THE SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Celestial garment

THE SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS!

C.H. Spurgeon

If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of my righteousness, which I am to insert myself, then I am lost. If there be one drachma in the price of my redemption which I am to make up, then must I perish. If there be one contingency—one “if,” or “though,” or “but,” about my soul’s salvation, THEN AM I A LOST MAN! 

“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me.” [Psalm 138:8]

But THIS is my confidence, the Lord that began will perfect. He HAS done it ALL, MUST do it ALL, he WILL do it ALL. My confidence must not be in what I can do, or in what I have resolved to do, but entirely in what THE LORD WILL DO!

How often do you and I stand star-gazing into the future, and trembling, because we think we see divers portents, and strange sights, which portend some future trouble. O child of God! leave the future to thy God. O leave everything that is to come in the hand of him to whom the future is already present, and who knows beforehand everything that shalt befall thee. Draw from the present living water with which to moisten the arid desert of the future; snatch from the altar-fires of to-day a torch with which to light up the darkness of that which is to come. Depend on it, that He who is to-day thy sun, shall be thy sun for ever—even in the darkest hour he shall shine upon thee; and he who is to-day thy shield shall be thy shield for evermore; and even in the thickest part of the battle he shall catch the dart, and thou shalt stand unharmed.

The faith of our text is a personal faith. “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” Here is the loudest note of all; this is the handle whereby we must lay hold of this sword if we would use it aright—”that which concerneth me.” Oh, it is a sweet truth to know and believe that God will perfect all his saints; ’tis sweeter still to know that “he will perfect me.” It is blessed to believe that all God’s people shall persevere; but the essence of delight is to feel that I shall persevere through him. Many persons are contented with a kind of general religion, an universal salvation. They belong to a Christian community; they have joined a Christian church, and they think they shall be saved in the lump—in the mass; but give me a personal religion.

What is all the bread in the world, unless I myself feed upon it? I am starved, though Egypt be full of corn. What are all the rivers that run from the mountains to the sea, if I be thirsty? Unless I drink myself, what are all these? If I be poor and in rags, ye do but mock me if ye tell me that Potosi’s mines are full of treasure? You do but laugh at me if you speak of Golconda’s diamonds. What care I for these, unless I have some participation for myself? But if I can say even of my crust, “It is my own,” then I can eat it with a grateful heart. That crust which is my own is more precious than all the granaries of Egypt if they are not my own, and this promise even if it were smaller would be more precious than the largest promise that stands in the Bible, if I could not see my right to it personally myself. But now, by bumble faith, sprinkled with the blood of Christ, resting in his merits, trusting in his death, I come to the text, and say throughout this year, and every year, “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me”—unworthy me. Lost and ruined me. He will yet save me; and

“I, among the blood-wash’d throng,
Shall wave the palm, and wear the crown,
And shout loud victory.”

This, then, is the believer’s confidence. May God grant you the same!

“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me.” [Psalm 138:8]

[Quoted from Spurgeon’s sermon – ‘Faith in Perfection’]

GOD’S WORD – A MIRROR

Gods Word a mirror

GOD’S WORD – A MIRROR

Henry Mahan

When a person stands before a mirror, he sees three things–the mirror, himself, and other things which are in the room. When I sincerely look by faith into the scriptures, I see many things, but primarily three things.

(1) I see the LORD JESUS CHRIST, for He verily is the WORD OF GOD. It is of Him, from Him, and to His glory that it is written. “To Him give all the prophets witness” (Acts 10:43).

(2) I see MYSELF as I truly am, for the word reveals the true nature and need of this son of Adam. “Lord, be merciful to me, the sinner! Let Thy blood atone for me on the mercy-seat.”

(3) I see OTHER PEOPLE and my RELATIONSHIP and my RESPONSIBILITY to them!

The image of myself reflected in a mirror is larger than others in the room, but NOT SO WITH THE SCRIPTURES.
“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28)

Paul rebuked those at Ephesus who “walked in the vanity of their own minds and desires,” (Ephesians 4:17) and said to them, “YE HAVE NOT SO LEARNED CHRIST” (Ephesians 4:20).

The person who is often in the Word of Christ is often in prayer, in concern, and in the care and concerns of others!

THE KING JAMES VERSION – THE VERSION I LOVE, PREFER AND QUOTE!

light brown wall texture background. To be used for texture maps and backgrounds

THE KING JAMES VERSION – THE VERSION I LOVE, PREFER AND QUOTE!

Michael Jeshurun

Please allow me to say a few words of admonition to those who may be using one of the many ‘Modern versions’. Almost all modern versions of the Bible are unhistorical and irreverent. The Bible is not a modern, human book. It is not as new as the morning newspaper! If the Bible were THIS new, it would not be the Bible. On the contrary, the Bible is an ancient, divine book which nevertheless is always new because in it God reveals Himself. Hence, the language of the Bible SHOULD BE VENERABLE AS WELL AS INTELLIGIBLE, and the King James Version fulfills these two requirements better than any other bible in English. Hence, it is the King James Version which converts sinners soundly and makes of them diligent Bible students. 

When I read a portion of Scripture from the KJV, it is so grand and glorious and full of majesty, it just motivates me to memorize it and quote it verbatim with the reference! NONE of the modern versions challenge me thus! In fact every preacher whom I have known either personally, or through their writings who were ‘mighty in the Scriptures’ were all KJV men!

I write a lot of letters to Christians all over the globe even as far as Alaska! And when I write, either to comfort, edify or challenge them, I make it a point to load my letters with Scripture! For THIS is the divine admonition – “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God”! [1Pet 4:11]. For what I say matters little, it is what GOD says in His Word that really counts! And even though most of time I blend, mix and sometimes even paraphrase the KJV verses that I am quoting in my letters; all the recipients know that it is Bible I am quoting and glorify God for it! This would not be the case if I used the NIV or any of the other modern per-versions!

“In regard to Bible versions many contemporary Christians are behaving like spoiled and rebellious children. They want a Bible version that pleases them, no matter whether it pleases God or not. “We want a Bible version in our own idiom,” they clamor. “We want a Bible that talks to us in the same way in which we talk to our friends over the telephone. We want an informal God, no better educated than ourselves, with a limited vocabulary and a taste for modern slang.” And having thus registered their preference, they go their several ways. Some of them unite with the modernists in using the RSV or the NEB. Others deem the NASV or the NIV more “evangelical.” Still others opt for the TEV or the LIVING BIBLE.

BUT WHERE, OH WHERE, DEAR BROTHER OR SISTER, DID YOU EVER GET THE IDEA THAT IT IS UP TO YOU TO DECIDE WHICH BIBLE VERSION YOU WILL RECEIVE AS GOD’S HOLY WORD?

As long as you harbor this false notion, you are little better than an unbeliever. As long as you cherish this erroneous opinion, you are entirely on your own. For you, the Bible has no real authority—only that which your rebellious reason deigns to give it. For you, there is no comfort, no assurance of faith. Cast off, therefore, this carnal mind that leads to death! Put on the spiritual mind that leads to life and peace! Receive by faith the true text of God’s holy Word, which has been preserved down through the ages by His special providence”!
[Edward F. Hills. Thd. Minister of Christian Reformed Church]

As far as literary beauty and excellence go, the KJV stands in a class by itself! There is absolutely no comparison between – “Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow”! [KJV] and “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed” [NIV]. And surely a “Thus saith the Lord”! [KJV] has more majesty and authority behind it than a weak “This is what the lord says” [NIV]

Read what literary critics and authorities have said about the King James Version: Prof. Charles A. Dinsmore, for many years professor of literature at Yale Divinity School, in his great work THE ENGLISH BIBLE AS LITERATURE, spoke of “the unique and sovereign greatness of our King James Version,” saying:
“It is unlike any other book in our language, and in charm and power is above them all.”

Prof. William Lyon Phelps, educator, essayist, and longtime professor of English literature, said in reference to the King James Version:

“Priests, atheists, skeptics, devotees, agnostics, and evangelists, are generally agreed that the Authorized Version of the English Bible is the best example of English literature that the world has ever seen.”

Social and literary critic H.L. Mencken, rarely extravagant in his praise, said:

“It is the most beautiful of all translations of the Bible; indeed it is probably the most beautiful piece of writing in all the literature of the world.”

The translators of the Revised Version of 1881 had this to say about the King James Version:
“We have had to study this great version carefully and minutely, line by line; and the longer we have been engaged upon it, the more we have learned to admire its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression, its general accuracy, and we must not fail to add, THE MUSIC OF ITS CADENCES AND THE FELICITIES OF ITS RHYTHM.

Oh there is something supernaturally musical and rhythmic in many portions of the KJV which is not found in any other version!

Here is one such rhythmic and musical favorite portion of mine –

“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being His counselor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto Him”? [Isaiah 40:12-18]

These testimonials by authorities, writing from widely differing perspectives, are illustrative of the countless accolades over the years that have established the King James Version as inarguably pre-eminent both as the most trusted spiritual guide and authority, and as a priceless literary masterpiece. And thus it is always: the power to move souls to God and the beauty of Biblical language go mightily together!

 

THERE WILL BE NO TEARS IN HEAVEN

God shall wipe away

THERE WILL BE NO TEARS IN HEAVEN

C.H. Spurgeon

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes!” [Rev 7:17]

It is an evil thing to be always mourning, sighing, and complaining concerning the present. However dark it may be, we may surely recall some fond remembrances of the past. There were days of brightness, there were seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Be not slow to confess, O believing soul, that the Lord has been your help! And though now your burden is very heavy, you will find an addition to your strength in the thought of seasons long since past, when the Lord lightened your load, and made your heart to leap for joy. Yet more delightful will it be to expect the future. The night is dark, but the morning comes. Over the hills of darkness, the day breaks. It may be that the road is rough, but its end is almost in view. You have been clambering up the steep heights of Pisgah, and from the brow thereof you may view your glorious heritage.

True the tomb is before you, but your Lord has snatched the sting from death, and the victory from the grave. Do not, O burdened spirit, confine yourself to the narrow miseries of the present hour, but let your eye gaze with fondness upon the enjoyment of the past, and view with equal ardor the infinite blessings of old eternity, before you existed, but when God set you apart for himself, and wrote your name in his book of life. Also let your glance flash forward to the future eternity, the mercies which shall be yours even here on earth, and the glories which are stored up for you beyond the skies. I shall be well rewarded this morning if I shall minister comfort to one heavy spirit by leading it to remember the glory which is yet to be revealed.

Coming to our text, we shall observe, in the first place, that as God is to wipe away tears from the faces of the glorified, we may well infer that their eyes will be filled with tears until then. And in the second place, it is worthy of reflection that as God never changes, even now he is engaged in drying tears from his children’s eyes. And then, coming right into the heart of the text, we shall dwell upon the great truth- that in heaven Divine Love removes all tears from the glorified. And so we shall close, by making some inquiry as to whether or not we belong to that happy company.

 Our first subject of meditation is the inference that TEARS ARE TO FILL THE EYES OF BELIEVERS UNTIL THEY ENTER THE PROMISED REST.

There would be no need to wipe them away if there were none remaining. They come to the very gates of heaven weeping, and accompanied by their two comrades- sorrow and sighing. The tears are dried, and sorrow and sighing flee away. The weeping willow grows not by the river of the water of life, but it is plentiful enough below- nor shall we lose it until we change it for the palm-branch of victory! Sorrow’s dewdrop will never cease to fall until it is transformed into the pearl of everlasting bliss. “The path of sorrow, and that path alone, Leads to the place where sorrow is unknown.”

True religion brings deliverance from the curse, but not exemption from trial. The ancients were accustomed to use bottles in which to catch the tears of mourners. Methinks I see three bottles filled with the tears of believers.

The first is a common bottle, the ordinary lachrymatory containing griefs incidental to all men, for believers suffer even as the rest of the race. Physical pain by no means spares the servants of God. Their nerves, and blood-vessels, and limbs, and inward organs, are as susceptible of disease as those of unregenerate men. Some of the choicest saints have lain longest on beds of sickness, and those who are dearest to the heart of God have felt the heaviest blows of the chastening rod. There are pains which, despite the efforts of patience, compel the tears to wet the cheeks. The human frame is capable of a fearful degree of agony, and few there be who have not at some time or other watered their couch with tears because of the acuteness of their pains.

Coupled with this, there are the losses and crosses of daily life. What Christian among you trades without occasional difficulties and serious losses? Have any of you a lot so easy that you have nothing to deplore? Are there no crosses at home? Are there no troubles abroad? Can you travel from the first of January to the last of December without feeling the weariness of the way? Have you no blighted field, no bad debt, no slandered name, no harsh word, no sick child, no suffering wife to bring before the Lord in weeping prayer? You must be an inhabitant of another planet if you have had no griefs, for man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. No ship can navigate the Atlantic of earth without meeting with storms. It is only upon the Pacific of heaven that all is calm for evermore. Believers must through much tribulation, inherit the kingdom of heaven. “Trials must and will befall.”

Death contributes to our woes- the heirs of immortality are often summoned to gather around the tomb. Who has not lost a friend? If Jesus wept, expect not that we shall be without the tears of bereavement. The well-beloved Lazarus died, and so will our choicest friends. Parents will go before us, infants will be snatched from us, brothers and sisters will fall before the scythe of death. Impartial foe of all, you spare neither virtue nor vice, holiness nor sin- with equal foot you tread on the cherished loves of all!

The Christian knows also disappointments as bitter and as keen as other men. Judas betrays Christ, Ahithophel is a traitor to David. We have had our Ahithophels, and we may yet meet with our Judas. We have trusted in friends, and we have found their friendships fail. We have leaned upon what seemed a staff, and it has pierced us like a spear. You cannot, dear friends, traverse the wilderness of this world without discovering that thorns and thistles grow plenteously in it, and that, step as you may, your feet must sometimes feel their power to wound. The sea of life is salt to all men. Clouds hover over every landscape. We may forget to laugh, but we shall always know how to weep. As the saturated fleece must drip, so must the human race, cursed by the fall, weep out its frequent griefs.

I see before me a second bottle, it is black and foul, for it contains tears distilled by the force of the fires of sin. This bottle holds more than the first, and is far more regularly filled. Sin is more frequently the mother of sorrow than all the other ills of life put together. Dear brothers and sisters, I am convinced that we endure more sorrow from our sins than from God’s darkest providence. Mark our rebellious lack of resignation! When a trouble comes it is not the trial which makes us groan so much as our rebellion against it. It is true the ox goad is thrust into us, but we kick against it, and then it hurts us far more. Like men with naked feet we kick against the pricks. We head our vessel against the stream of God’s will, and then murmur because the waves beat violently upon us. An unsubdued will is like a maniac’s hand which tears himself. The chastisements which come directly from our heavenly Father are never so hard to bear as the frettings and fumings of our unhumbled self-will. As the bird dashes against the wires of its cage and breaks its own wing, even so do we. If we would take the cross as our gracious Father gives it, it would not gall our shoulders, but since we revolt from it and loathe the burden, our shoulders grow raw and sore, and the load becomes intolerable. More submission, and we should have fewer tears.

There are the tears, too, of wounded, injured pride, and how hot and scalding they are! When a man has been ambitious and has failed, how he will weep instead of standing corrected, or be gathering up his courage for a wiser venture. When a friend has spoken slightingly of us, or an enemy has accused us, how we have had to put our fingers to our hot eye-lids to keep the tears from streaming out, and have felt all the while as full of wretchedness as we well could be. Ah, these are cruel and wicked tears. God wipe them away from our eyes now! Certainly he must do it before we shall be able to enter heaven.

How numerous, too, are the tears of unbeliefWe manufacture troubles for ourselves by anticipating future evils which may never come, or which, if they do come, may be like the clouds, all “big with mercy,” and “break with blessings on our head.” We get supposing what we should do if such-and-such a thing occurred, which thing God has determined never shall occur. We imagine ourselves in positions where Providence never intends to place us, and so We Feel a Thousand Trials in Fearing One! That bottle, I say, ought never to carry within it a tear from a believer’s eyes, and yet it has had whole floods poured into it. Oh, the Wickedness of Mistrust of God, and the bitterness with which that distrust is made to curse itself. Unbelief makes a rod for its own back. Distrust of God is its own punishment. It brings such lack of rest, such worries, such tribulation of spirit into the mind, that he who loves himself and loves pleasure, had better seek to walk by faith and not by sight.

Nor must I forget the scalding drops of anger against our fellow-men, and of petulance and irritation, because we cannot have our way with them- these are black and horrid damps, are as foul-smelling as the vaults of Tophet. May we ever be saved from such unholy tears.

Sometimes, too, there are streams which arise from depressed spirits, hearts desponding because we have neglected the means of grace and the God of grace. The consolations of God are small with us because we have been seldom in secret prayer- we have lived at a distance from the Most High, and we have fallen into a melancholy state of mind. I thank God that there shall never come another tear from our eyes into that bottle when eternal love shall take us up to dwell with Jesus in his kingdom.

We would never overlook the third bottle, which is the true crystal lachrymatory into which holy tears may drop, tears like the lachrymae Christi, the tears of Jesus, so precious in the sight of God. Even these shall cease to flow in heaven. Tears of repentance, like glistening dewdrops fresh from the skies, are stored in this bottle; they are not of the earth, they come from heaven, and yet we cannot carry them there with us. Good Rowland Hill used to say, repentance was such a sweet companion that the only regret he could have in going to heaven, was in leaving repentance behind him, for he could not shed the tears of repentance there. Oh, to weep for sin! It is so sweet a sorrow that I would a constant weeper be!

Like a dripping well, my soul would ever drop with grief that I have offended my loving, tender, gracious God. Tears for Christ’s injured honor and slightedness glisten in the crystal of our third bottle. When we hear Jesus’ name blasphemed among men, or see his cause driven back in the day of battle, who will not weep then? Who can restrain his lamentations? Such tears are diamonds in Christ’s esteem; blessed are the eyes which are mines of such royal treasure. If I cannot win crowns I will at least give tears! If I cannot make men love my Master, yet will I weep in secret places for the dishonor which they do him. These are holy drops, but they are all unknown in heaven. Tears of sympathy are much esteemed by our Lord; when we “weep with those that weep” we do well; these are never to be restrained this side the Jordan. Let them flow! The more of them the better for our spiritual health. Truly, when I think of the griefs of men, and above all, when I have communion with my Savior in his suffering, I would cry with George Herbert- 

“Come all you floods, you clouds, you rains,
Dwell in my eyes! My grief has need
Of all the watery things that nature can produce!
Let every vein suck up a river to supply my eyes,
My weary, weeping eyes, too dry for me,
Unless they get new conduits, fresh supplies,
And with my state agree.”

It were well to go to the very uttermost of weeping if it were always of such a noble kind, as fellowship with Jesus brings. Let us never cease from weeping over sinners as Jesus did over Jerusalem; let us endeavor to snatch the firebrand from the flame, and weep when we cannot accomplish our purpose.

These three receptacles of tears will always he more or less filled by us as long as we are here, but in heaven the first bottle will not be needed, for the wells of earth’s grief will all be dried up, and we shall drink from living fountains of water unsalted by a tear. As for the second, we shall have no depravity in our hearts, and so the black fountain will no longer yield its nauseous stream. And as for the third, there shall he no place among celestial occupations for weeping even of the most holy kind. Until then, we must expect to share in human griefs, and instead of praying against them, let us ask that they may be sanctified to us. I mean of course those of the former sort. Let us pray that tribulation may work patience, and patience experience, and experience the hope which makes not ashamed.

Let us pray that as the sharp edge of the graving tool is used upon us it may only remove our sins and faults, and fashion us into images of our Lord and Master. Let us pray that the fire may consume nothing but the dross, and that the floods may wash away nothing but defilement. May we have to thank God that though before we were afflicted we went astray, yet now have we kept his word. And so shall we see it to be a blessed thing, a divinely wise thing, that we should tread the path of sorrow, and reach the gates of heaven with the tear drops glistening in our eyes.

Secondly, EVEN HERE IF WE WOULD HAVE OUR TEARS WIPED AWAY WE CANNOT DO BETTER THAN RETURN TO OUR GOD. Jesus is the great tear wiper. Observe, brethren, that God can remove every vestige of grief from the hearts of his people by granting them complete resignation to his will. Our selfhood is the root of our sorrow. If self were perfectly conquered, it would be equal to us whether love ordained our pain or ease, appointed us wealth or poverty. If our will were completely God’s will, then pain itself would be attended with pleasure, and sorrow would yield us joy for Christ’s sake. As one fire puts out another, so the master passion of love to God and complete absorption in his sacred will quenches the fire of human grief and sorrow. Hearty resignation puts so much honey in the cup of gall that the wormwood is forgotten. As death is swallowed up in victory, so is tribulation swallowed up in complacency and delight in God.

He can also take away our tears by constraining our minds to dwell with delight upon the end which all our trials are working to produce. He can show us that they are working together for good, and as men of understanding, when we see that we shall be essentially enriched by our losses, we shall be content with them. When we see that the medicine is curing us of mortal sickness, and that our sharpest pains are only saving us from pains far more terrible, then shall we kiss the rod and sing in the midst of tribulation, “Sweet affliction!” sweet affliction! since it yields such peaceable fruits of righteousness.

Moreover, he can take every tear from our eye in the time of trial by shedding abroad the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts more plentifully. He can make it clear to us that Christ is afflicted in our affliction. He can indulge us with a delightful sense of the divine virtue which dwells in his sympathy, and make us rejoice to be co-sufferers with the angel of the covenant. The Savior can make our hearts leap for joy by re-assuring us that we are written on the palms of his hands, and that we shall he with him where he is. Sick beds become thrones, and hovels ripen into palaces when Jesus is made sure to our souls. My brethren, the love of Christ, like a great flood, rolls over the most rugged rocks of afflictions, so high above them that we may float in perfect peace where others are a total wreck. The rage of the storm is all hushed when Christ is in the vessel. The waters saw you, O Christ, the waters saw you and were silent at the presence of their king.

The Lord can also take away all present sorrow and grief from us by providentially removing its cause. Providence is full of sweet surprises and unexpected turns. When the sea has ebbed its uttermost, it turns again and covers all the sand. When we think the dungeon is locked, and that the bolt is rusted in, he can make the door fly open in a moment. When the river rolls deep and black before us, he can divide it with a word, or bridge it with his hand. How often have you found it so in the past? As a pilgrim to Canaan you have passed through the Red Sea, in which you once feared you would be drowned; the bitter wells of Marah were made sweet by God’s presence; you fought the Amalekite, you went through the terrible wilderness, you passed by the place of the fiery serpents, and you have yet been kept alive, and so shall you be. As the clear shining comes after rain, so shall peace succeed your trials. As fly the black clouds before the compelling power of the wind, so will the eternal God make your griefs to fly before the energy of his grace. The smoking furnace of trouble shall be followed by the bright lamp of consolation.

Still, the surest method of getting rid of present tears, is communion and fellowship with God. When I can creep under the wing of my dear God and nestle close to his bosom, let the world say what it will, and let the devil roar as he pleases, and let my sins accuse and threaten as they may, I am safe, content, happy, peaceful, rejoicing. 

“Let earth against my soul engage,
And hellish darts be hurled;
Now I can smile at Satan’s rage,
And face a frowning world.”

To say, “My Father, God,” to put myself right into his hand, and feel that I am safe there. To look up to him though it be with tears in my eyes and feel that he loves me, and then to put my head right into his bosom as the prodigal did, and sob my griefs out there into my Father’s heart, oh, this is the death of grief, and the life of all consolation. Is not Jehovah called the God of all comfort? You will find him so, beloved. He has been “our help in ages past;” he is “our hope for years to come.” Had he not been my help, then had my soul perished utterly in the day of its weariness and its heaviness. Oh, I bear testimony for him this day that you cannot go to him and pour out your heart before him without finding a delightful solace.

When your friend cannot wipe away the tear; when you yourself with your strongest reasonings, and your boldest efforts cannot constrain yourself to resignation; when your heart beats high, and seems as if it would burst with grief, then pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us. He is our castle and high tower, our refuge and defense. Only go to him, and you shall find that even here on earth God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes.

III. Now we shall have to turn our thoughts to what is the real teaching of the text, namely, THE REMOVAL OF ALL TEARS FROM THE BLESSED ONES ABOVE. There are many reasons why glorified spirits cannot weep. These are well known to you, but let us just hint at them. All outward causes of grief are gone. They will never hear the toll of the death knell in heaven. The mattock and the shroud are unknown things there. The horrid thought of death never flits across an immortal spirit. They are never parted; the great meeting has taken place to part no more. Up yonder they have no losses and crosses in business. “They serve God day and night in his temple.” They know no broken friendships there. They have no ruined hearts, no blighted prospects. They know even as they are known, and they love even as they are loved. No pain can ever fall on them; as yet they have no bodies, but when their bodies shall he raised from the grave they shall he spiritualized so that they shall not be capable of grief. The tear-gland shall be plucked away. Although much may be there that is human, at least the tear-gland shall be gone, they shall have no need of that organ. Their bodies shall be unsusceptible of grief. They shall rejoice for ever. Poverty, famine, distress, nakedness, peril, persecution, slander, all these shall have ceased. “The sun shall not light on them, nor any heat.” “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more,” and therefore well may their tears cease to flow.

Again, all inward evils will have been removed by the perfect sanctification wrought in them by the Holy Spirit. No evil of’ heart, nor unbelief in departing from the living God, shall vex them in Paradise. No suggestions of the arch enemy shall be met and assisted by the uprisings of iniquity within. They shall never be led to think harshly of God, for their hearts shall be all love. Sin shall have no sweetness to them, for they shall be perfectly purified from all depraved desires. There shall be no lusts of the eye, no lusts of the flesh, no pride of life to be snares to their feet. Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They are forever blessed, because they are without fault before the throne of God. What a heaven must it be to be without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing! Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin.

All fear of change also has been for ever shut out. They know that they are eternally secure. Saints on earth are fearful of falling, some believers even dream of falling away- they think God will forsake them, and that men will persecute and take them. No such fears can vex the blessed ones who view their Father’s face. Countless ages may revolve, but eternity shall not be exhausted, and while eternity endures, their immortality and blessedness shall co-exist with it. They dwell within a city which shall never be attacked, they bask in a sun which shall never set, they swim in a flood-tide which shall never ebb, they drink of a river which shall never dry, they pluck fruit from a tree which shall never be withered. Their blessedness knows not the thought, which would act like a canker at its heart, that it might, perhaps, pass away and cease to be. They cannot, therefore, weep, because they are infallibly secure, and certainly assured of their eternal blessedness.

Why should they weep, when every desire is gratified? They cannot wish for anything which they shall not have. Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, every faculty shall be satisfied. All their capacious powers can wish, they shall continually enjoy. Though “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard the things which God has prepared for them that love him,” yet we know enough, by the revelation of the Spirit, to understand that they are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They Bathe Themselves in the Bottomless, Shoreless Sea of Infinite Joy.

Still, dear friends, this does not quite account for the fact, that all tears are wiped from their eyes. I like better the text which tells us that God shall do it, and I want you to think with me, of fountains of tears which exist even in heaven, so that the celestial ones must inevitably weep if God did not by a perpetual miracle take away their tears. It strikes me, that if God himself did not interfere by a perpetual outflow of abundant consolations, the glorified have very deep cause for weeping. You will say, “How is this?”

Why, in the first place, if it were not for this, what regrets they must have for their past sins. The more holy a man is, the more he hates sin. It is a token of growth in sanctification, not that repentance becomes less acute, but that it becomes more and more deep. Surely, dear friends, when we shall be made perfectly holy, we shall have a greater hatred of sin. If on earth we could be perfectly holy, why, methinks we should do little else than mourn, to think that so foul, and black, and venomous a thing as sin had ever stained us- that we should offend against so good, so gracious, so tender, so abundantly loving a God. Why, the sight of Christ, “the Lamb in the midst of the throne,” would make them remember the sin from which he purged them. The sight of their heavenly Father’s perfection would be blinding to them, if it were not that by some sacred means, which we know not, God wipes away all these tears from their eyes. And though they cannot but regret that they have sinned, yet perhaps they know that sin has been made to glorify God by the overcoming power of Almighty grace- that sin has been made to be a black foil, a sort of setting for the sparkling jewel of eternal, sovereign grace, and it may be that for this reason they shed no tears over their past lives. They sing, “Unto him that has loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood!” -and they sing that heavenly song without a tear in their eyes. I cannot understand how this may be, for I know I could not do so as I now am; let this be the best reason, that God has wiped away the tears from their eyes.

Again, do you not think, beloved, that the thought of the vast expense of shame and woe which the Savior lavished for their redemption must, in the natural order of things, be a constant source of grief? We sing sometimes that hymn which reminds us of the angelic song before the throne, and in one of its verses the poet says- 

“But when to Calvary they turn,
Silent their harps abide;
Suspended songs a moment mourn
The God that loved and died.”

Now, that is natural and poetical, but it is not true, for you know very well that there are no suspended songs in heaven, and that there is no mourning even over Christ “that loved and died.” It seems to me, that unless I were thoroughly spiritualized and in such a holy state as those are in heaven, I could not look at the Lamb without tears in my eyes. How could I think of those five wounds; that bloody sweat in Gethsemane; that cruel crowning with the thorns in Gabbatha; that mockery and shame at Golgotha- how could I think of it without tears? How could I feel that he loved me and gave himself for me, without bursting into a passion of holy affection and sorrow? Tears seem to be the natural expression of such hallowed joy and grief- 

“Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears his feet I’ll bathe.”

I must think it would be so in heaven, if it were not that by a glorious method, I know not how, God shall wipe away even those tears from their eyes. Does it not need the interference of God to accomplish this wonder?

Is there not another cause for grief, namely, wasted opportunities. Beloved, when we once ascend to heaven, there will be no more feeding of Christ’s hungry people; no giving drink to the thirsty; no visiting his sick ones, or his imprisoned ones; no clothing of the naked; there will be no instructing the ignorant; no holding forth the Word of God among “a crooked and perverse generation.” It has been often and truly said, if there could be regrets in heaven, those regrets would be, that we have wasted so many opportunities of honoring Christ on earth- opportunities which will then be past forever. Now in heaven their hearts are not steeled and hardened, so that they can look back upon sins of omission without sorrow. I believe there will be the tenderest form of conscience there, for perfect purity would not be consistent with any degree of hardness of heart.

If they are sensitive and tender in heart, it is inevitable that they should look back with regret upon the failures of the life below unless some more mighty emotion should overwhelm that of contrition. I can say, beloved, if God would take me to heaven this morning, if he did not come in, and by a special act of his omnipotence, dry up that fountain of tears, I should almost forget the glories of Paradise in the midst of my own shame, that I have not preached more earnestly, and have not prayed more fervently, and labored more abundantly for Christ. That text, to which we heard a reference from a dear brother during the week, where Paul says, “I call God to witness that for the space of three years I ceased not night and day with tears, to warn every one of you,” is a text that none of us can read without blushes and tears. And in heaven, methinks, if I saw the Apostle Paul, I must burst out into weeping, if it were not for this text, which says that “God shall wipe away all tears,” and these among them. Who but the Almighty God could do this!

Perhaps, again, another source of tears may suggest itself to you; namely, regrets in heaven for our mistakes, and misrepresentations, and unkindnesses towards other Christian brethren. How surprised we shall be to meet in heaven some whom we did not love on earth! We would not commune with them at the Lord’s table. We would not own that they were Christians. We looked at them very askance if we saw them in the street. We were jealous of all their ministries. We suspected their zeal as being nothing better than rant, and we looked upon their best exertions as having sinister motives at the bottom. We said many hard things, and felt a great many more than we said.

When we shall see these unknown and unrecognized brethren in heaven will not their presence naturally remind us of our offenses against Christian love and spiritual unity? I cannot suppose a perfect man, looking at another perfect man, without regretting that he ever ill-treated him. It seems to me to be the trait of a gentleman, a Christian, and of a perfectly sanctified man above all others, that he should regret having misunderstood, and misconstrued, and misrepresented one who was as dear to Christ as himself. I am sure as I go round among the saints in heaven, I cannot (in the natural order of things) help feeling “I did not assist you as I ought to have done. I did not sympathize with you as I ought to have done. I spoke a hard word to you. I was estranged from you.” And I think you would all have to feel the same; inevitably you must, if it were not that by some heavenly means, I know not how, the eternal God shall so overshadow believers with the abundant bliss of his own self that even that cause of tears shall be wiped away.

Has it never struck you, dear friends, that if you go to heaven and see your dear children left behind unconverted, it would naturally be a cause of sorrow? When my mother told me that if I perished she would have to say “Amen” to my condemnation, I knew it was true and it sounded very terrible, and had a good effect on my mind. But at the same time I could not help thinking, “Well, you will be very different from what you are now.” I thought “Well, I love to think of your weeping over me in this world, far better than to think of you as a perfect being, with a tearless eye, looking on the damnation of your own child.”

It really is a very terrible spectacle- the thought of a perfect being looking down upon hell, for instance, as Abraham did, and yet feeling no sorrow. For you will recollect that, in the tones in which Abraham addressed the rich man, there is nothing of pity, there is not a single syllable which betokens any sympathy with him in his dreadful woes. And one does not quite comprehend that perfect beings, God-like beings, beings full of love, and everything that constitutes the glory of God’s complete nature, should yet be unable to weep, even over hell itself. They cannot weep over their own children lost and ruined! Now, how is this? If you will tell me, I shall be glad, for I cannot tell you. I do not believe that there will be one atom less tenderness, that there will be one fraction less of amiability, and love, and sympathy- I believe there will be more- but that they will be in some way so refined and purified, that while compassion for suffering is there, detestation of sin shall be there to balance it, and a state of complete equilibrium shall be attained. Perfect acquiescence in the divine will is probably the secret of it. But it is not my business to guess. I do not know what handkerchief the Lord will use, but I know that he will wipe all tears away from their faces, and these tears among them.

Yet, once again, it seems to me that spirits before the throne, taking, as they must do, a deep interest in everything which concerns the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ, must feel deeply grieved when they see the cause of truth imperilled, and the kingdom of Christ, for a time struggling. Think of Luther, or Wycliffe, or John Knox, as they see the advances of Popery just now. Take John Knox first, if you will. Think of him looking down and seeing cathedrals rising in Scotland, dedicated to the service of the Pope and the devil. Oh, how the stern old man, even in glory, methinks, would begin to shake himself; and the old lion lash his sides once more, and half wish that he could come down and pull the nests to pieces that the rooks might fly away. Think of Wycliffe looking down on this country where the gospel has been preached so many years, and seeing monks in the Church of England, and seeing spring up in our national establishment everywhere, not disguised Popery as it was ten years ago, but stark naked Popery, downright Popery that unblushingly talks about the “Catholic Church,” and is not even Anglican any longer. What would Wycliffe say?

Why, I think as he leans over the battlements of heaven, unless Wycliffe be mightily altered, and I cannot suppose he is (except for the better, and that would make him more tender-hearted and more zealous for God still), he must weep to think that England has gone back so far, and that on the dial of Ahaz the sun has beat a retreat. I do not know how it is they do not weep in heaven, but they do not. The souls under the altar cry, “How long? how long? how long?” There comes up a mighty intercession from those who were slaughtered in the days gone by for Christ- their prayer rises, “How long? how long? how long?” and God as yet does not avenge his own elect though they cry day and night unto him. Yet that delay does not cost them a single tear! They feel so sure that the victory will come, they anticipate so much the more splendid a triumph because of its delay, and therefore they do both patiently hope and quietly wait to see the salvation of God.

They know that without us they cannot be made perfect, and so they wait until we are taken up, that the whole company may be completed, and that then the soul may be dressed in its body, and they may be perfected in their bliss- they wait but they do not weep. They wait and they cry, but in their cry no sorrow has a place. Now I do not understand this, because it seems to me that the more I long for the coming of Christ, the more I long to see his kingdom extended, the more I shall weep when things go wrong, when I see Christ blasphemed, his cross trampled in the mire, and the devil’s kingdom established; but the reason is all in this, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

I thought I would just indicate to you why it says that God does it. It strikes me that these causes of tears could not be removed by an angel, could not be taken away by any form of spiritual enjoyment apart from the direct interposition of Almighty God. Think of all these things and wonder over them, and you will recall many other springs of grief which must have flowed freely if Omnipotence had not dried them up completely. Then ask how it is that the saints do not weep and you cannot get any other answer than this- God has done it in a way unknown to us, Forever Taking Away from Them the Power to Weep.

1. And now, beloved,SHALL WE BE AMONG THIS HAPPY COMPANY? Here is the question, and the context enables us to answer it. “They have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” There is their character. “Therefore are they before the throne of God.” The blood is a sacred argument for their being there- the precious blood. Observe, “they washed their robes.” It was not merely their feet, their worst parts, but they washed their robes, their best parts. A man’s robes are his most honored attire, he puts them on, and he does not mind our seeing his robes. There may be filthiness beneath, but the robes are generally the cleanest of all. But you see they washed even them.

Now it is the mark of a Christian that he not only goes to Christ to wash away his black sins, but to wash his duties too. I would not pray a prayer unwashed with Jesus’ blood. I would not like a hymn I have sung to go up to heaven except it had first been bathed in blood. If I would desire to be clothed with zeal as with a cloak, yet I must wash the cloak in blood. Though I would be sanctified by the Holy Spirit and wear imparted righteousness as a raiment of needlework, yet I must wash even that in blood. What do you say, dear friends? Have you washed in blood? The meaning of it is, have you trusted in the atoning sacrifice? “Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” Have you taken Christ to be your all in all? Are you now depending on him? If so, out of deep distress you shall yet ascend leaning on your Beloved to the throne of God, and to the bliss which awaits his chosen.

But if not, “there is no other name,” there is no other way. Your damnation will be as just as it will be sure. Christ is “the way,” but if you will not tread it you shall not reach the end. Christ is “the truth,” but if you will not believe him, you shall not rejoice. Christ is “the life,” but if you will not receive him you shall abide among the dead, and be cast out among the corrupt. From such a doom may the Lord deliver us, and give us a simple confidence in the divine work of the Redeemer, and to him shall be the praise eternally. Amen.

WHAT OLDER DIVINES SAID ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD!

Cute thinking worried kid girl sctaching the head and looking on empty copy space. Vintage closeup portrait

WHAT OLDER DIVINES SAID ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD!

A.W. PINK (1886-1952): One of the exhortations which God has addressed to His children runs, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” [1 Pet. 2:2], and it behooves each one of them honestly and diligently to examine himself so as to discover whether or not this be the case with him. Nor are we to be content with an increase of mere head-knowledge of Scripture: what we need to be most concerned about is our practical growth, our experimental conformity to the image of Christ. And one point at which we may test ourselves is, Does my reading and study of God’s Word make me less worldly?

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Strong desires and affections to the Word of God are a sure evidence of a person’s being born again. If they be such desires as the babe has for the milk, they prove that the person is new-born. They are the lowest evidence, but yet they are certain.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): If ye be led by the Spirit, ye will love the Bible. You will say, “Oh, how I love thy law, it is my meditation all the day,” Psalm 119:97.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): Through His Word, our Father speaks to us, encourages us, comforts us, instructs us, humbles us, and reproves us.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Read it because it is the food that God has provided for your soul, because it is the Word of God, because it is the means whereby you can get to know God. Read it because it is the bread of life, the manna provided for your soul’s nourishment and well-being…The Bible is God’s Book and it is a Book of Life. It is a Book that speaks to us a word from God.

ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): It is true that God does not address you in His Word by name, but the Word is to each one in particular. “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men,” Proverbs 8:4; what Jesus declares unto you, is spoken to you in particular, as though your name and surname stood printed in the Bible.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): What the Scripture speaketh to all, is to be esteemed as spoken to every singular person, for they are included in their universality―So Psalm 27:8, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” God’s words invite all, but David maketh the application to himself.

THOMAS ADAM (1701-1784): Everyone should apply Scripture to himself, as if it was written for him only.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Bible is a book which calls not so much for the exertion of our intellect as it does for the exercise of our affections, conscience and will. God has given it to us not for our entertainment but for our education, to make known what He requires from us. It is to be the traveller’s guide as he journeys through the maze of this world, the mariner’s chart as he sails the sea of life. Therefore, whenever we open the Bible, the all-important consideration for each of us to keep before him is, What is there here for me today? What bearing does the passage now before me have upon my present case and circumstances—what warning, what encouragement, what information? What instruction is there to direct me in the management of my business, to guide me in the ordering of my domestic and social affairs, to promote a closer walking with God?

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): We should read with a view to self-application. Instead of thinking of others—which is too frequently the case—we should think of ourselves, inquiring how it bears upon our own character and condition.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Take every word as spoken to yourselves. When the Word thunders against sin, think thus: “God means MY sins.” When it emphasizes any duty, “God intends ME in this.” Many put off Scripture from themselves, as if it only concerned those who lived in the time when it was written; but if you intend to profit by the Word, bring it home to yourselves: a medicine will do no good, unless it be applied.

THOMAS BRADBURY (1831-1905): You read your Bible every day, you say? Well! that is good so far as it goes. But does the Bible ever read you?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: When the Spirit is illuminating the page and our minds at the same time, as He does with a child, the first thing you’re conscious of is that the Bible after all is speaking to YOU. When you read about the Pharisees, you’re not reading about people who lived two thousand years ago, you feel you’re reading about yourself. And when you read about some of these characters in the Old Testament, David and so on, you’re not reading a history book, you’re reading about yourself. You say, “That’s me! It’s all very well; it looks terrible in David, but I’ve got that sort of thing IN ME.” When the Bible speaks to you like that, you’re a child of God. He never does that with a hypocrite. He never does that with a man who only has an intellectual interest in it. If you feel therefore that the Bible is speaking to you about yourself, speaking to you directly, that it’s not merely some general truth, or the gathering of doctrines, but is a LIVING word that’s saying something to you, upbraiding you, condemning you, increasing your hunger and thirst, and so on―well then that’s a living spiritual relationship that the Holy Spirit alone can produce.

WILLIAM TYNDALE (1490-1536): As thou readest, think that every syllable pertaineth to thine own self, and suck out the pith of Scripture.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: When you are reading your Scriptures in this way— it matters not whether you have read little or much—if a verse stands out and hits you and arrests you, do not go on reading. Stop immediately, and listen to it. It is speaking to you, so listen to it and speak to it.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Say, therefore, with David, “Blessed be thou, O Lord, teach me Thy statutes,” Psalm 119:12. And with Zwingli, “I beseech Thee, Almighty God, to direct our ways.”

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): You never read God’s Word to profit but as it teaches you to pray while you read.

A. W. PINK: There should be a definite asking of Him to graciously anoint our eyes, (Revelation 3:18), not only that we may be enabled to behold wondrous things in His law, (Psalm 119:18), but also that He will make us of quick discernment to perceive how the passage before us applies to ourselves—what are the particular lessons we need to learn from it. The more we cultivate this habit, the more likely that God will be pleased to open His Word unto us.

MATTHEW HENRY: The Bible is a letter God has sent to us; prayer is a letter we send to Him.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): Never neglect daily private Bible reading. And when you read, remember that God is speaking to you.

 

GOD ALWAYS MOVES FIRST IN SALVATION?

Girl playing chess indoors

GOD ALWAYS MOVES FIRST IN SALVATION?

Donald Bell

Have you ever stopped to consider what the god of this age is like?

How he is presented to eternity bound souls?

A popular way of trying to get someone “saved” is to say “now if you make a move, god will make a move”. It seems to me as if those who do this are telling souls that their god is playing checkers and that whoever makes the best move wins and that it is possible to beat their god in this game.

Souls are being told, “God has done all he can do, now it is all up to you”, or they say something like this, “God has given you your chance it’s up to you what you do with it”.

My friends, please listen to me, if this were the way God really is, he is not worthy of worship but contempt.

This god has no power, no will, no glory, no honour, no justice or righteousness.

He is bound by what you do, by your choice; he is bound by the awful concept that he must give every soul a chance.

But could the GOD who created all things, and upholds all things by the word of his power, be like this? (Hebrews 1:2-3)

Have you never read in his holy word: “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isaiah 14:24; Isaiah 14:27)?

Or have you read that His elect were, “predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11)?

I exhort you to take your bibles and a concordance and study, and if you do you will find that the God and Father Of Jesus Christ is a God who does all things on purpose. God has never thought, or planned in order to figure out the best way of doing something.

“He declared the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”(Isaiah 46:9-10)

If God must depend on you or me to do something before He will save us, then salvation could not be by grace, it would be a debt.

If He has to give us salvation based on what we do, that, my friends is salvation by works.

Nowhere in God’s word can you find where salvation is by chance, or by the will of man, or that God is bound to give salvation to anyone because they do something, or he is bound to give everyone a chance to be saved.

If anyone can show me from God’s word, that what I am saying is wrong, please do. But if I am right, if what I am saying is true, where does that leave you?

 

THE THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR

Giving thanks in all things

THE THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR

Michael Jeshurun

I was a great murmurer and complainer for a long time. But the longsuffering God in His grace and mercy is slowly healing me of that disease and making me thankful for the least of my mercies.

The Pharisee in the temple prayed, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers …etc.” Truth is, I too many times pray thus, but not in pride or self-righteousness, but in humility and a deep sense of thankfulness! For BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM! And by that same grace I have been taught the doctrine of the ‘Absolute Sovereignty of God’ to realize full well that BUT FOR GOD’S SOVEREIGN CHOICE I could have been the Pharaoh, Saul or Judas or any one of the ‘many’ vessels of wrath prepared afore for destruction! And I WOULD HAVE HAD NO SAY IN THE MATTER WHATSOEVER. A contemplation of this truly makes me shudder at who Jehovah really is!

On the other hand I look around me and see people who are so morally good and religiously faithful (unlike me), but notwithstanding are LOST; my heart melts with gratitude and thankfulness for the God who chose ME to be His son! As the apostle said- “Behold, WHAT MANNER OF LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. [1John 3:1] And again, “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY He saved us! [Titus 3:5].

The objector to God’s Sovereign grace questions God saying “why hast Thou made ME thus”? And the Apostle rightly rebukes him for this! But I too often times find myself asking this very question. Not in REBELLION OR HATRED TO GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, but in SHEER AWESOMENESS AND AWARENESS OF MY OWN UNWORTHINESS! As the Psalmist exclaimed , “Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is MY house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto”? [2Sam 7;18] Or as Mephibosheth after him, “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a DEAD DOG AS I AM”? [2Sam 9:8]

Spurgeon commenting on this verse says –

“If Mephibosheth was thus humbled by David’s kindness, what shall we be in the presence of our gracious Lord? The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves, for grace, like light, reveals our impurity. Eminent saints have scarcely known to WHAT TO COMPARE THEMSELVES, their sense of unworthiness has been so clear and keen. “I am,” says holy Rutherford, “a dry and withered branch, a piece of dead carcass, dry bones, and not able to step over a straw.” In another place he writes, “Except as to open outbreakings, I want nothing of what Judas and Cain had.”

I believe we shall never grasp the awesomeness of what it means to be saved until we grasp the awesomeness of what it means to BE LOST FOR ETERNITY. So terrible is this that the Master said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? [Mark 8:36,37] And again – “it had been good for that man if he had not been born”. [Mat 26:24]. As an ex-Satanist I have had some horrific experiences with demons, and to think that the one who is damned to Hell will spend an eternity with them is MORE FRIGHTENING AND FEARFUL THAN TONGUE CAN TELL! [See Matt 25:41]

And when I begin to understand that I of my own free will would have never chosen the Lord and on the contrary I was enmity itself toward Him, it breaks and melts my heart beyond measure so that I realize my unworthiness and exclaim with Peter, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord”. [Luke 5:8].

Another comforting thought and experience in my Christian walk is that not only has He saved me but KEEPS ME SAVED! Oh how oft have we provoked Him and grieved Him with our sins. Both sins of omission and sins of commission. And that in spite of a sound knowledge of the Word! But praise His Name He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities [Psa 103:10]. But as a father pitieth his children, He pitieth us remembering that we are dust! As the grand old hymn says –

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again. [Hallelujah!]

Again how thankful should I be for the Holy Spirit who comes to me again and again in my times of discouragement and despair, when I no longer feel the presence of God because of some disobedience. In times like these the Spirit comes to us and assures us that we are still God’s children and brings to mind every verse we know on assurance; assuring us that God will never leave us nor forsake us and that He hath inscribed us on the palms of His hand! Oh Beloved, He is not called the Comforter without a good reason. Many a time this is the ONLY comfort we ever get! Friends, theologians and well-meaning loved ones most often turn out to be like Job’s comforters! [see Job 16:2]. But our Lord has always been our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble!

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto THY NAME give glory, for THY MERCY, and for THY TRUTH’S sake!” [Psalm 115:1] Amen!

MEN LOWER THAN BEASTS

Ox with girl final

MEN LOWER THAN BEASTS

C.H. Spurgeon notes

“The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider,” [Isaiah 1:3]

The Spirit of God can make use of any agency to bring sinners to repentance and faith in the Redeemer. Commenting once upon the words, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider,” [Isaiah 1:3] the speaker sought to impress upon his people how strangely guilty the human heart is, despising the goodness of God, and forgetting his very existence.

Three or four days after, a farmer, who had been present, was giving provender to his cattle, when one of his oxen, evidently grateful for his care, fell to licking his bare arm. Instantly, with this simple incident, the Holy Spirit flashed conviction on the farmer’s mind. He burst into tears, and exclaimed, “Yes, it is all true. How wonderful is God’s word! This poor dumb brute is really more grateful to me than I am to God, and yet I am in debt to him for everything. What a sinner I am! ” The lesson had found its way to his heart, and wrought there effectually to lead him to Christ.

Praise the Lord!

WHEN GOD CASTS SOMETHING INTO THE ‘DEPTHS OF THE SEA’, THERE’S NO FINDING IT!

Sins no Fishing

WHEN GOD CASTS SOMETHING INTO THE ‘DEPTHS OF THE SEA’, THERE’S NO FINDING IT!

J.C. Philpot

“Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” [Micah 7:19]

Look at the promise contained in our text, “Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” What a description this is of the way in which God takes all the iniquities of His people and casts them into the depths of the sea, so that they may be hidden forever from the sight of His eyes as a just, pure, and holy God, and be forever lost and buried in the depths of an unfathomable ocean. And what other sea, mystically viewed, can this be but the blood of Christ which cleanses from all sin, which has washed away all iniquity, purged all transgression, cast all the sins of God’s heritage behind His back, and drowned them in a sea unfathomable of grace, mercy, and love?

NOW THOSE SINS NEVER CAN BE RECOVERED!

Satan with all his hosts can never drag up from the depths of the sea one of the sins of God’s people which He has cast therein. It does not merely say the sea, but “the depths of the sea,” the deepest place that can be found in the sea; so that sins cast into the depths of the sea are absolutely irrecoverable; for they have been cast there by God himself, and what He has cast out by His hand, His hand will never bring back. If YOU had taken your sins and cast them into the sea, they would have been found again. Like a floating corpse, they would have been thrown back upon the shore and been a witness against you, as the murdered body found upon the beach would testify against the murderer. The eye of justice would have seen your sins floating on the sea or stranded upon the beach, and the hand of justice would have laid hold of them, imputed them to you, and sent you headlong to hell with them, tied like a millstone round your neck.

But when GOD takes all our iniquities with His own hand, and casts them with His own arm into the depths of the sea, they will never come out of those depths to witness against the family of God in the great and terrible Day. Your sins now may seem to be all alive in your breast, and every one of them to bring accusation upon accusation against you. This sin is crying out for vengeance, and that for punishment. This slip, this fall, this backsliding, this foolish word, this wrong action, are all testifying against you in the court of conscience.

Do what you may, be where you may, live how you may, watch and pray how you may, keep silent and separate from the world or even from your own family how you may, sin still moves, lives, acts, works, and often brings you into guilt and bondage.

But if God has had mercy upon us He has cast all our sins with His own hands into the depths of the sea, and those sins have no more eyes to look at us with angry indignation, have no more tongues to speak against us in voices of accusation, have no more life in them to rise up and testify that they have been committed by us, that God’s law has been broken by them, and that therefore we are under its condemnation and curse. And there is no truth in God’s word more certain than the complete forgiveness of sins, and the presentation of the Church of Christ at the Great Day faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. [Jude 24,25]

Praise the Lord!

ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN WHO IS ‘DULL OF HEARING’?

Dull of hearing

ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN WHO IS ‘DULL OF HEARING’?

A.W. Pink

“And hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing” [Hebrews 5:11]

“To be ‘dull of hearing’ is descriptive of that state of mind in which statements may be made without producing any corresponding impression, without being attended to, without being understood, without being felt. In a word, it is descriptive of mental listlessness. To a person in this state, it is very difficult to explain anything; for, nothing, however simple in itself, can be understood if it be not attended to” (Dr. J. Brown).

The Revised Version is again preferable here; “ye are become dull of hearing.” They were not always so. Time was when these Hebrews had listened to the Word with eagerness, and had made diligent application thereof. “When the Gospel was first preached to them, it aroused their attention, it exercised their thoughts; but now with many of them it had become a common thing. They flattered themselves that they knew all about it. It had become to them like a sound to which the ear had been long accustomed—the person is not conscious of it, pays no attention to it” (Dr. J. Brown).

The Greek word for “dull” is translated “slothful” in Hebrews 6:12. It signifies a state of heaviness or inertia. These Hebrews had become mentally and spiritually what loafers are in the natural world—too indolent to bestir themselves, too lazy to make any effort at improvement. They were spiritual sluggards; slothful. Let the reader turn to Proverbs 12:27, 19:24, 21:25, 24:30-34, 26:13-16, and remember these passages all have a spiritual application.

To become, “dull of hearing” or “slothful,” is the reverse of “giving diligence” in 2 Peter 1:5, 10. In such a condition of soul, the apostle found it difficult to lead the Hebrews on to the apprehension of higher truth. He had many things to say unto them, but their coldness, lethargy, prejudice, restrained him. And this is recorded for our learning; it has a voice for us; may the Spirit grant us a hearing ear.

“Ye are become dull of hearing.” Of how many Christians is this true today! “Ye did run well; who did hinder you?” (Gal. 5:7). This is a cause of mourning unto all the true servants of God. Because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. Affections are set upon things below, rather than upon things above. Many who are deluded into thinking their eternal salvation is secure, evidence no concern over their present relationship to God. And Christians who mingle with these lifeless professors are injuriously affected, for “evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33). There is little “reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Phil. 3:13) and, consequently, little growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. By the very law of our constitution, if we do not move forward, we slip backward.

There are few who seem to realize that truth has to be “bought” (Prov. 23:23), purchased at the cost of subordinating temporal interests to spiritual ones. If the Christian is to “increase in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10), he has to give himself whole-heartedly to the things of God. It is impossible to serve God and mammon. If the heart of the professing Christian be set, as the heart of the nominal professor is, upon earthly comforts, worldly prosperity, temporal riches, then the “true riches” will be missed—sold for “a mess of pottage” (Heb. 12:16).

But if, by Divine grace, through the possession of a new nature, there is a longing and a hungering for spiritual things, that longing can only be attained and that hunger satisfied by giving ourselves entirely to their ceaseless quest. “The loins of our minds” (1 Pet. 1:13) have to be girded, the Word has to be “studied” (2 Tim. 2:15), the means of grace have to be used with “all diligence” (2 Pet. 1:5). It is the diligent soul which “shall be made fat” (Prov. 13:4).

How many who sit under the ministry of a true servant of God are “dull of hearing!” There is little waiting upon God, little real exercise of heart, before the service, to prepare them for receiving His message. Instead, the average hearer comes up to the house of God with a mind full of worldly concerns. We have to “lay aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness” if we are to “receive with meekness the engrafted Word” (James 1:21).

We have to listen unto God’s Word with a right motive; not out of idle curiosity, not merely to fulfill a duty, still less for the purpose of criticizing; but that we “may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2)—grow in practical godliness. And, if what we have heard is not to be forgotten, if it is really to profit the soul, it must be meditated upon (Ps. 1:2), and accompanied with earnest prayer for grace to enable us to “heed” what has been heard.

“If people really loved and cherished what they so fondly called ‘the simple gospel,’ their knowledge and Christian character would deepen, and all the truths which are centered in Christ crucified would become the object of their investigation and delight, and enrich and elevate their experience There are no doctrines more profound than those which are proclaimed when Christ’s salvation is declared. All our progress consists in learning more fully the doctrine which at first is preached unto us” (Adolph Saphir).

It is using the light we already have, putting into practice the truth already received, which fits us for more. Unless this is done, we retrograde, and the light which is in us becomes darkness. Manna not used breeds worms (Ex. 16:20)! Milk undigested—not taken up into our system—ferments. A backslidden state deprives us of a sound judgment. The secret of “senses trained to discern good and evil” is revealed in Hosea 6:3, “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.” May His grace stir us up so to do.