Independence of Christianity
“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:17-4: 7
The grand thing the church wants in this time, is God’s Holy Spirit. You all get up plans and say, “Now, if the church were altered a little bit, it would go better.” You think if there were different ministers, or different church order, or something different, then all would be well. No, dear friends, it is not there the mistake lies; it is that we want more of the Spirit. It is as if you saw a locomotive engine upon a railway, and it would not go, and they put up a driver, and they said, “Now, that driver will just do.” They try another and another. One proposes that such-and-such a wheel should be altered, but still it will not go. Some one then bursts in amongst those who are conversing and says, “No, friends; but the reason why it will not move, is because there is no steam. You have no fire, you have no water in the boiler: that’s why it will not go. There may be some faults about it; it may want a bit of paint here and there, but it will go well enough with all those faults if you do but get the steam up.” But now people are saying, “This must be altered, and that must be altered;” but it would go no better unless God the Spirit should come to bless us. You may have the same ministers, and they shall be a thousand times more useful for God, if God is pleased to bless them. You shall have the same deacons, they shall be a thousand times more influential than they are now, when the Spirit is poured down upon them from on high. That is the church’s great want, and until that want be supplied, we may reform, and reform, and still be just the same. We want the Holy Spirit.
Sermon no. 149 30 August (1857)
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The red heifer
‘… the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish … and ye shall give her unto Eleazer the priest … and one shall slay her before his face.’ Numbers 19:2–3
Suggested Further Reading: John 13:1–11
What is there opened for the house of David, for sin, and for uncleanness? A cistern? A cistern that might be emptied? No, there is a fountain open. We wash, the fountain flows; we wash again, the fountain flows still. From the great depths of the deity of Christ, the eternal merit of his passion comes everlastingly welling up. Is it not said in Scripture, ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate’? Why is Christ an advocate today? Only because we want an advocate every day. Does he not constantly intercede yonder before the eternal throne? Why does he do that? Because we want daily intercession. And it is because we are constantly sinning that he is constantly an advocate, constantly an intercessor. He himself has beautifully set this forth in the case of Peter: after supper the Lord took a towel and girded himself, and then, taking his basin and his water-jug, he went to Peter, and Peter said, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’ But Jesus told him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.’ He had been washed once; Peter was free from sin in the high sense of justification, but he needs the washing of purification. When Peter said, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head,’ then Jesus replied, ‘He that is washed’—that is, he who is pardoned—‘needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.’ The feet want constant washing. The daily defilement of our daily walk through an ungodly world brings upon us the daily necessity of being cleansed from fresh sin, and that the mighty Master supplies to us.
For meditation: In the Old Testament fresh sins required regular fresh sacrifices (Hebrews 7:27) which never removed sin (Hebrews 10:1–4). Christ’s shed blood gives every believer forgiveness plus ongoing cleansing from all sin (1 John 1:7); fresh sins require fresh confession to God (1 John 1:9), never a fresh sacrifice.
Sermon no. 527 30 August (1863)
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