Self And Pride

Have you ever seen a generation so full of itself? Seemingly every thought is about self. It’s not about knowing self, but about serving self. If this generation was occupied with truly knowing itself, it would be ashamed of itself. Some of the smartest people that have ever lived in this world are living today — just ask them, just listen to them, just watch them; yet, as they are suffered to carry out their wise designs they are destroying themselves.

What is it that everyone in our generation should know about themselves? That they are nothing. “If a man thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”*

Everyone in this generation needs to know he is deserving of nothing — not another breath, step, food, drink, health, job or freedom or anything else, but to be immediately judged of God and punished in hell forever for their sins. “If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.”** Are God’s enemies deserving of any good?

How few in our generation suppose themselves to be God’s enemy — or even care to think of such a thing? How many suppose themselves worthy of being rewarded with slashes of God’s glittering sword? What an awakening for this generation when God exposes its sin to itself. How horrified it will be to see itself as it really is. Oh, it’s so proud, so smart, so educated, so worthy — but just wait.

Lloyd Jones said, “Pride is the last citadel of self. We have come to realize that a man can be educated and cultured, and still be a beast. The natural man is always looking at himself and admiring himself. The whole trouble in life is ultimately a concern about self.” The modern man is a great worshiper. He has great faith, great enlightenment, but it’s all about self. Now go take a selfie.

-Bruce Crabtree, Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church, New Castle, IN USA

* Galatians 6:3; **Deuteronomy 32:41




Do You Well To Be Angry, Saved Soul?

Lord what is man? And what is a human heart – the heart even of thy saints – when proved and held up to view?  “O heart,  heart,” said John Berridge of himself, “what are thou?  A mass of fooleries and absurdities, the vainest, craftiest, wickedest, most foolish thing in nature.” What deep-hidden evil, what selfishness, what pride, what harsh tempers and what worldliness, come out in a moment, when the stroke (of God’s chastening hand or divine providence) goes deep into the soul. 

Of
all the evils which are thus drawn forth from the heart of the saint, the
worst, and yet the commonest, are hard thoughts of God.  We wonder why He should treat us thus. We
suspect His love and faithfulness. Our hold of His grace seems to loosen as if
at times it would wholly give way. 

 We are like Jonah with his withered gourd. We think we do well to be angry even unto death.  God does not seem the same loving God as when first we believed and tasted forgiveness from His gracious hands.  Alas, the treachery of our hearts has been at length discovered.  We find that we were not “serving God for nought.”  May he not in disapproval ask us, “Doest thou well to be angry?”  Would not this question close our lips forever? Doest thou well to be angry or despondent when God has forgiven all thine iniquities and removed them from thee as fare as the East is from the West? 

Doest
thou well to be angry when thou are delivered from the wrath to come, as well
as from this present evil world, and safely lodged within the cleft of the rock
with Jesus thy companion there? 

Doest
thou well to be angry with the Father’s love is thine assured portion, and the
kingdom of the Son thine inheritance forever? 

Doest thou well to be angry seeing the night is far spent and Christ’s return is nigh at hand?

-Horatius Bonar




Christ Is The Best Resting Place

This one true goal or resting-place where doubt and weariness, the stings of a pricking conscience, and the longings of an unsatisfied soul would all be quieted, is Christ Himself. Not the church, but Christ. Not doctrine, but Christ. Not forms, but Christ. Not ceremonies, but Christ. Christ the God-man, giving his life for ours; sealing the everlasting covenant, and making peace for us through the blood of His cross; Christ the divine storehouse of all light and truth, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3); Christ the infinite vessel, filled with the Holy Spirit, the enlightener, the teacher, the quickened, the comforter, so that “out of his fullness we may receive, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). This, this alone is the vexed soul’s refuge, its rock to build on, its home to abide in till the great temper be bound and every conflict ended in victory.

-Horatius Bonar




God’s Sovereign Election To Grace

The Bible reveals God to be sovereign in creation,
providence, and salvation. When men object to God’s sovereignty exercised in
election, we do well to point them to the apostle’s words in Romans 9:20-21,
“Nay, but, O man, who are you to reply against God? Shall the thing formed say
to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power
over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor, and another
unto dishonor?” Men have been told for so long that God is in their hands, it
is no wonder that many are astonished to hear that the Bible says it is just
the opposite.

-David Pledger, Pastor of Lincoln Wood Baptist Church, Houston, TX USA




The Perfect Leading And Care Of Our Great Shepherd

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads
 me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:1-2

He leads me. I certainly need someone to lead me. I am so poor, so blind, so weak, so foolish that, if left to myself, I would fatally err. Lord, never leave me nor forsake me, lest I be undone. 

My Shepherd leads me gently and wisely. He makes no mistakes. He knows the way I ought to go. He knows how much sweet and how much bitter, are best for me. He understands me fully. Oh, how He mingles mercy with judgment!

True, He leads me often in a mysterious way. I see not the end from the beginning. I cannot see afar off. His footsteps are in the sea; clouds and thick darkness surround Him. He gives account of none of His matters. His judgments are a great deep. But He never does wrong. He leads me in the paths of righteousness.

He leads me always — in prosperity and in adversity; in joy and in sorrow. If He left me even for an hour I would be undone.

When
I sleep, You, Lord, keep vigil over me.

When
I awake, I am still with You.

On
the land and on the sea,

I am kept by Your mighty power.

He leads me — and I will follow Him. I will put my hand in His — and go wherever His prudence shall direct.

“Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path” Psalm 27:11

“From the end of the earth I cry to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the Rock higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

-William Plumer




The Marks Of The Few True Heaven-bound Pilgrims

Fellow pilgrims, the heavenly way we travel is
more or less a lonely way. We have, at most, but few companions. It is a
“little flock,” and only here and there we meet a traveler, who, like
ourselves, is journeying towards heaven.

Because the way is narrow, difficult, and humiliating
to the flesh, there are only a few, under the drawings of the Spirit, who find
it.

If true religion consisted in a ‘mere profession’ then
there are many on the way to heaven.

If the marks of discipleship were merely an orthodox
creed, excited feelings, or denominational zeal, then there are many who ‘find
the way.’

But true pilgrims are those with broken hearts; those who are poor in spirit; those who mourn for sin; those who know the music of the Shepherd’s voice; those who follow the Lamb; those who delight in the throne of grace; and those who love the place of the cross.

-Octavius Winslow




The Invaluable Treasure Of God-given Faith

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  1 Peter 1:7

True faith is, in every case, the operation of the Spirit of God. Its nature is purifying, elevating, heavenly.

Wherever true faith is found, it is: the sure mark of eternal election, the sign of a blessed condition, and the forecast of a heavenly destiny.

Faith is the eye of the renewed soul, the hand of the regenerated mind, the mouth of the newborn spirit.

Faith is the evidence of spiritual life, the mainspring of holiness, the foundation of delight, the prophecy of glory, and the dawn of endless knowledge.

If you have true faith, you have infinitely more than he who has all the world.

Faith is the assurance of sonship; the pledge of inheritance;
the grasp of boundless possession; the perception of the invisible.

Within your faith there lies glory, even as the oak sleeps within the acorn.

Time would fail me to tell of the powers, the privileges, the possessions and the prospects of faith.

He that has faith is blessed, for he pleases God, he is justified before the throne of holiness, he has full access to the throne of grace and he has the preparation for reigning with Christ forever.

-C.H. Spurgeon




Believers Are One And Called To Behave As One In Christ

The Lord’s people are all one in Christ; and as such — they are near and dear to Him. They are also one with each other, being one body, influenced by one Spirit, walking by one written rule, and traveling along one consecrated way, to one eternal home!

What a mercy — to be one with Christ! What a mercy — to be one with the people of Christ! Building on the same foundation, encouraging the same hopes, and sharing the same privileges. As branches of the same vine, as stones in the same building, as members of the same body — our connection is close, and our fellowship should be profitable.

We are said to be fellow-citizens, forming part of the same commonwealth, entitled to the same blessings, and required to perform the same duties.

We are fellow-servants in the same family, sitting at the same table, employed in the same service, and doing honor to the same master.

We are fellow-laborers, in the same vineyard, engaged for the same purpose, at the same pay, to aim at the same object.

We are fellow-soldiers, forming part of the same army, engaged in the same warfare, against the same foes.

We are fellow-sufferers, in the same cause, from the same sources, and in the same way.

We are fellow-helpers, and
should assist each other in conflict, in toil, and in trouble.

We are fellow-heirs, being
all of us heirs of God, and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us have fellowship with each other, in all things spiritual and holy; and rejoice in the thought, that though we may differ in circumstantials — we are one in essentials. Yes, being one with Christ — we are all one in Christ. We are members one of another, even as we are members of Christ. Blessed be God for our union to Christ — and fellowship with each other!

-James Smith




Saved To The End By Jesus

Jesus, to whom I have been led to commit myself, has engaged to save me, absolutely, and from first to last. He has promised not only that He will not depart from me — never finally depart from Him! And if He does not do this for me — I have no security against my turning apostate! For I am so weak, inconsistent, and sinful; I am so encompassed with deadly snares from the world; and I am so liable to such assaults from the subtlety, vigilance, and power of Satan — that, unless I am “kept by the power of God,” I am sure I cannot endure to the end!

I do believe that the Lord will keep me while I walk humbly and obediently before Him; but, were this all — it would be cold comfort! For I am prone to wander — and need a Shepherd whose watchful eye, compassionate heart, and boundless mercy — will pity, pardon, and restore my backslidings!

For, though by His goodness and not my own — I have hitherto been preserved in the path of holiness; yet I feel those evils within me, which would shortly break loose and bear me down to destruction, were He not ever present with me to control them.

Those who comfortably hope to see His face in glory — have so deep and painful a sense of their own weakness and vileness, as daily experience forces upon me. I desire to be found in the use of the Lord’s appointed means for the renewal of my spiritual strength — but I dare not undertake to watch a single hour, nor do I find ability to think a good thought, nor a power in myself of resisting any temptation! My strength is perfect weakness — and all I have is sin.

In short, I must sit down in despair — if I did not believe that He who has begun a good work in me, will carry it out to completion.

-John Newton




Kept To The Finish By God Alone!

The doctrine of the
perseverance of the saints has a voice to the unconverted. I know
it had to me. I had seen companions of my boyhood, somewhat more advanced than
myself…soon their moral excellences were swept away. And I found that if I put
my trust in Christ, I had the promise that I should hold on my way, and though I feared I might never be a true believer, and so get the
promise fulfilled to myself, for I was so unworthy, yet the music of it always
charmed me.

“Oh, if I could but come to Christ and hide myself like a dove in his wounds, then I should be safe. If I could but have him to wash me from my past sins, then his Spirit would keep me from future sin, and I should be preserved to the end.” Does not this attract you? Oh, I hope there may be some who will be allured by such a salvation as this. We preach no rickety gospel which will not bear your weight; it is no chariot whose axles will snap, or whose wheels will be taken off. This is no foundation of sand that may sink in the day of the flood. Here is the everlasting God pledging himself by covenant and oath, and he will write his law in your heart that you shall not depart from him; he will keep you, that you shall not wander into sin, and if for awhile you stray, he will restore you again to the paths of righteousness. O young men and maidens, turn in hither! Cast in your lot with Christ and his people. Trust him, trust him, trust him, and then shall this precious truth be yours, and the experience of it be illustrated in your life:

My name from the palms of his hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on his heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace.

Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given;
More happy, but not more secure,
Are the glorified spirits in Heaven!

-C.H Spurgeon