08.18.17 VISION REVELATION 12/CHRIST OUR SALVATION

MercyMe – Even If (Official Lyric Video)

Isaiah 55  (KJV)

55 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

King James Version (KJV)    Public Domain
COMMENTARY CON’T:  MY SOUL AND HEART SPEAK TO YOU BROTHER AND SISTERS!  I HAVE A HEAVY HEART IN WHAT IN COMING UPONG THIS EARTH.  GOD SAYS IN HIS WORD : 
Acts 2:17
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Joel 2:28
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
In 1982 was when I had my first vision from God when I was expectant with my first child!  It has been a long and sometimes hard road to walk and sometimes I have strayed. But, Jesus never left me and always protected me and drew me back to His path by His Holy Spirit.  I will save this vision and others for a time to come soon here on this site for the time has come to reveal such things.  What the Lord has given me to share is one of recent in June of 2017 which is this:
Vision: I beheld something falling from heaven with mighty speed. The object was in pure darkness and as it approached thru the heavenlies a dark figure starts to emerge.  When it reached the cosmos of our solar system the  image unfolded and it has mighty wings and within the wings encompassed the thing that would emerge.  Dread and evil befell my heart for I knew what it was.  It descended into atmosphere and its hideous figure appeared.  The red dragon of Revelation 12 and satan’s face appeared.
Luke 21:26 (KJV)26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

THESE IS SCRIPTURE GIVEN TO IN MY SPIRIT:

REVELATION 12

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhibitors’ of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

I do not take this lightly in any way for I know it true and of the Lord!  Amen.  Do not take my word for it but be a Berean and seek the Lord in all matters:  (Acts 17:11  11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.)  Satan fell to earth and was filled with wrath for he knew his time had come.  Men hearts filled with great fear and woes of destruction filled the earth.  To look in the face the satan is hideous.  My hope and salvation is in Christ Jesus and immediately I called upon the precious shed blood of Christ for protection of mind, soul and body!

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Matthew 26:28 – For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Hebrews 9:22 – And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Hebrews 9:12 – Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: I imploy you to get your house in order with the Lord if it is not!  The time is at hand and thou no one knows the time or the hour:

Matthew 24:36

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

JESUS DID SAY:

Matthew 24: 5-8, Christ says, of the impending end of all things, that “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you dare not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
We are at beginning of the midnight hour and the Church must wake up and be about the Father’s business.  The will be against us and we can not with stand what is to come with being in God’s Word daily and on bended knees in prayer and bringing souls into the Kingdom of God.  God bless and Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus. Amen
HE WATERS MY GARDEN

GOD SURROUNDS ME WITH HIS MOUNTAINS

PSALMS 46

Psalm 46King James Version (KJV)

46 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

 

 

MY HUSBAND SAYS…

Morning

“There is no spot in thee.” Song of Solomon 4:7

Having pronounced his Church positively full of beauty, our Lord confirms his praise by a precious negative, “There is no spot in thee.” As if the thought occurred to the Bridegroom that the carping world would insinuate that he had only mentioned her comely parts, and had purposely omitted those features which were deformed or defiled, he sums up all by declaring her universally and entirely fair, and utterly devoid of stain. A spot may soon be removed, and is the very least thing that can disfigure beauty, but even from this little blemish the believer is delivered in his Lord’s sight. If he had said there is no hideous scar, no horrible deformity, no deadly ulcer, we might even then have marvelled; but when he testifies that she is free from the slightest spot, all these other forms of defilement are included, and the depth of wonder is increased. If he had but promised to remove all spots by-and-by, we should have had eternal reason for joy; but when he speaks of it as already done, who can restrain the most intense emotions of satisfaction and delight? O my soul, here is marrow and fatness for thee; eat thy full, and be satisfied with royal dainties.

Christ Jesus has no quarrel with his spouse. She often wanders from him, and grieves his Holy Spirit, but he does not allow her faults to affect his love. He sometimes chides, but it is always in the tenderest manner, with the kindest intentions: it is “my love” even then. There is no remembrance of our follies, he does not cherish ill thoughts of us, but he pardons and loves as well after the offence as before it. It is well for us it is so, for if Jesus were as mindful of injuries as we are, how could he commune with us? Many a time a believer will put himself out of humour with the Lord for some slight turn in providence, but our precious Husband knows our silly hearts too well to take any offence at our ill manners.

 

Evening

Eph. 6:16 ...taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Eph. 6:16
…taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

“The Lord mighty in battle.” Psalm 24:8

Well may our God be glorious in the eyes of his people, seeing that he has wrought such wonders for them, in them, and by them. For them, the Lord Jesus upon Calvary routed every foe, breaking all the weapons of the enemy in pieces by his finished work of satisfactory obedience; by his triumphant resurrection and ascension he completely overturned the hopes of hell, leading captivity captive, making a show of our enemies openly, triumphing over them by his cross. Every arrow of guilt which Satan might have shot at us is broken, for who can lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Vain are the sharp swords of infernal malice, and the perpetual battles of the serpent’s seed, for in the midst of the church the lame take the prey, and the feeblest warriors are crowned.

The saved may well adore their Lord for his conquests in them, since the arrows of their natural hatred are snapped, and the weapons of their rebellion broken. What victories has grace won in our evil hearts! How glorious is Jesus when the will is subdued, and sin dethroned! As for our remaining corruptions, they shall sustain an equally sure defeat, and every temptation, and doubt, and fear, shall be utterly destroyed. In the Salem of our peaceful hearts, the name of Jesus is great beyond compare: he has won our love, and he shall wear it. Even thus securely may we look for victories by us. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. We shall cast down the powers of darkness which are in the world, by our faith, and zeal, and holiness; we shall win sinners to Jesus, we shall overturn false systems, we shall convert nations, for God is with us, and none shall stand before us. This evening let the Christian warrior chant the war song, and prepare for to-morrow’s fight. Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.

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

 

GOD IS JUST

Morning

my hood ore

“To preach deliverance to the captives.” Luke 4:18

None but Jesus can give deliverance to captives. Real liberty cometh from him only. It is a liberty righteously bestowed; for the Son, who is Heir of all things, has a right to make men free. The saints honour the justice of God, which now secures their salvation. It is a liberty which has been dearly purchased. Christ speaks it by his power, but he bought it by his blood. He makes thee free, but it is by his own bonds. Thou goest clear, because he bare thy burden for thee: thou art set at liberty, because he has suffered in thy stead. But, though dearly purchased, he freely gives it. Jesus asks nothing of us as a preparation for this liberty. He finds us sitting in sackcloth and ashes, and bids us put on the beautiful array of freedom; he saves us just as we are, and all without our help or merit. When Jesus sets free, the liberty is perpetually entailed; no chains can bind again. Let the Master say to me, “Captive, I have delivered thee,” and it is done forever. Satan may plot to enslave us, but if the Lord be on our side, whom shall we fear? The world, with its temptations, may seek to ensnare us, but mightier is he who is for us than all they who be against us. The machinations of our own deceitful hearts may harass and annoy us, but he who hath begun the good work in us will carry it on and perfect it to the end. The foes of God and the enemies of man may gather their hosts together, and come with concentrated fury against us, but if God acquitteth, who is he that condemneth? Not more free is the eagle which mounts to his rocky eyrie, and afterwards outsoars the clouds, than the soul which Christ hath delivered. If we are no more under the law, but free from its curse, let our liberty be practically exhibited in our serving God with gratitude and delight. “I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.” “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”

Evening

LAKE TAHOL CA

“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Romans 9:15

In these words the Lord in the plainest manner claims the right to give or to withhold his mercy according to his own sovereign will. As the prerogative of life and death is vested in the monarch, so the Judge of all the earth has a right to spare or condemn the guilty, as may seem best in his sight. Men by their sins have forfeited all claim upon God; they deserve to perish for their sins–and if they all do so, they have no ground for complaint. If the Lord steps in to save any, he may do so if the ends of justice are not thwarted; but if he judges it best to leave the condemned to suffer the righteous sentence, none may arraign him at their bar. Foolish and impudent are all those discourses about the rights of men to be all placed on the same footing; ignorant, if not worse, are those contentions against discriminating grace, which are but the rebellions of proud human nature against the crown and sceptre of Jehovah. When we are brought to see our own utter ruin and ill desert, and the justice of the divine verdict against sin, we no longer cavil at the truth that the Lord is not bound to save us; we do not murmur if he chooses to save others, as though he were doing us an injury, but feel that if he deigns to look upon us, it will be his own free act of undeserved goodness, for which we shall forever bless his name.

How shall those who are the subjects of divine election sufficiently adore the grace of God? They have no room for boasting, for sovereignty most effectually excludes it. The Lord’s will alone is glorified, and the very notion of human merit is cast out to everlasting contempt. There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more promotive of gratitude, and, consequently, none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it, but adoringly rejoice in it.

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon

 

 

“We would see Jesus”

The Corn of Wheat Dying To Bring Forth Fruit

WOODS PURPLE FLOWERS

“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”John 12:23-25.

ERTAIN Greeks desired to see Jesus. These were Gentiles, and it was remarkable that they should, just at this time, have sought an interview with our Lord. I suppose that the words “We would see Jesus” did not merely mean that they would like to look at him, for that they could have done in the public streets; but they would “see” him as we speak of seeing a person with whom we wish to hold a conversation. They desired to be introduced to him, and to have a few words of instruction from him.     These Greeks were the advanced guard of that great multitude that no man can number, of all nations, and people, and tongues, who are yet to come to Christ. The Saviour would naturally feel a measure of joy at the sight of them, but he did not say much about it, for his mind was absorbed just then with thoughts of his great sacrifice and its results; yet he took so much notice of the coming of these Gentiles to him that it gave a colour to the words which are here recorded by his servant John.     I notice that the Saviour here displays his broad humanity, and announced himself as the “Son of man.” He had done so before, but here with new intent. He says, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” Not as “the Son of David” does he here speak of himself, but as “the Son of man.” No longer does he make prominent the Jewish side of his mission, though as a preacher he was not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; but as the dying Saviour he speaks of himself as one of the race, not the Son of Abraham, or of David, but “the Son of man”: as much brother to the Gentile as to the Jew. Let us never forget the broad humanity of the Lord Jesus. In him all kindreds of the earth are joined in one, for he is not ashamed to bear the nature of our universal manhood; black and white, prince and pauper, sage and savage, all see in his veins the one blood by which all men are constituted one family. As the Son of man Jesus is near akin to every man that lives.     Now, too, that the Greeks were come, our Lord speaks somewhat of his glory as approaching. “The hour is come,” saith he, “that the Son of man should be glorified.” He does not say “that the Son of man should be crucified,” though that was true, and the crucifixion must come before the glorification; but the sight of those first-fruits from among the Gentiles makes him dwell upon his glory. Though he remembers his death, he speaks rather of the glory which would grow out of his great sacrifice. Remember, brethren, that Christ is glorified in the souls that he saves. As a physician wins honour by those he heals, so the Physician of souls gets glory out of those who come to him. When these devout Greeks came, saying, “Sirs, we would see Jesus,” though a mere desire to see him is only as the green blade, yet he rejoiced in it as the pledge of the harvest, and he saw in it the dawn of the glory of his cross.     I think, too, that the coming of these Greeks somewhat led the Saviour to use the metaphor of the buried corn. We are informed that wheat was largely mixed up with Grecian mysteries, but that is of small importance. It is more to the point that our Saviour was then undergoing the process which would burst the Jewish husk in which, if I may use such terms, his human life had been enveloped. I mean this: aforetime our Lord said that he was not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and when the Syrophenician woman pleaded for her daughter he reminded her of the restricted character of his commission as a prophet among men. When he sent out the seventy, he bade them not to go into the cities of the Samaritans, but to seek after the house of Israel only. Now, however, that blessed corn of wheat is breaking through its outer integument. Even before it is put into the ground to die the divine corn of wheat begins to show its living power, and the true Christ is being manifested. The Christ of God, though assuredly the Son of David, was, on the Father” side, neither Jew nor Gentile, but simply man; and the great sympathies of his heart were with all mankind. He regarded all whom he had chosen as his own brethren without distinction of sex, or nation, or the period of the world’s history in which they should live; and, at the sight of these Greeks, the true Christ came forth and manifested himself to the world as he had not done before. Hence, perhaps, the peculiar metaphor which we have now to explain.     In our text, dear friends, we have two things upon which I will speak briefly, as I am helped of the Spirit. First, we have profound doctrinal teaching, and secondly, we have practical moral principal.     First, we have PROFOUND DOCTRINAL TEACHING.     Our Saviour suggested to his thoughtful disciples a number of what might be called doctrinal paradoxes.     First, that, glorious as he was, he was yet to be glorified. “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” Jesus was always glorious. It was a glorious thing for the human person of the Son of man to be personally one with the Godhead. Our Lord Jesus had also great glory all the while he was on earth in the perfection of his moral character. The gracious end for which he came here was real glory to him: his condescending to be the Saviour of men was a great glorification of his loving character. His way of going about his work—the way in which he consecrated himself to his Father and was always about his Father’s business, the way in which he put aside Satan with his blandishments, and would not be bribed by all the kingdoms of the world—all this was his glory. I should not speak incorrectly if I were to say that Christ was really as to his moral nature never more glorious than when throughout his life on earth he was obscure, despised, rejected, and yet the faithful servant of God, and the ardent lover of the sons of men. The apostle says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” in which he refers not only to the transfiguration, in which there were special glimpses of the divine glory, but to our Lord’s tabernacling among men in the common walks of life. Saintly, spiritual minds beheld the glory of his life, the glory of grace and truth such as never before had been seen in any of the sons of men. But though he was thus, to all intents and purposes, already glorious, Jesus had yet to be glorified. Something more was to be added to his personal honour. Remember, then, that when you have the clearest conceptions of your Lord, there is still a glory to be added to all that you can see even with the word of God in your hands. Glorious as the living Son of man had been, there was a further glory to come upon him within the veil. He was a glorious Christ, and yet he had to be glorified.     A second paradox is this,—that his glory was to come to him through shame. He says, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified,” and then he speaks of his death. The greatest fulness of our Lord’s glory arises out of his emptying himself, and becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. It is his highest reputation that he made himself of no reputation. His crown derives new luster from his cross; his ever living is rendered more honourable by the fact of his dying unto sin once. Those blessed cheeks would never have been so fair as they are in the eyes of his chosen if they had not once been spat upon. Those dear eyes had never had so overpowering a glance if they had not once been dimmed in the agonies of death for sinners. His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl, but their brightest adornments are the prints of the cruel nails. As the Son of God his glory was all his own by nature, but as Son of man his present splendour is due to the cross, and to the ignominy which surrounded it when he bore our sins in his own body. We must never forget this, and if ever we are tempted to merge the crucified Saviour in the coming King we should feel rebuked by the fact that thus we should rob our Lord of his highest honour. Whenever you hear men speak lightly of the atonement stand up for it at once, for out of this comes the main glory of your Lord and Master. They, “Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe on him.” If he did so what would remain to be believed? It is on the cross, it is from the cross, it is through the cross that Jesus mounts to his throne, and the Son of man has a special honour in heaven to-day because he was slain and has redeemed us to God by his blood.     The next paradox is this,—Jesus must be alone or abide alone. Notice the text as I read it: “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,” and so gets alone, “it abideth alone.” The Son of man must be alone in the grave, or he will be alone in heaven. He must fall into the ground like the corn of wheat, and be there in the loneliness of death, or else he will abide alone. This is a paradox readily enough explained; our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of man, unless he had trodden the winepress alone, unless beneath the olives of Gethsemane he had wrestled on the ground, and as it were sunk into the ground until he died, if he had not been there alone, and if on the cross he had not cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” so that he felt quite deserted and alone, like the buried corn of wheat,—could not have saved us. If he had not actually died he would as man have been alone for ever: not without the eternal Father and the divine Spirit, not without the company of angels; but there had not been another man to keep him company. Our Lord Jesus cannot bear to be alone. A head without its members is a ghastly sight, crown it as you may. Know ye not that the church is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Without his people Jesus would have been a shepherd without sheep; surely it is not a very honourable office to be a shepherd without a flock. He would have been a husband without his spouse; but he loves his bride so well that for this purpose did he leave his Father and become one flesh with her whom he had chosen. He clave to her, and died for her; and had he not done so he would have been a bridegroom without a bride. This could never be. His heart is not of the kind that can enjoy a selfish happiness which is shared by none. If you have read Solomon’s Song, where the heart of the Bridegroom is revealed, you will have seen that he desires the company of his love, his dove, his undefiled. His delights were with the sons of men. Simon Stylites on the top of a pillar is not Jesus Christ; the hermit in his cave may mean well, but he finds no warrant for his solitude in him whose cross he professes to venerate. Jesus was the friend of men, not avoiding them, but seeking the lost. It was truly said of him, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” He draws all men unto him, and for this cause he was lifted up from the earth. Yet must this great attractive man have been alone in heaven if he had not been alone in Gethsemane, alone before Pilate, alone when mocked by soldiers, and alone upon the cross. If this precious grain of wheat had not descended into the dread loneliness of death it had remained alone, but since he died he “bringeth forth much fruit.”     This brings us to the fourth paradox,—Christ must die to give life. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit”: Jesus must die to give life to others. Persons who do not think confound dying with non-existence, and living with existence—very, very different things. “The soul that sinneth it shall die:” it shall never go out of existence, but it shall die by being severed from God who is its life. There are many men who exist, and yet have not true life, and shall not see life, but “the wrath of God abideth on them.” The grain of wheat when it is put into the ground dies; do we mean that it ceases to be? Not at all. What is death? It is the resolution of anything possessing life into its primary elements. With us it is the body parting from the soul; with a grain of wheat it is the dissolving of the elements which made up the corn. Our divine Lord when put into the earth did not see corruption, but his soul was parted from his body for a while, and thus he died; and unless he had literally and actually died he could not have given life to any of us.     Beloved friends, this teaches us where the vital point of Christianity lies, Christ’s death is the life of his teaching. See here: if Christ’s preaching had been the essential point, or if his example had been the vital point, he could have brought forth fruit and multiplied Christians by his preaching, and by his example. But he declares that, except he shall die, he shall not bring forth fruit. Am I told that this was because his death would be the completion of his example, and the seal of his preaching? I admit that it was so, but I can conceive that if our Lord had rather continued to live on,—if he had been here constantly going up and down the world preaching and living as he did, and if he had wrought miracles as he did, and put forth that mysterious, attracting power, which was always with him, he might have produced a marvellous number of disciples. If his teaching and living had been the way in which spiritual life could have been bestowed, without an atonement, why did not the Saviour prolong his life on earth? But the fact is that no man among us can know anything about spiritual life except through the atonement. There is no way by which we can come to a knowledge of God except through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, by which we have access to the Father. If, as some tell us, the ethical part of Christianity is much more to be thought of than its peculiar doctrines, then, why did Jesus die at all? The ethical might have been brought out better by a long life of holiness. He might have lived on till now if he had chosen, and still have preached, and still have set an example among the sons of men; but he assures us that only by death could he have brought forth fruit. What, not with all that holy living? No. What, not by that matchless teaching? No. Not one among us could have been saved from eternal death except an expiation had been wrought by Jesus’ sacrifice. Not one of us could have been quickened into spiritual life except Christ himself had died and risen from the dead.     Brethren, all the spiritual life that there is in the world is the result of Christ’s death. We live under a dispensation which shadows forth this truth to us. Life first came into the world by a creation: that was lost in the garden. Since then, the father of our race is Noah, and life by Noah came to us by a typical death, burial, and resurrection. Noah went in unto the ark, and was shut in, and so buried. In that ark Noah went among the dead, himself enveloped in the rain and in the ark, and he came out into a new world, rising again, as it were, when the waters were assuaged. That is the way of life to-day. We are dead with Christ, we are buried with Christ, we are risen with Christ; and there is no real spiritual life in this world except that which has come to us by the process of death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. Do you know anything about this, dear friends?—for if you do not, you know not the life of God. You know the theory, but do you know the experimental power of this within your own spirit? Whenever we hear the doctrine of the atonement attacked, let us stand up for it. Let us tell the world that while we value the life of Christ even more than they do, we know that it is not the example of Christ that saves anybody, but his death for our sakes. If the blessed Christ had lived here all these nineteen hundred years, without sin, teaching all his marvellous precepts with his own sublime and simple eloquence, yet he had not produced one single atom of spiritual life among all the sons of men. Without dying he brings forth no fruit. If you want life, my dear hearer, you will not get it as an unregenerate man by attempting to imitate the example of Christ. You may get good of a certain sort that way, but you will never obtain spiritual life and eternal salvation by that method. You must believe on Jesus as dying for you. You have to understand that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son, cleans us from all sin. When you have learned that truth, you shall study his life with advantage; but unless you recognize that the grain of wheat is cast into the ground, and made to die, you will never realize any fruit from it in your own soul, or see fruit in the souls of others.     One other blessed lesson deep divinity is to be learnt from our text: it is this,—since Jesus Christ did really fall into the ground and die, we may expect much as the result of it. “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Some have a little Christ, and they expect to see little things come of him. I have met with good people who appear to think that Jesus Christ died for the sound people who worship at Zoar Chapel, and, perhaps, for a few more who go to Ebenezer in a neighbouring town, and they hope that one day a chosen few—a scanty company indeed they are, and they do their best by mutual quarrelling to make them fewer—will glorify God for the salvation of a very small remnant. I will not blame these dear brethren, but I do wish that their hearts were enlarged. We do not yet know all the fruit that is to come out of our Lord Jesus. May there not come a day when the millions of London shall worship God with one consent? I look for a day when the knowledge of the glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, when kings shall fall down before the Son of God, and all nations shall call him blessed. “It is too much to expect,” says one; “missions make very slow progress.” I know all that, but missions are not the seed: all that we look for is to come out of that corn of wheat which fell into the ground and died: this is to bring forth much fruit. When I think of my Master’s blessed person as perfect Son of God and Son of man; when I think of the infinite glory which he laid aside, and of the unutterable pangs he bore, I ask whether angels can compute the value of the sacrifice he offered? God only knows the love of God that was manifested in the death of his Son, and do you think that there will be all this planning and working and sacrifice of infinite love, and then an insignificant result? It is not like Goad that it should be so. The travail of the Son of God shall not bring forth a scanty good. The result shall be commensurate with the means, and the effect shall be parallel with the cause. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah! Ah, as the groanings of the cross must have astounded angels, so shall the results of the cross amaze the seraphim, and make them admire the excess of glory which has arisen from the shameful death of their Lord. O beloved, great things are to come out of our Jesus yet. Courage, you that are dispirited. Be brave, you soldiers of the cross. Victory awaits your banner. Wait patiently, work hopefully, suffer joyfully, for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and he is the governor among the nations.     Thus have I spoken upon profound divinity.     I close with a few words upon PRACTICAL INSTRUCTION. Learn now that what is true of Christ is in measure true of every child of God: “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” This is so far applicable to us, as the next verse indicates,—”He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”     First, we must die if we are to live. There is no spiritual life for you, for me, for any man, except by dying into it. Have you a fine-spun righteousness of your own? It must die. Have you any faith in yourself? It must die. The sentence of death must be in yourself, and then you shall enter into life. The withering power of the Spirit of God must be experienced before his quickening influence can be known: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.” You must be slain by the sword of the Spirit before you can be made alive by the breath of the Spirit.     Next, we must surrender everything to keep it. “He that loveth his life shall lose it.” Brother, you can never have spiritual life, hope, joy, peace, heaven, except by giving everything up into God’s hands. You shall have everything in Christ when you are willing to have nothing of your own. You must ground your weapons of rebellion, you must drop the plumes of your pride, you must give up into God’s hand all that you are and all that you have; and if you do not thus lose everything in will, you shall lose everything in fact; indeed, you have lost it already. A full surrender of everything to God is the only way to keep it. Some of God’s people find this literally true. I have known a mother keep back her child from God, and the child has died. Wealthy people have worshipped their wealth, and as they were God’s people, he has broken their idols into shivers. You must love your all if you would keep it, and renounce your most precious thing if you would have it preserved to you.     Next, we must lose self in order to find self. “He that hateth his life shall keep it unto life eternal.” You must entirely give up living for yourself, and then you yourself shall live. The man who lives for himself does not live; he loses the essence, the pleasure, the crown of existence; but if you live for others and for God you will find the life of life. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” There is no way of finding yourself in personal joy like losing yourself in the joy of others.     Once more: if you wish to be the means of life to others, you must in your measure die yourself. “Oh,” say you, “will it actually come to death?” Well, it may not, but you should be prepared for it if it should. Who have most largely blessed the present age? I will tell you. I believe we owe our gospel liberties mainly to the poor men and women who died at the stake for the faith. Call them Lollards, Anabaptists, or what you will, the men who died for it gave life to the holy cause. Some of all ranks did this, from bishops downward to poor boys. Many of them could not preach from the pulpit, but they preached grander sermons from the faggots than all the reformers could thunder from their rostrums. They fell into the ground and died, and the “much fruit” abides to this day. The self-sacrificing death of her saints was the life and increase of the church. If we wish to achieve a great purpose, establish a great truth, and raise up a great agency for good, it must be by the surrender of ourselves, yea, of our very lives to the one all-absorbing purpose. Not else can we succeed. There is no giving out to others, without taking so much out of yourself. He who serves God and finds that it is easy work will find it hard work to give in his account at the last. A sermon that costs nothing is worth nothing; if it did not come from the heart it will not go to the heart. Take it as a rule that wear and tear must go on, even to exhaustion, if we are to be largely useful. Death precedes growth. The Saviour of others cannot save himself. We must not, therefore, grudge the lives of those who die under the evil climate of Africa, if they die for Christ; nor must we murmur if here and there God’s best servants are cut down by brain exhaustion: it is the law of divine husbandry that by death cometh increase.     And you, dear friend, must not say, “Oh, I cannot longer teach in the Sunday-school: I work so hard all the week that I—I—I”—shall I finish the sentence for you? You work so hard for yourself all the week that you cannot work for God one day in the week. Is that it? “No, not quite so, but I am so fagged.” Very true, but think of your Lord. He knew what weariness was for you, and yet he wearied not in well doing. You will never come to sweat of blood as he did. Come, dear friend, will you be a corn of wheat laid up on the shelf alone? Will you be like that wheat in the mummy’s hand, unfruitful and forgotten, or would you grow? I hear you say, “Sow me somewhere.” I will try to do so. Let me drop you into the Sunday-school field, or into the Tract-lending acre, or into the Street-preaching parcel of land. “But if I make any great exertion if will half kill me.” Yes; and if it shall quite kill, you will then prove the text, “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Those who have killed themselves of late in our Lord’s service are not so numerous that we need be distressed by the fear that an enormous sacrifice of life is likely to occur. Little cause is there just now to repress fanaticism, but far more reason to denounce to self-seeking. O, my brethren, let us rise to a condition of consecration more worthy of our Lord and of his glorious cause, and henceforth may we be eager to be as the buried, hidden, dying, yet fruit-bearing wheat for the glory of our Lord. Thus have I merely glanced at the text; another day may it be our privilege to dive into its depths.

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“–“O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul…”

Morning

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“O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul.”

Lamentations 3:58

Observe how positively the prophet speaks. He doth not say, “I hope, I trust, I sometimes think, that God hath pleaded the causes of my soul;” but he speaks of it as a matter of fact not to be disputed. “Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul.” Let us, by the aid of the gracious Comforter, shake off those doubts and fears which so much mar our peace and comfort. Be this our prayer, that we may have done with the harsh croaking voice of surmise and suspicion, and may be able to speak with the clear, melodious voice of full assurance. Notice how gratefully the prophet speaks, ascribing all the glory to God alone! You perceive there is not a word concerning himself or his own pleadings. He doth not ascribe his deliverance in any measure to any man, much less to his own merit; but it is “thou”–“O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.” A grateful spirit should ever be cultivated by the Christian; and especially after deliverances we should prepare a song for our God. Earth should be a temple filled with the songs of grateful saints, and every day should be a censor smoking with the sweet incense of thanksgiving. How joyful Jeremiah seems to be while he records the Lord’s mercy. How triumphantly he lifts up the strain! He has been in the low dungeon, and is even now no other than the weeping prophet; and yet in the very book which is called “Lamentations,” clear as the song of Miriam when she dashed her fingers against the tabor, shrill as the note of Deborah when she met Barak with shouts of victory, we hear the voice of Jeremy going up to heaven–“Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.” O children of God, seek after a vital experience of the Lord’s lovingkindness, and when you have it, speak positively of it; sing gratefully; shout triumphantly.

Evening

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“The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” Proverbs 30:26

Conscious of their own natural defencelessness, the conies resort to burrows in the rocks, and are secure from their enemies. My heart, be willing to gather a lesson from these feeble folk. Thou art as weak and as exposed to peril as the timid cony; be as wise to seek a shelter. My best security is within the munitions of an immutable Jehovah, where his unalterable promises stand like giant walls of rock. It will be well with thee, my heart, if thou canst always hide thyself in the bulwarks of his glorious attributes, all of which are guarantees of safety for those who put their trust in him. Blessed be the name of the Lord, I have so done, and have found myself like David in Adullam, safe from the cruelty of my enemy; I have not now to find out the blessedness of the man who puts his trust in the Lord, for long ago, when Satan and my sins pursued me, I fled to the cleft of the rock Christ Jesus, and in his riven side I found a delightful resting-place. My heart, run to him anew tonight, whatever thy present grief may be; Jesus feels for thee; Jesus consoles thee; Jesus will help thee. No monarch in his impregnable fortress is more secure than the cony in his rocky burrow. The master of ten thousand chariots is not one whit better protected than the little dweller in the mountain’s cleft. In Jesus the weak are strong, and the defenceless safe; they could not be more strong if they were giants, or more safe if they were in heaven. Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven. More they cannot need, and need not wish. The conies cannot build a castle, but they avail themselves of what is there already: I cannot make myself a refuge, but Jesus has provided it, his Father has given it, his Spirit has revealed it, and lo, again tonight I enter it, and am safe from every foe.

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God Allows No More Than One Can Bare-He Leaves A Way Out!

A Sermon (No. 2912) Published on Thursday, December 1st, 1904, Delivered by C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. On Thursday Evening, September 21st, 1876.

HE WATERS MY GARDEN

GOD SURROUNDS ME WITH HIS MOUNTAINS

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”—1 Corinthians 10:13.

HIS VERSE IMMEDIATELY follows the warning to “him that thinketh he standeth to “take heed lest he fall.” We none of us know what stuff we are really made of until we are tried and tested. It is a very easy thing to imagine yourself to be strong, but it is a very different matter to find that you have sufficient strength when you actually need it. It has even been found possible, in these modern days, for some brethren and sisters to believe themselves to be perfect,—to believe that sin is entirely conquered within them; but I will warrant you that you will find that the practice of perfection is not nearly so common as the profession of it, and nothing like so easy. And I will venture to go even further, and to say that, if you watch those in whom sin is said to be dead, you will find that, if it is dead, it is not buried, and that it smells remarkably like other dead things, which ought to be buried. It is, possibly, worse than when it was alive, for it has become alive again, in an even worse sense, with a double putridity. Let no one of us imagine himself to be perfect, or to be proof against the temptations of Satan, or even the grosser vices to which the flesh is prone. It may only need for you to be attacked at a certain point, and in a certain way, and you will be overcome even as others have been. Thy wisest way is to believe thyself neither to be wise nor strong, and therefore to lie humbly at his feet who can make thee both wise and strong, and to look away from thyself, up to him who will keep the feet of his saints. It ought to cool the hot blood of self-conceit in any man, to remind him that, although he thinketh that he standeth, it is simply because he has not been tempted as others have been, who have fallen; or, if he has been tempted in a way which overthrew them, while he has stood fast, yet, if the temptations were still further increased, and he were left to himself, he would find that, at the last, the fierce wind from the pit would sweep him off his feet even as it has swept off other men, who thought that they could never be moved.     After the apostle Paul had, by this warning, rebuked the boastings of these who thought they were standing securely, he thought of the far larger number of persons who never think that they can stand, but who are in constant terror lest they should fall. They say they are not the people of God; yet, in almost the next breath, they say they are afraid that they will lose what they just said they had not got! They sometimes hope that they are saved, yet they quickly doubt if it is so with them; and they are troubled with the fear that, even though they are saved, they may yet fall and perish. Their feelings are a strange mingle-mangle of incorrect caution and incorrect doubt; and Paul seems to me, in this verse, to give them a cordial by which their fainting spirits may be revived, and I would like to pass it on to any of you who also need it. You may be tried in two senses,—trial will come, and the trial will often be a temptation, while the temptation will always be a trial.     I. Now comes in the comfort, and the first comfort, even in great trouble, is, that WE HAVE NOT, AFTER ALL, BEEN TRIED IN ANY VERY UNUSUAL WAY: “There hath no temptation (or trial) taken you but such as is common to man.”     YOU may think, my dear brethren and sisters, that you have been tried more than others; but it is only your want of knowledge of the trials of others which leads you to imagine that your own are unique. There are many others, besides yourself, in the furnace, and in quite as hot a part of it as that in which you are now placed. Note what Paul says: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” It is a human temptation, not a superhuman one, which has assailed you; that is to say, one which can be withstood by men,—not one that must inevitably sweep them away. You have never been tempted with an angelic temptation. Satan has tempted you, young man, but not with the same temptation with which he allured the angels who kept not their first estate. There may be other orders of intelligence, for whom there are other forms of temptation, because their intellects are superior to yours; but God has allowed you to be assailed in a way which is suitable as a best to you as a man. The trials that have come upon you have been moderated to your capacity as a man. The Lord knows that you are but animated dust, so he has not permitted you to be treated as if you were made of steel or iron. He has himself dealt with you as an earthen vessel,—a thing of clay in which he has caused life to dwell. He has not broken you with his rod of iron, as he would have done if he had smitten you with it.     “But I am very sorely tempted,” saith one. Yes, perhaps you are; but the Lord has given you the history of the children of Israel in the wilderness, to let you see that you have not been tempted more than they were. “Ah!” says another, “but I find myself placed in a very peculiar position, where I am greatly tried. I have to labor hard, and I have much difficulty in earning my daily bread, and I am beset with trials of many kinds.” Well, dear friend, even though what you say is perfectly true, I am not certain that your position is any more likely to bring temptation than was that of the children of Israel in the wilderness. “Ah!” you say, “but they had not to work to earn their bread. The manna came to them every morning, and they had only to gather it, and to eat it. They were not engaged in commercial transactions, there were no markets in the desert,—no Corn Exchange, no Stock Exchange, no Smithfield, no Billingsgate,—no taking down the shutters in the morning, and putting them up again at night, and going a great part of the day without any customers. They were separated from all other nations, and were in a peculiarly advantageous position. Yet, dear friends, you need not wish to be placed in such a position, because, advantageous as it was, in some respects, the Israelites there were evidently tempted to all sorts of sins, and fell into them very grievously. Having often read the story of their forty years’ sojourn in the wilderness, you know their sad history. With so favorable a position granted to them, under the Lord’s own special guardianship, and enriched with many choice mercies, we might have expected that they would have been free from temptation;—or, at any rate, that they would not have fallen into its snare; yet it was not so, for the devil can tempt in the wilderness quite as well as in the city, as we know from the experience of Christ himself. The devil would tempt you even if your bread was given to you every morning, instead of your having to earn it; he would tempt you if you had no business to attend to, and never had to go into the world to meet with your fellow-men. In fact, the story of the Israelites teaches me that it is best for you to work, and best for you to be poor, and best for you not to make money as fast as you would like, and best for you to be surrounded by cares of various kinds. I think I judge rightly that the people of God, the saved ones, do not fall into such—gross sins as the Israelites did in the wilderness; so that the saints’ position, though it may appear worse than that of Israel, is really better.     To what, my dear brethren and sisters, are you tempted? Are you tempted to lust after evil things? They lusted after the meat that was not suitable to the climate, nor good for their health; and they despised the manna, which was the very best food they could have. Do you ever get a craving for what you ought not to desire? Are you growing covetous? Do you long for ease? Do you wish for wealth? Do you love pleasure? Well, dear friends, this temptation has happened to others before; it happened to those people in the wilderness. You are not the first to be tempted in that fashion; and if divine grace has helped others to overcome the covetous desire, and the lusting of the spirit, it can help you to do the same; but, mark also that, if others have fallen through such temptations, and perished in the wilderness, you, too, apart from divine grace, will do the same. Therefore have you urgent need to cry to the Strong for strength, lest you also should fall even as they did.     Are you tempted to idolatry? It is a very common temptation to make an idol of a child, or of same particular pursuit in which you are engaged; is there anything in the world that is so dear to you that the very thought of losing it makes you feel that you would rebel against God if he took it away from you? Remember what John was inspired to write: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” But if you are tempted to idolatry, do not forget that this is a thing that is common to men. In the wilderness, the Israelites were tempted to set up a golden calf, and to worship it, and even to practice other idolatrous rites which were too foul for me to describe. They were tempted to idolatry, so it is not an uncommon temptation; and if you also are tempted in a similar fashion, you must cry to God for grace to resist and to overcome the temptation.     Are you tried, sometimes, even with that terrible temptation which is mentioned in the verse where Paul says, “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed”? Has strong passion sometimes suggested to you that which your soul abhors? Have you been, at times, forced to the very brink of that, dread abyss of uncleanness, till you have had to cry, with the psalmist, “My feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped”? Ah! this temptation also is not uncommon to men and even those who live nearest to God, and are the most pure in heart, sometimes have to blush before the Lord that such evil suggestions should ever come into their minds.     And have you, too, been tempted “to tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents”? They wanted God to change his plans and purposes concerning them; and they found fault with him, and said that he had brought them into the wilderness to destroy them. Do you feel that your present troubles are too severe,—that they should not have been sent to you,—at least, not so many and so heavy as they are? If so, and if you feel that you have a cause for complaint against the Most High, and that you want him to change his methods of dealing with you so as to suit your whims and fancies,—alas! sad as such a state of mind is, it is only too “common to man.”     And, possibly, you may also have been tempted to murmur, “as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” I must withdraw that word “possibly,” for I am greatly afraid that many professing Christians do murmur, and that they do not always realize what a gross sin it is to murmur, seeing that it is an act of distinct rebellion against God. But, should you, at any time, feel a murmuring spirit rising up within your heart, you must not say, “This is a trial which nobody else has ever experienced.” Alas! it is a very human temptation, which is exceedingly “common to man.”     So, summing up all that I have been saying, and looking round upon this congregation, and upon all of you who know the Lord,—although it would be impossible for me to recount all the different forms of temptation and trial through which you have gone, yet this is a matter of fact,—”there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” We are all in the same boat, brothers and sisters, so far as temptation and trial are concerned. We are all warring the same warfare; your duty may call you to one part of the field, and mine may call me to another part, but the bullets whiz by me as well as by you. There is no nook so quiet but it hath its own special dangers, and there is no Valley of Humiliation so lowly but, is hath its peculiar temptations. Sins are everywhere; they sit down with you at your board, and they go with you to your bed. Snares are set for you in your home and in the street,—in your business and in your recreations. Snares are not absent from your pains, and they are abundant in your pleasures. Everywhere, and under all circumstances, must we expect to be tried; this experience is common to men. The remembrance that it is so ought to be somewhat of a comfort to us in every time of trial and temptation.     II. But, secondly, in our text we have a far better source of comfort than that; it is this: but GOD IS FAITHFUL. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.”     “God is faithful.” Oh, how I love those words! They sound in my heart like heavenly music. “GOD is faithful.” You are not faithful, my brother or sister; at least, I know I am not, in the full sense of the term, faithful,—full of faith, and faithful. “But”—oh, that blessed “but,”—”but GOD is faithful”! “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful,”—always true to every promise he has made,—always gracious to every child whom he has adopted into his family,—”a very present help in trouble,”—preserving us from sinking in our seas of trouble, and delivering us from the trouble when it has accomplished the purpose for which it was sent.     “God is faithful,”—faithful to that first promise of his which came into thy soul when thou didst yield thyself to Jesus, and he whispered to thine heart, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Dost thou remember that promise, and has not the Lord been faithful to it? “God is faithful” also to that promise which he made of old concerning his Son, Jesus Christ: “He shall see his seed.” He has seen his seed in thee, and he will see thee to be his seed for evermore.     “God is faithful” to all his promises; and in thy experience, my brother or sister, he has been faithful to the promises which met thy case in all thy changing circumstances. Has he not been faithful? Canst thou put thy finger upon a single page of thy diary, and say, “God was unfaithful then”? Thy friend, who ate bread with thee, has lifted up his heel against thee; but has thy God forsaken thee? Even thine own children have been unkind and ungrateful to thee; but has the Lord ever treated thee ill? Where thou hadst the most hope, among thine earthly friends and acquaintances, thou hast had the most disappointments; but has Jesus ever been a wilderness unto thee? “All men are liars,” thou hast said, in the bitterness of thy spirit, when thou hast trusted in them, and they have failed thee in the time of trial; but hast thou ever found Christ false to his Word? Canst thou not join thy testimony with that of all the saints above, and the saints below, and say with Paul, “God is faithful”?     Even if any of you are looking forward to a dreaded sickness, or to a painful operation, or to business losses which may sink you from your present comfortable position to one of great trial and poverty,—think of this blessed truth, “God is faithful.” The whole world may reel to and fro, like a drunken man; but the Rock of ages stands secure. The shooting stars of temporary prosperity may die out in everlasting night, but God is “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” “God is faithful.” Whatever thy future briars are to be, put thou this short sweet sentence into thy mouth, and keep it there, as a heavenly lozenge which shall sustain thee at all times. Make it also into a jubilant refrain; and, as thou goest on thy way, sing, again and again, “God is faithful.” Trials and temptations will assail you; “but God is faithful.” Friends will fail and forsake you; “but God is faithful.” Wealth may be lost, and property may vanish; “but God is faithful.” What dost thou want more than this, soldiers of Christ? Here you have breastplate, helmet, sword, shield, spear,—yea, the whole panoply of God.     III. The third comfort for a tried and tempted believer arises from GOD’S POWER, for Paul says, “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.”     God, then, has power to limit temptation; it is clear, from the Book of Job, that Satan could not tempt or try the patriarch except by divine permission; and, even then, his power was limited; nor can he tempt us unless God allows him to do so. Although the devil had great power over the elements, so that he brought disaster upon poor Job, yet there was a very definite limit to his chain, even when the Lord let him loose to a certain extent; and when God set up his barriers, Satan could not go beyond them. You remember that the Lord first said to Satan, concerning his servant Job, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” When the devil again in intruded himself among the sons of God, the Lord let out more links of his chain, but there was still a most emphatic limit to his power over the patriarch, “Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” The devil would have liked to kill Job outright, but he could go no further than the Lord allowed him to go; and God still has unlimited power over the devil and over every form of temptation or trial that can ever come upon you. If the Lord appoints for you ten troubles, he will not suffer them to be increased to eleven. If he ordains that you shall be in trouble for six years, you will not be in it for six years and a day; but, when the allotted time has expired, you shall come out of it. Nothing can resist, the might of the omnipotent Jehovah, “who makest the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind.” He can put a bit in the mouth of the tempest, and rein in the rushing steeds of the storm; and the fiercest of thy trials and temptations must feel the force of his overruling and restraining hand. When thou art on the dunghill, recollect that God is on his throne. Well did the psalmist sing, “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice;” but much more may his own people rejoice because his sovereignty is pledged to defend them. Why, if all the armies of the devil were let loose upon a single saint, who felt himself to be weak as a worm, and the Lord said to them, “I am his defense, and ye shall not touch him;” they could not touch him, and he would be able to say, with the utmost confidence, “Greater is he that is for me than all that can be against me.” The adversaries of the righteous may rage as much as they will; but they will have to spend their strength in raging, for that is all they can do against God’s people without his express permission. Not a hair of their head can be scorched by the fires of persecution unless the Lord allows it. The waters of the Red Sea cannot drown them: they march between the watery walls dryshod. The lions cannot devour them: Daniel enjoyed a good night’s rest even in the lions’ den. Even the waves of the sea become the servitors of the saints, for “Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights,” in preparation for future service for God. All his people are kept by his almighty power. How greatly this ought to comfort you who are sorely tried! Every twig of the rod of correction has been made by God, and every stroke of it is counted by him. There is not a drop more gall in your cup than the Lord has ordained. He has weighed, in the scales of the sanctuary, every ingredient of your medicine, and mixed it with all his infallible skill so that it may produce the cure of all your ills; should not this make you rejoice in the Lord all the day long, and in the night seasons as well?     IV. Fourthly, not only should tried believers rejoice in God’s power, but they should also rejoice in GOD’S JUDGMENT, for Paul says, “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.”     Who beside God knows how much we are able to be? Our consolation arises from the fact that God knows exactly how much we can bear. We have no idea, ourselves, what we can bear. I have, many a time, heard a person say, “If such-and-such a thing were to happen, I should break my heart, and die.” Well, that very thing has happened, but the person concerned did not break his heart, and he did not die. On the contrary, he behaved himself as a Christian in trial should; God helped him wondrously, and he played the man, and became more than conqueror, and was the brighter and the braver, ever afterwards, for all the affliction through which he had passed. Brother, your own strength, in same respects, is greater than you think, and, in other respects, it is less than you think; but God knows just how much you can bear, so leave yourself in his hands.     I have known some people who have wished for trouble; it is a great pity that anybody should be so foolish as that. I remember one, who used to think that he was not a child of God because, he had not had much trouble. He used to be fretting all the day long because he had nothing really to make him fret. I once heard a woman, in the street, say to her child, who was screaming lustily, “If you cry for nothing, I’ll give you something to cry for.” So, when a man wants trouble, he will probably get it; but it is a very silly child or man who asks for the rod. Be content to have as little of it as you really must; you will have quite enough of it before you get to heaven. Do not ask for it; you will have it in due time. God knows, to an ounce, just what his children and his servants can carry, and he never overloads them. It is true that he sometimes sends them more trouble than they could have carried by themselves; but, then, as he increases the weight of their burden, he also increases the strength of the back upon which he places it.     I have often admired the lovingkindness of the Lord to many of my own flock here, and have noted the great joy that our young Christians have had for a number of years, and observed how remarkably God has preserved them from temptation without and from trials within. The Lord does not send his young children out to battle. He does not intend such little boats as these to go far out to sea. He will not overdrive these lambs. Yet the advanced Christians are just as happy as the young people are, and they are stronger and more fit for stern service and more able to sympathize with others, who are in trouble, because of what they have themselves passed through. As they have grown stronger, God has given them more fighting to do for him, while the raw recruits have been kept at home to be drilled and disciplined. You know that, when there is a desperate fight being waged, and the issue of the battle seems in doubt, the commander orders “the old guard” to the front. That is part of the privilege of being an old guardsman,—to go into the hottest place on the field of battle; and it is one of the privileges of the advanced children of God to be tempted more than others, and to suffer more than others. If I could have any trial or temptation, which, otherwise, would fall upon a young brother who has only known the Lord a week or two, I would gladly say, “Let me have it.” It might stagger him, and I should be sorry for him to be staggered by it, so I will willingly endure it. You tried believers must not imagine that God does not love you as much as he did in the days of your spiritual youth, when he did not test you as he does now. He loves you quite as much as he did then, and he trusts you even more than he did then; because he has made you stronger than you used to be, he gives you the honor and privilege of marching with the vanguard of his army, or leading the forlorn hope, or standing foot to foot with old Apollyon.     God knows exactly how much temptation or trial you can bear, and he will not suffer the trial to go beyond that point. But, mark you, it will go right up to that point, for there is no such thing in the world as faith that runs to waste. For every grain of faith that God gives, he usually gives the equivalent trial of some sort or other; for, if faith could ever be in excess, it would degenerate into fanaticism, or some other unholy thing. If the Lord supplies us, at our back door as it were, with his good treasure, we are to dispose of it in our front shop in our holy trading for him.     V. Fifthly, our text seems to intimate that GOD HATH IN STORE SOMETHING TO GO WITH OUR TEMPTATIONS: “He will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that, ye may be able to bear it.”     You know how you treat your own child. There is a dose of nasty physic to be taken, and the little one does not like it. The very sight of the spoon and cup makes it feel queer. But mother says, “Now, Johnny, take this medicine, and then you shall have this lump of sugar, or this fruit, to take away the taste of it.” And when God sends a trial or trouble to one of his children, he is sure to have a choice sweetmeat to go with it. I have heard a child say, “I do not mind taking the physic so long as I get the sugar;” and I have known some of the Lord’s people say, “We will willingly bear sickness, pain, bereavement, temptation, persecution, if we may but have our Savior’s presence in it all.” Some of us will never forget our experiences in sickness; when our pain has been sharpest; and worst, it has also been sweetest and best, at the same time. What do I not personally owe to the file, and the anvil, and the hammer in my Master’s workshop? I have often said, and I say again, that the best piece of furniture in my house is the cross of affliction. I have, long ago, learned to prize it, and to praise God for it, and for that which has come to me with it, for I have often found that, with the trial, the Lord has made a way of escape, that I have been able to bear it.     Even with the temptation to sin, the Lord often sends, to the tempted soul, such a revelation of the sinfulness of sin, and of the beauty of holiness, that the poison of the temptation is quite neutralized. Even with temporal trials, the Lord often gives temporal mercies; sometimes, when he has been pleased to take away a man’s wealth, he has restored to him his health, and so the man has been a distinct gainer. I have known several instances in which that has occurred. And when one dear child has been taken away out of a family, there has, perhaps, been the conversion of another of the children, which has been a wonderful compensation for the trial. And, oftentimes, trouble has been attended with an unusual delight in the Lord. The Word of God has been peculiarly sweet at such a time, and the minister has seemed to preach better than ever he did before, his message exactly fitting your condition just then. You have been surprised to find that the bitterness, which came with the trouble, has passed away almost before you were aware of it; and, as death is swallowed up in victory, like one bitter drop in a glass of water, so your trouble has been diluted with sweet wine, and you have swallowed it, and have scarcely tasted its bitterness. Thus the Lord, by his grace, and presence, and comfort, has made you so glad that you have hardly known that you have been in such trouble, because of the superabounding mercy which came with it. Ought not that to comfort us, and to make us ready for whatever the Lord pleases to send to us, or to permit to come upon us?     VI. Now, notice, in the last place, that GOD MAKES A WAY OF ESCAPE FOR HIS PEOPLE: “He will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”     I will read that over again: “He will with the temptation also make a way to escape”—”that you may get out of it?” Oh, no!—”that you may not have to endure it”? Oh, no!—“that ye may be able to bear it.” That is a curious way to escape, is it not? Here is your way of retreat blocked up, and the opposing army is in front of you, yet you are to escape. You say to the Lord, “Which way am I to run?” But the Lord replies, “You must not run away; your way to escape is to cut a road right through your adversaries.” That is a singular way to escape, but it is the most glorious way in the whole world. The best way for an army to escape is by conquering its foe. It is not the best way for the pilgrim to go, to the right, into the dark mountains, or to the left, into the thick forest, to escape from his enemies; the best way for him to escape is to go straight forward, despite all his adversaries; and that is the only right way for you to escape.     Now, beloved brother or sister, you may, at this moment, be expecting some very heavy affliction; and you have been asking the Lord to make a way of escape for you. You have said, “Oh, that I might not have to come to that hour of trial!” But you will have to come to it. But cannot that dear one’s life be spared? “I hope it may; but it is possible that it may not.” Then, how am I to have a way of escape? Your way of escape is not to avoid the trial, but to be able to bear it. What a mercy it is that God, though he will not let his people escape trial, will really let them escape, for this is a way of escape for them, and the best way of escape, too. It is a way of escape from all the sin of the temptation, and from all the evil of the trial; you must have the trial, but you will only have the beneficial part of it. Brother, you must be plunged into that sea of sorrow; but it will not drown you, it will only wash and cleanse you. Sir, you must go into that fire, your Lord has so ordained it; yet you are going to escape the fire. Do you ask, “How can that be? Why, thus,—none of your gold shall be destroyed, only the dross shall be consumed, and you shall be all the purer for passing through the fire; so again I say that this is the very best way to escape; for if we could escape in any other way, we should lose all the benefit of the trial.     What shall I say, then, in closing, but this, brethren and sisters? Are you troubled just now, and are you inclined to despair? Take wiser counsel; the storms that are beating about your barque are only such as beat about your Master’s vessel, and the ships and boats in which his apostles sailed across the sea of old. The storms are not supernatural; they are not beyond what believers in Jesus are able to bear. Put your vessel’s head to the wind, like a brave sailor; do not try to avoid that fierce blast. Sail in its very teeth, for there is a power within you which can overcome all the winds and the waves, for is not the Lord himself with you as your Captain, and is not the Holy Ghost with you as your Pilot, and have you not a faithful God to trust to in the stormiest night you will ever know? True, your foes are many and mighty; but face them like a man. Have no thought of turning back, and flinging away your shield; but resolve, in the mighty power of faith, that, since, the Lord has said that, “as thy days, so shall thy strength be,” to the end thou shalt endure; and that, with Job, thou wilt say, “Though he slay me, yet, will I trust, in him.” It will not be easy to keep that resolve, yet the Lord deserves that we should keep it. Think of yourself, beloved brother, in the worst conceivable condition; and then know that there is no sufficient reason, even in such a condition as that, for you to doubt your God. Suppose yourself brought to your last penny; yet remember that there was a time when you were not worth a penny, a time when you could not put food into your own mouth, and could not put on your own garments. You were cast upon God in your first childhood, and he took care of you then; and if you grow to be a child again, and the infirmities of age increase and multiply, he who was so good at the beginning, will be quite as good at the end. Remember his ancient promise: “Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Such a promise as this, if God the Holy Spirit will bless it, will make the most tried believer rejoice in the Lord, and go on his way defying every foe who may be in his path.     What I cannot understand is, what people do who have not a God to trust to. I often go to see poor sick people, full of aches and pains, and it charms me to hear them talk of the goodness of the Lord to them. In talking, this week, with one of our brethren, who is very sick and ill, he spoke with such holy joy and boasting of the Lord’s goodness to him, that I could not help saying that it would take a great many infidel arguments to make me doubt the power of true religion after I had listened to him. I like to see God’s tried people dying full of joy, praising and blessing the name of the Lord who is their All-in-all in their most trying hour. It is not so with all of you; then what do you do, when trial comes, without a God to help you? You have not much of this world’s goods, and you have to work hard; yet when you die, you have no home to go to, you have no hope of going to heaven. Oh, you poor No-hopes! “Oh!” says one, “we are not all poor; some of us are quite well-to-do.” But you are poor, for all that, even if you have all your heart can wish for here. If you have not a God, where do you carry your troubles and your griefs, for I am sure that you have some! O my dear friend, may the Lord make you feel that you cannot do without him! And when your heart has come to this resolve, “I cannot do without my God, I will not try to do without him; I feel that I must have him, “then you shall have him. He waiteth to be gracious, and he hath said, “They that seek me early shall find me.” May you seek him now, and find him, and to him shall be the praise for ever and ever! Amen.


EXPOSITION BY C. H. Spurgeon

1 CORINTHIANS 10:1-13.

 Verses 1-4. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ.     You see, then, dear brethren, that the possession of privileges is not everything. Paul would not have us to be ignorant that all those who were with Moses in the wilderness had privileges of a very high order. Did they not all pass through the Red Sea, and so escape from their powerful and cruel foes? Did they not all drink of water which gushed forth from the flinty rock? Were they not all fed with manna from heaven? Yet their privileges did not save them, for while they had the five privileges mentioned in these four verses, they fell into the five great sins of which we are about to read; and so, their privileges, instead of being a blessing to them, only increased their condemnation.     5, 6. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples,—     Or, warnings, for just as they were overthrown in the wilderness, so may we be, notwithstanding all the gospel privileges which we enjoy, if we are not true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. If the life of Christ is not in our souls, all the privileges of the Church of God cannot save us. “These things were our examples,”—     6-11. To the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for example;—     The apostle has told us that before, but he tells it to us again, to warn us, by these beacons, lest we come to a similar destruction to that which befel those ancient unbelievers.     11, 12. And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.     We also are to take heed lest we fall, especially those of us who think we are standing securely. You have seen how terrible was the fate of those unbelievers in the wilderness, who never entered into Canaan, but left their carcases in the desert; now Paul urges us, with such beacons to warn us, to take heed lest we also fall as they did.     13. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.     O Lord, fulfill thy gracious purpose unto thy servants! Hold thou us up, lest we fall. We are very weak; keep us, for thy dear Son’s sake! Amen.

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Will you be a corn of wheat laid up on the shelf alone?

KING OF KINGS GLORY

FARM SERMONS BY C. H. SPURGEON

The Corn of Wheat Dying To Bring Forth Fruit

“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”—John 12:23-25.

ERTAIN Greeks desired to see Jesus. These were Gentiles, and it was remarkable that they should, just at this time, have sought an interview with our Lord. I suppose that the words “We would see Jesus” did not merely mean that they would like to look at him, for that they could have done in the public streets; but they would “see” him as we speak of seeing a person with whom we wish to hold a conversation. They desired to be introduced to him, and to have a few words of instruction from him.     These Greeks were the advanced guard of that great multitude that no man can number, of all nations, and people, and tongues, who are yet to come to Christ. The Saviour would naturally feel a measure of joy at the sight of them, but he did not say much about it, for his mind was absorbed just then with thoughts of his great sacrifice and its results; yet he took so much notice of the coming of these Gentiles to him that it gave a colour to the words which are here recorded by his servant John.     I notice that the Saviour here displays his broad humanity, and announced himself as the “Son of man.” He had done so before, but here with new intent. He says, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” Not as “the Son of David” does he here speak of himself, but as “the Son of man.” No longer does he make prominent the Jewish side of his mission, though as a preacher he was not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; but as the dying Saviour he speaks of himself as one of the race, not the Son of Abraham, or of David, but “the Son of man”: as much brother to the Gentile as to the Jew. Let us never forget the broad humanity of the Lord Jesus. In him all kindreds of the earth are joined in one, for he is not ashamed to bear the nature of our universal manhood; black and white, prince and pauper, sage and savage, all see in his veins the one blood by which all men are constituted one family. As the Son of man Jesus is near akin to every man that lives.     Now, too, that the Greeks were come, our Lord speaks somewhat of his glory as approaching. “The hour is come,” saith he, “that the Son of man should be glorified.” He does not say “that the Son of man should be crucified,” though that was true, and the crucifixion must come before the glorification; but the sight of those first-fruits from among the Gentiles makes him dwell upon his glory. Though he remembers his death, he speaks rather of the glory which would grow out of his great sacrifice. Remember, brethren, that Christ is glorified in the souls that he saves. As a physician wins honour by those he heals, so the Physician of souls gets glory out of those who come to him. When these devout Greeks came, saying, “Sirs, we would see Jesus,” though a mere desire to see him is only as the green blade, yet he rejoiced in it as the pledge of the harvest, and he saw in it the dawn of the glory of his cross.     I think, too, that the coming of these Greeks somewhat led the Saviour to use the metaphor of the buried corn. We are informed that wheat was largely mixed up with Grecian mysteries, but that is of small importance. It is more to the point that our Saviour was then undergoing the process which would burst the Jewish husk in which, if I may use such terms, his human life had been enveloped. I mean this: aforetime our Lord said that he was not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and when the Syrophenician woman pleaded for her daughter he reminded her of the restricted character of his commission as a prophet among men. When he sent out the seventy, he bade them not to go into the cities of the Samaritans, but to seek after the house of Israel only. Now, however, that blessed corn of wheat is breaking through its outer integument. Even before it is put into the ground to die the divine corn of wheat begins to show its living power, and the true Christ is being manifested. The Christ of God, though assuredly the Son of David, was, on the Father” side, neither Jew nor Gentile, but simply man; and the great sympathies of his heart were with all mankind. He regarded all whom he had chosen as his own brethren without distinction of sex, or nation, or the period of the world’s history in which they should live; and, at the sight of these Greeks, the true Christ came forth and manifested himself to the world as he had not done before. Hence, perhaps, the peculiar metaphor which we have now to explain.     In our text, dear friends, we have two things upon which I will speak briefly, as I am helped of the Spirit. First, we have profound doctrinal teaching, and secondly, we have practical moral principal.     First, we have PROFOUND DOCTRINAL TEACHING.     Our Saviour suggested to his thoughtful disciples a number of what might be called doctrinal paradoxes.     First, that, glorious as he was, he was yet to be glorified. “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” Jesus was always glorious. It was a glorious thing for the human person of the Son of man to be personally one with the Godhead. Our Lord Jesus had also great glory all the while he was on earth in the perfection of his moral character. The gracious end for which he came here was real glory to him: his condescending to be the Saviour of men was a great glorification of his loving character. His way of going about his work—the way in which he consecrated himself to his Father and was always about his Father’s business, the way in which he put aside Satan with his blandishments, and would not be bribed by all the kingdoms of the world—all this was his glory. I should not speak incorrectly if I were to say that Christ was really as to his moral nature never more glorious than when throughout his life on earth he was obscure, despised, rejected, and yet the faithful servant of God, and the ardent lover of the sons of men. The apostle says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” in which he refers not only to the transfiguration, in which there were special glimpses of the divine glory, but to our Lord’s tabernacling among men in the common walks of life. Saintly, spiritual minds beheld the glory of his life, the glory of grace and truth such as never before had been seen in any of the sons of men. But though he was thus, to all intents and purposes, already glorious, Jesus had yet to be glorified. Something more was to be added to his personal honour. Remember, then, that when you have the clearest conceptions of your Lord, there is still a glory to be added to all that you can see even with the word of God in your hands. Glorious as the living Son of man had been, there was a further glory to come upon him within the veil. He was a glorious Christ, and yet he had to be glorified.     A second paradox is this,—that his glory was to come to him through shame. He says, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified,” and then he speaks of his death. The greatest fulness of our Lord’s glory arises out of his emptying himself, and becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. It is his highest reputation that he made himself of no reputation. His crown derives new luster from his cross; his ever living is rendered more honourable by the fact of his dying unto sin once. Those blessed cheeks would never have been so fair as they are in the eyes of his chosen if they had not once been spat upon. Those dear eyes had never had so overpowering a glance if they had not once been dimmed in the agonies of death for sinners. His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl, but their brightest adornments are the prints of the cruel nails. As the Son of God his glory was all his own by nature, but as Son of man his present splendour is due to the cross, and to the ignominy which surrounded it when he bore our sins in his own body. We must never forget this, and if ever we are tempted to merge the crucified Saviour in the coming King we should feel rebuked by the fact that thus we should rob our Lord of his highest honour. Whenever you hear men speak lightly of the atonement stand up for it at once, for out of this comes the main glory of your Lord and Master. They, “Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe on him.” If he did so what would remain to be believed? It is on the cross, it is from the cross, it is through the cross that Jesus mounts to his throne, and the Son of man has a special honour in heaven to-day because he was slain and has redeemed us to God by his blood.     The next paradox is this,—Jesus must be alone or abide alone. Notice the text as I read it: “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,” and so gets alone, “it abideth alone.” The Son of man must be alone in the grave, or he will be alone in heaven. He must fall into the ground like the corn of wheat, and be there in the loneliness of death, or else he will abide alone. This is a paradox readily enough explained; our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of man, unless he had trodden the winepress alone, unless beneath the olives of Gethsemane he had wrestled on the ground, and as it were sunk into the ground until he died, if he had not been there alone, and if on the cross he had not cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” so that he felt quite deserted and alone, like the buried corn of wheat,—could not have saved us. If he had not actually died he would as man have been alone for ever: not without the eternal Father and the divine Spirit, not without the company of angels; but there had not been another man to keep him company. Our Lord Jesus cannot bear to be alone. A head without its members is a ghastly sight, crown it as you may. Know ye not that the church is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Without his people Jesus would have been a shepherd without sheep; surely it is not a very honourable office to be a shepherd without a flock. He would have been a husband without his spouse; but he loves his bride so well that for this purpose did he leave his Father and become one flesh with her whom he had chosen. He clave to her, and died for her; and had he not done so he would have been a bridegroom without a bride. This could never be. His heart is not of the kind that can enjoy a selfish happiness which is shared by none. If you have read Solomon’s Song, where the heart of the Bridegroom is revealed, you will have seen that he desires the company of his love, his dove, his undefiled. His delights were with the sons of men. Simon Stylites on the top of a pillar is not Jesus Christ; the hermit in his cave may mean well, but he finds no warrant for his solitude in him whose cross he professes to venerate. Jesus was the friend of men, not avoiding them, but seeking the lost. It was truly said of him, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” He draws all men unto him, and for this cause he was lifted up from the earth. Yet must this great attractive man have been alone in heaven if he had not been alone in Gethsemane, alone before Pilate, alone when mocked by soldiers, and alone upon the cross. If this precious grain of wheat had not descended into the dread loneliness of death it had remained alone, but since he died he “bringeth forth much fruit.”     This brings us to the fourth paradox,—Christ must die to give life. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit”: Jesus must die to give life to others. Persons who do not think confound dying with non-existence, and living with existence—very, very different things. “The soul that sinneth it shall die:” it shall never go out of existence, but it shall die by being severed from God who is its life. There are many men who exist, and yet have not true life, and shall not see life, but “the wrath of God abideth on them.” The grain of wheat when it is put into the ground dies; do we mean that it ceases to be? Not at all. What is death? It is the resolution of anything possessing life into its primary elements. With us it is the body parting from the soul; with a grain of wheat it is the dissolving of the elements which made up the corn. Our divine Lord when put into the earth did not see corruption, but his soul was parted from his body for a while, and thus he died; and unless he had literally and actually died he could not have given life to any of us.     Beloved friends, this teaches us where the vital point of Christianity lies, Christ’s death is the life of his teaching. See here: if Christ’s preaching had been the essential point, or if his example had been the vital point, he could have brought forth fruit and multiplied Christians by his preaching, and by his example. But he declares that, except he shall die, he shall not bring forth fruit. Am I told that this was because his death would be the completion of his example, and the seal of his preaching? I admit that it was so, but I can conceive that if our Lord had rather continued to live on,—if he had been here constantly going up and down the world preaching and living as he did, and if he had wrought miracles as he did, and put forth that mysterious, attracting power, which was always with him, he might have produced a marvellous number of disciples. If his teaching and living had been the way in which spiritual life could have been bestowed, without an atonement, why did not the Saviour prolong his life on earth? But the fact is that no man among us can know anything about spiritual life except through the atonement. There is no way by which we can come to a knowledge of God except through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, by which we have access to the Father. If, as some tell us, the ethical part of Christianity is much more to be thought of than its peculiar doctrines, then, why did Jesus die at all? The ethical might have been brought out better by a long life of holiness. He might have lived on till now if he had chosen, and still have preached, and still have set an example among the sons of men; but he assures us that only by death could he have brought forth fruit. What, not with all that holy living? No. What, not by that matchless teaching? No. Not one among us could have been saved from eternal death except an expiation had been wrought by Jesus’ sacrifice. Not one of us could have been quickened into spiritual life except Christ himself had died and risen from the dead.     Brethren, all the spiritual life that there is in the world is the result of Christ’s death. We live under a dispensation which shadows forth this truth to us. Life first came into the world by a creation: that was lost in the garden. Since then, the father of our race is Noah, and life by Noah came to us by a typical death, burial, and resurrection. Noah went in unto the ark, and was shut in, and so buried. In that ark Noah went among the dead, himself enveloped in the rain and in the ark, and he came out into a new world, rising again, as it were, when the waters were assuaged. That is the way of life to-day. We are dead with Christ, we are buried with Christ, we are risen with Christ; and there is no real spiritual life in this world except that which has come to us by the process of death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. Do you know anything about this, dear friends?—for if you do not, you know not the life of God. You know the theory, but do you know the experimental power of this within your own spirit? Whenever we hear the doctrine of the atonement attacked, let us stand up for it. Let us tell the world that while we value the life of Christ even more than they do, we know that it is not the example of Christ that saves anybody, but his death for our sakes. If the blessed Christ had lived here all these nineteen hundred years, without sin, teaching all his marvellous precepts with his own sublime and simple eloquence, yet he had not produced one single atom of spiritual life among all the sons of men. Without dying he brings forth no fruit. If you want life, my dear hearer, you will not get it as an unregenerate man by attempting to imitate the example of Christ. You may get good of a certain sort that way, but you will never obtain spiritual life and eternal salvation by that method. You must believe on Jesus as dying for you. You have to understand that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son, cleans us from all sin. When you have learned that truth, you shall study his life with advantage; but unless you recognize that the grain of wheat is cast into the ground, and made to die, you will never realize any fruit from it in your own soul, or see fruit in the souls of others.     One other blessed lesson deep divinity is to be learnt from our text: it is this,—since Jesus Christ did really fall into the ground and die, we may expect much as the result of it. “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Some have a little Christ, and they expect to see little things come of him. I have met with good people who appear to think that Jesus Christ died for the sound people who worship at Zoar Chapel, and, perhaps, for a few more who go to Ebenezer in a neighbouring town, and they hope that one day a chosen few—a scanty company indeed they are, and they do their best by mutual quarrelling to make them fewer—will glorify God for the salvation of a very small remnant. I will not blame these dear brethren, but I do wish that their hearts were enlarged. We do not yet know all the fruit that is to come out of our Lord Jesus. May there not come a day when the millions of London shall worship God with one consent? I look for a day when the knowledge of the glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, when kings shall fall down before the Son of God, and all nations shall call him blessed. “It is too much to expect,” says one; “missions make very slow progress.” I know all that, but missions are not the seed: all that we look for is to come out of that corn of wheat which fell into the ground and died: this is to bring forth much fruit. When I think of my Master’s blessed person as perfect Son of God and Son of man; when I think of the infinite glory which he laid aside, and of the unutterable pangs he bore, I ask whether angels can compute the value of the sacrifice he offered? God only knows the love of God that was manifested in the death of his Son, and do you think that there will be all this planning and working and sacrifice of infinite love, and then an insignificant result? It is not like Goad that it should be so. The travail of the Son of God shall not bring forth a scanty good. The result shall be commensurate with the means, and the effect shall be parallel with the cause. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah! Ah, as the groanings of the cross must have astounded angels, so shall the results of the cross amaze the seraphim, and make them admire the excess of glory which has arisen from the shameful death of their Lord. O beloved, great things are to come out of our Jesus yet. Courage, you that are dispirited. Be brave, you soldiers of the cross. Victory awaits your banner. Wait patiently, work hopefully, suffer joyfully, for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and he is the governor among the nations.     Thus have I spoken upon profound divinity.     I close with a few words upon PRACTICAL INSTRUCTION. Learn now that what is true of Christ is in measure true of every child of God: “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” This is so far applicable to us, as the next verse indicates,—”He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”     First, we must die if we are to live. There is no spiritual life for you, for me, for any man, except by dying into it. Have you a fine-spun righteousness of your own? It must die. Have you any faith in yourself? It must die. The sentence of death must be in yourself, and then you shall enter into life. The withering power of the Spirit of God must be experienced before his quickening influence can be known: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.” You must be slain by the sword of the Spirit before you can be made alive by the breath of the Spirit.     Next, we must surrender everything to keep it. “He that loveth his life shall lose it.” Brother, you can never have spiritual life, hope, joy, peace, heaven, except by giving everything up into God’s hands. You shall have everything in Christ when you are willing to have nothing of your own. You must ground your weapons of rebellion, you must drop the plumes of your pride, you must give up into God’s hand all that you are and all that you have; and if you do not thus lose everything in will, you shall lose everything in fact; indeed, you have lost it already. A full surrender of everything to God is the only way to keep it. Some of God’s people find this literally true. I have known a mother keep back her child from God, and the child has died. Wealthy people have worshipped their wealth, and as they were God’s people, he has broken their idols into shivers. You must love your all if you would keep it, and renounce your most precious thing if you would have it preserved to you.     Next, we must lose self in order to find self. “He that hateth his life shall keep it unto life eternal.” You must entirely give up living for yourself, and then you yourself shall live. The man who lives for himself does not live; he loses the essence, the pleasure, the crown of existence; but if you live for others and for God you will find the life of life. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” There is no way of finding yourself in personal joy like losing yourself in the joy of others.     Once more: if you wish to be the means of life to others, you must in your measure die yourself. “Oh,” say you, “will it actually come to death?” Well, it may not, but you should be prepared for it if it should. Who have most largely blessed the present age? I will tell you. I believe we owe our gospel liberties mainly to the poor men and women who died at the stake for the faith. Call them Lollards, Anabaptists, or what you will, the men who died for it gave life to the holy cause. Some of all ranks did this, from bishops downward to poor boys. Many of them could not preach from the pulpit, but they preached grander sermons from the faggots than all the reformers could thunder from their rostrums. They fell into the ground and died, and the “much fruit” abides to this day. The self-sacrificing death of her saints was the life and increase of the church. If we wish to achieve a great purpose, establish a great truth, and raise up a great agency for good, it must be by the surrender of ourselves, yea, of our very lives to the one all-absorbing purpose. Not else can we succeed. There is no giving out to others, without taking so much out of yourself. He who serves God and finds that it is easy work will find it hard work to give in his account at the last. A sermon that costs nothing is worth nothing; if it did not come from the heart it will not go to the heart. Take it as a rule that wear and tear must go on, even to exhaustion, if we are to be largely useful. Death precedes growth. The Saviour of others cannot save himself. We must not, therefore, grudge the lives of those who die under the evil climate of Africa, if they die for Christ; nor must we murmur if here and there God’s best servants are cut down by brain exhaustion: it is the law of divine husbandry that by death cometh increase.   And you, dear friend, must not say, “Oh, I cannot longer teach in the Sunday-school: I work so hard all the week that I—I—I”—shall I finish the sentence for you? You work so hard for yourself all the week that you cannot work for God one day in the week. Is that it? “No, not quite so, but I am so fagged.” Very true, but think of your Lord. He knew what weariness was for you, and yet he wearied not in well doing. You will never come to sweat of blood as he did. Come, dear friend, will you be a corn of wheat laid up on the shelf alone? Will you be like that wheat in the mummy’s hand, unfruitful and forgotten, or would you grow? I hear you say, “Sow me somewhere.” I will try to do so. Let me drop you into the Sunday-school field, or into the Tract-lending acre, or into the Street-preaching parcel of land. “But if I make any great exertion if will half kill me.” Yes; and if it shall quite kill, you will then prove the text, “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Those who have killed themselves of late in our Lord’s service are not so numerous that we need be distressed by the fear that an enormous sacrifice of life is likely to occur. Little cause is there just now to repress fanaticism, but far more reason to denounce to self-seeking. O, my brethren, let us rise to a condition of consecration more worthy of our Lord and of his glorious cause, and henceforth may we be eager to be as the buried, hidden, dying, yet fruit-bearing wheat for the glory of our Lord. Thus have I merely glanced at the text; another day may it be our privilege to dive into its depths.

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