Monday, June 28, 2010

His Garden

A church that is not Christ’s church shall have none of his presence, and a soul that is not Christ’s has no fellowship with him. If he reveal himself at all, it is unto his own people, his blood-bought people, the people that are his by purchase and by power, and by the surrender of themselves to him. When I think of this church as committed to my care, I am overawed, and well may my fellow-officers be cast down under the weight of our responsibility; but after all we may say, “Master, this garden is not ours; it is thy garden. We have not begotten all this people, neither can we carry them in our bosoms; but thou, great Shepherd of the sheep, thou will guard the fold.” Since the garden is his own, he will not suffer even the least plant to perish.

My brethren who work for Christ, do not be downcast if certain portions of the work should not seem to succeed. He will attend to it. “The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” It is more his work than ours, and souls are more under his responsibility than ours. So let us hope and be confident, for the Master will surely smile upon his “vineyard of red wine.”

From a sermon entitled "The King Feasting In His Garden," delivered March 6, 1870. Image by Randy Robertson under Creative Commons License.

Monday, June 21, 2010

To overcome and subdue

Not unfrequently the apostle compares our spiritual life to a boxing match, and the terms in the original Greek if they were translated into pure vernacular English, would remind us very much of a boxing ring and of the place where wrestlers strive for the mastery. To wit, in that notable
passage, “I keep under my body,” we are told by scholars that the Greek word alludes to the getting of the antagonist’s head under the arm, and dealing it heavy blows. So the flesh must be mortified. Now the wrestlers in the Greek and Roman games strained every muscle and sinew, there was no part of the body that was not brought into action to overthrow their adversary. For this they agonised till often blood would spurt from the nostrils, and veins would burst. Such in a spiritual sense must be the agony of a Christian if he is to overcome temptation, and subdue the power of sin. Ah brethren! it is no child’s play to win heaven. Saved, as I repeat it, through the power of Christ’s blood and with the energy of his Holy Spirit within us, yet we have no time to loiter, no space in which to trifle; we must labor, striving according to his working who worketh in us mightily.

From a sermon entitled "Work In Us And Work By Us," delivered. Image by Richard Taylor under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Holy Joy

Whenever the assemblies of God’s people meet, there should be much of holy joy. Some people are so afraid of joy, that one might suppose them to labor under the delusion that all who are devout must also be unhappy. If we worshipped Baal, to lance ourselves with knives were most fitting, if
we were worshippers of Juggernaut or Kalee, self-inflicted tortures might be acceptable; if we adored the pope, it might be proper for us to wear a hair shirt and practice flagellation; but as we worship the ever blessed God, whose delight is to make his creatures happy, holy happiness is a part of worship, and joy in the Lord one of the accepted graces of the Holy Spirit. Brethren, let us be happy when we praise God.

From a sermon entitled "Method And Music, Or The Art Of Holy And Happy Living," delivered January 30, 1870. Image by George Lu under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stand in awe of the Spirit

When a scholar knows that all he has learned has been taught him by his master, he looks up from his master’s feet into his master’s face with respectful reverence and esteem. O reverence the Holy Ghost. Let us in our public ministry and in our private meditations always stand in awe of him. I am afraid we too much forget him, let us reverence him especially by obedience to his faintest monitions. As the leaves of the aspen tremble to the faintest breath of the wind, so may we tremble to the faintest breath of God’s Holy Spirit. Let us prize the word because he wrote it; let us love the ordinances because he puts life and power into them. Let us love his indwelling, and never grieve him lest he hide his face from us. “He that hath wrought us to the selfsame thing is God.” Vex not his Spirit, but anxiously ask that he would continue his work, and complete it in righteousness.

From a sermon entitled "The Glorious Hereafter And Ourselves," delivered January 23, 1870. Image by Tim Green under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

By the Substitute

It is that cardinal doctrine of the Christian religion that sin is pardoned through a sacrifice. Substitution is the very pith and marrow of the revelation of God. The Lord Jesus Christ stood in the place of the sinner, and was made a bloody sacrifice for sin; even as the sacrificed lamb poured out its life-blood, so did he give up his life to redeem our lives. Now, dear friends, thou who art seeking peace today, remember that the place where thou wilt find light for thy darkness is where Christ made himself a sacrifice for sin. Thy comfort will not arise from studying his most pure and admirable life, but by considering his painful substitutionary death. He was made sin for you, though he knew no sin, that you might be made the righteousness of God in him. He was made to die a death of pain and ignominy, and anguish, and to pour out his blood that you might not feel the sword of vengeance on account of your sins. Notice that the text tells us what his sacrifice was, it was himself. Sin was not put away by the offering of his living works, nor by the incense of his prayer, nor by the oblation of his tears, nor even by the presentation of his pains and groans before God, but by the sacrifice of himself.

From a sermon entitled "The Putting Away Of Sin," delivered January 16, 1870. Image by Keven Law under Creative Commons License.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The hand that led us to the Cross

Let me ask you to think for a moment on the third Person of the blessed Godhead, namely, the Holy Ghost. Let us never forget that when we were like filthy rags his hand touched us. When we were like corrupt and rotten carcases in the graves of sin, his breath quickened us. It was his hand that led us to the cross. It was his finger that took the film from the eye. It was his eyesalve that illuminated us that we should look to Jesus and live. Since that hour the blessed Spirit has lived in our heart. Oh, what a dreadful place, I was about to say, for God to dwell in! But the Holy Ghost has never utterly left us. We have grieved him; we have vexed him ofttimes; but still he is here, still resident within the soul, never departing, being himself the very life of the living incorruptible seed that abideth for ever.

My dear friends, how often the Holy Ghost has comforted you! How very frequently in your calm moments has he revealed Christ to you! How often has the blessed truth been laid home to you with a divine savor which it never could have had, if it had not been for him! He is God, and the angels worship him, and yet he has come into the closest possible contact with you. Christ was incarnate, and the flesh in which he was incarnate was pure and perfect. The Holy Ghost was not incarnate, but still he comes to dwell in the bodies of his saints, bodies still impure, still unholy. Oh, what grace and condescension is this! Thou blessed Dove, thou Dear Comforter, thou kind Lover of the fallen sons of men, thy condescension is matchless! We love thee even as we love Christ himself, and this night if we ask the question, “What shall we render unto the Lord the Holy Ghost for all his benefits towards us?” we know not how to answer, but can only say, “Take us, take us, Holy Spirit; use us; fill us with thyself; sanctify us to thy holiest purposes; use us right up; make us living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God, for it is our reasonable service.”

From a sermon entitled "Overwhelming Obligations." Image by Keven Law under Creative Commons License.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Gospel is growing and spreading

If at first he was revealed to one, then to more, then to a numerous band, expect, my brethren, the fulfillment of that promise, “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” If the glory of Jesus be today seen by thousands, it shall yet be unveiled to tens of thousands, and in the latter days the voice which spake once and again to our fathers, shall so speak as to shake not only earth but also heaven, and in that day if not before, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The heavenly testimony grows and spreads. Jesus is proclaimed as Lord in many hearts. Look not on the present littleness of his visible kingdom, despise not the day of small things; the witness of Jesus is but a spark of fire, but the conflagration thereof shall yet belt [ed. - encircle] the world with holy flame.

From a sermon entitled "Voices From The Excellent Glory," delivered January 9, 1870. Image by under Creative Commons License.

Monday, June 7, 2010


A Christian minister must expect to lose his repute among men. He must be willing to suffer every reproach for Christ’s sake. But, then, he may rest assured that he will never lose his real honor if it be risked for the truth’s sake and placed in the Redeemer’s hand. The day shall declare the excellence of the upright, for it will reveal all that was hidden, and bring to the light that which was concealed. There will be a resurrection of characters as well as persons. Every reputation that has been obscured by clouds of reproach for Christ’s sake, shall be rendered glorious when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let the wicked say what they will of me, said the apostle, I commit my character to the Judge of quick and dead.

From a sermon entitled "Assured Security in Christ," delivered January 2, 1870. Image by connor395 under Creative Commons License.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Word never void

The gospel is all life and energy, like leaven it heaves and ferments with inward energy, it cannot rest till it leavens all around it. It may be compared to salt which must permeate, penetrate, and season that which is subject to its influence. Paul compares the preaching of Christ to a sweetsmelling savor. Now, you cannot say to a perfume, “Be quiet; do not load the air with sweets; do not affect men’s nostrils.” It cannot do otherwise, the fragrance must fill the chamber. Even so, Christ must be a savor, either of life unto life, or of death unto death; but a savor he must be wherever he comes. It is do more possible for you to restrain the working of the gospel than to forbid the action of fire.

Stand before the fire, it shall warm and comfort you; thrust your hand into it, it shall burn you. Keep that fire in its proper place, it shall yield you abundant service; cast forth the firebrand, it shall consume your house, it shall devour all that comes in contact with it. You cannot say to fire, “Restrain your consuming energy.” It must work because it is fire. And so with yonder sun. Though clouds may hide it from our sight at this moment, yet for ever does it pour forth, as from a furnace mouth, its heat and light. Nor could it cease to burn and shine, unless it ceased to be a sun. As long as it is a sun, it must permeate surrounding space, with its influence and splendor. Do you wonder that the Sun of Righteousness is of yet diviner energy? Do you marvel that whether the blaze of his glory blinds his enemies, or his warmth of love dries the tears of his friends, in every case there is a distinct result, and a manifest effect? Never does the gospel return void, it prospers even in that for which the Lord hath sent it.

From a sermon entitled "Christ - The Fall And Rise Of Many," delivered December 26, 1869. Image by sophie under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

High time to be saved

Oh, it is high time that some here present were saved. In a short time you must be in another world. Hard by that column, on my right in yonder gallery, in that next pew, there have usually sat two attentive hearers, husband and wife, who early this morning were suffocated by the smoke of their own burning house, just under these eaves. I little thought that they would be preachers to us tonight — but they are so. The calamity, sudden and mysterious, which has removed them from our midst, sets “the uncertainty of life,” and the “preparation for departure,” so vividly before us, that we cannot refrain our emotions or restrain our sympathies. Their absence should speak loudly to those who occupy the seat they have vacated, asking them whether they are ready to depart. Not less loudly should it speak to all sitting here, raising the question in the hearts of some of you who are careless about your souls, how you could bear to pass out of this world if the arrow of death should overtake you unawares.

A trifling, accident may prove fatal, a slight illness may be the precursor of speedy dissolution. Can you imagine your own remorse as you glance backwards at the gospel you have listened to but never embraced — the blood of sprinkling you have heard of, but has never been applied to your conscience — the Savior whom you passed by with indifference when he passed by you, ready to be gracious, and you would not be his disciple? Ah! ye may turn from such questions with a faint smile now — ere long you will turn to them with a pale shudder. Are there any here present anxious to be saved? Let me have their solemn, earnest, and devout attention. I pray God that what I speak simply may just strike their consciences and touch their hearts. If they want their judgments informed, may the word come with light to their spirits, and in that light may they behold Christ and find salvation.

From a sermon entitled "The Soul's Crisis." Image by Steven Depolo under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What but grace could do it?

O sinner, you cannot be saved except by grace in the beginning, grace in the middle, and grace in the end. What but grace can pardon sins such as yours and mine? What but grace could take such as we are and make us God’s children? What but grace could snatch us from hell, and lift us up to heaven? When the man is humbled, and Christ is revealed to him, then it is that God deals graciously with the man, and then it is that he knows he has found grace in the eyes of the Lord. And I like the thought, that it does not say God ever leaves off being gracious to that man.

Where we do not read that God ceases, we may believe that he continues. Does he once deal graciously with a sinner? He will always be gracious to that sinner. Never will he change. That sinner once blessed, shall be blessed through life, and blessed in death, and blessed in eternity, through the sovereign, overflowing, immutable grace which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

From a sermon entitled "Footsteps of Mercy." Image by Noah under Creative Commons License.