HANDWRITING IS ON THE WALL AND 5 POINTS OF SERVING GOD-EVEN THE WORLD SENSES SOMETHING

 

1 Cor 3:5-9 and we will learn that a fruitful harvest requires a faithful witness. Paul writes, “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

First, we are servants. We are nothing in and of ourselves. We are simply God’s mouthpieces through whom people come to believe.

Second, we all have different roles and responsibilities in God’s garden. Some plant, some water, some have up-front gifts, and some serve behind the scenes. However, all servants are equally significant.

Third, God is the One who causes the growth. Twice in 3:6-7, Paul states, “…but God was causing the growth.” We are the means by which people believe, but God is the cause. He alone determines if and when a person believes in Jesus Christ.

Fourth, we are all one in God’s program. We are not to compete against each other; instead, we are to complement each other. We all need one another to fulfill God’s work. To the degree that we are faithful garden tools, God will grant us eternal rewards (3:8).

Finally, we work for God. In 3:9a Paul calls us “God’s fellow workers.” We do not work for ourselves or even for one another; we work for God.

 

JUDGEMENT COMES WHEN WE ARE DISOBEDIENT UNTO GOD:  

Video Sermons : David Wilkerson :  “When Judgment Becomes Evident” by David Wilkerson

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(CREDIT FOR VIDEOS PROVIDED: WORLDCHALLENGE.ORG http://www.worldchallenge.org/)

GOD BLESS

 

 

ON BENT KNEES, BROKEN SPIRIT AND IN HUMILITY I COME FATHER

ALERT ALERT ALERT

ALERT ALERT ALERT

JESUS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE

(Early this morning, December 13, 2012, the Lord has awoken me to this study and I am to share with you below!!!  I was given a vision long ago of what was coming upon this earth!  A more recent one concerns America.  I am not released to give the details; but to share this point: America will fall! She has TURNED her back on God.  HE is NOT going to “tolerate” it anymore.  WARNING:  If, America does not get on her knees, NOW, and Truly REPENT of ALL her sins; JUDGEMENT will fall when you least expect it.  Just as YEW-AH dealt with the House of Israel-so too, He shall deal with America.  The CHURCH as a whole “Does Not”, I repeat, “Does Not” replace Israel(do you understand? I am speaking to the CHURCH)!!!  God has a Sovereign Covenant with Israel and Jesus Christ has Sovereign Covenant with the Church.  YEW-AH has given us every chance; He’s done All Points Bulletins- and still the Church continues in false doctrine, teachings, misreadings,  false prophets and blasphemy!  CHURCH, do not think for a moment this is not for real or think highly of yourselves(Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.) Be a Bearean (Acts 17:10-11)- search the scriptures for YOURSELVES; do not take my word for it–seek God’s Word and His Holy Spirit!  (Mt. 7-For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.)  My spirit weighs heavy and America is about to be hit with the third mountain; our reprieve is up and I am saddened to no end! Yet, YEW-AH is in control and discipline and justice is righteous! Amen.  {John 16 All- 

1“All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 2They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

5“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilta in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

16“In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy verses 17-33}  }Please reference all of John 16

Jesus’ Spirit is heavy as He prays to Father YEW-AH 

Matthew 26:36-46 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his f ace to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!

Luke 22:39-46 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Mark 14:32-42 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

GEORGE WASHINGTON PRAYING FOR “THIS NATION”.

PS. 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.

We are mandated to Pray for the Peace of Israel!!!

(Romans 11)

Israel’s Rejection not Complete nor Final

11:1 So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

11:2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew! Do you not know what the scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 11:3 “Lord, they have killed your prophetsthey have demolished your altars; I alone am left and they are seeking my life!

11:4 But what was the divine response to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand people who have not bent the knee to Baal.”

11:5 So in the same way at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 11:6 And if it is by grace, it is no longer by works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

11:7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was diligently seeking, but the elect obtained it. The rest were hardened, 11:8 as it is written,

God gave them a spirit of stuporeyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, to this very day.”

11:9 And David says,

Let their table become a snare and trapa stumbling block and a retribution for them;

11:10 let their eyes be darkened so that they may not see, and make their backs bend continually.”

11:11 I ask then, they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall, did they? Absolutely not! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous. 11:12 Now if their transgression means riches for the world and their defeat means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full restoration bring?

11:13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Seeing that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 11:14 if somehow I could provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them. 11:15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 11:16 If the first portion of the dough offered is holy, then the whole batch is holy, and if the root is holy, so too are the branches.

11:17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in the richness of the olive root, 11:18 do not boast over the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

11:19 Then you will say, “The branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 11:20 Granted! They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear! 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you.

11:22 Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God—harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

11:23 And even they—if they do not continue in their unbelief—will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 11:24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?

11:25 For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 11:26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.

11:27 And this is my covenant with themwhen I take away their sins.”

11:28 In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers. 11:29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. 11:30 Just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience, 11:31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 11:32 For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.

11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways!

11:34 For who has known the mind of the Lordor who has been his counselor?

11:35 Or who has first given to Godthat God needs to repay him?

11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 11:3 1 Kings 19:10,14
  2. Romans 11:4 1 Kings 19:18
  3. Romans 11:8 Deut. 29:4; Isaiah 29:10
  4. Romans 11:10 Psalm 69:22,23
  5. Romans 11:26 Or and so
  6. Romans 11:27 Or will be
  7. Romans 11:27 Isaiah 59:20,21; 27:9 (see Septuagint); Jer. 31:33,34
  8. Romans 11:31 Some manuscripts do not have now.
  9. Romans 11:33 Or riches and the wisdom and the
  10. Romans 11:34 Isaiah 40:13
  11. Romans 11:35 Job 41:11

Psalm 95

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,[a]
as you did that day at Massah[b] in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

http://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Ps.95

 

 

PHILIPPIANS 4:3

PHILIPPIANS 4:3

 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers,whose names are in the book of life.

http://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Phil.4.3

Does God treat you the way you deserve?

Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to anger and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we desire. For his unfailing love toward those who love him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.

Psalm 103:1-12 NLT

About this week’s promise

Mercy is compassion, poured out on needy people. But the mercy of God, which he expects us to model, goes one step further. God’s mercy is undeserved favor. Even when we don’t deserve mercy, God still extends it to us. Our sin and rebellion against God deserve his punishment; but instead he offers us forgiveness and eternal life. If God was merciful toward us despite our sin, how merciful should we be toward those who have wronged us?

From the TouchPoint Bible
(Tyndale House) p 1233

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

Disclaimer

MY HEART IS TROUBLED-TO WHOM ELSE DO I TURN EXCEPT TO CHRIST!

 Prayer:

Dear Lord, As I sit in the twilight hours of dawn, my spirit is burden with the woes of this life.  My cares I know you do take. I am weak you are strong.  Lord, for my sake, of Your Peace I must Partake.  You said you yoke is light and the peace You give is as no other.  My spirit cries, “Water of Life, Garden of Eden, Manna of Heaven, I pray to soar to your gate.”  Father God, on humbled knees I do bow, please forgive of my sins for to heaven I pray to ascend.  Not in my timing, but in yours for I know because you have a destiny for me instead of calamity.  Lift me up oh Lord, on your wings and in your strength; that I may honor you and bring You Glory.  My tears do run down my cheeks and flow as a river as I think the Love I could sow.  I’ve allowed the woes of this life get me down and the enemy is roaming and targeting my family.  The dark clouds are spirits of the End Time unleashed this I know.  Darts, dagger, and spears they do throw; their assignment is to get my family divided and look at each other and say, “So”.  Deliver us from evil Father God and lead us into your Hoopa; protect us from his evil throws.  Anoint our shields to be strong in You Father, and covered by Jesus’ Precious shed blood.  Our needs you know and to you they are important I know!  Holy Spirit guide us in Father God’s Word-manifest please according His will and help us to discern Father’s will.  Thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen

Sermon #1090 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit
Volume 19 http://www.spurgeongems.org 1
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FOR THE TROUBLED
NO. 1090

A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, JANUARY 12, 1873,
BY REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

“Your wrath lies hard upon me, and You have afflicted me with all Your waves.”    Psalm 88:7.

IT is the business of a shepherd not only to look after the happy ones among the sheep, but to seek after the sick of
the flock and to lay himself out right earnestly for their comfort and succor. I feel, therefore, that I do rightly when I,
this morning, make it my special business to speak to such as are in trouble. Those of you who are happy and rejoicing in
God, full of faith and assurance, can very well spare a discourse for your weaker Brothers and Sisters—you can be even
glad and thankful to go without your portion that those who are depressed in spirit may receive a double measure of the
wine of consolation.
Moreover, I am not sure that even the most joyous Christian is any the worse for remembering the days of darkness
which are stealing on apace, “for they are many.” Just as the memories of our dying friends come over us like a cloud and
“dampen our brainless ardors,” so will the recollection that there are tribulations and afflictions in the world dampen
our rejoicing and prevent its degenerating into an idolatry of the things of time and sense. It is better, for many reasons,
to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting—the bitter cup has virtues in it which the wine cup never
knew—wet your lips with it, young man, it will work you no ill. It may be, O you who are today brimming with
happiness, that a little store of sacred cautions and consolations may prove no sore to you, but may, by-and-by, stand
you in good stead.
This morning’s discourse upon sorrow may suggest a few thoughts to you which, being treasured up, shall ripen like
summer fruit and mellow by the time your winter shall come round. But to our work. It is clear to all those who read the
narratives of Scripture, or are acquainted with good men, that the best of God’s servants may be brought into the very
lowest estate. There is no promise of present prosperity appointed to true religion so as to exclude adversity from
Believer’s lives. As men, the people of God share the common lot of men and what is that but trouble? Yes, there are
some sorrows which are peculiar to Christians—some extra griefs of which they partake because they are Believers. But
these are more than balanced by those peculiar and bitter troubles which belong to the ungodly and are engendered by
their transgressions, from which the Christian is delivered.
From the passage which is open before us we learn that sons of God may be brought so low as to write and sing
Psalms which are sorrowful throughout and have no fitting accompaniment but sighs and groans. They do not often do
so—their songs are generally like those of David which, if they begin in the dust, mount into the clear heavens before
long. But sometimes, I say, saints are forced to sing such dolorous ditties that from beginning to end there is not one note
of joy. Yet even in their dreariest winter night the saints have an aurora in their sky and in this 88
th
Psalm, the dreariest
of all Psalms, there is a faint gleam in the first verse, like a star-ray falling upon its threshold—“O Jehovah, God of my
salvation.”
Heman retained his hold upon his God. It is not all darkness in a heart which can cry, “My God,” and the child of
God, however low he may sink, still keeps hold upon his God. “Though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him,” is the
resolution of his soul. Jehovah smites me, but He is my God. He frowns upon me, but He is my God. He tramples me into
the very dust and lays me in the lowest pit, as among the dead, yet still He is my God and such will I call Him till I die.
Even when He leaves me I will cry, “my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Moreover, the Believer, in his worst
time, still continues to pray, and prays, perhaps, the more vigorously because of his sorrows. God’s red flags drive His
children not from Him, but to Him. Our griefs are waves which wash us to the Rock.
This Psalm is full of prayer. It is as much sweetened with supplication as it is salted with sorrow. It weeps like Niobe,
but it is on bended knees and from uplifted eyes. Now, while a man can pray he is never far from light—he is at the
window, though, perhaps, as yet the curtains are not drawn aside. The man who can pray has the clue in his hand by

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which to escape from the labyrinth of affliction. Like the trees in winter, we may say of the praying man, when his heart
is greatly troubled, “his substance is in him, though he has lost his leaves.” Prayer is the soul’s breath and if it breathes it
lives and, living it will gather strength again. A man must have true and eternal life within him while he can continue,
still, to pray, and while there is such life there is assured hope Still, the best child of God may be the greatest sufferer and his sufferings may appear to be crushing, killing and overwhelming. They may also be so very protracted as to attend him all his days and their bitterness may be intense—all of which and much more this mournful Psalm teaches us. Let us, in pursuit of our subject, first give an exposition of the text. And then a brief exposition of the benefits of trouble.
I.

I will endeavor, in a few observations, to EXPOUND THE TEXT. In the first place, its strong language suggests
the remark that tried saints are very prone to overrate their afflictions. I believe we all err in that direction and are far
too apt to say, “I am the man that has seen affliction.” The inspired man of God, who wrote our text, was touched with
this common infirmity for he overstates his case. Read his words—“Your wrath lies hard upon me.” I have no doubt
Heman meant wrath in its worst sense. He believed that God was really angry with him and wrathful with him, even as
He is with the ungodly, but that was not true. As we shall have to show, by-and-by, there is a very grave difference
between the anger of God with His children and the anger of God with His enemies.
And we do not think Heman sufficiently discerned that difference, even as we are afraid that many of God’s children
even now forget it—and therefore fear that the Lord is punishing them according to strict justice—and smiting them as
though He were their executioner. Ah, if poor bewildered Believers could but see it, they would learn that the very thing
which they call wrath is only love, in its own wise manner, seeking their highest good! Besides, the Psalmist says, “Your
wrath lies hard upon me.” Ah, if Heman had known what it was to have God’s wrath lie hard on him, he would have
withdrawn those words, for all the wrath that any man ever feels in this life is but as a laying on of God’s little finger!
It is in the world to come that the wrath of God lies heavy on men. Then, when God puts forth His hand and presses
with Omnipotence upon soul and body to destroy them forever in Hell, the ruined nature feels in its never-ending
destruction what the power of God’s anger really is! Here the really sore pressure of wrath is not known and especially
not known by a child of God. It is too strong a speech if we weigh it in the scales of sober truth. It outruns the fact, even
though it were the most sorrowful living man that uttered it. Then Heman adds, “You have afflicted me with all Your
waves,” as though he were a wreck with the sea breaking over him and the whole ocean—and all the oceans were
running full against him as the only object of their fury.
His boat has been driven on shore and all the breakers are rolling over him. One after another they leap upon him
like wild beasts, hungry as wolves, eager as lions to devour him—it seemed to him that no wave turned aside, no billow
spent its force elsewhere—but all the long line of breakers roared upon him, as the sole object of their wrath. But it was
not so. All God’s waves have broken over no man, save only the Son of Man! There are still some troubles which we have
been spared, some woes unknown to us. Have we suffered all the diseases which flesh is heir to? Are there not modes of
pain from which our bodies have escaped? Are there not, also, some mental pangs which have not wrung our spirit? And
what if we seem to have traversed the entire circle of bodily and mental misery, yet in our homes, households, or
friendships we have surely some comfort left and therefore from some rough billow we are screened. All God’s waves had
not gone over you, O Heman! The woes of Job and Jeremiah were not yours.
Among the living none can literally know what all God’s waves would be. They know, who are condemned to feel
the blasts of His indignation! They know in the land of darkness and of everlasting hurricane! They know what all God’s
waves and billows are—but we know not. The metaphor is good and admirable, and correct enough poetically, but as a
statement of fact it is strained. We are all apt to exaggerate our grief—I say this as a general fact. Those who are happy
can bear to be told, but I would not vex the sick man with it while he is enduring the weight of his affliction. If he can
calmly accept the suggestion of his own accord, it may do him good, but it would be cruel to throw it at him. True as it
is, I should not like to whisper it in any sufferer’s ear because it would not console, but grieve him.
I have often marveled at the strange comfort persons offer you when they say, “Ah, there are others who suffer more
than you do.” Am I a demon, then? Am I expected to rejoice at the news of other people’s miseries? Far otherwise! I am
pained to think there should be sharper smarts than mine and my sympathy increases my own woe. I can conceive of a
Fiend in torment finding solace in the belief that others are tortured with a yet fiercer flame, but surely such diabolical

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comfort should not be offered to Christian men! It shows our deep depravity of heart, that we can decoct comfort out of
the miseries of others—and yet I am afraid we rightly judge human nature when we offer it water from that putrid well.
There is, however, a form of comfort akin to it, but of far more legitimate origin—a consolation honorable and
Divine. There was ONE upon whom God’s wrath pressed very sorely. There was ONE who was, in truth, afflicted with
all God’s waves. That One is our brother, a Man like ourselves, the dearest lover of our souls. And because He has known
and suffered all this, He can sympathize with us, this morning, in whatever tribulation may beat upon us. His passion is
all over now but not His compassion. He has borne the indignation of God and turned it all away from us—the waves
have lost their fury and spent their force on Him—and now He sits above the floods, yes, He sits King forever and ever!
As we think of Him, the Crucified, our souls may not only derive consolation from His sympathy and powerful succor,
but we may learn to look upon our trials with a calmer eye and judge them more according to the true standard. In the
Presence of Christ’s Cross our own crosses are less colossal. Our thorns in the flesh are as nothing when laid side by side
with the nails and spear.
But, secondly, let us remark that saints do well to trace all their trials to their God. Heman did so in the text—
“Your wrath lies hard upon me, You have afflicted me with all Your waves.” He traces all his adversity to the Lord his
God. It is God’s wrath. They are God’s waves that afflict him and God makes them afflict him. Child of God, never
forget this—all that you are suffering of any sort, or kind, comes to you from the Divine hand! Truly, you say, “my
affliction arises from wicked men,” yet remember that there is a predestination which, without soiling the fingers of the
Infinitely Holy, nevertheless rules the motions of evil men as well as of holy angels. It were a dreary thing for us if there
were no appointments of God’s Providence which concerned the ungodly—then the great mass of mankind would be
entirely left to chance—and the godly might be crushed by them without hope.
The Lord, without interfering with the freedom of their wills, rules and overrules, so that the ungodly are as a rod in
His hand with which He wisely scourges His children. Perhaps you will say that your trials have arisen not from the sins
of others, but from your own sins. Even then I would have you penitently trace them still to God. What though the
trouble springs out of the sin, yet it is God that has pointed the sorrow to follow the transgression—to act as a remedial
agency for your spirit. Look not at the second cause, or, looking at it with deep regret, turn your eyes chiefly to your
heavenly Father and, “hear you the rod and who has appointed it.”
The Lord sends upon us the evil as well as the good of this mortal life! His is the sun that cheers and the frost that
chills! His the deep calm and His the fierce tornado. To dwell on second causes is frequently frivolous, a sort of solemn
trifling. Men say of each affliction, “It might have been prevented if such-and-such had occurred. Perhaps if another
physician had been called in the dear child’s life had still been spared. Possibly if I had moved in such a direction in
business I might not have been a loser.” Who is to judge of what might have been? In endless conjectures we are lost and,
cruel to ourselves, we gather material for unnecessary griefs.
Matters happened not so—then why conjecture what would have been had things been different? It is folly! You did
your best and it did not answer—why rebel? To fix the eyes upon the second cause will irritate the mind. We grow
indignant with the more immediate agent of our grief and so fail to submit ourselves to God. If you strike a dog he will
snap at the staff which hurts him, as if it were to blame. How doggish we sometimes are, when God is smiting us we are
snarling at His rod! Brothers and Sisters, forgive the man who injured you—his was the sin, forgive it, as you hope to be
forgiven—but yours is the chastisement and it comes from God, therefore endure it and ask Grace to profit you by it.
The more we get away from intermediate agents the better, for when we reach to God, Grace will make submission easy.
When we know “it is the Lord,” we readily cry, “let Him do what seems good to Him.”
As long as I trace my pain to accident, my bereavement to mistake, my loss to another’s wrong, my discomfort to an
enemy and so on, I am of the earth, earthy—and shall break my teeth with gravel! But when I rise to my God and see His
hand at work, I grow calm, I have not a word of repining, “I open not my mouth because You did it.” David preferred to
fall into the hands of God—and every Believer knows that he feels safest and happiest when he recognizes that he is in the
Divine hands. Quibbling with man is poor work, but pleading with God brings help and comfort. “Cast your burden on
the Lord” is a precept which will be easy to practice when you see that the burden came originally from God.
But now, thirdly, afflicted children of God do well to have a keen eye to the wrath that mingles with their troubles.
“Your wrath lies hard upon me.” There is Heman’s first point. He does not mention the waves of affliction till he has
first spoken of the wrath. We should labor to discover what the Lord means by smiting us—what He purposes by the

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chastisement—and how far we can answer that purpose. We must use a keen eye clearly to distinguish things. There is an
anger and an anger, a wrath and a wrath. God is never angry with His children in one sense, but He is in another. As
men, we have all of us disobeyed the Laws of God and God stands in relationship to all of us as a Judge. As a Judge, He
must execute upon us the penalties of His Law and He must, from the necessity of His Nature, be angry with us for having
broken that Law. That concerns all the human race.
But the moment a man believes in the Lord Jesus Christ his offenses are his offenses no longer—they are laid upon
Christ Jesus, the Substitute—and the anger goes with the sin. The anger of God towards the sins of Believers has spent
itself upon Christ. Christ has been punished in their place. The punishment due their sin has been borne by Jesus Christ.
God forbid that the Judge of all the earth should ever be unjust—it were not just for God to punish a Believer for a sin
which has been already laid upon Jesus Christ. Therefore the Believer is altogether free from all liability to suffer the
judicial anger of God and all risk of receiving a punitive sentence from the Most High. The man is absolved—shall he be
judged again? The man has paid the debt—shall he be brought a second time before the Judge as though he were still a
debtor?
Christ has stood for him in his place and therefore he boldly asks, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s
elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes, rather, that is risen again, who is even
at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Now, then, the Christian man takes up another
position—he is adopted into the family of God—he has become God’s child. He is under the Law of God’s house. There
is in every house an economy, a law by which the children and servants are ruled. If the child of God breaks the law of the house, the Father will visit his offense with fatherly stripes—a very different kind of visitation from that of a judge.
There are felons in prison today who, in a short time, will feel the lash on their bare backs—that is one thing—but
yonder disobedient child is to receive a whipping from his father’s hand—that is quite another thing. Wide as the poles
asunder are the anger of a judge and the anger of a father. The father loves the child while he is angry and is mainly angry
for that very reason. If it were not his child he would probably take no notice of fault. But because it is his own boy who
has spoken an untruth or committed an act of disobedience, he feels he must chastise him because he loves him. This needs no further explanation. There is a righteous anger in God’s heart towards guilty impenitent men. He feels none of that towards His people. He is their father and if they transgress, He will visit them with stripes—not as a legal punishment, since Christ has borne all that—but as a gentle paternal chastisement, that they may see their folly and repent of it—and awakened by His tender hand, they may turn unto their Father and amend their ways.
Now, child of God, if you are suffering today in any way whatever—whether from the ills of poverty or bodily
sickness, or depression of spirits—remember there is not a drop of the judicial anger of God in it all. You are not being
punished for your sins as a judge punishes a culprit—never believe such false doctrine! It is clean contrary to the Truth of God as it is in Jesus. Gospel doctrine tells us that our sins were numbered on the Great Scapegoat’s head of old and
carried away once and for all, never to be charged against us again. But we must use the eyes of our judgment in looking
at our present affliction to see and confess how richly, as children, we deserve the rod.
Go back to the time since you were converted, dear Brother and Sister, and consider—do you wonder that God has
chastened you? Speaking for myself, I wonder that I have ever escaped the rod at any time! If I had been compelled to say, “All the day long have I been plagued and chastened every morning,” I should not have marveled, for my shortcomings are many. How ungrateful have we been! How unloving and how unlovable! How false to our holiest vows! How unfaithful to our most sacred consecrations! Is there a single ordinance over which we have not sinned? Did we ever rise from our knees without having offended while at prayer? Did we ever get through a hymn without some wandering of
mind or coldness of heart? Did we ever read a chapter which we might not have wept over because we did not receive the
Truth in the love of it into our soul as we ought to have done? O, good Father, if we smart, richly do we deserve that we
should yet smart again!
When you have confessed your sins, let me exhort you to use those same eyes zealously to search out the particular sin
which has caused the present chastisement. “Oh,” says one, “I do not think I should ever find it out.” You might.
Perhaps it lies at the very door. I do not wonder that some Christians suffer—I should wonder if they did not! I have seen
them, for instance, neglect family prayer and other household duties and their sons have grown up to dishonor them. If
they cry out, “What an affliction,” we would not like to say, “Ah, but you might have expected it. You were the cause of
it”—but such a saying would be true. When children have left the parental roof and gone into sin, we have not been

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surprised when the father has been harsh, sour and crabbed in temper. We did not expect to gather figs from thorns, or
grapes from thistles. We have seen men whose only thought was, “Get money, get money,” and yet they have professed to
be Christians! Such persons have been fretful and unhappy, but we have not been astonished. Would you have the Lord
deal liberally with such surly ill-tempered persons? No, if they walk stubbornly with Him, He will show Himself
stubborn to them. Brother, the roots of your troubles may run under your doorstep where your sin lies. Search and look!
But sometimes the cause of the chastisement lies further off. Every surgeon will tell you that there are diseases which
become troublesome in the prime of life, or in old age, which may have been occasioned in youth by some wrong doing,
or by accident—and the evil may have lain latent all those years. So may the sins of our youth bring upon us the sorrows
of our riper years—faults and omissions of 20 years ago may scourge us today. I know it is so. If the fault may be of so
great an age, it should lead us to more thorough search and more frequent prayer. Bunyan tells us that Christian met
with Apollyon and had such a dark journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death because of slips he made when
going down the hill into the Valley of Humiliation.
It may be so with us. Perhaps when you were young you were very untender towards persons of a sorrowful spirit.
You are such yourself now—your harshness is visited upon you. It may be that when in better circumstances, you were
known to look down upon the poor and despise the needy—your pride is chastened now. Many a minister has helped to
injure another by believing a bad report against him and, by-and-by, he has, himself, been the victim of slander. “With
what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.” We have seen men who could ride the high horse among their fellow creatures and speak very loftily—and when they have been brought very, very low—we have understood the
riddle. God will visit His children’s transgressions. He will frequently let common sinners go on throughout life
unrebuked—but not so His children!
If you were going today and saw a number of boys throwing stones and breaking windows, you might not interfere with
them. But if you saw your own lad among them, I will be bound you would fetch him out and make him repent of it. If God sees sinners going on in their evil ways, He may not punish them now—He will deal out justice to them in another state. But if it is one of His own elect, He will be sure to make him rue the day. Perhaps the reason of your trouble may not be a sin committed but a duty neglected. Search and look—and see where you have been guilty of omission. Is there a sacred ordinance which you have neglected, or a doctrine you have refused to believe? Perhaps the chastisement may be sent by reason of a sin asyet undeveloped—some latent proneness to evil. The grief may be meant to unearth the sin, that you may hunt it down.
Have you any idea of what a devil you are by nature? None of us know what we are capable of if left by Divine Grace. We
think we have a sweet temper, an amiable disposition! We shall see!! We fall into provoking company and are so teased and insulted—and so cleverly touched in our raw places that we become mad with wrath—and our fine amiable temper vanishes in smoke, not without leaving blacks behind! Is it not a dreadful thing to be so stirred up? Yes it is, but if our hearts were pure, no sort of stirring would pollute them. Stir pure water as long as you like and no mud will rise. The evil is bad when seen, but it was quite as bad when not seen. It may be a great gain to a man to know what sin is in him, for then he will humble himself before his God and begin to combat his propensities. If he had never seen the filth he would never have swept the house! If he had never felt the pain the disease would have lurked within, but now that he feels the pain he will fly to the remedy. Sometimes, therefore, a trial may be sent that we may discern the sin which dwells in us and may seek its destruction.
What shall we do, this morning, if we are under the smiting of God’s hand, but humble ourselves before Him and go
as guilty ones desiring to confess most thoroughly the particular sin which may have driven Him to chastise us, appealing to the precious blood of Jesus for pardon and to the Holy Spirit for power to overcome our sin? When you have so done let me give one word of caution before I leave this point. Do not let us expect, when we are in the trouble, to perceive any immediate benefit resulting from it. I have tried, myself, when under sharp pain to see whether I have grown a bit more resigned or more earnest in prayer, or more rapt in fellowship with God—and I confess I have never been able to see the slightest trace of improvement at such times—for pain distracts and scatters the thoughts. Remember that word, “Nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”
The gardener takes his knife and prunes the fruit trees to make them bring forth more fruit. His little child comes
trudging at his heels and cries, “Father, I do not see that the fruit comes on the trees after you have cut them.” No, dear
child, it is not likely you would, but come round in a few months when the season of fruit has come and then shall you see
the golden apples which thank the knife. Graces which are meant to endure require time for their production and are not
thrust forth and ripened in a night. Were they so soon ripe they might be as speedily rotten.

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II.

Now, as time is failing me, I will take up the second part of my discourse and handle it with great brevity. I want
to give a very short EXPOSITION OF THE BENEFITS OF TROUBLE. This is a great subject. Many a volume has been
written upon it and it might suffice to repeat the catalog of the benefits of trial, but I will not so detain you. Severe
trouble in a true Believer has the effect of loosening the roots of his soul earthward and tightening the anchor-hold of his
heart heavenward. How can he love the world which has become so dear to him? Why should he seek after grapes so
bitter to his taste? Should he not, now, ask for the wings of a dove that he may fly away to his own dear country and be at
rest forever?
Every mariner on the sea of life knows that when the soft zephyrs blow, men tempt the open sea with outspread sails.
But when the black tempest comes howling from its den, they hurry with all speed to the haven. Afflictions clip our wings
with regard to earthly things so that we may not fly away from our dear Master’s hands but sit there and sing to Him!
But the same afflictions make our wings grow with regard to heavenly things—we are feathered like eagles, we catch the
soaring spirit—a thorn is in our nest and we spread our pinions towards the sun. Affliction frequently opens Truths of
God to us and opens us to the Truth of God—I know not which of these two is the more difficult.
Experience unlocks Truths which otherwise were closed against us. Many passages of Scripture will never be made
clear by the commentator—they must be expounded by experience. Many a text is written in a secret ink which must be
held to the fire of adversity to make it visible. I have heard that you see stars in a well when none are visible above ground and I am sure you can discern many a starry Truth when you are down in the deeps of trouble which would not be visible to you elsewhere. Besides, I said it opened us to the Truth as well as the Truth to us. We are superficial in our beliefs—we are often drenched with Truth and yet it runs off us like water from a marble slab!
But affliction, as it were, plows us and sub-soils us and opens up our hearts so that into our innermost nature the
truth penetrates and soaks like rain into plowed land. Blessed is that man who receives the Truth of God into his inmost
self—he shall never lose it, but it shall be the life of his spirit. Affliction, when sanctified by the Holy Spirit, brings much
glory to God out of Christians through their experience of the Lord’s faithfulness to them. I delight to hear an aged
Christian giving his own personal testimony of the Lord’s goodness. Vividly upon my mind flashes an event of some 25
years ago. It is before me as if it had occurred yesterday, when I saw a venerable man of 80, gray and blind with age, and
heard him in simple accents—simple as the language of a child—tell how the Lord had led him and had dealt well with
him so that no good thing had failed of all that God had promised. He spoke as though he were a Prophet, his years
lending force to his words. But suppose he had never known a trial? What testimony could he have borne? Had he been
lapped in luxury and never endured suffering he might have stood there dumb and have been as useful as if he had never
spoke. We must be tried or we cannot magnify the faithful God who will not leave His people!
Again, affliction gives us, through Grace, the inestimable privilege of conformity to the Lord Jesus. We pray to be like
Christ, but how can we be if we are not men of sorrows and never become the acquaintance of grief? Like Christ and yet never traverse through the vale of tears? Like Christ and yet have all that heart could wish? Like Christ and never bear the contradiction of sinners against yourself? Like Christ and never say, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death”? O, Sir, you know not what you ask! Have you said, “Let me sit on Your right hand in Your kingdom?” It cannot be granted to you unless you will also drink of His cup and be baptized with His Baptism! A share of His sorrow must precede a share of His Glory. O, if we are ever to be like Christ, to dwell with Him eternally, we may be well content to pass through much tribulation in order to attain to it!
Once more, our sufferings are of great service to us when God blesses them, for they help us to be useful to others. It must be a terrible thing for a man never to have suffered physical pain. You say, “I should like to be the man”? Ah, unless you had extraordinary Grace, you would grow hard and cold—you would get to be a sort of cast-iron man—breaking other people with your touch. No, let my heart be tender, even be soft if it must be softened by pain, for I would rather know how to bind up my fellow’s wounds. Let my eyes have a tear ready for my brother’s sorrows even if in order to that I should have to shed 10,000 of my own. An escape from suffering would be an escape from the power to sympathize and that were to be deprecated
beyond all things! Luther was right when he said affliction was the best book in the minister’s library. How can the man of God sympathize with the afflicted ones if he knows nothing at all about their troubles? I remember a hard, miserly churl who said that the minister ought to be very poor so that he might have sympathy with the poor. I told him I thought he ought to have a turn at being very rich, too, so that he might have sympathy with the very rich! And I suggested to him that perhaps, upon the whole, it would be handiest to keep him somewhere in the middle that he might the more easily range over the experience of all

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classes. If the man of God who is to minister to others could be always robust, it were, perhaps, a loss. If he could be always sickly it might be equally so—but for the pastor to be able to range through all the places where the Lord suffers His sheep to go—is doubtless to the advantage of His flock.

And what it is to ministers, it will be to each one of you according to his calling, for the consolation of the people of God.
Be thankful then, dear Brethren, be thankful for trouble! And above all be thankful because it will soon be over and we shall be in the land where these things will be spoken of with great joy. As soldiers show their scars and talk of battles when they come, at last, to spend their old age in the country home, so shall we in the dear land to which we are hastening, speak of the goodness and faithfulness of God which brought us through all the trials of the way! I would not like to stand in that whiter obed host and hear it said, “These are they that come out of great tribulation, all except that one.” Would you like to be there to see yourself pointed at as the one saint who never knew a sorrow? O no, for you would be an alien in the midst of the sacred brotherhood! We will be content to share the battle, for we shall soon wear the crown and wave the palm.
I know that while I am preaching some of you have said, “Ah, these people of God have a hard time of it.” So have you.
The ungodly do not escape from sorrow by their sin. I never heard of a man escaping from poverty through being a
spendthrift. I never heard of a man who escaped from headache or heartache by drunkenness—or from bodily pain by
licentiousness. I have heard the opposite! And if there are griefs to the holy there are others for you. Only mark this, ungodly ones, mark this—for you these things work no good! You pervert them to mischief—but for the saints, they work eternal benefit! For you your sorrows are punishments. For you they are the first drops of the red hail that shall fall upon you forever.
They are not so to the child of God. You are punished for your transgressions—he is not. And let us tell you, too, that if this day you happen to be in peace, prosperity, plenty and happiness—yet there is not one child of God here, in the very deeps of trouble, that would change places with you under any consideration whatever! He would sooner be God’s dog and be kicked under the table, than be the devil’s darling and sit at meat with him. “Let God do as He pleases,” we say, “for while here we believe our worst state to be better than your best.” Do you think we love God for what we get out of Him and for nothing else? Is that your notion of a Christian’s love to God? We read in Jeremiah of certain ones who said they would not leave off worshipping the Queen of Heaven. “For when,” they said, “we worshipped the Queen
of Heaven, we had bread in plenty, but now we starve.” This is how the ungodly talk and that is what the devil thought was Job’s case. Said he—“Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not set a hedge about him and all that he has?” The devil does not understand real love and affection, but the child of God can tell the devil to his face that he loves God if He covers him with sores and sets him on the dunghill. And by God’s good help he means to cling to God through troubles ten-fold heavier than those he has had to bear, should they come upon him. Is He not a blessed God? Yes, let the beds of our sickness ring with it—He is a blessed God! In the night watches, when we are weary and our brain is hot and fevered, and our soul is distracted, we yet confess that He is a blessed God! Every ward of the hospital where Believers are found should echo with that note!
“A blessed God?” “Yes, that He is,” say the poor and needy here this morning and so say all God’s poor throughout all
the land. “A blessed God?” “Yes,” say His dying people, “as He slays us we will bless His name. He loves us and we love Him and, though all His waves go over us and His wrath lies sorely upon us, we would not change with kings on their thrones if they are without the love of God.” , Sinner, if God smites a child of His so heavily, He will smite you one day! And if those He loves are made to smart, what will He do with those who rebel against Him and hate Him? “Praise the Son, lest He be angry and you perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” The Lord bless you and bring you into the bonds of His Covenant, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON—Psalm 88.
Adapted from The C. H. Spurgeon Collection, Version 1.0, Ages Software.
PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON
TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.
By the Grace of God, for all 63 volumes of
C. H. Spurgeon sermons in Modern English, and
more than 450 Spanish translations, visit:
http://www.spurgeongems.org

Disclaimer

 

BY FAITH AND THIS PILGRIM’S LONGINGS AS I SOJOURN

(Midi file:  http://www.hymnary.org/media/fetch/113749)
 
Hebrews 11:15-16
King James Version (KJV)
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
http://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/kjv/Heb.11.15-Heb.11.16
 
  
A Sermon
(No. 1030)
Delivered by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

The Pilgrim’s Longings

“And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”—Hebrews 11:15-16.

BRAHAM left his country at God’s command, and he never went back again. The proof of faith lies in perseverance. There is a sort of faith which does run well, but it is soon hindered, and it doth not obey the truth. That is not the faith to which the promise is given. The faith of God’s elect continues and abides. Being connected with the living and incorruptible seed, it lives and abides for ever. Abraham returned not; Isaac returned not; Jacob returned not. The promise was to them as “strangers and sojourners,” and so they continued. The apostle tells us, however, that they were not forced so to continue; they did not remain because they could not return. Had they been mindful of the place from whence they came out, they might have found opportunities to go back. Frequent opportunities came in their way; there was communication kept up between them and the old family house at Padan-Aram: they had news sometimes from the old quarters. More than that, there were messages exchanged, servants were sometimes sent, and you know there was a new relation entered into—did not Rebekah come from thence? And Jacob, one of the patriarchs, was driven to go down into the land, but he could not stay there; he was always unrestful, till at last he stole a march upon Laban and came back into the proper life—the life which he had chosen, the life which God had commanded him, the life of a pilgrim and a stranger in the land of promise. You see, then, they had many opportunities to have returned, to have settled comfortably, and tilled the ground as their fathers did before them; but they continued to follow the uncomfortable shifting life of wanderers of the weary foot, who dwelt in tents, who own no foot of land—they were aliens in the country which God had given them by promise.
    Now, our position is very similar to theirs. As many of us as have believed in Christ have been called out. The very meaning of a church is, “called out by Christ.” We have been separated. I trust we know what it is to have gone without the camp, bearing Christ’s reproach. Henceforth, in this world we have no home, no true home for our spirits; our home is beyond the flood; we are looking for it amongst the unseen things; we are strangers and sojourners as all our fathers were, dwellers in this wilderness, passing through it to reach the Canaan which is to be the land of our perpetual inheritance.
    I. I propose, then, first of all this evening, to speak to you upon the opportunities which we have had, and still have, to return to the old house, if we were mindful of it. Indeed, it seems to me as if the word “opportunity” as it occurs in the text, were hardly strong enough to express the influence and incentive, the provocations and solicitations, by which, in our case, we have been urged. It is a wonder of wonders that we have not gone back to the world, with its sinful pleasures and its idolatrous customs. When I think of the strength of divine grace, I do not marvel that saints should persevere; but, when I remember the weakness of their nature, it seems a miracle of miracles that there should be one Christian in the world who could maintain his steadfastness for a single hour. It is nothing short of Godhead’s utmost stretch of might that keeps the feet of the saints, and preserves them from going back to their old unregenerate condition. We have had opportunities to have returned. My brethren, we have such opportunities in our daily calling. Some of you are engaged in the midst of ungodly men, and those engagements supply you with constant opportunities to sin as they do, to fall into their excesses, to lapse into their forgetfulness of God, or even to take part in their blasphemies. Oh, have you not often strong inducements, if it were not for the grace of God, to become as they are? Or, if your occupation keeps you alone, yet, my brethren, there is one who is pretty sure to intrude upon our privacy, to corrupt our thoughts, to kindle strange desires in our breasts, to tantalise us with morbid fancies, and to seek our mischief. The Tempter he is, the Destroyer he would be, if we were not delivered from his snares. Ah, how frequently will solitude have temptations as severe as publicity could possibly bring. There are perils in company, but there are perils likewise in our loneliness. We have many opportunities to return. In the parlour, pleasantly conversing, or in the kitchen, perhaps, occupied with the day’s work—toiling in the field, or trading on the mart, busy on the land or tossed about on the sea, there are critical seasons on which destiny itself might appear to hang contingent. Where can we fly to escape from these opportunities that haunt us everywhere and peril us in every thing? If we should mount upon the wings of the wind, could we find “a lodge in some vast wilderness,” think ye, then, we might be quite clear from all the opportunities to go back to the old sins in which we once indulged? No. Each man’s calling may seem to him to be more full of temptation than his fellow’s. It is not so. Our temptations are pretty equally distributed, I dare say, after all, and all of us might say, that we find in our avocations, from hour to hour, many opportunities to return.
    But, dear brethren, it is not merely in our business and in our calling; the mischief lies in our bone and in our flesh. Opportunities to return! Ah! Who that knows himself does not find strong, incentives to return. Ah! how often will our imagination paint sin in very glowing colors, and, though we loathe sin and loathe ourselves for thinking of it, yet how many a man might say, “had it not been for divine grace, where should I have been?—for my feet had almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped.” How strong is the evil in the most upright man! How stern is the conflict to keep under the body, lest corruption should prevail. You may be diligent in secret prayer, and, perhaps, the devil may have seemed asleep till you began to pray, and when you were most fervent, then will he also become most rampant. When you get nearer to God, Satan will sometimes seem to get nearer to you. Opportunities to return, as long as you are in this body, will be with you. To the very edge of Jordan you will meet with temptations. When you sit expectant on the banks of the last river, waiting, for the summons to cross, it may be that your fiercest temptation will come even then. Oh, this flesh, the body of this death—wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from it? But while it continues with me, I shall find opportunities to return.
    So too, dear brethren and sisters, these opportunities to return are adapted to our circumstances and adjusted to any condition of life, and any change through which we may pass. For instance how often have professors, when they have prospered, found opportunities to return! I sigh to think of many that appeared to be very earnest Christians when they were struggling for bread, who have become very dull and cold now that they have grown rich and increased in goods. How often does it happen in this land of ours, that a poor earnest Christian has associated with the people of God at all meetings, and felt proud to be there, but he has risen in the world and stood an inch or two above others in common esteem, and he could not go with God’s people any longer: he must seek out the world’s church and join in to get a share of the respectability and prestige that will always congregate in the domain of fashion. Henceforth, the man has turned aside from the faith, if not altogether in his heart, at least in his life. Beware of the high places: they are very slippery. There is not all the enjoyment you may think to be gathered in retirement and in ease. On the contrary, luxury often pulleth up, and abundance makes the heart to swell with vanity. If any of you are prospering in this world, oh watch, for you are in imminent danger of being mindful to return to the place whence you came out.
    But, the peril is as instant every whit in adversity. Alas, I have had to mourn over Christian men—at least I thought they were such—who have waxed very poor, and when they have grown poor, they hardly felt they could associate with those they knew in better circumstances. I think they were mistaken in the notion that they would be despised. I should lie ashamed of the Christian who would despise his fellow, because God was dealing with him somewhat severely in Providence. Yet there is a feeling in the human heart, and, though there may be no unkind treatment, yet, oftentimes, the sensitive spirit is apt to imagine it, and I have observed some absent themselves by degrees from the assembly of God with a sense of shame. It is smoothing the way to return to your old place; and, indeed, I have not wondered when I have seen some professors grow cold, when I have thought where they were compelled to live, and how they have been constrained to pass their time. Perhaps they were living at home before, but now they have to take a room where they can have no quiet, but where sounds of blasphemy greet them, or, in some cases, where they have to go to the workhouse, and be far away from all Christian intercourse or anything that could comfort them. It is only God’s grace that can keep your graces alive under such circumstances. You see, whether you grow rich or whether you grow poor, you will have these opportunities to return. If you want to go back to sin, to carnality, to a love of the world, to your old condition, you never need to be prevented from doing so by want of opportunities: it will be something else that will prevent you, for these opportunities are plentiful and countless.
    Opportunities to return! Let me say just one thing more about them. They are often furnished by the example of others.

“When any turn from Zion’s way,
Alas, what numbers do!
Methinks I hear my Savior say,
Wilt thou forsake me too?”
The departures from the faith of those whom we highly esteem are, at least while we are young, very severe trials to us. We keenly suspect whether that religion can be true which was feigned so cunningly and betrayed so wantonly, by one who seemed to be a model, but proved to be a hypocrite. It staggers us: we cannot make it out. Opportunities to return you have now; but ah! may grace be given you so that, if others play the Judas, instead of leading you to do the same, it may only bind you more fast to your Lord, and make you walk more carefully, lest you also prove a son of perdition.
    And ah, my brethren and sisters, if some of us were to return, we should have this opportunity—a cordial welcome from our former comrades. None of our old friends would refuse to receive us. There is many a Christian who, if he were to go back to the gaiety of the world, would find the world await him with open arms. He was the favourite of the ball-room once; he was the wit “that set the table in a roar;” he was the man who above all was courted when he moved in the circles of the vain and frivolous: glad enough would they be to see him come back. What a shout of triumph would they raise, and how would they fraternize with him! Oh, may the day never come to you, you young people especially, who have lately put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and professed his name, when you shall be welcomed by the world, but may you for ever forget your kindred and your father’s house, so shall the king greatly desire your beauty, for he is the Lord, and worship you him. Separation from the world will endear you to the Savior, and bring you into conscious enjoyment of his presence; but, of opportunities to return there is no lack.
    Perhaps, you will say, “Why does the Lord make them so plentiful? Could he not have kept us from temptation?” There is no doubt he could, but it was never the Master’s intention that we should all be hothouse plants. He taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” but, at the same time, he does lead us there, and intends to do it, and this for the proving of our faith, to see whether it be true faith or not. Depend upon it, faith that is never tried is not true faith. It must be sooner or later exercised. God does not create useless things: he intends that the faith he gives should have its test, should glorify his name. These opportunities to return are meant to try your faith, and they are sent to you to prove that you are a volunteer soldier. Why, if grace was a sort of chain that manacled you, so that you could not leave your Lord; if it had become a physical impossibility to forsake the Savior, there would be no credit in it. He that does not run away because his legs are too weak, does not prove himself a hero; but he that could run, but will not run; he that could desert his Lord, but will not desert him, has within him a principle of grace stronger than any fetter could be—the highest, firmest, noblest bond that unites a man to the Savior. By this shall you know whether you are Christ’s or not. When you have opportunity to return, if you do not return, that shall prove you are his. Two men are going along a road, and there is a dog behind them. I do not know to which of them that dog belongs, but I shall be able to tell you directly. They are coming to a crossroad: one goes to the right, the other goes to the left. Now which man does the dog follow? That is his master. So when Christ and the world go together, you cannot tell which you are following; but, when there is a separation, and Christ goes one way, and your interest and your pleasure seem to go the other way, if you can part with the world and keep with Christ, then you are one of his. After this manner these opportunities to return may serve us a good purpose: they prove our faith, while they try our character; thus helping us to see whether we are indeed the Lord’s or not.
    But, we must pass on (for we have a very wealthy text) to notice the second point.
    II. We cannot take any opportunity to go back, because we desire something better than we could get by returning to that country from whence we came out. An insatiable desire has been implanted in us by divine grace which urges us to—

“Forget the steps already trod,
And onward press our way.”
Notice how the text puts it:—”But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly.” Brethren, you desire something better than this world, do you not? Has the world ever satisfied you? Perhaps it did when you were dead in sin. A dead world may satisfy a dead heart; but ever since you have known something of better things, and brighter realities, have you been ever contented with earthly things and emptier vanities? Perhaps you have tried to fill your soul with the daintiest provisions the world can offer; to wit—God has prospered you, and you have said, “Oh, this is well.” Your children have been about you, you have had many household joys, and you have said, “I could stay here for ever.” Did not you find very soon that there was a thorn in the flesh? Did you ever gather a rose in this world that was altogether without a thorn? Hare you not been obliged to say, after you have had all that the world could give you, “Vanity of Vanities, all is vanity?” I am sure it has been so with me, with you, with all my kinsfolk in Christ, and with all my yokefellows in his service. All God’s saints would confess that were the Lord to say to them, “You shall have all the world, and that shall be your portion,” they would be broken-hearted men. “Nay, my Lord,” they would reply, “do not put me off with these biding presents; feed me not upon these husks. Though thou shouldst give me Joseph’s lot, the ancient mountains, and the precious things of the lasting hills,” “Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey;” yea, though thou shouldst confer on me the precious things of the earth, and the fullness thereof, I would prefer before them all the goodwill of him that dwelt in the bush. Give me thyself, and take these all away, if so it please thee, but do not, my Lord, do not think I can be content with Egypt since I have set forth for Canaan, or that I can settle down in the wilderness now that I am journeying to the land of promise. We desire something better.
    There is this about a Christian that, even when he does not enjoy something better, he desires it; of that, verily, I am quite sure. How much of character is revealed in our desires. I felt greatly encouraged when I read this, “Now they desire a better”—The word “country” has been inserted by our translators. It weakens the sense; vague but vast is the craving expressed in the sentence, “They desire a better”—I know I long for something far better, something infinitely preferable to that which my eyes can see or that my tongue can express. I do not always enjoy that something better. Dark is my path; I cannot see my Lord; I cannot enjoy his presence; sometimes I am like one that is banished from him; but I desire his blessing, I desire his presence; and, though to desire may be but a little thing, let me say a good desire is more than nature ever grew: grace has given it. It is a great thing to be desirous. “They desire a better country.” And, because we desire this better thing, we cannot go back and be content with things which gratified us once.
    More than that, if ever the child of God gets entangled for awhile, he is uneasy by reason of it. Abraham’s slips, for he had one or two, were made when he had left the land, and gone down among the Philistines; but he was not easy there: he must come back again. And Jacob—he had found a wife—nay, two—in Laban’s land, but he was not content there. No, no child of God can be, whatever he may find in this world. We shall never find a heaven here. We may hunt the world through, and say, “This looks like a little paradise,” but there is not any paradise this side of the skies, for a child of God at any rate. There is enough out there in the farm yard for the hogs, but there is not that which is suitable for the children. There is enough in the world for sinners, but not for saints. They have stronger, sharper, and more vehement desires, for they have a nobler life within them, and they desire a better country, and even if they get entangled for awhile in this country, and in a certain measure identified with citizens of it, they are ill at ease—their citizenship is in heaven, and they cannot rest anywhere but there. After all, we confess to-night, and rejoice in the confession, that our best hopes are for things that are out of sight: our expectations are our largest possessions. The things that we have a title to, that we value, are ours to-day by faith: we do not enjoy them yet. But when our heirship shall be fully manifested, and we shall come to the full ripe age—oh, then shall we come into our inheritance, to our wealth, to the mansions, and to the glory, and to the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Thus you see the reason why the Christian cannot go back. Though he has many opportunities he does not embrace any, he shrinks with repugnance from them all, for, through divine grace, he has had produced in his heart desires for something better.
    Even when he does not realize as yet, or actually enjoy, that infinite good, which is something better than creature comfort or worldly ambition, the desires themselves become mighty bonds that keep him from returning to his former state. Dear brethren, let us cultivate these desires more and more. If they have such a separating, salutary, sanctifying influence upon our heart, and effect upon our character, in keeping us from the world, let us cultivate them much. Do you think that we meditate enough upon heaven? Look at the miser. When does he forget his gold? He dreams of it. He has locked it up tonight and he goes to bed, but he is afraid he heard a footstep down the stairs, and he goes to see. He looks to the iron safe: he would be quite sure that it is well secured. He cannot forget his dear gold. Let us think of heaven, of Christ, and of the blessings of the covenant, and let us thus keep our desires wide awake, and stimulate them to active exercise. The more they draw us to heaven, the more they withdraw us from the world.
    III. It would be unreasonable if we did not vehemently resist every opportunity and every solicitation to go back.
    The men of faith to whom the apostle referred in our text were not only strangers and pilgrims, but it is specially observed that they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They were a grand company. From an unit they had multiplied into a countless host. Sprang there not even of one, and him as good as dead, as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable? Now, brethren, you see we have here a very strong reason for not returning. It is because you are the descendants, the spiritual descendants, of the patriarchs. Let me try to show you how urgent a motive for steadfastness this is. Practically, it comprises two or three considerations of the highest moment. One thing it implies very obviously is that you thoroughly admire their example and fervently emulate their spirit. As you have glanced over the scroll of history, or narrowly scanned the records of men’s lives, the pomp of Pharaoh has not dazzled you, but the purity of Joseph has charmed you; the choice of Moses was to your taste, though it did involve leaving a court where he was flattered, for fellowship with enslaved kinsmen by whom he was suspected; and, you would rather have been with Daniel in the lions’ den than with Darius on the throne of empire. You have transferred their strong will to your own deliberate choice. And, when the jeer has been raised against canting methodists, you have said, “I am one of them.” You have confessed as occasion served before the world, you have professed as duty called before the church, you have accepted the consequences as honesty demanded before angels and men. Therefore, in your heart of hearts you feel that you cannot go back. The vows of God are upon you. It is well they are. Review them often: refresh your memory with them frequently; recur to them and renew them in every time of trial and temptation. Howbeit, repent of them never, or woe betide you. There is a secret virtue in the confession, if it be steadfastly adhered to and zealously maintained. It is a talisman, believe me, against the contagion of an evil atmosphere that might otherwise instil poison into your constitution.
    Again, there is another thing; you have joined yourself to an ancient fraternity that has something more than rules to guide or legends to captivate; for it has a combination of both, seeing it is rich in poetic lore. Why, it is on this that patriotism feeds as its daintiest morsel. “Thy statutes,” said David, “have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” Brother! there hath no sorrow befallen thee but what thy noble ancestors have celebrated in cheery tones, and set to music in cheerful strains. Oh, beloved! if you could forget the statutes, can you ever fail to remember the songs? There has never been a revival in the church that has not witnessed to the value of our psalmody. God be praised for our psalms and spiritual songs. Oh, how often they have made melody in our hearts to the Lord! While our voices blend, do not our very souls become more and more richly cemented? They are, in truth, the pilgrim’s solace.
    Another thing strikes me. I should not like you to overlook it. There is, in this chapter, a special commendation for faith in a pleasing variety of operations. But the speciality of the strangers and pilgrims is that they all died in faith. So, then, you cannot go back, because you cannot accomplish the end for which you went forward till you die. You have joined the company that makes the goal of life the object for which you live. Your aim is to make a noble exit. “Prepare to meet thy God” was the motto you started with. To go back can hardly cross your thoughts, when to look back seems to you charged with peril. Our lease of mortal life is fast running out. The time of our sojourn on earth is getting more and more brief. Therefore, because our salvation is nearer than when we first believed, it is but meet that our desire to reach the better country, and to enter the heavenly city should become more and more vehement, as “we nightly pitch our roving tent a day’s march nearer home.” It comes to this, brethren. You feel that you have little to show for your faith. It never built an ark like Noah; it never offered a sacrifice like Abraham; it never subdued kingdoms like Joshua; it never quenched the violence of fire as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Well, be it so; but he that endureth to the end shall be saved; and all those that die in faith are gathered with the great cloud of witnesses. Is not this enough to cheer the rank and file of the church?
    IV. But, I must close with the sweetest part of the text, wherein it is shown that we have a great and blessed assurance vouchsafed to us as an acknowledgment, on the part of God, of those opportunities, and those yearnings persisted in. “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city.” Because they are strangers, add because they will not go back to their old abode, “therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” He might well be ashamed of that. What poor people God’s people are—poor, many of them, in circumstances, but how many of them I might very well call poor as to spiritual things. I do not think if any of us had such a family as God has, we should ever have patience with them. We cannot, when we judge ourselves rightly, have patience with ourselves; but, how is it that God bears with the ill manners of such a froward, weak, foolish, forgetful generation as his people are. He might well be ashamed to be called their God, if he looked upon them as they are, and estimated them upon their merits. Own them! How can he own them? Does he not himself sometimes say of them, “How can I put them among the children?” Yet he devises means, and brings about the purposes of his grace. Viewed as they are, they may be compared to a rabble in so many respects, that it is marvellous he is not ashamed of them. Still, he never does discountenance them, and he proves that he is not ashamed of them, for he calls himself their God. “I will be your God,” saith he, and he oftentimes seems to speak of it as a very joyful thing to his own heart. “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” While he calls himself their God, he never forbids them to call him their God. In the presence of the great ones of the earth they may call him their God—anywhere—and he is not ashamed to be so called. Matchless condescension this! Have you not sometimes heard of a man who has become rich and has risen in the world, who has had some poor brother or some distant relative. When he has seen him in the street, he has been obliged to speak to him and own him. But oh, how reluctantly it was done. I dare say he wished him a long way off, especially if he had some haughty acquaintance with him at the time, who would perhaps turn round, and say, “Why, who is that wretched, seedy-looking fellow you spoke to?” He does not like to say, “That’s my brother;” or, “That’s a relative of mine.” Not so our Lord Jesus Christ. However low his people may sink, he is not ashamed to call them brethren. They may look up to him in all the depths of their degradation. They may call him a brother. He is in very fact a brother, born for their adversity, able and ready to redress their grievances, he is not ashamed to call them brethren. One reason for this seems to me to be, because he does not judge of them according to their present circumstances, but much rather according to their pleasant prospects. He takes account of what he has prepared for them. Notice the text, “Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” They are poor now, but God, to whom things to come are things present, sees them in their fair white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints. All you can see in that poor child of God is a hard-working laboring man, mocked and despised of his fellows. But what does God see in him? He sees in him a dignity and a glory assimilated to his own. He hath put all things under the feet of such a man as that, and crowned him with glory and honor in the person of Christ, and the angels themselves are ministering servants to such. You see his outward attire, not his inner self—you see the earthly tabernacle, but the spirit newborn, immortal and divine—you see not that. Howbeit, God does. Or, if you have spiritual discernment to perceive the spiritual creature, you only see it as it is veiled by reason of the flesh, and beclouded by the atmosphere of this world; but he sees it as it will appear, when it shall be radiant like unto Christ, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. God sees the poorest, the least proficient disciple as a man in Christ; a perfect man come unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; such indeed as he will be in that day when he shall see Christ, for then he shall be like him as he is. It seems too, in the text, that God looks to what he had prepared for these poor people. He hath prepared for them a city. Methinks, that by what he has prepared for them, we may judge how he esteems and loves them—estimating them by what he means them to be, rather than by what they appear to be at present. Look at this preparation just a minute. “he hath prepared for them”—“them.” Though I delight to preach a free gospel, and to preach it to every creature under heaven, we must never forget to remind you of the speciality. “He hath prepared for them a city”—that is, for such as are strangers and foreigners—for such as have faith, and, therefore, have left the world, and gone out to follow Christ. “He hath prepared forthem”—not “for all of you”—only for such of you as answer the description on which we have been meditating has he prepared “a city.”
    Note what it is he has made ready for them. It is a city. This indicates a permanent abode. They dwelt in tents—Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob—but he has prepared for them a city. Here we are tent dwellers, and the tent is soon to be taken down. “We know that this earthly house of our” tent “shall be dissolved, but we have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” “He hath prepared a city.” A city is a place of genial associations. In a lonely hamlet one has little company. In a city, especially where all the inhabitants shall be united in one glorious brotherhood, the true communism of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity may be realised in the purest sense and highest possible degree. In a city such as this there are plentiful occasions for intercourse, where mutual interests shall enhance mutual joy. “He hath prepared a city.” It is a city too possessing immunities, and conferring dignity upon its residents. To be a burgess of the City of London is thought to be a great honor, and upon princes is it sometimes conferred; but, we shall have the highest honor that can be given, when we shall be citizens of the city which God has prepared.
    I must not dwell on this theme, delightful as it is; I want a few words with you, my friends, direct and personal, before I close. Do not wonder, those of you who are the children of God, do not wonder if you have discomforts here. If you are what you profess to be, you are strangers: you do not expect men of this world to treat you as members of their community. If they do, be afraid. Dogs don’t bark as a man goes by that they know: they bark at strangers. When people persecute you and slander you,no marvel. If you are a stranger, they naturally bark at you. Do not expect to find the comforts in this world that you crave after, that your flesh would long for. This is our inn, not our home. We tarry for a night: we are away in the morning. We may bear the annoyances of the eventide and the night, for the morning will break so soon. Remember that your greatest joy, while you are a pilgrim, is your God. So the text says, “Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Do you want a richer source of consolation than you have? Here is one that can never be diminished, much less exhausted. When the created streams are dry, go to this eternal fountain, and find it ever springing up. Your joy is your God: make your God your joy.
    Now, what shall be said to those who are not strangers and foreigners? Ah, you dwell in a land where you find some sort of repose; but I have heavy tidings for you. This land in which you dwell, and all the works thereof, must be burned up. The city of which you, who have never been converted to Christ, are citizens, is a City of Destruction, and, as is its name, such will be its end. The King will send his armies against that guilty city and destroy it, and if you are citizens of it, you will lose all you have—you will lose your souls—lose yourselves. “Whither away?” saith one—”Where can I find comfort then and security?” You must do as Lot did, when the angels presses him and said, “Haste to the Mount lest thou be consumed.” To what mountain, say you, shall I go? The mountain of safety is Calvary. Where Jesus died, there you shall live. There is death everywhere else but there. But there is life arising from his death. Oh, fly to him. “But how?” saith one. Trust him. God gave his Son, equal with himself, to bear the burden of human sin; and he died, a substitute for sinners,—a real substitute, an efficient substitute, for all who trust in him. If thou wilt trust thy soul with Jesus, thou art saved. Thy sin was laid on him: it is forgiven thee. It was blotted out when he nailed the handwriting of ordinances that were against thee to his cross. Trust him now and you are saved; you shall become, henceforth, a stranger and a pilgrim. In the better land you shall find the rest which you never can find here, and need not wish to find, for the land is polluted; let us away from it. The curse has fallen: let us get away to the country that never was cursed, to the city that is for ever blessed, Where Jesus dwells there may we find a home and abide for aye. God add his blessing to this discourse, and give a blessing to your souls, for Jesus Christ’ sake. Amen.

(Credit: Works/Sermons of Charles Spurgeon)

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(Credit: Author-Charles Spurgeon)

Morning

“Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people … Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”
Leviticus 19:16-17

http://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Lev.19.16-Lev.19.17

Tale-bearing emits a threefold poison; for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person concerning whom the tale is told. Whether the report be true or false, we are by this precept of God’s Word forbidden to spread it. The reputations of the Lord’s people should be very precious in our sight, and we should count it shame to help the devil to dishonour the Church and the name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur. Many glory in pulling down their brethren, as if thereby they raised themselves. Noah’s wise sons cast a mantle over their father, and he who exposed him earned a fearful curse. We may ourselves one of these dark days need forbearance and silence from our brethren, let us render it cheerfully to those who require it now. Be this our family rule, and our personal bond–Speak evil of no man.

The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin, and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by railing behind his back. This course is manly, brotherly, Christlike, and under God’s blessing will be useful. Does the flesh shrink from it? Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience, and keep ourselves to the work, lest by suffering sin upon our friend we become ourselves partakers of it. Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful ministers and brethren. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in his warning given to Peter, the prayer with which he preceded it, and the gentle way in which he bore with Peter’s boastful denial that he needed such a caution.

Evening

“Spices for anointing oil.”
Exodus 35:8

http://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Exod.35.8

Much use was made of this anointing oil under the law, and that which it represents is of primary importance under the gospel. The Holy Spirit, who anoints us for all holy service, is indispensable to us if we would serve the Lord acceptably. Without his aid our religious services are but a vain oblation, and our inward experience is a dead thing. Whenever our ministry is without unction, what miserable stuff it becomes! nor are the prayers, praises, meditations, and efforts of private Christians one jot superior. A holy anointing is the soul and life of piety, its absence the most grievous of all calamities. To go before the Lord without anointing is as though some common Levite had thrust himself into the priest’s office–his ministrations would rather have been sins than services. May we never venture upon hallowed exercises without sacred anointings. They drop upon us from our glorious Head; from his anointing we who are as the skirts of his garments partake of a plenteous unction. Choice spices were compounded with rarest art of the apothecary to form the anointing oil, to show forth to us how rich are all the influences of the Holy Spirit. All good things are found in the divine Comforter. Matchless consolation, infallible instruction, immortal quickening, spiritual energy, and divine sanctification all lie compounded with other excellencies in that sacred eye-salve, the heavenly anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. It imparts a delightful fragrance to the character and person of the man upon whom it is poured. Nothing like it can be found in all the treasuries of the rich, or the secrets of the wise. It is not to be imitated. It comes alone from God, and it is freely given, through Jesus Christ, to every waiting soul. Let us seek it, for we may have it, may have it this very evening. O Lord, anoint thy servants.