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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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The Problem With Christianity

The intolerance of Christianity as a religion is becoming more widespread and can be seen in public bodies, where legal action has been taken because Christians have refused to act against their beliefs. Jonathan Wynne-Jones explains in this article:

Clergy are to be urged to be more vocal in countering the arguments put forward by a more hard-line group of atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who have campaigned for a less tolerant attitude towards religion.

A report endorsed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, warns that the Church faces a battle to prevent faith being seen as “a social problem” and says the next five years are set to be a period of “exceptional challenge”.

It expresses concern that Christians are facing hostility at work and says the Church could lose its place at the centre of public life unless it challenges attempts to marginalize religious belief.

Read more. . . .

Charles Spurgeon And God’s Compassion

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

How frequently have I noticed, and I tell it to his praise, for though it shows my weakness, it proves his compassion, that sometimes, after preaching the gospel, I have been so filled with self-reproach, that I could hardly sleep through the night because I had not preached as I desired. I have sat me down and cried over some sermons, as though I knew that I had missed the mark and lost the opportunity. Not once nor twice, but many a time has it happened, that within a few days someone has come to tell me that he found the Lord through that very sermon, the shortcoming of which I had deplored. Glory be to Jesus; it was his gentleness that did it. He did not want his servant to be too much bowed down with a sense of infirmity, and so he had compassion on him and comforted him. Have not you noticed, some of you, that after doing your best to serve the Lord, when somebody has sneered at you, or you have met with such a rebuff as made you half-inclined to give up the work, an unexpected success has been given you, so that you have not played the Jonah and ran away to Tarshish, but kept to your work? Ah! how many times in your life, if you could read it all, you would have to stop and write between the lines, “He was moved with compassion.”

Supernatural Work Needs Supernatural Power

Charles H. Spurgeon

The Minister of the Gospel must do his work through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a marvelous mystery that God should choose to work the miracle of grace through men. God chooses to speak the illuminating word of salvation by our lips! God is willing to come along beside us with all our weaknesses to perform His purpose! C. H. Spurgeon challenges us in the sermon excerpt below:

[R]emember those who are brought to God are to be kept and preserved to the end; and your longing is that your ministry should be the means of keeping them from stumbling, and holding them fast in the way of righteousness even to the end. Do you propose to do that of yourself? How presumptuous! Why, look at the temptations which pollute this city; and I suppose that the seductions of evil are much the same in smaller towns, and in the villages; though differing in form. Their name is legion, for they are many. . . . How great is the leakage in our churches! The most faithful minister has to complain of the loss of many who appeared to run well, but have been hindered, so that they do not obey the truth.

But we do propose, nevertheless, to be the means, in the hands of God, of leading the sheep of Christ to pasture, and continuing to lead them, until they feed on the hill-tops of heaven with the great Shepherd himself in their midst. But what a task we have undertaken! How shall we present them to Christ as pure virgins? How can we keep them from the pollution of the all-surrounding Sodom? How shall we, at the last, be able to say, “Here am I, and the children thou hast given me”? Brethren, we cannot do it at all; but the Lord can do it through us by the energy of his grace. If you have half-a-dozen converts, how greatly you will praise God, if you pass, with that half-a-dozen at your side, safely through the gate of pearl. . . . How grievous to be, to all appearance, rich in usefulness, and on a sudden to find that our converts are like money put into a bag that is full of holes, and that our treasured converts fall out, because they were not truly gathered to the Lord Jesus after all! “Who is sufficient for these things.” Weak we are, exceeding weak, every one of us. If there is any brother here who is weaker than usual, and knows that he is so, let him not be at all cast down about that; for you see, brethren, the best man here, if he knows what he is, knows that he is out of his depth in his sacred calling. Well, if you are out of your depth, it does not matter whether the sea is forty feet or a full mile deep. . . . The weakest man here is not, in this business, really any weaker than the strongest man, since the whole affair is quite beyond us, and we must work miracles by divine power, or else be total failures. We have all set up in the divine profession of working by omnipotence, or rather of yielding ourselves up to omnipotence that it may work by us. If, therefore, omnipotence be not within hail, and if the miracle-working power is not within us, then the sooner we go home and plough the fields, or open shop, or cast up accounts, the better. Wherefore should we undertake what we have not the power to perform? Supernatural work needs supernatural power; and if you have it not, do not, I pray you, attempt to do the work alone, lest, like Samson, when his locks were shorn, you should become the jest of the Philistines. (Sermon: “The Responsibility Of The Preacher”)

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