instead of accepting the only Mediator Jesus Christ, and going to God at once by him. They fly to outward forms and ceremonies, or they turn to their Bibles, their prayers, their repentances, or their sermon-hearings; in fact, to anything rather than their God. But the prodigal knew better; he went to his father, and it will be a grand day for you, O sinner, when you do the same.

Go straight away to your God in Christ Jesus. “Come here,” says the priest. Pass that fellow by. Get away to your Father. Reject an angel from heaven if he would detain you from the Lord. Go personally, directly, and at once to God in Christ Jesus. But surely I must perform some ceremony first? Not so did the prodigal, he arose and went at once to his father. Sinner, you must come to God, and Jesus is the way. Go to him then, tell him you have done wrong, confess your sins to him, and yield yourself to him. Cry, “Father, I have sinned: forgive me, for Jesus’ sake.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Turning Point," delivered August 23, 1874. Image by Steve-h on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Have you counted the cost?

Was not Joseph hated of his brethren? Was not David persecuted by Saul, Daniel by the Persian princes, and Jeremiah by the kings of Israel? Has it not ever been so? Did not the Lord Jesus Christ himself meet with slander, cruelty, and death, and did he not tell us that we must not look for favor where he found rejection? He said plainly, “I came not to send peace upon the earth, but a sword;” and he declared that the immediate result of the preaching of the gospel would be to set the son against the father and the father against the son, so that a man’s foes should be they of his own household. Did he not carefully inquire of every recruit who wished to enlist in his army, “Have you counted the cost?”

Have you not admired his perfect honesty and admirable caution in dealing with men, when he bids them remember that if they follow him they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and be content to be hated of all men for his sake? He warns us not to expect that the disciple will be above his Master, for if men have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, they will assuredly confer no sweet titles upon his household. Since our Lord has forewarned us, it is well for us to stand ready for the trial which he predicts, and to ask ourselves whether we are ready to bear oppression for Christ’s sake.

I press the question upon you who think of avowing yourselves believers, for most likely it will come practically home to you, and it is well when you begin to build a house to calculate whether you will be able to finish it.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "A Word For The Persecuted," delivered August 16, 1874. Image by yugoQ n Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Keep sowing!

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” [Psalm 126:5]

Hence, present distress must not be viewed as if it would last for ever: it is not the end, by any means, but only a means to the end. Sorrow is our sowing, rejoicing shall be our reaping. If there were no sowing in tears there would be no reaping in joy. If we were never captives we could never lead our captivity captive. Our mouth had never been filled with holy laughter if it had not been first filled with the bitterness of grief. We must sow: we may have to sow in the wet weather of sorrow; but we shall reap, and reap in the bright summer season of joy. Let us keep to the work of this present sowing time, and find strength in the promise which is here so positively given us. Here is one of the Lord's shalls and wills; it is freely given both to workers, waiters, and weepers, and they may rest assured that it will not fail: “in due season they shall reap.”

From The Treasury of David, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, exposition of Psalm 126. Image by Taylor Mcbride on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Messiah was cut off

Now Messiah was to be cut off, but not for himself; he was to make his soul an offering for sin, he was to make his grave with the wicked, and lie in the heart of the earth. The blood of the covenant was to be shed, the paschal victim was to be slain, the Shepherd was to be smitten, the Lamb was to be led to the slaughter, and therefore only by the shedding of his blood could Jesus prove himself to be the Messiah so long foretold.

However pure the life he led, had he never died he could not have been the Savior appointed to bear the iniquity of us all. The blood was needed to complete the witness. The blood must now with the water, the suffering with the serving. The most pious example would not have proved him to be the divine Shepherd, if he had not laid down his life for the sheep. Take away the atonement, and Jesus is no more than any other prophet, the essential point of his mission is gone. It is evident that he who was to come was to finish transgression, and to make reconciliation for iniquity. Now, this could not be done except by an expiation, and as Jesus has made such an expiation by his own blood, we know him to be the Christ of God. His blood is the seal of his mission, the very life of his work.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Three Witnesses," delivered August 9, 1874. Image by blinking idiot on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Confirmed By Blood

In olden times when men made covenants the one with the other, they generally used some ceremony to bind the bargain, as it were. Now, under the old dispensation covenants with God were always confirmed with blood. As soon as ever blood was shed, and the victim died, the agreement made was established. Now, when our heavenly Father made a covenant with Jesus Christ on our behalf, that covenant was true and firm, “according to the sure mercies of David,” but to make it stand fast there must be blood. Now, the blood ordained to seal the covenant was not the blood of bulls or of goats, but the blood of the Son of God himself; and this has made the covenant so binding that sooner may heaven and earth pass away than one tittle of it fail.

God must keep his own promises. He is a free God, but he binds himself; by two immutable things wherein it is impossible for him to lie, he has bound himself to bestow covenant blessings upon the flock which the great Shepherd represented. Brethren, you and I, as honest men, are bound by our word. If we took an oath, which I trust we would not, we should certainly feel doubly bound by it; and if we had lived in the old times, and blood had been sprinkled on an agreement which we had made, we should regard the solemn sign and never dream of running back from it.

Think, for a moment, how impossible it is that the Lord should ever break that covenant of grace, which he spontaneously made with his own Son, and with us in him, now that it has been sprinkled with blood from the veins of his own well-beloved Son. No; the covenant is everlasting. It stands fast for ever, because it is confirmed by blood which is none other than the blood of the Son of God.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Blood of the Covenant," delivered August 2, 1874. Image by Zach Dischner on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Better Nothing Than Lukewarmness

It is harder a great deal to work for Jesus with a church which is lukewarm than it would be to begin without a church. Give me a dozen earnest spirits and put me down anywhere in London, and by God’s good help we will soon cause the wilderness and the solitary place to rejoice; but give me the whole lot of you, half-hearted, undecided, and unconcerned, what can I do? You will only be a drag upon a man’s zeal and earnestness. Five thousand members of a church all lukewarm will be five thousand impediments, but a dozen earnest, passionate spirits, determined that Christ shall be glorified and souls won, must be more than conquerors; in their very weakness and fewness will reside capacities for being the more largely blessed of God. Better nothing than lukewarmness.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "An Earnest Warning Against Lukewarmness," delivered July 26, 1874. Image by P. Oglesby on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Friday, November 4, 2011

He stooped to lift us up

To lift us up he stooped. He made the heavens, and yet he lay in Bethlehem’s manger. He hung the stars in their places, and laid the beams of the universe, and yet he became a carpenter’s son, giving up all his rank and dignity for love’s dear sake; and then when he grew up he consented to be the servant of servants, and made himself of no reputation. He took the lowest place; “he was despised and rejected of men;” he gave up all ease and comfort, for he had not where to lay his head; he gave up all health of body, for he bore our sickness, and he bared his back to the smiters that the chastisement of our peace might fall upon him; he gave up the last rag he had, for they took his own raiment from him, and upon his vesture did they cast lots; he gave up for the world all esteem.

They called him a blasphemer. Reproach broke his heart, but he gave that heart up for us; he gave his body to the nails, and his heart to the spear, and he could do no more. When at last he gave his life, “It is finished,” said he; and they took down his mangled body from the tree and laid it in the grave. Self-sacrifice had reached its climax; further he could not go; but he could not have saved us if he had stopped short of that. So lost, so utterly lost we were, that without this extreme self-devotion — till it could be said, "He saved others; himself he could not save" — without this self-devotion, I say, he could not have saved so much as one of us.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Sad Plight And Sure Relief." Image by Pieterjan Vandaele on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A change both radical and complete

In the third [chapter] of John our Lord associates faith and regeneration in the closest manner, declaring not only that we must be born again, but also that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

We must undergo a change quite as great as if we could return to our native nothingness and could then come forth fresh from the hand of the Great Creator. John tells us, in his first epistle, 5:4, that “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world,” and he adds, to show that the new birth and faith go together, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” To the same effect is 1 John 5:1, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”  Where there is true faith, there is the new birth, and that term implies a change beyond measure complete, and radical.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Is Conversion Necessary?" delivered July 19, 1874. Image by Ernst Vikne on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trusting in His mighty aid

While carnal men say “seeing is believing,” we assure them that to us “believing is seeing.” We turn their saying upside down, our faith is eye and ear, and taste and touch to us, it is so mighty in us that we do not only know that there is a God, but we regard him as the great motive force of the universe, and daily calculate upon his mighty aid. Hence it is the Christian’s habit to fall back upon God in all time of faintness, to cry to God in all time of danger: he does not pray because he thinks it a pious though useless exercise, but because he believes it to be an effectual transaction, the potent pleading of a child with its parent, rewarded with loving grants of blessing.

The believer does not look up to heaven because it is a natural instinct to hope for better days, and to cheer one’s self with a pious fiction about providence, but he looks up to heaven because God is actually there, truly observant, tenderly sympathetic, and ready with a mighty arm to come to the rescue of his people. So, then, because it is our wont to wait upon the Lord, we go to him in troublous days as a matter of course. We do not make him an occasional resort to be used only when we cannot help it, but we dwell in him, and morning by morning pour out our hearts before him; and so when adversity comes, we fly to God as naturally as the dove to its dovecote, or the coney to the rock, or the weary child to its mother’s bosom. The nautilus, when disturbed, folds up its sails and sinks into the depths, and even so in every hour of storm we descend into the deeps of divine love. Blessed is that man whose spirit looks to God alone at all times. Let us each one ask his own heart — is this my case? And if we can answer aright, let us sing with Madame Guyon —

“Ah then! to his embrace repair;
My soul, thou art no stranger there;
There love divine shall be thy guard,
And peace and safety thy reward.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "A Singular Title And A Special Favor," delivered July 12, 1874. Image by Jerry Kirkhart on Flickr under Creative Commons License.