What meanest thou, O sleeper?

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What meanest thou, O sleeper?

‘But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.’ Jonah 1:5–6

Suggested Further Reading: Ezekiel 33:1–11

Men can be so careless about the ruin of men’s souls. Let us hear the cry of ‘Fire! fire!’ in the streets, and our heart is all in trepidation lest some poor creature should be burned alive; but we read of hell, and of the wrath to come, and seldom do our hearts palpitate with any compassionate trembling and fear. If we are on board a vessel, and the shrill cry is heard, ‘Man overboard!’ whoever hears of a passenger wrapping his overcoat around him, and lying down upon a seat to contemplate the exertions of others? But in the church, when we hear of thousands of sinners sinking in the floods of ruin, we behold professed Christians wrapping themselves up in their own security, and calmly looking upon the labours of others, but not even lifting a finger to do any part of the work themselves. If we heard tomorrow in our streets the awful cry, more terrible than fire, the cry of ‘Bread! bread! bread!’ and saw starving women lifting up their perishing children, would we not empty out our stores? Who among us would not spend our substance to let the poor ravenous creatures satisfy the pangs of hunger? And yet, here is the world perishing for lack of knowledge. Here we have them at our doors crying for the bread of heaven, and how many there are that hoard their substance for avarice, give their time to vanity, devote their talents to self-aggrandisement, and centre their thoughts only on the world or the flesh! Oh! could you once see with your eyes a soul sinking into hell, it would be such a spectacle that you would work night and day, and count your life too short and your hours too few for the plucking of brands from the burning.

For meditation: What a terrible thing it is to leave someone to die in their sin. What a tremendous thing it is to help them find the Saviour (James 5:20; Jude 23).

Sermon no. 469   14 September (1862)

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God’s Holy Spirit

Independence of Christianity

GAL. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

GAL. 5:25
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:17-4: 7

The grand thing the church wants in this time, is God’s Holy Spirit. You all get up plans and say, “Now, if the church were altered a little bit, it would go better.” You think if there were different ministers, or different church order, or something different, then all would be well. No, dear friends, it is not there the mistake lies; it is that we want more of the Spirit. It is as if you saw a locomotive engine upon a railway, and it would not go, and they put up a driver, and they said, “Now, that driver will just do.” They try another and another. One proposes that such-and-such a wheel should be altered, but still it will not go. Some one then bursts in amongst those who are conversing and says, “No, friends; but the reason why it will not move, is because there is no steam. You have no fire, you have no water in the boiler: that’s why it will not go. There may be some faults about it; it may want a bit of paint here and there, but it will go well enough with all those faults if you do but get the steam up.” But now people are saying, “This must be altered, and that must be altered;” but it would go no better unless God the Spirit should come to bless us. You may have the same ministers, and they shall be a thousand times more useful for God, if God is pleased to bless them. You shall have the same deacons, they shall be a thousand times more influential than they are now, when the Spirit is poured down upon them from on high. That is the church’s great want, and until that want be supplied, we may reform, and reform, and still be just the same. We want the Holy Spirit.

For meditation: God doesn’t come to us in the most spectacular ways possible (1 Kings 19:11-12). For his idea of power-evangelism see 1 Corinthians 1:17,18,23,24; 2:1-5, also Romans 1:16.

Sermon no. 149   30 August (1857)

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The red heifer

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‘… the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish … and ye shall give her unto Eleazer the priest … and one shall slay her before his face.’ Numbers 19:2–3

Suggested Further Reading: John 13:1–11

What is there opened for the house of David, for sin, and for uncleanness? A cistern? A cistern that might be emptied? No, there is a fountain open. We wash, the fountain flows; we wash again, the fountain flows still. From the great depths of the deity of Christ, the eternal merit of his passion comes everlastingly welling up. Is it not said in Scripture, ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate’? Why is Christ an advocate today? Only because we want an advocate every day. Does he not constantly intercede yonder before the eternal throne? Why does he do that? Because we want daily intercession. And it is because we are constantly sinning that he is constantly an advocate, constantly an intercessor. He himself has beautifully set this forth in the case of Peter: after supper the Lord took a towel and girded himself, and then, taking his basin and his water-jug, he went to Peter, and Peter said, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’ But Jesus told him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.’ He had been washed once; Peter was free from sin in the high sense of justification, but he needs the washing of purification. When Peter said, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head,’ then Jesus replied, ‘He that is washed’—that is, he who is pardoned—‘needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.’ The feet want constant washing. The daily defilement of our daily walk through an ungodly world brings upon us the daily necessity of being cleansed from fresh sin, and that the mighty Master supplies to us.

For meditation: In the Old Testament fresh sins required regular fresh sacrifices (Hebrews 7:27) which never removed sin (Hebrews 10:1–4). Christ’s shed blood gives every believer forgiveness plus ongoing cleansing from all sin (1 John 1:7); fresh sins require fresh confession to God (1 John 1:9), never a fresh sacrifice.

Sermon no. 527    30 August (1863)

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SELF EXAMINATION

Vessels of mercy—a sermon of self-examination

ROMANS 7

“And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”Romans 9:23,24

Suggested Further Reading: Jeremiah 18:1-6

Like every potter he first of all makes the outlines in the clay. You may have seen a man at work executing designs in glass. Perhaps at the very first moment you may form a rough guess of what the whole thing is to be, though the ornament and elaboration which constitute the main part of the beauty you cannot yet discover. Certain it is, that the moment a man begins to be prepared for heaven by the grace of God in his soul, you may see the outlines of what he is to be, although it is but the bare outlines. Shall I tell you what those outlines are? There is first of all in him—faith in Christ; a simple, child-like trust in him that did hang upon the tree. There is next in him another mark of the potter’s hand—that is love to Christ—a love that is strong as death, though sometimes it seems to be feeble as a worm. There is in him also a hope that makes not ashamed, and a joy which makes glad his countenance. It is but the bare outline, as I have said, for the glory which excels is not there. The vase is only in its embryo, but yet sufficiently developed to give prophecy of its finished form; as for the pictures that shall be inlaid, as for all the many colours that shall be used on it, you cannot guess as yet, nor could you, unless you could climb to the potter’s seat and see the plan upon which he looks as the clay revolves upon the wheel. Dear brothers and sisters, have you anything in you as yet of the great outlines? Can you say in truth, “I believe on the Lord Jesus?” Fear not then, my hearer, you are a vessel of mercy.

For meditation: We have no right to talk rebelliously against our Maker (Isaiah 45:9), but the Christian has the right to pray to “Our Father and Potter in Heaven” (Isaiah 64:8).

Sermon no. 327   6 August (Preached 5 August 1860)

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JESUS OPENS SPIRITUALLY BLINDED EYES

Seeing and not seeing, or men as trees walking

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

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

‘He took the blind man by the hand …; when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, … and he … saw every man clearly.’ Mark 8:23–25

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 5:11–14

Be not satisfied, my dear friends, with being saved; desire to know how you are saved, why you are saved, the method by which you are saved. It is a rock on which you stand, I know, but think upon the questions—how you were put upon that rock, by whose love you came there, and why that love was set on you. I would to God that all the members of this church were not only in Christ Jesus, but understood him, and knew by the assurance of the understanding where unto they have attained. Recollect there are many grave distinctions in Scripture which will save you a world of trouble if you will know and remember them. Try to understand the difference between the old nature and the new. Never expect the old nature to improve into the new, for it never will. The old nature can never do anything but sin, and the new nature never can sin. These are two distinct principles; never confound them. Do not see men as trees walking. Do not confuse sanctification and justification. Recollect that the moment you trust in Christ you are justified as completely as you will be in heaven, but sanctification is a gradual work, which is carried on from day to day by God the Holy Spirit. Distinguish between the great truth that salvation is all of God, and the great lie that men are not to be blamed if they are lost. Be well assured that salvation is of the Lord, but do not lay ****ation at God’s door. Be not ashamed if men call you a Calvinist, but hate with all your heart Antinomianism. On the other hand, while you believe human responsibility, never run into the error that man ever turns to God of his own free will. There is a narrow line between the two errors; ask for grace to see it.

For meditation: Recently born again believers cannot be expected to be experts in doctrine, but long-standing converts ought to know better (1 Corinthians 3:1–2; 13:11; 14:20; Ephesians 4:14–15).

Sermon no. 701     22 July (1866)

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HOLY TRINITY

Morning

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“Sanctified by God the Father.”
Jude 1

“Sanctified in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 1:2

“Through sanctification of the Spirit.”

1 Peter 1:2

Mark the union of the Three Divine Persons in all their gracious acts. How unwisely do those believers talk who make preferences in the Persons of the Trinity; who think of Jesus as if he were the embodiment of everything lovely and gracious, while the Father they regard as severely just, but destitute of kindness. Equally wrong are those who magnify the decree of the Father, and the atonement of the Son, so as to depreciate the work of the Spirit. In deeds of grace none of the Persons of the Trinity act apart from the rest. They are as united in their deeds as in their essence. In their love towards the chosen they are one, and in the actions which flow from that great central source they are still undivided. Specially notice this in the matter of sanctification. While we may without mistake speak of sanctification as the work of the Spirit, yet we must take heed that we do not view it as if the Father and the Son had no part therein. It is correct to speak of sanctification as the work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Spirit. Still doth Jehovah say, “Let us make man in our own image after our likeness,” and thus we are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” See the value which God sets upon real holiness, since the Three Persons in the Trinity are represented as co-working to produce a Church without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” And you, believer, as the follower of Christ, must also set a high value on holiness–upon purity of life and godliness of conversation. Value the blood of Christ as the foundation of your hope, but never speak disparagingly of the work of the Spirit which is your meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. This day let us so live as to manifest the work of the Triune God in us.

Evening

Acts 2:33 - Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

Acts 2:33 – Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

“His heavenly kingdom.”
2 Timothy 4:18

Yonder city of the great King is a place of active service. Ransomed spirits serve him day and night in his temple. They never cease to fulfil the good pleasure of their King. They always “rest,” so far as ease and freedom from care is concerned; and never “rest,” in the sense of indolence or inactivity. Jerusalem the golden is the place of communion with all the people of God. We shall sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in eternal fellowship. We shall hold high converse with the noble host of the elect, all reigning with him who by his love and his potent arm has brought them safely home. We shall not sing solos, but in chorus shall we praise our King. Heaven is a place of victory realized. Whenever, Christian, thou hast achieved a victory over thy lusts–whenever after hard struggling, thou hast laid a temptation dead at thy feet–thou hast in that hour a foretaste of the joy that awaits thee when the Lord shall shortly tread Satan under thy feet, and thou shalt find thyself more than conqueror through him who hath loved thee. Paradise is a place of security. When you enjoy the full assurance of faith, you have the pledge of that glorious security which shall be yours when you are a perfect citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem. O my sweet home, Jerusalem, thou happy harbour of my soul! Thanks, even now, to him whose love hath taught me to long for thee; but louder thanks in eternity, when I shall possess thee.

“My soul has tasted of the grapes,

And now it longs to go

Where my dear Lord his vineyard keeps

And all the clusters grow.

“Upon the true and living vine,

My famish’d soul would feast,

And banquet on the fruit divine,

An everlasting guest.”

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SAINTS ARE YOU AWARE OF HIS BENEFITS?

Morning

dove2animated

“Forget not all His benefits.”
Psalm 103:2

It is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints, and to observe his goodness in delivering them, his mercy in pardoning them, and his faithfulness in keeping his covenant with them. But would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to remark the hand of God in our own lives? Ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of his goodness and of his truth, as much a proof of his faithfulness and veracity, as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before? We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that he wrought all his mighty acts, and showed himself strong for those in the early time, but doth not perform wonders or lay bare his arm for the saints who are now upon the earth. Let us review our own lives. Surely in these we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. Have you had no deliverances? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you had no manifestations? Have you had no choice favours? The God who gave Solomon the desire of his heart, hath he never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty of whom David sang, “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things,” hath he never satiated you with fatness? Have you never been made to lie down in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters? Surely the goodness of God has been the same to us as to the saints of old. Let us, then, weave his mercies into a song. Let us take the pure gold of thankfulness, and the jewels of praise and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus. Let our souls give forth music as sweet and as exhilarating as came from David’s harp, while we praise the Lord whose mercy endureth forever.

Evening

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“And God divided the light from the darkness.”
Genesis 1:4

A believer has two principles at work within him. In his natural estate he was subject to one principle only, which was darkness; now light has entered, and the two principles disagree. Mark the apostle Paul’s words in the seventh chapter of Romans: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.” How is this state of things occasioned? “The Lord divided the light from the darkness.” Darkness, by itself, is quiet and undisturbed, but when the Lord sends in light, there is a conflict, for the one is in opposition to the other: a conflict which will never cease till the believer is altogether light in the Lord. If there be a division within the individual Christian, there is certain to be a division without. So soon as the Lord gives to any man light, he proceeds to separate himself from the darkness around; he secedes from a merely worldly religion of outward ceremonial, for nothing short of the gospel of Christ will now satisfy him, and he withdraws himself from worldly society and frivolous amusements, and seeks the company of the saints, for “We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” The light gathers to itself, and the darkness to itself. What God has divided, let us never try to unite, but as Christ went without the camp, bearing his reproach, so let us come out from the ungodly, and be a peculiar people. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners; and, as he was, so we are to be nonconformists to the world, dissenting from all sin, and distinguished from the rest of mankind by our likeness to our Master.

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FROM SIN TO HIM

Sin condemned and executed by Christ Jesus

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‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.’ Romans 8:3

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 7:34–50

The Friend of sinners was emphatically beyond all other public teachers the Enemy of sin. His hatred towards sin was not a mere passion, it was a principle; it did not flash forth now and then, it was a constant flame. He hated sin, if I may so say, implacably, never making a moment’s truce with it; he pursued it by day in his ministry, and by night in his prayers; he lived to smite it, and he died to destroy it; and now in his risen glory it is upon sin as well as upon Satan that he sets his heel. He was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and he has erected a battering engine which will not leave of Satan’s strongholds so much as one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down. In the life of our Lord his tenderness for sinners was but the natural form in which his hatred for sin displayed itself; just as a physician, from the very fact that he is the antagonist of disease displays a deep interest in those afflicted thereby. Our Lord’s keeping company with sinners by no means proved that he was the friend of sin any more than the physician’s attendance at the hospital would at all lead to the suspicion that he was the friend of disease. The skilful physician is the friend of the diseased, but to the disease itself what enemy shall be found more determined and inveterate? Because the whole have no need of a physician, Jesus seeks them not; but since the sick need him he seeks them, not out of love to their sin, but out of love to them, that they may be delivered from the cruel bondage under which their sin has held them.

For meditation: God hates all sins (Proverbs 6:16–19; Zechariah 8:17; Malachi 2:16; Revelation 2:6). Amazingly he takes no pleasure in our destruction, but wants us to turn away from sin and back to him (Ezekiel 33:11). The Lord Jesus Christ is neither prepared to condone your sin nor eager and impatient to condemn you for it (John 8:11; 2 Peter 3:9). Are you making the most of your present opportunity to trust in him?

Sermon no. 699   8 July (1866)

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