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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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Service And Worship

From the desk of Donald Whitney:

Worship empowers serving; serving expresses worship. Godliness requires a disciplined balance between the two. Those who can maintain service without regular personal and corporate worship are serving in the flesh. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been serving that way or how well others think they serve, they are not striving according to God’s power, as Paul did, but their own… At the same time, one measure of the authenticity of worship (again, both personal and corporate) is whether it results in a desire to serve… Therefore, we must maintain that to be Godly, we should discipline ourselves for both worship and service. To engage in one without the other is, in reality, to experience neither.

The Tomb Of Jesus

Excerpts from the sermon “The Tomb of Jesus” by Charles H. Spurgeon:

“Come; see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:6)

I shall commence my remarks this morning by inviting all Christians to come with me to the tomb of Jesus. “Come; see the place where the Lord lay.” We will labor to render the place attractive, we will gently take your hand to guide you to it; and may it please our Master to make our hearts burn within us while we talk by the way. . . .

Come, then, for ’tis the shrine of greatness, ’tis the resting-place of the man, the Restorer of our race, the Conqueror of death and hell . . . Ask me the greatest man who ever lived—I tell you the man Christ Jesus was “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellow.” If ye seek a chamber honored as the resting-place of genius, turn in hither; if ye would worship at the grave of holiness, come ye here; if ye would see the hallowed spot where the choicest bones that e’er were fashioned lay for awhile, come with me, Christian, to that quiet garden, hard by the walls of Jerusalem. . . .

Yea, more, I will further urge you to this pious pilgrimage. Come, for angels bid you. Angels said, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” The Syriac version reads, “Come, see the place where our Lord lay.” Yes, angels put themselves with those poor women, and used one common pronoun—our. Jesus is the Lord of angels as well as of men. Let me lead thee by the hand of meditation, my brother; let me take thee by the arm of thy fancy, and let me again say to thee, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”. . .

It is in a pleasant garden, far from the hum of Jerusalem; the noise and din of business will not reach thee there; “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” It is a sweet resting spot, a withdrawing room for thy soul, where thou mayest brush from thy garments the dust of earth and muse awhile in peace.

Thus I have pressed the invitation; now we will enter the tomb. Let us examine it with deep attention, noticing every circumstance connected with it.

And, first, mark that it is a costly tomb. It is no common grave; it is not an excavation dug out by the spade for a pauper, in which to hide the last remains of his miserable and over wearied bones. It is a princely tomb; it was made of marble, cut in the side of a hill. . . .

But, though it is a costly grave, it is a borrowed one. I see over the top of it, “Sacred to the memory of the family of Joseph of Arimathea;” yet Jesus slept there. Yes, he was buried in another’s sepulcher . . . It was a borrowed tomb; and why? I take it, not to dishonor Christ, but in order to show that, as his sins were borrowed sins, so his burial was in a borrowed grave. Christ had no transgressions of his own; he took ours upon his head; he never committed a wrong, but he took all my sin, and all yours, if ye are believers; concerning all his people, it is true, he bore their griefs and carried their sorrows in his own body on the tree; therefore, as they were others’ sins, so he rested in another’s grave; as they were sins imputed, so that grave was only imputedly his. . . .

Let us not weary in this pious investigation, but with fixed attention observe everything connected with this holy spot. The grave, we observe, was cut in a rock. Why was this . . .? O! my soul, canst thou find a spiritual reason? Christ’s sepulcher was cut in a rock. . . . The sepulcher stands, I believe, entire to this day; if it does not naturally, it does spiritually. The same sepulcher which took the sins of Paul, shall take my iniquities into his bosom, for if I ever lose my guilt, it must roll off my shoulders into the sepulcher. It was cut in a rock, so that if a sinner were saved a thousand years ago, I too can be delivered, for it is a rocky sepulcher where sin was buried—it was a rocky sepulcher of marble where my crimes were laid forever—buried never to have a resurrection.

You will mark; moreover, that tomb was one wherein no other man had ever lain. Christopher Ness says, when Christ was born, he lay in a virgin’s womb, and when he died, he was placed in a virgin tomb; he slept where never man had slept before. The reason was that none might say that another person rose, for there never had been any other body there, thus a mistake of persons was impossible. . . .

[L]et us stoop down once more before we leave the grave, and notice something else. We see the grave, but do you notice the grave-clothes, all wrapped and laid in their places, the napkin being folded up by itself? Wherefore are the grave-clothes wrapped up? The Jews said robbers had abstracted the body; but if so, surely they would have stolen the clothes; they would never have thought of wrapping them up and laying them down so carefully; they would be too much in haste to think of it. Why was it then. . . So at the precise hour, the decreed instant, Jesus Christ . . . came forth in his pure and naked innocence, perhaps to show us that as clothes were the offspring of sin—when sin was atoned for by Christ, he left all raiment behind him—for garments are the badges of guilt: if we had not been guilty we should never have needed them. . . .

I . . . bid you stand and see the place where the Lord lay with emotions of deep sorrow. Oh come, my beloved brother, thy Jesus once lay there. He was a murdered man, my soul, and thou the murderer. . . .

I slew him—this right hand struck the dagger to his heart. My deeds slew Christ. Alas! I slew my best beloved; I killed him who loved me with an everlasting love. . . .

Ah! we may indeed regret our sin, since it slew Jesus . . . Thy sin slew him, but his divinity raised him up. Thy guilt hath murdered him, but his righteousness hath restored him. Oh! he hath burst the bonds of death; he hath unit the cerements of the tomb, and hath come out more than conqueror, crushing death beneath his feet. Rejoice, O Christian, for he is not there—he is risen. . . .

And now, Christian brethren, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay,” to learn a doctrine or two. What did you see when you visited “the place where the Lord lay?” “He is not here; for he is risen.” The first thing you perceive, if you stand by his empty tomb, is his divinity. The dead in Christ shall rise first at the resurrection: but he, who rose first— their leader, rose in a different fashion. They rise by imparted power. He rose by his own. He could not slumber in the grave, because he was God. . . .

A second doctrine here taught well may charm thee, if the Holy Spirit applies it with power. Behold his empty tomb, O true believer: it is a sign of thine acquittal, and thy full discharge. If Jesus had not paid the debt, he ne’er had risen from the grave. He would have lain there till this moment if he had not cancelled the entire debt, by satisfying eternal vengeance. O beloved, is not that an overwhelming thought . . . ?

One more doctrine we learn, and with that we will conclude—the doctrine of the resurrection. Jesus rose, and as the Lord our Savior rose, so all his followers must rise. . . . O my soul, dost thou now dread to die? Thou wilt lose thy partner body a little while, but thou wilt be married again in heaven; soul and body shall again be united before the throne of God. The grave—what is it? It is the bath in which the Christian puts the clothes of his body to have them washed and cleansed. Death—what is it? It is the waiting-room where we robe ourselves for immortality. . . .

Come; view the place then, with all hallowed meditation, where the Lord lay. Spend this afternoon, my beloved brethren, in meditating upon it, and very often go to Christ’s grave, both to weep and to rejoice. (No. 18, April 8, 1855)

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