Tag Archives: Charles Spurgeon

What is Abiding in Christ?

 

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5-6 ESV

Abiding in Christ is holding steady in the presence of Christ trusting his promises by faith irrespective of the challenges, trials, and tribulations of our lives. Remaining in faith and looking to Christ to be our sufficiency in the midst of our inadequacies keeps us in his constant, conscious presence. Only by abiding can our ministry efforts have outcomes that will last for eternity.

To abide in Jesus is never to quit Him for another love or another object, but to remain in living, loving, conscious, willing union with Him. The branch is not only ever near the stem but ever receiving life and fruitfulness from it. All true believers abide in Christ in a sense; but there is a higher meaning, and this we must know before we can gain unlimited power at the throne.

C. H. Spurgeon, Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith: Daily Readings (Geanies House, Tain, Ross-Shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1996), 54.

When our Lord says: ‘Abide in me, and I in you,’ He points to something analogous to this. ‘Abide in me’: that refers more to that which we have to do. We have to trust and obey, to detach ourselves from all else, to reach out after Him and cling to Him, to sink ourselves into Him. As we do this, through the grace He gives, a character is formed, and a heart prepared for the fuller experience: ‘I in you,’ God strengthens us with might by the Spirit in the inner man, and Christ dwells in the heart by faith.

Andrew Murray, The True Vine (Chicago: Moody Press, n.d.), 35.

It’s About a Person!

 

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

1 Cor. 1:30-31 NKJV

Duh, Christianity is a person–that is obvious! Or is it? How often we forget that Christianity is about a love relationship with Jesus. We get involved in every discussion of liturgy, theology, and ethics, but we forget that Christianity is about being in love with Jesus. Liturgy, theology, and ethics are valuable in their own right, but they cannot be a substitute for an experiential love relationship with Jesus.

Our faith is a person; the gospel that we have to preach is a person; and go wherever we may, we have something solid and tangible to preach, for our gospel is a person. If you had asked the twelve Apostles in their day, ‘What do you believe in?’ they would not have stopped to go round about with a long sermon, but they would have pointed to their Master and they would have said, ‘We believe him.’ ‘

But what are your doctrines?’ ‘There they stand incarnate.’ ‘But what is your practice?’ ‘There stands our practice. He is our example.’ ‘What then do you believe?’ Hear the glorious answer of the Apostle Paul, ‘We preach Christ crucified.’ Our creed, our body of divinity, our whole theology is summed up in the person of Christ Jesus.

C. H. Spurgeon, “De Propaganda Fide,” in Lectures Delivered before the Young Men’s Christian Association in Exeter Hall 1858-1859, pages 159-160.

HT: The Gospel Coalition

A Balm for Every Wound

Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Jer. 8:22 KJV

Life takes its toil: loss of a loved one, chronic pain and sickness, broken relationships, and financial struggles. Yet during all this confusion, hurt, and disappointment, every believer has the balm of Gilead, the healer of our souls: Jesus Christ. In prayer and worship, the Holy Spirit comes and makes Christ known to us in all his grace and glory. Jesus Christ loves, heals, soothes, and renews us in the midst of the toils and struggles of this life. Jesus’ cross carries our sorrows, his resurrection lifts up out of the pit, and the Spirit’s presence takes away our loneliness.

Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose yourself in sorrow? Would you drown in your cares?

Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in His immensity; and you shall come forth as from the couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the billowing of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

Charles Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God,” January 7, 1855, quoted in J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 14.

Spurgeon’s Word of Knowledge

Charles H. Spurgeon

 

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance (i.e., word) of wisdom, and to another the utterance (i.e., word) of knowledge according to the same Spirit.

1 Cor. 12:7-8 ESV

A word of knowledge is insight given to a believer into another person’s past which ministers God’s present love into their current problems and struggles. A word of knowledge reveals heart-felt secrets that only our omniscient God could know for the purpose of displaying God’s care and concern for that person’s needs. “A word of knowledge is usually defined within charismatic circles as the report of a specific piece of information that a person could not possibly have known naturally” (Adrian Warnock).

There were many instances of remarkable conversions at the Music Hall; one especially was so singular that I have often related it as a proof that God sometimes guides His servants to say what they would themselves never have thought of uttering, in order that He may bless the hearer for whom the message is personally intended. While preaching in the hall, on one occasion, I deliberately pointed to a man in the midst of the crowd, and said, “There is a man sitting there, who is a shoemaker; he keeps his shop open on Sundays, it was open last Sabbath morning, he took ninepence, and there was fourpence profit out of it; his soul is sold to Satan for fourpence ! ” A city missionary, when going his rounds, met with this man, and seeing that he was reading one of my sermons, he asked the question, “Do you know Mr. Spurgeon?” “Yes,” replied the man, “I have every reason to know him, I have been to hear him; and, under his preaching, by God’s grace I have become a new creature in Christ Jesus. Shall I tell you how it happened ? I went to the Music Hall, and took my seat in the middle of the place ; Mr. Spurgeon looked at me as if he knew me, and in his sermon he pointed to me, and told the congregation that I was a shoemaker, and that I kept my shop open on Sundays ; and I did, sir. I should not have minded that; but he also said that I took ninepence the Sunday before, and that there was fourpence profit out of it. I did take ninepence that day, and fourpence was just the profit; but how he should know that, I could not tell. Then it struck me that it was God who had spoken to my soul through him, so I shut up my shop the next Sunday. At first, I was afraid to go again to hear him, lest he should tell the people more about me ; but afterwards I went, and the Lord met with me, and saved my soul.”

Spurgeon elaborates that his experience of the word of knowledge (not his term) was not uncommon in his ministry:

I could tell as many as a dozen similar cases in which I pointed at somebody in the hall without having the slightest knowledge of the person, or any idea that what I said was right, except that I believed I was moved by the Spirit to say it; and so striking has been my description, that the persons have gone away, and said to their friends, ” Come, see a man that told me all things that ever I did ; beyond a doubt, he must have been sent of God to my soul, or else he could not have described me so exactly.” And not only so, but I have known many instances in which the thoughts of men have been revealed from the pulpit. I have sometimes seen persons nudge their neighbours with their elbow, because they had got a smart hit, and they have been heard to say, when they were going out, “The preacher told us just what we said to one another when we went in at the door.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Vol. 2: 1854-1860 (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1899), 226-227.

 

His Blood Is Bibline

A Life That Is Bible Saturated

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,that ethe man of God2 may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Tim. 3:16-17 ESV

The Bible is the Word of God by its immeasurable majesty, moral purity, essential unity, and time-tested faithfulness. The Bible is unique in its power to convince and convert our hearts, comfort and build-up our spirits, and divide and measure our motives. The Bible is encouragement in trial, insight into the tribulations of life, and guidance in the midst of confusion. The Bible is the only book whose author can personally and directly apply its truths to our daily lives. The Bible is to be believed, obeyed, trusted, digested, and honored. When we read the Bible, the Spirit leads us to repent that we may be made holy; hear God’s voice that we may be drawn nearer to Christ, renounce the world that we may be transformed into the image of Christ, revived as the people of God that we may be a light unto the world, and prepared for the Second Coming of Christ that we may be ready to see Christ face-to-face.

Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.

I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like the reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress—that sweetest of all prose poems — without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.

”Mr. Spurgeon as a Literary Man,” in The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Compiled from His Letters, Diaries, and Records by His Wife and Private Secretary, vol. 4, 1878-1892 (Curtis & Jennings, 1900), p. 268.

Preach Christ

A Loaf of Bread Without Flour 

To you is the word of this salvation sent.

Acts 13:26 KJV

I have been a Bible-believing Christian since 1976 and I have heard many, many sermons. Some of those sermons were memorable, some were challenging, some were convicting, and some were forgettable. The common denominator between the life-changing sermons and the God exalting ones were Jesus Christ. The preachers proclaimed Jesus Christ: his person, his work, his grace, his cross, and his love. A sermon without Christ is moralism: a sermon proclaiming Christ is the gospel.

The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and Him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.

Charles H. Spurgeon,“To You,” No. 2899, A Sermon Published on Thursday, September 1st, 1904, Preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, on Lord’s-Day Evening, July 9th, 1876.

Charles H.Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons: Volume 50electronic ed. (Albany, OR : Ages Software, 1998).

HT: Mike Neglia 

The Great Mystery

The Mystery of the Cross

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.

Matt. 27:45

The Bible explicates the Cross in terms of images. Images of salvation (not theories), are concrete pictures of the work of the Cross drawn from the everyday life of the first century. They are not usually abstract concepts, but cogent pictures of God’s redeeming love. These images are complementary to one another, each truth paints a piece in the mosaic of God’s saving grace.

As for the imagery, “propitiation,” describes a sacrificial offering that turns away the wrath of God against sin. “Redemption,” pictures a transaction in a market-place where we are bought back from slavery (to sin). “Justification,” pronounces our acquittal in the heavenly law court. “Reconciliation,” describes the end of hostilities in our relationship with God. “Adoption,” grants us the legal status of a son of God and an heir of the kingdom.

“Substitution,” grounds the rest of the images, for Christ took upon himself our punishment, guilt, and shame.  Jesus Christ must die in our place and suffer our just punishment; otherwise, propitiation, redemption, justification, reconciliation and adoption have no meaning. The Cross of Christ on one hand is inexplicable, therefore a deep and great mystery. On the other hand, scripture does give us images that we can grasp and hold dear knowing that our Savior has made the way for us to be right with God.

This darkness tells us all that the Passion is a great mystery into which we cannot pry. I try to explain it as substitution and I feel that where the language of Scripture is explicit, I may and must be explicit, too. But yet I feel that the idea of substitution does not cover the whole of the matter and that no human conception can completely grasp the whole of the dread mystery. It was worked in darkness because the full, far-reaching meaning and result cannot be beheld of finite mind.

Tell me the death of the Lord Jesus was a grand example of self-sacrifice—I can see that and much more. Tell me it was a wondrous obedience to the will of God—I can see that and much more. Tell me it was the bearing of what ought to have been borne by myriads of sinners of the human race, as the chastisement of their sin—I can see that and found my best hope upon it. But do not tell me that this is all that is in the Cross!

No, great as this would be, there is much more in our Redeemer’s death. . . . God veiled the Cross in darkness—and in darkness much of its deeper meaning lies—not because God would not reveal it, but because we have not capacity enough to discern it all!

Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Three Hours of Darkness,” No. 1896, A Sermon Delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, April 18, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

 

 

Fresh Manifestations of God

On-Going Encounters of the Holy Spirit

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.

Eph. 5:18

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming experience of the Spirit’s presence, power, and purity: a total submergence within the person of the Holy Spirit. This individual God-encounter is instantaneous and reoccurring: one baptism, many fillings. The Baptism of the Spirit refers to the initial work of the Spirit in uniting believers to Christ as well as on-going encounters with the Spirit bringing refreshment, renewal, and endurance to the Christian’s life.

No matter what level of spiritual maturity we are on, we need renewed appearances, fresh manifestations, new visitations from on high. While it is right to thank God for the past and look back with joy to His visits to you in your early days as a believer, I encourage you to seek God for special visitations of His presence. I do not mean to minimize our daily walk in the light of His countenance, but consider that though the ocean has its high tides twice every day, yet it also has its spring tides. The sun shines whether we see it or not, even through our winter’s fog, and yet it has its summer brightness.

If we walk with God constantly, there are special seasons when He opens the very secret of His heart to us and manifests Himself to us – not only as He does not to the world but also as He does not at all times to His own favored ones. Not every day in a palace is a banqueting day, and not all days with God are so clear and glorious as certain special sabbaths of the soul in which the Lord unveils His glory. Happy are we if we have once beheld His face, but happier still if He comes to us again in the fullness of favor.

I commend you to be seeking God’s second appearances. We should be crying to God most pleadingly that He would speak to us a second time. We do not need a reconversion, as some assert. If the Lord has kept us steadfast in His fear, we are already possessors of what some call the higher life. This we are privileged to enjoy from the first hour of our spiritual life. We do not need to be converted again, but we do need the windows of heaven to be opened again and again over our heads. We need the Holy Spirit to be given again as at Pentecost and that we should renew our youth like the eagles, to run without weariness and walk without fainting. May the Lord fulfill to His people His blessing upon Solomon! ‘That the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.'”

C.H. Spurgeon, “Essential Points in Prayer,” in The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life, ed., Robert Hall (Emerald Books, 1993), 136.

Preaching Without Preaching Christ?

Christ and Him Crucified

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Cor 2:2  ESV

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.

1 Cor 1:30 NLT

Several years ago, I was on a sabbatical and visited several different churches over a six week period in order to get a sense of the local preaching. I was dismayed and baffled by what I heard. Conservative, Evangelical churches that taught eight steps to happiness, six ways to be free from anxiety, America is a Christian nation, etc. Not a single sermon I heard mentioned the Cross, grace, or the Holy Spirit. How can you have a New Testament sermon without Christ, the Cross, and the Holy Spirit? The sermons I heard were try harder, do better sermons, not gospel infused messages that are Christ exalting, Christ glorifying, and Holy Spirit transforming.

First Corinthians 1:30 states that Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Wisdom is the practical application of Jesus in the midst of life’s difficult choices,  complicated situations, and perplexing people. Wisdom is making the right choices leading to right actions that lead people to do the right thing. Good preaching must communicate Jesus because only in him can we apply biblical truths to everyday life experiences. Jesus is wisdom-the gospel applied to life (Col. 2:2-3).

Jesus is our righteousness for a guilty past, Jesus is our sanctification for a triumphant present, and Jesus is our redemption for a certain future in God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 1:30).

Baptist pastor, Charles H. Spurgeon, bemoans preaching that does not center on Christ and his finished work on the Cross. Spurgeon states that preaching without Christ is “like bread with no flour, brook without water; a cloud without rain; a well which mocks the traveler; a tree twice dead, plucked up by the root; a sky without a sun; a night without a star.”

Leave Christ out of the preaching and you shall do nothing. Only advertize it all over London, Mr. Baker, that you are making bread without flour; put it in every paper, “Bread without flour” and you may soon shut up your shop, for your customers will hurry off to other tradesmen. . . . A sermon without Christ as its beginning, middle, and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution. However grand the language it will be merely much-ado-about-nothing if Christ be not there. And I mean by Christ not merely his example and the ethical precepts of his teaching, but his atoning blood, his wondrous satisfaction made for human sin, and the grand doctrine of “believe and live.” [sermon: “Christ the Glory of His People” (3/22/1868)]

I know one who said I was always on the old string, and he would come and hear me no more; but if I preached a sermon without Christ in it, he would come. Ah, he will never come while this tongue moves, for a sermon without Christ in it—a Christless sermon! A brook without water; a cloud without rain; a well which mocks the traveler; a tree twice dead, plucked up by the root; a sky without a sun; a night without a star. It were a realm of death—a place of mourning for angels and laughter for devils. O Christian, we must have Christ! Do see to it that every day when you wake you give a fresh savor of Christ upon you by contemplating his person. Live all the day, trying as much as lieth in you, to season your hearts with him, and then at night, lie down with him upon your tongue. [sermon: “A Bundle of Myrrh” (3/6/1864)]

What was the subject? What was Peter preaching upon? He was preaching Christ and him crucified. No other subject ever does produce such effects as this. The Spirit of God bears no witness to Christless sermons. Leave Jesus out of your preaching, and the Holy Spirit will never come upon you. Why should he? Has he not come on purpose that he may testify of Christ? Did not Jesus say, “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you”? Yes, the subject was Christ, and nothing but Christ, and such is the teaching which the Spirit of God will own. Be it ours never to wander from this central point: may we determine to know nothing among men but Christ and his cross. [sermon: “The Mediator, Judge, and Savior” (5/30/1880)]

HT: Miscellanies: A Cross-Centered Blog

A Child Born, A Son Given

The Mystery of the Incarnation

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon revels in the incarnation. Spurgeon’s text is Isaiah 9:6 .

As Jesus Christ is a child in his human nature, he is born, begotten of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary. He is as truly-born, as certainly a child, as any other man that ever lived upon the face of the earth. He is thus in his humanity a child born. But as Jesus Christ is God’s Son, he is not born; but given, begotten of his Father from before all worlds, begotten—not made, being of the same substance with the Father.

The doctrine of the eternal affiliation of Christ is to be received as an undoubted truth of our holy religion. But as to any explanation of it, no man should venture thereon, for it remaineth among the deep things of God—one of those solemn mysteries indeed, into which the angels dare not look, nor do they desire to pry into it—a mystery which we must not attempt to fathom, for it is utterly beyond the grasp of any finite being. As well might a gnat seek to drink in the ocean, as a finite creature to comprehend the Eternal God. A God whom we could understand would be no God. If we could grasp him he could not be infinite: if we could understand him, then were he not divine.

A Merry and Blessed Christmas to you all.