Thursday, January 27, 2011

Before the Spirit Comes

Before the Spirit comes we think ourselves as good as the best. We say, “All these commandments have I kept from my youth up,” and we superciliously ask, “What lack I yet?” Have we not been moral? Nay, have we not even been religious? We confess that we may have committed faults, but we think them very venial, and we venture, in our wicked pride, to imagine that, after all, we are not so vile as the word of God would lead us to think.

Ah, my dear hearer, when the Spirit of God blows on the comeliness of thy flesh, its beauty will fade as a leaf, and thou wilt have quite another idea of thyself thou wilt then find no language too severe in which to describe thy past character. Searching deep into thy motives, and investigating that which moved thee to thine actions, thou wilt see so much of evil, that thou wilt cry with the publican, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Withering Work of the Spirit," delivered July 9, 1871. Image by Mike Nielsen under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Occupied with the worship of God

I would not speak falsely even for God, but I bear my testimony that the happiest moments I have ever spent have been occupied with the worship of God. I have never been so near heaven as when adoring before the eternal throne. I think every Christian will bear like witness.

Among all the joys of earth, and I shall not depreciate them, there is no joy comparable to that of praise. The innocent mirth of the fireside, the chaste happinesses of household love, even these are not to be mentioned side by side with the joy of worship, the rapture of drawing near to the Most High. Earth, at her best, yields but water, but this divine occupation is as the wine of Cana’s marriage feast. The purest and most exhilarating joy is the delight of glorifying God, and so anticipating the time when we shall enjoy him for ever.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "More And More," delivered July 2, 1871. Image by Maks Karochkin under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blessed by Persecution

I fear most the rich when they bring gifts. I loathe the world most when it fawns and flatters. When I heard of a lady who had put on Christ by baptism, that the cold shoulder was given her in all the circles in which she moved; did I, think you, feel more disposed to condole or to congratulate? It was said that now she had but few invitations to such places and such society as she had previously frequented; and I rejoiced, and thanked God for it. I was glad of it, for I felt she was farther removed from temptation. When I heard of a young man that, after he joined the church, those in his workshop met him at once with loud laughter and reproached him with bitter scorn. I was thankful, because now he could not take up the same position with themselves. He was a marked man: they who knew him discovered that there was such a thing as Christianity, and such a one as an earnest defender of it. It is no evil to the church, depend upon it, to have a great gulf fixed between her and the world.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Prosperity Under Persecution." Image by Jeffrey under Creative Commons License.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wake up!

Come, brethren and sisters, we must wake up, even if we have been asleep ourselves, and we must do so because we are in an enemy’s country; it will not do to sleep here. This side of heaven we are in every place and at all hours surrounded by foes. What did the Master say? “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch!” Be like sentries at your post, for otherwise the enemy will soon betray you.

Will you not grieve the Holy Spirit if you are lethargic? Will you not dishonor your Master if you fall asleep? Remember, also, that the devil seeks your destruction, and can never do you so much mischief awake as he can if he finds you sleeping. Let the growling of the old lion arouse you. If nothing else will bestir you, remember the fiery darts of the wicked one. Saul would not have lain so quiet if he had known that Abishai was holding the spear over him, and longing to pin him to the earth: yet this is the condition of professors who are given to slumber. Samson would have scarcely slept on Delilah’s lap if he had foreseen that his hair would be cut, and his eyes put out by the Philistines. Up, then, ye drowsy professors, for the Philistines are upon you!

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Alarum." Image by Mike Behnken under Creative Commons License.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Strong Shepherd

What if the sheep be weak, yet is the shepherd strong to guard his flock from the prowling wolf or the roaring lion. If the sheep suffer privation because the soil is barren, yet is the shepherd able to lead them into pasturage suitable for them. If they be foolish, yet he goes before them, cheers them with his voice, and rules them with the rod of his command. There cannot be a flock without a shepherd; neither is there a shepherd truly without a flock. The two must go together. They are the fullness of each other. As the church is the fullness of him that filleth all in all, so we rejoice to remember that “of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” That I am like a sheep is a sorry reflection; but that I have a shepherd charms away the sorrow and creates a new joy.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Sheep And Their Shepherd." Image by Jule _ Berlin under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Earthly fame which vanishes

Another transient blessing which our poor humanity fondly covets and eagerly pursues is fame. In this respect we would fain be more honorable than our brethren, and outstrip all our competitors. It seems natural to us all to wish to make a name, and gain some note in the circle we move in at any rate, and we wish to make that circle wider if we can. But here, as of riches, it is indisputable that the greatest fame does not bring with it any equal measure of gratification. Men, in seeking after notoriety or honor, have a degree of pleasure in the search which they do not always possess when they have gained their object. Some of the most famous men have also been the most wretched of the human race.

If thou hast honor and fame, accept it; but let this prayer go up, “My God, bless thou me indeed,for what profit were it, if my name were in a thousand mouths, if thou shouldest spue it out of thy mouth? What matter, though my name were written on marble, if it were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? These blessings are only apparently blessings, windy blessings, blessings that mock me. Give me thy blessing: then the honor which comes of thee will make me blessed indeed.” If you happen to have lived in obscurity, and have never entered the lists for honors among your fellow-men, be content to run well your own course and fulfill truly your own vocation. To lack fame is not the most grievous of ills; it is worse to have it like the snow, that whitens the ground in the morning, and disappears in the heat of the day. What matters it to a dead man that men are talking of him? Get thou the blessing indeed.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Prayer Of Jabez." Image by John Davey under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We are not forsaken

We are sent into the world, if we are believers in Christ, like sheep in the midst of wolves, defenseless, and in danger of being devoured, yet no power on earth can destroy the chosen disciples of Christ. Weak as they are, they will tread down the strength of their foes. There are more sheep in the world now than wolves. There are parts of the world where wolves once roamed in troops where not a wolf can now be found; yet tens of thousands of sheep feed on the hillside: one would not be very bold to say that the day will come when the wolf will only be known as an extinct animal, while as long as the world lasts the sheep will continue to multiply.

In the long run, the sheep has gained the victory over the wolf. And it is so with Christ’s people. They appear to be weak, but there is a force about them which cannot be put down: they will overcome the ungodly yet, for the day will come when mighty truth shall prevail. God hasten that blessed and long-expected day. Till then, when persecuted we are not forsaken, when cast down we are not destroyed. Many Christians, are placed in positions where they are subject to very great temptations and persecutions; they are mocked, laughed at, ridiculed, called by evil names. Persecuted one, will you deny the faith? Are you going to put aside your colors, and relinquish the cross of Christ? If so, I can only tell you, you are not made of the same stuff as the true disciples of Jesus Christ; for when the grace of God is in them, if the world be iron, they are northern iron and steel; they can bear all the blows which the world may possibly choose to lay upon them, and as the anvil breaks the hammers in the long run, so will they, by their patient endurance for Christ’s sake, break the force of all persecution, and triumph over it.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Northern Iron And The Steel." Image by John Davey under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To speak to God for men

Never account prayer second to preaching. No doubt prayer in the Christian church is as precious as the utterance of the gospel. To speak to God for men is a part of the Christian priesthood that should never be despised. Surely I have heard some prayers of those whom none would ever have expected to pray, such as I have not heard from those who, from their youth up, have been accustomed to the language of devotion — moved with energy and full of fervor, like Elijah. Or, shall I say it, they have become in spiritual force nerved as Samson was with physical strength. In their prayers they have seemed to take hold of the pillars of the temple of Satan, and pull it down upon their enemies; they have been so mighty as to wrestle with God and prevail.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "A New Order Of Priests And Levites." Image by Nick Bramhall under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Learn from His example

But, in addition to profiting by our Lord’s instruction, the Christian learns wisdom through his Master’s example. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” How shall I be made wise in action? Policy says, “Adopt this expedient and the other;” and the mass of mankind at this age are guided by the policy of the hour; but policy is seeming wisdom and real folly.

Remember it is always wisest to act in any condition as Jesus would have acted, supposing him to have been in that condition. Never did he temporise. Principle guided him, not fashion nor personal advantage. You shall never be a fool if you follow Christ, except in the estimation of fools; and who wishes to be wise in a fool’s esteem? But sometimes it may be said: “To do as Christ would have done would involve me in present difficulty or loss.” It is true; but there is no man that loseth aught in this life for Christ’s sake who shall remain a loser, for he shall receive tenfold in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting. The wisest action is not always the most pecuniarily profitable. It is wise sometimes for men to be poor, ay, even to lose their lives. Truest wisdom — not sham wisdom, not temporary wisdom — you shall manifest by following the example of Christ, though it lead you to prison or to death. His teachings and his example, together, will give you the wisdom which cometh from above.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Fourfold Treasure," delivered April 27, 1871. Image by m. prinke under Creative Commons License.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grieved by a small sin

A man who fears not God, will break all his laws with an easy conscience, but one who is the favorite of heaven, who has been indulged to sit at royal banquets, who knows the eternal love of God to him, cannot bear that there should be any evil way in him that might grieve the Spirit and bring dishonor to the name of Christ. A very little sin, as the world calls it, is a very great sin to a truly awakened Christian.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Self-Humbling and Selfsearching," delivered January 15, 1871. Image by Paul Bowman under Creative Commons License.