Grace Gems for June 2000


The worst enemies of the Church!
The following is from Spurgeonís sermon,
"The Gospel's Power in a Christian's Life"  No. 640

Oh! the great thing the Church needs is more holiness.

The worst enemies of the Church are the hypocrites, the
formalists the mere professors, the inconsistent walkers.

It is shocking to think how persons dare to remain
members of Christian churches, and even to enter
the pulpit, when they are conscious that their
private life is foul.   Oh, how can they do it?
How is it that their hearts have grown so hard?
What! has the devil bewitched them? Has he
turned them away from being men, and made
them as devilish as himself, that they should
dare to pray in public, and to sit at the sacramental
table, and to administer ordinances, while their
hands are foul, and their hearts unclean, and
their lives are full of sin?

I charge you, if there are any of you whose lives
are not consistent, give up your profession, or
else make your lives what they should be.

May the eternal Spirit, who still winnows his Church,
blow away the chaff, and leave only the good golden
wheat upon the floor!

And if you know yourselves to be living in any sin,
may God help you to mourn over it, to loathe it,
to go to Christ about it tonight; to take hold of
him, to wash his feet with your tears, to repent
unfeignedly, and then to begin anew in his strength,
a life which shall be such as becomes the gospel.

The Christian life
The following is from Spurgeon.

Believers, as they grow in grace, are made
to feel more and more acutely the evil of
their old nature. You will find that those
who are most like Christ have the deepest
knowledge of their own depravity, and are
most humble while they confess their sinfulness.

I think, throughout eternity, if we had this
problem to solve, "Why did he save me?",
we should still go on making wrong guesses,
but we never could arrive at the right conclusion,
unless we should say, once for all, I do not know.
He did as he willed. He will have mercy on whom
he will have mercy. He will have compassion on
whom he will have compassion.

There is nothing in life worth living for but Christ.
ďWhom have I in heaven but you, and there is
  none upon earth that I desire beside you!Ē
Christ is the cream; the rest is mere skim
milk and curds fit to be given to the swine.
The Lord Jesus is the pure flour; all else is but
the husk and bran, and coarse gritty meal, all
that remains is the chaff; fan it, and the wind
shall carry it away, or the fire shall burn it,
and little shall be the loss.
Christ is the golden grain, the only thing worth having.

I would give nothing for your religion
if you do not seek to be like Christ.
If your heart is truly wedded to the Lord
Jesus, and lives in near fellowship with
him, it must grow like him.
There will be a similarity of spirit, temper,
motive, and action; it will not be manifest
merely in great things but in little matters
too, for even our speech will betray us.


Make your lives clear!
The following is from Spurgeonís sermon,
  "GOD'S WITNESSES"  No. 644

Beloved, make your lives clear!

Be as the brook wherein you may see every stone at
the bottom. Do not be as the muddy creek, of which
you only see the surface- but be clear and transparent,
so that your heart's love to God and man may be
distinctly visible to all.

You need not tell men that you love them-
  make them feel that you love them.

You need not say "I am true."   Be true.

Do not boast of your integrity, but be upright.

So shall your testimony be such
that men cannot help seeing it.


Prove it!
"I pray that we may be able to prove constantly by our acts,
  that Jesus Christ is He whom our soul loves."  -Spurgeon


The attraction of the cross!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
  "A Blow for Puseyism"   No. 653.

"The Spirit gives life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.
 The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."
     -John 6:63

True religion has always been spiritual,
but mere professors have ever been content
with the outward form alone.

The most of mankind cannot get on with a religion
in which there is nothing to see, nothing to please
the ear, or nothing to gratify their taste.

It is only the spiritual man who is so overwhelmed
with the glories of God that he does not need the
glories of man-- so overcome with the splendor of
Christ that he does not want the splendor of the
multitude-- so taken up with the magnificence of
the great High Priest that he does not care for
gorgeously appareled priests.

"What!" they say, "a religion in which there is
nothing for me to see! What! an unseen altar?"
     Yes, an unseen altar.
"Am I not to see the sacrifice?"
     No.
"Never to see it? Then I do not understand it.
What! a God, but no symbols! No crucifixes!
No crosses! What! no holy wafer, no sacred
place, nothing sacred."
     No, nothing visible to be reverenced,
     nothing whatever but the unseen God.
"What! not even my place of worship,
is not that to be holy?"
     No!
If you are a Christian- all places must alike
be sacred to you. "Neither in this mountain, nor
yet at Jerusalem, shall men worship the Father,
but those that worship him must worship him in
spirit and in truth."
You must be yourself a temple, and God must
dwell in you. You must be yourself a priest, and
anywhere you may offer spiritual sacrifice.

Ritual performances are very pretty spectacles
for silly young ladies, and sillier men to gaze upon,
but there is no shadow of spiritual life in them!
Now, you see at once that Ritual Performances
are not spiritual things-- these are not life.

Church rituals do not look like a divine thing--
on the contrary, if I stand among the throng, and
gaze at all its prettinesses, it looks amazingly
like a nursery game, or a stage play.

"Lack of taste!", you say.

Not so, I reply-- my eyes admire your glittering colors,
and the splendor of your services is breath-taking to me.
As a man, I enjoy the swell of your organ, and I can
even put up with the smell of your incense, but my
spirit does not care for these fooleries, it turns away
sickened, and cries, "There is nothing here for me--
there is no more nourishment for the spirit in all this
than there is food for man in a swine's trough!"

The words of Jesus Christ are thoroughly unceremonial
and informal- they are spirit and they are life, and we
turn to them with all the greater zest after having
seen enough of your childish things.

The external observances of religion
in themselves are utterly unprofitable!

What is the life of godliness?
What is the vitality and essence of acceptable worship?

Jesus' answer virtually is, "It is not your outward
observances, but your inward emotions, desires,
believings, and adorings, which are living worship."

Much is said now-a-days about an ornate form of worshipĖ
The excellency of melodious music is much extolled.
The swell of the organ, it is said, begets a hallowed
frame of mind. But how far is the effect sensuous,
and how far spiritual?
Is it not to be feared that a song in a
church service is often no more a spiritual
exercise than a tune at a concert.

Music has charms, and he who cannot feel them is to be pitied.
But, then, acceptable heart worship is quite another thingĖ
no arrangement of notes and chords can ever do the work
of God the Holy Spirit. Unless music can aid in making
sinners penitent, in leading souls to Jesus Christ, or
uplifting saints in holy joy to the throne of God, we must
hold that in vital godliness it profits nothing.

Architecture, with its arched roofs, and noble pillars,
and dim religious light, is supposed to impart a reverence
and awe which befit the solemn engagements of the
Sabbath, and draw the mind towards the invisible God.
Well, if combinations of stone can sanctify the spirit of
man, it is a pity that the gospel did not prescribe
architecture as the remedy for the ruin of the fall!

If gorgeous buildings make men love God, and
long-drawn aisles renovate men's spiritual nature,
build, all you builders, both day and night!
If bricks and mortar can lead us to heaven, alas
for the confusion which stopped the works at Babel!
If there be such a connection between spires and
spiritual things as to make human hearts beat in
unison with the will of God, then build high and
loftily, and lavish your gold and silver!

But if all that you produce is sensuous, and nothing
more, then turn to living stones, and seek to build
up a spiritual house with spiritual means.

The real inward spirit of man is not blessed by
sounds which charm the ear but appeal not to
the understanding, nor by colors which delight
the eye but gladden not the affections of man.

To gratify taste is well enough for the carnal,
 but it profits nothing in the sight of God.

It may be as well to be artistic as to be plain,
but it is of no matter either way, if tested by
the WordĖ  in the balances of the sanctuary
these matters are lighter than vanity!

We must make precisely the same remark
concerning the eloquence of the preacher.
Many persons have come to think that oratorical
ability is essential in the minister. It is not enough,
some think, to preach the truth with the Holy Spirit
sent down from heaven-- we must also preach it in
the wisdom of words with excellency of speech.
The trappings of oratory, and the drapery of eloquence,
are thought to be profitable.

Ah! dear friends, one half of the emotions excited
in our places of worship are of no more value than
those excited at the theater!

The mere ring of words is no more profitable
than a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
"The flesh profits nothing."

So far as the truth itself moves our inmost souls,
preaching is of real service. But if that which you
hear only commends itself to you because of the
sweet voice that speaks it, or the entertaining
tones in which it is delivered, your hearing is a
carnal exercise, and profits you nothing.

It is only when your spirit grasp the truths, when
your heart embraces Christ, when your soul beholds
God by the eye of faith, that you derive benefit.

I grant you that excitement may sometimes be
used by God to stir the spirit of man, but unless,
my dear hearers, your religion is based on
something more than natural excitement,
it is based upon a lie.

Your spirit must come to know its ruin before God,
and be humbled. Your spirit must come to take
hold of Jesus Christ and believe in him. Your spirit
must undergo the divine change which only God the
Holy Spirit can work, or else that excitement shall
be nothing more than the blowing up of a bubble,
which shall burst and leave not a vestige behind!

Take care of any religion which merely tickles your
fancy, excites your passions, or stirs your blood!

True grace penetrates the very core of our nature,
it changes the heart, subdues the will, renews the
passions, and makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus.

You would feel unhappy if you had spent the whole
Sunday without going to a place of worship, but you
are quite at ease if you come here and leave your
hearts at home. When we are singing, you sing with
us, and when we are praying, you cover your eyes too,
and when we are preaching, some of you think of what
I am talking about, and some do not. And when you
get through the appointed hour, you feel quite easy.
But oh! remember that the mere physical
act of being here, profits nothing!

Oh! dear friends, do shake off the idea, that going
up to a place of worship, or opening a Bible, or
reading family prayer, or kneeling down, can,
as mere acts, save your souls.

The mere form of worship profits nothing!

It is only as your spirit prays,
as your spirit seeks,
as your spirit worships,
as your spirit listens to God's Word,
that there is any quickening power in it whatsoever.

I wish that all ministers of Christ would
  scorn to use any carnal weapons.

I know the talk is, that we ought to vie with
the false churches in the beauty of our services.
But this is a temptation of the devil!

If the simple preaching of the cross will not
 attract the people, let them stay away!

Let the Lord's servants abandon the sword
and shield of  Saul, and go forth with the
gospel sling and stone!

Our weapons are the words of Jesus-
  these are spirit and these are life.

Architecture, apparel, music, liturgies--
these are neither spirit nor lifeĖ
let those rest on them who willĖ
we can do without them, by God's help.

My dear brethren in Christ, ministers of the
gospelĖ let me implore you, stick to the gospel!

Set your backs against the tendency of the times
to depart from the simplicity of Jesus Christ.

If men will not come to hear us because we preach
the gospel, draw them by no other attractions.
We need no attraction but the cross!
An uplifted Savior draws all men to him still!

"The Spirit gives life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.
 The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."
     -John 6:63


Too wise to err and too good to be unkind!
The following is from Spurgeonís sermon,
"HEART'S-EASE" NO. 647.  Psalm 112:7.

The worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest
 thing that could occur to me, if God ordains it.

"We know that all things work together
  for good to those who love God."

The Christian does not merely hold this as a
 theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact.
Every thing has worked for good as yet-- the
poisonous drugs that have been mixed in the
compound have nevertheless worked the cure.

The sharp cuts of the lancet have cleansed out
 the proud flesh and facilitated the healing.

Every event as yet has worked out the most divinely
blessed results. And so, believing this-- that God rules
it, that God rules wisely, that God brings good out of
evil, the believerís heart is fixed and he is well prepared.

Here, bring me whatever cup you will, my Father fills
them all and I will drink them as He sends them, not
merely with resignation, but with sanctified delight.

Send me what You will, my God, so long as it comes
from You- never was that a bad portion which came
from Your table to any one of Your children.

My Father, write what You will concerning Your child,
I will not seek to pry between the folded leaves, but
I will patiently hope and quietly wait as leaf by leaf
is unfolded, knowing You are too wise to err and too
good to be unkind.


"I will help you, says the Lord."  Isaiah 41:14

Let us hear the Lord speak to each one of us--
I will help you. It is but a small thing for Me, your
God, to help you. Consider what I have done already.
What! not help you? Why, I bought you with My blood.
What! not help you? I have died for you; and if I have
done the greater, will I not do the less?  Help you!  I
have done more, and will do more-- Before the world
began I chose you. I laid aside My glory and became
a man for you; I gave up My life for you; and if I did
all this, I will surely help you now. In helping you, I
am giving you what I have bought for you already.
If you had need of a thousand times as much help,
I would give it you; you require little compared with
what I am ready to give. It is much for you to need,
but it is nothing for me to bestow. 'Help you?' Fear not!

If there were an ant at the door of your granary asking for
help, it would not ruin you to give him a handful of your
wheat. And you are nothing but a tiny insect at the door
of My all-sufficiency.   I will help you.

O my soul, is not this enough? Do you need more strength
than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Do you need
more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than
displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest
in the influences of the Spirit?

Bring here your empty pitcher!
  Surely this well will fill it.

Hasten, gather up your needs, and bring them here --
   your emptiness, your woes, your poverty.
Behold, this river of God is full for your supply!
What can you desire beside?
Go forth, my soul, in this your might.
The Eternal God is your helper!


"It is a grievous token of hardness of heart when we can live
contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Saviorís face."
  -Spurgeon


The knock!
"With unfailing love I have I drawn you to myself."
    -Jeremiah 31:3

(the following is by Spurgeon)

The Master came one night to the door, and
knocked with the iron hand of the law; the
door shook and trembled upon its hinges.
But the man piled every piece of furniture
which he could find against the door, for he
said, "I will not admit that man."

The Master turned away, but by-and-by He
came back, and with His own soft hand, using
most that part where the nail had penetrated,
He knocked again -- oh, so softly and tenderly.

This time the door did not shake, but, strange
to say, it opened, and there upon his knees the
once unwilling host was found rejoicing to receive
his guest!

ďCome in, come in; you have so knocked that my
affections are moved for you. I could not think of
your pierced hand leaving its blood mark on my
door. I yield, I yield, Your love has won my heart.Ē

So in every case, the love of Christ wins the day.
What Moses with the tablets of stone could never
do, Christ does with His pierced hand!

Such is the doctrine of effectual calling.
Do I understand it experimentally?

"With unfailing love I have I drawn you to myself."
    -Jeremiah 31:3


THE PURPOSE OF GOD
  (by Don Fortner)

The Lord our God is a God of purpose-
  absolute and unalterable purpose.

God's purpose must and shall be accomplished.

Before the world was made, before
time began, almighty God sovereignly
purposed all that comes to pass.

Everything that is, has been, and shall hereafter
  be, was purposed by God from eternity.

Everything in the universe is moving toward the
predestined end of Godís eternal purpose with
absolute, precision and accuracy.

Everything that comes to pass in time
was purposed by our God in eternity.

(1.) The purpose of God is eternal.
(2.) The purpose of God includes all things.
(3.) The purpose of God has for its particular
      design the spiritual and eternal benefit of
      God's elect. Everything God has purposed
      is for the ultimate, spiritual, and eternal
      blessedness of his covenant people.
(4.) The purpose of God is immutable and sure.
      That which comes to pass in time is exactly
      what God purposed from eternity.
(5.) In its ultimate end, Godís purpose will
      accomplish the eternal salvation of his elect
      and the glory of his own great name.

All Godís elect shall be saved.
Not one of Christís sheep shall perish.
Every sinner redeemed by blood shall be
saved by grace and crowned with glory.
The purpose of God demands it.
The law of God demands it.
Justice satisfied, cannot punish those
  for whom it has been satisfied.


Parable of the Fishless Fishermen


Now it came to pass that a group existed who
called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were
many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the
whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes
filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

Year after year these who called themselves
fishermen met in meetings and talked about their
call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they
might go about fishing.

Continually they searched for new and better
definitions of fishing. They sponsored costly
nationwide and worldwide congresses to discuss
fishing and to promote fishing and hear about all
the ways of fishing.

These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings
called "Fishing Headquarters." The plea was that
everyone should be a fisherman and every
fisherman should fish. One thing they didn't do,
however; they didn't fish.

They organized a board to send out fishermen to
where there were many fish. The board was
formed by those who had the great vision and
courage to speak about fishing, to define fishing,
and to promote the idea of fishing in far-away
streams and lakes where many other fish of
different colors lived.

Also the board hired staffs and appointed
committees and held many meetings to define
fishing, to defend fishing, and to decide what new
streams should be thought about. But the staff
and committee members did not fish.

Expensive training centers were built to teach
fishermen how to fish. Those who taught had
doctorates in fishology, but the teachers did not
fish. They only taught fishing. Year after year,
graduates were sent to do full-time fishing, some
to distant waters filled with fish.

Further, the fishermen built large printing houses
to publish fishing guides. A speaker's bureau was
also provided to schedule special speakers on the
subject of fishing.

Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded,
and were sent to fish. But like the fishermen back
home, they never fished.

Some also said they wanted to be part of the
fishing party, but they felt called to furnish fishing
equipment. Others felt their job was to relate to
the fish in a good way so the fish would know the
difference between good and bad fishermen.

After one stirring meeting on "The Necessity for
Fishing," a young fellow left the meeting and went
fishing. The next day he reported he had caught
two outstanding fish. He was honored for his
excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big
meetings possible to tell how he did it.

So he quit his fishing in order to have time to tell
about the experience to the other fishermen. He
was also placed on the Fishermen's General Board
as a person having considerable experience.

Now it's true that many of the fishermen sacrificed
and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some
lived near the water and bore the smell of dead
fish every day. They received the ridicule of some
who made fun of their fishermen's clubs and the
fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never
fished.

They wondered about those who felt it was of
little use to attend the weekly meetings to talk
about fishing. After all, were they not following
the Master who said, "Follow me, and I will make
you fishers of men?

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a
person suggested that those who didn't catch fish
were really not fishermen, no matter how much
they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a
person a fisherman if year after year he never
catches a fish?
(author unknown)


The paradise of love!
The following is by Jonathan Edwards

There are many principles contrary to love, that
  make this world like a tempestuous sea.
Selfishness, and envy, and revenge, and jealousy,
and kindred passions keep life on earth in a constant
tumult, and make it a scene of confusion and uproar,
where no quiet rest is to be enjoyed except in
renouncing this world and looking to heaven.

But oh! what rest is there in that world which the God
of peace and love fills with his own gracious presence,
and in which the Lamb of God lives and reigns, filling
it with the brightest and sweetest beams of his love;
where there is nothing to disturb or offend, and no
being or object to be seen that is not surrounded with
perfect amiableness and sweetness; where the saints
shall find and enjoy all that they love, and so be
perfectly satisfied; where there is no enemy and no
enmity; but perfect love in every heart and to every
being; where there is perfect harmony among all the
inhabitants, no one envying another, but everyone
rejoicing in the happiness of every other; where all
their love is humble and holy, and perfectly Christian,
without the least carnality or impurity; where love is
always mutual and reciprocated to the full; where
there is no hypocrisy or dissembling, but perfect
simplicity and sincerity; where there is no treachery,
or unfaithfulness, or inconstancy, or jealousy in
any form; where there is no clog or hindrance to the
exercises or expressions of love, no imprudence or
indecency in expressing it, and no influence of folly
or indiscretion in any word or deed; where there is
no separation wall, and no misunderstanding or
strangeness, but full acquaintance and perfect
intimacy in all; where there is no division through
different opinions or interests, but where all in that
glorious and loving society shall be most nearly and
divinely related, and each shall belong to every other,
and all shall enjoy each other in perfect prosperity
and riches, and honor, without any sickness, or grief,
or persecution, or sorrow, or any enemy to molest them,
or any busybody to create jealousy or misunderstanding,
or mar the perfect, and holy, and blessed peace that
reigns in heaven!

And all this in the garden of God -- in the paradise of
love, where everything is filled with love, and everything
conspires to promote and kindle it, and keep up its flame,
and nothing ever interrupts it, but everything has been
fitted by an all wise God for its full enjoyment under the
greatest advantages forever!

And all, too, where the beauty of the beloved objects
shall never fade, and love shall never grow weary nor
decay, but the soul shall more and more rejoice in love forever!

Oh! what tranquillity will there be in such a world as this!

And who can express the fullness and blessedness of this
peace! What a calm is this! How sweet, and holy, and joyous!
What a haven of rest to enter, after having passed through
the storms and tempests of this world, in which pride, and
selfishness, and envy, and malice, and scorn, and contempt,
and contention, and vice, are as waves of a restless ocean,
always rolling, and often dashed about in violence and fury!

What a Canaan of rest to come to, after going through this
waste and howling wilderness, full of snares, and pitfalls,
and poisonous serpents, where no rest could be found!

And oh! what joy will there be, springing up in the hearts
of the saints, after they have passed through their wearisome
pilgrimage, to be brought to such a paradise as this!

Here is joy unspeakable indeed, and full of glory --
joy that is humble, holy, enrapturing, and divine in
  its perfection!

Love is always a sweet principle; and especially divine love.
Love, even on earth, is a spring of sweetness; but in heaven
it shall become a stream, a river, an ocean!

All shall stand about the God of glory, who is the great
fountain of love, opening, as it were, their very souls
to be filled with those effusions of love that are poured
forth from his fullness, just as the flowers on the earth,
in the bright and joyous days of spring, open their bosoms
to the sun, to be filled with his light and warmth, and to
flourish in beauty and fragrancy under his cheering rays.

Every saint in heaven is as a flower in that garden
of God, and holy love is the fragrance and sweet odor
that they all send forth, and with which they fill the
bowers of that paradise above.

Every soul there, is as a note in some concert of
delightful music, that sweetly harmonizes with every
other note, and all together blend in the most rapturous
strains in praising God and the Lamb forever!

And so all help each other, to their utmost, to express
the love of the whole society to its glorious Father and
Head, and to pour back love into the great fountain of
love whence they are supplied and filled with love, and
blessedness, and glory.

And thus they will love, and reign in love, and in that
godlike joy that is its blessed fruit, such as eye has
not seen, nor ear heard, nor has ever entered into the
heart of man in this world to conceive; and thus in the
full sunlight of the throne, enraptured with joys that
are forever increasing, and yet forever full, they shall
live and reign with God and Christ forever and ever!


The Bottomless, Shoreless Sea of Infinite Joy!
The following is from Spurgeonís sermon,
  "NO TEARS IN HEAVEN"

In heaven, all inward evils will have been removed by
the perfect sanctification wrought in us by the Holy Spirit.

No evil of' heart, nor unbelief in departing
from the living God, shall vex us in Paradise.
No suggestions of the arch enemy shall be met
and assisted by the uprisings of iniquity within.

We shall never be led to think harshly
of God, for our hearts shall be all love.

Sin shall have no sweetness to us, for we shall
be perfectly purified from all depraved desires.

There shall be no lusts of the eye, no lusts of the
  flesh, no pride of life to be snares to our feet.

Sin is shut out, and we are shut in.

We are forever blessed, because we are without fault
before the throne of God. What a heaven must it be
to be without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing!

Well may we cease to mourn when we have ceased to sin.

In heaven, every holy desire is gratified!

They cannot wish for anything which they shall not have.
Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination,
hope, desire, will, every faculty shall be satisfied.
All their capacious powers can wish, they shall
continually enjoy. Though "Eye has not seen, nor
ear heard the things which God has prepared for
them that love him," yet we know enough, by
the revelation of the Spirit, to understand that
they are supremely blessed.

The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight,
is in them. They Bathe Themselves in the Bottomless,
  Shoreless Sea of Infinite Joy!


Sin and salvation
The following is from Spurgeonís sermon,
"The Great Physician and His Patients"
No. 618.   Matthew 9:12.

Many people think that, when we preach salvation,
we mean salvation from going to hell. We do not
mean that, but we mean a great deal more.
We preach salvation from sin; we say that Christ
is able to save a man; and we mean by that that he
is able to save him from sin and to make him holy;
to make him a new man.
No person has any right to say, "I am saved," while
he continues in sin as he did before. How can you
be saved from sin while you are living in it?


The infinite love of Christ!
"No truth can so subdue the human mind as the majesty
of the infinite love of Christ! No imagination can
picture love more deep and pure than that which is
reflected in the life and death of Jesus Christ."
     -Spurgeon


Precious!
Every individual believer is precious in the sight of the Lord.

A shepherd would not lose one sheep,
   nor a jeweler one diamond,
   nor a mother one child,
   nor a man one limb of his body.

Neither will the Lord lose one of his redeemed people.
However little we may be, if we are the Lord's, we
 may rejoice that we are preserved in Christ Jesus.
  -Spurgeon


He loves you with all His infinite heart!
(the following is by Spurgeon)

Bear patiently the rod for a season, and under
the darkness still trust in God, for His love burns
towards you. God loves you, his child, with a love
too deep for human imagination!

He loves you with all His infinite heart!

God has not forgotten us because He smites --
  His blows are no evidences of lack of love.

You may fear that the Lord has passed you by,
but it is not so: He who counts the stars, and calls
them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting
His own children. He knows your case as thoroughly
as if you were the only creature He ever made, or
the only saint He ever loved.

Approach Him and be at peace.


"Surely to be beloved by Jesus, is enough
  to satisfy the soul
of a worm of the dust."
       -Jonathan Edwards


Why do we love Him?
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"THE CHURCH'S LOVE TO HER LOVING LORD"

Because before this round earth ever was fashioned
between the palms of the great Creator- before he
had painted the rainbow, or hung out the lights of
the sun and moon, Christ's delights were with us.
He foresaw us and he knew what we should be-
and as he looked upon us, the glance was love.

He delighted to sit upon the throne of glory, and to
remember his dear ones who were yet to he born.
It was the great prospect which his mighty and
infinite spirit had- a joy that was set before him,
that he should see a multitude that no man could
number who should be his beloved forever!

Oh, if you know that Jesus had loved you from before
all worlds, you must love him. At least you will grant
there cannot be a better reason for love than love.

Love demands; no, it does not demand- it takes
by almighty force, by irresistible energy, that heart
captive, upon whom it thus sets itself.


Infinite excellency!
The following is from Jonathan Edwards sermon,
"Safety, Fullness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ"

The inquiry of the soul is after that which is most excellent.

The excellency of Christ is such, that the discovery of
it is exceedingly contenting and satisfying to the soul.

The carnal soul imagines that earthly things are excellent-
one thinks riches most excellent, another has the highest
esteem of honor, and to another carnal pleasure appears
the most excellent.

But the soul cannot find contentment in any of these
things, because it soon finds an end to their excellency.
Worldly men imagine, that there is true excellency and
true happiness in those things which they are pursuing.
They think that if they could but obtain them, they would
be happy. But when they obtain them, and cannot find
happiness, they look for happiness in something else,
and are still upon the pursuit.

But Christ Jesus has true excellency, and so great
excellency, that when they come to see him they
look no further, but the mind rests there.

It sees a transcendent glory and
an ineffable sweetness in Jesus!

It sees that until now it has been pursuing shadows,
  but that now it has found the substance.

It sees that before it had been seeking happiness in
  the stream, but that now it has found the ocean!

The excellency of Christ is an object adequate to the
natural cravings of the soul, and is sufficient to fill the
capacity. It is an infinite excellency, such a one as the
mind desires, in which it can find no bounds; and the
more the mind is used to it, the more excellent it appears.

Every new discovery of Jesus makes his beauty
appear more ravishing, and the mind sees no end-
here is room enough for the mind to go deeper
and deeper, and never come to the bottom.

The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first
looks on his beauty, and it is never weary of it!

The mind never has any satiety, but Christ's excellency
is always fresh and new, and tends as much to delight,
after it has been seen a thousand or ten thousand years,
as when it was seen the first moment!

The delight and contentment that is to be found in Jesus
passes understanding, and is unspeakable and full of glory.

It is impossible for those who have tasted of this
fountain, and know the sweetness of it, ever to forsake it.

The soul has found the river of water of life,
   and it desires no other drink!

It has found the tree of life, and it desires no other fruit!


Bigger worms!
The following is from Jonathan Edwards sermon,
  "The Excellency of Jesus Christ"

If one worm be a little exalted above another,
by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how
much does he make of himself! What a distance
does he keep from those that are below him!

Christ condescends to wash our feet, but how
would great men (or rather the bigger worms),
account themselves debased by acts of far less
condescension!


Your idol?
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
   "LOVE AND JEALOUSY"

"This world swarms with idols! Man is such an
 idolater that, if he cannot idolize anything
 else, he will idolize himself, and set himself
 up, and bow down and worship himself."  -Spurgeon


A viper to the heart!
The following is from Jonathan Edwards sermon,
"Safety, Fulness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ"

Sin is the most evil and odious thing, as
well as the most mischievous and fatal.

Sin is the most mortal poison.

Sin, above all things, hazards life, and endangers the soul.

Sin exposes to the loss of all happiness, and to the
suffering of all misery, and brings the wrath of God.

All men have this dreadful evil hanging about them,
and cleaving fast to the soul, and ruling over it, and
keeping it in possession, and under absolute command.

Sin hangs like a viper to the heart!

Sin holds us powerfully, as a lion does his prey.

How can a poor worm bear the wrath of the great God?

O prize that Savior, who keeps your soul in safety,
while thousands of others are carried away by the
fury of God's anger, and are tossed with raging
and burning tempests in hell!

O, how much better is your case than theirs! And
to whom is it owing but to the Lord Jesus Christ?

Remember what was once your case, and
  what it is now, and prize Jesus Christ!


Utterly destroy it!
The following is by Spurgeon.

"That henceforth we should not serve sin."
   --Romans 6:6

Christian, what have you to do with sin?

Has it not cost you enough already?

Burnt child, will you play with the fire?

What! when you have already been between the jaws
of the lion, will you step a second time into his den?

Have you not had enough of the old serpent?

Did he not poison all your veins once, and will you
play upon the hole of the asp, and put your hand
upon the cockatrice's den a second time?

Oh, do not be so mad! so foolish!

Did sin ever yield you real pleasure?

Did you find solid satisfaction in it?

If so, go back to your old drudgery, and
wear the chain again, if it delights you.

But inasmuch as sin did never give you what it
promised to bestow, but deluded you with lies,
do not be snared by the old fowler a second time
--be free, and let the remembrance of your ancient
bondage forbid you to enter the net again!

It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which
all have an eye to your purity and holiness; therefore
do not run counter to the purposes of your Lord.

Another thought should restrain you from sin--
Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy
price for iniquity--  Transgression destroys peace of
mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer,
brings darkness over the soul-- therefore do not be
the serf and bondsman of sin.

Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day,
it may be my Master has sent this admonition today, to
bring you back before you have backslidden very far.

The only proper treatment of sin, is to
destroy it- cut it off and cast it from you.

Do not pamper it or excuse it, but smite it,
smite it to the heart if you can, and never be
satisfied until you have utterly destroyed it.

Turn to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten his love to you;
his grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance,
come to his footstool, and you shall be once more
received into his heart; you shall be set upon a rock
again, and your goings shall be established.


Meditation
The following is from Spurgeonís sermon,
"A Sermon from a Rush"

Isaac walked in the fields at evening time to meditate.

I commend him for his occupation.   Meditation is
exceedingly profitable to the mind. If we talked less,
read less, and meditated more, we would be wiser men.

I commend him for the season which he chose for that
occupation-  at evening time. When the business of the
day was over, and the general stillness of nature was
in harmony with the quiet of his soul.

I also commend him for the place which he selected-
the wide expanse of nature -- the field.

Wise men can readily find a thousand subjects
for contemplation abroad in the open country.
When a man walks in the fields, having the Lord in
his heart, and his whole mental faculties directed
towards heavenly things, all things aid him in his
pleasing occupation.

If we look above to sun, moon, and stars, all these
remind us of the grandeur of God, and make us ask
ourselves, "What is man, that the Lord should be
mindful of him, or the son of man, that Jehovah
should visit him?"

If we look below, the green meadows, or golden
cornfields, all proclaim divine care and bounty.
There is not a bird that sings, nor a grasshopper
that chirps in the grass, which does not urge us
to praise and magnify the name of the Most High.
While the plants, from the hyssop on the wall to
the cedar which spreads its boughs so gloriously
on Lebanon, exhibit to observant eyes the wisdom
of the great Creator of all things.

The murmuring brook talks to the listening ear in
hallowed whispers of him whose cloudy throne
supplies its stream. And the air, as it sighs amid the
trees, tells in mysterious accents of the great unseen,
but overactive Spirit of the living God.


Where pride cannot live
(the following is by Spurgeon)

"He humbled himself."
  --Philippians 2:8

Jesus is the great teacher of lowliness of heart.

We need daily to learn of him. See the Master
taking a towel and washing his disciples' feet!

Follower of Christ, will you not humble yourself?

See him as the Servant of servants, and surely
you can not be proud! Is not this sentence the
compendium of his biography- "He humbled himself."

Was he not on earth always stripping off first one
robe of honor and then another, until, naked, he
was fastened to the cross, and there did he not
empty out his inmost self, pouring out his life blood,
giving up for all of us, until they laid him penniless
in a borrowed grave?

How low was our dear Redeemer brought!
How then can we be proud?

Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple
drops by which you have been cleansed; see the
thorn crown; mark his scourged shoulders, still
gushing with encrimsoned rills; see hands and
feet given up to the rough iron, and his whole
self to mockery and scorn.  See the bitterness,
and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief,
showing themselves in his outward frame.
Hear the chilling shriek, "My God, my God,
   why have you forsaken me?"
And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground
before that cross, you have never seen it.

If you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus,
you do not know him. You were so lost that
nothing could save you but the sacrifice of God's
only begotten. Think of that, and as Jesus stooped
for you, bow yourself in lowliness at his feet.

A sense of Christ's amazing love to us has a
greater tendency to humble us than even a
consciousness of our own guilt.

May the Lord bring us in contemplation to Calvary,
then our position will no longer be that of the
pompous man of pride, but we shall take the
humble place of one who loves much because
much has been forgiven him.

Pride cannot live beneath the cross.

Let us sit there and learn our lesson,
and then rise and carry it into practice.


The god of modern religion
(The following is by Don Fortner)

"The Lord does whatever pleases him
 throughout all heaven and earth,
 and on the seas and in their depths."  Psalm 135:6

The very foundation of our confidence
and faith in our God is his sovereignty.

Were he not sovereign, absolutely, universally
sovereign, we could not trust him implicitly,
believe his promises, or depend upon him to
fulfill his Word.

Only an absolute sovereign can be trusted absolutely.
We can and should trust our God implicitly because
he is sovereign.

Nothing is more delightful to the hearts of Godís children
than the fact of his great and glorious sovereignty.

Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most
severe troubles, and when enduring the most heavy
trials, we rejoice to know that our God has sovereignly
ordained our afflictions, that he sovereignly overrules
them, and that he sovereignly sanctifies them to our
good and his own glory.

The God of the Bible is utterly unknown in this religious
generation. A God who is not sovereign is as much a
contradiction as a God who is not holy, eternal, and
immutable. A God who is not sovereign is no God at all.

If the god you worship is not totally sovereign, you are
a pagan, and your religion is idolatry. You would be just
as well off worshipping a statue of Mary, a totem pole,
a spider, or the devil himself as to worship a god who
lacks total sovereignty over all things.

The god of this generation no more resembles the
sovereign Lord of heaven and earth than a flickering
candle resembles the noon-day sun.

The god of modern religion is nothing but an idol,
the invention of men, a figment of man's imagination.

Pagans in the dark ages used to carve their gods out
of wood and stone and overlay them with silver and gold.
Today, in these much darker days, pagans inside the church
carve their god out of their own depraved imaginations.
In reality, the religionists of our day are atheists, for there
is no possible alternative between a God who is absolutely
sovereign and no God at all.

A god whose will can be resisted,
 whose purpose can be frustrated,
 whose power can be thwarted,
 whose grace can be nullified,
 whose work can be overturned,
    has no title to Deity.
Such a god is not a fit object of worship.
Such a puny, pigmy god merits nothing but contempt.

When I say that God is sovereign, I
am simply declaring that God is God.

He is the most High, Lord of heaven
and earth, overall, blessed forever.
He is subject to none.
He is influenced by none.

God is absolutely independent of, and
  sovereign over, all his creatures.

He does as he pleases,
only as he pleases,
and always as he pleases.

None can thwart him.
None can resist him.
None can change him.
None can stop him.
None can hinder him.

He declares, "Everything I plan will come to
pass, for I do whatever I wish." Isaiah 46:10

"All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back
his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" Daniel 4:35

Divine sovereignty means that God sits upon the
throne of universal dominion, directing all things,
ruling all things, and "working all things after the
counsel of his own will"  (Ephes. 1:11).

Godís sovereignty is irrefutably revealed in
the eternal predestination of all things.
God chose certain men and women in eternity to
be the objects of his saving grace and predestinated
those elect ones to be conformed to the image of his
dear Son (Rom. 8:28-29). Before the world began God
sovereignly determined that he would save some, who
they would be, and when he would save them. Having
determined these things, our great God infallibly secured
his eternal purpose of grace by sovereign predestination.

Eternal election marked the house into which Godís
saving grace must come. Eternal predestination marked
the path upon which grace must come. And sovereign
providence led grace down the path to the house at
the appointed time of love.

God's indisputable sovereignty is conspicuously revealed
in the salvation of sinners by his almighty grace (Rom. 9:8-24).
God chose to save some, but not all. He gave Christ to die for
some, but not all. He sends his gospel to some, but not all.
He gives his Spirit to some, but not all. He causes some to
hear his voice, but not all.
He planned it.
He purchased it.
He performs it.
He preserves it.
He perfects it.
He shall have all the praise for it.

"Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him." Psalm 115:3

Let us, therefore--
believe him confidently,
walk with him in peace,
submit to him cheerfully,
serve him faithfully,
and honor him supremely.


All-sufficient salvation!
The following is from Spurgeonís sermon,
  "WITHHOLDING CORN"  No. 642

Christ's salvation is an all-sufficient salvation!

However great your sins, Christís
  blood can take them all away.

However deep your needs, Christ can supply them.

You cannot be so big a sinner as he is a Savior.
You may be the worst sinner out of hell, but your
  sins are not too great for him to remove.
He can carry elephantine sinners upon his shoulders,
and bear gigantic mountains of guilt upon his head
into the wilderness of forgetfulness.

He has enough grace for you however deep your necessity.

Your biggest sins shall no longer trouble you, your
  blackest iniquities shall no longer haunt you.

Believing in Jesus, every sin you have of thought
and word and deed shall be cast into the depths
of the sea and never shall he mentioned against
you any more for ever!


The sharp arrows of affliction!
The following is from Spurgeonís sermon,
"HEART'S EASE"  No. 647.  Psalm 112:7.

Let us remember the frail tenure upon which we
hold our temporal mercies- how soon may evil
tidings come concerning them.

We rightly class our families first in our possessions--
We look with delight into the faces of our children; we
mark their growing abilities; we are charmed with
evidences of opening intelligence- yet they may never
live to manhood, their sun may go down before it is yet
noon. We are, perhaps, perplexed as to what we shall
do with them when they shall be old enough to be
apprenticed to a trade, or initiated into a profession-
we may never have that task to care for; long before
they reach that period of life, they may be slumbering
in their graves.

We gaze with ever fresh delight upon those beloved ones
with whom we are united in the ties of wedlock, but if we
gaze wisely, we shall clearly see mortality written upon
the fairest brow, and glistening in the most loving eye.

How soon may these partners of our hearts' best affections
be rent away from us! We must beware of making idols of
those who are nearest and dearest, for the objects of our
idolatry may soon, like the golden calf, be dashed in pieces,
and we may have to drink the waters of bitterness because
of our sin.

If we would remember that all the trees of earth are
marked with the woodman's axe, we should not be
so ready to build our nests in them.

We should love, but we should love with the love which
expects death, and which reckons upon separations.

Our dear relations are but loaned to us, and the
hour when we must return them to the lender's
hand may he even at the door.

There is no single point in which we can hope
to escape from the sharp arrows of affliction.

The fondest hope which you and I have cherished
may yet drop like the fruit of the tree before it is
ripe, smitten at the core by a secret worm.

Set not your affections upon things of earth.
Set your whole heart upon things above, for here on earth,
the rust corrupts, and the moth devours, and the thief
breaks through, but there all joys are perpetual and eternal.

What is there here after all but cloud-land?
Why do we seek to be lords of acres of mere mist?
What are earthís treasures but vapor?
Will you heap up for yourself haze and fog?

Cloud and mist will pass away, and if these are your
riches, how poverty-stricken will you be when you can carry
none of these airy riches into the land of solid wealth.

Christian, remember well the insecurity of all
earthly things, and be content to have it so.


"Show me why You contend with me."  Job 10:2
(The following is by Spurgeon.)

Perhaps, O tried soul, the Lord is doing
  this to develop your graces.

There are some of your graces which would never
  be discovered if it were not for your trials.

Do you not know that your faith never looks so
grand in summer weather as it does in winter?

Love is too often like a glow-worm, showing but little
light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness.

Hope itself is like a star -- not to be seen in the sunshine of
prosperity, but only to be discovered in the night of adversity.

Afflictions are often the black foils in which
God does set the jewels of His childrenís
graces, to make them shine the better.

Real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.

God often takes away our comforts and our
privileges in order to make us better Christians.

He trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury,
but by turning them out and forcing them to difficult
marches and hard service. He makes them ford through
streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains,
and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of
sorrow on their backs.

Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles
through which you are passing? Is not the Lord bringing
out your graces, and making them grow? Is not this the
reason why He is contending with you?

"Trials make the promise sweet;
 Trials give new life to prayer;
 Trials bring me to His feet,
 Lay me low, and keep me there."