04/19/15 Have you checked your self-righteousness tank lately?

The uses of the law

stone-ten-commandments

“Wherefore then serveth the law?” Galatians 3:19

Suggested Further Reading: Proverbs 26:12-16

I find that the proudest and most self-righteous people are those who do nothing at all, and have no shadow of pretence for any opinion of their own goodness. The old truth in the book of Job is true now. You know in the beginning of the book of Job it is said, “The oxen were ploughing, and the asses were feeding beside them.” That is generally the way in this world. The oxen are ploughing in the church —we have some who are labouring hard for Christ—and the asses are feeding beside them, on the finest livings and the fattest of the land. These are the people who have so much to say about self-righteousness. What do they do? They do not do enough to earn a living, and yet they think they are going to earn heaven. They sit down and fold their hands, and yet they are so reverently righteous, because they sometimes dole out a little in charity. They do nothing, and yet boast of self-righteousness. And with Christian people it is the same. If God makes you laborious, and keeps you constantly engaged in his service, you are less likely to be proud of your self-righteousness than you are if you do nothing. But at all times there is a natural tendency to it. Therefore, God has written the law, that when we read it we may see our faults; that when we look into it, as into a looking-glass, we may see the impurities in our flesh, and have reason to abhor ourselves in sackcloth and ashes, and still cry to Jesus for mercy. Use the law in this fashion, and in no other.

For meditation: The more we learn, the more we realise how little we know; the more we do, the more we realise how little we do; the holier we become, the more we realise how unholy we are. Being sluggish is most unsuitable for the Christian (Hebrews 6:10-12).

Sermon no. 128    19 April (1857)

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

GOD’S VINE

Morning

Walk-In-Holiness2

“Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?”

Ezekiel 15:2

These words are for the humbling of God’s people; they are called God’s vine, but what are they by nature more than others? They, by God’s goodness, have become fruitful, having been planted in a good soil; the Lord hath trained them upon the walls of the sanctuary, and they bring forth fruit to his glory; but what are they without their God? What are they without the continual influence of the Spirit, begetting fruitfulness in them? O believer, learn to reject pride, seeing that thou hast no ground for it. Whatever thou art, thou hast nothing to make thee proud. The more thou hast, the more thou art in debt to God; and thou shouldst not be proud of that which renders thee a debtor. Consider thine origin; look back to what thou wast. Consider what thou wouldst have been but for divine grace. Look upon thyself as thou art now. Doth not thy conscience reproach thee? Do not thy thousand wanderings stand before thee, and tell thee that thou art unworthy to be called his son? And if he hath made thee anything, art thou not taught thereby that it is grace which hath made thee to differ? Great believer, thou wouldst have been a great sinner if God had not made thee to differ. O thou who art valiant for truth, thou wouldst have been as valiant for error if grace had not laid hold upon thee. Therefore, be not proud, though thou hast a large estate–a wide domain of grace, thou hadst not once a single thing to call thine own except thy sin and misery. Oh! strange infatuation, that thou, who hast borrowed everything, shouldst think of exalting thyself; a poor dependent pensioner upon the bounty of thy Saviour, one who hath a life which dies without fresh streams of life from Jesus, and yet proud! Fie on thee, O silly heart!

 

Evening

Revelation 13:8   And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

 

“Doth Job fear God for nought?”

Job 1:9

This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of old, but there are many in the present day concerning whom it might be asked with justice, for they love God after a fashion because he prospers them; but if things went ill with them, they would give up all their boasted faith in God. If they can clearly see that since the time of their supposed conversion the world has gone prosperously with them, then they will love God in their poor carnal way; but if they endure adversity, they rebel against the Lord. Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house. As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new covenant is adversity. Remember Christ’s words–“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit”–What? “He purgeth it, that it may bring forth fruit.” If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. “Alas!” you say, “that is a terrible prospect.” But this affliction works out such precious results, that the Christian who is the subject of it must learn to rejoice in tribulations, because as his tribulations abound, so his consolations abound by Christ Jesus. Rest assured, if you are a child of God, you will be no stranger to the rod. Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire. Fear not, but rather rejoice that such fruitful times are in store for you, for in them you will be weaned from earth and made meet for heaven; you will be delivered from clinging to the present, and made to long for those eternal things which are so soon to be revealed to you. When you feel that as regards the present you do serve God for nought, you will then rejoice in the infinite reward of the future.

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

 

Miraculous Conception

Morning

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Let us today go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in him, and can sing, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance his miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, “The seed of the woman,” not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to his human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that he may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note his humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as “a virgin,” not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!

Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.

Evening

PILLARS OF CREATION closeup-nebula-02

“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” Job 1:5

What the patriarch did early in the morning, after the family festivities, it will be well for the believer to do for himself ere he rests tonight. Amid the cheerfulness of household gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful levities, and to forget our avowed character as Christians. It ought not to be so, but so it is, that our days of feasting are very seldom days of sanctified enjoyment, but too frequently degenerate into unhallowed mirth. There is a way of joy as pure and sanctifying as though one bathed in the rivers of Eden: holy gratitude should be quite as purifying an element as grief. Alas! for our poor hearts, that facts prove that the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting. Come, believer, in what have you sinned today? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you been even as others in idle words and loose speeches? Then confess the sin, and fly to the sacrifice. The sacrifice sanctifies. The precious blood of the Lamb slain removes the guilt, and purges away the defilement of our sins of ignorance and carelessness. This is the best ending of a Christmas-day–to wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this sacrifice continually; if it be so good tonight, it is good every night. To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood; to them sin, great as it is, is nevertheless no cause for despair, since they draw near yet again to the sin-atoning victim, and their conscience is purged from dead works.

Gladly I close this festive day,

Grasping the altar’s hallow’d horn;

My slips and faults are washed away,

The Lamb has all my trespass borne.

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

Go To God’s Throne In The Midst Of Tribulation-A Lesson From Job

Job 1:1–22

Imagine that your neighbor calls you at work, telling you the terrible news that your house and vehicles have been destroyed by fire, and while that person is still speaking, you learn that you’ve been fired from your job. While those words are still coming out of your employer’s mouth, your husband calls: your kids and all their families have been killed while they were vacationing together.

These are the unimaginable circumstances Job encountered. Devastating messages assaulted him again and again—each one coming while the messenger “was still speaking” (vs. 16–18). Who can even begin to comprehend his sheer horror at learning that all ten of his children were dead?

What did Job do? What was his initial response upon hearing of the loss of all he owned and of all he held dear? First, he grieved. He physically responded in the Eastern mode of grief by tearing his robe and shaving his head to display his deep sorrow. Yet no outward sign of grief could capture the inward torture Job felt.

Job’s next step demonstrates faithfulness toward God. He fell to the ground and worshiped. That’s right—he didn’t berate God or ask “Why me?” or “Why them?” Instead, he acknowledged that everything comes from God, and he praised the name of the Lord. Try envisioning that scene. It will take your breath away. Picture this man, deep in the throes of grief, praising God. In light of the horrific blows dealt to him, how did he do that?

Only one answer suffices: Job knew God—really knew him with an uncommon intimacy. His close communion with God had taught him that God was the only one who could give him any kind of real comfort. Job’s knowledge yielded a deep trust in an infallible Lord—a trust that enabled Job’s heart to keep beating even in the face of overwhelming heartbreak. It enabled him to respond to horrible pain with worship and praise.

Yes, times of seeking for answers and grappling for understanding followed that day of destruction, but Job’s initial response reflected a heart that knew and trusted God. What an amazing and beautiful image!

Reflection

  1. How have you responded to bad news in the past? With praise? Anger? Despair? Confusion?
  2. Job knew God well enough to turn to him in grief. How deep does your knowledge of God go? How close is your heart attuned to his?
  3. How might going through tough times or experiencing pain and grief help someone know God?

Job 1:20–21
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Related Readings

Deuteronomy 32:36–39; Psalms 42:1–11; 86:1–17

Note:  I always try to give credit to original author/photographers in my usage for lessons, educational purposes, etc…this lesson came to me in an email.  Unfortunately, there is no author attached to it.  I do not take any credit; it is a wonderful lesson in the Lord’s Word.

Torah inside of the former Glockengasse Synago...

Torah inside of the former Glockengasse Synagogue in Cologne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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