Our Position in Christ Assured

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.         John 6:37

Excerpted from Holiness by J. C. Ryle

Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of shortcomings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her. The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections. Oh, no! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings, to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

Who is there now among the readers of this paper that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by and by he should fall away? Consider, I beseech you, the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus, and be afraid no more. Fear not to take up the cross, and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you. If you stumble, He will raise you. If you err, He will gently bring you back. If you faint, He will revive you. He will not lead you out of Egypt, and then suffer you to perish in the wilderness. He will conduct you safe into the promised land. Only commit yourself to His guidance and then, my soul for yours, He shall carry you safe home. Only hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and you shall never perish.

Ryle, J. C.. Holiness (pp. 185-186). Heritage Bible Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

Sing Oh My Soul, Sing

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Sing, O barren one!” Isaiah 54:1

Though we have brought forth some fruit unto Christ, and have a joyful hope that we are “plants of His own right hand planting,” yet there are times when we feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak—each grace in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. We are like flowers in the hot sun, requiring the refreshing shower.

In such a condition what are we to do? The text is addressed to us in just such a state. “Sing, O barren one! Break forth into loud and joyful song.” But what can I sing about? I cannot talk about the present, and even the past looks full of barrenness. Ah! I can sing of Jesus Christ! I can talk of visits which the Redeemer has aforetimes paid to me; or if not of these, I can magnify the great love with which He loved His people—when He came from the heights of heaven for their redemption. I will go to the cross again. Come, my soul, heavy laden you were once—you lost your burden there. Go to Calvary again. Perhaps that very cross which gave you life—may give you fruitfulness.

What is my barrenness? It is the platform—for His fruit-creating power. What is my desolation? It is the black setting—for the sapphire of His everlasting love. I will go in poverty, I will go in helplessness, I will go in all my shame and backsliding, I will tell Him that I am still His child, and in confidence in His faithful heart, even I, the barren one, will sing and cry aloud!

Sing, believer, for it will cheer your own heart, and the hearts of other desolate ones. Sing on, for now that you are really ashamed of being barren, you will be fruitful soon; now that God makes you loath to be without fruit—He will soon cover you with clusters. The experience of our barrenness is painful—but the Lord’s visitations are delightful. A sense of our own poverty drives us to Christ, and that is where we need to be—for in Him is our fruit found!

Sam Robson

I Need Thee Every Hour, Lyrics:Annie Sherwood Hawks (1836-1918); Chorus by Robert Lowry (1826-1899) Music:Robert Lowry (1826-1899)

Invitation to the Ordinances Through Our Faith

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“If you believe with all your heart—you may.” Acts 8:37

These words may answer your scruples, devout reader, concerning the ordinances. Perhaps you say, “I would be afraid to be baptized—it is such a solemn thing to avow myself to be dead with Christ, and buried with Him. I should not feel at liberty to come to the Master’s table—I would be afraid of eating and drinking damnation unto myself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

Ah! poor trembler, Jesus has given you liberty, do not be afraid. If a stranger came to your house, he would stand at the door, or wait in the hall; he would not dream of intruding unbidden into your parlor—he is not at his home—but your child makes himself very free about the house; and so is it with the child of God. A stranger may not intrude—where a child may venture. When the Holy Spirit has given you to feel the spirit of adoption, you may come to Christian ordinances without fear.

The same rule holds good of the Christian’s inward privileges. You think, poor seeker, that you are not allowed to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; if you are permitted to get inside Christ’s door, or sit at the bottom of His table—you will be well content. Ah! but you shall not have less privileges than the very greatest. God makes no difference in His love to His children. A child is a child to Him; He will not make him a hired servant; but he shall feast upon the fatted calf, and shall have the music and the dancing—as much as if he had never gone astray. When Jesus comes into the heart, He issues a general licence to be glad in the Lord. No chains are worn in the court of King Jesus. Our admission into full privileges may be gradual—but it is sure.

Perhaps our reader is saying, “I wish I could enjoy the promises, and walk at liberty in my Lord’s commands.” “If you believe with all your heart—you may.” Loose the chains of your neck, O captive daughter, for Jesus makes you free!

Our Invincibility in Following After Jesus

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

The Breaker has gone up before them. He will bring you through the gates of your cities of captivity, back to your own land. Your King will lead you; the Lord Himself will guide you!” Micah 2:13

Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things do not remain as they would have been, had He never passed that way. He has conquered every foe that obstructed the way. Cheer up O faint-hearted warrior. Not only has Christ traveled the road—but He has slain your enemies!

Do you dread sin? He has nailed it to His cross!

Do you fear death? He has been the death of death!

Are you afraid of hell? He has barred it against the entrance of any of His children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition!

Whatever foes may be before the Christian—they are all overcome! There are lions—but their teeth are broken! There are serpents—but their fangs are extracted! There are rivers—but they are bridged or fordable! There are flames—but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire!

The sword that has been forged against us—is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing, have already lost their point.

The Breaker, Christ—has taken away all the power that anything can have to hurt us. Well then, the army may safely march on, and you may go joyously along your journey, for all your enemies are conquered beforehand! What shall you do—but march on to take the prey? They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is to divide the spoil. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight shall be with a vanquished foe! His head is broken—he may attempt to injure you—but his strength shall not be sufficient for his malicious design. Your victory shall be easy, and your treasure shall be beyond all count!

“Proclaim aloud the Savior’s fame,
Who bears the Breaker’s wondrous name;
Sweet name; and it befits Him well,
Who breaks down earth, sin, death, and hell!”

Blessing Others in God’s Economy

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“He who waters—shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:25

We are here taught the great lesson, that to get—we must give; that to accumulate—we must scatter; that to make ourselves happy—we must make others happy; and that in order to become spiritually vigorous—we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others—we are ourselves watered. How?

Our efforts to be useful—bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and dormant faculties, which are brought to light by exercise. Our strength for labor is hidden even from ourselves—until we venture forth to fight the Lord’s battles, or to climb the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we possess—until we try to dry the widow’s tears, and soothe the orphan’s grief.

We often find in attempting to teach others—that we gain instruction for ourselves. Oh, what gracious lessons some of us have learned at sick beds! We went to teach the Scriptures, we came away blushing that we knew so little of them. In our converse with poor saints, we are taught the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into divine truth. So that watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace there is where we had not looked for it; and how much the poor saint may outstrip us in knowledge.

Our own comfort is also increased—by our working for others. We endeavor to cheer them—and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Like the two men in the snow; one chafed the other’s limbs to keep him from dying, and in so doing kept his own blood in circulation, and saved his own life. The poor widow of Sarepta gave from her scanty store, a supply for the prophet’s needs, and from that day she never again knew what poverty was. Give then, and it shall be given unto you—good measure, pressed down, and running over!

Delighting in the Psalms

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The sweet psalmist of Israel.” 2 Samuel 23:1

Among all the saints whose lives are recorded in Holy Writ, David possesses an experience of the most striking, varied, and instructive character. In his history we meet with trials and temptations not to be discovered, as a whole, in other saints of ancient times, and hence he is all the more suggestive a type of our Lord.

David knew the trials of all ranks and conditions of men. Kings have their troubles—and David wore a crown; the peasant has his cares—and David handled a shepherd’s crook; the wanderer has many hardships—and David abode in the caves of Engedi; the captain has his difficulties—and David found the sons of Zeruiah too hard for him.

The psalmist was also tried in his friends, his counselor Ahithophel forsook him, “He who eats bread with me—has lifted up his heel against me.” His worst foes were they of his own household—his children were his greatest affliction.

The temptations of poverty and wealth, of honor and reproach, of health and weakness—all tried their power upon him. He had temptations from without to disturb his peace, and from within to mar his joy. David no sooner escaped from one trial—than he fell into another; no sooner emerged from one season of despondency and alarm—than he was again brought into the lowest depths—and all God’s waves and billows rolled over him!

It is probably from this cause, that David’s psalms are so universally the delight of experienced Christians. Whatever our frame of mind, whether ecstasy or depression, David has exactly described our emotions. He was an able master of the human heart, because he had been tutored in the best of all schools—the school of heart-felt, personal experience. As we are instructed in the same school, as we grow matured in grace and in years, we increasingly appreciate David’s psalms, and find them to be “green pastures.” My soul, let David’s experience cheer and counsel you this day!

Trusting in God

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“We know that all things work together for good—to those who love God.” Romans 8:28

The believer is absolutely sure, that an invisible hand is always on the world’s helm, and that wherever providence may drift, Jehovah steers it. That reassuring knowledge prepares him for everything. He looks over the raging waters—and sees Jesus treading the billows; and he hears a voice saying, “It is I, do not be afraid!” He knows also, that God is always wise, and, knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes; that nothing can occur—which ought not to arise. He can say, “If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose than have—if God so wills. The worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall to me—if God ordains it.”

“We know that all things work together for good—to those who love God.” The Christian does not merely hold this as a theory—but he knows it as a matter of fact. Everything has worked for good as yet; the poisonous drugs mixed in fit proportions, have worked the cure; the sharp cuts of the lancet, have cleansed out the proud flesh and facilitated the healing. Every event as yet has worked out the most divinely blessed results; and so, believing that God rules all, that He governs wisely, that He brings good out of evil—the believer’s heart is assured, and he is enabled calmly to meet each trial as it comes. The believer can in the spirit of true resignation pray, “Send me what you will, my God—so long as it comes from You! A bad portion never came from Your table—to any of Your children.”

Our Willing Savior

Excerpted from the book, Holiness, by J. C. Ryle

‘And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, “If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.” But the other answering rebuked him, saying, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss.” And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in paradise”—Luke 23:39-43

There are few passages in the New Testament which are more familiar to men’s ears than the verses which head this paper. They contain the well-known story of ‘the penitent thief’.

And it is right and good that these verses should be well known. They have comforted many troubled minds; they have brought peace to many uneasy consciences; they have been a healing balm to many wounded hearts; they have been a medicine to many sin-sick souls; they have smoothed down not a few dying pillows. Wherever the gospel of Christ is preached, they will always be honoured, loved and had in remembrance.

…we are meant to learn from these verses Christ’s power and willingness to save sinners.

This is the main doctrine to be gathered from the history of the penitent thief. It teaches us that which ought to be music in the ears of all who hear it: it teaches us that Jesus Christ is ‘mighty to save’ (Isaiah 63:1).

I ask anyone to say whether a case could look more hopeless and desperate than that of this penitent thief once did. He was a wicked man, a malefactor, a thief, if not a murderer. We know this, for such only were crucified. He was suffering a just punishment for breaking the laws. And as he had lived wicked, so he seemed determined to die wicked, for at first, when he was crucified, he railed on our Lord. And he was a dying man. He hung there, nailed to a cross, from which he was never to come down alive. He had no longer power to stir hand or foot. His hours were numbered; the grave was ready for him.

There was but a step between him and death. If ever there was a soul hovering on the brink of hell, it was the soul of this thief. If ever there was a case that seemed lost, gone and past recovery, it was his. If ever there was a child of Adam whom the devil made sure of as his own, it was this man.

But see now what happened. He ceased to rail and blaspheme, as he had done at the first; he began to speak in another manner altogether. He turned to our blessed Lord in prayer. He prayed Jesus to ‘remember him when He came into His kingdom’. He asked that his soul might be cared for, his sins pardoned and himself thought of in another world. Truly this was a wonderful change!

And then mark what kind of answer he received. Some would have said he was too wicked a man to be saved; but it was not so. Some would have fancied it was too late, the door was shut, and there was no room for mercy; but it proved not too late at all. The Lord Jesus returned him an immediate answer, spoke kindly to him, assured him he should be with Him that day in paradise, pardoned him completely, cleansed him thoroughly from his sins, received him graciously, justified him freely, raised him from the gates of hell, gave him a title to glory. Of all the multitude of saved souls, none ever received so glorious an assurance of his own salvation as did this penitent thief. Go over the whole list, from Genesis to Revelation, and you will find none who had such words spoken to him as these: ‘Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise.’

I believe the Lord Jesus never gave so complete a proof of His power and will to save, as He did upon this occasion. In the day when He seemed most weak, He showed that He was a strong deliverer. In the hour when His body was racked with pain, He showed that He could feel tenderly for others. At the time when He Himself was dying, He conferred on a sinner eternal life.

Now, have I not a right to say, ‘Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him’? (Hebrews 7:25.) Behold the proof of it. If ever sinner was too far gone to be saved, it was this thief. Yet he was plucked as a brand from the fire.

Have I not a right to say, ‘Christ will receive any poor sinner who comes to Him with the prayer of faith, and cast out none’? Behold the proof of it. If ever there was one that seemed too bad to be received, this was the man. Yet the door of mercy was wide open even for him.

Have I not a right to say, ‘By grace ye may be saved through faith, not of works: fear not, only believe’? Behold the proof of it. This thief was never baptized; he belonged to no visible church; he never received the Lord’s Supper; he never did any work for Christ; he never gave money to Christ’s cause! But he had faith, and so he was saved.

Have I not a right to say, ‘The youngest faith will save a man’s soul, if it only be true’? Behold the proof of it. This man’s faith was only one day old; but it led him to Christ, and preserved him from hell.

Why then should any man or woman despair with such a passage as this in the Bible? Jesus is a Physician who can cure hopeless cases. He can quicken dead souls, and call the things which be not as though they were.

Never should any man or woman despair! Jesus is still the same now that He was eighteen hundred years ago. The keys of death and hell are in His hand. When He opens none can shut.

Footnote

‘O Saviour, what a precedent is this of Thy free and powerful grace! Where Thou wilt give, what unworthiness can bar us from Thy mercy? When Thou wilt give, what time can prejudice our vocation? Who can despair of Thy goodness, when he, that in the morning was posting to hell, is in the evening with Thee in Paradise?’ (Bishop Hall.)

Ryle, J. C.. Holiness (pp. 161-163). Heritage Bible Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

 

Our Own Sore, Our Own Grief

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all your people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house.” Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men)

2 Chronicles 6:29, 30

Solomon comes to experience; he puts his hand upon the right spot. It is knowing his “own sore” and his “own grief.” You may know another man’s; that will not profit you. You may read of experience in books, love to hear experimental ministers, and will hear no others; and yet not know your “own sore,” your “own grief.” Like a physician who may know the symptoms of every malady, and yet not have one malady of his own; so you may hear described every symptom of every disease, and yet be untouched by one.

But the man for whom Solomon’s prayer is, he that knows and feels, painfully feels, his “own sore” and his “own grief,” whose heart is indeed a grief to him, whose sins do indeed trouble him. How painful this sore often is! how it runs night and day! how full of ulcerous matter, and how it shrinks from the probe!

Most of the Lord’s family have a “sore,” each some tender spot, something perhaps known to himself and to God alone, the cause of his greatest grief. It may be some secret slip he has made, some sin he has committed, some word he has spoken, or some evil thing he has done. He has been entangled, and entrapped, and cast down; and this is his grief and his sore which he feels, and that at times deeply before God. For such Solomon prays–he casts his net upon the right side of the ship; and says, “Then hear from heaven your dwelling-place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart you know; for you only know the hearts of the children of men.” Yes; God alone knows the heart; he knows it completely, and sees to its very bottom.

 

Our Heavenly Citizenship

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Fellow citizens with the saints.” Ephesians 2:19

What is meant by our being citizens in heaven? It means that we are under heaven’s government. Christ the king of heaven reigns in our hearts; our daily prayer is, “May Your will be done on earth—as it is in heaven.” The proclamations issued from the throne of glory are freely received by us—the decrees of the Great King we cheerfully obey.

Then as citizens of the New Jerusalem, we share heaven’s honors. The glory which belongs to beatified saints—belongs to us, for we are already sons of God, already princes of the blood imperial; already we wear the spotless robe of Jesus’ righteousness; already we have angels for our servitors, saints for our companions, Christ for our Brother, God for our Father, and a crown of immortality for our reward! We share the honors of citizenship, for we have come to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven.

As citizens, we have common rights to all the property of heaven. Ours are its gates of pearl and walls of chrysolite; ours the azure light of the city that needs no candle nor light of the sun; ours the river of the water of life, and the twelve kinds of fruits which grow on the trees planted on the banks thereof; there is nothing in heaven that belongs not to us. “Things present—or things to come,” all are ours!

Also as citizens of heaven—we enjoy its delights. Do they there rejoice over sinners that repent—prodigals that have returned? So do we. Do they chant the glories of triumphant grace? We do the same. Do they cast their crowns at Jesus’ feet? Such honors as we have we cast there too. Are they charmed with His smile? It is not less sweet to us who dwell below. Do they look forward, waiting for His second advent? We also look and long for His glorious appearing. If, then, we are thus citizens of heaven—let our walk and actions be consistent with our high dignity!