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 Apostasy by CH Spurgeon

Not sure if the numbers at paragraph ends refer to a concordance or commentary, so leaving them.


APOSTASY

The first step astray is a want of adequate faith in the divine inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures. DG13

In looking carefully over the history of the times, and the movement of the times, of which we have written briefly, this fact is apparent: that where ministers and Christian churches have held fast to the truth that the Holy Scriptures have been given by God as an authoritative and infallible rule of faith and practice, they have never wandered very seriously out of the right way. But when, on the other hand, reason has been exalted above revelation, and made the exponent of revelation, all kinds of errors and mischiefs have been the result. DG13

Saul was once among the prophets, but he was more at home among the persecutors. 2LS20

This would be the first step in apostasy; men first forget the true, and then adore the false. TD44:20

If I must be lost, let it be anyhow rather than as an apostate. If there be any distinction among the damned, those have it who are wandering stars, trees plucked up by the roots, twice dead, for whom Jude tells us, is “reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Reserved! as if nobody else were qualified to occupy that place but themselves. They are to inhabit the darkest, hottest place, because they forsook the Lord. 547.11

You know how many passages there are in which it is positively asserted that if a child of God did deliberately and totally apostatize, his restoration would be utterly impossible—not difficult, but impossible. This is one of the greatest proofs of the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, since there is no man in a condition in which it is impossible to save him, and yet any man would be in such a state if he apostatized. Therefore true believers shall not apostatize, but shall stand fast, and shall be kept even to the end. Yet, could they totally apostatize, they could never be restored again: the greatest remedy having already failed, there would remain no other. 1341.129

The raw material for a devil is an angel. The raw material for the son of perdition was an apostle; and the raw material for the most horrible of apostates is one who is almost a saint. 1929.623

That which begins with shamefacedness, equivocation, hesitation, and compromise will ripen into apostasy. 2209.328

Neither would it ensure your salvation to be able to foretell the future, for Balaam was a great prophet, but he was a great sinner; he was an arch-rebel although he was an arch-divine. 2330.495

He is not the God of apostates, for he hath said, “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” 2633.362

You must pick from among the apostles to find an apostate. 2914.610

Beginners in the way of grace, it is a great and solemn truth that every child of God will hold on until the end, but it is an equally solemn truth that many who profess to be the Lord’s are self-deceivers, and will turn out apostates after all. 3520.329

 2005/8/8 8:51









 Re: Apostasy by CH Spurgeon

A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the Reformed Faith

I believe that my one aim in life and death should be to glorify God and enjoy him forever; and that God teaches me how to glorify him in his holy Word, that is, the Bible, which he had given by the infallible inspiration of this Holy Spirit in order that I may certainly know what I am to believe concerning him and what duty he requires of me.

I believe that God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and incomparable in all that he is; one God but three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, my Creator, my Redeemer, and my Sanctifier; in whose power and wisdom, righteousness, goodness and truth I may safely put my trust.

I believe that the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, are the work of God hands; and that all that he has made he directs and governs in all their actions; so that they fulfill the end for which they were created, and I who trust in him shall not be put to shame but may rest securely in the protection of his almighty love.

I believe that God created man after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, and entered into a covenant of life with him upon the sole condition of the obedience that was his due; so that it was by willfully sinning against God that man fell into the sin and misery in which I have been born.

I believe, that, being fallen in Adam, my first father, I am by nature a child of wrath, under the condemnation of God and corrupted in body and soul, prone to evil and liable to eternal death; from which dreadful state I cannot be delivered save through the unmerited grace of God my Savior.

I believe that God has not left the world to perish in its sin, but out of the great love wherewith he has loved it, has from all eternity graciously chosen unto himself a multitude which no man can number, to deliver them out of their sin and misery, and of them to build up again in the world his kingdom of righteousness; in which kingdom I may be assured I have my part, if I hold fast to Christ the Lord.

I believe that God has redeemed his people unto himself through Jesus Christ our Lord; who, though he was and ever continues to be the eternal Son of God, yet was born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that are under the law: I believe that he bore the penalty due to my sins in his own body on the tree, and fulfilled in his own person the obedience I owe to the righteousness of God, and now presents me to his Father as his purchased possession, to the praise of the glory of his grace forever; wherefore renouncing all merit of my own, I put all my trust only in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ my redeemer.

I believe that Jesus Christ my redeemer, who died for my offences was raised again for my justification, and ascended into the heavens, where he sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty, continually making intercession for his people, and governing the whole world as head over all things for his Church; so that I need fear no evil and may surely know that nothing can snatch me out of his hands and nothing can separate me from his love.

I believe that the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ is effectually applied to all his people by the Holy Spirit, who works faith in me and thereby unites me to Christ, renews me in the whole man after the image of God, and enables me more and more to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness; until, this gracious work having been completed in me, I shall be received into glory; in which great hope abiding, I must ever strive to perfect holiness in the fear of God.

I believe that God requires of me, under the gospel, first of all, that , out of a true sense of my sin and misery and apprehension of his mercy in Christ, I should turn with grief and hatred away from sin and receive and rest upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation; that, so being united to him, I may receive pardon for my sins and be accepted as righteous in God's sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to me and received by faith alone; and thus and thus only do I believe I may be received into the number and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.

I believe that, having been pardoned and accepted for Christ's sake , it is further required of me that I walk in the Spirit whom he has purchased for me, and by whom love is shed abroad in my heart; fulfilling the obedience I owe to Christ my King; faithfully performing all the duties laid upon me by the holy law of God my heavenly Father; and ever reflecting in my life and conduct, the perfect example that has been set me by Christ Jesus my Leader, who has died for me and granted to me his Holy Spirit just that I may do the good works which God has afore prepared that I should walk in them.

I believe that God has established his Church in the world and endowed it with the ministry of the Word and the holy ordinances of Baptism, the Lord's Supper and Prayer; in order that through these as means, the riches of his grace in the gospel may be made known to the world, and, by the blessing of Christ and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them, the benefits of redemption may be communicated to his people; wherefore also it is required of me that I attend on these means of grace with diligence, preparation, and prayer, so that through them I may be instructed and strengthened in faith, and in holiness of life and in love; and that I use my best endeavors to carry this gospel and convey these means of grace to the whole world.

I believe that as Jesus Christ has once come in grace, so also is he to come a second time in glory, to judge the world in righteousness and assign to each his eternal award; an I believe that if I die in Christ, my soul shall be at death made perfect in holiness and go home to the Lord; and when he shall return to his majesty I shall be raised in glory and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity: encouraged by which blessed hope it is required of me willingly to take my part in suffering hardship here as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, being assured that if I die with him I shall also live with him, if I endure, I shall also reign with him. And to Him, my Redeemer, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, Three Persons, one God, be glory forever, world without end, Amen, and Amen.

 2005/8/17 19:31









 Re: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live


Sorry, missed the author's name.

Also, I want to ask, do we get keep our own personality?

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live

The Christ life is in harmony with our nature. The other day I was asked by a thoughtful, intelligent woman-one not a Christian, but who had the deepest hunger for that which is right-"How can Christ enter us and we not lose our individuality? This experience will destroy our personality; it violates our responsibility as individuals." My response was, "Your personality is incomplete without Christ. Christ was made for you, and you were made for Christ, and until you meet Him you are not complete. He needs you as you need Him. "Suppose," I continued, "that gas jet should say, 'If I take this fire in, the gas coursing through me will lose its individuality.' Oh, no; it is only when the fire comes in that the gas fulfills its purpose for being. "Suppose the snowflake should say, 'What shall I do? If I drop on the ground I shall lose my individuality.' But it falls and is absorbed by the soil, and with the coming spring the snowflakes are seen in the primroses and daisies." Let us lose ourselves and rise to a new life in Christ.

 2005/8/28 1:09









 Re: God Can Make You Strong

God Can Make You Strong

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:7)

God had done great things for King Asa and Judah, but yet they were a feeble folk. Their feet were very tottering in the ways of the Lord, and their hearts very hesitating, so that they had to be warned that the Lord would be with them while they were with Him, but that if they forsook Him He would leave them. They were also reminded of the sister kingdom, how ill it fared in its rebellion and how the Lord was gracious to it when repentance was shown. The Lord's design was to confirm them in His way and make them strong in righteousness. So ought it to be with us. God deserves to be served with all the energy of which we are capable.

If the service of God is worth anything, it is worth everything. We shall find our best reward in the Lord's work if we do it with determined diligence. Our labor is not in vain in the Lord, and we know it. Halfhearted work will bring no reward; but when we throw our whole soul into the cause, we shall see prosperity. This text was sent to the author of these notes in a day of terrible storm, and it suggested to him to put on all steam, with the assurance of reaching port in safety with a glorious freight.

[i]C H Spurgeon[/i]

 2005/10/14 11:28









 Re: Random Article strikes again

Quote:
This text was sent to the author of these notes in a day of terrible storm, and it suggested to him to put on all steam, with the [u]assurance[/u] of reaching port in safety with a glorious freight.

This strikes a chord with me - not the terrible storm as much as the need to put on all steam. Having sailed long distances in real ships a few times, there is a glorious difference between putting out from port and setting course for ocean proper.

The thought of arriving with a glorious cargo is encouragement too, as God Himself ordains the journey and undertakes to help it through - praise His Name! What a great God!

 2005/10/14 11:38
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 RASA ~ Duncan Campbell ~ STEADFASTNESS IN CONDUCT

(A note for newer readers, Rasa is not Jamaican but an acronym for "Random Article Strikes Again". On the main page to the upper right is where these gold nuggets break the surface every time you change pages or click on a link and come back. They constantly change, hence the "Random". But you can always go searching through [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/]Text Sermons [/url]under the main menu as well as that big button there for more.)


[i]"My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change"[/i] (Proverbs 24.21).

I came across an arresting statement in the Book of Job: "My witness is in heaven, and my record is on high" (Job 16.19), of which the Gaelic version reads as follows: "My witness is in the heavens, and He who bears testimony of me is on high."

Enoch had this testimony "that he pleased God" (Heb. 11.5), and the prayer of the writer to the Hebrews is in the following words: "The God of peace ... make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight" (Heb. 13.20, 21). This passage surely refers to the way we live and act, as those who profess to be followers of Christ.

There are two characters in Scripture, whose CONDUCT emphasizes this quality of life. In the Old Testament, the testimony of the woman of Shunem concerning Elisha is of interest in this connection: "I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually" (2 Kings 4.9), There was a consistency and STEADFASTNESS about his mode of living that marked him out as a holy man whose walk was well-pleasing to God. In the New Testament, it is said of Barnabas: "He was a good man," again indicating that there was something about his life that spoke of goodness or godliness. How many of us would rather have that said of us than that we were good preachers or good organizers! I believe the greatest contribution we can make to the cause of Christ is in the impact of our unconscious influence. Today we are inclined to think a great deal of cleverness, and even of smartness, but the day is coming when there will be a startling reversal. Goodness will be first and greatness last. Here I would recall the testimony of one Christian worker concerning another: "She is all she professes to be and much more." The writer of the following verses puts this very aptly:

"I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day,
I'd rather one would walk with me than merely show the way;
The eye's a better pupil, more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear;

The best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds, For to see good put in action is what everybody needs; I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done, I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run; The lectures you deliver may be very wise and true, But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do; I may not understand the high advice that you may give, But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live."

The late Dr. Stuart Holden, speaking of the early disciples, said: "Here were men who were with Him long enough to capture His spirit, and so were made competent to go forth to reproduce Him in the world." The success or failure of our work as a church or mission depends, in the last resort, largely, not in the number of preachers we put into the field, nor on the size of our congregations, but rather on the character of Christianity we and our work produce.

So we see that CONDUCT is the way we act or live. You have heard it said: "I do not care what people think of me." By way of comment, someone has said: "That may be all right as a statement of consecration, but it is a poor rule of conduct!" We ought to care what people think of us. Scripture clearly declares that we are called upon to be 'lights', so that men seeing our good works may glorify God. It is a solemn thought that God 's character before the world is committed to His people so that in a true sense, His reputation is in our hands. This can be illustrated by the story of the traveler who, some years ago, called at an hotel. The appointments were the finest and the service the best that he had ever known. The proprietor was considered the most successful man in that business in that part of the country. One day the traveler found the secret. In the staff quarters, unseen by the public, but where it was visible to his employees, hung a card with the words: "My reputation is in your hands."

My appeal is for a more practical expression of our faith, the practical aspect springing from a pattern of life based on New Testament standards, as represented by the Sermon on the Mount. The average man whom we are anxious to win, will not be impressed by anything less. Whitefield was once asked: "Is such and such a man a Christian?" "I do not know," was the reply, "I never lived with him," suggesting that he was basing his judgment on CONDUCT rather than hearsay.

This theme often engages the powerful pen of the apostle, mention of which has already been made in the preceding chapter, where he clearly states that "none of us liveth to himself" (Romans 14.7), suggesting that our CONDUCT is touching others at a thousand points. Was it the CONDUCT of Nehemiah that impressed King Artaxerxes, and led him to act as he did? Nehemiah was the custodian of God's interests in the palace, and his CONDUCT must reflect that. We, too, are the custodians of God's interests in the world. We would do well to ask ourselves: "Do men see Jesus in us?"

Henry Ward Beecher, when asked what was the secret of so much blessing in his ministry, replied: "I have good reflectors in the pew!" Nehemiah was a 'good reflector' in the King's household. Notice that as the King's cup-bearer, he realized that his position was an opportunity of furthering the cause of God. His conduct did but reflect his burden and his sense of responsibility. That, I believe, led the King to ask: "Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick?" (Neh. 2.2), to which Nehemiah replied: "Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?" (Neh. 2.3).

One cannot read this interesting record without being profoundly impressed by the prayer life of God's servant. Often we have the words: "So I prayed to the God of heaven." His mode of living, his CONDUCT, indicated that his was a disciplined life. He found time to pray because he lived with a sense of responsibility and urgency. He was a trusted servant, but he found time to pray in the day-time and in the night (Neh. 1.6).

Cont...


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Mike Balog

 2005/11/21 9:19Profile
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 Re: RASA ~ Duncan Campbell ~ STEADFASTNESS IN CONDUCT

I know of nothing that demands greater discipline than prayer, i.e. if we are to remain STEADFAST, but I know of no place where the "lure of the lesser loyalty" is more felt. We must ever remember that there is a sufficient latent power in the most trifling neglect of anything God shows us, to put an eternity of difference between us and His eternal purpose for our lives. Here is an entry in Robert Murray McCheyne's diary, dated February 23rd, 1834: "Sabbath. Rose early to seek God and found 'Him whom my soul loveth'. Who would not rise early to meet such company!"

Is it not remarkable, if not disturbing that we, as Christian workers, should often lose interest in the company that McCheyne loved to keep? It was also he who said: "No amount of activity in the King's service will make up for the neglect of the King Himself. Here, I would stress the need to guard carefully the morning watch. We should ever aim at coming into contact with God in the morning, so that hearing His voice we may be made conscious of His presence, and know the inspiration that comes from such a meeting.

I am fully persuaded that every man who has to speak for God to his fellows must first learn in himself to be silent before God. "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him," is the heart-cry of David (Psalm 62.5). He had come to learn that the way of duty, comfort, strength and stability was in fellowship with God. The prophet Isaiah also has an assuring word in this connection: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40.31). Away from the din of men to be lost in the full realization of God and the wonder of His saving grace, is surely what is suggested in this passage. This, surely, is the essential qualification for responsible service; for all the powers of heaven are ready to co-operate with the man who thus waits. How many there are whose lives are weak and whose service is poor and ineffective, just because they have not zealously guarded the time and place of prayer! It is well, therefore, that we should pause and ask ourselves the question: "What place has prayer in my life?"

The history of many a moral and spiritual tragedy is the history of the man who, because of his failure to maintain close fellowship with God, has lost out, and has become that which Paul dreaded to become -- a castaway! The tragedy could have been avoided, if only through waiting upon God there had been infused into his Christian character the 'rock' quality of which David writes: "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God" (Psalm 62.7). It is instructive to learn how practical such a life is in which such characteristics express themselves in a walk that is pleasing to God. There is a sincerity that is transparent, a goodness that is impressive, a walk that is upright and works that are righteous. Such a man lives in harmony with the truth he professes to believe.

When I want to discover the secret of a life that has left its mark on its day and generation, I find myself asking what lay behind that life; what was the motivating power that produced such character? The apostle answers that question: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1.8). Peter suggests that the root and fruit of Christian character springs from a belief in the invisible God becoming the supreme reality, and it is this indescribable awareness that controls CONDUCT, and exerts an influence that is far-reaching.

In his Corinthian Epistle, Paul makes a bold statement: "Be ye followers of me" (I Cor. 4.16). Matthew Henry, commenting on this passage, says: "It is plain that Paul not only preached such doctrine as they ought to be believe, but lived such a life as they ought to imitate." It was Dr. Chalmers who said: "There is more moral persuasion in a good man's life than in the highest efforts of an orator's genius." This leads me to a consideration of the power of influence.

When Paul exhorted the Corinthians, "Be ye steadfast, unmoveable . . ." (I Cor. 15.58), he surely had in mind that quality of life that often creates in others a desire to emulate the CONDUCT of the person whose actions are governed by high principles. Is it not true that a disposition to imitate is observable in the human race? The boy, seeing his father chopping wood, must have an axe and a saw. This desire is in the very heart of man, for God has put it there, and it is this desire which, when actuated by the Holy Spirit, leads on to higher heights and deeper depths, creating a hunger, such as finds expression in the prayer of the apostle: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3.12), or in the words of the hymn writer:

"More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me."

I read somewhere that in a certain cemetery a small white stone marked the grave of a young child. On the stone these words were chiseled: "A little child of whom her playmates said, 'It was easier to be good when she was with us'." Such was the conduct of a little girl.

During the revival in Lewis I was led to speak to a company of young converts from the text: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen. 4.9), stressing the point that men judge us, not by what we say, but by what we are and do. At the close of the meeting an elderly man who had recently found the Saviour, came to me and said very brokenly: "I am a living evidence of the tragedy of a wasted influence. What would I not give to recall the wasted years!" If to be forewarned is to be forearmed, let us heed the warning: "He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal. 6.8).

Our Lord used His teaching as a guide to our CONDUCT, and we would do well to remember that there is no discipleship without the attempt at imitation. "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (I Cor. 11.1) is a Scriptural injunction. What is the worth of a discipleship which, day by day, contradicts Christ's life? It was John Stuart Mill who said, as quoted by Alexander MacLaren: "There was no better rule for life than to do as Christ would have done." Christ's own words to His disciples are clear and emphatic: "Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am... For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13.13-15).

So let us bow to His kingly rule, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=category&cid=13]Duncan Campbell[/url]


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Mike Balog

 2005/11/21 9:23Profile
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Posts: 9192
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 Re: RASA ~ Duncan Campbell ~ STEADFASTNESS IN CONDUCT

Quote:
"I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day,
I'd rather one would walk with me than merely show the way;
The eye's a better pupil, more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear;

The best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds, For to see good put in action is what everybody needs; I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done, I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run; The lectures you deliver may be very wise and true, But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do; I may not understand the high advice that you may give, But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live."




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Mike Balog

 2005/11/21 23:18Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Ecstatic Feelings ~ Harmon A. Baldwin

[b]Ecstatic Feelings[/b]

Another ambiguous statement is that the sun is always shining (meaning ecstatic blessings) in the holy man's sky. We sing,


"Here the sun is always shining
Here the sun is always bright;
'Tis no place for gloomy Christians to abide
For my soul is filled with music,
And my heart with great delight,
And I'm living on the hallelujah side."


There is no doubt that the Sun of Righteousness is always shining, and that the holy man always resides under His healing rays and is a constant partaker of His beneficent influences, but it is also a fact that the holy man must pass through clouds. These clouds need not, and if the man keeps holy they will not succeed in intercepting the power of the rays of the Sun of Righteousness, yet they may temporarily intercept one's consciousness of these rays, and then the holy man sings,


"I oft pass through tunnels that seem dark as night,"


and it is possible that for the time being he may lose sight of even the inner light. Job had such an experience, but he said, "When Thou hast tried me, I will come forth as gold."


While Wesley strongly accuses Madam Guyon for teaching that God at times withdraws the consciousness of His presence and favor even from the soul that is cleansed, and says some good things about God not playing bo-peep with His children, yet, on the other hand, he admits the possibility of strong temptations clouding, temporarily, the work of God.



But does not sanctification shine by its own light? And does not the new birth, too? Sometimes it does; and so does sanctification; at others it does not. In the hour of temptation Satan clouds the work of God, and injects various doubts and reasonings, especially in those who have very weak or very strong understandings. At such times there is absolute need of that witness., without which the work of sanctification not only could not be discerned, but could no longer subsist.


We once heard a holiness preacher make the statement at the head of this chapter in substance, and then consume fifteen or twenty minutes in endeavoring to reconcile some of the Bible facts about trials, afflictions, heaviness, etc., with his unbiblical premise. We concluded that it was a hard job to split hairs close enough to bolster up a statement which contradicts both the Bible and every-day experience. While a man may always rejoice in the facts of redemption and personal participation in its merits, yet it is a question whether a person can be in heaviness through manifold temptations, and at the same time feel the ecstasy of joy that he does when the heaviness is removed. We once heard of a good brother who was subject to seasons of great temptation and pressure. After enduring for some time he would begin to shout. When asked why he shouted, he replied, "I am shouting to think how good I will feel when I get out of this." Some of you folks who are so often overtaken by temptation might try that for a while.


But some testify that it is an actual fact that "a cloud does arise to darken their skies." This is good, and we rejoice with such persons with exceeding joy; but when these persons insist in making their experiences a standard by which to measure all others, and harshly accuse the ones who suffer either mental or spiritual depression while under a stress of temptation or physical disability, we wish to register our humble objection. We have heard people loudly boast of their unclouded joys, and undisturbed serenity, reproaching those who did not reach the same standard; and then we have seen these same persons in the furnace, and have decided -- well, we are all human after all, even though we may be sanctified. It is not the amount of ecstasy which I enjoy that measures my grace, but the amount of victory I have in the midst of trials.


On the same line, some say that the sanctified, and some that even the justified, live a triumphant life. The Bible says that God "always causes us to triumph in Christ" (1 Cor. 2:14). If the reader will turn to this passage and read the context, he will find that the triumph of which the apostle speaks is along two lines, personal soul victory and success in preaching the gospel; there is no suggestion of the continual mountain-top ecstasies which some would have us believe are inseparable from a pure heart.


Doubtless, if one lives right, these soul thrills will come, and, perhaps, the nearer to God he lives the oftener they will come and the more glorious they will be; but the hundreds, yea, thousands that have fallen by the way because they did not continually feel the ecstatic triumphs that they were made to believe they should have, are witness to the error of such teaching and the need of a warning voice.


Do you have soul victory? Do you do God's bidding? If so you "triumph in Christ," no matter how heavy the burdens, or how gloomy your earthly prospects. George Nitsch says,
We can not have heaven twice; and that is how a chain of anxiety and trouble is woven into our happiness; and that is the reason Christ's kisses are so scarce, and His visits so rare. But when we come together above the sun and the moon, then we will experience the full riches of His love, which He will pour out upon us to all eternity.


This is soul triumph -- to live a holy life.

Again, we are told that the we are no movements in the clean soul in response to temptation. A second thought would surely show the error of such a statement for, if the temptation is detected and repelled there must of necessity be a movement of opposition. The response of righteous indignation is aroused at hearing the name of that God whom the soul adores blasphemed, or at the sight of vice and guilt outraging virtue and innocency.


If, in place of saying there is no response to temptation, we should say there is no agreement with temptation, we are correct, provided we except those solicitations which are directed at the natural appetites and desires which remain in the nature of even the sanctified. The devil tried this latter method with Jesus when he suggested that Jesus turn stones into bread to satisfy His hunger. There was a desire for food, and doubtless a desire to which the suggestion could appeal, but since at that special time, the working of the miracle to satisfy the desire for food would have been obedience to the devil, Jesus rejected it immediately. Thus when our natural appetites are aroused and solicited grace detects the enemy's ruse and overcomes. No sin is committed and the heart remains pure.

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=category&cid=642]Harmon A. Baldwin[/url]


_________________
Mike Balog

 2005/12/6 15:56Profile









 Re: The Real Power of the Pastor Is in His Earnest Godliness

The Real Power of the Pastor Is in His Earnest Godliness

This is his power with God; it is also his power with men. Though other branches of preparation are absolutely necessary, yet this it is which above every thing else will make him an able workman. His calling is such that his heart is needed in it at every point. It is the heart alone, and the heart glowing with love to God, that can give him strength and energy and perseverance and success. With it he will be irresistible, without it his ministerial life will be a failure. Where there is such an unction of the Holy Spirit it will, as a matter of course, impart a high and holy character; and a character without a spot and beyond suspicion must ever be the right arm of a minister's efficiency. It is in fact indispensable to his real efficiency. In this the calling of the pastor is different from most other callings among men. [b]Worldly wisdom or professional skill or artistic proficiency may give a high degree of success in these callings without any aid whatever from moral or religious character. But not so with the minister. Christian integrity is that which must penetrate and give tone to all that be does[/b]. What skill is to the artist, what logical acumen is to the lawyer, what far-seeing wisdom is to the statesman, [b]that is consistent integrity to him. It is the tower of his strength among men. It is his most attractive ornament. Rob him of that, and he becomes the most despised of mankind; give it to him in its richness, and no man is more honored and beloved. And the heart is the true source of such exalted character. Where there is devoted godliness in the heart it will be seen in the life. It cannot be hid[/b]. It is not ostentatious, but it must necessarily work itself out into the light of day, Moreover, it cannot be counterfeited. If the genuine work is not within, no efforts to imitate it will be successful. But [b]where it really is, life, lips, acts will all reveal it, even when it is not so intended. The heart which is elevated by communion with Christ will show itself on the countenance and in the daily communion with men[/b].

Hence, [b]whatever character we would bear with our fellow men, we must attain to in the depths of our own hearts. Whatever standing we would maintain before the world, we must first reach in our secret intercourse with God[/b]. Then devoted piety will almost inevitably disarm opposition, and even envy itself. There is in it such a charm of humility that enmity cannot stand in its presence. It has a gentleness of love that could not be hated. As a matter of fact, it may be generally seen that the men who live nearest to God are the ones who have the least annoyance from opposition. The good man will have but few adversaries, excepting among such as were adversaries to Him who was goodness incarnate. Because piety disarms opposition it must give power as well as peace to him who is most deeply imbued with its spirit. Moreover, [b]to have the heart true to God and true to men through the effectual working of the Holy Spirit is the only way to obtain that abiding confidence from men which is so essential to the gospel minister. That confidence cannot be retained unless it has its source in a deep fountain of truth within[/b]. But that will secure it. Who can doubt the reliability of him who evidently lives under the power of heavenly motives? And such confidence is an armory of power for the minister. Much as it is needed in most earthly callings, in none of them is it so important as in his. When men have reason to rely upon him fully, his motives will be rightly construed, even when they cannot all be seen, and all his efforts in the gospel cause will have double weight. He will then have an influence among his fellow men that will itself be a very great power.

There are men whose reputation for high integrity makes them giants- moral giants- for good in the world. For this reason, even if for none better, should [b]that highest of integrity, the integrity of true godliness, be assiduously sought after. It will give such weight to the minister's words that none of them will be lost[/b]. Coming, as they manifestly do, from an honest and earnest heart, they will be received, and weighed, and remembered. It will be seen that he holds communion with God, and so men will be induced to listen to him, as otherwise they would not. The respect which his manifest godliness inspires will compel them to honor his message. And then his preaching will inevitably be clothed with double power. That true sanctity which becomes the gospel minister will keep him near to God, the source of all real strength and success. He cannot retain any measure of spirituality unless be walks with God. But from that holy presence he will go out among his fellow men clothed in a might that no human training or talents could give him. Then may his soul beam with a glory like that which irradiated the face of Moses as he came down from Sinai. He would carry with him an indescribable atmosphere of sacredness that would tell effectively on all his ministry.

With almost the authority of the Master could be speak. From the source from which he received communications of grace would he also receive communications of power, and as he ministered in the name of the Lord, would the strength of that name go with him, and bring forth results that would be the crown of his rejoicing. An eminently pious minister will almost inevitably be successful in his blessed work. [b]The pity which he has learned to feel for souls, his unquenchable love for Jesus and his all absorbing zeal for the glory of God will impart to his working an earnestness that can scarcely fail of success[/b]. Clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit, which comes down to him in answer to his effectual fervent prayer, he will be sure of seeing the cause of Christ prospering in his hands. If he be a profound theologian, a ripe scholar or an eloquent speaker, his communion with God will hallow each gift and make it still more effective. If his attainments be of the most ordinary character, still the holy unction that accompanies his efforts will make them tell. This will make up wonderfully for other defects. Yes, it will often accomplish for the minister what no mere earthly advantages could. McCheyne well said: "A heated iron, though blunt, will pierce its way even where a much sharper instrument, if it be cold, cannot penetrate. So if our ministers only be filled with the Spirit, who is like fire, they will pierce into the hardest hearts where the sharpest wits cannot find their way." It was also a saying of his, [b]"A loving man will always accomplish more than a merely learned one."[/b] Another of his rich aphorisms were, "It is not great talents that God blesses so much as great likeness to Christ. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God." The names of multitudes of pastors could be given which would prove that those who are the most godly are the most highly blest in saving souls and spreading that righteousness of which the are themselves bright examples.

[b]Their work is not that which merely dazzles for a moment and then leaves deeper darkness behind it[/b]. It is abiding, and sends out great streams of influence for good that will cease neither in time nor in eternity. It is hoped that these emphatic reiterations of the fact that the pastor's deep piety is his real power will not be looked upon as platitudes. They may possibly be regarded by some who have not had much experience as commonplace truisms not needing mention. They have been repeated so often, and by so many, that here perhaps they may arrest scarcely any attention. But they cannot be thought of too profoundly. They are the words of truth and soberness. No true pastor but will understand their great importance more and more as his experience increases. It cannot be repeated too often, nor made too emphatic, that [b]the pastor's great power is in his vital godliness. Nothing in this wide world will make up for the lack of it. Let experience be heard[/b]. This is the testimony of all those who have been the most highly blest in their ministerial work. One such testimony may be given; it is that of one of the princes of Welsh preachers, Christmas Evans: "The pulpit orator falls infinitely too short of answering the desired effect unless the fire within him is kindled by the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, for which he must pray in the name of Jesus, firmly believing in God's promise that be will give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him. This is the mystery of the are of eloquence of the man of God. He must be clothed with the power from on high. Here is the great inward secret." In this work of the ministry, as in everything else pertaining to the gospel, God's great rule is, "Those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed." Let no one pass this point by until it has arrested his attention, sunken into his heart and fixed his life-purpose.

 2006/5/31 18:16





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