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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Spurgeon On Substituting Rubbish For The Word Of God

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

Reckon that every sermon is a wasted sermon which is not Christ’s word. Believe that all theology is rotten rubbish which is not the Word of the Lord. Do not be satisfied with going to a place of worship and hearing an eloquent discourse, unless the sum and substance of it is the Word of the Lord. My brothers and sisters, whether you teach children or their parents, do not think you have done any good unless you have taught the Word of the Lord. For saving purposes we must have the Lord’s Word, and nothing else. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 33, p. 440)

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“Stonewall” Jackson On Bravery

General "Stonewall" Jackson

Quoting General Stonewall Jackson:

“[M]y religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”

Your Only Relief May Be Found In Christ

Caricature of John Charles Ryle (10 May 1816 -...

Bishop J. C. Ryle

There is a simple solution to the greatest problem (Where will you spend eternity?) facing humanity. Faith in Christ is the only medicine for man’s spiritual disease, and the only bridge from earth to heaven. J. C. Ryle explains its importance:

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)

The efficacy of a medicine depends in great measure on the manner in which it is used. The best prescription of the best physician is useless if we refuse to follow the directions which accompany it. Suffer the word of exhortation, while I offer some caution and advice about the Fountain of living water.

He that thirsts and wants relief must come to Christ Himself: He must not be content with coming to His Church and His ordinances, or to the assemblies of His people for prayer and praise. He must not stop short even at His holy table, or rest satisfied with privately opening his heart to His ordained minister. Oh, no! he that is content with only drinking their waters “shall thirst again.” (John iv. 13.) He must go higher, further, much further than this. He must have personal dealings with Christ Himself: all else in religion is worthless without Him. . . . The hand of man may take the stone from the grave and show the dead; but none but Jesus can say to the dead, “Come forth and live.”

He that thirsts and wants relief from Christ must actually come to Him. It is not enough to wish, and talk, and mean, and intend, and resolve, and hope. Hell, that awful reality, is truly said to be paved with good intentions. Thousands are yearly lost in this fashion, and perish miserably just outside the harbour. Meaning and intending they live; meaning and intending they die. . . . [We must] “come to ourselves” and think, but we must actually come to the High Priest, to Christ. We must come to the Physician. (Sermon: “If Any Man!”)

The Doctrine Of The God Who Never Changes

John Calvin

We should fall before the majesty of our great God and acknowledge our faults. Repentance will grow and increase our faith. The Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for our redemption. May we be led by Him to persevere in the truth of His Word and doctrine. May we glory in nothing other than the salvation which he has purchased for us. John Calvin carries this thought to the ultimate conclusion as he explains the following verses:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:6-8)

Because Paul speaks in such bold language in defence of his teaching, this should make it all the more genuine to us. He does not speak with human arrogance or presumption, but in the name of God. Indeed, there is no question here of his boasting about himself; he proves this by saying, ‘if I’. He puts himself first, as if he is saying: ‘Even I myself, if I change my doctrine, or if you find I have swerved in any way, let me be regarded as a devil.’ Here, Paul is showing that he was not seeking to gain a reputation for himself, nor was he fighting for his own cause, so that people would say how intelligent, wise and gifted he was. No; he puts himself on the level of all believers and says: ‘Let us all embrace the whole of our Master’s teaching, which God has entrusted to us, and to which we must submit our conduct. For although I have taught you this doctrine, yet it is not mine, but it is of God, who never changes. If I change, do not be shaken, nor surprised about this, but treat me as a devil, count me accursed. As for yourselves, remain grounded in the truth that you have always known. I would rather you saw me as accursed and abominable, and even the angels from heaven also, than that you forsake the truth about the Son of God and turn away from it.’ We can see from this what Paul desired: that God’s truth should be revered amongst men, as it deserves to be, and that it should be esteemed in such a way, that all our senses, thoughts, desires and affections should be subdued and held captive to it. It is not lawful for any living creature to change anything in the gospel, for God has spoken by the mouth of his only Son. May he be our master indeed, and may each of us obey him without question. This is what Paul desired.

C. H. Spurgeon On Sympathy With God

 

Charles H. Spurgeon

C. H. Spurgeon gives an excellent explanation of why God honors those who are in perfect sympathy with Him. Have you ever wept because people would rather see a drama skit at church than listen to the preacher’s sermon? Have you ever cried out to God because people would rather argue over worship music than hear and discuss the Word of God? Spurgeon writes:

We hear much nowadays of sympathy with man; and in a measure we agree with it. Sympathy with the fallen, the suffering, the lost, is good. But my sympathies are also with the Lord my God. His name is dishonored; his glory is trailed in the mire. It is his dear bleeding Son that is worst used of all. Oh, to think that he should love so well and be refused! That such beauty as his should be unacknowledged, such redemption rejected, such mercy scorned! What are men, after all, compared with God? If they are like myself, it were a pity that they were ever made! As for God, does he not fill all things with goodness as well as with being! To me Calvinism means the placing of the eternal God at the head of all things. I look at everything through its relation to God’s glory. I see God first, and man far down in the list. We think too much of God to please this age; but we are not ashamed. Man has a will, and oh, how they cry it up! One said the other day—and there is some truth in it, too,—“I attribute a kind of omnipotence to the will of man.” But, sirs, has not God a will, too? What do you attribute to that will? Have you nothing to say about its omnipotence? Is God to have no choice, no purpose, no sovereignty over his own gifts? Brethren, if we live in sympathy with God, we delight to hear him say, “I am God, and beside me there is none else.”

I can hardly tell you how high a value I set upon this enthusiasm for God. We must be in harmony with all his designs of love towards men, whilst in secret we receive his message. To become apparently warm in the pulpit is not of much account unless we are much more intense when alone with God. . . . Sermons are never baked by the fire and flash at the month; they must be prepared through the heating of the inmost soul. That precious Word, that divine shewbread, must be baked in the centre of our nature by the heat that is put there by the indwelling Spirit. (“The Preacher’s Power, and the Conditions of Obtaining it”)

Is It Possible To Hear God’s Voice?

Many people, no matter their religious background, say they want to hear from God when they have difficult decisions to make. Whether they use god as a “rabbit’s foot” or “wishing well” they sometimes want to manipulate circumstances through their “buddy,” god. This is why they find the God of Christianity so unacceptable. The Christian God is omnipotent and will not be manipulated. There are “cultural” Christians, however, who call on God without really knowing Him. They have never truly tried to understand God by reading what He says about Himself in the Bible.

What do you think the voice of God would sound like if He were speaking to you today? I have never heard the audible voice of God, so I do sometimes wonder if God is leading me in this or that direction or if I’m missing His guidance altogether.

The Bible gives us many examples of the ways in which God has spoken to His people. God has spoken through a donkey. God spoke through His prophets. His angels have spoken to various persons for Him. He has spoken through His Holy Spirit. He speaks to all of us through His Word. Is God speaking to you?

There is no three step formula to hearing from God. We must, however, diligently read the Scriptures and pray. God’s written word is our most certain teacher.

If God were speaking to you today, would you be ready to obey His call? What would be your response? Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Is this relationship your greatest treasure? If so, God will give you the guidance you need. Be patient.

Know this above all, however: Jesus Christ was born into this world and lived a perfect life in order to die and pay the price for our sins. He has risen from the dead in order that He may be the first born of many who will share eternal life in the kingdom of God. This relationship is the “pearl of great price.”

Yet, there are still many who have heard God’s word, but are not ready or willing to fully obey. They, somehow, believe that life won’t be as much fun if they do what God asks. The source of this lie is Satan who hates and fears your obedience to God. To refuse to obey God is to obey Satan and fall into sin. Many have been deceived by following the voice of Satan instead of discerning the word and voice of God.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

God’s Guiding Of Providence

Octavius Winslow

Quoting Octavius Winslow:

We live in a world of mysteries. They meet our eye, awaken our inquiry, and baffle our investigation at every step.

Nature is a vast arcade of mysteries. Science is a mystery. Truth is a mystery. Religion is a mystery. Our existence is a mystery. The future of our being is a mystery.

And God, who alone can explain all mysteries, is the greatest mystery of all. How little do we understand of the inexplicable wonders of a wonder working God, “whose thoughts are a great deep,” and “whose ways are past finding out.”

But to God nothing is mysterious.

In His purpose, nothing is unfixed. In His forethought, nothing is unknown. In His providence, nothing is contingent. His glance pierces the future as vividly as it beholds the past. “He knows the end from the beginning.” All His doings are parts of a divine, eternal, and harmonious plan.

He may make ”darkness his secret place; His pavilion round about him dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies,” and to human vision His dispensations may appear gloomy, discrepant, and confused. Yet He is “working all things after the counsel of His own will,” and all is transparent and harmonious to His eye! (Octavius Winslow’s, “My Times in God’s Hand”)

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