REFLECTION: DO WE AS HIS CHURCH REFLECT HIS IMAGE?

Morning

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

“I remember thee.”
Jeremiah 2:2

Let us note that Christ delights to think upon his Church, and to look upon her beauty. As the bird returneth often to its nest, and as the wayfarer hastens to his home, so doth the mind continually pursue the object of its choice. We cannot look too often upon that face which we love; we desire always to have our precious things in our sight. It is even so with our Lord Jesus. From all eternity “His delights were with the sons of men;” his thoughts rolled onward to the time when his elect should be born into the world; he viewed them in the mirror of his foreknowledge. “In thy book,” he says, “all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Ps. 139:16). When the world was set upon its pillars, he was there, and he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. Many a time before his incarnation, he descended to this lower earth in the similitude of a man; on the plains of Mamre (Gen. 18), by the brook of Jabbok (Gen. 32:24-30), beneath the walls of Jericho (Jos. 5:13), and in the fiery furnace of Babylon (Dan. 3:19, 25), the Son of Man visited his people. Because his soul delighted in them, he could not rest away from them, for his heart longed after them. Never were they absent from his heart, for he had written their names upon his hands, and graven them upon his side. As the breastplate containing the names of the tribes of Israel was the most brilliant ornament worn by the high priest, so the names of Christ’s elect were his most precious jewels, and glittered on his heart. We may often forget to meditate upon the perfections of our Lord, but he never ceases to remember us. Let us chide ourselves for past forgetfulness, and pray for grace ever to bear him in fondest remembrance. Lord, paint upon the eyeballs of my soul the image of thy Son.

Evening

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
John 10:9

Jesus, the great I AM, is the entrance into the true church, and the way of access to God himself. He gives to the man who comes to God by him four choice privileges.

1. He shall be saved. The fugitive manslayer passed the gate of the city of refuge, and was safe. Noah entered the door of the ark, and was secure. None can be lost who take Jesus as the door of faith to their souls. Entrance through Jesus into peace is the guarantee of entrance by the same door into heaven. Jesus is the only door, an open door, a wide door, a safe door; and blessed is he who rests all his hope of admission to glory upon the crucified Redeemer.

2. He shall go in. He shall be privileged to go in among the divine family, sharing the children’s bread, and participating in all their honours and enjoyments. He shall go in to the chambers of communion, to the banquets of love, to the treasures of the covenant, to the storehouses of the promises. He shall go in unto the King of kings in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the secret of the Lord shall be with him.

3. He shall go out. This blessing is much forgotten. We go out into the world to labour and suffer, but what a mercy to go in the name and power of Jesus! We are called to bear witness to the truth, to cheer the disconsolate, to warn the careless, to win souls, and to glorify God; and as the angel said to Gideon, “Go in this thy might,” even thus the Lord would have us proceed as his messengers in his name and strength.

4. He shall find pasture. He who knows Jesus shall never want. Going in and out shall be alike helpful to him: in fellowship with God he shall grow, and in watering others he shall be watered. Having made Jesus his all, he shall find all in Jesus. His soul shall be as a watered garden, and as a well of water whose waters fail not.

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self-righteousness

2 Corinthians 1:3-(KJV) 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

A blow at self-righteousness

If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me; if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.

 Job 9:20

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Let me just utter a solemn sentence which you may consider at your leisure. If you trust to your faith and to your repentance, you will be as much lost as if you trusted to your good works or trusted to your sins. The ground of your salvation is not faith, but Christ; it is not repentance, but Christ. If I trust my trust of Christ, I am lost. My business is to trust Christ; to rest on him; to depend, not on what the Spirit has done in me, but on what Christ did for me, when he hung upon the tree. Now be it known unto you, that when Christ died, he took the sins of all his people upon his head, and there and then they all ceased to be. At the moment when Christ died, the sins of all his redeemed were blotted out. He did then suffer all that they ought to have suffered; he paid all their debts; and their sins were actually and positively lifted that day from their shoulders to his shoulders, for the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And now, if you believe in Jesus, there is not a sin remaining upon you, for your sin was laid on Christ; Christ was punished for your sins before they were committed, and as Kent says:

Here’s pardon full for sin that’s past,
It matters not how black their cast;
And oh! my soul with wonder view,
For sins to come here’s pardon too.

Blessed privilege of the believer! But if you live and die unbelievers, know this, that all your sins lie on your own shoulders.

For meditation: To boast of the sincerest faith and the most thoroughgoing repentance is to exhibit the most sophisticated form of self-righteousness. Repentance and faith are both gifts from God so that sinners can receive his greatest gift, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12).

Sermon no. 350  17 December (Preached 16 December 1860)

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

 

HIS HOUSE

2 Corinthians 1:3-(KJV) 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Open house for all comers

This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. Luke 15:2

Suggested Further Reading: John 15:8–17

This man receiveth sinners. Whatever other men may do, this man, this one, this one alone if no other with him, this one beyond all other teachers, however gentle and compassionate this man receiveth sinners. He will speak and tell out his mysteries too, even when sinful ears are listening, for he receives sinners as disciples, as well as his hearers. If they come casually into the throng, his eye glances upon them, and he has a word of gentle rebuke, and wooing love; but if they will come and join the class who cluster constantly about him, they shall be thoroughly welcome, and the deeper and higher truths reserved for disciples shall be revealed to them, and they shall know the mystery of the kingdom. When he has cleansed sinners, he receives them not only as disciples, but as companions. This man permits the guilty, the once profane, the lately debauched, and formerly dissolute, to associate themselves with him, to wear his name, to sit in his house, to be written in the same book of life as himself. He makes them here partakers with him in his affliction, and hereafter they shall be partakers with him in his glory. This man receives pardoned sinners into companionship. More, he receives them as friends. The head that leaned upon him was a sinner’s head, and those who sat at the table with him, to whom he said, Henceforth I call you not servants;  I have called you friends, were all of them sinners, as they felt themselves to be. She who bore him, she who ministered to him of her substance, she who washed his feet with tears, she who was first at his empty sepulchre, all these were sinners, and some of them sinners emphatically. Into his heart’s love he receives sinners.

For meditation: The humility of the Lord Jesus Christ in receiving sinners is in stark contrast to the pride of sinners who refuse to receive him, the sinless Lord of glory (Luke 9:53; John 1:11). What a difference mutual receiving makes (John 1:12).

Sermon no. 665   17 December (1865)

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