Spurgeon Was Old Enough to S.W.I.M.

June 24, 2013 at 11:00 am | Posted in Quotes | 1 Comment
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There is an inimitable mellowness about the Christian who has grown old in his Master’s service. If you want to hear about the sea, talk to an “old salt.” If you want to hear about war, talk to an old soldier that has been in battle and smelt gunpowder — and knows what it is to have lost a leg. He is the man to tell you! And so, if you want to know about the real deeps, the truth, the vitality, the power of religion — you must not go to boys — you must go to those who bring forth fruit in old age because they can speak out of the fullness of their soul!

Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Trees in God’s Court”

Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Psalm 92:13-15

Spurgeon Encouraged Us to S.W.I.M. Faithfully

June 3, 2013 at 11:34 am | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment
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My brothers and sisters, that same Word of God which has made the earth keep its place, has, up to now, been sufficient to make you keep your place. Some of you have passed through deep waters and yet you have not been drowned. I have a sympathy with young people, when they are doubting, because they have not seen the mighty works of which their fathers have told them. But if you have been sustained for 40 years in the wilderness, you ought to know the faithfulness of God – and I am ashamed of you when you get disheartened and discourage your brethren.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “My Solace in My Affliction”

For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants. Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.

Psalm 119:89-92

That Man Was Certifiable!

February 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Galatians, Micah | 8 Comments
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One good place to study the difference between real leaders and fake leaders is in the Book of Micah. Politicians think about the next election; statesmen think about the next generation. In Micah’s day, the real priests were shepherds who protected their flock; the fake priests were wolves who devoured the flock. The fake prophets gave good news to people who bribed them and bad news to people who shunned them; the real prophets just gave the people the truth, and could not be bought.

A good way to illustrate this point is to think about those big gaudy Mardi Gras beads.

https://i0.wp.com/cf.ltkcdn.net/party/images/slide/105627-600x402-MardiGrasBeads.jpg

Some of them are brightly colored and obviously not real jewelry, but some of the strands actually look, at first glance, like expensive pearls. There are a number of reasons, though, why these fake necklaces are not likely to really fool anyone:

1. They are tossed out casually, as if they are worthless.
2. In your hands, they feel like the cheap plastic they really are, not like weighty precious gems.
3. Here in South Louisiana we have experience with Mardi Gras beads, so we know that their real worth is extremely negligible once the parade is over and people start to sober up.

Finally, you can note that, unlike real jewelry from a real, reputable jewelry store, Mardi Gras beads do not come with a “certificate of authenticity.” In the Book of Galatians the Holy Spirit used a similar indicator in proving that the Gospel which the Apostle Paul preached was authentic, and that the false gospel of the Judaizers was not.

But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

Galatians 1:11

The Greek word translated as “certify” is “gnorizo,” and it comes from the same root word from which we get the English word “recognize.” The Holy Spirit is saying that, if you are familiar with the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself – the true Gospel – then you must recognize that Paul is preaching the exact same Gospel.

The message of Paul was given to Him directly by Jesus. It was “certified” by Paul’s mission, his ministry, his methods, and the contents of the message itself. If you listen to much modern theology you are likely to come across a statement like this one eventually: “Oh, I’m a Christian. I follow Jesus, but I don’t believe everything that Paul wrote.” Such a statement is pure foolishness. The famous British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, responded to such a statement with this quote:

It is not unusual to hear dubious persons profess to differ from the apostle, and they even dare to say, ‘There, I do not agree with Paul.’ I remember the first time that I heard this expression I looked at the individual with astonishment. I was amazed that such a pigmy as he should say this of the great apostle. Altogether apart from Paul’s inspiration, it seemed like a cheese-mite differing from a cherub, or a handful of chaff discussing the verdict of the fire. The individual was so utterly beneath observation that I could not but marvel that his conceit should have been so outspokenly shameless. Notwithstanding this objection, even when supported by learned critics, we still agree with the inspired servant of God. It is our firm conviction that, to differ from Paul’s epistles is to differ from the Holy Ghost, and to differ from the Lord Jesus Christ, whose mind Paul has fully expressed.

Charles H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon Exhorts You to S.W.I.M. NOW

September 20, 2011 at 9:49 am | Posted in Quotes | 2 Comments
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I want you to remember, too, that you are called to come now, at once. You may not be bidden to come tomorrow for several reasons: you may not be alive, or there may be no earnest person near to invite you. Can there be a better day [than] today? You have always said “Tomorrow,” yet where are you now? Not a bit forwarder some of you than you were ten years ago. Do you recollect that sermon when you were made to tremble so, and you said, “Please God, if I get out of this, I will seek His face,” but you postponed it, and are you any forwarder now? You remember the story of the countryman who would not cross the river just yet, but sat down and said he would wait until all the water had gone by. He waited long in vain, and might have waited forever, for rivers are always flowing. You too are waiting till a more convenient season shall come, and all the difficulties have gone by. Be quit of such supreme folly. There will always be difficulty, the river will always flow. O man, be wise, plunge into it and swim across. Now is the accepted time, and now is the day of salvation. Oh that you would believe in Jesus Christ! May His Spirit lead you to do so now.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Two ‘Comes,'” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 23

Turning Up the Heat – Part 1

March 19, 2010 at 9:30 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 13 Comments
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Lord, let us hear from You. Thank You for Your patience, for Your love, for Your saving grace. One of the benefits of our salvation is having ears to hear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. In the precious name of Christ I pray. Amen.

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

This verse says He shall sit, and the “He” is the Lord Jesus. It is partially a reference to a time when He shall come to defeat the Antichrist, and shall establish His kingdom on Earth for 1000 years. Not all theologians believe in this, but many of those who do call it the Millennial Reign. But Malachi 3:3 also speaks of the work of Christ in the lives of believers today.

If you have been born again – if you have been saved – if your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – if you have trusted Christ as your Savior – then this verse applies to you. I want us to notice 3 things about this verse:

1. The position of the Refiner
2. The purpose of the refining
3. The product of the refining

The Position of the Refiner

When we look at the position of the refiner, we are a little concerned: “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…” Sitting is a position that we usually equate with laziness or a lack of concern.

[Let me pause here for a brief tangent on the topic of “sitting.” If you are a Christian boy or man – especially a teen-aged boy or young man – do not let yourself be caught sitting while someone else is working in front of you. A lady who is carrying something heavy should never have to excuse herself to get by you because you are loitering in her way. As someone who has been frustrated in the past by the failure of unbiblical church “youth groups,” I have seen this happen numerous times. If you are in a position of leadership in church youth ministry, or, more to the point, if you are a Christian parent or elder, please stress to teen-aged boys and overgrown “youth group” males that they are to be:

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 12:11

The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

Proverbs 21:25

Slothful is the Bible word for lazy. A Christian should be diligent, not lazy.]

Okay, back to the point: We see the that the Refiner in Malachi 3:3 is sitting – sitting before a hot cauldron or pot of molten silver. In this illustration, you and I, as Christians, are the silver. And we are in the heat, but the Refiner is just sitting. We are tempted to ask, “What do you mean He’s sitting? I’m in the fire! Things are really getting hot for me! I’m having troubles – troubles at work, trials at home, suffering in my body! Why is He just sitting? Doesn’t He care?”

The temptation to think this way comes from a misunderstanding about the nature of God. God is not a nervous parent, up at 2:30 a.m., pacing the floor, wringing His hands, waiting for the phone to ring, and muttering, “Why won’t My son call me if he’s in trouble? Why won’t My daughter come home – I don’t know where she is?” Nor is He snoring soundly while His children are getting into all sorts of trouble beyond the realm of His consciousness. No, the Refiner of silver sits because He’s in it for the long-haul.

I work in an office, and when I have some very important paperwork to attend to, I sit down and pay attention. The Refiner must pay close attention. He will not let the refining fire He’s attending cool down too much or get too hot. Our Lord sits as a Refiner because He is determined to do a thorough and complete job.

Another reason the Refiner is sitting is because He is the King, and is in total control. He’s sovereign. When an earthly king receives his subjects, he sits and they stand. They are nervous and stressed. They want their requests granted, but they are uncertain. The king is sure. He is calm and regal. He knows he has the power. If he declares it to be, it is so. Our Lord Jesus, the Master Refiner, is sitting because He paid a high a price for us, and He wants us to be pure. He’s not sitting because he doesn’t care – He’s sitting because he does care.

I believe it was Charles Spurgeon who used the analogy of an infant with a dirty face. This child is crying because his mother is vigorously scrubbing his face clean. The child is greatly agitated, but the mother is smiling, calm, and humming a merry tune. The mother has the peaceful and purposeful assurance that a clean face is the best thing for her child at that moment. How often we cry to the Lord to be relieved of our sufferings! We do not realize that the relief we are crying for would not be good for us. Our Lord loves us too much to let us stay defiled. He paid too high a price for His silver and gold to let it remain full of impurities.

That is the position of the Refiner: sitting. Next time, we will delve a little more into the the purpose of the refining.

Porcine Predilection Predates Powerful Prevailing Pardon, Prompting Personal Purity

November 11, 2009 at 9:30 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Salvation | 23 Comments
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I am not one of those people who think that the entire New Testament after the Book of Acts is just one long test to determine whether a person who has called upon the Lord by faith to save him, has in fact really been saved. I believe the vast majority of the writing in the New Testament epistles is directed toward believers so that they can glorify and serve God as they understand more about their salvation, and so that they can get the victory over more and more of their unredeemed flesh as they grow in Christ-likeness by the power of God.

However, it is true that a person who has been truly regenerated by God’s Spirit does in fact have a new “heart:” a new “nature,” a new ontological “self.”

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:5

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

II Corinthians 5:17

Although regenerated Christians will still sin, they should have a new relationship with sin. Before my “new birth” (my spiritual birth into the family of God), I was a slave to sin.

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Romans 6:20

And there was much about sin that I enjoyed. However, when Christ Jesus saved me from the power of sin, He set me free, and, while I did not become sinless, my love for sin was no longer greater than my love for God and His righteousness.

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Romans 6:22

If you have had some experience which you believe counts as being “born again,” but you still have no hatred for sin, and no real love for God, it is imperative that you examine yourself according the Scriptures.

Charles Spurgeon gave us a helpful illustration. He described a pig which was faced with a gourmet meal on one side, and a rotten pile of filth and garbage on the other side. The pig raced for the garbage, and disregarded the gourmet meal, because that is what pigs do.

pig slop

The “nature” of a pig is to root and wallow and indulge in filth. Suddenly God miraculously transformed the pig into a man. The man was disgusted to find himself wallowing in, and consuming, filth. He was also extremely embarrassed. He immediately scrambled out of the garbage pile, and started cleaning himself off. The next day, the man (who used to be a pig) was faced with the same two dining alternatives, and he went happily to the gourmet meal, and spurned the garbage. This happened almost every day, but once in while, the man (who had been a pig for a very long time before his transformation) forgot he was now a man, and compulsively immersed himself in the filthy heap of garbage. The difference now, though, was that when this happened, the man began to gag, and to vomit out the garbage, and he remembered he was now a man, and no longer a pig, and he once again felt embarrassed and dirty, and quickly left the garbage pile.

I hope that we see a picture of ourselves in this illustration. The salvation which God grants believers in Christ Jesus not only secures their home in Heaven, but it breaks the power of sin.

If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Ephesians 4:21-22

Spurgeon Would S.W.I.M. Deeper than Most

July 30, 2009 at 8:28 am | Posted in Quotes | 7 Comments
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If God has not told us any truth, it is for His glory not to tell it to us. Perhaps we have as much reason to bless the Lord for what is not in the Bible as for what is there; and what He has not revealed may be as much for our benefit, and certainly is as much for His glory, as what He has revealed. For instance, if He does not tell us all about Himself and the mystery of His Person, do we want to know it? Can we not believe in Him and love Him all the better because we do not understand Him? Surely a God whom we could understand would be no God. We delight in being out of our depth — in finding waters to swim in where understanding with its little plumline finds no bottom, but where love with a restful spirit finds perfect peace. Doubtless there is a glory in the Lord not revealing Himself so far as the past or present is concerned.

Charles H. Spurgeon

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:29

From Power to Proclamation to Prayer

June 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Acts | 16 Comments
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When God used Peter to heal the lame man in Acts Chapter 3, this man had a wonderful reaction.

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

Acts 3:6-8

Note that the Scripture says he was praising God, not the Holy Spirit. God is triune. He is one God in three Persons. However, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to bring praise to Jesus, not to the Holy Ghost Himself. (See John 16:12-15.) There are probably some local churches today which place too little emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Ghost, but there is no doubt that there are many charismatic and Penteocostal local churches which unbiblically sing praises to the Holy Ghost to the exclusion of God the Father and Christ the Son.

There is a sense in which this leaping, praising man is a picture of all Christian believers. He was lame. All of us came into this world lacking the ability to walk in a way which was pleasing to God. When Adam sinned, we say he “fell.” When Adam fell, we all fell, and, like the lady in the medic alert commercial, we had fallen and “could not get up” under our own power.

This man was begging alms because he was poor. We were all poor in relation to our inability to pay the debt we owed God – the sin debt.

This man was seated near the temple, but he was outside the temple. All of us were born “outside.” We were outside of the righteousness of God. And no matter how close we came to believing the Gospel message, until we did in fact believe, we were still “outside.” Like the lame man, there was a period when some of us were “so near, yet so far.”

But when this lame man was healed, he was healed instantly. Salvation, the fact of being “born again,” happens in a moment. One moment, you are lost, a child of the devil, bound for hell – the next moment you become a child of God, indwelt by His Spirit, with a home in Heaven. Like the lame man, we should all publicly identify ourselves with God when this happens.

Note that Peter did not use this miraculous healing episode to start a “healing and deliverance conference” focused on curing diseases and healing infirmities. Instead, he used the occasion of God’s power exhibited toward this lame man to convict the hearers of their sin.

And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

Acts 3:17-18

These verses show God’s marvelous blending of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. The rulers were accountable for crucifying Jesus, but God had ordained that the Crucifixion must come to pass, and had even foretold it in the Old Testament.

Our finite minds can not comprehend much about God’s divine sovereignty and the concept of human accountability. Both are taught clearly in Scripture. When Charles Spurgeon was asked how he reconciled the two, seemingly contradictory, ideas, he said that he never tried to reconcile good friends.

We get the impression that the first Christian church consisted of a very busy group of individuals. They had a passion for the Word of God, and they were empowered by the Holy Ghost. When these things concur among believers who are in strong unity, many miraculous things happen. It’s just a shame that they all had to share one Honda. (“And they, continuing daily with one “accord…” Acts 2:46) Okay, I know that’s corny, but I couldn’t resist. It’s Joke # 3 in the Official Preacher’s Joke Book. (Joke # 2 is telling everyone in the congregation to turn to “Hezekiah” Chapter 3.)

Acts Chapter 4 contains what might be my favorite Bible verse. It was one of the verses read at my ordination service:

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 4:12

The verse not only shows the power and exclusivity of Jesus’s name, but it highlights the absolute insanity of rejecting the only name in the universe that can truly help a lost person.

And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

Acts 4:14-17

There was the proof of the power of Jesus’s name standing right in front of them! But these Jewish leaders still did everything they could to deny it!

Facing persecution, the early Church members turned to prayer. This is the beginning of a prayer that is based on Psalm 2:

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

Acts 4:24

It is a prayer that is remarkable for the way in which it seeks to glorify God, and for its unselfish nature. Notice that the Apostles did not ask God to change their circumstances.

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Acts 4:29

Instead of asking God to change their circumstances, they asked Him to change their reaction to the circumstances. I love this submission to God’s power and providence. The Greek word translated as “Lord” in Acts 4:24 is despotes – what we would call a “despot” or “tyrant.” When is the last time you humbled yourself before Christ as your LORD, and not just as your mechanic, doctor, therapist, or ATM?


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