Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The grace that preserves

Brethren, how wonderfully does grace preserve the heirs of heaven with operations marvellously diverse, but all fulfilling one loving purpose! Sometimes grace lowers me into the dust, at other times grace lifts me up to the throne. It is grace that empties and grace that fills my earthen vessel; grace that shows me my ignorance, and grace that makes me wise unto salvation.

Let the manifold operations of thy grace, O thou God of all grace, be brought into full play to guard me as the apple of the eye. Whensoever I hear a sermon preached, may it keep me from stumbling, lest otherwise my feet should trip; whensoever I bow my knee in prayer, may it be a safeguard against some temptation or besetting sin, which otherwise might have been too strong to resist. When I read thy book, make its words to be as wholesome counsel and faithful warning, to deliver my soul from the paths of the destroyer.

From a sermon entitled "The Eye - A Similitude." Image by Brian Wright under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Passage

The man who learns to live as God would have him live, will find death to be only a circumstance in his immortality. He will pass onward, with no more pause than the earth makes when the moon comes between her and the sun. As when the iron horse pursues his rapid way, he shoots through a tunnel and is out of it again, making the darkness but an interlude in his progress, even so is death a small matter to the converted and regenerate man. The man who walks in the way of God passes through death as through a temporary gloom, but he still pursues the even tenor of his way, what he did on earth he shall do in heaven, only he shall do it better and after a nobler sort. On earth he loved his God, in heaven he shall do the same; on earth he found his joy in a sight of Christ, in heaven he shall enjoy that sight more near and unveiled; on earth he loved the true, and the right, and the good, and in heaven he shall dwell in the midst of the city that is of pure gold, and whose light is brighter than the sun, where only holiness and perfection are admitted. He shall not even change his company, for the church militant in which he fought on earth is also the church triumphant with which he shall reign for ever and ever in heaven.

From a sermon entitled "The Way Everlasting." Image by Lida under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Under His Wings

There are dangers everywhere, and the guardian care of God can never be safely dispensed with. If we walk aright, we shall never venture upon a single day without first seeking divine protection. How many who have escaped out of terrible storms, have nevertheless died in a calm! Where some have passed through battles without a scar, they have afterwards been killed by an accident so slight that they would utterly have despised a precaution to avoid it.

You always need divine protection, and, believer in Christ, you shall always have it, for “he shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.” This is for you tonight when you strip off your garments and lay your weary frame upon your bed; then you may say, “Now, Lord, cover me with thy feathers.” And it is for you tomorrow, when you are going out to your daily labor, not knowing what may befall you, you can use the same petition, “This day, O God, grant that under thy wings I may trust.”

From a sermon entitled "Safe Shelter." Image by Patrick Emerson under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sin shall not have dominion!

Sin cannot get confirmed dominion over the child of God, because God hath promised that it shall not. “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” Oh! how I love these “shalls!” There seems something grand in them. “Sin shall not.” Ah! Satan may come with temptation, but when God says, “Sin shall not have dominion,” it is as when the sea comes up in the fullness of its strength, and the Almighty saith - “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther; here shall thy proud waves be stayed.”

If there were no other promise in the Bible but this one, and I knew no more theology than that promise teaches me, I would be most happy. “Sin shall not have dominion.” O my God, if thou sayest it shall not, then I know it shall not. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Hath he promised it, and shall it not stand good? If you trust in Jesus Christ, before sin can ever fully rule over you, God’s promise must be broken, and, beloved, that shall never be.

From a sermon entitled "The Upper Hand." Image by Laurent Espitallier under Creative Commons License.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Obligation to Share the Gospel

Of all the things that desecrate the Sabbath and grieve the Spirit, attempt at high-flown oratory and gorgeous eloquence in preaching I believe are about the worst. Our business is just to speak out the gospel simply and plainly to every creature. We do not actually preach the gospel to a man if we do not make him understand what we are talking about. If our language does not come down to his level, it may be the gospel, but it is not the gospel to him. The preacher should adopt language which shall be suitable to all his congregation — In preaching he should strive to instruct, to enforce, to explain, to expound, to plead and to bring home to every man’s heart and conscience, as in the sight of God, as far as his ability goes, the truth which beyond all argument or cavil has the seal and stamp of divine revelation....

Some must preach by their holy lives. Others must preach by their talking to the ones and twos, like the Master at the well, who was as much preaching when he conversed with the woman of Samaria as when he addressed the multitude on the banks of the lake of Gennesaret, and uttered doctrine as sublime in that little village of Sychar as he proclaimed at the beautiful gate of the temple. Others must preach by distributing the truth printed for circulation; and a right noble service this is, especially when the pure word of life, the Bible itself, is sown broadcast in this and other lands. If we cannot speak with our own tongue, we must borrow other men’s tongues; and if we cannot write with our own pens, we must borrow other men’s pens; but we must do it in some way or other.

...we must make the gospel known to every creature by some means or other — throw it in his way, make him know that there is a gospel, and challenge his very curiosity to learn what it means. You cannot make him accept it, or believe; it — that is God’s work but you can and must make him know of it, and plead with him to receive it, and do not let it be your fault if he does not welcome it. Do all, as much as within you lies, to make every creature know what the gospel is, so that if he will not accept it yet he shall have had the kingdom of God brought nigh to him. The responsibility of his accepting or rejecting it shall then be his business, and none of yours.

From a sermon entitled "Preach, Preach, Preach Everywhere." Image by Maciej Lewandowski under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Unrivaled Friend

Our Lord when he came in mercy to us, found us in the rags of our self-righteousness, and in the abject poverty of our natural condition, We were houseless, fatherless; we were without spiritual bread, we were sick and sore, we were as low and degraded as sin could make us. He loved us, but he did not leave us where love found us. Ah! Do you not remember how he washed us in the fountain which flowed from his veins; how he wrapped us about with the fair white linen, which is the righteousness of his saints; how he gave us bread to eat that the world knoweth not of; how he supplied all our wants, and gave us a promise, that whatsoever we should ask in prayer, if we did but believe his name, we should receive it?

We were aliens, but his love has made us citizens; we were far off, but his love has brought us nigh; we were perishing, but his love hath enriched us; we were serfs, but his love has made us sons; we were condemned criminals, but his love has made us “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.”

From a sermon entitled "The Unrivalled Friend," delivered November 7, 1869. Image by Phillip Capper under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A believing heart

Israel in the wilderness saw great marvels wrought by the Lord their God, and yet perished in unbelief. Pharaoh is a still more notable instance — what signs and wonders God wrought in the fields of Zoan! How was the Nile crimsoned into blood, and all Egypt filled with lamentation! The Lord turned the dust of the land into lice, and the ashes therefore into plagues. He brought up frogs into their Chambers, and locusts devoured their fields. He darkened the heavens at midday, and deluged them with hail and rain such as the land had never seen before: a grievous murrain fell upon their cattle, and death upon their firstborn; yet all the wonder which God wrought did not soften Pharaoh’s heart, and though for awhile he trembled, yet again he steeled himself against the God of Israel, and said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?”

My hearers, if ye do not believe Moses and the prophets, if ye do not believe in Jesus Christ with the testimonies which are already before you, neither would you believe though one rose from the dead, or though all the plagues of Egypt should be repeated upon you with tenfold fury. There is no necessary connection between the seeing of wonders and the believing in God, for we learn clearly from Pharaoh’s case, and from many others, that all the displays of wonderful power either of judgment or of mercy, do not beget faith in unbelieving hearts.

From a sermon entitled "A Word With Those Who Wait for Signs And Wonders," delivered October 31, 1869. Image by Ibrahim Areef under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Immersed in the Spirit of Prayer

Our Lord was baptised in the spirit of prayer; he lived in it, it lived in him, it had come to be an element of his nature. He was like that precious spice, which, being bruised, doth not cease to give forth its perfume, but rather yieldeth it all the more abundantly because of the blows of the pestle, its fragrance being no outward and superficial quality, but an inward virtue essential to its nature, which the pounding in the mortar did but fetch from it, causing it to reveal its secret soul of sweetness. So Jesus prays, even as a bundle of myrrh gives forth its smell, or as birds sing because they cannot do otherwise. Prayer enwrapped his very soul as with a garment, and his heart went forth in such array. I repeat it, let this be our example — never, under any circumstances, however severe the trial, or depressing the difficulty, let us cease from prayer.

From a sermon entitled "The First Cry From The Cross," delivered October 24, 1869. Image by Bas Lemmers under Creative Commons License.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Evidence of Holiness

If God finds not in thee, my friend, any holiness of life whatever, neither will he accept thee. “What,” saith one, “of the dying thief then?” There was the righteousness of faith in him, and it produced all the holy acts which circumstances allowed; the very moment he believed in Christ, he avowed Christ, and spoke for Christ, and that one act stood as evidence of his being a friend of God, while all his sins were washed away. May God grant you grace so to confess your sins, and believe in Jesus, that all your transgression may be forgiven you.

There must be some evidence of your faith. Before the assembled host of men there shall be no evidence given of your faith fetched from your inward feelings, but the evidence shall be found in your outward actions. It will still be, “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” Take heed, then, as to practical godliness, and abhor all preaching which would make sanctity of life to be a secondary thing. We are justified by faith, but not by a dead faith; the faith which justifies is that which produces holiness, and “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” See ye then the two classes into which men are divided, and the stern rule by which God shall judge them, and judge yourselves that ye be not condemned with the wicked.

From a sermon entitled "The Coming Resurrection." Image by Bas Lammers under Creative Commons License.