Category Following Christ
On Higher Ground (hymn)
C. H. Spurgeon
Excerpted from his sermon, Joshua’s Obedience
…if we get no outward prosperity here, I trust you and I, if we love Christ, and are filled with His Spirit, can do without it. Well, if we must be poor, it will soon be over, and in heaven there shall be no poverty. Well, if we must fight for it, in order to maintain our conscience, we did not expect to come into this world that we might—
“Be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease.”
If it must come to this, that we must suffer hunger and even nakedness itself, we shall not be worse off than the apostles—better men than we, we shall not be brought lower than the martyrs—with whose names we are not worthy to have ours coupled. Let us, then, run all risks for Christ. He is no soldier who cannot die for his country, he is no Christian who cannot lose his life for Christ. We must be willing to give up all things rather than sell the truth or sell the right, and if we come to this, we shall have such courage within our spirits, such a quiet consciousness of the presence of God the Holy Spirit, and such sweet smiles from the once suffering, but now reigning Savior, that we shall have to bless God all our days for these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, which shall work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
I may not have spoken much to the comfort of God’s people, but I shall be glad if I have said only half a word that may tend to nurture in the midst of our church earnest obedience, practical piety, real positive godliness carried out in ordinary life. We have plenty of doctrine, plenty of thinking, plenty of talking, but oh, for more holy acting! It is sickening to see the inconsistencies of some professors. It is enough, indeed, to make the world ridicule the church to see how many profess to follow Christ, and then keep any rule rather than God’s rule, and obey anybody sooner than the Lord Jesus Christ.
Brethren, let us pray to God that our hearts may be sincere in the Lord’s ways, and that we may be guided by His Spirit even to the end.
C. H. Spurgeon
This Morning’s Meditation
“And they took knowledge of them—that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13
A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read ‘lives of Christ’, beautifully and eloquently written—but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. If we were what we profess to be—and what we should be—we would be pictures of Christ! Yes, such striking likenesses of Him, that the world would not have say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus! He has been taught of Him—he is like Him! He has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions!”
A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you—take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus—very valiant for your God. Imitate Him in your loving spirit—think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!” Imitate Jesus in His holiness. Was He zealous for His Master? So you be; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted—it is too precious. Was He self-denying, never looking to His own interest? Be the same. Was He devout? Be fervent in your prayers. Had He deference to His Father’s will? So submit yourselves to Him. Was He patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as He did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe—by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means—so live that all may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!”
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!”
C. H. Spurgeon
This Morning’s Meditation
“I am a stranger with you.” — Psalm 39:12
Yes, O Lord, with You—but not to You. All my natural alienation from You—Your grace has effectually removed; and now, in fellowship with Yourself, I walk through this sinful world as a pilgrim in a foreign country. You are a stranger in Your own world. Man forgets You, dishonors You, sets up new laws and alien customs, and knows You not. When Your dear Son came unto His own, His own received Him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. Never was a foreigner so speckled a bird among the inhabitants of any land—as Your beloved Son among His mother’s brethren. It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus, should be unknown and a stranger here below.
Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien. His pierced hand has loosened the cords which once bound my soul to earth—and now I find myself a stranger in the land. My speech seems to these Babylonians among whom I dwell—an outlandish tongue; my manners are singular; and my actions are strange. I could never be at home in the haunts of sinners.
But here is the sweetness of my lot—”I am a stranger with You.” You are my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed society! My heart burns within me by the way, when you speak to me, and though I am a sojourner, I am far more blessed than those who sit on thrones, and far more at home than those who dwell in their ivory palaces.
Today’s Morning Thought
“For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
BUT imperfectly, perhaps, beloved reader, are you aware of the high privilege to which you are admitted, and of the great glory conferred upon you, in being identified with Jesus in His life of humiliation. This is one of the numerous evidences by which your adoption into the family of God is authenticated, and by which your union with Christ is confirmed. It may be you are the subject of deep poverty—your circumstances are straitened, your resources are limited, your necessities are many and pressing.
Perhaps you are the “man that has known affliction;” sorrow has been your constant and intimate companion; you have become “acquainted with grief.” The Lord has been leading you along a path of painful humiliation. You have been “emptied from vessel to vessel.” He has brought you down, and laid you low; step by step, and yet, oh, how wisely and how gently, He has been leading you deeper and yet deeper into the valley!
But why all this leading about? why this emptying? why this descending? Even to bring you into a union and communion with Jesus in His life of humiliation! Is there a step in your abasement that Jesus has not trodden with you—ah! and trodden before you? Is there a sin that He has not carried, a cross that He has not borne, a sorrow that has not affected Him, and infirmity that has not touched Him? Even so will He cause you to reciprocate this sympathy, and have fellowship with Him in His sufferings.
As the Head did sympathize with the body, so must the body sympathize with the Head. Yes, the very same humiliation which you are now enduring the Son of God has before endured. And that you might learn something what that love and grace and power were which enabled Him to pass through it all, He pours a little drop in your cup, places a small part of the cross upon your shoulder, and throws a slight shadow on your soul!
Yes, the very sufferings you are now enduring are, in a faint and limited degree, the sufferings of Christ. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you,” says the apostle, “and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for His body’s sake, which is the Church.”
There is a two-fold sense in which Jesus may be viewed as a sufferer. He suffered in His own person as the Mediator of His Church; those sufferings were vicarious and complete, and in that sense He can suffer no morel “for by one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” The other now presents Him as suffering in His members: in this sense Christ is still a sufferer; and although not suffering to the same degree, or for the same end, as He once did, nevertheless He who said, “Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?” is identified with the Church in all its sufferings; in all her afflictions, He being afflicted. The apostle therefore terms the believer’s present sufferings the “afflictions of Christ.”
Counting the Cost
C. H. Spurgeon
This Morning’s Meditation
“Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung to Naomi.” Ruth 1:14
Both of them had an affection for Naomi, and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the hour of test came; Naomi most unselfishly set before each of them the trials which awaited them, and bade them if they cared for ease and comfort—to return to their Moabitish friends. At first both of them declared that they would cast in their lot with the Lord’s people; but upon still further consideration, Orpah with much grief and a respectful kiss, left her mother in law, and her people, and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends; while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her mother in law.
It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair—and quite another to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy—but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness—is not so small a matter.
How does the case stand with us—is our heart fixed upon Jesus? Is the sacrifice bound with cords to the horns of the altar? Have we counted the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the Master’s sake? The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt’s treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed.
Orpah is heard of no more; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure, her life melts into the gloom of death. But Ruth lives in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line from whence sprung the King of kings. Blessed among women shall those be—who for Christ’s sake can renounce all; but forgotten and worse than forgotten shall those be—who in the hour of temptation do violence to conscience and turn back unto the world. O that we may not be content with the form of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah’s kiss! But may the Holy Spirit work in us a cleaving of our whole heart to our Lord Jesus!
Telling our Story
Has God led you to the place and to the person or people that He would have you tell the story of a God who saves His people? If not, I would encourage you to pray that He would guide you to this place.
And when the time comes to share the life giving message of Jesus Christ, please rest assured in the knowledge that He has equipped you to reach those who He has placed before you.
I approach my evangelistic efforts with the belief that God will place before me some who he is or will in the future be calling. Armed with this belief, I speak as though I were speaking to someone within whose heart and mind the Holy Spirit is at work. Perhaps that is not the case, but that is not for me to know.
I just watched a video (added below) that I believe is an excellent resource for a Christian engaging in evangelism, especially but not necessarily exclusively in a one-on-one situation.
Dr. Lawson delivers a sermon on Jesus and the Book of Revelation with conviction and force. It is well worth watching and I think it would be difficult for a believing person to not get a return on the time invested.
But beyond this, I also believe that this sermon is a story that, if adopted to one’s style, would serve as the foundation for an excellent gospel presentation. I’ll let you decide if that’s the case with you. But whether or not it is, I would still highly recommend this video for it’s truth. Here it is:
C. H. Spurgeon
This Evening’s Meditation
“Take up the cross, and follow me.”
You have not the making of your own cross, although unbelief is a master carpenter at cross-making; neither are you permitted to choose your own cross, although self-will would fain be lord and master; but your cross is prepared and appointed for you by divine love, and you are cheerfully to accept it; you are to take up the cross as your chosen badge and burden, and not to stand cavilling at it.
This night Jesus bids you submit your shoulder to his easy yoke. Do not kick at it in petulance, or trample on it in vain-glory, or fall under it in despair, or run away from it in fear, but take it up like a true follower of Jesus. Jesus was a cross-bearer; he leads the way in the path of sorrow. Surely you could not desire a better guide! And if he carried a cross, what nobler burden would you desire? The Via Crucis is the way of safety; fear not to tread its thorny paths.
Beloved, the cross is not made of feathers, or lined with velvet, it is heavy and galling to disobedient shoulders; but it is not an iron cross, though your fears have painted it with iron colours, it is a wooden cross, and a man can carry it, for the Man of sorrows tried the load.
Take up your cross, and by the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of trouble. The Lord help you to bow your spirit in submission to the divine will ere you fall asleep this night, that waking with to-morrow’s sun, you may go forth to the day’s cross with the holy and submissive spirit which becomes a follower of the Crucified.