Grace Gems for May 2000

Four facts of Scripture
(The following is by Don Fortner)

Here are the four facts revealed in Holy Scripture which I most
cherish. Those four, blessed, gospel truths are the pillars of our faith,
the joy of our hearts, the comfort of our souls, and the constant
themes of our songs in worship and of the message we preach.
1.  The God we worship and serve, our Heavenly Father
is absolutely sovereign in all things - (Dan. 4:34-37).
2.  The Lord Jesus Christ, God's dear Son, our Savior has
effectually redeemed his people from all sin - (Gal. 3:13).
3.  Salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ - (Eph. 2:8-9).
4.  And the Lord our God sovereignly rules, controls, and disposes
of all things in providence according to His own wise and holy will -
(Isa.46:9-13; Rom. 8:28; 11:36; II Cor. 5:18).

Sovereign Grace Hated by the Modern Religionist
    By C H Spurgeon
If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out gospel of the
grace of God, especially if that hateful word "sovereignty" is
mentioned with it. Dare to say "He will have mercy on whom
he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he
will have compassion" (Romans 9:15), and furious critics will
revile you without stint.

The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of sovereign
grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it. He would
sooner hear you blaspheme than preach election by the Father,
atonement by the Son, or regeneration by the Spirit.

If you want to see a man worked up till the Satanic is clearly
uppermost, let some of the new divines hear you preach a
free grace sermon. A gospel which is after men will be
welcomed by men; but it needs divine operation upon the
heart and mind to make a man willing to receive into his in
most soul this distasteful gospel of the grace of God. My
dear brethren, do not try to make it tasteful to carnal minds.

Hide not the offense of the cross, lest you make it of none effect.
The angles and corners of the gospel are its strength to pare them
off is to deprive it of power. Toning down is not the increase of
strength, but the death of it.

Learn, then, that if you take Christ out of Christianity,
Christianity is dead. If you remove grace out of the gospel,
the gospel is gone. If the people do not like the doctrine
of grace, give them all the more of it.

I preach the doctrines of grace because I believe them to be true;
because I see them in the Scriptures; because my experience endears
them to me; and because I see the holy result of them in believers.

The doctrine which I preach to you is that of the Puritans:
it is the doctrine of Calvin, the doctrine of Augustine,
the doctrine of Paul, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
The Author and Finisher of our faith himself taught the
most blessed truth which well agreed with our text-
"For by grace are you saved through faith;
 and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Eph 2:8

Sound theologians!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
No. 778 Luke 8:28.

A man may know a great deal about true
religion, and yet be a total stranger to it.

He may know that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God, and yet he may be possessed of a devil.

Mere knowledge does nothing for us but puff us up.

We may know, and know, and know, and so
increase our responsibility, without bringing
us at all into a state of salvation.

Beware of resting in head-knowledge.

Beware of relying upon orthodoxy,
for without love to Christ, with all your
correctness of doctrine, you will be a
sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

It is well to be sound in the faith,
but the soundness must be in the
heart as well as in the head.

There is as ready a way to destruction by the road
of orthodoxy as by the paths of heterodoxy.

Hell has thousands in it who were never heretics.

Remember that the devils "believe and tremble."

There are no sounder theologians than devils,
and yet their conduct is not affected by
what they believe, and consequently they still
remain at enmity to the Most High God. A mere
head-believer is on a par therefore with fallen
angels, and he will have his portion with them
forever unless grace shall change his heart.

How to understand Scripture!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
"The Golden Key of Prayer"
No. 619.  Jeremiah 33:3.

John saw a book in the right hand of him that
sat on the throne -- a book sealed with seven
seals which none was found worthy to open or
to look thereon. What did John do? The book
was by-and-by opened by the Lion of the Tribe
of Judah, who had prevailed to open the book;
but it is written first before the book was opened,
"I wept much." Yes, and the tears of John which
were his liquid prayers, were, as far as he was
concerned, the sacred keys by which the folded
book was opened.

Brethren in the ministry, you who are teachers in
the Sunday school, and all of you who are learners
in the college of Christ Jesus, I beg you remember
that prayer is your best means of study!

like Daniel you shall understand the dream, and the
interpretation thereof, when you have sought unto
God; and like John you shall see the seven seals of
precious truth unloosed, after that you have wept much.

"Yes, if you cry after knowledge, and lift up the voice
for understanding; if you do you seek her as silver,
and search for her as for hid treasures; then shall you
understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge
of God."

Stones are not broken, except by an earnest use of the
hammer; and the stone breaker usually goes down on
his knees. Use the hammer of diligence, and let the
knee of prayer be exercised, too, and there is not a
stony doctrine in Scripture which is useful for you
to understand, which will not fly into shivers under
the exercise of prayer and faith.

To have prayed well is to have studied well.

You may force your way through anything
   with the leverage of prayer.

Thoughts and reasoning may be like the steel wedges
which may open a way into truth; but prayer is the lever
which forces open the iron chest of sacred mystery,
that we may get the treasure that is hidden therein for
those who can force their way to reach it.

Take care that you work with the mighty tool
of prayer, and nothing can stand against you.

Thus Says the Lord!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“Thus Says the Lord”   No. 591.  Ezekiel 11:5.

“Thus says the Lord” is the only authority in God’s Church.

The faintest whisper of Jehovah's voice should fill us with
solemn awe, and command the deepest obedience of our souls.

Brethren, how careful should we be that we do not set up in
God’s church anything in opposition to his Word, that we do
not permit the teachings of a creature to usurp the honor due
to the Lord alone.

“Thus says antiquity.”
“Thus says authority.”
“Thus says learning.”
“Thus says experience.”
   -these are but idol-gods which defile the church of God!

Be it yours and mine as bold warriors to dash them in pieces
without mercy, seeing that they usurp the place of the Word of God.

“Thus says the Lord,” -this is the motto of our standard;
the war-cry of our spiritual conflict; the sword with which
we hope yet to smite through the loins of the mighty who
rise up against God’s truth.

“Thus says the Lord God.” This is the trowel, and this the
hammer of God’s builders; this the trumpet of his watchmen
and the sword of his warriors.
Woe to the man who comes in any other name!

If we, or an angel from heaven, shall preach unto you anything but
a “Thus says the Lord,” no matter what our character or standing,
give no heed to us, but cleave unto the truth as it is in Jesus.

To the law and to the testimony, if we speak not according
to this word, it is because there is no light in us.

That test which we demand to be exercised upon others we
cheerfully consent to be exercised upon ourselves, praying
that we may have grace to forsake our errors as we would
have other men forsake theirs.

We will listen to the opinions of great men with the respect
which they deserve as men, but having so done, we deny that
we have anything to do with these men as authorities in the
Church of God, for there nothing has any authority, but
“Thus says the Lord of hosts.”
Yes, if you shall bring us the concurrent consent of all tradition-
if you shall quote precedents venerable with fifteen, sixteen, or
seventeen centuries of antiquity, we burn the whole as so much
worthless lumber, unless you put your finger upon the passage
of Holy Writ which warrants the matter to be of God.

To the true Church of God the only question is this, is there
“Thus says the Lord” for it? And if divine authority be not
forthcoming, faithful men thrust forth the intruder as the cunning
craftiness of men.

Let us use much of Scripture, much of the pure silver
of sacred revelation, and no human alloy.
“What is the chaff to the wheat, says the Lord?”

Many sorrows shall be to those who dare to dash themselves
against the thick bosses of Jehovah's buckler by opposing his
“Thus says the Lord.” Upon whomsoever this stone shall fall
it shall grind him to powder, and whosoever shall fall upon it shall
be broken to his own lasting damage.

O! my brethren, I would that we trembled and stood more in awe
of God’s Word. I fear that many treat the things of God as
though they were merely matters of opinion, but remember that
opinion cannot govern in God’s house.

God’s Word, not man’s opinion, claims your allegiance.
O for a stern integrity that will hold the Word and will never
  depart from it, come what may.

  by Don Fortner

"And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord:
   and they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
   for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”
      -- Jeremiah 24:7

There are some men and women in this world whom
God has chosen to salvation from eternity, who must
and shall be saved (John 15:16; 2 Thess. 2:13).
There is a multitude, scattered among the fallen sons of
Adam, in every age, in every nation who must be saved.
The number of God’s elect is so great that no man can
calculate it, though it always appears as only a remnant
at any given time.

    The number is unalterably fixed by God.
    All the elect must be saved.
    Nothing can prevent their salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ has made atonement for the sins of
God’s elect and redeemed them from the curse of the law by
his own precious blood (Gal. 3:13). Contrary to popular
opinion, Christ did not die for all men. He refused to even
pray for all men (John 17:9, 20). All his work was and is for
his elect alone. To say otherwise is to declare that his work,
his atonement, his intercession, all his work as the sinner's
Substitute was and is futile, meaningless, and vain.
The death of Christ was for his particular, chosen, elect people
(Isa. 53:8; John 10:11) for the satisfaction of justice on their behalf.

All God’s elect, having been redeemed by the blood of Christ, shall
be called from death to life by the irresistible power and almighty
grace of God the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:13-14; Psa. 65:4; 110:3).
Repentance toward God, faith in Christ, and eternal life are the
results of the Spirit's call. Theses are things effectually wrought
in God’s elect (not offered to them) by his almighty grace.
There is specific day appointed by God in which each of
his elect will be called to life and faith in Christ by the gospel
(Psa. 110:3; Ezek. 16:68). God will see to it that the sinner whom
he has chosen will be in the place he has ordained, with his heart
thoroughly prepared to receive the gospel, at the appointed time.
And he will send his Word to that sinner in the irresistible power
and grace of the Holy Spirit. In that day, God says, regarding
every chosen, redeemed sinner, “They shall be my people.”

The wordless book!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
Zechariah's Vision of Joshua the High Priest.
(No. 611.  Zechariah 3:1-5)

I have heard of a certain man that he always carried
about with him a little book.  This little book had
only three pages in it, and there was not a single
word in the book.

The first was a sheet of jet-black paper;
the next was a sheet of scarlet-red; and
the next was a sheet of white without spot.

Day by day he used to take out this little book, and
at last he told someone the secret of what it meant.

He explained, there is the black page- that is my sin, and the
wrath of God which my sin deserves.   I look, and look, and
think it is not black enough, though it is black as black can be.

Then the next, that is the page of the atoning sacrifice,
the precious blood — the red page — how I do delight
to look at that, and look, and look again.

Then there is the white page, that is my soul, as it is washed in
Jesus’ blood, made white as snow, through the righteousness
of Jesus Christ, and washing in the fountain which Christ has
filled from his own veins.

The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“The Smoke of Their Torments”
No. 602.  Genesis 19:27, 28.

See the blackness of your sin by the light of hell's fire!

Hell is the true harvest of the sowing of iniquity.

Come, lost sinner, I charge you to look at hell--
  Hell is what sin brings forth.
  Hell is the full-grown child.
  You have dandled your sin.
  You have kissed and fondled it.
  But see what sin comes to.
  Hell is but sin full-grown, that is all.

You played with that young lion; see how it roars and how
it tears in pieces now that it has come to its strength.

Did you not smile at the azure scales of the serpent?
See its poison; see to what its stings have brought those
who have never looked to the brazen serpent for healing.

Do you account of sin as a peccadillo, a flaw
scarcely to be noticed, a mere joke, a piece of fun?
But see the tree which springs from it.
There is no joke there- no fun in hell.

You did not know that sin was so evil.
Some of you will never know how evil it is until the
sweetness of honey has passed from your mouth,
and the bitterness of death preys at your vitals.

You will count sin harmless until you
are hopelessly stricken with its sting!

My God, from this day forward help me to see through the
thin curtain which covers up sin, and whenever Satan tells
me that such-and-such a thing is for my pleasure, let me
recollect the pain of that penalty wrapped up in it. When
he tells me that such a thing is for my profit, let me know
that it can never profit me to gain the whole world and lose
my own soul. Let me feel it is no sport to sin, for only a
madman would scatter firebrands and death, and say it is sport.

Revelations and vain imaginings?
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
"THE PARACLETE" No. 1074  John 14:16.

Take care never to impute the vain imaginings
of your fancy to the Holy Spirit. I have seen the
Spirit of God shamefully dishonored by people --
I hope they were insane -- who have said that
they have had this and that revealed to them.

There has not for some years passed over my
head a single week in which I have not been
pestered with the 'revelations' of hypocrites or
maniacs. Semi lunatics are very fond of coming
with messages from the Lord to me, and it may
save them some trouble if I tell them once for all
that I will have none of their stupid messages.
When my Lord and Master has any message to
me he knows where I am, and he will send it to
me direct, and not by madmen.

Never dream that events are revealed to you
by heaven, or you may come to be like those
idiots who dare impute their blatant follies to
the Holy Spirit.

If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense,
trace it to the devil, not to the Spirit of God.

Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any
of us is in the word of God already -- he adds
nothing to the Bible, and never will. Let persons
who have revelations of this, that, and the other,
go to bed and wakeup in their senses. I only wish
they would follow the advice, and no longer insult
the Holy Spirit by laying their nonsense at his door.

The Superlative Excellence of the Holy Spirit
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“The Superlative Excellence of the Holy Spirit”
No. 574  John 16:7.

Christ crucified is of no practical value to us without
the work of the Holy Spirit; and the atonement which
Jesus wrought can never save a single soul unless
the blessed Spirit of God shall apply it to the heart
and conscience.

Jesus is never seen until the Holy Spirit opens the eye.
The water from the well of life is never received until
  the Holy Spirit has drawn it from the depths.

As medicine unused for lack of the physician's prescription;
as sweets untasted because out of reach;
as treasure unvalued because hidden in the earth;
such is Jesus the Savior, until the Holy Spirit teaches
  us to know him, and applies his blood to our souls.

Can these dry bones live?
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews”
No. 582.  Ezekiel 37:1-10.

Men, by nature, are just like these dry bones
exposed in the open valley. The whole spiritual
frame is dislocated; the sap and marrow of
spiritual life has been dried out of manhood.
Human nature is not only dead, but, like the
bleaching bones which have long whitened in
the sun, it has lost all trace of the divine life.
Will and power have both departed. Spiritual
death reigns undisturbed. Yet the dry bones
can live. Under the preaching of the Word, the
vilest sinners can be reclaimed, the most stubborn
wills can be subdued, the most unholy lives can
be sanctified. When the holy “breath” comes
from the four winds, when the divine Spirit
descends to own the Word, then multitudes of
sinners, as on Pentecost's hallowed day, stand
up upon their feet, an exceeding great army,
to praise the Lord their God.

    By Don Fortner

God’s redeeming love is Particular and Distinguishing.
Those who declare that God loves all people alike,
the saved as well as the damned, greatly tarnish the love
of God, reducing it to a fickle, helpless, frustrated passion.
But that cannot be. The love of God is like himself, from
everlasting to everlasting, immutable and sure. “Nothing
is more absurd than to imagine that anyone beloved of
God can eternally perish (A. W. Pink).

God's love is Effectual and Saving.
When Paul says, nothing “shall be able to separate us from
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” the word
“us” refers to God’s elect, those sinners who are actually
saved by his grace.  There are some people in this world
whom God does not love. The Scriptures state that fact in
clear and unmistakable terms (Ps. 5:5; 11:5-7; Jn. 3:36; Ro. 9:13).
And there are some whom he does love. They are his elect,
those who are chosen of God, redeemed by Christ, and called
to life and faith in him by the Holy Spirit. To tell sinners that
God loves them regardless of their relationship to Christ is
either to assure them that God will save them without Christ,
or to imply that God is weak, mutable, helpless and frustrated.
Surely, God will save those whom he loves if he is able to do so.
And he is able to do so! God’s love is more than a sympathetic
passion. It is his determination to save. Because the love of God
is in Christ, nothing can separate us from his love, for nothing
can separate us from Christ!

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because
God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might
live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but
that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
          -- 1 John 4:9-10

The love of God has been, and forever is, manifested and revealed
to sinners in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ as the sinners’
Substitute. Here are three characteristics of God’s love, which
set it apart from any other thing that is called “love”.

God’s declaration concerning the manifestation of his love to
his elect is this -- “I will love them freely" (Hos. 14:4).
That simply means that God’s love toward us is an unconditional,
unqualified, unmerited, and uncaused love. God does not love
his elect because of anything amiable and attractive in us.
He says, “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated,” and that
before either had done anything good or bad, “that the purpose
of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of
him that calls” (Rom. 9:13, 11). Not even the death of Christ
caused God to love us. Christ’s death as our sin-atoning Substitute
is the result of God’s love for his people (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10).

He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3).
Try to get hold of this. As God the Father loved his Son from
eternity, so he loved his elect from eternity. And as the love of
God is in Christ, God’s love for Christ and his love for us is the
same! Only faith can grasp this blessed truth. It is higher than
reason and emotion. God loves his elect in Christ. As he beholds
his people in his dear Son, he loves us as he loves his Son,
delights in us as he delights in his Son, and is pleased with us
as he is pleased with his Son. This is exactly what our Savior
declares in his great, high priestly prayer in John 17:23.

God’s love is not like man’s love. God’s love does not change,
ever, under any circumstances or conditions. Having loved us
from eternity, he will never call back his love in time. There is
nothing we can do to destroy, or even lessen, the love of God
for us (John 13:1). We did nothing compel God to love us;
and we can do nothing to repel God’s love. The love of God is
not dependent upon, or regulated by our faithfulness to him (Mal. 3:6).

The freeness, eternality and immutability of God’s love to us in
Christ means that our everlasting salvation is a matter of absolute
certainty. Nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of
God, which is in Christ Jesus.”

"Because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the
oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, has the Lord brought
you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of
bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” - Deut. 7:8

Love is seen in its deeds. And we know the love of God by the
gracious operations of his love which he has performed on our
behalf. All the acts of God’s grace performed for his people in
time are expressions of his love for us from everlasting.

PREDESTINATION (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Thess. 2:13).
No one believes in the love of God who does not believe in election.
And no one can talk about the love of God in Bible terms who does
not talk about predestination. Election and predestination are eternal
acts of God’s amazing love toward hell deserving sinners such as we are.

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:10; 3:16).
We read the love of God clearly spelled out in the precious blood of
Christ. The love of God is not fully revealed and made manifest in
Christ’s incarnation, nor his example, nor his doctrine, nor his prayers,
nor even his life of righteousness, but only in his blood. Had Christ
done everything else and left this undone, had he not poured out his
life's blood unto death for the atonement of our sins and the redemption
of our souls, we could never have known the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord. But because he died for us, his love is made manifest.

        “Amazing love! How can it be,
    That You my God should die for me!”

Our regeneration came in “the time of love” (Ezek. 16:6-8). The effectual
call, by which we were given faith, was the fruit of God’s love (Jer. 31:3).
And our adoption into the family of God was the work of our heavenly
Father’s eternal love (1 John 3:1).

OF GOD’S LOVE (John 13:1; Isa. 43:1-4; Jer. 32:38-40).
“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it”
(Song of Sol. 8:7). God’s love toward his elect is invincible and
unquenchable. There is no possibility that it will expire.
The black waters of our sin cannot extinguish it.
And the floods of our unbelief cannot drown it. With men,
nothing is stronger than love. His love for us overcomes every
obstacle that might stand in the way of our everlasting glory.
Every sinner loved of God from eternity was redeemed by
Christ at Calvary, shall be called by the Spirit in time, and
  shall be saved forever.

His unutterable loveliness!
"Behold, you are beautiful, my Beloved."
      --Song of Solomon 1:16

The following is by Spurgeon,
From every point our Well Beloved is most beautiful.

Our various experiences are meant by our heavenly Father
to furnish fresh standpoints from which we may view the
loveliness of Jesus.

How amiable are our trials when they carry us aloft where
we may gain clearer views of Jesus than ordinary life could
afford us! We have seen him from the top of Amana, from the
top of Shenir and Hermon, and he has shone upon us as the
sun in his strength; but we have seen him also "from the lions'
dens, from the mountains of the leopards", and he has lost
none of his loveliness.

From the languishing of a sick bed, from the borders of the
grave, have we turned our eyes to our soul's spouse, and he
has never been otherwise than "all lovely."

Many of his saints have looked upon him from the gloom
of dungeons, and from the red flames of the stake, yet have
they never uttered an ill word of him, but have died extolling
his surpassing charms.

Oh, noble and pleasant employment to be
 forever gazing at our sweet Lord Jesus!

Is it not unspeakably delightful to view the Savior in
all his offices, and to perceive him matchless in each?
To shift the kaleidoscope, as it were, and to find fresh
combinations of peerless graces?

In the manger and in eternity, on the cross and on his throne,
in the garden and in his kingdom, among thieves or in the midst
of cherubim, he is everywhere "altogether lovely."

Examine carefully every little act of his life, and every trait of
his character, and he is as lovely in the minute as in the majestic.

Judge him as you will, you cannot censure; weigh him
as you please, and he will not be found lacking.

Eternity shall not discover the shadow of a spot in our Beloved,
but rather, as ages revolve, his hidden glories shall shine forth
with yet more inconceivable splendor, and his unutterable
loveliness shall more and more ravish all celestial minds!

"It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor."
     -Martin Luther

Loathsome, detestable, obnoxious, dreadful, abominable, damnable
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
"The Great Physician and His Patients"
No. 618 Matthew 9:12.

Sin is a very loathsome thing.
In God’s esteem, and in the esteem of all
holy minds, the most detestable, obnoxious,
dreadful thing in the whole world is moral evil.
If that could be got rid of, all other evil would
   cease to be.
Sin is the mother and nurse of all evil.
Sin is the egg of all mischief.
Sin is the fountain of bitterness.
Sin is the root of misery.
Sin is the distilled essence of hell.
Sin is the quintessence of everything that is
unlovely, disreputable, dishonest, impure,
abominable -- in a word -- damnable!

The cure!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
The Great Physician and His Patients.
No. 618 Matthew 9:12.

Man cannot cure himself of sin.

He may reform, he may drive the disease
inward, and prevent its coming out upon
the skin; He may so model, and guide, and
restrain himself, that the coarser forms of
sin which are condemned among men may
not appear in him.

But the virus, the essential poison of sin,
no man can ever extract from his own
heart, nor can another man do it for him.

Jehovah Rophi, the healing Lord,
must manifest his omnipotent power.

The utmost religiousness, the most devout
prayers, the greatest possible prudence in
living, will not avail to remove the taint of sin,
if they spring from an unrenewed heart.

The carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not
reconciled to God, neither, indeed, can it be.

Teach a horse astronomy?
I never try to teach a horse astronomy; and to
teach an unconverted man spiritual truth and
experience would be a folly of the same sort.

"... people who aren't Christians can't understand
these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish
to them because only those who have the Spirit
can understand what the Spirit means." 1 Cor. 2:14


Free Will
"If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very
  least thing,  to the free will of man, he knows nothing of
  grace, and he has not  learned Jesus Christ rightly."
            -Martin Luther

The evil of sin!
The following is by Thomas Boston.

Learn the evil of sin.

Sin is a stream that will carry down the sinner,
until he is swallowed up in the ocean of wrath!

The pleasures of sin are bought too dear,
  at the rate of everlasting burnings!

What did the rich man's purple clothing and sumptuous food
avail him, when in hell he was encircled by purple flames,
and could not have a drop of water to cool his tongue?

Alas! that men should indulge themselves in sin
  which will bring such bitterness in the end!

That they should drink so greedily of the poisonous cup, and
hug that serpent in their bosom that will sting them to the heart!

"God’s providences are but the manifestations of His decrees.
  What God does in time is only what He purposed in eternity."
     -Arthur Pink

For whom did Christ die?
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
"LAUS DEO"   (No. 572, Romans 11:36)

We hold that Christ did not redeem every
man, but only redeemed those men who will
ultimately attain unto eternal life.

We do not believe that he redeemed the damned.

We do not believe that he poured out
his life blood for souls already in hell.

We never can imagine that Christ suffered
in the room and stead of all men, and that
then afterwards these same men have to
suffer for themselves.

We do not believe that Christ pays their
debts, and then God makes them pay their
debts again a second time.

We hold to this-  that Christ laid down his
life for his sheep, and that his laying down
his life for the sheep involved and secured
the salvation of every one of them.

Open Sesame!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“For Christ's Sake.” No. 614  Eph. 4:32.

You may cry as long as you will, reform as much as
you please, pray as earnestly as you like, but the
gate of heaven will never stir to your knockings
until you plead, "For Jesus' sake!"
That is the "Open Sesame" which will make the
gates of the city turn on their hinges. But if you
have not this watchword, all your doings and
almsgivings, and praying, and what not, will be
but a heap of filth, piled up against heaven's gate.

The whole pith of the gospel lies here.
All true theology is comprehended in this,
"For Christ's sake." Substitution -- saving
the guilty through the innocent; substitution --
blessing the unworthy through the worthy.
Do try this precious plea, poor soul, and I will warrant
you that, before long, you shall find peace with God.

Crimson hieroglyphics
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
No. 620  Hebrews 3:13.

It is a grievous token of hardness of heart
when we can live contentedly without the
present enjoyment of the Savior’s face.

There is no doubt whatever that living among
sinners has a hardening tendency even upon
Christian men. You cannot walk about in this
great lazar-house, without receiving some contagion.

Though you were pure in heart, the prince of this
world would make you his prey. It were hard to
dwell in so foul a world as this without contracting
some impurity. Those black coals which fill this
earthly cellar, if they will not burn us, will at least
blacken us. When so many fires of sin are pouring
forth their smoke, the whitest of linen cannot
escape the falling black soot.

If “the thought of foolishness is sin,” then even
to think of sin exercises a polluting influence.
Can I read a description of another man’s sin
without getting my heart hardened? I question
if reading the daily reports of crime in the police
news is not a very fertile cause of sin. Great
crimes usually produce their like in congenial
winds, and even in the purest hearts their
recital cannot but have an injurious effect.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil bears
dangerous fruit; it were well if we restrained
our curiosity, and left foul deeds alone, unknown,
unread by us. What good can come from turning
over the foul dunghill of crime? Let those traverse
our sewers whose business it is to do so; were it
not better for the most of us to keep out of them.
Those who are called in providence to deal daily
with the coarser sins had need to set a special
watch over themselves lest they fall by little and little.

He who handles sharp-edged tools, is apt to cut his
fingers, and none the less so because the knife is
made of the best steel. Let us walk warily among
men, like a man with naked feet when going over
thorny ground, lest our hurt be grievous.

I daily feel that the atmosphere of earth has as
much a tendency to harden my heart, as to harden
plaster which is newly spread upon the wall; and
unless I am baptized anew with the Spirit of God,
and constantly stand at the foot of the cross,
reading the curse of sin in the crimson hieroglyphics
of my Savior’s dying agonies, I shall become as
steeled and insensible as the mass of professors
already are.

Shame on us, that any of us should be guilty
of such tampering with that accursed thing
which slew the Lord of glory.

Avenge his death!

The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“For Christ’s Sake.” No. 614  Eph. 4:32.

One of the first things which every Christian should feel
bound to do "for Christ’s sake" is to avenge his death.
"Avenge his death," says one, "upon whom?"
Upon his murderers. And who were they? Our sins! Our sins?
"Each of our sins became a nail, and unbelief the spear."

The very thought of sin having put Jesus to death should
make the Christian hate it with a terrible hatred. When I
recollect that my sins tore my Savior’s body on the tree,
took the crown from his head, and the comfort from his
heart, and sent him down into the shades of death, I vow
revenge against them.

"O sin! Happy shall he be who takes your little
     ones and dashes them against a stone!"

Yes, doubly blessed is he who, like Samuel, shall hew
the Agag of his sins in pieces before the Lord, and not
spare so much as one single fault, or folly, or vice,
because it slew the Savior.

Be holy, be pure, be just, be separate
from sinners for Christ’s sake.

"See from his head, his hands, his feet,
 Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
 Did ever such love and sorrow meet,
 Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

 His dying crimson, like a robe,
 Spreads over his body on the tree;
 Then am I dead to all the globe,
 And all the globe is dead to me.

 Were the whole realm of nature mine,
 That were a present far too small;
 Love so amazing, so divine,
 Demands my soul, my life, my all."

The Christian and sin
The position of sin in a natural man
is that of a king on his throne.
The position of sin in a Christian is
that of a bandit hiding in secret
places trying to get back its old
usurped dominion,  but failing in
the attempt, for sin shall not have
dominion over you, for you are not
under the law, but under grace.
     -C. H. Spurgeon

Believers err in many things, fall
in many ways, and sin is mixed with
all they do; but in the tenor of their
lives all believers are faithful, seeking
the will and glory of God in all things
and above all things.
As we become increasingly aware of our
personal sinfulness and corruption, as
we are humbled by the depravity of our
hearts,  nothing is more comforting,
cheerful, and reassuring to God’s  saints,
than the knowledge of the fact that in
the eyes of Christ  we stand perfect in the
beauty of his righteousness, the beauty
 which he has put upon us.
     -Don Fortner

The back door to the pit!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“A Hearer in Disguise” No. 584. 1 Kings 14:6.

Many come to God’s house disguised in manner
  and appearance. How good you all look!

When we sing and you take your books, how
heavenly-minded!  And when we pray, how
reverent you are! How your heads are all bowed-
your eyes covered with your hands!  I do not know
how much praying there is when you sit in a devout
posture, though you assume the attitude and compose
your countenance as those who draw near to supplicate
the Lord. I am afraid there are many of you who do not
pray a word or present a petition, though you assume
the posture of suppliants.

When the singing is going on there are many who never
sing a word with the spirit and the understanding.

In the house of God I am afraid there are many who wear
a mask, stand as God’s people stand, sit as they sit, pray
as they pray, and sing as they sing-  and all the while what
are you doing?
Some of you have been attending to your children while
we have been singing tonight. Some of you have been casting
up your ledger, attending to your farms, scheming about your
carpentering and bricklaying; yet all the while if we had looked
into your faces we might have thought you were reverently
worshiping God.

Oh! those solemn faces, and those reverent looks,
  they do not deceive the Most High God!

He knows who and what you are!

He sees you as clearly as men see  through glass.
As for hiding from the Almighty, how can you hide
yourself from him? As well attempt to hide in a glass
case, for all the world is a glass case before God!

When you look into a glass beehive, you can see the bees and
everything they do- such is this world, a sort of glass beehive
in which God can see everything. The eyes of God are on you
continually; no veil of hypocrisy can screen you from him.

It is a melancholy and a most solemn reflection that there are
many who profess to be Christians who are not Christians.

There was a Judas among the twelve; there was a Demas among
the early disciples; and we must always expect to find chaff on
God’s floor mingled with the wheat.

I have tried, the Lord knows, to preach as plainly and as
much home to the mark as I could, to sift and try you; but
for all that the hypocrite will come in. After the most searching
ministry, there are still some who will wrap themselves about
with a 'mantle of deception'. Though we cry aloud and spare
not, and bid you lay hold on eternal life, yet, alas! how many
are content with a mere name to live and are dead.

Many come here and even hold office in the Church, yes,
the minister himself may even preach the Word, and after
all be hollow and empty. How many who dress and look
fair outside, are only fit to be tinder for the devil's tinder
box, for they are all dry and empty within!

God save as from a profession if it is not real!

I pray that we may know the worst of our case.
If I must be damned, I would sooner go to hell unholy,
than as a hypocrite- that back-door to the pit is the
thing I dread most of all.

Oh! to sit at the Lord’s table, and to drink of the cup of devils!
To be recognized among God’s own here, and then to find one's
own name left out when God reads the muster-roll of his servants!

Oh! what a portion for eternity!

I bid you tear off this mask, and if the grace of God is not
in you, I beg you to go into the world which is your fit place,
and abstain from joining the Church, if you are not really a
member of the body of Christ.

“You, God, see me!”
Write that on the palm of your hand, and look
at it; wake up in the morning with it; sleep with it
before you on your curtains.

“You, God, see me!”

Sweet affliction!  Sweet affliction!
 The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“A Mystery! Saints Sorrowing and Jesus Glad!”  No. 585
John 11:14, 15.  “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there.”

The more beloved by God you are
the more of the rod you shall have!

Jesus is glad that your husband is taken away, that your
child is buried; glad that your business does not prosper.
He is glad that you have those pains and aches, and that
you have so weak a body, to the intent that you may
believe. You would never have possessed the precious
faith which now supports you, if the trial of your faith had
not been like unto fire.

Faith untried may be true faith,
  but it is sure to be little faith.

Our Lord in his infinite wisdom and superabundant love,
sets so high a value upon his people’s faith, that he will not
screen them from those trials by which faith is strengthened.

There is no faith so precious as that
which lives and triumphs in adversity!

Untried faith is always small in stature; and it is likely to remain
dwarfish so long as it is without trials. There is no room in the
'placid pools of ease' for faith to gain leviathan proportions, she
must dwell in the 'stormy sea' if she would be one of the chief of
the people of God.

You never know your own weakness until you have been
compelled to go through the rivers; and you would never
have known God’s strength had you not been supported
amid the water-floods.

Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more
she is exercised with tribulation, and the more she has been
cast down, and lifted up again.

Oh, blessed axe of sorrow, which clears a pathway for me to
my God by cutting down the thick trees of my earthly comforts!

When I say, “My mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved,”
the visible fortification, rather than the Invisible Protector, engages
my attention. But when the great earthquake shakes the rocks,
and the mountain is swallowed up, I fly to the immovable Rock
of Ages to build my confidence on high.

Worldly ease is a great foe to faith; it loosens the joints
 of holy valor, and snaps the sinews of sacred courage.

The balloon never rises until the cords are cut-
affliction does this sharp service for believing souls.

While the wheat sleeps comfortably in the husk it is useless
to man- it must be threshed out of its resting-place before its
value can be known.

Trial plucks the arrow of faith from the repose of
  the quiver, and shoots it against the foe.

Trial is of special service to faith
  when it drives her to her God!

Trials fetch us to our God, as the barking dog drives
  the wandering sheep to the shepherd's hand.

Oh, dear friends, we are in much danger
  of making idols of our mercies!

God gives us his temporal favors as refreshments by
the way, and then straightway we kneel down and cry,
  “These are your gods, O Israel.”

It is of the Lord’s mercy that these
  idol-gods are broken in pieces!

He blasts the gourds under which we sat in ample shade, in
order that  we may lift up our cry to him, and trust in him alone.

The emptiness of the creature is a lesson we are so
slow to learn, and we must have it whipped into us
by the rod of affliction; but learned it must be, or else
faith can never attain to eminence.

The only wise God does not put his servants in 'hothouses'
and rear them delicately, but he exposes them to trial that
they may know how to bear it when it comes.

There is no fellowship with Christ so near and sweet,
as that which comes to us when we are in deep trials!
Then the Master unbosoms himself, and takes his child,
not upon his knee, but to his very heart, and bids him
  lay his head upon his beating bosom.

Christ will reveal his secrets to you when the
world is against you, and trials surround you.
There are then special loves, special visits,
  and special fellowship.

“Sweet affliction! sweet affliction!
  Thus to bring my Savior near.”

Losses, adversities, afflictions, griefs!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Superlative
Excellence of the Holy Spirit”  No. 574.  John 16:7.

The saints of God may very justly reckon
  their losses among their greatest gains.

The adversities of believers minister much to their prosperity.

Although we know this, yet through the infirmity of the flesh
we tremble at soul-enriching afflictions, and dread to see those
black ships which bring us such freights of golden treasure.

When the Holy Spirit sanctifies the furnace, the flame refines
our gold and consumes our dross, yet the dull ore of our nature
likes not the glowing coals, and had rather lie quiet in the dark
mines of earth.

As silly children cry because they are called to drink the
medicine which will heal their sicknesses, even so do we.

Our gracious Savior, however, loves us too wisely to spare
us the trouble because of our childish fears; he foresees the
advantage which will spring from our griefs, and therefore
thrusts us into them out of wisdom and true affection.

That painted harlot!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
"Jesus Meeting His Warriors"  No. 589. Genesis 14:18-20.

Brother, if ever you have seen Christ’s face, that painted
harlot, the world, will never win your love again.

Did you ever eat the pure white bread of heaven?
Then the brown, gritty bread of earth will never suit
you, but will break your teeth with gravel stones.

You will never care to drink earth’s sour and watery wine,
if you have once been made to drink of the wines on the
lees well refined- the spiced wine of Christ’s pomegranate.

If you want to be strengthened against the most subtle
worldly temptations, cry, “Let him kiss me with the kisses
of his mouth: for his love is better than wine”; and you
may go forth to conflicts of every kind, more than a
conqueror, through Him that has loved you!