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Liberty of the text is no such freedom as this: it is an infinitely greater and better one

I have commenced with this idea, because I think worldly men ought to be told that if religion does not save them, yet it has done much for them-that the influence of religion has won them their liberties.

But the liberty of the text is no such freedom as this: it is an infinitely greater and better one. Great as civil or religious liberty may be, the liberty of my text transcendently exceeds. There is a liberty, dear friends, which Christian men alone enjoy; for even in Great Britain there are men who taste not the sweet air of liberty. There are some who are afraid to speak as men, who have to cringe and fawn, and bow, and stoop, to any one; who have no will of their own, no principles, no voice, no courage, and who cannot stand erect in conscious independence. But he is the free man, whom the truth makes free. He who has grace in his heart is free, he cares for no one; he has the right upon his side; he has God within him-the in dwelling Spirit of the Holy Ghost; he is a prince of the blood royal of heaven; he is a noble, having the true patent of nobility; he is one of God’s elect, distinguished, chosen children, and he is not the man to bend, or meanly cringe. No!-sooner would he walk the burning furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego-sooner would he be cast into the lion’s den with Daniel, than yield a point in principle. He is a free man. “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in its fullest, highest and widest sense. God give you friends, to have that “Spirit of the Lord;” for without it, in a free country, ye may still be bondsmen; and where there are no serfs in body, ye may be slaves in soul. The text speaks of Spiritual liberty; and now I address the children of God. Spiritual liberty, brethren, you and I enjoy if we have “the Spirit of the Lord” within us. What does this imply; It implies that there was a time when we had not that Spiritual liberty-when we were slaves. But a little while ago all of us who now are free in Christ Jesus, were slaves of the devil: we were led captives at his will. We talked of free-will, but free-will is a slave. We boasted that we could do what we pleased; but oh! what a slavish and dreamy liberty we had. It was a fancied freedom. We were slaves to our lusts and passions -slaves to sin; but now we are freed from sin; we are delivered from our tyrant; a stronger than he has cast out the strong man armed, and we are free.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

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Men have a right to liberty, but it is equally true that you do not meet it in any country save where you find the Spirit of the Lord

Liberty is the heirloom of all the sons and daughters of Adam. But where do you find liberty unaccom-panied by religion? True it is that all men have a right to liberty, but it is equally true that you do not meet it in any country save where you find the Spirit of the Lord. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Thank God, this is a free country. This is a land where I can breathe the air and say it is untainted by the groan of a single slave; my lungs receive it, and I know there has never been mingled with its vapours the tear of a single slave woman shed over her child which has been sold from her. This land is the home of liberty. But why is it so? I take it, it is not so much because of our institutions as because the Spirit of the Lord is here-the spirit of true and hearty religion. There was a time, remember, when England was no more free than any other country, when men could not speak their sentiments freely, when kings were despots, when Parliaments were but a name. Who won our liberties for us? Who have loosed our chains? Under the hand of God, I say, the men of religion117 men like the great and glorious Cromwell, who would have liberty of conscience, or die-men who, if they could not reach kings’ hearts, because they were unsearchable in cunning, would strike kings low, rather than they would be slaves. We owe our liberty to men of religion to men of the stern Puritanical school-men who scorned to play the craven and yield their principles at the command of man. And if we ever are to maintain our liberty (as God grant we may) it shall be kept in England by religious liberty- by religion. This Bible is the Magna Charta of old Britain; its truths, its doctrines have snapped our fetters, and they never can be rivetted on again, whilst men, with God’s Spirit in their hearts, go forth to speak its truths. In no other land, save where the Bible is unclasped-in no other realm, save where the gospel is preached, can you find liberty. Roam through other countries, and you speak with bated breath; you are afraid; you feel you are under an iron hand; the sword is above you; you are not free. Why? Because you are under the tyranny engendered by a false religion: you have not free Protestantism there, and it is not till Protestantism comes that there can be freedom. It is where the Spirit of the Lord is that there is liberty, and nowhere else. Men talk about being free: they describe model governments, Platonic republics, or Owenite paradises, but they are dreamy theorists; for there can be no freedom in the world, save, “where the spirit of the Lord is.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

LIBERTY is the birthright of every man

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”-2 Corinthians 3:17.

LIBERTY is the birthright of every man. He may be born a pauper; he may be a foundling; his parentage may be altogether unknown; but liberty is his inalienable birthright. Black may be his skin; he may live uneducated and untaught; he may be poor as poverty itself; he may never have a foot of land to call his own; he may scarce have a particle of clothing, save a few rags to cover him; but, poor as he is, nature has fashioned him for freedom he has a right to be free, and if he has not liberty, it is his birthright, and he ought not to be content until he wins it.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

The Wednesday Word: Astonished and Amazed!

Who is Jesus? He is the glory of heaven. His radiance is brighter than the sun. He was and is and always will be the Lord God. He is the eternal Word made flesh (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16).

When I consider Him, I’m astonished and amazed!

He is the Image of the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15-17; John 1:17). He is the perfect manifestation of God.

When I meditate on this, I’m astonished and amazed!

He is the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Corinthians 8:6) – He is the only way to approach God.

When I reflect on this, I’m astonished and amazed!

He is Head over All Things (Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:27-28) – What a truth!

When I dwell on this, I’m astonished and amazed!

“He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: when He was reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed himself to Him that judges righteously” (1 Peter 2: 22-23).

When I deliberate on this, I’m astonished and amazed!

Nevertheless, despite Him being sinless, “He was despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah. 53:3).

When I look thoughtfully at this, I’m astonished and amazed!

Many of his days upon earth were difficult days, clouded with care, and pain. So much so that he could say, “I am afflicted and ready to die even from my youth up” (Psalm 88.:15).

When I think about this, I’m astonished and amazed!

After the Kangaroo court they subjected Him to, “His face,” we are told, “was so marred, more than any (other) man’s, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14).

When I envision this, I’m astonished and amazed!

How could they treat God in human flesh like this? What grace! What authority under control. He was the One giving them breath and keeping them alive as they brutalized Him.

When I visualize this, I’m astonished and amazed!

Listen to the groans of anguish as they beat and punched Him. The only mouth in the history of man that never uttered an unholy word was bruised and battered.

When I contemplate this, I’m astonished and amazed!

But, harder and more terrible than all this is the truth, “It pleased Yahweh to bruise him.” It was the Father who” put him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10).

Quite frankly, I’m astonished and amazed!

Yes, it was the Father’s voice that cried, “Awake, o sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd” (Zechariah 13:7).

In His last and darkest hour, when the storm of wrath burst upon him in all its fury, his Father’s arm was withdrawn!

Quite bluntly, I’m astonished and amazed!

At the cross, the light of God’s countenance was replaced by the awful darkness of God’s frown. The terrors of wrath fell upon Christ’s lovely head and caused him to release that piercing cry, “My God, My God, why hast THOU forsaken me,”

When I picture this, I’m astonished and amazed!

“Alas! and did my Saviour bleed,

And did my Sovereign die?

Would he devote his sacred head

For such a worm as I?

“Was it for sins that I had done,

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity! grace unknown!

And love beyond degree.

“Well may I hide my blushing face,

‘When his dear cross appears;

Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,

And melt my eyes to tears.”

David Brainerd, the famous missionary to the American Indians, said, “I never got away from Jesus and Him crucified in my preaching. I found that once these people were gripped by the great evangelical meaning of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, I did not have to give them many instructions about changing their behavior.”

May we always be astonished and amazed by Jesus and thus live for His glory.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Categories: Gospel Tags: , , , ,

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough When We Sin?

January 23, 2019 3 comments

God has never forced us to sin. To our shame, we sin willingly and gladly. If the truth were known, there’s a part of us that quietly loves depravity. We may hate its consequences, but if left to our own devices we gravitate away from God. All of us have been smitten with the sin virus (Romans 6:6); it is, so to speak, lurking in our blood, continually spawning its foul children (sins) (Romans 5:12).

The awful problem with sin, however, is that it brings separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). God is holy and because He is holy, He hates sins and hates all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5). It may seem like a foreign concept to our ears to associate ‘hatred’ with the God of love but before objecting to this picture, let me warn against the subtle sin of idolatry.

Idolatry?

Yes, idolatry! When we reject God’s self-declaration and substitute Him for the God we’d like Him to be, we have become idolaters (see Romans 1:21,25). Much as we would like God to be simply the God of love who is never angry at sin or sinners, we must not project this false picture onto Him.

Here’s a word of warning that comes from antiquity; “If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you dislike, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself” (Augustine).

God refuses to fit our concept of who we want Him to be, … in fact, He won’t even try. He’s got better things to do! As for us, the best thing we can do is bow before, worship and enjoy Him as He is and for who He is.

God is Holy, and we are not. This knowledge is where false religion finds a natural breeding ground as it germinates in the fears and guilt of sinful man. We really are laughable; we cannot create ourselves but think that by practicing some religion or other, we can save ourselves. Yet, no matter how involved we become in our religion, no matter how zealous we are, we are impotent to stop the tendency towards sinning … and sins separate us from God.

Religion cannot remove the virus of sin. Although for the follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will limit and restrain the production of sins, we remain sinners until the day we die. Remember this, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).

The good news for sinners (us), however, is that God is not only holy, He is also just. But how is this Good News? I can take some comfort knowing that He is loving, but surely there is no comfort in knowing that, in His unswerving justice, He will punish us and our sins?  A just God will surely mete out punishment. This is far from good news. So then, how can God be just, and yet save me a ruined sinner?

Which brings us back to the Gospel, the best news, the old news and the ever-new news—Jesus!

Only in Jesus is God discovered to be both loving and just. Between the all-holy God and sin-filled believer, there stands the remarkable sinless person of the God/Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is enough for both the sinner, and the Father. God punished our sins on Him, the beloved son (Isaiah 53:10). In grace, He became accountable for us and poured out His blood for our redemption (Ephesians 1:7).

Jesus, the Lord of glory, became a surety (Hebrews7:22) and substitute for His people (1 Peter 2:24). He took our place in his doing, dying and rising again.  He then ascended to the right hand of the Father (the place of cosmic authority) for us. And now, because of Jesus and His accomplishments, not only love but also justice endorses our acquittal.

Jesus is Enough.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: A Substitute Found

There is an ancient saying, “The Judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted.” Alas, guilty people are sometimes set free in our judicial system, but this never happens in God’s Courtroom. If a person is justified (acquitted, found not guilty), it is because God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4). God has declared the person not guilty and has done so in strict harmony with His rule of Law and Justice.

But, how, is this possible?

How can a sinful person be accepted in the sight of a God who will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7)?

Man is a sinner and the penalty upon sin, as announced by God, is death (Romans 6:23). And that will be his lot unless a sinless substitute can be found to die in his place.

A certain man on the Malabar Coast of Southern India had enquired of various Hindu Holy men how he might make atonement for his sins. He was directed to drive iron spikes, sufficiently blunted, through his sandals and walk about 480 miles to a place of pilgrimage wearing the spiked shoes. He undertook the journey but found no peace … just painful feet. One day, resting beside a large banyan tree, he heard a Christian preach that the blood of the sinner’s substitute, Jesus Christ, cleanses from all sin. He got up, threw off the torturing sandals, and cried aloud, `That is what I want .. that’s what I need!’ There is substance in that’ From that day forward he became a dedicated follower of the Lord Christ.

Every sinner needs a substitute. But there is only one substitute and He is none other than God manifest in the flesh. He went to Calvary’s cross as a substitute for His people. The Indian gentleman in our story discovered that self-torture could not take away sins. It is sad to say that there are many today who, like those Hindu priests, are deceitfully offering false hope. For example,Spiritualism says; “Man becomes his own savior. He is made better in this life by intercourse with spirits.”

Theosophy says: “An ordinary being must pass through hundreds of incarnations before he can complete his purification from sin.”

Mormonism says; “To get rid of our sins, we must work out our own salvation through the teachings and forms of the Mormon church.”

Roman Catholicism says; “The instrumental cause of justification is the sacrament of baptism and the grace purchased by Christ’s death can flow only through the hands of the Catholic priests.”

Nonsense! Baloney! Balderdash! Twaddle!

In the Gospel, we have the One true Substitute, Jesus Christ. “He bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24). Since He is our substitute, we are secure. If Jesus has been condemned in our place, how then can we be condemned? To claim that the believer can be eventually lost is to say that Jesus was an unacceptable substitute. Away with such drivel.

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!

Our load was laid on Thee;

Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,

Didst bear all ill for me.

A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;

Now there’s no load for me.

Death and the curse were in our cup:

O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;

But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,

’Tis empty now for me.

That bitter cup, love drank it up;

Now blessing’s draught for me.

Jehovah lifted up His rod;

O Christ, it fell on Thee!

Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God;

There’s not one stroke for me.

Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed;

Thy bruising healeth me.

The tempest’s awful voice was heard,

O Christ, it broke on Thee!

Thy open bosom was my ward,

It braved the storm for me.

Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;

Now cloudless peace for me.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Barabbas and the Gospel

December 5, 2018 6 comments

And so Pilate, … released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, … to be crucified (Mark 15:6-15).

Pilate freed Barabbas, the felon, and sent Jesus to the cross.

Pilate, as you remember, had no love for Barabbas, but wanted to save Jesus. So, he hit on the idea of offering the people a choice between the two men. It was customary to free a prisoner at the time of the Feast of Passover; so, Pilate asked the crowd, “Which of the two do you want me to release?” (Matthew 27:21-22).

He was astonished when the people enthusiastically called out, “Barabbas!”

Who was Barabbas?

To the Romans, Barabbas was a terrorist who had committed murder during a rebellion (Mark 15:7). John adds that Barabbas was also a robber (John 18:40).

The name Barabbas is interesting. It means “son of the father.” Some suggest that it means son of a Rabbi. If so, Barabbas was a preacher’s kid! … and so was John Wesley Hardin…one of the most notorious killers of the Wild West.

Barabbas had been condemned to die. He was a rebel against the law, a robber and a murderer. And now the outraged law had apprehended him and he’s on Death Row.

BTW,…everyone reading this who has not come to Christ as a hell-deserving sinner looking for mercy is sitting on death row. You are not on probation but under damnation.

Suddenly, people were calling his name, “Barabbas! Barabbas!” The next thing he heard was a crowd yelling, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Perhaps, he thinks it’s a lynch mob. He’s terrified. Then, he hears the prison door slowly opening and a bewildered guard said, “Barabbas! There’s a man named Jesus who is going to die in your place. He is going to be nailed to your cross. You are free to go.

As Barabbas emerged from the jail, the crowd was surging toward Calvary. And legend has it that Barabbas followed them. Think of it, he hears the hammer and knows that the blows that are fastening Jesus to the cross were meant for him. He knows that, quite literally, he, Barabbas, is the one who should be executed.

Barabbas, as he looked at Jesus on the cross, must have received a clear understanding of the Gospel. He must have thought,

“That man took my place.

I am the one who should have died.

I am the condemned murderer.

That man did nothing wrong.

He is dying instead of me.”

Barabbas sees Christ upon his cross. After that, he had no need to go to seminary to understand the Doctrine of Substitution.

Barabbas knew that he was a guilty, worthless wretch, under the condemnation of the law.

Barabbas saw the meaning of the cross. Jesus was actually dying in his place. Barabbas would have known that he had done nothing whatever to deserve Christ dying in his place. He knew that Christ’s death for Him was an act of pure, undeserved grace.

Because of the cross, Barabbas was free from the penalty of the Law. Suppose a soldier had recognized Barabbas and tried to arrest him. He legally could not have done it! Barabbas was a free man. The substitute had died in his place.

All Barabbas would have needed to say was ‘Jesus has died for me.’ Likewise, when the Law points its condemning finger and says we’re guilty…we point toward Jesus and say…He died for me….and I am free!

Remember this, if sin speaks louder in our conscience than Christ, it is because we have taken our eyes off the Gospel.

To be frank, I’ve never liked Barabbas. I wanted the crowd to yell,

“Release Jesus!”

“Crucify Barabbas!”

But instead, they roared for the opposite.

Barabbas, a villain, was set free and Jesus took his place. I hate that.

But, when I look inside myself I realize I am Barabbas. I’m in the same shoes. And you are Barabbas, too. We’re the guilty ones. We’re the scoundrels, but we go free because Jesus died in our place.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com