Here’s an important thing to learn! Not everything we attempt to do for Jesus is going to please everyone. People may not rally to us! But this is the price of the call! As followers of Jesus, we will attempt the things others refuse to do. David was like that. He stood against Goliath while the rest of Israel cowered and cowed down in troubled fear. Yet his elder brother, Eliab, was furious and rebuked him when it became apparent he would undertake the fight. David wanted to bring glory to God, but it brought him harsh criticism and attacks from those who should have known better.
When the great missionary Patton was preparing to bring the Gospel to the savages of the New Hebrides an old gentleman in his church took him aside to warn him he was on a fool’s errand. “The cannibals, the cannibals,” cautioned the older man, “they will surely eat you.” Patton replied, “Mr. Dickson, with respect, you are advanced in years, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.”
For Patton, Jesus was enough! With Jesus, he was more than able to endure the discouragements thrown into his life. His ministry in the New Hebrides would last for over forty-three years. Did cannibals eat him? No, but some of his fellow workers perished that way! However, serving Jesus brought him a far from trouble-free life. He endured multiple disappointments. His first wife and child died—–he dug their graves with his own hands. He withstood affliction, shipwrecks and illness. But perhaps the biggest disappointments of all were the indifference of the Christians back home and the betrayal of friends and converts on the field. His life was filled with major disappointments. But for John G Patton, Jesus was enough! And what of his work? He lived to see the entire culture of the New Hebrides transformed by Christ. Men who once had hated and eaten one another would come to sit down together and worship the Lamb who was slain.
Maybe the Lord is calling you to feed orphans and widows in India; maybe your call is to partner financially with those who are spreading the gospel throughout the world. Maybe it is to go feed the poor and homeless in your hometown. You have only one life, make it count for Jesus. But be warned, not everyone will love you for taking the Word of God seriously. Members of your own family may think you’ve gone mad (Mark 3:21).
Let’s face it then, it is nothing for us to serve the Lord when everything is easy, when there is no opposition; when there are no roadblocks. However, what will happen when we encounter disappointments? Will we give up or be faithful in the midst of discouragement? The more we learn that Jesus is enough, the more we will be equipped to withstand the storms which come against you.
Look at Jesus, He didn’t abandon His mission when He encountered opposition and discouragements. Just think, what if He had given up! What if, when He was hanging on the cross being insulted and mocked by the passersby He had said, “that’s it, I quit!” I believe the universe would have collapsed like a deck of cards. But, Jesus was no quitter, and we have His Spirit so let us find our very life in Him. He is enough.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
The sermons of Charles Spurgeon, the beloved preacher, exude great joy in the Lord, and sometimes humor, but he was also no stranger to depression, rejection by others, and physical suffering. His spiritual sufferings taught him to hate sin and cherish God’s holiness. The persecution of those who opposed his ministry was all but crushing, and his many physical ailments were great trials to him. Through it all he was able to exemplify a confidence in God’s sovereignty and love. In his last sermon he stated that “the heaviest end of the cross lies ever on His shoulders.” May Charles Spurgeon’s words of trust and reliance help all of God’s children when they go through their dark valley.
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Source (Chapel Library)
And now look forward to the future. Man! think how many enemies thou hast; how many rivers thou hast to cross, how many mountains to climb, how many dragons to fight, how many lions’ teeth to escape, how many fires to pass through, how many floods to wade. What thinkest thou man? Can thy salvation be of anything except of God! Oh! if I had not that everlasting arm to lean upon, I would cry “Death! hurl me anywhere; anywhere out of the world.” If I had not that one hope, that one trust, bury me ten thousand fathoms deep beneath creation, where my being might be forgotten! Oh! put me far away, for I am miserable if I have not God to help me all my journey through. Are you strong enough to fight with one of your enemies without your God? I trow not. A little silly maid may cast a Peter down, and cast you down too, if God do not keep you. I beseech you, remember this; I hope you know it by experience in the past; but try to remember it in the future, wherever you go, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Do not get looking at your heart, do not get examining to see whether you have anything to recommend you, but remember, “Salvation is of the Lord.” “He only is my rook and my salvation.”
Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856
Believe the truth. Do not pretend to believe it, but believe it thoroughly. And he who does believe it, and fixes his faith first in Christ, and then in all Christ says will not be likely to let it go. Why, we do not believe religion, most of us. We pretend to believe it, but we do not believe it with all our heart and all our soul, with all our might and all our strength—-not with that “faith which is in Christ Jesus;” for if we did, come storms, come trials, like Luther of old, we should not flinch because of persecution, but stand fast in the evil day, having our faith fixed upon a rock.
Charles H. Spurgeon-The Form of Sound Words-Delivered on Sabbath, May 11, 1856
And Christian, lastly, by way of practice, let me comfort thee with this. Thou art not of the world for thy home is in heaven. Be content to be here a little for thou art not of the world, and thou shalt go up to thine own bright inheritance by-and-bye. A man in travelling goes into an inn; it is rather uncomfortable, “Well,” says he, “I shall not have to stay here many nights; I have only to sleep here to night, I shall be at home in the morning, so that I don’t care much about one night’s lodging being a little uncomfortable.” So, Christian, this world is never a very comfortable one; but recollect, you are not of the world. This world is like an inn; you are only lodging here a little while. Put up with a little inconvenience, because you are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world; and by-andbye, up yonder, you shall be gathered into your father’s house, and there you will find that there is a new heaven and a new earth provided for those who are “not of the world.”
Charles H. Spurgeon-The Character of Christ’s People-Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 22, 1855
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