Monday, August 31, 2009

If Christ receives no attention from you

Jesus Christ is able to save you, my hearers. There is no heart so hard that he cannot soften it; there is no man among you so lost that Jesus cannot save him. Blessed be my dear Master, no case ever did defeat him; his mighty power reaches beyond the uttermost of all the depths of human sin and folly. If there be a harlot here, Christ can cleanse her. If there be a drunkard or a thief here, the blood of Jesus can make him white as snow. If you have any desire towards him, you have not gone beyond the reach of his pierced hand. If you are not saved, it is certainly not for want of power in the Savior.

Moreover, your poverty is no hindrance, for my Master asks nothing from you - the poorer the wretch, the more welcome to Christ. My Master is no covetous priest, who demands pay for what he does - he forgives us freely; he wants none of your merits, nothing whatever from you; come as you are to him, for he is willing to receive you as you are. But here is my sorrow and complaint, that this blessed Lord Jesus, though present to heal, receives no attention from the most of men. They are looking another way, and have no eyes for him.... My Master is not wrathful with you who forget him and neglect him, but he pities you from his heart. I am but his poor servant, but I pity, from my inmost; heart, those of you who live without Christ. I could fain weep for you who are trying other ways of salvation, for they will all end in disappointment, and if continued in, will prove to be your eternal destruction.

From a sermon entitled "Jesus At Bethesda; Or, Waiting Changed For Believing," delivered April 7, 1867. Image by James Jordan under Creative Commons License.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Where does my help come from?

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

“Our help,” our hope for the future, our ground of confidence in all trials present and to come. “Is in the name of the Lord.” Jehovah's revealed character is our foundation of confidence, his person is our sure fountain of strength.

“Who made heaven and earth.”

Our Creator is our preserver. He is immensely great in his creating work; he has not fashioned a few little things alone, but all heaven and the whole round earth are the works of his hands. When we worship the Creator let us increase our trust in our Comforter. Did he create all that we see, and can he not preserve us from evils which we cannot see? Blessed be his name, he that has fashioned us will watch over us; yea, he has done so, and rendered us help in the moment of jeopardy. He is our help and our shield, even he alone. He will to the end break every snare. He made heaven for us, and he will keep us for heaven; he made the earth, and he will succour us upon it until the hour cometh for our departure. Every work of his hand preaches to us the duty and the delight of reposing upon him only. All nature cries, “Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah there is everlasting strength.” “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 124. Image by Jesse Millan under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Lord defends the poor

“I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.”

All through the Psalm the writer is bravely confident, and speaks of things about which he had no doubt: in fact, no Psalm can be more grandly positive than this protest against slander. The slandered saint knew Jehovah's care for the afflicted, for he had received actual proofs of it himself. “I will maintain it” is the motto of the great Defender of the rights of the needy. What confidence this should create within the bosoms of the persecuted and poverty-stricken! The prosperous and wealthy can maintain their own cause, but those who are otherwise shall find that God helps those who cannot help themselves. Many talk as if the poor had no rights worth noticing, but they will sooner or later find out their mistake when the judge of all the earth begins to plead with them.

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 140. Image by A Gude under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Only Change That Counts

“Oh, yes!” says a man, “I used to be an Arminian, now I have become a Calvinist;” or, “I used to be a Churchman, and now I have joined the Baptists;” or, “I used to be a Papist, and I have become a Protestant.” Well, and what difference will that make, if you have not a new nature? A thief is a thief, whatever name he may bear - no change of name will make him honest. You may be quite as bad in one denomination as in another, for hypocrisy and formalism are found among all sorts of professors. If you take a raven and put it in a brass cage, or a silver cage, or a golden cage, it is a raven still; and so, if you, join this church or that church, unless your nature is changed, you are an unsaved sinner.

Let me add that, though it is a useful thing to have the outward conversation changed, yet that is not enough. It is a great blessing when a drunkard becomes a tee-totaller; it is a great blessing when the thief becomes honest; it is a great blessing when any vice is given up, and the opposite virtue is carried out; but that is not the matter. “Ye must be born again.”

From a sermon entitled "Ephraim Bemoaning Himself," delivered March 31, 1867. Image by Dawn Endico under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One Way For All

I pray God the day may never come when we shall be found in our preaching talking about working classes, and middle classes, and upper classes. I know no difference between you, you are the same to me when I preach the gospel, whether you are kings and queens, or crossing sweepers; satin and cotton, broadcloth and fustian, are alike to the gospel. If you are peers of the realm, we trim not our gospel to suit you, and if you are the basest of thieves, we do not exclude you from the voice of mercy. The gospel comes to men as sinners, all equally fallen in Adam, equally lost and ruined by sin. I have not one gospel for Her Majesty the Queen, and another gospel for the beggar-woman. No, there is but one way of salvation, but one foundation, but one propitiation, but one gospel. Look to the cross of Christ and live.

From a sermon entitled "A Sermon To Open Neglecters And Nominal Followers Of Religion," delivered March 24, 1867. Image by James Jordan under Creative Commons License.

Monday, August 24, 2009

When I Consider Thy Heavens

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him.? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

When other arguments and motives produce little effect on certain minds, no considerations seem likely to have a more powerful tendency to counteract this deplorable propensity in human beings, than those which are borrowed from the objects connected with astronomy. They show us what an insignificant being - what a mere atom, indeed, man appears amidst the immensity of creation! Though he is an object of the paternal care and mercy of the Most High, yet he is but as a grain of sand to the whole earth, when compared to the countless myriads of beings that people the amplitudes of creation. What is the whole of this globe on which we dwell compared with the solar system, which contains a mass of matter ten thousand times greater? What is it in comparison of the hundred millions of suns and worlds which by the telescope have been described throughout the starry regions? What, then, is a kingdom, a province, or a baronial territory, of which we are as proud as if we were the lords of the universe and for which we engage in so much devastation and carnage? What are they, when set in competition with the glories of the sky?

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 8. Image by Phil Plait under Creative Commons License.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Let us remember to be thankful

No crime among men is accounted more base than ingratitude, but few sins we less bewail before God. Bunyan has well said, that he who forgets his friend is ungrateful to him, but he that forgets his Savior is unmerciful to himself. And I remember some other author who says, that we are never surprised at the sunrise of our joys, as we always are at their sunset; on the contrary, when storms of sorrow burst upon us we are sore amazed, but when they pass away we take it as a matter of course. You all know how sad a blemish it was upon the character of Hezekiah that he rendered not again unto the Lord according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up. The provocation of a thankless heart to a merciful God is no light matter.

From a sermon entitled "A Troubled Prayer," delivered. Image by Reinante El Pintor de Fuego under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

If your soul is full of fire...

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.”- Acts 7:55-56.

Put a man without zeal into the front place, and he will gradually recede into his native insignificance, or only linger in the front to be an impediment and a nuisance; but put a man into the rear of the army of God’s elect, if his soul be full of holy fire, you will hear of the unknown Samson in the camps of Dan, and, ere long, he will dash into the vanguard, and make the enemies of God’s church know that the Holy Ghost still dwells in the midst of Zion in the men whom he has chosen.

If there be any of my brethren and sisters here whose abilities are as yet dormant, I trust that, without ambitiously seeking the chief places of the synagogue, if they have been useful in any one walk of life, they will enquire whether they may not have talents for a yet wider sphere; since, in these evil days, we have need to use every soldier in the army to the utmost of his capacity. When the world is so dark, we had need that every lamp should give some light, and that each lamp should burn as much oil as it will carry, that its light may be of the brightest possible kind.

From a sermon entitled "Stephen's Martyrdom," delivered March 17, 1867. Image by Reinante El Pintor de Fuego under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bearing His Reproach

You have heard how He was reproached for you: are you unwilling to be reproached for Him! You have heard how He went without the camp in that shameful manner: are you unwilling to go without the camp for Him? Too many Christians try to be Christians in the camp, and it cannot be done. “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds.”

There is so much of worldly conformity among us; but the promise is not to worldly-minded Christians, but “Come ye out from among them; be ye separate; touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you.” How much we lose by affinities with the world! How much of distance there is between us and God, because of the nearness there is between us and the world! Come out, ye lovers of the Savior, and tread the separated way which your Savior trod before you!

From a sermon entitled "The Sin Offering," delivered March 10, 1867. Image by Tela Chhe under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Cleansing Fountain

My Lord Jesus, by his death, has become immensely rich in pardoning power - so rich indeed that no guiltiness can possibly transcend the efficacy of his precious blood. There is one sin which he never will forgive - there is but one - and I am convinced that you have not committed that sin against the Holy Ghost if you have any feeling of repentance or desire towards God; for the sin which is unto death, brings death with it to the conscience, so that when once committed, the man ceases to feel. If thou desirest pardon, sinner, there is no reason why thou shouldst not have it, and have it now.

The blood of Christ can wash out blasphemy, adultery, fornication, lying, slander, perjury, theft, murder. Though thou hast raked in the very kennels of hell till thou hast blackened thyself to the color of a devil, yet, if thou wilt come to Christ and ask mercy, he will absolve thee from all sin. Do but wash in the bath which he has filled with blood and “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

From a sermon entitled "Grieve Not The Holy Spirit," delivered March 3, 1867. Image by Damien du Toit under Creative Commons License.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Prayer For Laborers

The want of men is the great crying want of the age, and that want is sent to us because we do not pray to God enough to send us men; we do not pray for men, when God does send them, that they may be helped as they should, and consequently much of the Church’s effort is thrown away. Beloved, I want to see something done in this London, and how is it to be done? There are thousands of Christians, tens of thousands of Christians in London, and yet the cause does not spread, or very slowly! What is the cause? Jonah shook Nineveh from end to end, and yet a hundred thousand followers of Jesus cannot do it. Paul, marching along the Appian way at Rome, marked an era in Rome’s history; and yet there are many ministers of Christ who thread our streets, and yet what are we all put together for real power? We do not seem to amount in this great city, all of us, to anything more than a mere chip in the porridge; we scarcely affect the population at all.

Oh! it is strange, it is passing strange; for it is the gospel which we preach, we know it is the gospel, and some of us do try to preach it with all our might. But if God withhold his face, what can be done? Yet, brethren, this can be done - we will cry to the Lord until he reveals his face again. We will give him no rest till he establish and make his Church a praise in the earth. O Christian men and women, if you could realize the situation! A city of three millions, not wholly given to idolatry, but still very much given to sin, and we ourselves so weak in the midst of it! if we could but realize this position, and then take hold upon the arm omnipotent, and by an overcoming faith, such as only God could give to any one of us, believe it possible for the Lord Jesus to save this city, and then go forward boldly expecting him to do it, we might see more than we have ever seen.

From a sermon entitled "God - All In All," delivered February 24, 1867. Image by Luis Argerich under Creative Commons License.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Satisfied In Drought

To be satisfied in times of plenty, why, any fool can be that! But to be satisfied in days of drought, this is the Christian’s privilege, for he can say, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” When the farmer walks out amongst his cattle, and sees them all in good health, and promising a good return, a fine investment for his farming, it is very easy for him to say, “Bless the Lord!” but when the cattle-plague comes and empties all his stalls, and there are great heaps out in the field to show where the cattle are all buried, and there has been no compensation for them - how now, farmer? Can you now praise God, and be satisfied in times of drought?

And you, friend, when you are in good full work, and wages are high, and the house is well-furnished, and the cupboard is full, it is very easy then for you to kneel down at family-prayer and thank God for his kindness; but how about it when the husband is sick, when the funds have got very low, and when the little children look at their father wondering where the next meal will come from - to be satisfied even then that it is all right! Oh this is a grand thing! This is just the mark of difference between the Christian and the worldling. The worldling blesses God while he gives him plenty, but the Christian blesses him when he smites him: he believes him to be too wise to err and too good to be unkind; he trusts him where he cannot trace him, looks up to him in the darkest hour, and believes that all is well. O Christian, if your heart is right, you will understand this spiritual satisfaction, and your soul will be satisfied in times of drought.

From a sermon entitled "A Happy Christian." Image by Keven Law under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Father's Response

Every creature is favored with divine benevolence; and there is not a creature, from the tiniest ephemera which creepeth upon the green leaf of the forest, up to the swift-winged angel who adoringly flies upon his Master’s will, which is not made to partake of the gifts of the Great Father of Lights. Now, if God hath gifts for all men, how much more will he have gifts for that man who earnestly turns his tearful eye to heaven and cries, “My Father, give me wisdom, that I may be reconciled to thee through the death of thy Son”? Why, the grass, as Herbert says, never asked for the dew, and yet every blade has its own drop; and shall you daily cry for the dew of grace, and there be no drop of heaven’s grace for you? Impossible.

Fancy your own child saying, “My father, my father, I want to be obedient, I want to be holy;” and suppose that you have power to make your child so, could you find it in your heart to refuse? No; it would be a greater joy to you to give than it could be to the child to accept.

From a sermon entitled "Loving Advice For Anxious Seekers," delivered February 17, 1867. Image by Koshyk under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Set your face like flint

We never do anything in this world until we set our faces thoroughly to it. The warriors who win battles are those who are resolved to conquer or die. The heroes who emancipate nations art those who count no hazards and reckon no odds, but are resolved that the yoke shall be broken from the neck of their country. The merchants who prosper in this world are those who do their business with all their hearts, and watch for wealth with eagerness. The halfhearted man is nowhere in the race of life; he is usually contemptible in the sight of others, and a misery to himself. If a thing be worth doing, it is worth doing well; and if it be not worth doing thoroughly, wise men let it alone.

Especially is this a truth in the spiritual life. Wonders are not done for God and for the truth by men upon their back asleep, or out of their beds, but still asleep. Souls are not saved by men who scarcely know or care whether they are saved themselves. Errors are not dashed from their pedestals by those who are careless concerning truth and count it of little value. Reformations have not been wrought in this world by men of lukewarm spirit and temporizing policy. One fiery Luther is of more value than twenty like the half hearted Erasmus who knew infinitely more than he felt, and perhaps felt more than he dared to express.

A man if he would do anything for God, for the truth, for the cross of Christ, must set his face and with the whole force of his will resolve to serve his God. The soldier of Christ must set his face like a flint against all opposition, and at the same moment set his face towards the Lord with the attentive eye of the handmaiden looking towards her mistress. If called to suffer for the truth, we must set our face towards this conflict as Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem. He who would conquer in this glorious war, and overcome the Lord at the mercy-seat, must be resolved! resolved with his whole soul, resolved after matured thought - resolved for reasons which are too weighty for him to escape - resolved that from the throne of grace he will not depart without the blessing. Never, never shall a man be unsuccessful in prayer who sets his face to win the promised mercy.

From a sermon entitled "The Dawn Of Revival, Or Prayer Speedily Answered" delivered February 10, 1867. Image by Jeff Pang under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When all things forbid you to hope

Remember that to trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust him in the dark - that is faith. To rest upon God when everything witnesses with God is nothing, but to believe God when everything gives him the lie - that is faith. To believe that all shall go well when outward providences blow softly is any fool’s play, but to believe that it must and shall be well when storms and tempests are round about you, and you are blown farther and farther from the harbour of your desire, this is a work of grace. By this shall you know whether you are a child of God or not, by seeing whether you can exercise faith in the power of prayer when all things forbid you to hope.

From a sermon entitled "Unstaggering Faith," delivered February 3, 1867. Image by Geof Wilson under Creative Commons License.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Every man has the need for grace

A man with religion is not any better than a man without it unless that religion changes his heart and makes a new man of him. The heart under a Christian’s coat is as vile as that under a Bushman’s sheepskin unless grace has renewed it. If you shall take a child and tutor him in all the outward observances of our own holy faith, if you shall see that in everything he is brought up after the straitest sect that your judgment shall select, yet unless the Holy Ghost shall come and give him a new heart and a right spirit his heart will find out ways of showing its sin, put it under what restraint you will.

Nay, it has been notorious that some who were brought up with Puritanic rigidity have been the most vicious in after life, and those who have not been so have become what is almost as detestable, hypocritical pretenders to a religion to whose real power they are strangers. “Ye must be born again,” is a truth which is as true in the Hottentot’s kraal as it is in the midst of this congregation, and as true in the home of piety as it is in the haunt of vice. The old nature everywhere, wash it, and cleanse it, and bind it, and curb it, and bridle it, is still the old fallen nature, and cannot understand spiritual things.

From a sermon entitled "The Heart - A Den Of Evil," delivered January 27, 1867. Image by Olof S under Creative Commons License.

Friday, August 7, 2009

With gentleness

If you try to speak for Christ, and do it in a rough way, you had better hold your tongue. A person I saw only a day or two ago said that she was standing in deep thought after a sermon, under which she had been devoutly impressed, when a good friend accosted her in a gruff voice and with an uncouth manner, and said, “When are you coming forward to join the church?” It was well meant; but it was done in such a way that every good impression melted before the repulsive tones. Speak gently and kindly, with tenderness and sympathy. You know what I mean. There is a world of difference between the putting on of a pretense of kindness and the real “kindness” which comes right down to a man, and makes him feel that you really do sympathize with him, and can enter into all his grief’s. Ask the Lord, Christian friend, when you have got a quick eye for observation, to drop a tear with it, so that you may know how to weep with them that weep, and to speak gently.

From a sermon entitled "A Word In Season." Image by Noah under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Towards home

“An hour with my God,” says the hymn, “will make up for it all.” So it will; but what will an eternity with our God be, forever to behold him smiling, for ever to dwell in him!

“Abide in me.” That is heaven on earth. “Abide in me is all the heaven we shall want in heaven. He is preparing the place now, making it ready for us above, and here below making us ready for it. Courage, then, brethren, courage; let us not fret about the way; our heads are towards home. We are not outwardbound vessels, thank God; every wind that blows is bringing us nearer to our native land. Our tents are frail, we often pitch and strike them, but we nightly pitch them “A day’s march nearer home.”

Be of good cheer, soldier, the battle must soon end; and that bloodstained banner, when it shall wave so high, and that shout of triumph, when it shall thrill from so many thousand lips, and that grand assembly of heroes, all of them made more than conquerors, and the sight of the King in his beauty, riding in the chariot of his triumph, paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem, and the acclamations of spirits glorified, and the shouts and paeans of cherubims and seraphims - all these shall make up for all the fightings of today....

From a sermon entitled "Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled," delivered January 20, 1867. Image by Noah under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our best things are safe

With regard to the Christian, he knows that his best things are safe. If the ship be wrecked, yet he never had his treasure on board this earthly vessel; if the thief should break through and steal, yet the thief cannot get at his jewels, for his jewels are hid with Christ in God; if the moth should corrupt and fret his garments, yet his everlasting robe will never be moth-eaten, for that hangs up in the great house above ready for him that he may put it on after he has undressed himself and left his weekday garments in the tomb. His best things are all secure; no time can change them, death destroy them, or Satan rob him of them.

As for his worst things they only work his good. He has his worst things as other men, for he cannot always feast, but his worst things are among his mercies. He gains by his losses, he acquires health by his sickness, he wins friends through his bereavements, and he absolutely becomes a conqueror through his defeats. Nothing therefore can be injurious to the Christian, when the very worst things that he has are but rough waves to wash his golden ships home to port and enrich him.

From a sermon entitled "Cheering Words And Solemn Warnings," delivered January 13, 1867. Image by Noah under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To deliver us from fear

We never find Adam afraid of God, nor of any manifestation of Deity while he was in Paradise an obedient creature, but no sooner had he touched the fatal fruit than he found that he was naked, and hid himself. When he heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, Adam was afraid and hid himself from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

Sin makes miserable cowards of us all. See the man who once could hold delightful converse with his Maker, now dreading to hear his Maker’s voice and skulking in the grove like a felon, who knows his guilt, and is afraid to meet the officers of justice. Beloved, in order to remove this dread nightmare of slavish fear from the breast of humanity, where its horrible influence represses all the noblest aspirations of the soul, our Lord Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

From a sermon entitled "God Incarnate, The End Of Fear," delivered December 23, 1866. Image by Satoru Kikuchi under Creative Commons License.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The greatest of all miracles

Now, my brethren, the greatest of all miracles is the salvation of a soul. If that soul could save itself God would not save it, but would let it do what it could do; and if the spiritually dead could quicken themselves, rest assured... that Jesus Christ would not have come to give them life. I believe that it would be utterly impossible for any one of us to enter heaven, let us do what we might, unless Jesus Christ had come from heaven to show us the way, to remove the bolts and bars for us, and to enable us to tread in the path which leads to glory and immortality.

Lost! lost! lost! The race of man was utterly lost, not partly lost, not thrown into a condition in which it might be ruined unless it worked hard to save itself; but so lost, that but for the interposition of a divine arm, but for the appearance of God in human flesh, but for the stupendous transaction upon Calvary, and the work of God the Holy Ghost in the heart, not one dead soul ever could come to life. Eternal life would not be the peculiar work of the Lord Jesus if man had a finger in it, but now man’s power is excluded and grace reigns.

From a sermon entitled "Life Eternal." Image by epcp under Creative Commons License.