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The Wednesday Word- Ashamed

Some years ago, an eminent minister of the Gospel lay on his death bed and a friend asked him, “Are you afraid to die?” ” No,” he said, turning his dimming eyes on his questioner. “No, I am not afraid, but I am ashamed!”

These words impacted me. I identified with them entirely. I love and believe the message of grace but when I look at my past life, I cringe. I am ashamed. I am compelled to say with Bishop Beveredge, ‘I cannot but look back upon my whole life but as one continued act of sin! “

I melt when I consider God´s patience and forbearance towards me. How does he put up with me? I´m amazed at the hideous vitality of sin and self that yet lurks within me. I am ashamed.

I have not preached the way I should have preached. I am ashamed

I have wasted opportunities for the Gospel and am ashamed

I see my lack of love and am ashamed.

I see my ingratitude and shortcomings and am ashamed.

I realize my lack of zeal and am ashamed.

I consider my prayer life and am ashamed.

Concerning prayer, I identify with the great John Newton who wrote,

“Often at the mercy-seat,

While calling on Thy name,

Swarms of evil thoughts I meet,

Which fill my soul with shame.

Agitated is my mind,

Like a feather in the air,

Can I thus a blessing find?

My soul, can this be prayer?”

Thank you, brother John Newton! Glad to see I´m not the only one in this boat. In fact, we are a large company. We know God has forgiven us, but we find it hard to forgive ourselves. We look at our failures and feel ashamed.

All fear of death has been taken away by the certainty of eternal life through Jesus; but we are at times keenly aware that, at best, we are unprofitable servants (Luke17:10)! Think of the many times our heart has been cold towards our precious master, friend and Saviour, the Lord Jesus. We have earned the right to be ashamed.

Ashamed of our imperfections,

Ashamed of ourselves.

Ashamed at our start, stop prayer life.

Ashamed at how little of the Word we know.

How we thank our Saviour for grace, mercy and the precious blood.

An awful price has been paid for our ransom. May we be overwhelmed and amazed at the undeserved mercy of God. He has even died for our shame. He has saved and adopted us.

Final thought. The “ashamedness,” we feel can only be felt in this life. In glory we will be like the Lord, we will remember our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12). Shame cannot exist in the presence of God. All the bitter shame and sorrow flee in the brightness and glory of His grace! Psalm 16:11 assures us that “In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” There’s not an inch of room for “shame” there.

But do some people actually arrive in glory with shame? Perhaps so! We read, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” (Revelation 21:4). Included in these tears could well be tears of shame. At the end of the day, I don´t know. But this I do know; all memory of unworthiness and sin shall be impossible when we wake in His likeness (Psalm 17:15).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

You have the freedom of Jerusalem

September 2, 2019 Leave a comment

Then, to conclude, you have the freedom of Jerusalem, the mother of us all. That is the best gift. We are free to heaven. When a Christian dies, he knows the open sesame that can open the gates of heaven, he knows the pass-word that can make the gates wide open fly; he has the white stone whereby he shall be known as a ransomed one, and that shall pass him at the barrier, he has the passport that shall let him into the dominions of Jehovah; he has liberty to enter into heaven. Methinks I see you, ye unconverted, in the land of shades, wandering up and down to find your portion. Ye come to the porch of heaven. It is great and lofty. The gate hath written o’er it, “The righteous only are admitted here.” As ye stand, ye look for the porter. A tall archangel appeareth from above the gate, and ye say, “Angel, let me in.” “Where is thy robe?” Thou searchest, and thou hast none; thou hast only some few rags of thine own spinning, but no wedding garment. “Let me in,” sayest thou, “for the fiends are after me to drag me to yonder pit. Oh, let me in.” But with a quiet glance the angel lifteth up his finger and saith. “Read up there;” and thou readest, “None but the righteous enter here.” Then thou tremblest, thy knees knock together; thy hands shake. Were thy bones of brass they might melt, and were thy ribs of iron they might be dissolved Ah! there thou standest, shivering, quaking, trembling; but not long, for a voice which frights thee from thy feet and lays thee prostrate, cries, “Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” O dear hearers, shall that be your portion? My friends as I love you,—I do this morning and hope I ever shall,— shall this be your lot? Will you not have freedom to enter into the city? Will you not seek that Spirit which giveth liberty? Ah! I know ye will not have it if left to yourselves; some of you perhaps never will. O God, grant that that member may be but few, but may the number of the saved be great indeed!

Turn, then my soul unto thy rest

The ransom of thy great High Priest,

Hath set the captive free.

Trust to his efficacious blood

Nor fear thy banishment from God,

Since Jesus died for thee.”

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

You have a right to enter into the city

Then, if you have the “Spirit of the Lord,” dear friends, you have a right to enter into the city. There are many of the freemen of the City of London here, I dare say, and that is a great privilege, very likely. I am not a freeman of London, but I am a freeman of a better city.

Savior, if of Zion’s city,

I, by grace, a member am,

Let the world revile or pity,

I will glory in thy name.”

You have a right to the freedom of Zion’s city, and you do not exercise it. I want to have a word with some of you. You are very good Christian people, but you have never joined the church yet. You know it is quite right, that he that believeth should be baptized; but I suppose you are afraid of being drowned, for you never come. Then the Lord’s table is spread once every month, and it is free to all God’s children, but you never approach it. Why is that? It is your banquet. I do not think if I were an alderman I should omit the city banquet; and being a Christian, I cannot omit the Christian banquet; it is the banquet of the saints.

Ne’er did angels taste above

Redeeming grace and dying love.”

Some of you never come to the Lord’s table; you neglect his ordinances. He says, “This do in remembrance of me.” You have obtained the freedom of the city, but you won’t take it up. You have a right to enter in through the gates into the city, but you stand outside. Come in brother; I will give you my hand. Don’t remain outside the church any longer, for you have a right to come in.

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

Thou art free to the throne of grace

Next, recollect that thou art free to the throne of grace. It is the privilege of Englishmen, that they can always send a petition to Parliament; and it is the privilege of a believer, that he can always send a petition to the throne of God. I am free to God’s throne. If I want to talk to God to-morrow morning, I can. If to-night I wish to have conversation with my Master, I can go to him. I have a right to go to his throne. It matters not how much I may have sinned. I go and ask for pardon. It signifies nothing how poor I am-I go and plead his promise that he will provide all things needful. I have a right to go to his throne at all times-in midnight’s darkest hour, or in noontide’s heat. Wherever I am; if fate command me to the utmost verge of the wide earth, I have still constant admission to his throne. Use that right, beloved-use that right. There is not one of you that lives up to his privilege. Many a gentleman will live beyond his income, spending more than he has coming in; but there is not a Christian that does that-I mean that lives up to his spiritual income. Oh, no! you have an infinite income-an income of promises-an income of grace; and no Christian ever lived up to his income. Some people say, “If I had more money I should have a larger house, and horses, and carriage, and so on.” Very well and good; but I wish the Christian would do the same. I wish they would set up a larger house, and do greater things for God; look more happy, and take those tears away from their eyes.

Religion never was designed

To make our pleasures less.”

With such stores in the bank, and so much in hand, that God gives you, you have no right to be poor. Up! rejoice! rejoice! The Christian ought to live up to his income, and not below it.

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

You are free to all that is in the Bible

And now, dear friends, I have shown you as briefly as I can the negative side of this liberty. I have tried to tell you, as well as I could put it in a few words, what we are freed from. But there are two sides to such questions as this. There are some glorious things that we are free to. Not only are we freed from sin in every sense from the law, and from the fear of death; but we are free to do something. I shall not occupy many moments, but shall just run over a few things we are free to; for, my brother Christians, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;” and that liberty gives us certain rights and privileges.

In the first place, we are free to heaven’s charter. There is heaven’s charter-the Magna Charta-the Bible; and, my brother, you are free to it. There is a choice passage here: “When thou passest through the river I will be with thee, and the floods shall not overflow thee;” thou art free to that. Here is another: “Mountains may depart, and hills may be removed; but my lovingkindness shall not depart:” you are free to that. Here is another “Having loved his own, he loved them unto the end.” You are free to that. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Here is a chapter touching election: you are free to that if you are elect. Here is another, speaking of the non-condemnation of the righteous, and their justification; you are free to that. You are free to all that is in the Bible. Here is a never failing treasure filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven: you may draw from it as much as you please without let or hindrance. Bring nothing with you, except faith. Bring as much faith as you can get, and you are welcome to all that is in the Bible. There is not a promise, not a word in it, that is not yours. In the depths of tribulation let it comfort you. Mid waves of distress let it cheer you. When sorrows surround thee, let it be thy helper. This is thy father’s love-token: let it never be shut up and covered with dust. Thou art free to it-use, then, thy freedom.

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

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the Fear of Death

6. But to conclude, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the Fear of Death. O death! how many a sweet cup hast thou made bitter. O death! how many a revel hast thou broken up. O death! how many a gluttonous banquet hast thou spoiled. O death! how many a sinful pleasure hast thou turned into pain. Take ye, my friends, the telescope this morning, and look through the vista of a few years, and what see you? Grim death in the distance grasping his scythe. He is coming, coming, coming; and what is behind him? Ay, that depends upon your own character. If ye are the sons of God, there is the palm-branch; if ye are not, ye know what followeth death-Hell follows him. O death! thy specter hath haunted many a house where sin otherwise would have rioted O death! thy chilly hand hath touched many a heart that was big with lust, and made it start affrighted from its crime. Oh! how many men are slaves to the fear of death. Half the people in the world are afraid to die. There are some madmen who can march up to the cannon’s mouth, there are some fools who rush with bloody hands before their Maker’s tribunal; but most men fear to die. Who is the man that does not fear to die? I will tell you. The man that is a believer. Fear to die! Thank God, I do not. The cholera may come again next summer-I pray God it may not, but if it does, it matters not to me: I will toil and visit the sick by night and by day, until I drop, and if it takes me, sudden death is sudden glory. And so-with the weakest saint in this hall; the prospect of dissolution does not make you tremble. Sometimes you fear, but oftener you rejoice. You sit down calmly and think of dying. What is death? It is a low porch through which you stoop to enter heaven. What is life? It is a narrow screen that separates us from glory, and death kindly removes it. I recollect a saying of a good old woman, who said, “Afraid to die, sir! I have dipped my foot in Jordan every morning before breakfast for the last fifty years, and do you think I am afraid to die now?” Die! beloved: why we die hundreds of times, we “die daily,” we die every morning, we die each night when we sleep, by faith we die, and so dying will be old work when we come to it. We shall say, “Ah, death! you and I have been old acquaintances; I have had thee in my bedroom every night. I have talked with thee each day; I have had the skull upon my dressing table, and I have ofttimes thought of thee. Death! thou art come at last, but thou art a welcome guest- thou art an angel of light, and the best friend I have had “Why, then, dread death since there is no fear of God’s leaving you when you come to die! Here I must tell you that anecdote of the good Welch lady, who, when she lay a-dying, was visited by her minister. He said to her, “Sister are you sinking?” She answered him not a word, but looked at him with an incredulous eye. He repeated the question, “Sister, are you sinking?” She looked at him again, as if she could not believe that he would ask such a question. At last, rising a little in the bed, she said, “Sinking! Sinking! Did you ever know a sinner sink through a rock? If I had been standing on the sand, I might sink; but, thank God I am on the Rock of Ages, and there is no sinking there.” How glorious to diet Oh, angels, come! Oh, cohorts of the Lord of hosts, stretch, stretch your broad wings and lift us up from earth; O, winged seraphs, bear us far above the reach of these inferior things; but till ye come, I’ll sing,

Since Jesus is mine, I’ll not fear undressing-

But gladly put off these garments of clay,

To die in the lord is a covenant blessing;

Since Jesus to glory, though death lead the way.”

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

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in all holy acts of love-liberty from a slavish fear of law

5. Once more: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in all holy acts of love-liberty from a slavish fear of law. Many people are honest because they are afraid of the policeman. Many are sober because they are afraid of the eye of the public. Many persons are seemingly religious because of their neighbors. There is much virtue which is like the juice of the grape-it has to be squeezed before you get it; it is not like the generous drop of the honeycomb, distilling willingly and freely. I am bold to say, that if a man be destitute of the grace of God, his works are only works of slavery, he feels forced to do them. I know before I came into the liberty of the children of God, if I went to God’s house, I went because I thought I must do it; if I prayed, it was because I feared some misfortune would happen in the day if I did not; if I ever thanked God for a mercy, it was because I thought I should not get another if I were not thankful; if I performed a righteous deed it was with the hope that very likely God would reward me at last, and I should be winning some crown in heaven. A poor slave, a mere Gibeonite, hewing wood and drawing water. If I could have left off doing it, I should have loved to do so. If I could have had my will, there would have been no chapel-going for me, no religion for me-I would have lived in the world and followed the ways of Satan if I could have done as I pleased. As for righteousness, it was slavery; sin would have been my liberty. But now, Christian, what is your liberty? What makes you come to the house of God to day?

Love made your willing feet

In swift obedience move.”

What makes you bend your knee in prayer? It is because you like to talk with your Father who seeth in secret. What is it that opens your purses, and makes you give liberally? It is because you love the poor children of God, and you feel, so much being given to you, that it is a privilege to give something back to Christ. What is it that constrains you to live honestly, righteously, and soberly; Is it the fear of the jail? No; you might pull the jail down; you might annihilate the Convict settlements; you might hurl all

chains into the sea; and we should be just as holy as we are now. Some people say, “Then, sir, you mean to say that Christians may live as they like.” I wish they could, sir. If I could live as I liked, I would, always live holily. If a Christian could live as he liked, he would always live as he ought. It is a slavery to him to sin; righteousness is his delight. Oh! if I could but live as I list, I would list to live as I ought. If I could but live as I would I would live as God commands me. The greatest happiness of a Christian is to be holy. It is no slavery to him. Put him where you will, he will not sin, Expose him to any temptation, if it were not for that evil heart still remaining, you would never find him sinning. Holiness is his pleasure; sin is his slavery. Ah ye poor bondsmen who come to church and chapel because ye must; ah! ye poor slavish moralists that are honest because of the gyves, and sober because of the prison, ah! ye poor slaves! We are not so; we are not under the law, but under grace. Call us Antinomians if you will; we will even glory in the scandalous title; we are freed from the law, but we are freed from it that we may obey it more than ever we did. The true-born child of God serves his Master more than ever he did. As old Erskine says:-

Slight now his loving presence if they can;

No, no; his conquering kindness leads the van.

When everlasting love exerts the sway,

They judge themselves most kindly bound to obey;

Bound by redeeming love in stricter sense,

Than ever Adam was in innocence.”

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