THE LORD LOOKS DOWN ON HIS CHILDREN

09/26/15 ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST!

BE ENCOURAGED

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James 5:15-16

(15) And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
King James Version

Psalm 122:6

The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all [those that be] bowed down.

Reflection

Ever is the Lord faithful to strengthen those of His who are wounded and bolster His children who are weighed down. His might is become our might. His sovereignty lifts our head in troubling times. Look to Him for your rest and comfort and ever shall you find it!

[ Psalm 150 ] Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. ... [ Psalm 150 ] Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him…

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Thus saith the Lord

Thus saith the Lord

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

‘Thus saith the Lord.’ Ezekiel 11:5

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 7:1–13

True servants of God demand to see for all church ordinances and doctrines the express authority of the church’s only teacher and Lord. They remember that the Lord Jesus bade the apostles to teach believers to observe all things whatsoever he had commanded them. The Holy Spirit revealed much of precious truth and holy precept by the apostles, and to his teaching we would give earnest heed; but when men cite the authority of fathers, and councils, and bishops, we give place for subjection, no, not for an hour. They may quote Irenaeus or Cyprian, Augustine or Chrysostom; they may remind us of the dogmas of Luther or Calvin; they may find authority in Simeon, or Wesley, or Gill. We will listen to the opinions of these great men with the respect they deserve as men, but having so done, we deny that we have anything to do with these men as authorities in the church of God, for there nothing has authority, but ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts.’ If you shall bring us the concurrent consent of all tradition, if you shall quote precedents, we burn the whole as so much worthless lumber, unless you put your finger upon the passage of Holy Scripture which warrants the matter to be of God. You may further plead, in addition to all this venerable authority, the beauty of the ceremony and its usefulness to those who partake therein, but this is all foreign to the point, for to the true church of God the only question is this, is there a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ for it? And if divine authority be not forthcoming, faithful men thrust forth the intruder as the cunning craftiness of men.

For meditation: Traditions can be good or bad. Are your doctrine and practice based upon the words of men or the Word of God (Mark 7:7–9; Colossians 2:8)? Having turned from the traditions of men to the revelation of Christ (Galatians 1:11–14), the apostle Paul handed down to others what he had received from the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:23; 15:3). God’s Word is the only acceptable authority for our doctrines and practices (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6).

Sermon no. 591     25 September (1864)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

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Conscience Struggling?

Struggles of conscience

2 Timothy 3:12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

“How many are mine iniquities and sins? Make me to know my transgression and my sin.” Job 13:23

Suggested Further Reading: John 8:21-47

“Tell me how I can feel the need of my Saviour.” The first advice I give you is this: Particularise your sins. Do not say “I am a sinner;” it means nothing; everybody says that. But say this, “Am I a liar? Am I a thief? Am I a drunkard? Have I had impure thoughts? Have I committed unclean acts? Have I in my soul often rebelled against God? Am I often angry without a cause? Have I a bad temper? Am I covetous? Do I love this world better than the world to come? Do I neglect prayer? Do I neglect the great salvation?” Put these questions and you will soon convict yourself much more readily as being a sinner. I have heard of a hypocritical old monk who used to whine out, while he whipped his back as softly as he could, “Lord, I am a great sinner, as big a sinner as Judas;” and when someone said, “Yes that you are—you are like Judas, a vile old hypocrite,” then he would say, “No I am not.” Then he would go on again, “I am a great sinner.” Some one would say, “You are a great sinner, you broke the first commandment;” and then he would say, “No I have not.” Then when he would go on and say, “I am a great sinner,” some one would say, “Yes, you have broken the second commandment,” and he would say, “No I have not;” and the same with the third and the fourth, and so on right through. So it came to pass he had kept the whole ten according to his own account, and yet he went on crying he was a great sinner. The man was a hypocrite, for if he had not broken the commandments, how could he be a sinner at all? You will find it better not to dwell on your sins as a whole, but to pen them, count them over, and look at them individually, one by one.

For meditation: Christ did not die for a theoretical concept of sin, but for actual sins committed by practising sinners (Matthew 1:21; 26:28; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians1:4; Hebrews 1:3; 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 1:5).

Sermon no. 336   23 September (1860)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

SWORD OF THE LORD

Morning

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“The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”
Judges 7:20

Gideon ordered his men to do two things: covering up a torch in an earthen pitcher, he bade them, at an appointed signal, break the pitcher and let the light shine, and then sound with the trumpet, crying, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon! the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” This is precisely what all Christians must do. First, you must shine; break the pitcher which conceals your light; throw aside the bushel which has been hiding your candle, and shine. Let your light shine before men; let your good works be such, that when men look upon you, they shall know that you have been with Jesus. Then there must be the sound, the blowing of the trumpet. There must be active exertions for the ingathering of sinners by proclaiming Christ crucified. Take the gospel to them; carry it to their door; put it in their way; do not suffer them to escape it; blow the trumpet right against their ears. Remember that the true war-cry of the Church is Gideon’s watchword, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” God must do it, it is his own work. But we are not to be idle; instrumentality is to be used–“The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” If we only cry, “The sword of the Lord!” we shall be guilty of an idle presumption; and if we shout, “The sword of Gideon!” alone, we shall manifest idolatrous reliance on an arm of flesh: we must blend the two in practical harmony, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” We can do nothing of ourselves, but we can do everything by the help of our God; let us, therefore, in his name determine to go out personally and serve with our flaming torch of holy example, and with our trumpet tones of earnest declaration and testimony, and God shall be with us, and Midian shall be put to confusion, and the Lord of hosts shall reign forever and ever.

Evening

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“In the evening withhold not thy hand.”
Ecclesiastes 11:6

In the evening of the day opportunities are plentiful: men return from their labour, and the zealous soul-winner finds time to tell abroad the love of Jesus. Have I no evening work for Jesus? If I have not, let me no longer withhold my hand from a service which requires abundant labour. Sinners are perishing for lack of knowledge; he who loiters may find his skirts crimson with the blood of souls. Jesus gave both his hands to the nails, how can I keep back one of mine from his blessed work? Night and day he toiled and prayed for me, how can I give a single hour to the pampering of my flesh with luxurious ease? Up, idle heart; stretch out thy hand to work, or uplift it to pray; heaven and hell are in earnest, let me be so, and this evening sow good seed for the Lord my God.

The evening of life has also its calls. Life is so short that a morning of manhood’s vigour, and an evening of decay, make the whole of it. To some it seems long, but a four-pence is a great sum of money to a poor man. Life is so brief that no man can afford to lose a day. It has been well said that if a great king should bring us a great heap of gold, and bid us take as much as we could count in a day, we should make a long day of it; we should begin early in the morning, and in the evening we should not withhold our hand; but to win souls is far nobler work, how is it that we so soon withdraw from it? Some are spared to a long evening of green old age; if such be my case, let me use such talents as I still retain, and to the last hour serve my blessed and faithful Lord. By his grace I will die in harness, and lay down my charge only when I lay down my body. Age may instruct the young, cheer the faint, and encourage the desponding; if eventide has less of vigorous heat, it should have more of calm wisdom, therefore in the evening I will not withhold my hand.

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

A FEAST FOR FAITH AND STORMING THE BATTLEMENTS

A feast for faith

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

‘This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.’Isaiah 28:29

Suggested Further Reading: Exodus 35:30–36:2

We are to ascribe the thoughtful, inventive mind, and the dexterous, clever hand, to him who is the great Instructor of man. We trace directly to God the marvellous philosophy of Newton, and the skill of Watt and Stephenson, because the very slightest consideration shows us that there was originally a peculiarity in the constitution and formation of such minds as theirs. The most of us could have done nothing of the kind if we had tried all our days. There may be men of inventive genius here, but I suppose that nine out of ten of us can make no pretence to the possession of anything of the sort, and therefore we are led to ask, where did the faculty come from? Surely the fertile brain of invention must be the Creator’s gift. An after providence has also a hand in the business, for many men whose minds would naturally have gone in the direction of invention, are turned into quite another course by the force of circumstances. It was surely God’s providence which in other cases found a channel for the natural passion, and allowed the soul to flow as it willed. And how often, too, some of the greatest inventions have been due to the simplest accidents! The puffing of steam from a kettle, or the falling of an apple from a tree have led thoughtful minds to discover great and important truths, and who shall attribute these circumstances to any but to ‘him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,’ and who gives wisdom to the wisest of the sons of men? Let us adore the mighty God, not only as we read our Bibles, but as we traverse the halls of art and science, and visit the exhibitions which in these days of ours are being reared on every side. Let us make man’s skill speak to us of God’s glory.

For meditation: 1 Corinthians 4:7. Our ‘natural’ abilities are God-given, whether they are practical (Exodus 36:1–2) or academic (Daniel 1:17). It is our responsibility to use our gifts for their proper purpose and we are the only ones to blame if they are misused.

Sermon no. 711   16 September (1866)

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Storming the battlements

JOHN 3:16

“Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end; take away her battlements; for they are not the Lord’s.” Jeremiah 5:10

Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 5:25-6: 5

We sometimes trust too much in evidences and good works. Ralph Erskine did not say amiss when he remarked, “I have got more hurt by my good works than my bad ones.” That seems something like Antinomianism, but it is true; we find it so by experience. “My bad works,” said Erskine, “Always drove me to the Saviour for mercy; my good works often kept me from him, and I began to trust in myself.” Is it not so with us? We often get a pleasing opinion of ourselves; we are preaching so many times a week; we attend so many prayer meetings; we are doing good in the Sabbath-school; we are valuable deacons; important members of the church; we are giving away so much in charity; and we say, “Surely I am a child of God—I must be. I am an heir of heaven. Look at me! See what robes I wear. Have I not indeed a righteousness about me that proves me to be a child of God?” Then we begin to trust in ourselves, and say, “Surely I cannot be moved; my mountain stands firm and fast.” Do you know what is the usual rule of heaven when we boast? Why the command is given to the foe—“Go up against him; take away his battlements; for they are not the Lord’s.” And what is the consequence? Why, perhaps God suffers us to fall into sin, and down goes self-sufficiency. Many a Christian owes his falls to a presumptuous confidence in his graces. I conceive that outward sin is not more abhorred by our God than this most wicked sin of reliance on ourselves. May none of you ever learn your own weakness by reading a black book of your own backslidings.

For meditation: If pride and boasting are listed as sins of the unbeliever (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2), they are just as much sins when the believer falls into them. Our good works should lead others to glorify God (Matthew 5:16) and should surely have the same effect upon us.

Sermon no. 38     16 September (1855)

ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO THE COLLECTIONS OF CHARLES SPURGEON(C)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

PARTAKERS

Morning

Romans 5:6-11(KJV) 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Romans 5:6-11(KJV)
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

“Partakers of the divine nature.”
2 Peter 1:4

To be a partaker of the divine nature is not, of course, to become God. That cannot be. The essence of Deity is not to be participated in by the creature. Between the creature and the Creator there must ever be a gulf fixed in respect of essence; but as the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we, by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a yet diviner sense made in the image of the Most High, and are partakers of the divine nature. We are, by grace, made like God. “God is love”; we become love–“He that loveth is born of God.” God is truth; we become true, and we love that which is true: God is good, and he makes us good by his grace, so that we become the pure in heart who shall see God. Moreover, we become partakers of the divine nature in even a higher sense than this–in fact, in as lofty a sense as can be conceived, short of our being absolutely divine. Do we not become members of the body of the divine person of Christ? Yes, the same blood which flows in the head flows in the hand: and the same life which quickens Christ quickens his people, for “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Nay, as if this were not enough, we are married unto Christ. He hath betrothed us unto himself in righteousness and in faithfulness, and he who is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Oh! marvellous mystery! we look into it, but who shall understand it? One with Jesus–so one with him that the branch is not more one with the vine than we are a part of the Lord, our Saviour, and our Redeemer! While we rejoice in this, let us remember that those who are made partakers of the divine nature will manifest their high and holy relationship in their intercourse with others, and make it evident by their daily walk and conversation that they have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. O for more divine holiness of life!

Evening

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“Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?”
Job 7:12

This was a strange question for Job to ask of the Lord. He felt himself to be too insignificant to be so strictly watched and chastened, and he hoped that he was not so unruly as to need to be so restrained. The enquiry was natural from one surrounded with such insupportable miseries, but after all, it is capable of a very humbling answer. It is true man is not the sea, but he is even more troublesome and unruly. The sea obediently respects its boundary, and though it be but a belt of sand, it does not overleap the limit. Mighty as it is, it hears the divine hitherto, and when most raging with tempest it respects the word; but self-willed man defies heaven and oppresses earth, neither is there any end to this rebellious rage. The sea, obedient to the moon, ebbs and flows with ceaseless regularity, and thus renders an active as well as a passive obedience; but man, restless beyond his sphere, sleeps within the lines of duty, indolent where he should be active. He will neither come nor go at the divine command, but sullenly prefers to do what he should not, and to leave undone that which is required of him. Every drop in the ocean, every beaded bubble, and every yeasty foam-flake, every shell and pebble, feel the power of law, and yield or move at once. O that our nature were but one thousandth part as much conformed to the will of God! We call the sea fickle and false, but how constant it is! Since our fathers’ days, and the old time before them, the sea is where it was, beating on the same cliffs to the same tune; we know where to find it, it forsakes not its bed, and changes not in its ceaseless boom; but where is man-vain, fickle man? Can the wise man guess by what folly he will next be seduced from his obedience? We need more watching than the billowy sea, and are far more rebellious. Lord, rule us for thine own glory. Amen.

 

DEEPEN YOUR SHINE

God delights in those who honor him
BE A BEAREAN ACT S 17:11

As bright as the sky

Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who turn many to righteousness will shine like stars forever.

Daniel 12:3

Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset.

Thomas Watson

Deepen your shine

People spend thousands of dollars to last longer— exercise, cosmetics, plastic surgery, self-help advice, nutrition plans. We like life, and we want it to last, not just in some ethereal, nondescript expectation of a life hereafter, but in a real, fulfilling, purposeful eternity. We don’t just want “forever.” We want to know we will enjoy it.

Daniel is told what makes or breaks eternity in the resurrection: righteousness. Loving it, drinking it in, leading others to it, investing in it. Righteousness is the key. The quality of our righteousness on earth has everything to do with the quality of our eternity.

Those who are wise also know that there’s a problem. We are inherently unrighteous. An eternity based on earthly righteousness is a devastating predicament for people who are, in their very genetics, infected with corruption. Are there any who can really lead others to righteousness? Will any shine like the brightness of the heavens? Or is the promise empty?

Righteousness is a gift from a holy heaven to an infected race. It comes from outside ourselves, available only through faith in its Giver. Those who are wise will tell others about this gift. Those who want to shine will know the Source of the light and will be completely preoccupied with Him.

Evangelism is one way to make an investment that never, ever ceases to bring abundant returns. God promises that sharing the Light with others will forever deepen your own shine.

Adapted from The One Year® Walk with God Devotional by Chris Tiegreen, Tyndale House Publishers (2004), entry for April 7.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

CEDAR TREES

The cedars of Lebanon

‘The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted.’ Psalm 104:16

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1–7

A traveller tells us that in the wood, bark, and even the cones of the cedar there is an abundance of resin. They are saturated with it so that he says he can scarcely touch one of the cedars of Lebanon without having the turpentine or resin of them upon his hands. That is always the way with a truly healthy Christian; his grace is externally manifested. There is the inner life within, it is active, and by and by when it is in a right state, it saturates everything. You talk with the gracious man, he cannot help talking about Christ; you go into his house, you will soon see that a Christian lives there; you notice his actions and you will soon see he has been with Jesus. He is so full of sap that the sap must come out. He has so much of the divine life within, that the holy oil and divine balsam must flow from him. I am afraid this cannot be said of all of us; it is because we get to be dependent upon man, and not on God, and therefore have little of this sap; but if we are independent of man, and live wholly upon God, we shall be so full of sap that every part of us will betray our piety. And then let me say that this sap is abundantly to be desired. Oh, when I think what glory a full-grown Christian brings to God, what honour the faith of a believer puts upon Jesus, when I think what a knowledge of God and divine things an advanced believer possesses, when I contemplate his own joy and peace of mind, I could wish that every one of you, (though it is well to be hyssops on God’s wall), could be cedars upon God’s Lebanon. Oh that we would grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

For meditation: Inner spiritual life must be seen in outward deeds. What a joy it is when truth in the soul overflows to such an extent that it fills a Christian’s life (Romans 15:14; 2 John 4; 3 John 2–4). Our perfect example is the Lord Jesus Christ who was full of grace as well as truth (John 1:14).

Sermon no. 529     13 September (1863)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)