Monday, November 24, 2014

Rejoice And Be Exceedingly Glad!

He died a real death, but now he lives a real life, he did lie in the tomb, and it was no fiction that the breath had departed from him: it is equally no fiction that our Redeemer liveth. The Lord is risen indeed. He hath survived the death struggle and the agony, and he lives unhurt: he has come out of the furnace without so much as the smell of fire upon him. He is not injured in any faculty; whether human or divine. He is not robbed of any glory, but his name is now surrounded with brighter lustre than ever. He has lost no dominion, he claims superior rights and rules over a new empire. He is a gainer by his losses, he has risen by his descent. All along the line he is victorious at every point.

Never yet was there a victory won but what it was in some respects a loss as well as a gain, but our Lord’s triumph is unmingled glory – to himself a gain as well as to us who share in it. Shall we not then rejoice? What, would ye sit and weep by a mother as she exultingly shows her new-born child? Would you call together a company of mourners to lament and to bewail when the heir is born into the household? This were to mock the mother’s gladness. And so to-day shall we use dreary music and sing dolorous hymns when the Lord is risen, and is not only unhurt, unharmed, and unconquered, but is far more glorified and exalted than before his death?

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Sorrow At The Cross Turned Into Joy," delivered November 3, 1878. Image by StephaniePetraPhoto on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Word About Godly Ambition

“I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me. Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.” - Hosea 13:5-8.

There may also be some... who are eagerly aspiring after great things, and these may learn a lesson of sobriety. A desire to rise is laudable, but the winged horse needs to be well bitted and reined lest it fly away with its rider. Some spirits are dissatisfied with moderate success; they pine to reach the front ranks, and to climb to the high places of the earth. Ambition has become the star of their life, perhaps, I had better say-the will-o’-the-wisp of their folly.

Let them learn from this morning’s word [in Hosea above] that all is not gold that glitters, that outward prosperity doth not make men truly prosper, and that there is a way of growing rich without being rich towards God. I would lay a cool hand upon a fevered brow, and remind the ardent youth that a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Prosperous Man's Reminder," delivered October 27, 1878. Image by Kamal Hamid on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The God Who Acknowledged You

Oh, wondrous grace of God, that he owns* his son when that son is still an Egyptian slave. Moreover, God owned his people when they did not own him, for his name “Jehovah” was scarcely known to them. Although Moses presented himself to them with evident credentials, they were ready enough to reject him. They had gone aside unto false gods, we are informed in other parts of the Scripture. During their sojourn in Egypt the Israelites fell into the prevailing superstition of the country, and they forsook the Lord. Some little light still lingered among them. Some traditions were treasured and transmitted from sire to son in solemn trust. Doubtless there was a remnant of pious souls, faithful to the God of Abraham. The bones of Joseph, preserved in Goshen as a memorial of the oath that he took of their tribes, subsequently carried through all their devious wanderings in the wilderness, and ultimately buried in Shechem, as you read in the last chapter of the book of Joshua, vouch for a fidelity we cannot wantonly forget.

But the bulk of the people had fallen into the snares which surrounded them, and conformed to the fashions of those among whom their fortunes were cast, whose gods many and lords many were superstitiously served in secret. They were not a people who could have scraped together so much as a molehill of merit, if they had tried. They were a vain and vicious people, prone to supplant, yet utterly supplanted; specially sinful, because their marked proclivities which might have developed on the side of virtue were perverted into stains and stigmas on their reputation.

Yet Jehovah says, “Israel is my son, even my firstborn.”

* "Owns" in the old sense of acknowledging someone or admitting to something - Ed.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Great Emancipator." Image by Kamil PorembiƄski on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bring Your Children Before Him In Prayer!

When our Lord blessed the little children he was making his last journey to Jerusalem. It was thus a farewell blessing which he gave to the little ones, and it reminds us of the fact that among his parting words to his disciples, before he was taken up, we find the tender charge, “Feed my lambs.” The ruling passion was strong upon the great Shepherd of Israel, “who gathereth the lambs with his arm, and carrieth them in his bosom”; and it was fitting that while he was making his farewell journey he should bestow his gracious benediction upon the children.

Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ is not here among us in person; but we know where he is, and we know that he is clothed with all power in heaven and in earth wherewith to bless his people; let us then draw near to him this day. Let us seek his touch in the form of fellowship, and ask the aid of his intercession; let us include others in our prayers, and among these let us give our children, and, indeed, all children, a leading place. We know more of Jesus than the women of Palestine did; let us, therefore, be even more eager than they were to bring our children to him that he may bless them, and that they may be accepted in him, even as we ourselves are.

Jesus waits to bless. He is not changed in character, or impoverished in grace; as he still receiveth sinners, so doth he still bless children; and let none of us be content, whether we be parents or teachers, until he has received our children, and has so blessed them that we are sure that they have entered the kingdom of God.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Receiving The Kingdom Of God As A Little Child," delivered October 20, 1878. Image by ameriswede on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Let Us Walk Worthy Of Him

[T]he apostle prays “that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.” Is it not fit that you who are to rise to Enoch’s heaven should walk as he did, and have this testimony that you please God? You are going to dwell at God’s right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore, would not you wish to do all you can to please your Lord before you see him? You are a son of a king: you have not put on your glittering array as yet; your crown is not yet on your head; but surely you wish to behave yourself as becometh one who is fore-ordained for so much honor and glory. If a son is in a distant country and is coming home, he begins to think “What can I take home? What can I do to please the beloved father whom I am soon to see?”

Begin, beloved, to see what you can do to please God, because you are so soon to enter into his pleasure, and dwell with those that wear white robes, “for they are worthy.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Hope Laid Up In Heaven," delivered October 13, 1878. Image by studiobeeldruis on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Man For All Men

To millions upon millions of people the name of Jesus is as yet an unknown sound; yet they shall be gathered out of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, and shall unite in one great family. The gospel of Jesus is cosmopolitan. It suits so well with our own latitude that one would think that our Lord was born an Englishman: but the same is true in reference to every land. His name was fitly mentioned by the Jordan, but it loses none of its music by the Thames, the Ganges, or the Orinoco. Jesus belongeth to all lands, whether they are scorched by tropical suns or frozen by the long winters of the poles.

Jesus is a man, and a man is a noble name, nobler than Jew, or Briton, or Roman. He is “the man,” the man of men, man’s man, the man for men. Let all men worship him, for he is the hope of our race, the restorer of our ruin, the gatherer of the new people, and he shall gather others beside those that have been gathered unto him. “God hath made of one blood all nations of men that dwell upon the face of the earth,” and that one blood also has at the back of it another blood more precious still, by which one blood he hath redeemed from among men a multitude which no man can number.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Others To Be Gathered," delivered October 6, 1878. Image by well lucio on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Church Of The Living God

Jehovah is the living God, and the divine life is seen in each of the adorable persons of the Godhead. Our Lord Jesus Christ is not to us a dead Christ: we love and bless him because he once died upon the cross, but we adore him because he ever liveth to make intercession for us. We are bold to preach the gospel because of his living power, and we are earnest to observe his commands because we own his living government in the midst of the church. The living God proves his life among us by the Holy Spirit, by the conversion of sinners, by comforting and instructing saints, and by edifying the faithful into a building fitly framed together. Since, then, the church belongs to the living God, what is a dead church? Is that the church of the living God? How can it be? Only as you and I possess the Spirit of God quickening us to a life of godliness may we dare to think ourselves a part of the church of the living God.

If you have never been quickened by the Spirit of God, if you are dead in trespasses and sins, what have you to do with the church of the living God? O ye dead and corrupt, how can ye have communion with the living in Zion. Only when you live unto God may you be built up as living stones into the living temple of the living God. The thing most to be dreaded in any one church is the decay of life. We may soon fall into formalism, and even hold the truth in the cold grip of spiritual death; prayer may be neglected, and the other offices of spiritual life may be disregarded, and then all will languish. “Thou hast the name that thou livest and art dead” is the dreadful sentence which must be written across the brow of a merely nominal church.

Brethren, if we would be the church of the living God, we must be thoroughly alive unto God.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "What The Church Should Be," delivered September 29, 1878. Image by Philip Male on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Adopted Daughters And Sons

Believing brings forgiveness and justification through our Lord Jesus; it also brings adoption, for it is written, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Faith brings us into the realization of our adoption in the next place by setting us free from the bondage of the law. “After that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” When we groaned under a sense of sin, and were shut up by it as in a prison, we feared that the law would punish us for our iniquity, and our life was made bitter with fear.

Moreover, we strove in our own blind self-sufficient manner to keep that law, and this brought us into yet another bondage, which became harder and harder as failure succeeded to failure: we sinned and stumbled more and more to our soul’s confusion. But now that faith has come we see the law fulfilled in Christ, and ourselves justified and accepted in him: this changes the slave into a child, and duty into choice. Now we delight in the law, and by the power of the Spirit we walk in holiness to the glory of God.

Thus it is that by believing in Christ Jesus we escape from Moses, the taskmaster, and come to Jesus, the Savior; we cease to regard God as an angry Judge and view him as our loving Father. The system of merit and command, and punishment and fear, has given way to the rule of grace, gratitude, and love, and this new principle of government is one of the grand privileges of the children of God.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Adoption – The Spirit And The Cry," delivered September 22, 1878. Image by Sander van der Wel on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

That Beautiful Name

We have no common Savior, Jesus is the way to God, therefore will we preach him; he is the truth, therefore will we hear of him; he is the life, therefore shall our hearts rejoice in him....

So inexpressibly fragrant is the name of Jesus that it imparts a delicious perfume to everything which comes in connection with it. for neither earth nor heaven could produce his equal. At the time when the name was given his full person had not been seen by mortal eyes, for he lay as yet concealed; but soon he came forth, having been born of Mary by the power of the Holy Ghost, a matchless man, he bears our nature, but not our corruption; he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, but yet in his flesh there is no sin. This Holy One is the Son of God, and yet he is the Son of man: this surpassing excellence of nature makes his name most precious.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Jesus," delivered September 15, 1878. Image by Rutger Tuller on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Word About Honoring Parents

All parents must have anxieties. There is never a babe dropped into a mother’s bosom but it brings care, labor, grief, and anxiety with it. There is a joy in the parental relationship, but there must necessarily be a vast amount of anxious care with it throughout those tender years of infancy in which the frail cockle-shell boat of life seems likely to be swamped by a thousand waves which sweep harmlessly over stronger barques. The newly-lit candle is so readily blown out that mothers nurse and watch with a care which frequently saps the parental life.

But our children, perhaps, do not give us most anxiety when they are infants, nor when we have them at school, when we can put them to bed and give them a good-night’s kiss and feel that all is safe; the heavy care comes afterwards – afterwards when they have broken through our control, when they are running alone, and on their own account, when they are away from our home, when they are out of the reach of our rebuke, and do not now feel as once they did the power of our authority, and hardly of our love. It is then to many parents that the time of severe trial begins, and, doubtless, many a grey head has been brought with sorrow to the grave by having to cry, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” Many a father and many a mother die, murdered, not with knife or poison, but by unkind words and cruel deeds of their own children. Many and many a grave may well be watered by the tears of sons and daughters, because they prematurely filled those graves by their ungrateful conduct.

Let us all think, who still have parents spared to us, how much we owe to them, and let it be our joy, if we cannot recompense them, at any rate to give them so much of comfort by our conduct as shall show our gratitude. Let them have such joy in us that they may never regret the anxieties of past years, but may have their hearts made to rejoice that they brought into the world such sons and daughters. If we have had parents who did care for us, and anxiously said, “Are they safe?” let us be grateful to God, and let us never show that we undervalue his mercy by treating the boon with contempt.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "An Anxious Enquiry For A Beloved Son," delivered September 5, 1878. Image by heiwa4126 on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Everything Ordered By God

We are not as those who believe in two co-existent forces, each supreme, one of whom shall create disasters, and the other shall distribute blessings. The prince of evil is, according to our faith, subordinate to the great Lord of all. Thus saith Jehovah, by the mouth of his servant Isaiah, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and I create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”

He reigneth in the calm summer’s day, and gives us the precious fruits of harvest, but he is equally present and regnant in the hurricane which destroys, or the blight which desolates. His providence speeds the ship to its desired haven, but it is equally his providence which sinks the barque and its mariners to the bottom of the sea. It is his power which looses the bands of Orion and binds the sweet influence of the Pleiades; his are the lightnings as well as the sunbeams, the thunderbolts as well as the raindrops. He is able to make the heaven as iron and the earth as brass, so that our land shall not yield her increase; he can call for a famine and break the whole staff of bread; for famine, pestilence, and war are as rods in his hand.

Everywhere is God, and in all things his hand is present: in the things which seem to us to be evil as well as in the events which appear to us to be good, God is at work. He doeth no wrong, for God is not tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man, but we speak of physical evil, which causeth sorrow, pain, and death among men, and we say that certainly God is there. If not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father, we are sure that no great calamity can befall us apart from him. He is not far from us in our deepest sorrow, and however we may trace a calamity to the carelessness or the mistake of men, these are but the second causes, and we see behind all mere detail the permit of the Lord. If it were not so, mourners would be deprived of the greatest reason for submission, and the surest source of consolation.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Divine Interpositions," delivered September 8, 1878. Image by Steven Bratman on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Let Us All Do Our Parts

If this country were invaded, which may God grant it never may be, we could not confine the defense to our professional soldiers. No, every man would grasp such weapon as he could reach, and use it vigorously to drive the intruder over our white cliffs; I might even venture to say every woman would do the same, and matrons would become Amazons. Dear are our hearths and homes, and none of us would ask to be excused the defense of our beloved isle.

Even so in the work of the salvation of souls, every saved one longs to have a share. Can we let sinners perish? Can we permit our own kinsmen to go down into the pit? No, not if our prayers, and tears, and earnest teachings can rescue them. Jesus Christ in mighty love has died to save sinners, and he must be honored for his glorious deed of grace – can we suffer his name to be trailed in the mire? Shall he still be despised and rejected by human hearts? Shall even the members of our own family refuse his gentle sway? No, not if our testimony may help to honor him; nor if our earnest pleadings may gain him a throne in some one human heart.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Message From The Lord's Mouth," delivered September 1, 1878. Image by phinworld on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

God Refines Us Differently

The Lord has special dealings with each one of his saints, and refines each one by a process peculiar to the individual, not heaping all his precious metals into one furnace of silver, but refining each metal by itself You do not know my trials, I am glad you do not: neither do I know yours, nor could I wish to bear that which you may have to suffer. There is a common sympathy, for we all go into the furnace; but there is a distinction in the case of each one, for to each one the furnace differs. Some tender hearts would be utterly crushed if they were afflicted as others are. Does not even the husbandman teach us this? He does not beat out the tender cummin and fitches with the cart wheel which he turns upon the heavier grain. No; he has different modes of operating upon the different kinds of seeds. They must all be thrashed, but not all thrashed in the same way.

Thou, brother, mayest be as a sheaf of the best corn. Be thou grateful; but remember thou shalt feel the sharp thrashing instrument having teeth. And thou, my brother, mayest be one of the tender seeds, the minor seeds of the Masters garner. Be thou grateful, for thou shalt feel a lighter flail than some others; but do not compliment thyself upon it, for thou mightest almost regret that gentler flail, because it proves that thou art of lighter stuff although still true grain of the Master’s sowing.

Beloved, I would venture to go so far as to say that the lines have not fallen to any two men in precisely the same places. We rejoice as we read the life of David, because he seems to set us all forth. David is to the church of God what Shakespeare is to the world:

“A man so various, that he seems to be
Not one, but all mankind’s epitome;” 

and yet David is totally distinct from any other of the saints. There are not, and could not be, two Davids. So you and I may travel in lines almost parallel, and we may therefore know each other’s griefs, and tenderly sympathize, but there is a turning in my life which you have never reached, and there is a dark corner in your life which I have never seen. The skeleton in any one person’s house is of a different sort to that which haunts any other dwelling. No one man is the exact replica of another.

In all this, divine sovereignty operates in connection with divine love and divine wisdom, purifying all the sons of Levi, giving to each one his own separate purification, according as his need may be. “I have refined thee, but not with silver. I have chosen thee.” Mark - not “you,” but “thee.” A distinct personal word is used, and is addressed to each separate saint. “I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Refined, But Not With Silver." Image by Lauren Tucker on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Genuine Faith In Christ

A stone rests wholly on the foundation. If a wall is well built it is not shored up with timber so that the stones have two supports, but the whole structure rests on a common basis. There is a good foundation, and each stone lies upon it. It can do no more, for it could not keep its place for an instant if the foundation were removed. If the foundation fails the stone falls, but while the foundation stands the stone remains secure. That is faith: resting upon Christ wholly and entirely, looking to him for everything that has to do with our salvation.

Genuine faith in Christ does not trust him to pardon sin, and then trust itself to overcome sin. No, it trusts Christ both for the conquest of evil and for the forgiveness of it. Some of our friends make a great muddle here. They say they believe that the Lord Jesus will keep them as long as they are faithful to him. That is true; but where do you rely for your being faithful to him? Do you depend upon yourself for faithfulness? If so, there is a very weak spot in your confidence.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Faith's Sure Foundation," delivered August 18, 1878. Image by Stefano Montagner on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My Faith Stands Upon His Word

When the winds are out, and the storms are loosed, and temptation howls through the soul, we always fly to the Word of God and not to our own experience: we get away from what we feel to what the Lord has said. One ounce, of "it is written," gives more confidence than a ton of what we have felt. We are apt in troublous times to judge that our happy feeling was a delusion, and our confidence a mistake. “True, I did think that I stood and looked within the pearly gates, and was full of heavenly joy; but, alas, it may have been all a dream.”

This is, however, no dream - that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners - there is no mistake about that fact, That God has set forth his Son to be a propitiation for sin - there is no imagination about that. There it stands in black and white in the Scriptures of truth, and to that witness we fly again. Whether I am saint or sinner, whether I am an heir of heaven or an heir of wrath, there standeth the word, “He that believeth in him is not condemned.” I do believe in him, and I am not condemned, nor shall all the devils in hell make me think I am, since God has said I am not. On that rock my faith shall stand unshaken, come what may.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The True Position Of The Witness Within," delivered August 11, 1878. Image by John Fowler on Flickr under Creative Commons License, without alteration.