Do we, dearly beloved, feel this truth? Has it ever been laid to our souls, so that we can feel it is ours? “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Have we ever felt that we are not of the world? Perhaps there is a believer sitting in a pew to-night, who says, “Well, sir, I can’t say that I feel as if I was not of the world, for I have just come from my shop, and worldliness is still hanging about me.” Another says, “I have been in trouble and my mind is very much harassed — I can’t feel that I am different from the world; I am afraid that I am of the world.” But, beloved, we must not judge ourselves rashly, because just at this moment we discern not the spot of God’s children. Let me tell you, there are always certain testing moments when you can tell of what kind of stuff a man is made. Two men are walking, part of the way their road lies side by side. How do you tell which man is going to the right, and which to the left? Why, when they come to the turning point. Now, to-night is not a turning point, for you are sitting with worldly people here, but at other times we may distinguish.
Let me tell you one or two turning points, when every Christian will feel that he is not of the world. One is, when he gets into very deep trouble. I do believe and protest, that we never feel so unearthly as when we get plunged down into trouble. Ah! when some creature comfort hath been swept away, when some precious blessing hath withered in our sight, like the fair lily, snapped at the stalk; when some mercy has been withered, like Jonah’s gourd in the night — then it is that the Christian feels, “I am not of the world.” His cloak is torn from him, and the cold wind whistles almost through him; and then he says, “I am a stranger in the world, as all my fathers were. Lord, thou hast been my dwelling-place in all generations.” You have had at times deep sorrows. Thank God for them! They are testing moments. When the furnace is hot, it is then that the gold is tried best. Have you felt at such a time that you were not of the world? Or, have you rather sat down, and said, ‘Oh! I do not deserve this trouble?” Did you break under it? Did you bow down before it and let it crush you while you cursed your Maker? Or did your spirit, even under its load, still lift itself unto him, like a man all dislocated on the battle-field, whose limbs are cut away, but who still lifts himself up as best he can, and looks over the field to see if there be a friend approaching. Did you do so? Or did you lie down in desperation and despair? If you did that, methinks you are no Christian; but if there was a rising up, it was a testing moment, and it proved that you were “not of the world,” because you could master affliction; because you could tread it under foot, and say —
“When all created streams are dry,
His goodness is the same;
With this I well am satisfied,
And glory in his name.”
Charles H. Spurgeon-The Character of Christ’s People-Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 22, 1855
We shall divide God’s gifts into five classes. First, we shall have gifts temporal; second, gifts saving; third, gifts honorable; fourth, gifts useful; and fifth, gifts comfortable. Of all these we shall say, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”
3. We now come, in the third place, to notice the differences which God often makes in his Church in HONORABLE GIFTS. There is a difference made between God’s own children — when they are his children. Note what I mean: One hath the honorable gift of knowledge, another knows but little. I meet, every now and then, with a dear Christian brother with whom I could talk for a month, and learn something from him every day. He has had deep experience — he has seen into the deep things of God — his whole life has been a perpetual study wherever he has been. He seems to have gathered thoughts, not from books merely, but from men, from God, from his own heart. He knows all the intricacies and windings of Christian experience: he understands the height, the depths, the lengths, and the breadths of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. He has gained a grand idea, an intimate knowledge of the system of grace, and can vindicate the dealings of the Lord with his people.
Then you meet with another who has passed through many troubles, but he has no deep acquaintance with Christian experience. He never learned a single secret by all his troubles. He just floundered out of one trouble into another, but never stopped to pick up any of the jewels that lay in the mire — never tried to discover the precious jewels that lay in his afflictions. He knows very little more of the heights and depths of the Savior’s love than when he first came into the world. You may converse with such a man as long as you like, but you will get nothing from him. If you ask why is it, I answer, there is a Sovereignty of God in giving knowledge to some and not to others. I was walking the other day with an aged Christian, who told me how he had profited by my ministry. There is nothing humbles me like that thought of yon old man deriving experience in the things of God, receiving instruction in the ways of the Lord from a mere babe in grace. But I expect that when I am an old man, if I should live to be such, that some babe in grace will instruct me. God sometimes shutteth the mouth of the old man and openeth the mouth of the child. Why should we be a teacher to hundreds who are, in some respects, far more able to teach us? The only answer we can find is in the Divine Sovereignty, and we must bow before it, for has he not a right to do as he wills with his own ? Instead of being envious of those who have the gift of knowledge, we should seek to gain the same, if possible. Instead of sitting down and murmuring that we have not more knowledge, we should remember that the foot cannot say to the head, nor the head to the foot, I have no need of thee, for God hath given us talents as it hath pleased him.
Note, again, when speaking of honorable gifts. Not only knowledge, but office is an honorable gift. There is nothing more honorable to a man than the office of a deacon or a minister. We magnify our office, though we would not magnify ourselves. We hold there is nothing can dignify a man more than being appointed to an office in a Christian church. I would rather be a deacon of a church than Lord Mayor of London. To be a minister of Christ is in my estimation an infinitely higher honor than the world can bestow. My pulpit is to me more desirable than a throne, and my congregation is an empire more than large enough; an empire before which the empires of the earth dwindle into nothing in everlasting importance. Why does God give to one man a special call by the Holy Ghost, to be a minister, and pass by another? There is another man more gifted, perhaps, but we dare not put him in a pulpit, because he has not had a special call. So with the deaconship; the man whom some would perhaps think most suitable for the office is passed by, and another chosen. There is a manifestation of God’s Sovereignty in the appointment to office — in putting David on a throne, in making Moses the leader of the children of Israel through the wilderness, in choosing Daniel to stand among princes, in electing Paul to be the minister to the Gentiles, and Peter to be the Apostle of the Circumcision. And you who have not the gift of honorable office, must learn the great truth contained in the question of the Master, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own ?”
There is another honorable gift, the gift of utterance. Eloquence hath more power over men than all else besides. If a man would have power over the multitude, he must seek to touch their hearts, and chain their ears. There are some men who are like vessels full of knowledge to the brim, but having no means of giving it forth to the world. They are rich in all gems of learning, but know not how to set them in the golden ring of eloquence.
They can collect the choicest of flowers, but know not how to tie them up in a sweet garland to present them to the admirer’s eye. How is this? We say again, the Sovereignty of God is here displayed in the distribution of gifts honorable. Learn here, O Christian man, if you have gifts to cast the honor of them at the Savior’s feet, and if you possess them not, learn not to murmur; remember that God is equally as kind when he keepeth back as when he distributeth his favors. If any among you be exalted, let him not be puffed up; if any be lowly, let him not be despised; for God giveth to every vessel his measure of grace. Serve him after your measure, and adore the King of Heaven who doth as he pleaseth.
Charles H. Spurgeon-Sermon-Divine Sovereignty-Delivered May 4 1856
Jesus Christ-A Man
1. We have learned that Jesus was a descendant of Adam; was He, then, a man?
He was a man in every respect; but He was without sin.
2. Mention some respects in which He was a man.
He had a human body and soul and could not only suffer, but was also liable to temptation.
3. Was He ever tempted?
Yes; Satan tried in every way to make Him sin, but could not.
4. Was He made subject to the law of God?
He was, and rendered perfect obedience to it.
5. Had He the same bodily desires and appetites that we have?
Yes; He felt hunger and thirst, and was liable to all sinless infirmities.
6. Was His soul also liable to suffer?
Yes; it was His soul that suffered most severely in fulfilling the work which He came to do.
7. For what did this human nature fit Him?
Not only to die for us, but also to sympathize with us in our trials and temptations.
James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine
Published in 1646
The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.
CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
XXXII THE only strength by which the saints are enabled to encounter with all oppositions and trials, is only by Jesus Christ, who is the captain of their salvation, being made perfect through sufferings; who hath engaged His faithfulness and strength to assist them in all their afflictions, and to uphold them in all their temptations, and to preserve them by His power to His everlasting kingdom.
John 16:33,15:5; Phil.4:11; Heb.2:9,10; 2 Tim.4:18.
The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46
If sin were a light thing, how is it that the Father of mercies should have doomed all mankind to death, and to all the miseries that prepare its way, on account of it? How is it that wicked men die under such fearful apprehensions? Above all, how is it that it should require the eternal Son of God to become incarnate, and to be made a sacrifice, to atone for it?
Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered
Perhaps I could tell you of some old barn, hedge-row, or cottage; or if you have lived in London, about some garret, or some dark lane or street, where first you met with Christ; or some chapel into which you strayed, and you might say, “Thank God, I can remember the seat where first he met with me, and spoke the whispers of love to my soul, and told me he had purchased me.”
“Dost mind the place, the spot of ground,
Where Jesus did thee meet?”
Yes, and I would love to build a temple on the spot, and to raise some monument there, where Jehovah-Jesus first spoke to my soul, and manifested himself to me. But he has revealed himself to you more than once-has he not? And you can remember scores of places where the Lord hath appeared of old unto you, saying, “Behold I have loved you with an everlasting love.” If you cannot all remember such things, there are some of you that can; and I am sure they will understand me when I say, come and do this in remembrance of Christ-in remembrance of all his loving visitations, of his sweet wooing words, of his winning smiles upon you, of all he has said and communicated to your souls. Remember all these things to-night, if it be possible for memory to gather up the mighty aggregate of grace.” Bless the Lord. O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
Charles H. Spurgeon—The Remembrance of Christ—A sermon delivered on Sabbath Evening January 7th 1855
Did you never run for shelter in a storm, and find fruit which you expected not? Did you never go to God for safeguard, driven by outward storms, and there find unexpected fruit?