Grow in Grace and Knowledge

“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 3:18

“Grow in grace”–not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fulness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward–having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.” He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus, refuses to be blessed. To know Him is “life eternal,” and to advance in the knowledge of Him is to increase in happiness. He who does not long to know more of Christ, knows nothing of Him yet. Whoever hath sipped this wine will thirst for more, for although Christ doth satisfy, yet it is such a satisfaction, that the appetite is not cloyed, but whetted. If you know the love of Jesus–as the hart panteth for the water-brooks, so will you pant after deeper draughts of His love. If you do not desire to know Him better, then you love Him not, for love always cries, “Nearer, nearer.” Absence from Christ is hell; but the presence of Jesus is heaven. Rest not then content without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus. Seek to know more of Him in His divine nature, in His human relationship, in His finished work, in His death, in His resurrection, in His present glorious intercession, and in His future royal advent. Abide hard by the Cross and search the mystery of His wounds. An increase of love to Jesus, and a more perfect apprehension of His love to us is one of the best tests of growth in grace. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

We Go Forward in Hope

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10

Since there is an everlasting arm that never can be palsied, since there is a brow that knows no wrinkle, and a divine mind that is never perplexed, we go forward in hope, and cast ourselves upon our eternal Helper once again. You have heard of the ancient giant Antæus, who could not be overcome, because as often as Hercules threw him to the ground, he touched his mother earth, and rose renewed. Such be your lot and mine, often to be cast down, and as often to rise by that downcasting. “When I am weak then am I strong.” Let us glory in infirmity, because the power of Christ doth rest upon us. Let us be content to decrease that Christ may increase; to be nothing that Jesus may be all in all. If we do fear and tremble for all the goodness that God has procured for us, it is not a fearing that He will change, or a trembling lest He should be defeated. The fear and trembling are for ourselves, and not for Him. I have no fear and trembling about the gospel. I have preached it many years in this place, and its attractive perfume is undiminished. I read the other day of a grain of musk which had been kept for ten years in a room wherein the air was perpetually changed; it scented that chamber from year to year, and yet when it was weighed by the most delicate scales no diminution of its bulk was apparent. So the gospel continues to be as ointment poured forth, savouring the thousands that come hither year by year, and yet it is as full of fragrance and freshness as ever, and so shall it be even if for a thousand ages it should be our theme. Come we then with comfort back to the unalterable gospel, to the undying Spirit, to the unchanging God: here is room for joy unspeakable and full of glory. Up with your banners, then! Forward to new victories! In the name of the God of Jacob let us be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Amen. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Longing for Heaven

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. – Romans 8:23

We are not in heaven yet, and perfect bliss lives not beneath these cloudy skies, nor within the pale sway of the moon. While we are in this body we groan, though we have the firstfruits of the Spirit, for we are in a creation which groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Our years must have their winters while the world revolves. When the Dutch had the trade of the East in their hands they were accustomed to sell birds of paradise to the untraveled people of these realms. These specimen birds had no feet, for they had craftily removed them, and the merchants declared that the species lived on the wing and never alighted. There was so much of truth in the fable that had they been really and veritably “birds of paradise” they would not have found a place for their feet upon this globe. Truly, birds of paradise do come and go, and flit from heaven to earth, but we see them not, neither can we build tabernacles to detain them. While you are here expect reminders of the fact that this is not your rest. If you could attain to perfect joy on earth you might be justified in saying, “I have no longing for heaven; I am perfectly clear of sin, and care, and trouble; I may as well stay where I am. What need to go further if I can fare no better?” Let no man dream that things will ever come to this with him. Ah, ye lovely flowers of spring, this year ye have looked forth too soon. It is strangely mild weather for December, but spring has not yet arrived. Possibly it is so with some of my hearers: because the Lord is smiling upon you, it is very mild weather with your souls, and you dream that the winter of trouble is ended and that your heaven has begun. Be not deceived, you are not yet

“Where everlasting spring abides
And never-withering flowers.”

Perhaps a touch of frost may do you good by preventing your getting into an unnatural and unsound condition. ~ 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

Does Any Man Truly Know Himself?

Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way… – Hebrews 5:2

What do we know of sin? The larger proportion of our sins are probably unknown to us. We do them, and scarcely observe that we have committed them. And who knows the evil that lies in any one sin? Who is he that can weigh his iniquities in scales, or his errors in balances? Upon that one dread subject of sin, we are all life babes; we have not begun to learn more than the alphabet of that awful knowledge. Sinful we are, but it is part of the effect of sin that we do not know the extent of our sinfulness, and we should not know it at all, if it were not for the teachings of the Holy Spirit.

Again, what do we know of ourselves? Does any man truly know himself? “The proper study of mankind is man,” says Pope. I am not sure of that; but I am certain that the proper study of mankind is Christ; for in Him we not only can learn about man, but much more besides. But how little we know of ourselves, of our natural weakness, of our evil tendencies, of our proneness in this direction, or in that! “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse Thou me from secret faults.”

What do we know of God the unsearchable? Is He past finding out? Who can sufficiently tell of His nature, or of His wondrous attributes? Who can speak adequately of His greatness, or of His glory? Who can number up His years, or declare the whole of His lovingkindness? “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” As compared with the light of God, we are in the dim twilight. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Moved to Repentance by the Influence of Love

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord… – Acts 3:19

I have heard of a soldier who had been put in prison for drunkenness and insubordination several times and he had been also flogged, but nothing improved him. At last he was taken in the commission of another offence, and brought before the commanding officer, who said to him, “My man, I have tried everything in the martial code with you, except shooting you; you have been imprisoned and whipped, but nothing has changed you. I am determined to try something else with you. I will see what kindness will do, and therefore I fully and freely forgive you.” The man burst into tears, for he reckoned on a round number of lashes, and had steeled himself to bear them, but when he found he was to be forgiven, and set free, he said, “Sir, you shall not have to find fault with me again.” Mercy won his heart. Now, sinner, in that fashion God is dealing with you. Great sinners! Ungodly sinners! God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways. I have threatened you, and you hardened your hearts against Me. Therefore, come now, and let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “Well,” says one, “I am afraid if you talk to sinners so they will go and sin more and more.” Yes, there are brutes everywhere, who can be so unnatural as to sin because grace abounds, but I bless God there is such a thing as the influence of love, and I am rejoiced that many feel the force of it, and yield to the conquering arms of amazing grace. When the Lord says, “I have blotted out thy transgressions like a cloud, and like a thick cloud thine iniquities,” then the man is moved to repentance.

God grant it may be so (for you, sinner,) and He shall have all the glory of it. ~ C.H. Spurgeon