Be Watchful, Saint

Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:12

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. – 2 Corinthians 13:5

One thought may occur to the most joyous believer. He will say, “What if after rejoicing in all this blessedness I should lose it?” “What,” cries one, “do you not believe in the final perseverance of the saints?” Assuredly I do, but are we saints? There’s the question. Moreover, many a believer who has not lost his soul has, nevertheless, lost his present joy and prosperity, and why may not we? The good man has shone as a star of the first magnitude, but suddenly he has dwindled into darkness: he has been unwatchful, and in consequence by the dozen years together he has had to go softly in the bitterness of his soul. We have known fathers in Israel who have stepped aside, and though they have by deep repentance found their way to heaven, they have gone sorrowing thither. Look at David’s history. Note that one sin with Bathsheba, and ask who was more tried and troubled than David throughout the rest of his pilgrimage? The doctrine of final perseverance was never intended for the comfort of any who are afraid of self-examination, or who are not watchful; for it is by no means at variance with the other doctrine that many who made sure of heaven in their own minds will never enter there, because Jesus never knew them. Great joy may be only a meteor, great excitement may be a mirage of the desert, great confidence may be a will-o’-the-wisp luring to destruction. The highest seats in the synagogue do not secure for their occupants a place among the shilling ones above. Many rejoicing professors will yet discover that their spot was not the spot of God’s people, and their song was not the new song which God doth put into the mouth. And what if that should be your case and mine? So, when I stand upon my high mountain, let me pray, “Lord, hold thou me up.” Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall, for he is the man who is most in danger. He who is fullest of holy delight is still to watch, for did not Jesus say, “What I say unto you I say unto all, watch”? God grant that we may be helped to watch against the arrow which flieth by day as much as against the pestilence which walketh in darkness. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Our Streams of Joy Blend with Currents of Fear

Therefore, take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the LORD your God. – Joshua 23:11

If a man should become perfectly contented with the things of this world, it would be the result of a false view of things…Oh man, if thou didst but know thyself, much more thy God, thou wouldst be assured those visible things can never satisfy the desires of a spiritual being. As to spiritual joy, I say that in no man’s experience can it be long without admixture and yet be true. Never at any moment can a Christian be in such a position that he has not some cause either for dissatisfaction with himself, or fear of the tempter, or anxiety to be faithful in service. Our streams of joy blend with currents of fear. Blessed be God, my sin is forgiven me: this joy calls up its balancing thought, — Oh that the Spirit of God may help me not to sin again. Again, I sing, — Blessed be God, I have gotten the victory over an evil habit: but my song is followed by the prayer— Lord, enable me to conquer all evils, even those which as yet I know not. Thus, joy and fear hang like the two scales of a balance, — I mean not the fear which love casts out, but the filial fear which love fosters. If God has preserved his servant in the day of battle, he has no room to boast, for here comes another enemy. Temptations come wave after wave, and, having breasted one, we prepare for another. We cannot yet shout the victory, for, lo, the foes advance squadron upon squadron; their routed battalions are succeeded by new armies, and it behooves us to quit ourselves like men. We dwell where, in our God, we have the utmost reason for delight, but where, in all things, we perceive the most weighty arguments for solemnity. Rejoice evermore but cease not to fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that the Lord has procured for you. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Come, Come and Welcome!

Return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity…”Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips...for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. – Hosea 14:1-4

The special call is to the fallen: “Return; for thou hast fallen.” Come, ye fallen ones, come and welcome. It is to the wandering for to such is the command appropriate which saith, “Return.”

The call is to the forlorn and destitute: “In thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” You that are fallen, far off, fatherless, and forlorn, come at once to God in Jesus Christ. Come now! Come! Come! Come! See how the Lord meets you! Read the fourth verse; I could almost kiss the lines as I gaze on them: “I will heal their backsliding”: come, sick one, here is healing for you. “I will love them freely”: come, unlovely one, here is love for you. “Mine anger is turned away from him”: though you have felt His wrath burning in your souls, it is gone forever. “I will be as the dew unto Israel”

I bid you again “Come to Jesus.” Jesus says, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” The Lord gather you all into the arms of His grace, for His Son’s sake! Amen. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Redeeming Love

“Receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.” – Hosea 2

Nothing but grace can open a door for our returning. Sinners cannot be received of the Lord on any other terms but those of mercy. We would not ask to be dealt with according to our merits; but we thank the Lord that He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. As to our sins, we cannot answer Him one of a thousand. The Lord must receive us graciously or reject us righteously. Are we not glad that sinners can be received in the name of grace, and find a welcome in the tender mercy of our God? Offer, then, this petition, “Receive us graciously.” Oh, that the Lord would touch all lips by His grace and lead them to say from the heart-“Lord, receive me, I return to Thee. Take away all iniquity and take me to Thyself! Receive me as a subject of Thy kingdom. Receive me of Thy grace into Thy home of love. Receive me into the family of Thy redeemed on earth, and then receive me into Thy mansion in heaven. Receive us graciously.”

“So will we render the calves of our lips.” What are the “calves of our lips”? They are sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. Yonder are the calves of the stall which men bring in sacrifice: they are struck down, and they die at the altar. God does not ask us for bullocks which have horns and hoofs. He takes no pleasure in the blood of calves, or of goats. He desires a broken heart, faith, and humble love: these live at the altar. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God.” Let us bring Him our best thoughts, our best expressions, our best testimonies, our heartiest praises: these are not calves of our stalls, but “calves of our lips.” Let our gratitude be a living sacrifice, and our conduct a constant testimony to the goodness of God. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Take Away All Iniquity

Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously… – Hosea 14:2

Dear seekers, I pray you, do not look on one sin and say, Lord, spare it!” Do not wish to have one sin left; but cry “Take it away! Take it away! Take away all iniquity. However sweet, or fascinating, or deeply seated, Lord, take away all iniquity. If I have been given to the intoxicating cup, take it away! If I have been the slave of greed, take it away! If I have been subject to passion, or pride, or lustfulness, take it away! Whatever is my besetting sin, ‘take away all iniquity’!” Dost thou wish to have one fair sin spared to thee? It will be thy ruin. Hew in pieces that Agag sin that cometh so delicately. Let your cry be, “Take it away!” The taking of it away may cost you a right hand or a right eye; still, shrink not, but cry, “Take away all iniquity.” Have done with it all. It will be of no use to give up one poison; if you take another poison, it will kill you. All sin must go, or else all hope is gone! Return to God; but it must be with a prayer which shows that you and your sins have fallen out, never to be reconciled.

Follow me, and try to pray this prayer, “O Thou that takest away the sin of the world, take away all my iniquity. It is great, but pardon it, I pray Thee; for Thou didst bear our sins in Thine own body on the tree. By Thy precious blood, wash away all my iniquity! Let me know that Thou hast carried my transgression away, even as the scapegoat carried the sins of Israel into the wilderness of forgetfulness. Take away all iniquity by an act of pardon, I beseech Thee. Take it away, Lord, take it out of my heart; take it out of my life.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

A Free Forgiveness

Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto Him, “Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.” – Hosea 14:2

Have you turned to ceremonies? Do you look for rest in sacraments? You look that way in vain; for they are not the way of salvation. Turn rather to the Lord as He is revealed in the Lord Jesus. Take with you words and turn to the Lord Himself. Against Him you have sinned: to Him make confession. You need that His anger should be turned away; seek, then, a free forgiveness from Himself. It is His love that you want: go to Him for it, and He will receive you graciously, and love you freely.

“Take with you words and say unto Him.” He says the words, that the sinner may make them his own, and say them after Him. In this condescending style He teaches the returning sinner how to pray. What a gracious God He is! Suppose a case. A great king has been grievously offended by a rebellious subject, but in kindness of heart he wills to be reconciled. He invites the rebel to sue for pardon. He replies, “O King, I would fain be forgiven, but how can I properly approach your offended majesty? I am anxious to present such a petition as you can accept, but I know not how to draw it up.” Suppose this great king were to say, “I will draw up the petition for you,” what confidence the supplicant would feel in presenting the petition! He brings to the king his own words. He prays the prayer he is bidden to pray. By the very fact of drawing up the petition, the monarch pledged himself to grant it. O my hearer, the Lord puts it into your mouth to say this morning, “Take away all iniquity.” May you find it in your heart to pray in that fashion! That prayer is best which is offered in God’s own way and is of God’s own prompting. May you present such a prayer at once! ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Publish the Invitation of Grace to the Four Winds

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. – Ephesians 2:19

I am sure if I had been an Israelite in the wilderness, and had met an Amalekite or an Edomite, I should have gloried in the privileges which His presence secured me. We know that Amalekites and Edomites could not have come into the house of the Lord: but nowadays, if we meet with one who is a stranger, we can tell him of our privilege, with sweet persuasion that the stranger can be brought nigh through the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, let us abundantly speak of the dwelling of God with men. Let us tell to all that the Lord has come to man, not in wrath, not in judgment, but “full of grace and truth.” O my unconverted hearer, come to Jesus! He is able to save to the uttermost those that come unto God by Him. Draw nigh to the meek and lowly Jesus, and you draw nigh to God. He saith, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” Publish the invitation of grace to the four winds. Ring out your silver trumpets, or if you have them not, sound your ram’s horns; but somehow let all people know that the tabernacle of God is with men, and He doth dwell among them.

Today let our congregation be a holy convocation; and as for ourselves, let us be holiness unto the Lord. We are consecrated men and women, seeing the Lord has come so very near to us. ~ C.H. Spurgeon