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Monthly Archives: March 2014
This morning’s Morning and Evening highlights the measure of Christ’s love. Undoubtedly, Spurgeon knew he could not do the subject justice when he quickly asked the question, “Where can we find the words to describe His matchless, His unparalleled love toward the children of men?” The right words could never exist. So Spurgeon did the next best thing any of us can do…
In Philippians 4:7, Paul refers to:
“the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”
In today’s passage, Ephesians 3:19, he prays for his readers to know:
“the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”
What tremendous benefits! The peace of God and the love of Christ are beyond our capacity for comprehension. And yet, we are given both. These glories of the Godhead are not only available, but inexhaustible. As Spurgeon says so well, “It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow simply skims the water without diving into its depths, so all descriptive words merely touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie below.”
The love of Christ surpasses all knowledge, but that does not mean His love is unknowable. We simply cannot comprehend how far it goes. Praise the Lord for His matchless love!
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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…to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge… — Ephesians 3:19
The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fullness, its greatness, its faithfulness passes all human comprehension. Where can we find the words to describe His matchless, His unparalleled love toward the children of men? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow simply skims the water without diving into its depths, so all descriptive words merely touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie below. Well might the poet say,
O love, thou fathomless abyss!
For this love of Christ is indeed measureless and fathomless; no one can fully comprehend it. Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand His previous glory in its height of majesty, and His incarnation upon the earth in all its depths of shame. But who can tell us the majesty of Christ? When He was enthroned in the highest heavens He was very God of very God. By Him the heavens were made, and all its inhabitants. His own almighty arm upheld the spheres; the praises of cherubim and seraphim perpetually surrounded Him; the full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe flowed without ceasing to the foot of his throne. He reigned supreme above all His creatures, God over all, blessed forever.
Who can tell His height of glory then? And who, on the other hand, can tell how low He descended? To be a man was something; to be a man of sorrows was far more. To bleed and die and suffer—these were much for Him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony—to endure a death of shame and desertion by His Father—this is a depth of condescending love that the most inspired mind must utterly fail to fathom. Herein is love! And truly it is love that “surpasses knowledge.”
O let this love fill our hearts with adoring gratitude and lead us to practical demonstrations of its power.
Charles Spurgeon knew how to write a killer one-liner. This morning’s Morning and Evening contains at least two of them. They are:
“It is one thing to promise, and quite another to perform.”
“Divine grace can make the coward brave.”
Nuff said. Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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Then all the disciples left Him and fled. — Matthew 26:56
He never deserted them, but they in cowardly fear of their lives fled from Him at the very outset of His sufferings. This is but one instructive instance of the frailty of all believers if left to themselves; they are but sheep at best, and they flee when the wolf appears. They had all been warned of the danger and had promised to die rather than leave their Master; and yet they were seized with sudden panic and took to their heels.
It may be that I, at the opening of this day, have braced myself to bear a trial for the Lord’s sake, and I imagine myself able for the challenge; but let me be careful in case with the same evil heart of unbelief I should depart from my Lord as the apostles did. It is one thing to promise, and quite another to perform. It would have been to their eternal honor to have stood manfully at Jesus’ side; they fled from honor. May I be kept from imitating them! Where else could they have been so safe as near their Master, who could presently call for twelve legions of angels? They fled from their true safety.
O God, let me not play the fool also. Divine grace can make the coward brave. The smoking flax can flame forth like fire on the altar when the Lord wills it. These very apostles who were timid as hares grew to be bold as lions after the Spirit had descended upon them, and even so the Holy Spirit can make my wretched spirit brave to confess my Lord and witness for His truth. What anguish must have filled the Savior as He saw His friends so faithless! This was one bitter ingredient in His cup; but that cup is drained dry; let me not put another drop in it.
If I forsake my Lord, I shall crucify Him afresh and put Him to an open shame. Keep me, O blessed Spirit, from such a shameful end.
Yesterday’s Morning and Evening is full of truth, but requires an ounce or two of discernment. Spurgeon was not a “word of faith” or “name it and claim it” preacher. And yet he says, “If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith.” How are we to interpret such a statement without injecting the worst of all presuppositions?
First of all, we should remember that asking for spiritual blessing is not sinful. In fact, we are encouraged to ask. But what we ask for (and why) determines everything. How often do we pray for an escape plan out of trial instead of praying for God’s grace to bring us through it? James 4:2-3 states,
You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Spurgeon’s devotional is not intended to promote a self-centered attitude of worldly entitlement. The Apostle Paul did not speak words of prosperity into his own life either. In Philippians 3:10, he says that he wishes to…
…know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death…
To his son in the faith, he wrote in 2 Timothy 1:8,
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.
So what is Spurgeon saying? To better understand the nature of faith, we should consider God’s servant Job. Job 1:8 says,
And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
Notice that God puts Job on Satan’s radar… not because Job had sinned… but because he was righteous. He even says “there is none like him on the earth.” That’s high praise from creation’s Creator. Who doesn’t want God to say that about them? And yet, Job was in the perfect position for his faith to be showcased through affliction. After losing his sons, daughters, and wealth, he reacted as a true man of faith. Job 1:20 says,
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
Who worships God when they lose everything? Those of faith.
Faith is not believing hard enough until God gives us what we want. Faith is trusting God that He is in control of all things and has our best interests in mind. Without faith, we are without hope. We have no access to the faithful promises of God, unless our faith in Christ is that of genuine stock. He alone knows all things, including the unseen circumstances that surround our situation. He will not hand us a snake when we ask for bread, but He will allow the serpents to come when they are needed. When that happens, let’s fall to our faces like Job and stand with the Apostles who begged, “Increase our faith!”
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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…strong in his faith… — Romans 4:20
Christian, take good care of your faith, for faith is the only way in which you can obtain blessings. If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith. Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne unless it is the earnest prayer of the man who believes. Faith is the angelic messenger between the soul and the Lord Jesus in glory. Let that angel be withdrawn, we can neither send up prayer, nor receive the answers. Faith is the telegraphic wire that links earth and heaven—on which God’s messages of love fly so fast that before we call He answers, and while we are still speaking He hears us. But if that telegraphic wire of faith is snapped, how can we receive the promise? Am I in trouble? I can obtain help for trouble by faith. Am I beaten about by the enemy? My soul leans on God by faith. But take faith away—in vain I call to God.
There is no road between my soul and heaven. In the deepest wintertime faith is a road on which the horses of prayer may travel—ay, and all the better for the biting frost; but blockade the road and how can we communicate with the Great King? Faith links me with divinity. Faith clothes me with the power of God. Faith engages on my side the omnipotence of Jehovah. Faith ensures every attribute of God in my defense. It helps me defy the hosts of hell. It makes me march in triumph over my enemies. But without faith how can I receive anything from the Lord? The one who wavers—who is like a wave of the sea—should not expect to receive anything from God!
So, then, Christian, pay attention to your faith; for with it you can win all things, however poor you are, but without it you can obtain nothing. “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.”1
1 Mark 9:23