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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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Charles Spurgeon On The Man God Uses

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

But what kind of men does the Master mean to use? . . . First, they must be laborers. The man who does not make hard work of his ministry will find it very hard work to answer for his idleness at the last great day. A gentleman who wants an easy life should never think of occupying the Christian pulpit, he is out of place there, and when he gets there the only advice I can give him is to get out of it as soon as possible. . . . An idler has no right in the pulpit. He is an instrument of Satan in damning the souls of men. The ministry demands brain labor; the preacher must throw his thought into his teaching, and read and study to keep his mind in good trim. He must not weary the people by telling them the truth in a stale, unprofitable manner, with nothing fresh from his own soul to give force to it. Above all, he must put heart work into his preaching. He must feel what he preaches: it must never be with him an easy thing to deliver a sermon, he must feel as if he could preach his very life away ere the sermon is done. There must be soul work in it, the entire man must be stirred up to effort, the whole nature that God has endowed him with must be concentrated with all its vigor upon the work in hand. Such men we want. To stand and drone out a sermon in a kind of articulate snoring to a people who are somewhere between awake and asleep must be wretched work. I wonder what kind of excuse will be given by some men at last for having habitually done this. To promulgate a dry creed, and go over certain doctrines, and expound and enforce them logically, but never to deal with men’s consciences, never to upbraid them for their sins, never to tell them of their danger, never to invite them to a Savior with tears and entreaties! What a powerless work is this! What will become of such preachers? God have mercy upon them! We want laborers, not loiterers. We need men on fire, and I beseech you ask God to send them. The harvest never can be reaped by men who will not labor; they must off with their coats and go at it in their shirt-sleeves; I mean they must doff their dignities and get to Christ’s work as if they meant it, like real harvest men. They must sweat at their work, for nothing in the harvest field can be done without the sweat of the face, nor in the pulpit without the sweat of the soul.

The Priceless Gift Of Christ

J. C. Ryle

He who thirsts must come to Christ Himself. Contentment with attending Church and small groups is not fellowship with Christ. The partaking of Holy Communion or privately opening your heart to your pastor is in vain if you do not personally know the Forgiver of sins. If you are content with only these outer observances, you will continue to thirst. Bishop J. C. Ryle helps us to understand:

“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)

There is a grand simplicity about [these verses] which cannot be too much admired. There is not a word in it of which the literal meaning is not plain to a child. Yet, simple as it appears, it is rich in spiritual meaning. . . . It solves that mighty problem which all the philosophers of Greece and Rome could never solve, -“How can man have peace with God?” Place it in your memory side by side with six other golden sayings of your Lord. “I am the bread of life: he that cometh unto ME shall never hunger; and he that believeth on ME shall never thirst.”-“I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”-“I am the Door: if any man enter in, he shall be saved.”-“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by ME.”- “Come unto ME, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”-“Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Add to these six texts the one before you today. Get the whole seven by heart. Rivet them down in your mind, and never let them go. When your feet touch the cold river, on the bed of sickness and in the hour of death, you will find these seven texts above all priceless. (John vi. 35, viii. 12, x. 9, xiv. 6; Matt. xi. 28; John vi. 37.)

For what is the sum and substance of these simple words? It is this. Christ is that Fountain of living water which God has graciously provided for thirsting souls. From Him, as out of the rock smitten by Moses, there flows an abundant stream for all who travel through the wilderness of this world. In Him, as our Redeemer and Substitute, crucified for our sins and raised again for our justification, there is an endless supply of all that men can need, -pardon, absolution, mercy, grace, peace, rest, relief, comfort, and hope.

This rich provision Christ has bought for us at the price of His own precious blood. To open this wondrous fountain He suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, and bore our sins in His own body on the tree. He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (1 Pet. ii. 24, iii. 18; 2 Cor. v. 21.) And now He is sealed and appointed to be the Reliever of all who are laboring and heavy laden, and the Giver of living water to all who thirst. It is His office to receive sinners. It is His pleasure to give them pardon, life, and peace. And the words of the text are a proclamation He makes to all mankind,-“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” (Sermon: “If Any Man!”)

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