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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Co-Workers in the Conversion of the World

Lottie MoonLottie Moon (Baptist missionary to China 1840-1912):

“Should we not press it home upon our consciences that the sole object of our conversion was not the salvation of our own souls, but that we might become co-workers with our Lord and Master in the conversion of the world?”

A Scriptural Basis for the Believer’s Adoption into the Family of God

L.R. Shelton, Jr. (1923-2003) was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he later became associate pastor in his father’s Baptist church. While he did not have the opportunity to attend college or seminary, as a young man he devoured the writings of Spurgeon, Pink, the Puritans, and Lloyd-Jones. In 1970 he began a church, Christian bookstore, and Gospel outreach in Litchfield, Minnesota. There he developed a God-given burden to share classic Christian literature from prior centuries freely worldwide, beginning to reproduce sermon booklets on a mimeograph machine. In 1978 the small ministry moved to Pensacola, Florida, where Mount Zion Bible Church was founded.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)

Not only has God the Father chosen us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him (v4), but He has in love predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself.

This adoption is another blessing or privilege that God has given us in Christ Jesus which flows out of His saving work for us and our union with Him through grace by faith. This great blessing or privilege is according to the good pleasure of His will, and to the praise of the glory of His grace (v6).

SCRIPTURES PERTAINING TO THIS GREAT ACT:

Galatians 4:4-7: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Romans 8:14-17: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

1 John 3:1-2: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

John 1:12-13: “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: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

The Scriptures teach that regeneration gives us the nature of children—His children (2 Peter 1:4); adoption gives us the rights of children, to call God our Father, “Abba, Father,” my Father. We then are partakers of both of these, for we are sons by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When faith realizes the cleansing power of the blood of the Lord Jesus, and lays hold upon the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, then the justified man becomes a son and a child. Justification and adoption always go together. “Whom he called, them he also justified,” and the calling is a call to the Father’s house, and to a recognition of sonship. 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.” This is not a privilege granted to assurance or growth in grace: but is a blessing which belongs to him who has the smallest degree of faith: a blessing that belongs to every one of God’s elect, whether they have just been born again, or have been in grace for years. “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:26). (“Adoption”)

There Are Still A Few Names In Sardis

I am grateful to Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) for preaching so many sermons that are relevant to any time period. Of course, since he was a steadfast Bible preacher, how could he do otherwise since the Bible is relevant, eternal truth for every age? Listen to Spurgeon and reject those pulpits that have deserted eternal Bible truth:

Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4 ESV)

Look into what denomination you please, Independent, or Baptist, or any other—have they not all defiled their garments in some way or other? Look at the churches around, and see how they have defiled their garments by giving baptism to those who whom it was never intended, and degrading a holy church ordinance to become a mere sop with which they feed their babes. And see how they have taken away Christ’s honor, how they have taken the bread that was meant for the children, and cast it to ungodly persons. Look at our own denomination: see how it has deserted the leading truths of the gospel. For a proof hereof, I refer you to hundreds of our pulpits. Oh church of God! I am but a voice crying in the wilderness, but I must cry still, “How art thou fallen from heaven, thou son of the morning! how art thou fallen!” “Remember how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.” If thou dost not watch, thy Master will come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know in what hour he will come unto thee. . . .

[W]henever you go to your chamber and mourn over the sad condition of the church, think you hear that good old woman in her closet groaning and crying; think you hear that minister faithfully dispensing the word; think you see that valiant deacon standing up for God’s truth; think you see that young man strong in the midst of temptation; think of these few in Sardis, and they will cheer you. Do not be quite downcast. Some heroes have not turned their backs in the day of battle; some mighty men still fight for the truth. Be encouraged; there are a few in Sardis. But be careful, for perhaps you are not one of the few. Since there are but a few, there ought to be great searchings of heart. Let us look to our garments and see whether they be defiled. If they be not, we shall walk in white, for we are worthy through Jesus. Be active; be prayerful. The fewer the workmen to do the work the greater reason is there that you should be active. Be instant in season and out of season, because there are so few. Oh! if we had hundreds behind us, we might say, “Let them do the work;” but if we stand with only a few, how should each of those few rush hither and thither! A city is besieged: it is full of inhabitants; half of them are asleep; the others watch the walls, and thus they relieve each other. Another city has but a few defenders: see how that champion rushes first to that breach and routs the enemy; now he brings his might to another place; a bastion is assaulted, and he is there; now a postern is attacked—there he is with all his force behind him; he is here, he is there, he is everywhere, because he feels there is but a handful of men who can gather round him. Take courage, take heart; stir yourselves up to the sternest activity, for verily there are but a few in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. Above all, be prayerful. Put up your earnest cries to God that he would multiply the faithful, that he would increase the number of chosen ones who stand fast, that he would purify the church with fire in a furnace seven times heated, so that he might bring out her third part through the fire; cry unto God that the day may come when the much fine gold shall be no longer dim, when the glory shall again return unto Zion. Beg of God to remove the cloud, to take away “the darkness that may be felt.” Be doubly prayerful, for there are but a few in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. (“A Solemn Warning for All Churches”)

Should We set Out To Change Men’s Opinions Or the Regeneration Of Their Natures?

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

“The increase of the kingdom is more to be desired than the growth of a clan. . . . We  value our Lord’s ordinances; we would labor earnestly to raise a believer in salvation by free-will into a believer in salvation by grace, for we long to see all religious teaching built upon the solid rock of truth, and not upon the sand of imagination; but, at the same time, our grand object is not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures. We would bring men to Christ and not to our own peculiar views of Christianity. Our first care must be that the sheep should be gathered to the great Shepherd; there will be time enough afterwards to secure them for our various folds. To make proselytes, is a suitable labor for Pharisees: to beget men unto God is the honorable aim of ministers of Christ.”

Hope For Sick Hearts

[H]aving the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. . . . (Ephesians 1:18 ESV)

[R]emember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12 ESV)

The verses above speak of future grace. How often do we tend to forget about the blessings of grace we have received and instead live in hopelessness as if there were no God? Dare we to say that the God of grace, Who has given us past victories, now fails in strength to meet our current problems and future circumstances? Many people have experienced troubles in recent years which have eaten away the hope of their expectations. During the last two years my family has experienced more unexpected troubles than I would care to name. I understand very well this proverb of Solomon’s: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 ESV) So maybe you consider this past year a dud, but what about 2012?

The New Year is a good time to redirect our thoughts toward the future. The beginning of a new year is a time to prepare our hearts for all that God will do in our lives during the coming year. In Luke, chapter three, John the Baptist told the people to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Messiah. A Savior had been born who represented the rebirth of hope to all who would call on His name. John the Baptist was the messenger sent by God to prepare the hearts of the people. He helped the people to see the condition of their hearts and their need for a Savior, because without Christ we are imprisoned by our sins.

John’s preaching was not at all about lifting the people’s self-esteem. Instead, John forced them to look at their own sinfulness. His message would not be welcome today in most churches. “He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’” (Luke 3:7 ESV) By stripping away the defensive shield of self-righteousness, John showed them the true condition of their hearts. What defensive shields do you use to protect you from knowing the sin your heart?

John taught that the Christ was coming. Those who prepared the way would have their hope restored. John the Baptist describes the coming savior in these terms: “John answered them all, saying, ‘I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’” (Luke 3:16-17 ESV)

John’s ministry was also one of repentance: “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:4-5 ESV)

We, too, should prepare our hearts for a wonderful rebirth of hope that will enable us to begin this New Year with a sense of passion and enthusiasm. Now is the time to prepare the way of the Lord in our hearts and minds that we may be assured: “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV) When Jesus becomes our only hope, we will have placed our hope in very secure hands. Let me close by offering this quotation from William Gurnall: “Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath; it is called ‘the rejoicing of hope’.” Prepare the way!

Advent: A Time Of Repentance

John the Baptist

John the Baptist did not always have kind words for those who came to him. He was often brutal in his assessment of the lives of others. Yet, John the Baptist is just as important to us in our present day as he was in his own lifetime. Leonard J. Vander Zee helps us to understand why:

He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Luke 3:7 ESV)

Homiletics is the theological term for the study and craft of sermon making. Seminarians take a couple of courses on homiletics of course, and there are lots of books on homiletics written for the guidance of preachers. Nowadays, there’s a lot of emphasis on the introductions of sermons. The theory is that the modern audience has to be led gently and carefully into the sermon and the text as though they were being led into alien territory. So there’s a lot about “contracting” or “partnering” with the audience, easing them into the word with stories and humor, giving them the assurance that you’re on their side.

Well, evidently John the Baptist didn’t take a course in homiletics. The very first words we hear from his mouth in Luke sound less like he’s partnering with his audience and more like he’s attacking them. “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (3:7) Look around, says John, looks like we’ve got some bad trees around here that aren’t producing good fruit. Every one of them is going to be cut down and thrown into the fire. Look, there’s the axe already lying at the root. And don’t think your pedigree will save you. God can make children of Abraham out of rocks. Even when he gets around to speaking about Jesus, the messiah who was to follow him, the message doesn’t sound much better. “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (3:17)

From what I can see, people are not banging down the doors of the church to hear this kind of stuff, especially not just before Christmas. So what are we doing mucking around in this unsettling text about John the Baptist instead basking in the soft glow of Christmas peace and joy? It’s because Advent is not Christmas; it’s about getting ready for Christmas and the whole of the Christian year. And in God’s timetable, John the Baptist comes before Jesus. Law comes before gospel. Judgment is the necessary precursor to grace. . . .

To prepare the way of the Lord, John says we have to do something, repent, because something is about to happen, the Kingdom is coming. I’m afraid that the word repent has lost its edge these days. To many of us, it just means feel bad, feel guilty. We have psychologized the gospel and transformed the Kingdom into a mood altering experience. The Messiah is the cosmic affirmer of all we hold dear. But that’s not really what repentance is all about. John is not calling people to cry big crocodile tears over their sins. Repentance is turning around, it’s shaping up.

Given his harsh demeanor and his searing message, it is perhaps surprising to us that John was a very popular figure. People flocked to him out there in the wilderness. They went out there in the wild and began to openly confess their sins. And they wanted to be baptized by this fiery prophet.

We live in an age which thinks that the way to preach the gospel is to soft-pedal it. Believe me; it’s very tempting to try to make it all nice and smooth, and attractive. It’s all about acceptance. It’s all about feeling good about yourself. It’s seeker friendly, market driven. But deep down people know that what we might want to hear is not the same is what we need to hear. . . .

We need to notice that John doesn’t call us to some private spirituality or personal piety, but to public justice and compassion. His call is not that we attend church more often or attend more Bible studies, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Repentance is not just feeling sorry, or getting cozy with God. It’s is changing the way we live our lives in the world. . . .

John’s message belongs alongside of Jesus’ message, even today. On our way to Bethlehem we need to spend some time in the wilderness to hear this gaunt, thundering prophet. We need to confess our sins and face ourselves.

But, thank God, that’s not John’s only message. John’s message was the message of the one who prepared the way. . . .

John prepares the way; he is not the way. The law can show us our failure, but it cannot liberate us from it. The law can show us where we are wrong, but it cannot make us right with God. . . .

The power to produce a new life is not ours; it is God’s power through the fiery, purifying work of the Holy Spirit. Every urge in us to turn away from the darkness of hate and selfishness to the light of grace and giving is from God. Every step of love, and giving and caring we take is empowered by the Spirit. Every shining moment when we catch a glimpse of the holiness to which we are called in Christ is burned on our souls by the Spirit. “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. He will plant in your hearts the very power by which he lived his life for God and gave it up for others. Changing our lives is not just some far-off ideal, it happens today. . . . (“Real Repentance”)

The United States And Calvinism

From the desk of David Steinmetz:

Calvinism, as it is commonly called, has a rich European history, but it finds its most striking influence during the foundation of these United States. Owing to Martin Luther’s commitment to reform, the church that bears his name was founded on the teaching of God’s election and determinate predestination. John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church, held these doctrines. Early American history reveals that the vast majority of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock were Calvinistic Presbyterians. The Congregationalist Churches of early America were once bound by these doctrines. And the original Baptists were avid predestinarians, which is why their modern counterparts advertise themselves as “Freewill Baptists” to distinguish themselves from their ancestors.

This English Calvinist strain was strengthened by the Dutch Calvinists of New York and New Jersey, the German reformed of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who settled in the mid-Atlantic and southern colonies. While not all settlers in the New World were Protestant and not all

Protestants were Calvinist, nevertheless there was from the very beginning a strongly Calvinist influence on American thought and institutions. Calvinists founded universities, pioneered the New England town meeting, insisted on the separation of powers in the federal government, played a prominent role in the movement for the abolition of slavery, and even promoted such characteristic institutions of frontier revivalism as ‘the anxious bench’ and the ‘camp-meeting’… In short, although Calvinism is not the only ingredient in American intellectual and religious history, it is such an important ingredient that no one can claim to understand American history and culture without some appreciation of its Calvinist heritage. (Calvin in Context. New York, N.Y. Oxford University Press. 1995)

Prepare The Way

Take a moment to think of all the energy people are putting into Christmas this year. What do they hope to experience as a result of all their efforts? What are they expecting to happen? Dr. M. Craig Barnes offers us some thoughtful insights into the Advent season:

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” (Luke 3:4-6 ESV)

When the word of God came in biblical times, it was usually through people who had little power or influence, but who had learned to listened to God. It came to people like John the Baptist who could rekindle our great dreams for life because he found them out in the wilderness. And thus, history has proven that it was John the Baptist who was truly great. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Nations have great men and women only in spite of themselves. In fact, nations direct all their efforts to not having them. Thus great people must have, in order to exist, a force of attack greater than the force of resistance developed by their society.”

Society has always encouraged mediocrity rather than greatness. That is because society cannot give us dreams. It gives us only plans: political plans, economic plans, religious plans. These plans become well worn over the years and they lead us only to repeat the mistakes of the past. But dreams, great dreams, are the things that prophets bring to us. Today we have far too many plans and not nearly enough dreams.

It had been 400 years since Israel had heard God’s word. For centuries the people had been waiting, and searching and dreaming for his word. They wouldn’t settle for more political words. They wouldn’t settle for more economic words. They wouldn’t settle even for religious words. All those words were little more than plans for dwelling in the darkness. They yearned for great dreams that could only come from one inspired with the word of God. . . .

[People today] yearn to find a compelling dream to which they can commit themselves. They yearn even for God, but they just have too much despair about society and about themselves. So instead they settle for little hopes, like all the generations before them.

I think that is why every year we knock ourselves out at Christmas. Despairing of making sense of our world or even our own lives, we travel to visit family that we think may have changed since last year. We buy a few more presents. We go to a few more parties. Yearning to hear a word from God, we settle for Muzak versions of Silent Night in the malls. It won’t work for us. It never has. It never will.

If ever there was a relevant moment to hear John the Baptist, it is today. People are searching, and they will come to anyone who has an authentic word from God. As John began to speak God’s word to people, we are told that great crowds developed. It reminded them of the prophecy of Isaiah that someday one would come who would be, “The voice crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord'”. . . .

Week after week as we light the candles and read the lessons, we remind ourselves that a Savior is coming. We remember that we have to prepare the way. We have to make his paths straight. The valleys have to be filled in. The mountains have to be made low. The crooked have to be made straight. The rough ways made smooth. Just as Isaiah and John the Baptist counsel us. . . .

Well a king is coming. And his name is Jesus Christ. That is what Christmas is about, and you have prepared the way for his arrival into your life. But John was not telling us to start doing road repair. He was telling us to repair the road into our hearts. He was telling us that we have to hope again.

The crookedness that needs straightening out is your own soul that has been bent and turned by too many false hopes. The only way to get your soul straightened out is to turn it toward the coming Savior. A vague search for God isn’t going to do it. Anybody can search. What our society desperately needs are people who have found God. The only way to do that is to confess your need for him. Don’t overlook your fears, hurts, or even your despair. Don’t cover them up with a few fleeting moments of holiday. Confessing your need for a Savior is the best preparation you can make. (“Straightening out Christmas”)

Charles Spurgeon: “What Is The Use Of An Unholy Church?”

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting C.H. Spurgeon:

There is nothing which my heart desires more than to see you, the members of this church, distinguished for holiness. It is the Christian’s crown and glory. An unholy church? It is of no use to the world and of no esteem among men. Oh, it is an abomination, hell’s laughter, heaven’s abhorrence. And the larger the church, the more influential, the worse nuisance does it become when it becomes unholy. The worst evils which have ever come upon the world have been brought upon her by an unholy church.

Training For Thankfulness

John A. Broadus

If you study the history of the Southern Baptist Convention, you are likely to come across the name of John Broadus. He was one of the greatest American Baptist preachers in the 19th century. He was also one of the founders and the second president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In the following excerpts, Broadus teaches us about thankfulness:

[G]ive thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (Thessalonians 5:18)

Remember . . . how our seasons of affliction make real to us the blessed thought of divine compassion and sympathy . . . remember that the sufferings of this present life will but enhance, by their contrast, the blessed exemptions of the life to come. A thousand times have I remembered the text of my first funeral sermon, “And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” These are the present things now-all around us and within us; but the time is coming when they will be the former things, quite passed away. . . .

How may the habit of thankfulness be formed and maintained?

Well, how do we form other habits? If you wish to establish the habit of doing a certain thing, you take pains to do that thing, upon every possible occasion, and to avoid everything inconsistent therewith. Now, then, if you wish to form the habit of thankfulness, just begin by being thankful-not next year, but tonight; not for some great event or experience, but for whatever has just occurred, whatever has been pleasant, yes, and we did say, for whatever has been painful. You certainly can find some special occasion for thanksgiving this very night. And then go on searching for matter of gratitude, and just continuing to be thankful, hour by hour, day by day. Thus the habit will be formed, by a very law of our nature.

But remember that good habits cannot be maintained without attention. They require a certain self-control, a studious self-constraint. Is not the habit of thankfulness worth taking pains to maintain? The older persons present remember Ole Bull, the celebrated violinist. I once dined in company with him, and in an hour’s conversation across the table found him a man of generous soul, full of noble impulses and beautiful enthusiasms, and rich with the experience of wide travel. And I was so much interested in a remark of his which is recorded in the recent biography: “When I stop practicing one day, I see the difference; when I stop two days, my friends see the difference; when I stop a week, everybody sees the difference.” Here was a man who had cultivated a wonderful natural gift, by lifelong labor, until, as a performer upon the finest of instruments, he was probably the foremost man of his time; and yet he could not afford to stop practicing for a single week, or even for a single day. “They do it for an earthly crown; but we for a heavenly.” Christian brethren, shall we shrink from incessant vigilance and perpetual effort to keep up the habit of thankfulness to God?

I see many young persons present this evening. Will not some of you at once begin the thoughtful exercise of continual thankfulness? Will you not think over it, pray over it, labor to establish and maintain so beautiful and blessed a habit? Ah, what a help it will be to you amid all the struggles of youth and all the sorrows of age! And in far-coming years, when you are gray, when the preacher of this hour has long been forgotten, let us hope that you will still be gladly recommending to the young around you the Habit of Thankfulness. (“The Habit of Thankfulness”)

Spurgeon On Sinful Thoughts

Charles H. Spurgeon

From the desk of Charles H. Spurgeon:

Did you ever have the light of God brought to bear upon your imagination? Imagination is the ‘play room’ of the soul. Here many a man considers that he is without law. “Surely,” says he, “thought is free.” The man gloats over sins which he would fear to commit. He finds a pleasure in thinking over lusts which his circumstances compel him to avoid. In the dark chambers of imagination the heart commits adulteries, murders, thefts, and all manner of infamies.

When the light of God falls upon the imagination, the man shudders as he learns that “as he thinks in his heart so is he”. He trembles as he perceives that the fond imagination of sin is sin. Then is the floor of imagination purged, and the foul dust and chaff are driven into the fire. Imagination then gleams in the light of God, and, having washed in the brazen laver, sings songs on her stringed instruments unto the God of her salvation, who has brought her out of darkness into his marvelous light. (“The Eye and the Light” #2109)

As Long As God Is Glorified!

Charles Spurgeon

From the writings of Charles Spurgeon:

Do not desire to be the principal man in the church.

Be lowly.

Be humble.

The best man in the church is the man who is willing to be a doormat for all to wipe their boots on, the brother who does not mind what happens to him at all, so long as God is glorified. (From: “Micah’s Message for Today”)

Charles Spurgeon On Worldly Influence

From the desk of Charles Spurgeon:

“So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 2:15)

I believe that one reason why the church at this present moment has so little influence over the world, is because the world has so much influence over the church! Nowadays, we hear professors pleading that they may do this, and do that—that they may live like worldlings. My sad answer to them, when they crave this liberty is, “Do it if you dare. It may not cost you much hurt, for you are so bad already. Your cravings show how rotten your hearts are. If you are hungering after such dogs food—go dogs, and eat the garbage!

Worldly amusements are fit food for pretenders and hypocrites. If you were God’s children, you would loathe the thought of the world’s evil joys. Your question would not be, “How far may we be like the world?” but your cry would be, “How can we get away from the world? How can we come out of it?”

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) (Charles Spurgeon, “The Soul Winner”)

Preach The Truth

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon preaches here on truth and the nature of being born again:

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

A very kind friend has told me that while I was preaching in Exeter Hall I ought to pay deference to the varied opinions of my hearers; that albeit I may be a Calvinist and a Baptist, I should recollect that there are a variety of creeds here. Now, if I were to preach nothing but what would please the whole lot of you, what on earth should I do? I preach what I believe to be true; and if the omission of a single truth that I believe, would make me king of England throughout eternity, I would not leave it out. Those who do not like what I say have the option of leaving it. They come here, I suppose, to please themselves; and if the truth does not please them, they can leave it. I will never be afraid that an honest British audience will turn away from the man who does not stick, and stutter, and stammer in speaking the truth. Well, now, about this great birth. I am going to say perhaps a harsh thing, but I heard it said by Mr. Jay first of all. Some say a new birth takes place in an infant baptism, but I remember that venerable patriarch saying,” Popery is a lie, Puseyism is a lie, baptismal regeneration is a lie.” So it is. It is a lie so palpable that I can scarcely imagine the preachers of it have any brains in their heads at all. It is so absurd upon the very face of it, that a man who believes it put himself below the range of a common-sense man. Believe that every child by a drop of water is born again! Then that man that you see in the ring as a prize-fighter is born again, because those sanctified drops once fell upon his infant forehead! Another man swears—behold him drunk and reeling about the streets. He is born again! A pretty born again that is! I think he wants to be born again another time. Such a regeneration as that only fits him for the devil; and by its deluding effect, may even make him sevenfold more the child of hell. But the men who curse, and swear, and rob and steal, and those poor wretches who are hanged, have all been born again. . . .

However, the text speaks of a great birth. “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” This new birth is the mysterious point in all religion. If you preach anything else except the new birth you will always get on well with your hearers; but if you insist that in order to enter heaven there must be a radical change, though this is the doctrine of the Scripture, it is so unpalatable to mankind in general that you will scarcely get them to listen. Ah! now ye turn away if I begin to tell you, that “except ye be born of water and of the Spirit, ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” If I tell you that there must be a regenerating influence exerted upon your minds by the power of the Holy Ghost then I know ye will say “it is enthusiasm.” Ah! but it is the enthusiasm of the Bible. There I stand; by this I will be judged. If the Bible does not say we must be born again, then I give it up; but if it does then, sirs, do not distrust that truth on which your salvation hangs. (Sermon: “The Victory of Faith”)

Opposing Doubt

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles H Spurgeon:

“We want churches that know the truth, and are well taught in the things of God. If we taught better they would learn better. See how little many professors know; not enough to give them discernment between living truth and deadly error. Old-fashioned believers could give you chapter and verse for what they believed; but how few of such remain!

To try to shake them was by no means a hopeful task: you might as well have hoped to shake the pillars of the universe; for they were steadfast, and could not be carried away with every wind of doctrine. They knew what they knew, and they held fast that which they had learned. Oh, for a church of out-and-out believers, impervious to the soul-destroying doubt which pours upon us in showers!”

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