Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Faith is the Fountain, Foundation and Fosterer of Obedience

Faith is the fountain, the foundation, and the fosterer of obedience.

Men obey not God till they believe him. We preach faith in order that men may be brought to obedience. To disbelieve is to disobey.

One of the first signs of practical obedience is found in the obedience of the mind, the understanding, and the heart; and this is expressed in believing the teaching of Christ, trusting to his work, and resting in his salvation.

Faith is the morning star of obedience. If we would work the work of God, we must believe on Jesus Christ whom he has sent.

Brethren, we do not give a secondary place to obedience, as some suppose. We look upon the obedience of the heart to the will of God as salvation. The attainment of perfect obedience would mean perfect salvation. We regard sanctification, or obedience, as the great design for which the Saviour died. He shed his blood that he might cleanse us from dead works, and purify unto himself a people zealous for good works. It is for this that we were chosen: we are “elect unto holiness.” We know nothing of election to continue in sin. It is for this that we have been called: we are “called to be saints.”

Obedience is the grand object of the work of grace in the hearts of those who are chosen and called: they are to become obedient children, conformed to the image of the Elder Brother, with whom the Father is well pleased.

The obedience that comes of faith is of a noble sort.

The obedience of a slave ranks very little higher than the obedience of a well-trained horse or dog, for it is tuned to the crack of the whip. Obedience which is not cheerfully rendered is not the obedience of the heart, and consequently is of little worth before God. If the man obeys because he has no opportunity of doing otherwise, and if, were he free, he would at once become a rebel—there is nothing in his obedience.

The obedience of faith springs from a principle within, and not from compulsion without.

It is sustained by the mind’s soberest reasoning and the heart’s warmest passion. The man reasons with himself that he ought to obey his Redeemer, his Father, his God; and, at the same time, the love of Christ constrains him so to do, and thus what argument suggests affection performs. A sense of great obligation, an apprehension of the fitness of obedience, and spiritual renewal of heart, work an obedience which becomes essential to the sanctified soul. Hence, it is not relaxed in the time of temptation, nor destroyed in the hour of losses and sufferings.

Life has no trial which can turn the gracious soul from its passion for obedience; and death itself doth but enable it to render an obedience which shall be as blissful as it will be complete. Yes, this is a chief ingredient of heaven—that we shall see the face of our Lord, and serve him day and night in his temple. Meanwhile, the more fully we obey at this present, the nearer we shall be to his temple-gate. May the Holy Spirit work in us, so that, by faith—like Abraham—we may obey!

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon The Obedience of Faith, delivered on August 21st, 1890, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: What Comes of Humility?

What comes of humility? “Before honor is humility.” Humility is the herald which ushers in the great king; it walks before honor; and he who has humility, will have honor afterwards. I will only apply this spiritually.

Have you been brought today to feel, that in yourself you are less than nothing, and vanity? Art thou humbled in the sight of God, to know your own unworthiness, your fallen estate in Adam, and the ruin you have brought upon yourself by your own sins? Have you been brought to feel yourself incapable of working out your own salvation, unless God shall work in you, to will and to do of his own good pleasure? Have you been brought to say, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner?” Well, then, as true as the text is in the Bible, you shall have honor by-and-bye.

“Such honor have all the saints.” You shall have honor soon to be washed from all your guilt; you shall have honor soon to be clothed in the robes of Jesus, in the royal garments of the King; you shall have honor soon to be adopted into his family, to be received amongst the blood-washed ones who have been justified by faith. You shall have honor to be borne, as on eagles’ wings, to be carried across the river, and at last to sing his praise, who has been the “Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction.” You shall have honor to wear the crown, and wave the palm one day, for you have now that humility which comes from God. You may fear that because you are now humbled by God, you must perish.

I beseech you do not think so; as truly as ever the Lord has humbled you, he will exalt you. And the more you are brought low, the less hope you have of mercy; the more you are in the dust, so much the more reason you have to hope. So far from the bottom of the sea being a place over which we cannot be carried to heaven, it is one of the nearest places to heaven’s gate.

And if you are brought to the very lowest place to which even Jonah descended, you are so much the nearer being accepted. The more you know your vileness; remember the blacker, the more filthy, the more unworthy you are in your own esteem, so much the more right have you to expect that you will be saved.

Verily, honor shall come after humility. Humble souls, rejoice; proud souls, go on in your proud ways, but know that they end in destruction.

Climb up the ladder of your pride, you shall fall over on the other side and be dashed to pieces. Ascend the steep hill of your glory; the higher you climb the more terrible will be your fall. For know you this, that against none hath the Lord Almighty bent his bow more often, and against none has he shot his arrows more furiously than against the proud and mighty man that exalteth himself.

Bow down, O man, bow down; “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: True and False Humility

I do hate, of all things, that humility which lives in the face.

There are some persons who always seem to be so very humble when you are with them, but you can discover there is something underneath it all, and when they are in some other society, they will brag and say how you told them your whole heart. Take heed of the men who allow you to lay your head in their lap and betray you into the hands of the Philistines.

There is a kind of oil, sanctimonious, proud humility, which is not the genuine article, though it is sometimes extremely like it. You may be deceived by it once or twice, but by-and-bye you discover that is a wolf dexterously covered with sheep’s clothing. It arrays itself in the simplest dress in the world; it talks in the gentlest and humblest style; it says, “We must not intrude our own peculiar sentiments, but must always walk in love and charity.” But after all, what is it? It is charitable to all except those who hold God’s truth, and it is humble to all when it is forced to humble.

True humility does not continually talk about “dust and ashes,” and prate about its infirmities, but it feels all that which others say, for it possesses an inwrought feeling of its own nothingness.

Very likely the most humble man in the world won’t bend to anybody. John Knox was a truly humble man, yet if you had seen him march before Queen Mary with the Bible in his hand, to reprove her, you would have rashly said, “What a proud man!”

Cringing men that bow before everybody, are truly proud men; but humble men are those who think themselves so little, they do not think it worth while to stoop to serve themselves. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were humble men, for they did not think their lives were worth enough to save them by a sin. Daniel was a humble man; he did not think his place, his station, his whole self, worth enough to save them by leaving off prayer.

Humility is a thing which must be genuine; the imitation of it is the nearest thing in the world to pride.

Seek of God, dear friends, the gift of true humility.

Seek to have that breaking in pieces by the Holy Spirit, that breaking in the mortar with the pestle which God himself gives to his children. Seek that every twig of his rod may drive pride out of you, so that by the blueness of your wound, your soul may be made better. Seek of him, if he does not show you the chambers of imagery within your own heart, that he may take you to Calvary, and that he may show you his brightness and his glory, that you may be humble before him.

Never ask to be a mean, cringing, fawning thing: ask God to make you a man—those are scarce things now-a-days—a man who only fears God, who knows no fear of any other kind. Do not give yourselves up to any man’s power, or guidance, or rule, but ask of God that you may have that humility towards him, which gives you the noble bearing of a Christian before others.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: What is Humility?

 

Now let us briefly enquire, in the first place, what is humility?

The best definition I have ever met with is, “to think rightly of ourselves.” Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.

It is no humility for a man to think less of himself than he ought, though it might rather puzzle him to do that. Some persons, when they know they can do a thing, tell you they cannot; but you do not call that humility? A man is asked to take part in some meeting. “No,” he says, “I have no ability;” yet, if you were to say so yourself, he would be offended at you.

It is not humility for a man to stand up and depreciate himself and say he cannot do this, that, or the other, when he knows that he is lying. If God gives a man a talent, do you think the man does not know it? If a man has ten talents he has no right to be dishonest to his Maker, and to say, “Lord, you have only give me five.” It is not humility to underrate yourself.

Humility is to think of yourself, if you can, as God thinks of you. It is to feel that if we have talents, God has given them to us, and let it be seen that, like freight in a vessel, they tend to sink us low. The more we have, the lower we ought to lie.

Humility is not to say, “I have not this gift,” but it is to say, “I have the gift, and I must use it for my Master’s glory. I must never seek any honor for myself, for what have I that I have not received?” But, beloved, humility is to feel ourselves lost, ruined, and undone. To be killed by the same hand which, afterwards, makes us alive, to be ground to pieces as to our own doings and willings, to know and trust in none but Jesus, to be brought to feel and sing—

“Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.”

Humility is to feel that we have no power of ourselves, but that it all comes from God. Humility is to lean on our beloved, to believe that he has trodden the winepress alone, to lie on his bosom and slumber sweetly there, to exalt him, and think less than nothing of ourselves. It is in fact, to annihilate self, and to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as all in all.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: If You Desire Shame, Desire Pride

 

[Pride] is a brainless thing as well as a groundless thing; for it brings no profit with it.

There is no wisdom in a self-exaltation.

Other vices have some excuse, for men seem to gain by them; avarice, pleasure, lust, have some plea; but the man who is proud sells his soul cheaply. He opens wide the flood-gates of his heart, to let men see how deep is the flood within his soul; then suddenly it flows out, and all is gone—and all is nothing, for one puff of empty wind, one word of sweet applause—the soul is gone, and not a drop is left.

In almost every other sin, we gather up the ashes when the fire is gone; but here, what is left? The covetous man has his shining gold, but what has the proud man? He has less than he would have had without his pride, and is no gainer whatever.

Oh! man, if you were as mighty as Gabriel, and had all his holiness, still you would be an arrant fool to be proud, for pride would sink you from your angel station to the rank of devils, and bring you from the place where Lucifer, son of the morning, once dwelt, to take up your abode with hideous fiends in perdition.

Pride exalts it head, and seeks to honor itself; but it is of all things most despised. It sought to plant crowns upon its brow, and so it hath done, but its head was hot, and it put an ice crown there, and it melted all away. Poor pride has decked itself out finely sometimes; it has put on its most gaudy apparel, and said to others, “how brilliant I appear!” but, ah! pride, like a harlequin, dressed in thy gay colours, thou art all the more fool for that; you are but a gazing stock for fools less foolish than yourself. You have no crown, as you think you have, nothing solid and real, all is empty and vain.

If you, O man, desire shame, be proud. A monarch has waded through slaughter to a throne, and shut the gates of mercy on mankind to win a little glory; but when he has exalted himself, and has been proud, worms have devoured him, like Herod, or have devoured his empire, till it passed away, and with it his pride and glory. Pride wins no crown; men never honor it, not even the menial slaves of earth; for all men look down on the proud man, and think him less than themselves.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Wretchedness of Pride

…Pride is a protean thing; it changes its shape; it is all forms in the world; you may find it in any fashion you may choose, you may see it in the beggar’s rags as well as in the rich man’s garment. It dwells with the rich, and with the poor. The man without a shoe to his foot may be as proud as if he were riding in a chariot.

Pride can be found in every rank of society—among all classes of men. Sometimes it is an Arminian, and talks about the power of the creature; then it turns Calvinist, and boasts of its fancied security—forgetful of the Maker, who alone can keep our faith alive. Pride can profess any form of religion; it may be a Quaker, and wear no collar to its coat; it may be a Churchman, and worship God in splendid cathedrals; it may be a Dissenter, and go to the common meeting-house; it is one of the most Catholic things in the world, it attends all kinds of chapels and churches; go where you will, you will see pride. It comes up with us to the house of God; it goes with us to our houses; it is found on the mart, and the exchange, in the streets, and everywhere. Let me hint at one or two of the forms which it assumes.

Sometimes pride takes the doctrinal shape; it teaches the doctrine of self-sufficiency; it tells us what man can do, and will not allow that we are lost, fallen, debased, and ruined creatures, as we are. It hates divine sovereignty, and rails at election. Then if it is driver from that, it takes another form; it allows that the doctrine of free grace is true but does not feel it.

It acknowledges that salvation is of the Lord alone, but still it prompts men to seek heaven by their own works, even by the deeds of the law. And when driven from that, it will persuade men to join something with Christ in the matter of salvation; and when that is all rent up, and the poor rag of our righteousness is all burned, pride will get into the Christian’s heart as well as the sinner’s—it will flourish under the name of self-sufficiency, teaching the Christian that he is “rich and increased in goods, having need of nothing.”

It will tell him that he does not need daily grace, that past experience will do for tomorrow—that he knows enough, toils enough, prays enough. It will make him forget that he has “not yet attained;” it will not allow him to press forward to the things that are before, forgetting the things that are behind. It enters into his heart, and tempts the believer to set up an independent business for himself, and until the Lord brings about a spiritual bankruptcy, pride will keep him from going to God.

Pride has ten thousand shapes; it is not always that stiff and starched gentleman that you picture it; it is a vile, creeping, insinuating thing, that will twist itself like a serpent into our hearts. It will talk of humility, and prate about being dust and ashes. I have known men talk about their corruption most marvellously, pretending to be all humility, while at the same time they were the proudest wretches that could be found this side the gulf of separation.

Oh! my friends, you cannot tell how many shapes pride will assume; look sharp about you, or you will be deceived by it, and when you think you are entertaining angels, you will find you have been receiving devils unawares.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Him who Justifies the Ungodly

This message is for you: “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”

I call your attention to the words, “Him who justifies the ungodly.” They seem to me to be very wonderful words.

Are you not surprised that there is such an expression as that in the Bible, “who justifies the ungodly”? I have heard that men who hate the doctrine of the Cross bring the charge against God that he saves wicked men and receives to Himself the vilest of the vile. See how this Scripture accepts the charge and plainly states it! By the mouth of His servant Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, He takes to Himself the title of “Him who justifies the ungodly.” He makes those just who are unjust. He forgives those who deserve no favor.

Did you think that salvation was for the good and that God’s grace was for the pure and holy who are free from sin? Perhaps you think that if you were excellent, then God would reward you. Maybe you have thought that, because you are not worthy, there could be no way for you to enjoy His favor.

You must be somewhat surprised to read a text like this: “Him who justifies the ungodly.” I do not wonder at your surprise. For, with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder, at it either…

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This truth is a very surprising thing—a thing to be marveled at most of all by those who enjoy it. I know that it is to me even to this day the greatest wonder that I ever heard of—that God should ever justify me.

I feel myself to be a lump of unworthiness, a mass of corruption, and a heap of sin, apart from His almighty love. I know and am fully assured that I am justified by “faith which is in Christ Jesus.” I am treated as if I had been perfectly just and made an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ. And yet by nature, I must take my place among the most sinful. Though altogether undeserving, I am treated as if I had been deserving. I am loved with as much love as if I had always been godly, whereas before I was ungodly. Who can help being astonished at this demonstration of grace? Gratitude for such favor stands dressed in robes of wonder. 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, All of Grace, pp 13-14, 15-16 (Scripture updated to ESV)

All of Grace by C.H. Spurgeon

all-of-grace-spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon is renowned the world over as one of the greatest preachers ever to live. Saved at age 15, he began preaching at 16, and became pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London when he was 19. Spurgeon dearly loved Jesus, and passionately proclaimed the gospel to sometimes more than ten thousand people every week (the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built in 1861 to hold all the people who would come to hear him preach), and he saw many people saved through his ministry.

All of Grace, by the author’s own admission, is a book written with the intention “that many will be led to the Lord Jesus.” This intention leads to an extremely thorough and clear articulation of the good news of Jesus centering around the truth that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

This is arguably the most crucial point of Spurgeon’s message, in large part due to the heavy attack it faces today. We see ourselves as strong, though we are weak. We see ourselves as capable of earning our salvation, although we have no hope of doing so. Spurgeon puts it this way: “He did not come to save us because we were worth saving, but because we were utterly worthless, ruined, and undone” (pg. 90).

Spurgeon has the great ability to illustrate the ridiculousness of pride, particularly when addressing the necessity of salvation through faith (and indeed what is faith). On its necessity, he writes, “[God] will not give salvation in a way that will suggest or foster pride… The hand that receives charity does not say, ‘I am to be thanked for accepting the gift;’ that would be absurd” (pg. 79).

He makes his point exceedingly clear: We don’t earn salvation. We don’t deserve it. We don’t choose it. Indeed, we cannot.

It’s pure, unmerited grace.

What I appreciated a great deal while reading All of Grace is this call to the death of pride. If our salvation is in Christ alone, through faith alone, there is no room for boasting. Even when we repent, we cannot take credit. Spurgeon says, “We repent and believe, though we could do neither if the Lord did not enable us” (pg. 116). How often do we really see our ability to repent as a gift from God, as an ability enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit?

In all honesty, I rarely give it much thought. But I realize it’s not something I can or should take for granted. I can only repent and believe because Jesus has allowed me to do so. Should that not, then, drive me to pursue repentance even more? “Repentance is the inseparable companion of faith,” says Spurgeon (pg. 128). If we have faith, we must make a lifestyle of repentance, because “it is not a true faith in Jesus that is not colored by repentance” (pg. 128).

Where there is no repentance, there is only pride.

Spurgeon’s All of Grace is an engaging, compelling and inspiring look at the love of God, one that ends with a passionate appeal for all his readers to trust in the Lord Jesus and meet him (Spurgeon) in heaven, to worship the God who saves by grace. And I look forward to the day that I get to meet him there.


Title: All of Grace
Author: Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Buy it at: Amazon

Note: This review is based on a previously released edition of this book.

Around the Interweb (12/27)

Breaking Spiritual Strongholds

A new story from The Difference is Jesus.com:

Ajinta and her family worshipped Maran Buru and other spirits and performed witchcraft to bring prosperity to their home. But instead of prosperity, she found only strife. Sickness prevailed in her home and fights raged, despite their fervent prayers and the sacrifices they offered.

In times of illness, they went to witch doctors to perform the rituals of calling upon spirits for recovery. Their lives revolved around sickness and fear. Instead of being delivered from their plight, Ajinta and Bablu, her husband, only found more tension.


In other news 

Andy Naselli on hermeneutics

The Wonder of Apple’s Tablet (via Josh Harris)

What Do David and Saul Have to Do With Christmas?

Tim Challies and Luke Muehlhauser are exchanging letters on faith. It’s pretty interesting so far.


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Republishing Charles Spurgeon’s “The First Christmas Carol:” Part one | Part two | Part three

A short film on whether or not the Christmas story really happened

Win a copy of John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life

The First Christmas Carol by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, part three

 

Read part one and part two of “The First Christmas Carol” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon 


 

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men.

—Luke 2:14— 

III. I must now bring before you the third point. There are some PROPHETIC UTTERANCES contained in these words. 

The angels sang “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men.” But I look around, and what see I in the wide, wide world? I do not see God honored. I see the heathen bowing down before their idols; I mark the Romanist casting himself before the rotten rags of his relics, and the ugly figures of his images. I look about me, and I see tyranny lording it over the bodies and souls of men; I see God forgotten; I see a worldly race pursuing mammon; I see a bloody race pursuing Moloch; I see ambition riding like Nimrod over the land, God forgotten, his name dishonored. 

And was this all the angels sang about? Is this all that made them sing “Glory to God in the highest?” 

Ah! no. There are brighter days approaching. 

They sang, “Peace on earth.” But I hear still the clarion of war; and the cannon’s horrid roar: not yet have they turned the sword into a ploughshare, and the spear into a pruning-hook! War still reigns. Is this all that the angels sang about? And whilst I see wars to the ends of the earth, am I to believe that this was all the angels expected? Ah! no, brethren; the angels’ song is big with prophecy; it travails in birth with glories. A few more years, and he that lives them out shall see why angels sang; a few more years, and he that will come shall come, and will not tarry. 

Christ the Lord will come again, and when he cometh he shall cast the idols from their thrones; he shall dash down every fashion of heresy and every shape of idolatry; he shall reign from pole to pole with illimitable sway; he shall reign, when like a scroll, yon blue heavens have passed away. No strife shall vex Messiah’s reign, no blood shall then be shed; they’ll hang the useless helmet high, and study war no more. The hour is approaching when the temple of Janus shall be shut for ever, and when cruel Mars shall be hooted from the earth. [Read more...]

The First Christmas Carol by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, part two

Read part one of “The First Christmas Carol” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men.

—Luke 2:14—

2. When they had sung this, they sang what they had never sung before. “Glory to God in the highest,” was an old, old song; they had sung that from before the foundations of the world. But, now, they sang as it were a new song before the throne of God: for they added this stanza—“on earth, peace.” They did not sing that in the garden. There was peace there, but it seemed a thing of course, and scarce worth singing of.

There was more than peace there; for there was glory to God there.

But, now, man had fallen, and since the day when cherubim with fiery swords drove out the man, there had been no peace on earth, save in the breast of some believers, who had obtained peace from the living fountain of this incarnation of Christ. Wars had raged from the ends of the world; men had slaughtered one another, heaps on heaps. There had been wars within as well as wars without. Conscience had fought with man; Satan had tormented man with thoughts of sin.

There had been no peace on earth since Adam fell. But, now, when the newborn King made his appearance, the swaddling band with which he was wrapped up was the white flag of peace. That manger was the place where the treaty was signed, whereby warfare should be stopped between man’s conscience and himself, man’s conscience and his God. It was then, that day, the trumpet blew—”Sheathe the sword, oh man, sheathe the sword, oh conscience, for God is now at peace with man, and man at peace with God.” [Read more...]

The First Christmas Carol by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, part one

Charles Haddon Spurgeon is one of the greatest preachers the world as ever known. Born in 1834, Spurgeon began preaching at the age of 16 and was called to the pastorate of London’s New Park Street Chapel, Southwark (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) at the age of 19. Known for his direct and plain preaching style, Spurgeon drew the attention of many admirers and critics alike as he proclaimed the gospel to crowds of up to 10,000 people on a given Sunday. By the time of his death in 1892, Spurgeon had preached roughly 3,600 sermons and published forty-nine volumes of commentaries, sayings, anecdotes, illustrations, and devotions.

In celebration of Christmas, I’ll be representing Spurgeon’s sermon, The First Christmas Carol. This sermon will be presented in three parts, of which this is the first.

Originally delivered on Sunday, December 20, 1857, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Garden, The First Christmas Carol is a wonderful celebration of the angel’s song in Luke 2:14, announcing the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I trust it will be a blessing to you.


Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men.

—Luke 2:14—

It is superstitious to worship angels; it is but proper to love them. Although it would be a high sin, and an act of misdemeanor against the Sovereign Court of Heaven to pay the slightest adoration to the mightiest angel, yet it would be unkind and unseemly, if we did not give to holy angels a place in our heart’s warmest love. In fact, he that contemplates the character of angels, and marks their many deeds of sympathy with men, and kindness towards them, cannot resist the impulse of his nature—the impulse of love towards them.

The one incident in angelic history, to which our text refers, is enough to weld our hearts to them for ever. How free from envy the angels were! Christ did not come from heaven to save their compeers when they fell. When Satan, the mighty angel, dragged with him a third part of the stars of heaven, Christ did not stoop from his throne to die for them; but he left them to be reserved in chains and darkness until the last great day.

Yet angels did not envy men. Though they remembered that he took not up angels, yet they did not murmur when he took up the seed of Abraham; and though the blessed Master had never condescended to take the angel’s form, they did not think it beneath them to express their joy when they found him arrayed in the body of an infant. How free, too, they were from pride! They were not ashamed to come and tell the news to humble shepherds. Methinks they had as much joy in pouring out their songs that night before the shepherds, who were watching with their flocks, as they would have had if they had been commanded by their Master to sing their hymn in the halls of Caesar.

Mere men—men possessed with pride, think it a fine thing to preach before kings and princes; and think it great condescension now and then to have to minister to the humble crowd. Not so the angels. They stretched their willing wings, and gladly sped from their bright seats above, to tell the shepherds on the plain by night, the marvelous story of an Incarnate God. And mark how well they told the story, and surely you will love them! Not with the stammering tongue of him that tells a tale in which he hath no interest; nor even with the feigned interest of a man that would move the passions of others, when he feels no emotion himself; but with joy and gladness, such as angels only can know. They sang the story out, for they could not stay to tell it in heavy prose. They sang, “Glory to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” [Read more...]

Sunday Shorts (07/26)

Dug Down Deep: New book by Joshua Harris

3D.DugDownDeep%20copy.jpgThe other day, Joshua Harris (Pastor of Covenant Life Church and author of such books as I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Stop Dating the Church) has released some information on his latest book. From the back cover:

I know from experience that it’s possible to be a Christian but live life on the surface. The surface can be empty tradition. It can be emotionalism. It can be doctrine without application. I’ve done it all. I’ve spent my share of time on the sandy beaches of superficial Christianity.This book is the story of how I learned dig into truth and build my life on a real knowledge of God. How I first discovered that orthodoxy isn’t just for old men but for anyone who longs to know a God who is bigger and more real and more glorious than the human mind can imagine.
The irony of my story is that the very things I needed, even longed for in my relationship with God, were wrapped up in the very things I was so sure could do me no good. I didn’t understand that seemingly worn-out words like theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy were the pathway to the mysterious, awe-filled experience of truly knowing the living Jesus Christ.

They told the story of the Person I longed to know.

You can read Harris’ comments on the origin of the title at his blog, and you can preorder a copy at Amazon.

Gnosticism and Fundraising

Jonathan Dodson offers some thoughts on the often dualistic approach to fundraising and the work of the ministry over at his blog:

Some of us need to repent of our dualism, of seeing God as sovereign and concerned only with our piety and not with our pocketbook. Some of us need to redeem our view of money with an understanding that the Gospel redeems consumers to spend, not just “spiritually” but practically. Our money should be governed by the gospel and move towards mission. But that is uncomfortable. We would rather live with the comforts of unspiritual spending, than invest our whole lives into the mission of God. Our idols of comfort, clothing, and standard of living hide beneath our functional gnosticism. God is calling us to repent and believe that Jesus is Lord over our entire lives, finances included, to bring us into a life of joyful giving and worship.

Read the whole thing. It’s well worth it.

John MacArthur on Spurgeon & Worldly Preaching

HT: Evangelical Village

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Everyday Theology: “God won’t give you more than you can handle” Exploring the question: does God really only give us what we can handle?

A Holy Terror Embracing a holy fear of the Lord

Timeless Truth: Mere Christianity Looking at an example of true wisdom that has only become more powerful since it’s writing 60 years ago.

Book Review: All of Grace

spurgeon-all-of-graceRecommended: An engaging, compelling, and inspiring look at the love of God from one of world’s greatest Bible teachers.

Note: the following review is based on the Whitaker House edition of All of Grace.

Charles Spurgeon is renowned the world over as one of the greatest preachers ever to live. Saved at age 15, he began preaching at 16, and became pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London when he was 19. Spurgeon dearly loved Jesus, and passionately proclaimed the gospel to sometimes more than ten thousand people every week (the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built in 1861 to hold all the people who would come to hear him preach), and he saw many people saved through his ministry.

All of Grace, by the author’s own admission, is a book written with the intention “that many will be led to the Lord Jesus.” This intention leads to an extremely thorough and clear articulation of the good news of Jesus centering around the truth that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

This is arguably the most crucial point of Spurgeon’s message, in large part due to the heavy attack it faces today. We see ourselves as strong, though we are weak. We sese ourselves as capable of earning our salvation, although we have no hope of doing so. Spurgeon puts it this way: “He did not come to save us because we were worth saving, but because we were utterly worthless, ruined, and undone” (pg. 90).

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