Monday, April 27, 2009

What do Christians do more than others? Part 5

In a sermon of Charles Spurgeon called "A Call to Holy Living" and based on the text of Matthew 5:47, he stresses several MATTERS IN WHICH WE MAY NATURALLY LOOK FOR THE CHRISTIAN TO DO MORE THAN OTHERS. Finally in this section of the sermon, Spurgeon discussed these areas of a Christian's life:

Next to that, the Christian is to be more than others in truthfulness. Read on from the thirty-third to the thirty-seventh verse, and the gist of all is, that whereas another man utters the truth because he swears, you are to speak the truth because you can do no otherwise. Your ordinary word is to be as true as the extraordinary oath of the man who stands in the witness box in the court of justice. You are to avoid those evasions, alcove modes of concealing truth which are common enough in trade, those exaggerations, those lies which are a common nuisance. Why, our advertisements swarm with lies; our shop windows are daubed with them—such as "tremendous sacrifices," when the only sacrificed person is the customer. All the world sees through puffery, and yet even professors go on puffing and exaggerating. Shun it, Christian. If you tell a man you sell him an article under cost price, let it be under cost price, or do not say so. There are other modes of commending your wares which will be quite as effectual as falsehood. Scorn to earn a farthing by uttering that which is not true, and what you might allow in your next door neighbor, and say, "Well, he is under a different rule from me;" do not for a moment tolerate in yourself; the strict literal truth in all things should be the law of the child of God. Let your "yea, be yea," and your "nay, nay."

We have already touched upon the point which our Savior mentions from the thirty-eighth to the forty-second verse, namely, that the Christian should excel in forbearance. He should be ready to suffer wrong again and again sooner than be provoked to resistance, much less retaliation. That I have already spoken of, but may we excel in it.

And lastly, from the forty-second to the forty-eighth verse, our Savior shows that he expects us to excel in love to all mankind, and in the practical fruit of it, in trying to do them good. We ought to be, above all others, the most loving people, and the most good-doing people. Your man who buttons himself up within himself, and says, "Well, let every man see to himself, that is what I say; every man for himself and God for us all;" the man who goes through the world paying his way with strict justice, but all the while having no heart to feel for the sick, and the poor, and the needy, with no care about anybody else's soul, his whole hearts enclosed within his own ribs, all buttoned up in his own broadcloth such; a man is very like the devil, but he certainly is not like Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ's heart was expansive and unselfish. He gave himself for his enemies, and died breathing a prayer over them; he lived never for himself. You could not put your finger on one point of his life and say, "here he lived for himself alone." Neither his prayers nor his preachings, his miracles or his sufferings, his woes or his glories were with an eye to himself. He saved others, but himself he would not save. His followers must in this follow him closely. Selfishness is as foreign to Christianity as darkness to light. The true Christian lives to do good, he looks abroad to see whom be may serve, and with this eye he looks upon the wicked, upon the fallen and the offcasts, seeking to reclaim them. Yes, in the same way he looks upon his personal enemies, and aims at winning them by repeated kindnesses. No nationality must confine his goodwill, no sect or clan monopolise his benevolence. No depravity of character or poverty of condition must sicken his lovingkindness, for Jesus received sinners and ate with them. Our love must embrace those who lie hard by the gates of hell, and we must endeavor with words of truth and deeds of love to bring them to Christ, who can uplift then to heaven. Oh that you may all be gentle, quiet, meek in spirit, but full of an ardent, burning affection towards your fellowmen; so shall you be known to be Christ's disciples.

"Oh," say you, "these are great things." Yes, but you have a great Spirit to help you, and you owe a great deal to your precious Lord and Master. Did I hear one say, "I will avoid sin by being very retired; I will find out a quiet place where I shall not be tempted, and where I shall have few calls upon me." Pretty soldier you who when your Captain says, "Win the victory," reply, "I will keep clear of the fight." No, Christian, go about your trade, go into the busy mart, attend to your business, attend to your family, attend to those matters which God has allotted to you, and glorify God in the battle of life by doing more than others. Will God enable you so to do.

Complete sermon located at:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What do Christians do more than others? Part 4

In a sermon of Charles Spurgeon called "A Call to Holy Living" and based on the text of Matthew 5:47, he stresses several MATTERS IN WHICH WE MAY NATURALLY LOOK FOR THE CHRISTIAN TO DO MORE THAN OTHERS. Fourthly, Spurgeon preaches:

But, I must pass on, for the next point in which the Christian is to excel is in purity. Read from the twenty-seventh to the thirty-second verse—I do not go into particulars, but purity is earnestly commanded. The ungodly man says, "Well, I do not commit any act of fornication; you do not hear me sing a lascivious song," and saying that he feels content: but the Christian's Master expects us to carry the point a great deal farther. An unchaste look is a crime to us, and an evil thought is a sin. Oh, it shocks me beyond measure when I hear of professedly Christian people who fall into the commission of immodest actions,—not such as are called criminal in common society, but loose, fleshly, and full of lasciviousness. I beseech you all of you in your conversation with one other, avoid anything which has the appearance of impurity in this respect. Looks and gestures step by step lead on to fouler things, and sport which begins in folly ends in lewdness. Be ye chaste as the driven snow, let not an immodest glance defile you. We do not like to say much about these things, they are so delicate, and we tremble lest we should suggest what we would prevent; but, oh, by the tears of Jesus, by the wounds of Jesus, by the death of Jesus, hate even the garment spotted by the flesh; and avoid everything that savours of unchastity. Flee youthful lusts as Joseph did. Run any risk sooner than fall into uncleanness, for it is a deep ditch, and the abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein. Strong temptation lie in wait for the young in a great city like this, but let the young man learn of God to cleanse his way, by taking heed there to according to his word. May you all be kept from falling, and be presented faultless before the presence of God with exceeding great joy. You are not to be commonly chaste, you are to be much more than that: the very look and thought of impurity are to be hateful to you. Help us, O Spirit of God.

to be continued . . .

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What do Christians do more than others? Part 3

In a sermon of Charles Spurgeon called "A Call to Holy Living" and based on the text of Matthew 5:47, he stresses several MATTERS IN WHICH WE MAY NATURALLY LOOK FOR THE CHRISTIAN TO DO MORE THAN OTHERS. Thirdly, Spurgeon preaches:

Look again, from the twenty-first to the twenty-sixth verse, and though I do not pretend to expound every word, I remark that Christ would have his people excel all others in gentleness. Others will retaliate on those who vex them, and call them hard names, and will even go the length of saying "fool;" and, perhaps, go still further, and even come to cursing and imprecating terrible judgments. A quarrelsome man when he is in a quarrel with another rather takes pleasure in it; he does not mind how many hate him, or how many he hates; his religion is quite consistent with the worst temper; he can say his prayers, or he can offer his gifts to his God, and yet be as malicious as he likes; but with the Christian it is not so, and must not be so. We are to bear a great deal of wrong before we make any reply whatever, and when we do give an answer, we must, if we would be like our Master, give a gentle one. Heaping coals of fire upon the head of our enemy by returning abundant kindness is the right revenge for a Christian, and all other revenge is denied to him. He is not to stand upon his rights; he is rather to say, "I know it is my right, but I will yield it sooner than I will contend; I know this man does me an injustice, but I will bear it sooner than my temper shall be ruffled, or my spirit shall be defiled, by a thought of evil." "Oh," saith one, "this is a hard measure." Do you think it so? Are you a Christian then? for while in my soul I feel it is difficult, my heart feels I desire to do it, and I love it, and aspire after it; and I think every real Christian, though by reason of infirmity he often breaks this blessed rule, yet sees the beauty of it, and does not think it hard. Nay, rather the hard point to him is that he should fall so short of the gentle, loving nature of his dear Lord and Master.

to be continued . . .

How to Truly Study Nature

To be so occupied in the investigation of the secrets of nature, as never to turn the eyes to its Author, is a most perverted study; and to enjoy everything in nature without acknowledging the Author of the benefit, is the basest ingratitude.

---John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their measuring line goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Psalms 19:1-6)

Friday, April 24, 2009

What do Christians do more than others? Part 2

In a sermon of Charles Spurgeon called "A Call to Holy Living" and based on the text of Matthew 5:47, he stresses several MATTERS IN WHICH WE MAY NATURALLY LOOK FOR THE CHRISTIAN TO DO MORE THAN OTHERS. Secondly, Spurgeon preaches:

Next, if I read from the seventeenth to the twentieth verse, I am taught that our Lord expects from his people a more exact performance of the divine will than even the Pharisees pretend to give. Observe, he speaks here about jots and tittles never passing away, and about those who break the least of his commandments, and teach men so; and I gather that he would have us observe the very least of his words and treasure up his commandments. Do you think, dear brethren, there would be so many sects among Christians if all believers honestly wanted to know the truth and to know Christ's will? I do not think there would be. I cannot think our Lord has written a book so doubtful and ambiguous in its expressions that men need differ in interpreting it upon plain points. I am afraid we bring prejudice to it, the prejudice of our constitutional temperament, or of our parents, or of the church with which we are associated, and we pay reverence to somebody else's book, perhaps a catechism, perhaps the Book of Common Prayer, over and beyond the Bible itself. Now, this is all wrong, and we must purge ourselves of it and come to the word of God itself: and, when we come to this book, it must be candidly and humbly, with this feeling, "I desire now to unlearn the most precious doctrine or practice I have ever learned if the Lord will show me that it is inconsistent with his will; and I desire to learn that truth which will bring me most into derision, or that ordinance which will submit me to the greatest inconvenience, if it is his will, for I am his servant, and I desire nothing to support my own opinion, or to be my own rule." I think we shall all get pretty near together, if, in the Spirit of God, we begin reading our Bibles in this way. Surely the Lord expects this of us. I do not think he expects this of some professors, for certainly he will never get it; they are quite satisfied to say, "I attend my parish church, and that is the faith of our church;" or, "My grandmother joined the Dissenters, and, therefore, I keep to them; besides, after all you know there are no sects in heaven." That last assertion is one of the most shallow pretences ever designed on earth, to excuse men from being scrupulously obedient to every word of their Lord and Master. I do not doubt, O disciple, but what you will reach heaven, even though you mistake some of the Master's teaching, but I do doubt your ever reaching there if you wilfully despise his words, or decline to learn what he came to teach. Our Lord has said unto us, "Go ye therefore, and disciple all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," and therefore, if you will not become disciples, and learn of Christ, we have not even begun with you, neither can you be baptised, or bear the name of the Triune God. Jesus will have you obey his will, as well as trust his grace. Mind that, beloved. This demand for exact obedience is no word of mine, but of the Master.

to be continued . . .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What do Christians do more than others?

In a sermon of Charles Spurgeon called "A Call to Holy Living" and based on the text of Matthew 5:47, he stresses several MATTERS IN WHICH WE MAY NATURALLY LOOK FOR THE CHRISTIAN TO DO MORE THAN OTHERS. Let's begin to take a look at some of these areas of life and then examine ourselves. First, Spurgeon preaches:

I thought I would not utter my own ideas this morning, but to fortify myself, would go back to the Master's own language; so I must refer you again to this fifth chapter of Matthew, and you will see in looking from the thirteenth to the sixteenth verses, that our Lord expects his people to set a store godly example than others do. Observe, they are to be the salt of the earth, they are to be the light of the world, they are to be as a city set on a hill, and therefore seen of all. If you were not a professor, my friend, you would certainly have some influence, and be under responsibilities for it; but as a Christian, your place in this world is peculiarly that of influence. You are not like a stone, affected by the atmosphere, or overgrown by moss, a merely passive thing; no, you are active, and are to affect others, as the salt which operates and seasons. You are not a candle unlit, which can exist without affecting others; you are a lighted candle, and you cannot be so lit without scattering light around. You are made on purpose to exert influence, and your Master warns you that if your influence be not salutary and good you are a hopelessly useless person for when the salt has lost its savor it is good for nothing but to be trampled under foot. You are expected, therefore, to influence others for good. You are an employer; let your influence be felt by your servants. You are a child at home; let influence be felt around the social hearth. You are, perhaps, a domestic servant; then take care that, like the little maid who waited on Naaman's wife, you seek the good of the household. Your influence must act quietly and unostentatiously, like the influence of salt, which is not noisy but yet potent. You cannot get through this world rightly by saying, "If I do no good, at least, I do no hurt;" that might the plea of a stone or a brick, but it cannot be an apology for savourless salt; for if when the salt is rubbed into the meat it does not season and preserve it, it is bad salt, and has not performed its work, but has caused loss to the owner, and left the meat to become putrid. And if you in this world, according to your capacity and means, do not affect other people for good, you have convicted yourself of being useless, worthless, a cumberer of the ground. The Master expects, as he has put the pungent influence of his grace into you, that you should be as salt; as he has put the burning light of his grace upon you, that you should be as a lamp, and scatter light all round. Take good heed of that. It is no saying of mine, it is the saying of him whom ye call Master and Lord. Think you hear him speaking it from those dear lips, which are like lilies dropping sweet smelling myrrh, and instead of seeing my hands lifted up in warning, think you see the print of the nails in his hand, and let the words come home with force to your soul.

to be continued . . .