Leper Live By Faith Christ is the great Peacemaker

The cleansing of the leper

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And if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his hand even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh; Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean. Leviticus 13:12-13

Suggested Further Reading: Colossians 3:5-14

Sinner, if you are to be saved, Christ must do it all; but when once you have faith in Christ, then you must be washed; then must you cease from sin, and then by the Holy Spirit’ power you shall be enabled to do so. What was ineffective before shall become mighty enough now, through the life which God has put into you. The washing with water by the word, and the cleansing of yourself from dead works, shall become an effectual and mighty duty. You shall be made holy, and walk in white, in the purity wherewith Christ has endowed you. The shaving off of his hair was fitly to represent how all the old things were to pass away, and everything was to become new. All the white hair was to be cut off, as you read in Leviticus 14:9: He shall shave all the hair off his head, and his beard, and his eyebrows. There was not a remnant or relic left of the old state in which the hair was white; all was to be given up. So it is with the sinner. When he is once pardoned, once cleansed, then he begins to cut off the old habits, his old prides, his old joys. The beard on which the hoary Jew prided himself was to come off, and the eyebrows which seem to be necessary to make the countenance look decent, were all to be taken away. So it is with the pardoned man. He did nothing before, he does everything now. He knew that good works were of no benefit to him in his carnal state, but now he becomes so strict that he will shave off every hair of his old state. Not one darling lust shall be left, not one iniquity shall be spared, all must be cut away.

For meditation: Very soon many will be breaking their New Year’s resolutions! The Christian is already a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), a new person with a new nature. May God give us grace and strength to be what we are in Christ.

Sermon no. 353     29 December (Preached 30 December 1860)

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Morning

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

“The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.”
Galatians 2:20

When the Lord in mercy passed by and saw us in our blood, he first of all said, “Live;” and this he did first, because life is one of the absolutely essential things in spiritual matters, and until it be bestowed we are incapable of partaking in the things of the kingdom. Now the life which grace confers upon the saints at the moment of their quickening is none other than the life of Christ, which, like the sap from the stem, runs into us, the branches, and establishes a living connection between our souls and Jesus. Faith is the grace which perceives this union, having proceeded from it as its firstfruit. It is the neck which joins the body of the Church to its all-glorious Head.

“Oh Faith! thou bond of union with the Lord,

Is not this office thine? and thy fit name,

In the economy of gospel types,

And symbols apposite–the Church’s neck;

Identifying her in will and work

With him ascended?”

Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined grasp. She knows his excellence and worth, and no temptation can induce her to repose her trust elsewhere; and Christ Jesus is so delighted with this heavenly grace, that he never ceases to strengthen and sustain her by the loving embrace and all-sufficient support of his eternal arms. Here, then, is established a living, sensible, and delightful union which casts forth streams of love, confidence, sympathy, complacency, and joy, whereof both the bride and bridegroom love to drink. When the soul can evidently perceive this oneness between itself and Christ, the pulse may be felt as beating for both, and the one blood as flowing through the veins of each. Then is the heart as near heaven as it can be on earth, and is prepared for the enjoyment of the most sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.

Evening

EPHESIANS 6

EPHESIANS 6

“I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal himself to him more graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up his cross, know ye not what your Master said? “I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, he brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities. Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the truth’s sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master’s steps, for he has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment.

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JESUS = BEGINNING MIDDLE END ETERNITY

Alpha and Omega

SUNSHINE

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Revelation 22:13

Suggested Further Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Our Lord should be the Alpha and Omega of our life’s end and aim. What is there worth living for but Christ? What is there in the whole earth that is worth a thought but Jesus? Well did an old writer say, If God be the only Eternal, then all the rest is but a puff of smoke, and shall I live to heap up puffs of smoke, and shall I toil and strive merely to aggrandise myself with smoky treasures that the wind of death shall dissipate for ever? No, beloved, let us live for eternal things, and what is there of eternal things that can be chosen but our Lord? O let us give him next year the Alpha of our labour. Let us begin the year by working in his vineyard, toiling in his harvest field. This year is almost over. There is another day or two left let us serve him till the year is ended, going forward with double haste because the days are now so few. Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Let your time and your talents, your substance and your energies, all be given to my Master, who is worthy to be your soul’s Alpha and Omega. Jesus crucified should also be the Alpha and Omega of all our preaching and teaching. Woe to the man who makes anything else the main subject of his ministry. God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Do not tell me you preach sound doctrine; you preach rotten doctrine, if you do not preach Christ preach nothing up but Christ, and nothing down but sin. Preach Christ; lift him up high on the pole of the gospel, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, and you will accomplish your life’s end.

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ is the A to Z of creation and should be acknowledged by us as the A to Z of our lives (Romans 11:36; 2 Corinthians 5:15). Behaving as if he is only Alpha and Iota (A to I) falls far short of obeying the commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).

Sermon no. 546      27 December (1863)

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What have I done?

What have I done? Jeremiah 8:6

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Peter 1:3-8

What hast thou done? I hear thee reply, I have done nothing to save myself; for that was done for me in the eternal covenant, from before the foundation of the world. I have done nothing to make a righteousness for myself, for Christ said, It is finished; I have done nothing to procure heaven by my merits, for all that Jesus did for me before I was born. But say, brother, what hast thou done for him who died to save thy wretched soul? What hast thou done for his church? What hast thou done for the salvation of the world? What has thou done to promote thine own spiritual growth in grace? Ah! I might hit some of you that are true Christians very hard here; but I will leave you with your God. God will chastise his own children. I will, however, put a pointed question. Are there not many Christians now present who cannot recollect that they have been the means of the salvation of one soul during this year? Come, now; turn back. Have you any reason to believe that directly or indirectly you have been made the means this year of the salvation of a soul? I will go further. There are some of you who are old Christians, and I will ask you this question: Have you any reason to believe that ever since you were converted you have ever been the means of the salvation of a soul? It was reckoned in the East, in the times of the patriarchs, to be a disgrace to a woman that she had no children; but what disgrace it is to a Christian to have no spiritual children to have none born unto God by his instrumentality! And yet there are some of you here that have been spiritually barren, and have never brought one convert to Christ; you have not one star in your crown of glory, and must wear a starless crown in heaven.

For meditation: While the self-righteous makes the fatal mistake of thinking that good deeds lead to salvation, the saved can make the sad mistake of forgetting that salvation is supposed to lead to good deeds (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Sermon no. 169      27 December (1857)

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The Lord shall guide thee

Morning

John 6-51 - Harvest Time

John 6-51 – Harvest Time

“Can the rush grow up without mire?”
Job 8:11

The rush is spongy and hollow, and even so is a hypocrite; there is no substance or stability in him. It is shaken to and fro in every wind just as formalists yield to every influence; for this reason the rush is not broken by the tempest, neither are hypocrites troubled with persecution. I would not willingly be a deceiver or be deceived; perhaps the text for this day may help me to try myself whether I be a hypocrite or no. The rush by nature lives in water, and owes its very existence to the mire and moisture wherein it has taken root; let the mire become dry, and the rush withers very quickly. Its greenness is absolutely dependent upon circumstances, a present abundance of water makes it flourish, and a drought destroys it at once. Is this my case? Do I only serve God when I am in good company, or when religion is profitable and respectable? Do I love the Lord only when temporal comforts are received from his hands? If so I am a base hypocrite, and like the withering rush, I shall perish when death deprives me of outward joys. But can I honestly assert that when bodily comforts have been few, and my surroundings have been rather adverse to grace than at all helpful to it, I have still held fast my integrity? Then have I hope that there is genuine vital godliness in me. The rush cannot grow without mire, but plants of the Lord’s right hand planting can and do flourish even in the year of drought. A godly man often grows best when his worldly circumstances decay. He who follows Christ for his bag is a Judas; they who follow for loaves and fishes are children of the devil; but they who attend him out of love to himself are his own beloved ones. Lord, let me find my life in thee, and not in the mire of this world’s favour or gain.

Evening

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“And the Lord shall guide thee continually.”
Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord shall guide thee.” Not an angel, but Jehovah shall guide thee. He said he would not go through the wilderness before his people, an angel should go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Christian, God has not left you in your earthly pilgrimage to an angel’s guidance: he himself leads the van. You may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice the word shall–“The Lord shall guide thee.” How certain this makes it! How sure it is that God will not forsake us! His precious “shalls” and “wills” are better than men’s oaths. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Then observe the adverb continually. We are not merely to be guided sometimes, but we are to have a perpetual monitor; not occasionally to be left to our own understanding, and so to wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding voice of the Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at his heels, we shall not err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in. If you have to change your position in life; if you have to emigrate to distant shores; if it should happen that you are cast into poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more responsible position than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among strangers, or cast among foes, yet tremble not, for “the Lord shall guide thee continually.” There are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if you live near to God, and your heart be kept warm with holy love. He goes not amiss who goes in the company of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you cannot mistake your road. You have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love to comfort you, and eternal power to defend you. “Jehovah”–mark the word–“Jehovah shall guide thee continually.”

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HE IS COMING! THE WAR WAS WON AT CALVARY

Morning

Return unto the Lord thy God

Return unto the Lord thy God

“For your sakes he became poor.”
2 Corinthians 8:9

The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.” As the rich saint cannot be true in his communion with his poor brethren unless of his substance he ministers to their necessities, so (the same rule holding with the head as between the members), it is impossible that our Divine Lord could have had fellowship with us unless he had imparted to us of his own abounding wealth, and had become poor to make us rich. Had he remained upon his throne of glory, and had we continued in the ruins of the fall without receiving his salvation, communion would have been impossible on both sides. Our position by the fall, apart from the covenant of grace, made it as impossible for fallen man to communicate with God as it is for Belial to be in concord with Christ. In order, therefore, that communion might be compassed, it was necessary that the rich kinsman should bestow his estate upon his poor relatives, that the righteous Saviour should give to his sinning brethren of his own perfection, and that we, the poor and guilty, should receive of his fulness grace for grace; that thus in giving and receiving, the One might descend from the heights, and the other ascend from the depths, and so be able to embrace each other in true and hearty fellowship. Poverty must be enriched by him in whom are infinite treasures before it can venture to commune; and guilt must lose itself in imputed and imparted righteousness ere the soul can walk in fellowship with purity. Jesus must clothe his people in his own garments, or he cannot admit them into his palace of glory; and he must wash them in his own blood, or else they will be too defiled for the embrace of his fellowship.

O believer, herein is love! For your sake the Lord Jesus “became poor” that he might lift you up into communion with himself.

Evening

BE A BEAREAN ACT S 17:11

“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
Isaiah 40:5

We anticipate the happy day when the whole world shall be converted to Christ; when the gods of the heathen shall be cast to the moles and the bats; when Romanism shall be exploded, and the crescent of Mohammed shall wane, never again to cast its baleful rays upon the nations; when kings shall bow down before the Prince of Peace, and all nations shall call their Redeemer blessed. Some despair of this. They look upon the world as a vessel breaking up and going to pieces, never to float again. We know that the world and all that is therein is one day to be burnt up, and afterwards we look for new heavens and for a new earth; but we cannot read our Bibles without the conviction that–

“Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

Does his successive journeys run.”

We are not discouraged by the length of his delays; we are not disheartened by the long period which he allots to the church in which to struggle with little success and much defeat. We believe that God will never suffer this world, which has once seen Christ’s blood shed upon it, to be always the devil’s stronghold. Christ came hither to deliver this world from the detested sway of the powers of darkness. What a shout shall that be when men and angels shall unite to cry “Hallelujah, hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!” What a satisfaction will it be in that day to have had a share in the fight, to have helped to break the arrows of the bow, and to have aided in winning the victory for our Lord! Happy are they who trust themselves with this conquering Lord, and who fight side by side with him, doing their little in his name and by his strength! How unhappy are those on the side of evil! It is a losing side, and it is a matter wherein to lose is to lose and to be lost forever. On whose side are you?

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COMPARE – CHRISTMAS THEN AND NOW

A Merry Christmas

SOUNDING THE ALARM!

And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.  Job 1:4-5

Suggested Further Reading: Nehemiah 8:9-12

The text gives a license. Now, ye souls who would deny to your fellow-men all sorts of mirth, come and listen to the merry bell of this text, while it gives a license to the righteous especially a license that they meet together in their houses, and eat and drink, and praise their God. In Cromwell’s days, the Puritans thought it an ungodly thing for men to keep Christmas. They, therefore, tried to put it down, and the common crier went through the street, announcing that Christmas was henceforth no more to be kept, it being a popish, if not a heathenish ceremony. Now, you do not suppose that after the crier had made the proclamation, any living Englishman took any notice of it; at least, I can scarcely imagine that any did, except to laugh at it; for it is idle thus to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Although we do not keep the fast as papists, not even as a commemorative festival, yet there is something in old associations that makes us enjoy the day in which a man may shake off the cares of business, and relax with his little ones. God forbid I should be such a Puritan as to proclaim the annihilation of any day of rest which falls to the lot of the labouring man. I wish there were half a dozen holidays in the year. I wish there were more opportunities for the poor to rest; though I would not have as many saint[s days as there are in Romish countries; yet, if we had but one or two more days in which the poor man’s household, and the rich man’s family might meet together, it might perhaps be better for us. However, I am quite certain that all the preaching in the world will not put Christmas down.

For meditation: Perhaps you are completely opposed to the keeping of Christmas! That is your right! But you can still benefit from the holiday and show the joy of the Lord to those who are going to be with you.

Sermon no. 352      24 December (Preached 23 December 1860

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PREPARE HE IS COMING!

Holy work for Christmas

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.  Psalm 118:8

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
Psalm 118:8

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. Luke 2:17-20

 

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 4:14-22

BE A BEAREAN ACT S 17:11

Begin with the eighteenth verse wondering! Wondering that you are spared, wondering that you are not in hell, wondering that his good Spirit still strives with the chief of sinners. Wonder that this morning the gospel should have a word for you after all your rejections of it and sins against God. I should like you to begin there, because then I should have good hope that you would go on to the next verse and change the first letter, and so go from wondering to pondering. Oh sinner, I wish you would ponder the doctrines of the cross. Think of your sin, God’s wrath, judgment, hell, your Saviour’s blood, God’s love, forgiveness, acceptance, heaven think on these things. Go from wondering to pondering. And then I would to God you could go on to the next verse, from pondering to glorifying. Take Christ, look to him, trust him. Then sing I am forgiven, and go your way a believing sinner, and therefore a sinner saved, washed in the blood, and clean. Then go back after that to the seventeenth verse and begin to tell to others. But as for you Christians who are saved, I want you to begin this very afternoon at the seventeenth and tell of your Saviour. Then when the day is over, get up to your chambers and wonder, admire and adore; go on tonight, tomorrow, and all the days of your life, glorifying and praising God for all the things that you have seen and heard.

For meditation: Wondering, pondering, glorifying and telling are admirable things to do on Christmas Eve as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s first coming; they are also appropriate ways in which to prepare for his second coming (1 Corinthians 15:51-58).

Sermon no. 666      24 December (1865)

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JESUS CHRIST CONQUERED DEATH

God will conquer death

1 John 5:13 - These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Doing away with death

“In that day he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken!”   Isaiah 25:7-8

There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly.  John 14:2

THRONE-VISION-IN-THE-COURT
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.”  John 11:25
Lamb's Book of Life2

About this week’s promise:

“There are two kinds of death — the cessation of life here on earth, and the missed opportunity to live in heaven with God forever. To die physically is to leave our earthly body and our place in the earthly community. To die spiritually, eternally, is to miss eternal residence in heaven with God and his people, to be separated from God forever.

When we die physically, we can be even more alive as we take up residence in God’s eternal home with him and his people. It is not pleasant to think of dying physically. But it is devastating to think of missing heaven forever.”

From the TouchPoint Bible with commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 1180

For more on this week’s topic, check these resources:

Heaven by Randy Alcorn (Tyndale, 2004)

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