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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Would you know the secret of that holy flame?

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followthelamb
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Would you know the secret of that holy flame?

"IN the love of Christ we find our best joy. The pastures of the Great Shepherd are wide, but the sweetest grasses grow close to his pierced feet. The love of Jesus is the center of salvation; it is as the sun in the midst of the heavens of grace. I trust that while I lead your meditations this morning towards this golden theme you will be able to enter in spirit into the heart and soul of it. Paul said, when he spake of marriage, “Behold, I show you a mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” There is always much that is mysterious here, that it is ever the mystery of love…

we greatly need the aid of the Holy Spirit to prepare our minds for the enjoyment of this truth. It is one thing to hear the outward sound of love, it is another thing to feel an inward sense of it. It is pleasant to hear the rippling of the brook; but if you are dying of thirst that silver music will not refresh you if you are unable to drink of the stream. Come, Holy Spirit, come. We beseech thee, take of the things of Christ, and glorify him by revealing them to our inmost souls!

...Having thus chosen us for love, so great was the love of our Lord that he became man for love of us. He “counted it not robbery to be equal with God,” but became man that he might carry out his purposes of love to us. It is written, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.” and this has its highest exemplification in Christ, who quitted his Father that he might become one flesh with his church. He took our nature, that so he might be able to do for us, and suffer for us, what else he could not have done and suffered.

By thus taking upon himself our nature he established a nearer union and a sweeter fellowship with his beloved church than could otherwise have existed. If he had never become the babe of Bethlehem, and the man of Nazareth, how could he have been made in all points like unto his brethren? Think what that love must have been which brought the Lord of glory from the highest heaven to become the Man of sorrows for our sakes!…

Let us not doubt his love, for that would be wanton cruelty; but sitting down in stillness of mind let our hearts quietly beat time to this one sentence: He loveth me— He loveth me. More surely than parent or child, or husband or wife, or the best tried friend, Jesus loves his blood-bought ones! O my soul, he loves thee! Be thou always ravished with his love….

You are, moreover, joined to him by living, loving, lasting union, as the bride is united to the bridegroom. You are identical with your covenant Head to-day in the purposes of God. God hath dealt with him as though he had sinned your sin, and now he deals with you as though you had wrought his righteousness. In the purposes of God you are wrapped up with the Lord Jesus Christ. Herein is love! The future of Jesus is to be your future; you are to be with him where he is…

LET US MEDITATE CONTINUALLY UPON THE LOVE OF CHRIST. I would help your meditations by giving a few hints. Do not think that I am preaching, but consider that you are alone in your chamber, and that I am speaking through a telephone to you. Let me vanish, and let Jesus stand before you.

Meditate upon the love of Christ to you. It is a love ancient and venerable, tried and proved. He loved you when you were not; he loved you when you were, but were not what you should be. He has loved you into spiritual being; he has loved you so as to keep you in that being. He loved you so as to suffer and to die, and he loves you so as to permit you to suffer for his sake.

He has loved you so well as to bear with your ill manners, your shortcomings, and your transgressions, your coldness, your backsliding, your lack of prayer, your hardness of heart, your little love to your brethren, and all the other sins of which I will not now accuse you, for it is a time of love. He has loved you right on without pausing or slackening...

This love of our Lord’s, so free, so full, so forceful, was and is most amazing. We shall never hear better or more surprising news than this, that Jesus loves us. Nothing more surprising ever came to me than to learn “he loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Others may, perhaps, see what is wrought by the Lord’s grace in us, and this may make them the less astonished at the Lord’s love towards us; but we know ourselves, and see our blemishes as well as our beauties, and hence we know that there is nothing lovable in us by nature. When we see our Lord’s beauty we see nothing but deformity in ourselves. The more we perceive his love the more do we abhor ourselves because of our own want of love to him, and because of the defilements into which we have fallen. We are amazed at our sin, and more amazed at his love.

We shall go on reading in the golden Book of Christ’s love throughout all eternity, and the longer we study it the more we shall be astonished that ever the Holy and the Glorious and the Ever-blessed should have espoused in love such insignificant, polluted, and fickle-hearted creatures as we are…

Words cannot to the full express the mind of love: language filters from the lips, while feeling gushes from the heart. Jesus has written out his love in living characters. O Master! never man spake like thee, and yet that was thy most eloquent discourse when thou didst say but little, but didst stretch thy hands to the cross, that they might be nailed there. Then didst thou pour out thy heart, not in oratory, but in blood and water.

Jesus has given to us his crown, his garments, his body, his soul, his life, himself. Said I not well that his is practical love? It is love full of tenderness, rich in bounty, lavish in thoughtfulness, firm in constancy, strong as death, mightier than the grave…

Beloved, we must not fail to note the intimacy of this love, for Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” Even such is his love to us; it is intimate in character; for Jesus saith, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” Jesus has made himself one with his people. He loves them with a marvellous intimacy, so that in loving them he loves himself, for he has made them to be “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”

I go further: our Lord loved us better than he loved himself, for they truly said of him, “He saved others; himself he could not save.” His mighty love made him to be a sacrifice for his people, that he might redeem them from under the curse of the law…

Love has also a melting influence. The hammer of the law breaks, but the heart, when thus broken, is like a broken flint, every bit of which is still flint. When the love of Jesus performs its office, it dissolves us, turning the flint into flesh. An old divine says that when the law creates repentance the tears are hard as hailstones in the sinner’s eyes, and I believe it is so; but when the gospel makes us repent, our weeping is as the dew of the morning. What a blessed softness grace produces! How tender is the heart which Jesus touches with his pierced hand!…

The love of Jesus has a cleansing and sanctifying power. To kill the love of sin live in the love of Christ. He whom Christ loves hates sin. We begin to say within ourselves— What shall I quit for Christ? What shall I do for Christ?

The love of Jesus shed abroad in the soul hath a sanctifying savour: it perfumes the heart with holiness. His love is as a fire of odoriferous woods; it consumes sin, and gives forth a fragrance of virtue. No furnace ever purifies our heart like the love of Jesus, which burns like coals of juniper. The way of love is the road to perfectness...A heart enamoured of the holy Jesus will be very jealous lest it grieve him by sin...

This it is, too, that makes us tender to others and compassionate for this poor, ruined world. If any of you want to love the souls of men, learn how Christ loved you. You will love the vilest for his sake. If you would have eyes wherewith to weep over this sinful city, see how Jesus wept for you. If you would be prompt at all times to help the needy and succour the afflicted, keep close to the side of your gentle, tender, compassionate Lord, and as you feel his love to you, you will feel pity for others.

It is this that inflames men with a true zeal for God and for the good of men. Some hardly know what it is to be zealous, but there are a few saints yet remaining who are like pillars of flame from morning till night. We have some among us; my fear is lest they consume themselves and are gone before others have caught the flame.

Would you know the secret of that holy flame which sits upon some apostolic men? The love of Jesus is that heavenly fire: they burn with love as they think of him whose love made him a whole-burnt offering for them.

This love fills believers with delight. If you would be always happy, sustain your mirth upon the spiced wine of his pomegranate. He loveth me; he loveth me, O joyous thought! Such an assurance creates a Paradise in a prison, and a heaven in heaviness.”

— C.H. Spurgeon


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