Posted tagged ‘Charles Spurgeon’

The Canceling Power of a Divine Kiss

August 29, 2011

Yesterday I preached a message entitled “A Celebration of Grace”.  It was the conclusion of a 4-part series on grace from passages in the Gospel according to Luke.  My final text was a very familiar text to Christians, commonly called the “parable of the prodigal son.”  Two particular readings affected me greatly this past week.  One was reading Tim Keller’s book The Prodigal God.  I highly recommend it.  The other reading was a sermon by Charles Spurgeon called “Prodigal Love for a Prodigal Son” or “Many Kisses for Returning Sinners.”

Spurgeon’s sermon focuses on the father’s love for his prodigal son as communicated in his multiple kisses upon his son’s face.  At several points in his sermon I was wrecked by God’s love and pursuing grace, but one that I found particularly illustrative and encouraging was the portion below.  I referenced this portion in my message yesterday and thought it would be fitting to post it here as well.  Be encouraged in the kisses of the father for your past, for your present, and for your future!

Spurgeon:

This poor young man, in his hungry, faint, and wretched state, having come a very long way, had not much heart in him. His hunger had taken all energy out of him, and he was so conscious of his guilt that he had hardly the courage to face his father; so his father gives him a kiss, as much as to say, “Come, boy, do not be cast down; I love you.”

Oh, the past, the past, my father!” he might moan, as he thought of his wasted years; but he had no sooner said that than he received another kiss, as if his father said, “Never mind the past; I have forgotten all about that.” This is the Lord’s way with His saved ones. Their past lies hidden under the blood of atonement. The Lord saith by His servant Jeremiah, “The iniquity if Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”

But then, perhaps, the young man looked down on his foul garments, and said, “The present, my father, the present, what a dreadful state I am in!” And with another kiss would come the answer, “Never mind the present, my boy. I am content to have you as you are. I love you.” This, too, is God’s word to those who are “accepted in the Beloved.” In spite of all their vileness, they are pure and spotless in Christ, and God says of each one of them, “Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honourable, and I have loved you. Therefore, though in yourself you are unworthy, through My dear Son you are welcome to My home.”

“Oh, but,” the boy might have said, “the future, my father, the future! What would you think if I should ever go astray again?” Then would come another holy kiss, and his father would say, “I will see to the future, my boy; I will make home so bright for you that you will never want to go away again.” But God does more than that for us when we return to Him. He not only surrounds us with tokens of His love, but He says concerning us, “They shall be My people, and I will be their God: and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Furthermore, He says to each returning one, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.”

Whatever there was to trouble the son, the father gave him a kiss to set it all right; and, in like manner, our God has a love-token for every time of doubt and dismay which may come to His reconciled sons. Perhaps one whom I am addressing says, “Even though I confess my sin, and seek God’s mercy, I shall still be in sore trouble, for through my sin, I have brought myself down to poverty.” “There is a kiss for you,” says the Lord: “Your bread shall be given to you, and your water shall be sure.” “But I have even brought disease upon myself by sin,” says another. “There is a kiss for you, for I am Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that heals you, who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.” “But I am dreadfully down at the heel,” says another. The Lord gives you also a kiss, and says, “I will lift you up, and provide for all your needs. No good thing will I withhold from them that walk uprightly.” All the promises in this Book belong to every repentant sinner, who returns to God believing in Jesus Christ, His Son.

The father of the prodigal kissed his son much, and thus made him feel happy there and then. Poor souls, when they come to Christ, are in a dreadful plight, and some of them hardly know where they are I have known them talk a lot of nonsense in their despair, and say hard and wicked things of God in their dreadful doubt. The Lord gives no answer to all that, except a kiss, and then another kiss. Nothings puts the penitent so much at rest as the Lord’s repeated assurance of His unchanging love. Such a one the Lord has often received, “and kissed him much,” that He might fetch him up even from the horrible pit, and set his feet upon a rock, and establish his goings.

Charles Spurgeon + Lyrical Theology

July 2, 2011

Yet another reason why Shai Linne is my favorite hip hop artist around . . .

We Must Endeavor to Save Some

March 17, 2011

“If the kingdom is ever to come to our Lord–and come it will–it never will come through a few ministers, missionaries, or evangelists preaching the Gospel.  It must come through everyone one of you preaching it, in the shop and by the fireside, when walking abroad and when sitting in the chamber.  You must all of you be always endeavoring to “save some.” . . . Make this your resolve, every one of you, that if men perish they shall not perish for lack of your prayers, not for want of your earnest and loving instructions.  God give you grace, each one of you, to resolve by all means to save some, and then to carry out your resolution!”

~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Soul Winner, 248-49.

Sword and Trowel on Church Planters

March 8, 2010

Last week, Tom Ascol posted an excerpt from The Sword and Trowel (the magazine edited by Charles Spurgeon) from the June 1869 issue wherein Edward Leach penned the following words (emphasis mine):

We honor the men who, subsisting on scanty and humble fare, battling with adversity, and living down prejudice, are seeking to the best of their ability to plant new churches in apparently unhopeful districts. With the accent of conviction on their lips, the truth of God in their hearts, and undying perseverance leading them on, they must succeed in breaking the dreary monotony of a sinful village life. Their preaching may not please the highly cultured; their methods of working may not suit this decorous age; their unambitious lives may fall flat upon the feverish world; but their faithfulness to God, and persistency in his service, shall be rewarded with the divine “Well done, good and faithful.” We know no greater heroes than these sufferers of contumely and hatred, who so gloriously bear up and strike dismay into the enemy’s camp. Their imperfections are not worthy to be weighed with their virtues. If England is to be evangelized, it must be by such men. Fit them, train them to as great a degree of perfection as mortal man can bear–no standard is too high for God’s ministers but let not culture destroy Christian simplicity (it does not in the truly great); let not learning quench earnestness and enthusiasm; let not supercilious affectation snub them, or selfishness despise them.

May God continue to raise up in this generation men who are trained and fitted to take the gospel to the “apparently unhopeful districts” of our nation and around the world!

Who Will Go? A Great Commission Plea from the Prince of Preachers

October 26, 2009

Charles Spurgeon spoke of a message “which weighed on him” that should weight heavily on us.  Hear his impassioned plea:

“I plead this day for those who cannot plead for themselves, namely, the great outlying masses of the heathen world.  Our existing pulpits are tolerably well supplied, but we need men who will build on new foundations.  Who will do this?

Are we, as a company of faithful men, clear in our consciences about the heathen?  Millions have never heard the Name of Jesus.  Hundreds of millions have seen a missionary only once in their lives, and know nothing of our King. Shall we let them perish?

Can we go to our beds and sleep, while China, India, Japan, and other nations are being damned?  Are we clear of their blood?  Have they no claim on us?  We ought to put it on this footing–not, ‘Can I prove that I ought to go?’ but, ‘Can I prove that I ought not to go?’

When a man can honestly prove that he ought not to go, then he is clear, but not else.  What answer do you give, my brethren?  I put it to you man by man.  I am not raising a question among you which I have not honestly put to myself.  I have felt that, if some of our leading ministers would go forth, it would have a grand effect in stimulating the churches, and I have honestly asked myself whether I ought to go.  After balancing the whole thing, I feel bound to keep my place, and I think the judgment of most Christians would confirm my decision; but I hope that I would readily, and willingly, and cheerfully go abroad if I did not feel that I ought to remain at home.

Brethren, put yourselves through the same process.  We must have the heathen converted; God has myriads of His elect among them, we must go and search for them somehow or other.  Many difficulties are now removed, all lands are open to us, and distance is almost annihilated.  True, we have not the Pentecostal tongues; but languages are now readily acquired, while the art of printing is a full equivalent for the lost gift.

The dangers incident to missions ought not to keep any true man back, even if they were very great, but they are now reduced to a minimum.  There are hundreds of places where the cross of Christ is unknown, to which we can go without risk.  Who will go?

[ . . .] Surely there is some self-sacrifice among us yet, and some among us who are willing to be exiled for Jesus.  The Mission languishes for want of men.  If the men were forthcoming, the liberality of the Church has provided the supply, and yet there are not men to go.  I shall never feel, brethren, that we, as a band of men, have done our duty until we see our comrades fighting for Jesus in every land in the van of the conflict.  I believe that, if God moves you to go, you will be among the best of missionaries, because you will make the preaching of the gospel the great feature of your work, and that is God’s sure way of power.”

– Charles H. Spurgeon, “Forward!” in An All-Around Ministry (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2000), 55-57.

God, give us such hearts that bleed for the peoples who do not know you and tears that plead for your glory to be seen and souls satisfied forever in Jesus.

We do pant for this.

August 8, 2009

On March 24, 1878, Charles Spurgeon prayed over his congregation, and included in that prayer are the following requests for renewal:

“O Lord, give us more and more to have the new life, yea, and to have it more abundantly, for this is one of the objects of His coming.  May the new life always rule us, may we walk by its power, may we have strength through its influence, may we be elevated by its energies, may we be indeed entirely subjugated, as to our own entire manhood, to the control of the Holy Spirit through the new-born life.  We do pant for this.”

– Charles H. Spurgeon, The Pastor in Prayer, 31.

Morris Chapman, Calvinism, and Saving Faith (Part 3)

July 21, 2009

In my third and final post (see Part 1 and Part 2) on Morris Chapman’s recent comments on Calvinism, I want to focus on what Baptists have historically said on the issue of the Holy Spirit’s work in salvation and more specifically saving faith.  Before I do, however, I want to comment briefly on how Chapman used (1) Packer’s antinomy and (2) Spurgeon on saving faith—both of which do not stand in his corner.

Packer v. Chapman on Antinomy

Personally, I am not a fan of the idea of antinomy.  Like Paul Helm, I am inclined to believe that antinomy is too permissible and “could be a license for accepting nonsense” (Paul Helm, The Providence of God, 66).  It is along these lines that I believe Chapman has brought the employment of antinomy in question.  Assuming Chapman is referring to J.I. Packer’s explanation of antinomy, one should note that Packer and Chapman have very little in common when it comes to understanding God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.  For instance, Packer writes,

“God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are taught us side by side in the same Bible; sometimes, indeed, in the same text.  Both are thus guaranteed to us by the same divine authority; both, therefore, are true.  It follows that they must be held together, and not played off against each other.  Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent” (J.I. Packer, Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God, 22-23).

Chapman indeed plays God’s sovereignty (“sovereignty alone”) against human responsibility and uses antinomy to justify doing so.  However, the principle proponent of antinomy says it is incorrect to do so.  Furthermore, Packer agues that “it is God who saves” and “God’s prerogative to give results” because “only God can give faith” (Ibid., 27).  While Packer holds that man is divinely controlled and yet morally responsible; Chapman does not.  Packer believes that God is sovereign in salvation and that faith is a gift from God; Chapman does not.  Therefore, I find it curious that Chapman would employing the idea of antinomy when the very ones who argued for it have done so on completely different grounds and in completely different ways.

(more…)

Oh to love, to believe, to hope, to delight in God!

May 26, 2009

“Oh to love the Saviour with a passion that can never cool; Oh to believe in God with a confidence that can never stagger!  Oh, to hope with an expectation that can never be dim!  Oh, to delight in God with a holy over-flowing rejoicing that can never be stopped, so that we might live to glorify God at the highest bent of our powers, living with enthusiasm, burning, blazing, being consumed with the indwelling God who worketh all things in us according to His will!

Thus, Lord, would we praise and pray at the same time, confess and acknowledge our responsibilities, but also bless the free, the sovereign grace that makes us what we are.  Oh God of the eternal choice, O God of the ransom purchased on the tree, O God of the effectual call, Father, Son and Spirit, our adoration rises to heaven like the smoke from the altar of incense.  Glory and honour and majesty and power and dominion and might be unto the one only God, for ever and ever, and all the redeemed by the blood will say, Amen.”

– Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Personal Touch” in The Pastor in Prayer: A Collection of the Sunday Morning Prayers of C.H. Spurgeon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2004), 4.

Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and Family Worship for the Advent Season

December 2, 2008

For the month of December, ChristianAudio.com is giving away the first 90 days of Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening.  For years, this devotional by Spurgeon has been my favorite to read (although Winslow’s Morning Thoughts is challenging it!).  To download the audio, go here and remember to use “DEC2008” as the coupon code to get it for free.

Also, Christ the King Presbyterian Church (Raleigh, NC) has provided a helpful resource for families during the advent season which you can download and use during family devotions or family worship.  The PDF includes discussion outlines and songsheets for worship in a nice format.  To download this 58-page resource, click here.

We Have to Live and to Die, and We Must Have the Gospel

July 6, 2008

Mornin’ words from Charles Spurgeon:

“I may not have many more opportunities of preaching, and I make up my mind to this one thing, that I will waste no time upon secondary themes, but when I do preach it shall be the gospel, or something very closely bearing upon it.  I will endeavour each time to strike under the fifth rib, and never beat the air.  Those who have a taste for the superfluities may take their fill of them, it is for me to keep to the great necessary truths by which men’s souls are saved.  My work is to preach Christ crucified and the gospel, which gives men salvation through faith. I hear every now and then of very taking sermons about some bright new nothing or another.  Some preachers remind me of the emperor who had a wonderful skill in carving men’s heads upon cherry stones.  What a multitude of preachers we have who can make wonderfully fine discourses out of a mere passing thought, of no consequence to anyone.  But we want the gospel.  We have to live and to die, and we must have the gospel. Certain of us may be cold in our graves before many weeks are over, and we cannot afford to toy and trifle: we want to see the bearings of all teachings upon our eternal destinies, and upon the gospel which sheds its light over our future.”

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Vol. 28 (1882) (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1971), 200.