Grace Gems for March 2001

Christian recreation
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Love of God and the Patience of Christ" 
If you receive the love of God fully into your
souls it will nourish the contemplative life.

You will want to be alone.

You will prefer to sit silently at Jesus' feet
while others wrangle over the little politics
of the day.  You will give up being busy
bodies, talking in six peoples' houses in
an hour.

Quietude will charm you.

You will love no company so much as the
society of Him who is the Best and the Most.

To be with God in quiet will be your highest
enjoyment. You will not say, as some do,
"I must have recreation."

Contemplation of God is
recreation to the child of God.

It creates the soul anew. And is not
this the truest recreation?

Love to God will nourish the contemplative
life and so make us come forth as new
creatures, fresh from our Maker's holy hand.

If we were what we profess to be!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Citizenship in Heaven" #476.  Phil. 3:20.

There can be no comparison between
a soaring seraph and a crawling worm.

Christians ought so to live that it would
be idle to speak of a comparison between
them and the men of the world. It should
not be a comparison but a contrast.

The believer should be a direct
and manifest contradiction to the

The life of a saint should be altogether
above, and out of the same list as the
life of a sinner.

While the world is darkness, we should
manifestly be light. And while the world
lies in the Wicked One, we should most
evidently be of God, and overcome the
temptations of that Wicked One.

Wide as the poles asunder, are
  life and death,
  light and darkness,
  health and disease,
  purity and sin,
  spiritual and carnal,
  divine and sensual.

If we were what we profess to be,
we would be as distinct a people in the
midst of this world, as a white race in a
community of Ethiopians.

There should be no more difficulty in
detecting the Christian from the worldling
than in discovering a sheep from a goat,
or a lamb from a wolf.

But Alas! the Church is so much adulterated!

O for the time when the ignoble life of the
worldly man, whose god is his belly and
whose end is destruction, shall be rebuked
by our unworldly, unselfish character!

There should be as much difference between
the worldling and the Christian as between hell
and heaven; between destruction and eternal life.

As we hope at last that there shall be a
great gulf separating us from the doom of
the impenitent; there should be here a deep
and wide gulf between us and the ungodly
in our lifestyles.

The purity of our character should be such,
that men must take knowledge of us that
we are of another and superior race!

God grant us more and more to be most
clearly a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a peculiar people, that we may
show forth the praises of him who has called
us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Pass through this Vanity Fair without trading
in its vanities. When they ask, "What will you
buy?"  your answer should be, "We buy the
Truth of God."

The lost world should be able to say of us,
"There goes a heavenly citizen, one who is
 with us and among us but is not of us."

Belzoni's toad!
How many Christians live like
Belzoni's toad in the pyramids
of Egypt, which had been there
two thousand years? And what
had it done, but sometimes sleep
and sometimes wake the whole
time through.   And so some
Christians live and do nothing.

The lives of Christians!
"If our common life is not a
 common course of humility,
 self denial, renunciation of the
 world, poverty of spirit, and
 heavenly affection, we  do not
 live the lives of Christians."
     William Law
"Therefore, as God's chosen people,
 holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
 with compassion, kindness, humility,
 gentleness and patience."  Col. 3:12

Two sets of cups!

"Your sorrow shall be turned into joy." (John 16:20.)

The people of the world have the laughter
today, and we Christians have the sighing.
They shall have the sighing by and bye,
and we shall then have the laughter.

God is like a certain great man who had in his house
two sets of cups. These cups were for his friends,
and those others were for his enemies.  They might
take which ever they desired.  He knew his friends
were wise; and his enemies were fools.

Now, those cups which were for his foes were very
sweet; they sparkled on the brim; they flashed.
The wine was red, and it moved itself aright.
But they were warned that whoever drank those
cups would find that the dregs were full of death.

And his foes came in and drank and drank and
laughed, and said the good man of the house loved
them best, for he had given them the sweetest wines.

But on the other table stood the cups that were ready
for his friends, and his friends were wise, and went
to these, and the cups were very bitter; very bitter!

Ah, how they set their teeth on edge and filled their
mouths with wormwood!  But they knew that these
were health-cups that would purge them of all
disease and fill their frames with a vitality and force
which magic could not give; and therefore these
friends of his drank the cups with joy and thankfulness,
for they knew that he had prepared them in love;
and while they heard his enemies laughing at them
they bore the laughter with composure, for they
knew what the end would be!

"Your sorrow shall be turned into joy." (John 16:20.)

"The eternal God is your refuge." Deut. 33:27
(by Spurgeon)

God is our abode, our home.

Dear to our hearts is our home, although it be
the humblest cottage, or the scantiest garret;
and dearer far is our blessed God, in whom we
live, and move, and have our being.

It is at home that we feel safe.  We shut
the world out, and dwell in quiet security.
So when we are with our God we "fear no evil."
He is our shelter and retreat, our abiding refuge.

At home, we take our rest.  It is there we
find repose after the fatigue and toil of the
day. And so our hearts find rest in God, when,
wearied with life's conflict, we turn to him,
and our soul dwells at ease.

At home, also, we let our hearts loose.
We are not afraid of being misunderstood, nor
of our words being misconstrued. So when we
are with God we can commune freely with him,
laying open all our hidden desires.

Home, too, is the place of our truest and
purest happiness. And it is in God that our
hearts find their deepest delight. We have
joy in him which far surpasses all other joy.

It is also for home that we work and labor.
The thought of home gives strength to bear
the daily burden, and quickens the fingers to
perform the task. And in this sense we may
also say that God is our home. Love to him
strengthens us.  We think of his dear Son;
and a glimpse of the suffering face of the
Redeemer constrains us to labor in his cause.

Happy are those who have the eternal God for their refuge!

The sympathy of Jesus
The following is from Bonar's book,
    "The Night of Weeping"

"In all our affliction he is afflicted."
Jesus weeps with us.
He knows our sorrows, for He has passed
through them all, and therefore He feels
for us. He is touched with the feeling of
our griefs as well as of our infirmities.
Even in His glory He enters most fully into
the fellowship of our burdens and sorrow,
whatever these may be, for there is not
one which He did not taste when He "dwelt
among us" here.  His is sympathy, deep,
real, and true.  It is no fiction, no fancy.
We do not see His tears falling upon us;
neither do we clasp His hand nor feel the
beating of His heart against ours. But still
His communion with us in suffering is a reality.

"I go to prepare a place for you!"
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Jesus Affirmed to Be Alive" #2016. Acts 25:18-19

That pierced hand has taken hold of
eternal bliss on the behalf of those
for whom He shed His blood.

Jesus is now in Heaven making preparation
for our coming. What has to be done to make
Heaven ready I am sure I do not know, though
I have often tried to guess.

Jesus says, "I go to prepare a place for you!"

Heaven, when we get there, will prove to be
the perfect place for us. It has taken Jesus all
these years to make it ready for us. He that
with a word made earth fit for created man,
did not with a word make Heaven fit for His
children, but went to Heaven Himself to see
everything set in order for them.

I think I hear Him say, "This will not do for My
Beloved. There is something more needed. These
fruits are not quite mellow enough, these flowers
are not full bloom enough for My Beloved, whom
I desire to entertain to the utmost of their capacity."

Jesus now lives to keep Heaven for us
and make it in all respects ready for us.

"I go to prepare a place for you!"

Lost, lost, lost! and lost for nothing!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Soul's Crisis"  #906.  Luke 18:37.

What is it to be lost?

To be cast away from the presence
of God, to be cast into hell, to have
to suffer, and that forever, all that
the justice of God can demand, all
that the omnipotence of God can inflict.

Why, sirs, if I have but a headache,
or a toothache for one brief hour, my
patience can scarcely endure the torture.

What must it be to suffer such pains for a
century? Man, I cannot guess what it must be!

What must it be to have ten thousand times
worse pains than these for ever and ever?

But all the pangs and pains from which
men suffer here are nothing to be compared
with the woes and mental anguish of the
world to come.

Oh, the agony of a spirit doomed, forlorn,
accursed, upon which God shall put his foot in
awful wrath and lift it up no more for ever!

And there, as you lie, tormented to the quick,
you will have this to be your miserable portion:
I heard the gospel, but I would not heed it;
Christ was put before me, but I would not
acknowledge him; I was entreated to believe
in his name and fly to him for salvation, but
I hesitated, hung in suspense, demurred, and
at length denied him.

And all for what?

For a little drink, a little dance, a little sin
that yielded me but slight pleasure, or for
worldly gain, or for low and groveling vices,
or for sheer carelessness and gaiety!

Lost, lost, lost! and lost for nothing!

A sinner damned! He lost his soul, but
he did not gain the world. He gained
only a little frivolous pleasure, even
that poor pittance he spent in an hour,
and then he was forever cast away!

There is a time, we know not when,
A point we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men,
To glory or despair.

There is a line, by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God's patience and his wrath.

To pass that limit is to die,
To die, as if by stealth:
It does not quench the beaming eye,
Or pale the glow of health.

The conscience may be still at ease,
The spirits light and gay;
That which is pleasing still may please,
And care be thrust away.

But on that forehead God has set
Indelibly a mark,
Unseen by man; for man as yet
Is blind and in the dark.

And yet the doomed man's path below,
Like Eden, may have bloomed;
He did not, does not, will not know,
Or feel that he is doomed.

He knows, he feels, that all is well,
And every fear is calmed;
He lives, he dies, he wakes in hell,
Not only doomed but damned.

O where is your mysterious line,
By which our path is crossed,
Beyond which God himself has sworn,
That he who goes is lost?

How far may we go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end? and where begin
The confines of despair?

An answer from the skies is sent-
'You that from God depart,
 While it is called today, Repent!
 And harden not your heart.'

Matthew 25:41
Christ will say to the wicked on the left hand,
"Depart, you cursed ones, into everlasting
 fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
(from Edwards, "The Final Judgment")

How dreadful will these words of the judge be
to the poor, miserable, despairing wretches on
the left hand! How amazing will every syllable
of them be! How will they pierce them to the
soul! These words show the greatest wrath and

Christ will send them away from his presence,
will remove them forever far out of his sight, into
an everlasting separation from God, as being
most loathsome, and unfit to dwell in his
presence, and enjoy communion with him.

"you cursed ones"
Christ will call them cursed.
Depart, you cursed ones, to whom
everlasting wrath and ruin belong, who
are by your own wickedness prepared
for nothing else, but to be firebrands
of hell, who are the fit objects and
vessels of the vengeance and fury
of the Almighty.

"into everlasting fire"
He will not send them away merely
into a loathsome prison, the receptacle
of the filth and rubbish of the universe.
But into a furnace of fire. That must be
their dwelling place, there they must be
tormented with the most racking pain
and anguish. It is everlasting fire. There is
eternity in the sentence, which infinitely
aggravates the doom, and will make every
word of it immensely more dreadful, sinking,
and amazing to the souls that receive it.

"prepared for the devil and his angels"
This sets forth the greatness and intenseness
of the torments, as the preceding part of the
sentence does the duration.  It shows the
dreadfulness of that fire to which they shall
be condemned, that it is the same that is
prepared for the devils, those foul spirits
and great enemies of God. Their condition
will be the same as that of the devils, in
many respects; particularly as they must
burn in the fire forever.

This sentence will doubtless be pronounced
in such an awful manner as shall be a
terrible manifestation of the wrath of the Judge.
There will be divine, holy, and almighty
wrath manifested in the countenance and
voice of the Judge. And we know not what
other manifestations of anger will accompany
the sentence. Perhaps it will be accompanied
with thunders and lightnings, far more dreadful
than were on mount Sinai at the giving of the law.

Correspondent to these exhibitions of divine
wrath, will be the appearances of terror and
most horrible amazement in the condemned.
How will all their faces pale!  How will death
sit upon their countenances, when those words
shall be heard! What dolorous cries, shrieks,
and groans! What trembling, and wringing of
hands, and gnashing of teeth, will there then be!

Immediately after this, the sentence will be
executed, as we are informed, Matthew 25:46,
"These shall go away into everlasting
punishment; but the righteous into life
eternal."  When the words of the sentence
shall have once proceeded out of the mouth of
the Judge, then that vast and innumerable
throng of ungodly men shall go away, shall be
driven away, shall be necessitated to go away
with devils, and shall with dismal cries and
shrieks be cast into the great furnace of fire
prepared for the punishment of devils, the
perpetual thunders and lightnings of the
wrath of God following them.

Into this furnace they must in both soul and
body enter, never more to come out. Here
they must spend eternal ages in wrestling
with the most excruciating torments, and
in crying out in the midst of the most dreadful
flames, and under the most insupportable wrath.

On the other hand, the righteous shall ascend
to heaven with their glorified bodies, in
company with Christ and his angels. They shall
ascend in the most joyful and triumphant
manner, and shall enter with Christ into that
glorious and blessed world.

Christ having given his church that perfect
beauty, and crowned it with that glory, honor,
and happiness, which were stipulated in the
covenant of redemption before the world was,
and which he died to procure for them; and
having made it a truly glorious church, every
way complete, will present it before the Father,
without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.

Thus shall the saints be instated in everlasting
glory, to dwell there with Christ, who shall
feed them, and lead them to living fountains
of water, to the full enjoyment of God, and to
an eternity of the most holy, glorious, and
joyful employments.

The end of the world!
(from Edwards, "The Final Judgment")

After the sentence shall have been
pronounced, and the saints shall have
ascended with Christ into glory, this
world will be dissolved by fire. The
conflagration will immediately follow
the judgment. When an end shall have
been put to the present state of mankind,
this world, which was the place of their
habitation will be destroyed, there
being no further use for it.

This earth which had been the stage upon
which so many scenes had been acted,
upon which there had been so many great
and famous kingdoms and large cities,
where there had been so many wars, so
much trade and business carried on for
so many ages, shall then be destroyed.

These continents, these islands, these seas
and rivers, theses mountains and valleys,
shall be seen no more at all. All shall be
destroyed by devouring flames.

"By the same word the present heavens and
earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the
day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.
The heavens will disappear with a roar; the
elements will be destroyed by fire, and the
earth and everything in it will be burned up.
Since everything around us is going to melt
away, what holy, godly lives you should be
living! You should look forward to that day
and hurry it along; the day when God will
set the heavens on fire and the elements
will melt away in the flames."  2 Peter 3:7,10-12

Can you believe it!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon
"Love and I"  John 17:26.  #1667

Can you believe it, that you should
be the object of God's delight! That
you should be the object of the
Father's love us truly as Christ is!

Do not tell me that God the Father
does not love you as well as he does
Christ. The point can be settled by the
grandest matter of fact that ever was.

When there was a choice between
Christ and his people which should
die of the two, the Father freely
delivered up his own Son that we
might live through him.

See the amazing sacrifice which the
Father made in giving Jesus to us.

Think what it cost him to tear his Well
Beloved from his bosom and send him
down below to be despised and rejected.

Think what it cost him to nail him up
to yonder cross, and then forsake him
and hide his face from him, because
he had laid all our sins upon him.

Oh, the love he must have had to us
thus to have made his best Beloved
to become a curse for us, as it is written,
'Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree.'

I want you to get this right into your
souls, dear friends. Do not hold it as a
dry doctrine, but let it touch your heart.

The Lord Jesus died that we might be
borne onward forever by the mighty
sweep of infinite love into an everlasting
blessedness which tongues and lips
can never fully set forth.

Oh, be ravished with this!

Be carried away with it!

Be in ecstasy at love so amazing,
so divine: the Father loves you
even as he loves his Son!

Can you believe it!

Oh, if the love of the Father to Christ
once enters into a man's soul
it will change him;
it will sway him with the noblest passion;
it will make him a zealot for Christ;
it will cast out his selfishness;
it will change him into the image of Christ,
and fit him to dwell in heaven where love
is perfected.

"Jesus leaped into the sea
 of his Father's wrath to save his
 spouse from drowning!"
      Thomas Watson

"The love of Christ which passes knowledge."
  Ephesians 3:19   (the following is by Spurgeon)

The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fulness,
its greatness, its faithfulness, passes all human
comprehension. Where shall language be found
which shall describe His matchless, His unparalleled
love towards the children of men?

It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow
but skims the water, and dives not into its depths,
so all descriptive words but touch the surface,
while depths immeasurable lie beneath.

Well might the poet say,
"O love, you fathomless abyss!"

This love of Christ is indeed measureless
and fathomless; none can attain unto it.

Before we can have any right idea of the love
of Jesus, we must understand His previous glory
in its height of majesty, and His incarnation
upon the earth in all its depths of shame.

But who can tell us the majesty of Christ?

When He was enthroned in the highest heavens
He was very God of very God; by Him were the
heavens made, and all the hosts thereof.
His own almighty arm upheld the spheres; the
praises of cherubim and seraphim perpetually
surrounded Him; the full chorus of the hallelujahs
of the universe unceasingly flowed to the foot
of his throne: He reigned supreme above all His
creatures, God over all, blessed forever!

Who can tell His height of glory then?

And who, on the other hand, can tell how low
He descended?  To be a man was something, to
be a man of sorrows was far more; to bleed,
and die, and suffer, these were much for Him
who was the Son of God.  But to suffer such
unparalleled agony; to endure a death of shame
and desertion by His Father, this is a depth of
condescending love which the most inspired
mind must utterly fail to fathom.

Herein is love!

And truly it is love that "passes knowledge."

O let this love fill our hearts with
adoring gratitude, and lead us to
practical manifestations of its power.

How astonishing it is!
The following is from Jonathan Edwards sermon,
"The Wisdom Of God, Displayed In The Way Of Salvation"

How astonishing it is, that One who is
blessed forever, and is infinitely and essentially
happy, should endure the greatest sufferings
that ever were endured on earth!

How astonishing it is, that One who
is the supreme Lord and judge of the world,
should be arraigned, and should stand at the
judgment-seat of mortal worms, and then be

How astonishing it is, that One who
is the living God, and the fountain of life,
should be put to death!

How astonishing it is, that One who
created the world, and gives life to all his
creatures, should be put to death by his
own creatures!

How astonishing it is, that One of
infinite majesty and glory, and so the
object of love, praises, and adorations
of angels, should be mocked and spit
upon by the vilest of men!

How astonishing it is, that One,
infinitely good, and who is love itself,
should suffer the greatest cruelty.

How astonishing it is, that One who
is infinitely beloved of the Father, should
be put to inexpressible anguish under his
own Father's wrath!

How astonishing it is, that he who is
King of heaven, who has heaven for his
throne, and the earth for his footstool,
should be buried in the prison of the grave!
How astonishing it is!

How wonderful this is!  And yet this is
the way that God's wisdom has fixed
upon, as the way of sinner's salvation!

 Our hearts!
"We must give ourselves to earning our
 daily bread and our thoughts must go,
 to a large extent, after earthly things
 in the common pursuits of everyday life.
 But our hearts, our hearts, are as
 fountains sealed for our 'Well Beloved'.
 O mammon, you shall not have them!
 O pleasure, you shall not have them!
 Our hearts belong to Jesus, Jesus only!"

"Jesus is Inexpressibly, Unutterably,
 Indescribably Lovely! The Best of
 the Best, the Fairest of the Fair, the
 Sweetest of the Sweet, is Jesus
 to those who are indeed his people."

"Christ is the very essence of all
   delights and pleasures, the very
   soul and substance of them.
   As all the rivers are gathered
   into the ocean, which is the
   meeting place of all the waters
   in the world, so Christ is that
   ocean in which all true delights
   and pleasures meet." John Flavel

Avoid the world's religion!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Abram's call. Or, Half-Way And All the Way"
#2011. Genesis 11:31, 12:5

Will you devote yourself to God and His cause
and truth? In matters of religion follow the Lord
fully. Let the Word of God be your sole and sure
rule and nothing else. That religion which is not
according to God's Word is a false religion.

Accept neither doctrine nor ceremony for which
there is no Scriptural warrant. Search the Word
about it all, "to the Law and to the testimony,
if they speak not according to this Word, it is
because there is no light in them."

Avoid the world's religion!

For if there is one world worse than another,
it is the religious world. Be distinctly removed
from the religion which is based upon self-will,
pride of intellect, and worldly conformity.

The world's religion is as evil
 as the world's irreligion.

Surrender to the plain teaching of the Spirit
of God and resolve in all things to follow
your Lord wherever He may lead you.

Stand alone, if others will not obey.

My brethren, if we thus separate ourselves
from the world's religion, we must expect
violent opposition.  Severe criticism will not
be spared us. Some will say, "The man is mad!"
Others more gently will murmur, "He is sadly
misled." Many will accuse you of a liking to be
singular, or a weakness for going to extremes.
Having once made up their mind that you are
foolish and contemptible they will view all your
conduct through colored glasses and condemn
you up and down.

Be not dismayed but endure hardship for
the love of Jesus. The life of a consecrated
believer involves trials.

Avoid the world's religion!

O you, who by Divine Grace are beginners in
the heavenly life, make a strong resolve to be
the servants of God and endeavor in all things
to obey Him.

We live here in this world as strangers and
pilgrims.  We find little to charm us in this
foreign land.  Our treasure is above and it
will be a joy for our souls to rise to the place
where our hearts already dwell.

If you are now separated unto Him, you
shall find your reward in that day when
He shall divide the sheep from the goats.
You shall be placed at His right hand to hear
Him say, "Come, you blessed of My Father."

Avoid the world's religion!

"I must confess myself to be, in the presence
of the writings of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and
John of Patmos, as a little child wandering
through the museum, marveling at the Egyptian
hieroglyphs, and the Assyrian cuneiform characters,
but quite unable to spell them out; fancying,
sometimes, that I have the key of the mysteries,
and anon discovering some new form of divine
symbology which quite confuses me, and makes me
confess that I am but of yesterday, and know nothing."
From Spurgeon's "Things to Come"  #875  1 Corinthians 3:22.
"Nothing shall induce me to attempt to interpret
the prophecies. By God's grace I will be content
to expound the gospel. I believe it to be one of
the most fatal devices of Satan to turn aside
useful gospel ministers from their proper work
into idle speculations upon the number of the
beast, and the meaning of the little horn.
The prophecies will interpret themselves by
their fulfillment, but no expositor has yet
arisen who has been able to do it.
For us to explain the mysterious visions of Daniel
and John before they are fulfilled will, I believe,
be worse than folly; it will be a guilty waste of
energy, which should all be spent in the winning
of souls." From Spurgeon's "The Standard Uplifted in
 the Face of the Foe" No. 718. Isaiah 59:19.

".... do not read modern prophetical works, for
that is a sheer waste of time and nothing better.
Hold off as you would from a serpent, from the
idea that the study or preaching of prophecy
is the gospel, for the belief that it is so, is
mischievous beyond conception.  So long as
the world is reeking with sin, and millions are
going down to hell, let us leave others to
prophesy, let us go with anxious hearts
to seek after souls, and see if we cannot
by the Spirit's power win sinners from
going down into the pit."
 From Spurgeon's, "The Great Mystery
 of Godliness" No. 786. 1 Tim. 3:16.

I am no prophet. I do not understand the
visions of Daniel or Ezekiel. I find I have
enough to do to teach the simple word
such as I find in Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John, and the Epistles of Paul.
I do not find many souls have been converted
to God by exquisite dissertations about the
battle of Armageddon, and all those other fine
things. I have no doubt prophesying is very
profitable, but I rather question whether they
are so profitable to the hearers, as they may
be to the preachers and publishers.
People have a panting to know the future.
And certain preachers pander to this depraved
taste, by prophesying for them and letting
them know what is coming by and by.
I do not know the future and I shall not pretend
to know. But I do preach this, because I know it,
that Christ will come, for He says so in a hundred
passages. The Epistles of Paul are full of the
advent, and Peter's, too, and John's letters are
crowded with it.
The best of saints have always lived on the
hope of the advent. I will not divide the church
by discussing whether the advent will be
premillennial or postmillennial, or anything of
the kind. It is enough for me that He will come,
and, "in such an hour as you think not, the
Son of Man will come."
I think the Church would do well to be always
living as if Christ might come today. He may
come this moment. Let us always be living as
if He would come now, still acting in our Master's
sight, and watching unto prayer.
Never mind about the last vials; fill your own
vial with sweet odors and offer it before the Lord.
Think what you like about Armageddon. But
forget not to fight the good fight of faith.
Guess not at the precise time for the
destruction of Antichrist; go and destroy it
yourself, fighting against it every day.
Be looking forward and hastening unto
the coming of the Son of Man.  And let
this be at once your comfort and excitement
to diligence: that the Savior will soon come
from Heaven.
From Spurgeon's "Citizenship in Heaven" #476

"He who worships the true God
 detests and loathes idols." (Spurgeon)

(the following is by Don Fortner)
God the Father, in eternity past, before
the world began, chose a people whom
he determined to save and sovereignly
predestinated all things that ever come
to pass to secure, absolutely and infallibly,
the salvation of his elect people.

God the Son died upon the cursed tree as
their Substitute to "save his people from
their sins" By the satisfaction of divine justice,
through the shedding of his blood, Christ has
put away the sins of his people and brought in
an everlasting righteousness for them. The Son
of God, dying for God's elect, has effectually
obtained eternal redemption for them. Those
for whom Christ suffered the wrath of God can
never, for any reason or to any degree, suffer
God's wrath.  Justice will not allow it!

God the Holy Spirit regenerates, calls, and
preserves each of God's elect by infallible
grace, effectually applying the blood of Christ
to those chosen by the Father in eternity
and redeemed by the Son at Calvary.

This is our God, the effectual,
  sovereign, saving God.

There is no other God but him.

Any other god, called by whatever name,
any god that is not totally sovereign,
irresistibly effectual, and completely
successful in the salvation of his people
is no God at all, but only the idolatrous
figment of man's imagination!

Idolatry is as much a problem in America as
it was among the heathen of Isaiah's day.
I say, without hesitancy or apology, that
the god of modern, Arminian, freewill religion,
the god of our families and friends,
the god many of us once claimed to worship,
is a false god, a base, abominable idol!

"He who worships the true God
 detests and loathes idols." -Spurgeon

The love of God!

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon, "The Love
 of God and the Patience of Christ"  2 Thes. 3:5

"May the Lord direct your hearts
  into the love of God..."  2 Thes. 3:5

Believer, God loves you as much as if there
 were nobody else in all the world to love!

God can pour the infinite love of His heart
upon one object and yet, for all that, can
love ten thousand times ten thousand of
His creatures just as much.

Your Father loves each child as if He had no other!

Peer into this abyss of love!

Plunge into this sea!

Dive into this depth unsearchable!

Oh, that God might direct you into the
immeasurable greatness of this love!

Enter into this love by remembering its
antiquity. Some fight the great truth of
the eternal electing love of God. But to
me it is as wafers made with honey.

What music lies in that sentence, "Yes,
I have loved you with an everlasting love!"

When this great world, the sun, and moon
and stars, had not yet flashed the morning
of their little day, the Lord Jehovah loved
His people with an everlasting love.

In the Divine purposes, before the Lord
created the heavens and the earth, God
loved His own people.

He had chosen you, thought of you, provided
for you and made ten thousand forecasts of
loving kindness towards you before the earth was.

Beloved believer, you were engraved
 on the hands of Christ even then!

Oh that the Lord would direct you into the
antiquity of His love. It shall make you greatly
prize that love to think that it had no beginning
and shall never, never have an end.

Again, think of the love of God as to its
infallible constancy. The unchangeable
Jehovah never ceases to love His people.

The love of God abides forever the same.
Since you have known Him He has never varied
in His love to you. When your love has grown
cold He has loved you. When you have grown
cruel He has loved you.

You have grievously provoked Him till He has
taken down His rod and made you smart. But
He has loved you in the smiting.   With God
there is as much love in chastening as in caressing.

He never abates in fervor towards His ancient friends.

He has said, "I am the Lord. I change not.
Therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed."

I ask the Lord to direct us into the immutability
of His Divine love, for this is a great medicine in
the day of soul trouble. Whatever condition you
may be in, the Lord is still active in love towards you.

All true love goes towards purification.
And the true love of God goes that way
with an invincible current that can never
be turned aside. O believer, your God
loves you so well that He will not let
a darling sin stay in your heart. He
loves you so strongly that He will not
spare any iniquity in you.

The knowledge of His love will make your
heart as sweet and aromatic as a chamber
in which a box of precious ointment has
been broken.

Oh, that you might be led into the innermost
secret of the Lord's love till it shall saturate
you, influence you, take possession of you,
carry you away!

Beloved, let the love of God to you flow into
your hearts and abide there until it settles
down and bears on its surface the cream
of love to God, yielded by your own heart.

The only way to love God is to let God's
love to you dwell in your soul until it
transforms your soul into itself.

Love to God grows out of the love of God.

"May the Lord direct your hearts
  into the love of God..."  2 Thes. 3:5

Why does God allow the wicked
to live and prosper in the world?

(from Edwards sermon, "The Final Judgment")

The infinitely holy and wise Creator and
Governor of the world must necessarily
hate wickedness. Yet we see many wicked
men flourishing. They live with impunity;
things seem to go well with them, and
the world smiles upon them.  God allows
so much injustice to take place in the world.

Now it seems a mystery that these things
are tolerated, when he that is rightfully the
Supreme Judge and Governor of the world
is perfectly just. But at the final judgment
all these wrongs shall be righted.

Many who have not been fit to live, who
have held God and religion in the greatest
contempt, who have been open enemies
to all that is good, have by their wickedness
been the pests of mankind.

Many cruel tyrants, whose barbarities have
been such as would even fill one with horror
to hear or read of them; yet have lived in
great wealth and outward glory, have reigned
over great and mighty kingdoms and empires,
and have been honored as a sort of earthly gods.

Now, if we look no further than the present
state, these things appear strange and
unaccountable. But we ought not to confine
our views within such narrow limits.

God sometimes allows some of the holiest
of men to be in great affliction, poverty, and
persecution. The wicked rule, while they are
subject. The wicked are the head, and they
are the tail. The wicked domineer, while they
serve, and are oppressed, yes are trampled
under their feet, as the mire of the streets!
These things are very common, yet they
seem to imply great confusion.

Now, it is very mysterious, that the holy and
righteous Governor of the world, whose eye
beholds all the children of men, should allow
it so to be, unless we look forward to the day
of judgment. And then the mystery is unraveled.
For although God for the present keeps silence,
and seems to let them alone; yet then he will
give suitable manifestations of his displeasure
against their wickedness. They shall then
receive just punishment.

There are many things in the dealings of God
towards men, which appear very mysterious,
if we view them without having an eye to this
last judgment, which yet, if we consider this
judgment, have no difficulty in them.

Though God allows things to be so for the
present, yet they shall not proceed in this
course always. Comparatively speaking, the
present state of things is but for a moment.

When all shall be settled and fixed by a
divine judgment, the righteous shall be
exalted, honored, and rewarded, and the
wicked shall be depressed and put under
their feet.

However the wicked now prevail against
the righteous, yet the righteous shall at
last have the ascendant, shall come off
conquerors, and shall see the just
vengeance of God executed upon those
who now hate and persecute them.

"Left to himself, man is
half beast and half devil."
 George Whitefield

The carnal mind rages at the Cross of Christ!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Jesus Affirmed to Be Alive" #2016. Acts 25:18-19

Do not imagine that it is possible, fairly
and squarely, to preach Jesus Christ and
His Gospel without raising opposition.

There is no hope of faithfully preaching
Christ without being called disrespectful
names, regarded as a fool and reckoned
among the vulgar and ignorant. Some kind
of ugly name will always be appended to
the preacher of the true Gospel.

Brethren, expect it and accept it!
Bid farewell to a quiet life, if you
resolve to be true to Jesus.

Nothing excites such animosity
 as the preaching of Jesus!

The carnal mind rages
at the Cross of Christ!

That which would be to men the greatest
comfort and the greatest joy if they were
in their right minds, is their direst hate
because sin has perverted their judgments.

Of course nobody opposes
an indistinct, colorless, please
everybody gospel that is not
worth anything.

But speak clearly and distinctly the doctrine
of the great Sacrifice and you will bring upon
your head a shower of opposition.

The carnal mind rages at the Cross of Christ!

Dignity of human nature?
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"David Dancing Before the Ark Because of
His Election" #2031. 2 Samuel 6:20-22

Dignity of human nature?
Dignity of flesh which goes
to corruption and the worm?

Let those who will, extol the creature of an
hour; I glorify the Creator, who is everlasting.

Fallen human nature deserves no praise!

We are worse than the worms we tread upon!

It is not easy to find terms humiliating
enough to describe the degradation
into which sin has brought us, and the
helplessness in which sin has left us,
and the need of Sovereign Grace to
save us from perishing forever.

God will not endure that man should magnify
himself. He has purposed to stain the pride
of all boasting and to bring into contempt all
the excellent of the earth.

You will not find a doctrine in God's Word
which flatters human nature. Rather, you
will find great truths which lay our nature
among the diseased, the condemned and
the dead.

Purpose & Providence!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Hairs of Your Head Numbered" #2005. Mt.10:30

Everything is in the Divine purpose, and has
been ordered by Divine wisdom. All the events
of your life- the greater, certainly;  and the
smaller, with equal certainty.

It is impossible to draw a line in Providence
and say this is arranged by Providence and
that is not. God's Providence takes everything
in its sweep- all that happens.

Divine Providence determines not only
the movement of a star, but the blowing
of a grain of dust along the public road.

God's Providence knows nothing of things
so little as to be beneath its notice, nothing
of things so great as to be beyond its control.

Nothing is too little or too great for God to
rule and overrule. All that a man undergoes
is also ordained of Heaven.

God ordained....
when we would be born;
where we would be born;
who our parents would be;
what our lot in infancy would be;
what our path in youth would be; and
what our position in manhood would be.

From the first to the last it has all happened
according to the Divine purpose, and ordained
by the Divine will.

Not only the man but all that concerns the man,
is foreordained of the Lord- "The very hairs of
your head," that is to say, all that has anything
to do with you, which comes into any kind of
contact with you and is in any sense part and
parcel of yourself, is under the Divine foresight
and predestination.

You shall neither die before your time, nor
live beyond it. All that concerns you, from
first to last, all that is of you and in you
and around you, is in the Divine purpose.

Fate is hard and cruel, but predestination
  is fatherly and wise and kind.

When we see that all things are arranged
by Him who orders all things according to
the counsel of His own will, then we bow
our heads and worship.

Our happiness lies very much in our complete
submission to the Lord our God.  Oh, it is a
blessed thing when we know that God is ordering
all the events of Providence. Then we dissolve
our own will into the sweetness of His will and
our sorrow is at an end!

Since even the very hairs of our head are all
numbered; since everything is really ordained
by the Most High concerning His people, let
us rejoice in the Divine appointment, and take
all as it comes, and praise His name, whether our
allotment is rough or smooth, bitter or sweet.

Let us cheerfully say, "If the Lord wills it then
we will it, too. If He has purposed it, even so
let it be, since all things work together for
good to those who love God, even to those
who are called according to His purpose."

The Agony in Gethsemane
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Agony in Gethsemane" #1199. Luke 22:44

"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow
 to the point of death."   Matthew 26:38
"And being in agony he prayed more earnestly:
 and his sweat was as it were great drops of
 blood falling down to the ground."  Luke 22:44

See the excellence and completeness
    of the atonement of Christ!

How black I am, how filthy, how loathsome in
the sight of God; I feel myself only fit to be
cast into the lowest hell, and I wonder that
God has not long ago cast me there.

But I go into Gethsemane, and I peer under
those gnarled olive trees, and I see my Savior!

Yes, I see him wallowing on the ground in
anguish, and hear such groans come from
him as never came from human breast before.

I look upon the ground and see it red with
his blood, while his face is smeared with
gory sweat, and I say to myself, "My God,
my Savior, why do you suffer so?"

I hear him reply, "I am suffering for your sin."

Now I can understand how Jehovah can spare
me, because he smote his Son in my stead!

Sinner as I am, I stand before the burning throne
of the severity of God, and am not afraid of it.
Can you scorch me, O consuming fire, when you
have not only scorched, but utterly consumed
my substitute?

All hell was distilled into that cup of which
Jesus Christ was made to drink.  The woe
that broke over the Savior's spirit, the great
and fathomless ocean of inexpressible anguish
which dashed over the Savior's soul when
he died, was inconceivable.

Our Lord's main suffering lay in his soul. His
soul-sufferings were the soul of his sufferings.
His position as a sin-bearer, and the desertion
by his Father engrossed his contemplations.

The bloody sweat of Jesus came from an
 utter faintness and prostration of soul.

He was in an awful soul-swoon, and suffered
an inward death, whose accompaniment was
not watery tears from the eyes, but a
weeping of blood from the entire man.

He could say with David, "The pains
  of hell got hold upon me."

All God's waves and billows went over him.
Above him, beneath him, around him, and
within, all, all was anguish.

The Mass!  The Pope!
The Roman Church!

The following gems were written by Martin Luther.
Prior to being saved by the grace of God, Luther
was a Roman Catholic priest.

"The Mass is the greatest blasphemy
 of God, and the highest idolatry upon
 the earth, an abomination the like of
 which has never been in Christendom."

"The Kingdom of Christ is a kingdom
 of mercy, grace, and goodness. The
 kingdom of the Pope is a kingdom
 of lies and damnation!"

"The Roman Church has become
 the most licentious den of thieves,
 the most shameless of all brothels,
 the kingdom of sin, death, and hell.
 It is so bad that even Antichrist
 himself, if he should come, could
 think of nothing to add to its wickedness."

True or False?
(by Don Fortner)

1. False faith may be greatly enlightened
   and knowledgeable of gospel truth. Judas was.
   True faith receives the love of the Truth.

2. False faith excites the affections, like
   the stony ground hearers of the parable,
   and causes people to spring up like
   shooting stars, only to fade quickly.
   True faith is the abiding, growing gift of God.

3. False faith reforms the outward life and
   causes people to live better before men.
   True faith arises from a regenerate
   heart and causes people to seek the
   will and glory of God.

4. False faith may speak well of Christ,
   as the Jews did. True faith loves Christ.

5. False faith confesses sins, like King Saul.
   True faith confesses sin, like David.

6. False faith may humble itself in
   sackcloth and ashes, like Ahab.
   True faith humbles itself before God.

7. False faith may repent in terror, like Esau
   and Judas.  True faith repents in contrition,
   being convinced of God's way of salvation in Christ.

8. False faith often performs religious works
   very diligently.  Saul of Tarsus did.
   True faith is a faith, which "works by love."

9. False faith is sometimes very generous and
   charitable (Ananias and Sapphira). True faith
   causes ransomed sinners to be generous,
   willingly, constrained only by love and gratitude.

10. False faith may tremble at the
     Word of God, like Felix.
     True faith trembles and bows.

11. False faith often experiences much in religion.
     True faith trusts no experience, no matter how
     great, and looks to Christ alone.

12. False faith often enjoys great religious
     privileges, like Lot's wife.  True faith
     places no confidence in the flesh.

13. False faith may preach, perform miracles,
     and cast out demons, like Judas. True faith
     rejoices in having one's name written in heaven.

14. False faith often attains high office in the
     church, like Diotrephes, and walks with great
     preachers, as Demas walked with Paul.
     True faith is honored to keep the doors
     of God's house and walk with Christ.

15. False faith may be peaceful and carnally
     secure, like the five foolish virgins.
     True faith presumes nothing, but looks
     constantly to Christ.

The Leopard!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Eye, A Similitude" #904. Psalm 17:8

Christians will too often indulge wrong
habits and tolerate doubtful customs,
until transgressions seem to them as
if they were unavoidable, and then
they persuade themselves that these
sins are harmless.

Never trifle with a sin because it
does not look so black or cause
such shame as some other iniquities.

There was a man who kept in his house
a leopard, a tame leopard, which had
been born in captivity, and had never
known what liberty was. It had grown
up as tame as a domestic cat, until one
day, when the master was asleep, it
gently licked his hand.

Now, it so happened that he had cut his
hand earlier in the day, and a little blood
oozed out as the creature's tongue was
drawn repeatedly over the wound.

The taste of the blood roused the wild
demon spirit of the beast at once, and
had it not been promptly shot, its once
beloved master would have been its victim!

In like manner those little household sins
which look not like the dreadful destroyers
that they really are, will one of these days
reveal their true nature, and you will have
to chase them from your soul, and drive
them to their native haunts!

It is not fit that they should lodge under your
roof. Chase them away before they put you
into greater danger! They must be doomed
or you will have no peace. They must be
destroyed, for your life is in jeopardy!

When the thief cannot break in at the
door himself, he finds a child, and puts
him through the little window, and then
the great door is speedily opened.

Thus do little sins open
the door for great sins!

We ought to become more and more jealous of
approximation or contact with anything that defiles,
abhorring the very trail of the serpent; shuddering
at even the appearance of sin; and loathing the
atmosphere that is corrupted by evil conversation.

"Lord, keep me from little things that
 defile, and little flaws that disfigure or
 utterly deface godliness of character."