Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him. No, I must know Him myself. It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. It will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Savior, my mind will be full to the brim – I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. It will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more.
Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in His immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning.
Pardon of sin must ever be an act of pure mercy, and therefore to that attribute the awakened sinner flies.
When we deal seriously with our sin, God will deal gently with us.
To injure our fellow men is sin, mainly because in so doing we violate the law of God. The penitent’s heart so filled with a sense of the wrong done to the Lord Himself, that all other confession swallowed up in a broken-hearted acknowledgment of offense against [God].
Always has the Holy One of Israel estimated men by their inner nature, and not by their outward professions; to Him the inward is as visible as the outward, and He rightly judges that the essential character of an action lies in the motive of him who works it.
The joy of pardon has a voice louder than the voice of sin. God’s voice speaking peace is the sweetest music an ear can hear.
All repetitions are not “vain repetitions.” Souls in agony have no space to find variety of language: pain has to content itself with monotones.
The heart is the rudder of the soul, and till the Lord take it in hand we steer in a false and foul way.
Faith grows by the exercise of prayer.
A great sinner pardoned makes a great singer.
A heart crushed is a fragrant heart. Men contemn those who are contemptible in their own eyes, but the Lord sees not as man sees. He despises what men esteem, and values that which they despise. Never yet has God spurned a lowly, weeping penitent, and never will he while God is love, and while Jesus is called the man who receives sinners. Bulls and rams He desires not, but contrite hearts He seeks after.
There is surely no grace in us if we do not feel for the church of God, and take a lasting interest in its welfare.
Get a friend to tell you your faults, or better still, welcome an enemy who will watch you keenly and string you savagely. What a blessing such an irritating critic will be to a wise man, what an intolerable nuisance to a fool!
Meditation is the soul of religion… We ought, therefore, both for our own good and for the Lord’s honor to be much occupied with meditation, and that meditation should chiefly dwell upon the Lord Himself: it should be “meditation of Him.” For want of it much communion is lost and much happiness is missed.
Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Savior. He who has stood before his God, convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the honor of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been cleansed.
Our love ought to follow the love of God in one point, namely, in always seeking to produce reconciliation. It was to this end that God sent His Son.
If a man could know that he was loved by all his fellowmen, if he could have it for certain that he was loved by all the angels, yet these were but so many drops, and all put together could not compare with the main ocean contained in the fact that “God loved us.”
The best sermon is that in which the theme absorbs the preacher and hearers, and leaves no one either time or desire to think about the speaker.
If there were no hell, the loss of heaven would be hell.
There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.
I think beloved, it will not be hard for you to learn. The angels of heaven rejoice over Sinners that repent: saints of God, will not you and I do the same? I do not think the church rejoices enough. We all grumble enough and groan enough: but very few of us rejoice enough. When we take a large number into the church it is spoken of as a great mercy; but is the greatness of that mercy appreciated?
To be a soul winner is the happiest thing in this world. And with every soul you bring to Jesus Christ, you seem to get a new heaven here upon earth.
If you do get lost, some of you will have to wade through your mother’s tears and leap over your father’s prayers and your minister’s entreaties. You will have to force a passage through the warnings of godly people and the examples of pious relatives. Why this effort to destroy your own souls?
Let this be to you the mark of true Gospel preaching – where Christ is everything, and the creature is nothing; where it is salvation all of grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit applying to the soul the precious blood of Jesus.
God gave me this great book to preach from, and if He has put anything in it you think is not fit, go and complain to Him, not to me. I am simply his servant, and if His errand that I am to tell is objectionable, I cannot help it. Let me tell you, the reason why many of our churches are declining is just because this doctrine has not been preached.
Some of you have never preached on election since you were ordained. “These things,” you say, “are offensive.” And so you would rather offend God than offend man. But you reply, “These things will not be practical.” I do think that the climax of all man’s blasphemy is centered in that utterance. Tell me that God put a thing in the Bible that I am not to preach! You are finding fault with my God. But you say, “It will be dangerous.” What! God’s truth dangerous? I should not like to stand in your shoes when you have to face your Maker on the Day of Judgment after such an utterance as that.
“But some truths ought to be kept back from the people,” you will say, “lest they should make an ill use thereof.” That is Popish doctrine It was upon that very theory that the priests kept back the Bible from the people. They did not give it to them lest they should misuse it. Besides all this, remember that men do read the Scriptures and think about these doctrines and often make mistakes about them. Who then, shall set them right if we who preach the Word hold our tongues about the matter?
I am the messenger. I tell you the Masters message; if you do not like the message quarrel with the Bible, not with me; so long as I have Scripture on my side I will dare and defy you to do anything against me.
The higher a man is in grace. The lower he will be in his own esteem.
Who is to have authority in the matter of gracious adoption? The children of wrath? Surely not; and yet all men are such! No, it stands to reason, to common sense, that none but the parent can have the discretion to adopt.
Leading implies following; and those who are enabled to follow the guidance of the Divine Spirit are most assuredly children of God, for the Lord ever leads His own children. If, then, you are following the lead of God’s Spirit, you have one of the evidences of Sonship.
It always seems inexplicable to me that those who claim free will so very boldly for man should not also allow some free will to God. Why should not Jesus Christ have the right to choose his own bride?
Free will carried many a soul to hell, but never a soul to heaven
Free will I have often heard of, but I have never seen it. I have met with will, and plenty of it, but it has either been led captive by sin or held in blessed bonds of grace.
I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, "You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself." My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will.
Once there was free will in paradise, and a terrible mess free will made there, for it spoiled all paradise and turned Adam out of the garden. Free will was once in heaven, but it turned the glorious archangel out, and a third part of the stars of heaven fell into the abyss. I want nothing to do with free will, but I will try to see whether I have got a free will within. And I find I have. Very free will to do evil, but very poor will to do that which is good.
Free-will doctrine – what does it? It magnifies man into God; it declares God’s purposes a nullity, since they cannot be carried out unless men are willing. It makes God’s will a waiting servant to the will of man, and the whole covenant of grace dependent upon human action. Denying election on the ground of injustice it holds God to be a debtor to sinners, so that if He gives grace to one He is bound to do so to all. It teaches that the blood of Christ was shed equally for all men and since some are lost, this doctrine ascribes the difference to man’s own will, thus making the atonement itself a powerless thing until the will of man gives it efficacy. Those sentiments dilute the scriptural description of man’s depravity, and by imputing strength to fallen humanity, rob the Spirit of the glory of His effectual grace: this theory says in effect that it is of him that willeth, and of him that runneth, and not of God that showeth mercy.
A man is not saved against his will, but he is made willing by the operation of the Holy Ghost. A mighty grace which he does not wish to resist enters into the man, disarms him, makes a new creature of him, and he is saved.
Do not look to your hope, but to Christ, the source of your hope.
The best sermons are the sermons which are most full of Christ. A sermon without Christ it is an awful, a horrible thing; it is an empty well; it is a cloud without rain; it is a tree twice dead, plucked by the roots. It is an abominable thing to give men stones for bread, and scorpions for eggs, and yet they do so who preach not Jesus. A sermon without Christ! As well talk of a loaf of bread without any flour in it. How can it feed the soul? Men die and perish because Christ is not there, and yet His glorious gospel is the easiest thing to preach, and the sweetest thing to preach; there is most variety in it, there is more attractiveness in it than in all the world besides!
The sermon which does not lead to Christ, or of which Jesus Christ is not the top and the bottom, is a sort of sermon that will make the devils in hell laugh, but make the angels of God weep.
Whatever subject I preach, I do not stop until I reach the Savior, the Lord Jesus, for in Him are all things.
The preaching of Christ is the whip that flogs the devil. The preaching of Christ is the thunderbolt, the sound of which makes all hell shake.
I do believe that we slander Christ when we think that we are to draw the people by something else but the preaching of Christ crucified. We know that the greatest crowd in London has been held together these thirty years by nothing but the preaching of Christ crucified. Where is our music? Where is our oratory? Where is anything of attractive architecture, or beauty of ritual? “A bare service,” they call it. Yes, but Christ makes up for all the deficiencies.
If I only had one more sermon to preach before I died, it would be about my Lord Jesus Christ. And I think that when we get to the end of our ministry, one of our regrets will be that we did not preach more of Him. I am sure no minister will ever repent of having preached Him too much.
Grace puts its hand on the boasting mouth, and shuts it once for all.
This weapon is good at all points, good for defense and for attack, to guard our whole person or to strike through the joints and marrow of the foe. Like the seraph’s sword at Eden’s gate, it turns every way. You cannot be in a condition that the Word of God has not provided. The Word has as many faces and eyes as providence itself. You will find it unfailing in all periods of your life, in all circumstances, in all companies, in all trials, and under all difficulties. Were it fallible, it would be useless in emergencies, but its unerring truth renders it precious beyond all price to the soldiers of the cross.
Let it be remembered then, that jealousy, like anger, is not evil in itself, or it could never be ascribed to God; His jealousy is ever a pure and holy flame. The passion of jealousy possesses an intense force, it fires the whole nature, its coals are juniper, which have a most vehement flame; it resides in the lowest depths of the heart, and takes so firm a hold that it remains most deeply rooted until the exciting cause is removed; it wells up from the inmost recesses of the nature, and like a torrent irresistibly sweeps all before it; it stops at nothing, for it is cruel as the grave (Cant. 8:6), it provokes wrath to the utmost, for it is the rage of a man, therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance (Proverbs 6:34), and it overthrows everything in the pursuit of its enemy, for “wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before jealousy?” For all these reasons jealousy is selected as some faint picture of that tender regard which God has for His own Deity, honor, and supremacy, and the holy indignation which He feels towards those who violate His laws, offend His majesty, or impeach His character.
Since He is the only God, the Creator of heaven and earth, He cannot endure that any creature of His own hands, or fiction of a creature’s imagination should be thrust into His throne, and be made to wear His crown.
Hide yourselves under the banner of Jehovah’s jealousy. It is bloody red, I know; its ensign bears a thunderbolt and a flame of fire; but hide yourselves, hide yourselves under it, for what enemy shall reach you there? If it be to God’s glory to save me, I am entrenched behind munitions of stupendous rock. If it would render God inglorious to let me, a poor sinner, descend into hell; if it would open the mouths of devils and make men say that God is not faithful to His promise, then am I secure, for God’s glory is wrapped up with my salvation, and the one cannot fail because the other cannot be tarnished.
Some people like to read so many chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather lay my soul asoak in half a dozen verses all day than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up into your very soul, till it saturates your heart! Set your heart upon God’s Word! Let your whole nature be plunged into it as a cloth into a dye!
It will not be enough for you to hear or read of Christ, you must do your own thinking and consider your Lord for yourselves. The wine is not made by gathering the clusters, but by treading the grapes in the wine vat, under the pressure the red juice leaves forth.
Only the prayer which comes from our heart can get to God’s heart.
Are you glorying in your graces or your talents? Are you proud of yourself, that you have had holy postures and sweet experiences?… Your flaunting poppies of self-conceit will be pulled up by the roots, your mushroom graces will wither in the burning heat, and your self-sufficiency shall become as straw for the manure pile. If we forget to live at the foot of the cross in deepest lowliness of spirit, God won’t forget to make us feel the pain of His rod.
Self-sufficiency is Satan’s net, wherein he catches men, like poor silly fish, and does destroy them. Be not self-sufficient. Think yourselves nothing, for you are nothing, and live by God’s help. The way to grow strong in Christ is to become weak in yourself. God pours no power into man’s heart till man’s power is all poured out. Live, then, daily, a life of dependence on the grace of God. Do not set yourself up as if you want an independent gentleman; do not start in your own concerns as if you could do all things yourself; but live always trusting in God. You have as much need to trust Him now as ever you have; for, mark this, although you would have been damned without Christ, at first, you will be damned without Christ now, unless He still keeps you.
I do implore you, do not look upon the sacrifice of Christ as an act of mere vengeance on the Father’s part. Never imagine, oh! never indulge the idea, that Jesus died to make the Father complacent towards us. Oh, no, dear friends: Jesus’ death is the effect of overwhelming and infinite love on the Father’s part; and every blow which wounds, every infliction which occasions sorrow, and every pang which rends his heart, speaks of the Father’s love as much as the joy, the everlasting triumph, which now surrounds His head.
Now, if our Lord and Master selected this true Jerusalem blade of the Word of God, let us not hesitate for a moment but grasp and hold fast this one true weapon of the saints in all times. Cast away the wooden sword of carnal reasoning. Trust not in human eloquence but arm yourselves with the solemn declaration of God, who cannot lie, and you need not fear Satan and all his hosts. Jesus selected the best weapon. What was best for Him is best for you.
“It is written.” Stand upon it, and if the devil were fifty devils in one, he could not overcome you. On the other hand, if you leave “It is written,” Satan knows more about reasoning than you do. He is far older, has studied mankind very thoroughly, and knows all our weak points. Therefore, the contest will be an unequal one. Do not argue with him but wave in his face the banner of God’s Word. Satan cannot endure the infallible truth, for it is death to the falsehood of which he is the father.
It is a remarkable fact that all the heresies which have arisen in the Christian Church have had a decided tendency to dishonor God and to flatter man.
I commend solitude to any of you who are seeking salvation, first, that you may study well your case as in the sight of God. Few men truly know themselves as they really are. Most people have seen themselves in a looking-glass, but there is another looking-glass, which gives true reflections, into which few men look. To study one’s self in the light of God’s Word, and carefully to go over one’s condition, examining both the inward and the outward sins, and using all the tests which are given us in the Scriptures, would be a very healthy exercise; but how very few care to go through it!
Did not [Jesus] say, "You are of your father the devil, for his works you do?" Why, then, should you mock God by saying, "Our Father which art in heaven." For how can He be your Father? Have you two Fathers? And if He be a Father, where is His honor? Where is His love? You neither honor nor love Him, and yet you presumptuously and blasphemously approach Him, and say, "Our Father," when your heart is attached still to sin, and your life is opposed to His law, and you therefore prove yourself to be an heir of wrath, and not a child of grace!
I have never been able to see that creation necessarily implies fatherhood. I believe God has made many things that are not His children. Did He not make the heavens and the earth, the sea and the fullness thereof and are they His children? You say these are not rational and intelligent beings; but He made the angels, who stand in an eminently high and holy position, are they His children? "Unto which of the angels said He at any time, you are My son?" I do not find, as a rule, that angels are called the children of God; and I must demur to the idea that mere creation brings God necessarily into the relationship of a Father.
No man hath a right to claim God as his Father, unless he feeleth in his soul, and believeth, solemnly, through the faith of God’s election, that he has been adopted into the one family of which is in heaven and earth, and that he has been regenerated or born again.
It is not for me to rise up and go in rebellion against His wishes. If He be a father, let me note His commands, and let me reverentially obey. If He has said "Do this," let me do it, not because I dread Him, but because I love Him. And if He forbids me to do anything, let me avoid it.
Sonship is a thing which all the infirmities of our flesh, and all the sins into which we are hurried by temptation, can never violate or weaken.
It is a sweet compound of faith that knows God to be my Father, love that loves Him as my Father, joy that rejoices in Him as my Father, fear that trembles to disobey Him because he is my Father and a confident affection and trustfulness that relies upon Him, and casts itself wholly upon Him, because it knows by the infallible witness of the Holy Spirit, that Jehovah, the God of earth and heaven, is the Father of my heart.
When I regarded God as a tyrant, I thought my sin a trifle, but when I knew Him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against Him.
Your main and principal motive as a Christian should always be to live for Christ. To live for glory? Yes, but for his glory. To live for comfort? Yes, but be all your consolation in him. To live for pleasure? Yes, but when you are merry, sing psalms, and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. To live for wealth? Yes, but to be rich in faith. You may lay up treasure, but lay it up in heaven.
I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.
We want personal consecration. I have heard that word pronounced purse and all consecration, a most excellent pronunciation. He who loves Jesus consecrates to Him all that he has, and feels it a delight that he may lay anything at the feet of Him who laid down his life for us.
Whirled from off our feet by a revival, carried aloft by popularity, exalted by success in soul-winning, we should be as the chaff which the wind driveth away, were it not that the gracious discipline of mercy breaks the ships of our vainglory with a strong east wind, and casts us shipwrecked, naked and forlorn, upon the Rock of Ages.
The true gospel minister will have a real yearning over souls something like Rachel when she cried, “Give me children, or else I die.” So will he cry to God, that he may have his elect born, and brought home to him.
Someone says, “I can be saved without being baptized.” So you will do nothing that Christ commands, if you can be saved without doing it? You are hardly worth saving at all! A man whose idea of religion is that he will do what is essential to his own salvation, only cares to save his own skin. Clearly, you are no servant of Christ’s. Baptism, if not essential to your salvation, is essential to your obedience to Christ.
A man who knows that he is saved by believing in Christ does not, when he is baptized, lift his baptism into a saving ordinance. In fact, he is the very best protester against that mistake, because he holds that he has no right to be baptized until he is saved.
Oh, without prayer what are the church’s agencies, but the stretching out of a dead man’s arm, or the lifting up of the lid of a blind man’s eye? Only when the Holy Spirit comes is there any life and force and power.
May God help me, if you cease to pray for me! Let me know the day, and I must cease to preach.
Some Christians overlook the blessing of sanctification, and yet to a thoroughly renewed heart this is one of the sweetest gifts of the covenant. If we could be saved from wrath, and yet remain unregenerate, impenitent sinners, we should not be saved as we desire, for we mainly and chiefly pant to be saved from sin and led in the way of holiness.
Sometimes we are inclined to think that a very great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have know their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father’s house, and never making him say, “Father, I have sinned”
It may happen that in a little time the doctrine of evolution will be the standing jest of schoolboys.
The most likely man to go to hell is the man who has nothing to do on earth. Idle people tempt the devil to tempt them.
That only is worth my having which I can have forever. That only is worth my grasping which death cannot tear out of my hand.
As long as a man is alive and out of hell, he cannot have any cause to complain.
Be careful, dear friends, that you do not misrepresent God yourselves. You who murmur; you who say that God deals hardly with you, you give God an ill character; when you look so melancholy, worldlings say, “The religion of Jesus is intolerable;” and so you stain the honor of God.
A heavy wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen. The axles groaned and creaked terribly, when the oxen turning around thus addressed the wheels, “Hey there, why do you make so much noise? We bear all the labor, and we – not you – ought to cry out!” Those complain first in our churches who have the least to do. The gift of grumbling is largely dispensed among those who have no other talents, or who keep what they have wrapped up in a napkin.
No music is more sweet to a gospel preacher than the rustle of Bible pages in the congregation.
It is a terribly easy matter to be a minister of the gospel and a vile hypocrite at the same time.
Because there is one hypocrite, met set down all the rest the same. I heard one man say that he did not believe there was a true Christian living, because he had found so many hypocrites. I reminded him that there could be no hypocrites if there were no genuine Christians. No one would try to forge bank notes if there were no genuine ones.
The best definition of humility I ever heard was this – to think rightly of ourselves.