BEFORE you enter into prayer, ask thy soul these questions: 1. To what end, O my soul, art thou retired into this place? Art thou not come to discourse the Lord in prayer? Is he present, will he hear thee? Is he merciful, will he help thee? Is thy business slight, is it not concerning the welfare of thy soul? What words wilt thou use to move him t compassion?
To make thy preparation complete, consider that thou art but dust and ashes, and he the great God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “that clothes himself with light as with a garment;” that thou art a vile sinner, he a holy God; that thou art but a poor crawling worm, he the omnipotent Creator.
In all your prayers forget not to thank the Lord for his mercies.
When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words, than thy words without a heart.
Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.
The spirit of prayer is more precious than treasures of gold and silver.
Pray often; for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.
Mr. John Bunyan’s Dying Sayings
TO MR. PASSMORE
MENTONE, Jan. 16, ‘92.
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND, —
I have only good news to send you. I have not gone backward, but Doctor says I am a shade better as to my disease; in other respects, I feel up to the mark. Mrs. S. well.
Beautiful ride half-way to Turbie this morning; turned back at the Fountain. Weather has been bad, but to-day is heavenly. Snow on the mountains just makes us the more grateful. Come along as soon as you can.
Mrs. P. thanks you heartily, but does not know of anything which she desires.
I sent telegram of sympathy to Sandringham. I could not help it as the Prince had so kindly thought of me. May the Lord save all you love from this fell disease.
Yours ever lovingly,
C. H. SPURGEON.
Jesus is our Gospel. He is Heaven’s good news. To put it another way, the Gospel is God’s good news about Himself revealed in His Son. The Gospel brings, not only good news about what God has done for us but also gives us good news about God Himself. Because of the Gospel, we can learn about the very character of God.
For example, we would not realize how much God hates sin if it were not for the cross. It is the Gospel, in fact, which best illustrates His awful and intense abhorrence of sin. There is nothing in the entire universe that reveals God’s holy wrath against sin more than the blood of Christ. Think about it. There was no other way for the Lord to save us but by the blood. The horror of our sin is seen in that the sinless, spotless Lamb of God offered Himself and poured out His blood as our substitute.
Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3)! Death, of course, is not always bloody. You can die without losing your blood. But Christ not only died, He shed His blood. Blood is the sign of violence. You see, the death of Jesus was not just a mere passing away – a dying of old age on a comfortable bed. No! It was a violent death. It was a bloody, gory, ugly, revolting scene — a man hanging torn and wretched upon a cross, with blood streaming down His sides and running down His face.
Lets never forget that the God who is love is the God who is holy. As Dr. Barnhouse said,
“If you say that God is love without realizing that God is hate of sin you have no Gospel at all because you do not have God. The people who teach that God is love without teaching that God is also hate of sin have in reality another God who is Satan with a mask on.”
Donald Gray Barnhouse: Commentary on Romans.
In the Old Testament Temple, God demonstrated His hatred of sin in the daily sacrifices. God, being Holy, can no more endorse sin than He can commit it. But, these sacrifices were merely shadows of the reality which was to come. Only in the Gospel do we see the fulfillment of these Old Testament types. Only in the Gospel are we caused to face the horror of sin.
God spared not His Son but delivered Him up as an offering which took away holy wrath. Christ, as the Puritan, Stephen Charnock, said: “hung on the cross like a disinherited son while he appeared in the rank and garb of a sinner.”
Hanging there, the Lamb who knew no sin, called out and cried, “My God My God why have you forsaken me.” By the way, this is the first time in His ministry that Christ had ever called the Father by the title of ‘God.’ All through His life, he had called God His Father. But there at the cross, Christ took the place of His sinful people taking their sin and all the separation that goes along with it.
Listen to Him cry out in tortured agony, “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” Had there been another way to reconcile us do you not think the Father would have taken it? The cross was awful; it was scandalous! Yet, it reveals the heart of God, not only in His deep love for us but also in the deep hatred of sin which so offended His holiness.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
MEN ARE UNABLE TO SAVE THEMSELVES.
The inability of men to save themselves, respects both their condemnation and their depravity.
1. Men are unable to free themselves from condemnation.
The justice by which we are all condemned is immutable. It is an attribute in the nature of God, who is not only the first cause of all things, but the very standard of all perfection. When we inquire whether God’s ways are right, we have only to ask whether they correspond with his own perfections, for there is not higher standard by which they may be tried. As the perfections of God are immutable, the standard of right is immutable. A change in the law by which we are condemned is therefore impossible. God has sometimes, from regard to the peculiar circumstances of some men, given special commands to them, which have not been obligatory on all; but the obligation to obey him, whatever his commands may be, is universal and perpetual, and no act of disobedience can ever by justified under his righteous government.
The sentence of condemnation has been duly pronounced. It was not a rash decision, needing to be revised. The Omniscient Judge knew well all the facts in the case, all the circumstances which may be pleaded in extenuation, all the effects of his decision on us, and all the bearings of it on his own character and government. His determination to create the world was not made with greater deliberation, or on surer ground; and we may as soon expect him to annihilate all the creatures that he has made, as to reverse the sentence by which we are condemned.
The Scriptures affirm, that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified. The law requires perfect and perpetual obedience, and can be satisfied with nothing less. Law is converted into mere advice, when its requirements are not obligatory. To claim the privilege of violating the law, or coming short of its requirements, is to claim, so far, exemption from its authority, and therefore from the moral government of God. Such exemption divine justice will not allow. Its language is, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. “What things the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God.” The view which is here presented of man’s condition, relates not merely to his transgressions, but to his natural state. Hence it is said, “And were by nature the children of wrath.” So much has God the maintenance of his law at heart, that he who was in the bosom of the father, and well understood all his counsels, has with solemnity assured us; “Verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.”
There is a method of rescue from condemnation; but it is not one of man’s devising or executing. To effect it requires a display of wisdom, power and love, infinitely beyond the highest efforts of man. It is God’s work, challenging the admiration of angels, and demanding gratitude, praise, and joyful acceptance from every human being.
2. Men are unable to free themselves from depravity.
The first element of this inability is seen in the fact that men lack the necessary disposition. By nature we love darkness rather than light, sin rather than holiness. To be free from depravity is to be holy, and no man can desire holiness or perfect conformity to the law of God, who does not delight in that law. But experience and Scripture unite in teaching us that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. The cause of this exists in the fact, that the carnal mind is enmity against God. Men love the ways of transgression, and desire not the knowledge of God’s ways; and therefore, they lack the disposition necessary to free themselves from depravity, and render themselves strictly conformed to the law of God.
Another element which renders the inability complete, is, that if men had the disposition, they have not the power. Men have the power to perform such external acts as the law of God requires of them. If they were wholly disposed to perform such acts, and failed through mere physical inability, that inability would be a valid excuse. God accepteth according to what a man hath. We are commanded not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together; but the man who is fastened to his bed by palsy is not required to meet in the house of God. Depravity does not consist in external acts, but belongs to the heart; and the affections of the heart are not subject to volition, as the motions of the limbs are. Hence the Apostle says, “Ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Every converted man knows the meaning of this language. The current of depraved affections in our hearts, which has been flowing in the wrong direction from the beginning of our being, and gathering strength by the power of habit, does not stop at our bidding. A volition cannot stop it with as much ease as when it moves a finger. If any man thinks he has the power to be holy at will, let him try it, and he will find his mistake.
The inability last described, which is usually called moral, must be distinguished carefully from that physical inability which excuses outward acts. Physical inability would prevent the action, even if the whole heart were bent on performing it. It excuses the failure to act; but it will not excuse a corrupt or a divided heart. The paralytic may be excused for not attending at the house of God; but he is not excused for preferring to be absent, or for possessing no longing for the courts of the Lord. The moral inability of men consists in having either a divided heart, or a heart fully set in them to do evil. The former every converted man laments, and blames himself for; and the latter is descriptive of unconverted or natural men. This includes the lack, both of disposition and power, and renders the inability complete. This inability is not an excuse for the depravity, but is the depravity itself, in its full influence over all the powers of the soul.
The Scripture representations of men’s inability are exceedingly strong. They are said to be without strength, captives, in bondage, asleep, dead, &c. The act by which they are delivered from the natural state, is called regeneration, quickening or giving life, renewing, resurrection, translation, creation; and it is directly ascribed to the power of God, the power that called light out of darkness, and raised up Christ from the dead.
Our views concerning our character and condition by nature are wholly incorrect, if we imagine that a little work, which we can effect at pleasure, will set all right. Thousands postpone the concerns of the soul from this vain imagination. A true sense of our inability would drive us to him who is able to save.
 Jer. xiii. 23; John iii. 3; vi. 44; Rom. iii. 19, 20; viii. 7,8; Gal. iii. 10; Heb. x. 4; xii. 14.
 Rom. iii. 20.
 Gal. iii. 10.
 Rom. iii. 19.
 Eph. ii. 3.
 Matt. v. 18.
 Rom. viii. 7.
 2 Cor. viii. 12.
 Gal. v. 17.
 Rom. v. 6.
 2 Tim. ii. 26.
 2 Pet. ii. 19; Rom vi. 16, 17.
 1 Thes. v. 6.
 Eph. v. 14; Col. ii. 13.
John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology
Second, parables are subordinate to direct teaching; being designed not for proof, but for illustration of a doctrine or duty. It is alway to be deplored when professing Christians are guilty of setting one part of the Scriptures against another, but when a parable is used to nullify some plain doctrine or commandment of God, absurdity is added to irreverence. Hence to appeal to Matthew 18:23 25, in proof that the God of all grace may revoke His forgiveness, or to deny man’s responsibility on the ground that “the lost piece of silver” of Luke 15 portrays the sinner by an inanimate object, is both foolish and profane.
Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures
“If ever it should come to pass
That sheep of Christ might fall away,
My fickle, feeble soul, alas,
Would fall a thousand times a day.”
If one dear saint of God had perished, so might all; if one of the covenant ones be lost, so may all be, and then there is no gospel promise true; but the Bible is a lie, and there is nothing in it worth my acceptance. I will be an infidel at once, when I can believe that a saint of God can ever fall finally. If God hath loved me once, then he will love me for ever.
“Did Jesus once upon me shine,
Then Jesus is for ever mine”
The objects of everlasting love never change. Those whom God hath called, he will justify; whom he has justified, he will sanctify; and whom he sanctifies, he will glorify.
Charles H. Spurgeon- The Immutability of God- A sermon delivered on Sabbath morning, Jan 7th, 1855
Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
I will leave you with a quote from Charles Spurgeon:
“Now a happy Christmas to you all; and it will be a happy Christmas if you have God with you. I shall say nothing to day against festivities on this great birthday of Christ. We will to-morrow think of Christ’s birthday; we shall be obliged to do it, I am sure, however sturdily we may hold to our rough Puritanism. And so, ‘let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavend bread of sincerity and truth.’ Do not feast as if you wished to keep the festival of Bacchus; do not live to-morrow as if you adored some heathen divinity. Feast, Christians, feast; you have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting to-morrow, celebrate your Saviour’s birth; do not be ashamed to be glad; you have a right to be happy. Solomon says, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.”
“Religion never was designed To make your pleasures less.”
Recollect that your Master ate butter and honey. Go your way, rejoice tomorrow, but in your feasting, think of the Man in Bethlehem; let him have a place in your hearts, give him the glory, think of the virgin who conceived him, but think most of all of the Man born, the Child given. I finish by again saying, —
“A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL”
The Birth of Christ” preached on December 24, 1854