Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. -Revelation 14:14
Death is not an independent being, who comes at his own will, to carry us away when he pleases. In fact, it is not true that death does take away the Christian at all: God alone can remove His children from this world. Whether the humble peasant, or the reigning monarch, one hand lifts them to the sky. You will see this by referring to the Revelation where the vintage of the wicked is gathered by an angel, but the harvest of the righteous is reaped by Christ Himself. “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over the fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” These were the wicked. But, if you go to the preceding passage, it says, “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” Christ is the reaper who cuts His own corn. He will not trust an angel to do it. God alone has the issues of life in His hand.~ C.H. Spurgeon
And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them. -John 17:10
A tried saint brings more glory to God than an untried one. I do verily think in my own soul that a believer in a dungeon reflects more glory on his Master than a believer in paradise, that a child of God in the burning fiery furnace, whose hair is yet unscorched, and upon whom the smell of the fire has not passed, displays more the glory of Godhead than even he who stands with a crown upon his head, perpetually singing praises before the Father’s throne. Nothing reflects so much honor on a workman as a trial of his work, and its endurance of it. So with God. It honors Him when His saints preserve their integrity. Peter honored Christ more when he walked upon the water, than when he stood upon the land. There was no glory given to God by his walking on the solid shore, but there was glory reflected when he trod upon the water. Peter saw the Lord coming on the water, and he said to him, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” What may we not go through, Christians, at His command? O methinks we could rise and cut Agag to pieces, and hew the devil himself and break his head, through the power of Jesus. It is then for the glory of Jesus that we yet tarry. If my lying in the dust would elevate Christ one inch higher, I would say, “O let me remain, for it is sweet! to be here for the Lord.” And if to live here for ever would make Christ more glorious, I would prefer to live here eternally. If we could but add more jewels to the crown of Christ by remaining here, why should we wish to be taken out of the world? We should say, “It is blessed to be anywhere, where we can glorify him.”~ C.H. Spurgeon
As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. -John 17:18
Methinks we should all be willing to remain on earth for the good of others. Why may not saints die as soon as they are converted? For this reason: because God meant that they should be the means of the salvation of their brethren. You would not, surely, wish to go out of the world if there were a soul to be saved by you. Methinks if I could go to glory before I had converted all the souls allotted to me, I should not be happy; but that would be impossible, for God will not shut His saints in till they have been spiritual fathers to those appointed. We do not wish to enter heaven till our work is done, for it would make us uneasy on our beds if there were one single soul left to be saved by our means. Tarry, then, Christian; there is a brand to be plucked out of the fire, a sinner to be saved from his sins, a rebel to be turned from the error of his ways, and may hap that sinner is one of thy relatives. May hap, poor widow, that art spared in this world, because there is a wayward son of thine not yet saved, and God hath designed to make thee the favored instrument of bringing him to glory. And thou hoary-headed Christian, it may be that though “the grasshopper is a burden to thee,” and thou longest to go, thou art kept here because one of thy offspring, by thy instrumentality, is yet to be saved. Tarry, then, for thy son’s sake, who came from thy loins. I know how deeply thou dost love him, and for his sake surly thou art content to be left here a little, counting it for the best that thou mayest bring in thy son to glory with thee.
Do not be afraid to go out into the world to do good. Christ is keeping you in the world for the advantage of your fellow-men.~ C.H. Spurgeon
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world…They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. -John 17:14, 16
Fellowship with Christ is so honorable a thing that it is worth while to suffer, that we may thereby enjoy it. You have sometimes heard me express a desire that I might be in the number of those who shall be alive and remain, and so shall escape death, but a dear friend of mine says, he had rather die, in order that he might thus have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings, and methinks the thought finds an echo in my own breast. To die with Jesus makes death a perfect treasure, to be a follower in the grave with Him makes death a pleasure. Moreover, you and I might be taken for cowards, although we may have fellowship with Him in His glory, if we had no scars to prove the sufferings we had passed through, and the wounds we had received for His name. Thus, again you see it is for our good to be here; we should not have known fellowship with the Saviour, if we had not tarried here a little while. I should never have known the Saviour’s love half so much if I had not been in the storms of affliction. How sweet it is to learn the Saviour’s love when nobody else loves us! When friends flee away, what a blessed thing it is to see that the Saviour does not forsake us but still keeps us, and holds fast by us, and clings to us, and will not let us go! O beloved brother and sister, believe that your remaining here on earth is for your eternal benefit, and therefore Jesus said. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.”~ C.H. Spurgeon
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.-Philippians 1:21
We conceive that the greatest blessing we shall ever receive of God is to die; but doubtless it would not be for our good to withdraw from this world as soon as we had escaped from sin. It is better for us to tarry a little while; far better. And the reasons for this are-first, because a little stay on earth will make heaven all the sweeter. Nothing makes rest so sweet as toil; nothing can render security so pleasant as a long exposure to alarms, and fears, and battles. No heaven will be so sweet as a heaven, which has been preceded by torments and pains. Methinks the deeper draughts of woe we drink here below, the sweeter will be those draughts of eternal glory which we shall receive from the golden bowls of bliss; the more we are battered and scarred on earth the more glorious will be our victory above, when the shouts of a thousand times ten thousand angels welcome us to our Father’s palace. The more trials the more bliss, the more sufferings the more ecstasies, the more depression the higher the exaltation. Thus we shall gain more of heaven by the sufferings we shall pass through here below. Let us not then, my brethren, fear to advance through our trials: they are for our good; to stop here awhile is for our benefit. Why! we should not know how to converse in heaven if we had not a few trials and hardships to tell of, and some tales of delivering grace to repeat with joy. An old sailor likes to have passed through a few shipwrecks and storms, however hazardous they may have been, for he anchors in Greenwich Hospital, he will there tell, with great pleasure, to his companions, of his hair-breadth escapes. There will be some old soldiers in heaven, too, who will recount their fights, how their Master delivered them, and how He won the victory and kept off all their foes.~ C.H. Spurgeon
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world…” -John 17:15
Some hermits and others have fancied that if we were to shut ourselves from the world and live alone, we should then be more devoted to God and serve Him better…Why, brethren, common sense tells us at once that living alone is not the way to serve God. It may be the way to serve self, and wrap ourselves in a garment of self-complacency; but it cannot be the way to worship God truly. If it be possible, by this means, to fulfil one part of the great law of God, we cannot possibly carry out the other portion-to love our neighbour as ourselves, for we thus become unable to bind up the broken-hearted, to bring the wanderer back, or to win souls from death and sin. Out of the heart proceedeth all evil, and if we were in retirement we should sin, because we should carry our hearts with us into whatever solitude we entered.
…But it may be understood in a second sense. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of this world”–by death…But Jesus does not pray that one of His chosen people should be too soon removed, He does not desire to see His newly begotten souls plume their wings and fly aloft to heaven until their time shall come…He leaves it to His Father, until, like shocks of corn fully ripe, we shall each of us be gathered into our Master’s garner… Christ does not pray that we should be taken out of the world, because our abode here is for our own good, for the world’s benefit, and for His glory. ~ C.H. Spurgeon