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Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 210

February 28, 2019 Leave a comment

TO VARIOUS FRIENDS

To [Dr. Doudney].

MENTONE, January 6, 1892.

DEAR VENERABLE BROTHER, —

I know that a bit of real deep and grateful experience like my grandfather’s is sure to suit you even as it does me. We rejoice to hear from our old friend. The Lord bless thee. You are now enjoying ripe fruit. The Gospel is good when it is green and new to us, but it suits us better and better as our autumn of life mellows our knowledge. We have no inclination to change’ I might almost say “no temptation to alter.” None but Jesus; nothing but grace. Our love to you. I am slowly improving.

Yours heartily,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word: Ministry Through Mercy!

February 27, 2019 Leave a comment

All Failures May Apply.

2 Corinthians 4:1, ‘Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

Alexander the Great was sculpted with his hand resting on his face, as if in contemplation. But the real purpose was to hide an ugly scar on his cheek.

The German emperor, Wilhelm II, was photographed and painted standing in such a position that his withered arm would not appear.

All of us have imperfections and not just physical ones.  Some of us feel mentally scarred by our life and failures. Unfortunately, our wounds (self-inflicted and otherwise) incorrectly inform our psyche that God will never use us again.

And this is confirmed by the censorious and disapproving who tell us that the Lord is finished with us? Let me ask, who lied and said God wanted nothing more to do with you? Who told you that you are flawed and thus unusable?  Such a prophet of doom needs someone to teach them the Gospel and its applications.

Christ Jesus has always done His work with broken things. But sub-consciously we applaud only the strong, the successful, the slick and the unmarked.   God, however, is the God who will not abandon the unsuccessful. He is the God of those who have failed. He is the God of the defective and the damaged. 

Take for example;

John Mark was a failure on the mission field.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.

The Lord used them, and He can use you!

Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid to die.
Lazarus was dead.

Rahab used to run a brothel.

The Lord used them, and He can use you!

Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer.
And so was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.

The Lord used them, and He can use you!

Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was fed up.

The Lord used them, and He can use you!

Martha was always worrying.
Timothy had ulcers.
Noah got drunk.
Moses was hot-tempered.

The Lord used them, and He can use you!

We are not an impressive lot, but we have an impressive Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is no bruised reed that He cannot bring back. There is no one to whom He cannot convey restoration (Matthew 12:20).

Someone once said, “I was never of any use until I found out that God did not intend me to be a great man.” I like that. There’s no pressure on us to be great or perfect in every decision we make. The Lord does not base His love for us on our performance.

Now here’s the thing, we should never disqualify ourselves because of our flaws.

In Nehemiah 4:2, some people couldn’t believe that Nehemiah was going to rebuild the city walls with old burnt stones. What they were really saying is, you can’t do anything with this rubbish. Could it be that too many people have said that about us? According to them, we’re no good, we are failures, we’re all messed up. We have been put on the trash heap.

But here’s some good news, Jesus doesn’t go down to ‘Perfect Street’ to choose His material. He knows what we came from and where we’ve been. He knows where and how we’ve failed. He knows our repentance and regret. He wants us to know that our worth is in Him. (Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 10:32, 2Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 4:16.)

When our conscience accuses us of being unworthy, we learn to agree with it and then turn the Gospel Lion loose. We tell our conscience, ‘Yes I’m unworthy, but Jesus was worthy in my place.’

He is our worthiness (Revelation 5:12). Mercy is our qualification for ministry (2 Corinthians 4:1). We need nothing more but nothing less!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XII-Limited Atonement

February 27, 2019 1 comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XII

Limited Atonement

6. THE DIVINE PURPOSE IN CHRIST’S SACRIFICE

If Christ’s death was intended to save all men, then we must say that God was either unable or unwilling to carry out His plans. But since the work of God is always efficient, those for whom atonement was made and those who are actually saved must be the same people. Arminians suppose that the purposes of God are mutable, and that His purposes may fail. In saying that He sent His Son to redeem all men, but that after seeing that such a plan could not be carried out He “elected” those whom He foresaw would have faith and repent, they represent Him as willing what never takes place, — as suspending His purposes and plans upon the volitions and actions of creatures who are totally dependent on Him. No rational being who has the wisdom and power to carry out his plans intends what he never accomplishes or adopts plans for an end which is never attained. Much less would God, whose — wisdom and power are infinite, work in this manner. We may rest assured that if some men are lost God never purposed their salvation, and never devised and put into operation means designed to accomplish that end.

Jesus Himself limited the purpose of His death when He said, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” If, therefore, He laid down His life for the sheep, the atoning character of His work was not universal. On another occasion He said to the Pharisees, “Ye are not my sheep;” and again, “Ye are of your father the Devil.” Will anyone maintain that He laid down His life for these, seeing that He so pointedly excludes them? The angel which appeared to Joseph told him that Mary’s son was to be called JESUS, because His mission in the world was to save His people from their sins. He then came not merely to make salvation possible but actually to save His people; and what He came to do we may confidently expect Him to have accomplished.

Since the work of God is never in vain, those who are chosen by the Father, those who are redeemed by the Son, and those who are sanctified by the Holy Spirit, — or in other words, election, redemption and sanctification, — must include the same persons. The Arminian doctrine of a universal atonement makes these unequal and thereby destroys the perfect harmony within the Trinity. Universal redemption means universal salvation.

Christ declared that the elect and the redeemed were the same people when in the intercessory prayer He said. “Thine they were, and thou gavest them to me,” and “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine: and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them,” John 17:6, 9, 10. And again, “I am the good shepherd; and I know my own, and mine own know me, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep,” John 10:14, 15. The same teaching is found when we are told to “feed the Church of the Lord which He purchased with His own blood,” Acts 20:28. We are told that “Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it,” Ephesians 5:25; and that He laid down His life for His friends, John 15:13. Christ died for such as were Paul and John, not for such as were Pharaoh and Judas, who were” goats and not sheep. We cannot say that His death was intended for all unless we say that Pharaoh, Judas, etc., were of the sheep, friends, and Church of Christ.

Furthermore, when it is said that Christ gave His life for His Church, or for His people, we find it impossible to believe that He gave Himself as much for reprobates as for those whom He intended to save. Mankind is divided into two classes and what is distinctly affirmed of one is impliedly denied of the other. In each case something is said of those who belong to one group which is not true of those who belong to the other. When it is said that a man labors and sacrifices health and strength for his children, it is thereby denied that the motive which controls him is mere philanthropy, or that the design he has in view is the good of society. And when it is said that Christ died for His people it is denied that He died equally for all men.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

It is very obvious that because God is an intelligence He must have a plan

February 26, 2019 Leave a comment

It has been well pointed out that “it is very obvious that because God is an intelligence He must have a plan. If He be an absolutely perfect intelligence, desiring and designing nothing but good; if He be an eternal and immutable intelligence, His plan must be one, eternal, all-comprehensive, immutable; that is, all things from His point of view must constitute one system and sustain a perfect logical relation in all its parts. Nevertheless, like all other comprehensive systems it must itself be composed of an infinite number of subordinate systems. In this respect it is like these heavens which He has made, and which He has hung before our eyes, as a type and pattern of His mode of thinking and planning in all providence.

We know that in the solar system our earth is a satellite of one of the great suns, and of this particular system we have a knowledge because of our position, but we know that this system is only one of myriads, with variations, that have been launched in the great abyss of space. So we know that this great, all-comprehensive plan of God, considered as one system, must contain a great many subordinate systems which might be studied profitably if we were in the position to do so, as self-contained whole, separate from the rest” (Lectures by A. A. Hodge). That “one system” or the eternal “plan” of God was comprised in the everlasting covenant; the many “subordinate systems” are the various covenants God made with different ones from time.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

The first is the Jew; to him the gospel is a stumblingblock

February 25, 2019 Leave a comment

The first is the Jew; to him the gospel is a stumblingblock. A respectable man the Jew was in his day; all formal religion was concentrated in his person; he went up to the temple very devoutly; he tithed all he had, even to the mint and the cummin. You would see him fasting twice in the week, with a face all marked with sadness and sorrow. If you looked at him, he had the law between his eyes; there was the phylactery, and the borders of his garments of amazing width, that he might never be supposed to be a Gentile dog; that no one might ever conceive that he was not a Hebrew of pure descent. He had a holy ancestry; he came of a pious family; a right good man was he. He could not endure those Sadducees at all, who had no religion. He was thoroughly a religious man; he stood up for his synagogue; he would not have that temple on Mount Gerizim; he could not bear the Samaritans, he had no dealings with them; he was a religionist of the first order, a man of the very finest kind; a specimen of a man who is a moralist, and who loves the ceremonies of the law. Accordingly, when he heard about Christ, he asked who Christ was. “The Son of a carpenter.” “Ah!” “The son of a carpenter, and his mother’s name was Mary, and his father’s name Joseph.” “That of itself is presumption enough,” said he, “positive proof, in fact, that he cannot be the Messiah. And what does he say?” “Why he says, ‘Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.’” “That won’t do.” “Moreover,” he says, “‘It is not by the works of the flesh that any man can enter into the kingdom of heaven.’” The Jew tied a double knot in his phylactery at once; he thought he would have the borders of his garment made twice as broad. He bow to the Nazarine! No, no; and if so much as a disciple crossed the street, he thought the place polluted, and would not tread in his steps. Do you think he would give up his old father’s religion-the religion which came from Mount Sinai-that old religion that lay in the ark and the overshadowing cherubim? He give that up? not he. A vile impostor-that is all Christ was in his eyes. He thought so. “A stumblingblock to me! I cannot hear about it! I will not listen to it.” Accordingly, he turned a deaf ear to all the Preacher’s eloquence and listened not at all. Farewell, old Jew. Thou sleepest with thy fathers, and thy generation is a wandering race, still walking the earth. Farewell, I have done with thee. Alas! poor wretch, that Christ who was thy stumbling block, shall be thy Judge, and on thy head shall be that loud curse: “His blood be on us and on our children.” But I am going to find out Mr. Jew here in Exeter Hall- persons who answer to his description-to whom Jesus Christ is a stumblingblock. Let me introduce you to yourselves, some of you. You were of a pious family too, were you not? Yes. And you have a religion which you love- you love it so far as the chrysalis of it goes, the outside, the covering, the husk. You would not have one rubric altered, nor one of those dear old arches taken down, nor the stained glass removed for all the world; and any man who should say a word against such things, you would set down as a heretic at once. Or, perhaps you do not go to such a place of worship, but you love some plain old meetinghouse, where your forefathers worshipped, called a dissenting chapel. Ah; it is a beautiful plain place; you love it, you love its ordinances, you love its exterior; and if anyone spoke against the place, how vexed you would feel. You think that what they do there, they ought to do everywhere; in fact your church is a model one; the place where you go, is exactly the sort of place for everybody; and if I were to ask you why you hope to go to heaven, you would, perhaps, say, “Because I am a Baptist,” or, “Because I am an Episcopalian,” or whatever other sect you belong to. There is yourself; I know Jesus Christ will be to you a stumblingblock. If I come and tell you that all your going to the house of God is good for nothing; if I tell you that all those many times you have been singing and praying, all pass for nothing in the sight of God, because you are a hypocrite and a formalist. If I tell you that your heart is not right with God, and that unless it is so, all the external is good for nothing, I know what you will say — “I shan’t hear that young man again.” It is a stumblingblock. If you had stepped in anywhere where you had heard formalism exalted; if you had been told “this must you do, and this other must you do, and then you will be saved,” you would highly approve of it. But how many are there externally religious, with whose characters you could find no fault, but who have never had the regenerating influence of the Holy Ghost; who never were made to lie prostrate on their face before Calvary’s cross; who never turned a wishful eye to yonder Savior crucified; who never put their trust in him that was slain for the sons of men. They love a superficial religion, but when a man talks deeper than that, they set it down for cant. You may love all that is external about religion, just as you may love a man for his clothes-caring nothing for the man himself. If so, I know you are one of those who reject the gospel. You will hear me preach; and while I speak about the externals, you will hear me with attention; whilst I plead for morality, and argue against drunkenness, or show the heinousness of Sabbath-breaking, all well and good; but if once I say, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye can in no wise enter into the kingdom of God;” if once I tell you that you must be elected of God-that you must be purchased with the Savior’s blood-that you must be converted by the Holy Ghost-you say, “He is a fanatic! Away with him, away with him! We do not want to hear that any more.” Christ crucified, is to the Jew-the ceremonialist-a stumblingblock.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 5i-The Covenant of promise in Christ to Abraham

February 22, 2019 Leave a comment

The uncertainty which had until now, marked the nation of which Messiah should come, and the scene of his achievements, was here dissipated. The family of Abraham is designated, and of that family the tribe of Judah, and of the tribe of Judah the house of David. Each successive development narrows down the circle, and makes the investigation of Christ’s claims to the divine mission, when he shall come, more simple and certain. Yet many centuries are to pass before his advent. Other measures must therefore be adopted, such as that on his appearing, it shall be known beyond the possibility of a doubt, that he is the very Christ promised to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Judah, and to David. Of these measures, what are to be the nature and character?

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 209

February 21, 2019 Leave a comment

TO VARIOUS FRIENDS

To [Rev. A. S. Patton].

LONDON, March 26, 1884.

DEAR SIR, —

I do not know who “the sainted gentleman” may be, but he did not speak the truth if he reported me as saying that I hated a close-communion Baptist as I hate the devil. I never even thought of such a thing, and assuredly it is not and never was true of me. The “saint” must have dreamed it, or have mistaken the person.

The most unaccountable statements are made by men of known integrity, and they can only be accounted for by misunder-standing or forgetfulness. I know my own mind and views, and I can say, without reserve, that the expression could not have been used by me. As compared with the bulk of English Baptists, I am a strict-communionist myself, as my churchfellowship is strictly of the baptized.

Yours heartily,

C. H. SPURGEON.