Getting a Right Start

…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us… – Hebrews 12:1

A bad start is a sad thing. If, in the ancient races of Greece or Rome, a man who was about to run the race had loitered, or if he had started before the time it would not matter how fast he ran, if he did not start in order. The flag must drop before the horse starts; otherwise, even if it reach the winning post first, it shall have no reward. There is something to be noted, then, in the starting of the race. I have known men run the race of religion with all their might, and yet they have lost it because they did not start right. You say, “Well, how is that?” Why, there are some people who on a sudden leap into religion. They get it quickly, and they keep it for a time. and at last they lose it because they did not get their religion the right way. They have heard that before a man can be saved, it is necessary that, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, he should feel the weight of sin, that he should make a confession of it, that he should renounce all hope in his own works, and should look to Jesus Christ alone. They look upon all these things as unpleasant preliminaries and therefore, before they have attended to repentance, before the Holy Spirit has wrought a good work in them, before they have been brought to give up everything and trust to Christ, they make a profession of religion.

How many there are who never think it necessary that there should be heart work within! Let us remember, however, that there never was a true new birth without much spiritual suffering;  that there never was a man who had a changed heart without his first having a miserable heart. We must pass through that black tunnel of conviction before we can come out upon the high embankment of holy joy; we must first go through the Slough of Despond before we can run along the walls of Salvation. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0198.cfm

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The Greatest Fault to Which Man is Addicted

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. – Galatians 6:7

You never find a man saying to you, “I don’t profess to be a chaste living man.” You don’t hear another say, “I don’t profess to be anything but a covetous wretch.” No; people are not so fast about telling their faults: and yet you hear people confess the greatest fault to which man can be addicted: they say, “I make no profession”-which means just this-that they do not give God His due. God has made them, and yet they won’t serve Him; Christ hath come into the world to save sinners, and yet they will not regard Him; the gospel is preached; and yet they will not hear it; they have the Bible in their houses, and yet they will not attend to its admonitions; they make no profession of doing so. It will be short work with them at the last great day. There will be no need for the books to be opened, no need for a long deliberation in the verdict. They do not profess to be pardoned; their guilt is written upon their own foreheads, their brazen shamelessness shall be seen by the whole world, as a sentence of destruction written upon their very brows. You cannot expect to win heaven unless your names are entered for the race. If there be no attempts whatever made, even at so much as a profession of religion, then of course you may just sit down and say, “Heaven is not for me; I have no part nor lot in the inheritance of Israel, I cannot say that my Redeemer liveth; and I may rest quite assured that Tophet is prepared of old for me. I must feel its pains and know its miseries; for there are but two places to dwell in hereafter, and if I am not found on the right hand of the Judge, there is but one alternative-namely, to be cast away for ever into the blackness of darkness.”~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0198.cfm

What is Worth Running the Race For?

Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

What, then, is it, for which we ought to run in this race? Why heaven, eternal life, justification by faith, the pardon of sin, acceptance in the Beloved, and glory everlasting. If you run for anything else than salvation, should you will, what you have won is not worth the running for. Oh! I beseech every one of you, make sure work for eternity, never be contented with anything less than a living faith in a living Saviour; rest not until you are certain that the Holy Spirit is at work in your souls. Do not think that the outside of religion can be of use to you; it is just the inward part of religion that God loveth. Seek to have a repentance that needeth not to be repented of-a faith which looks alone to Christ, and which will stand by you when you come into the swellings of Jordan, Seek to have a love which is not like a transient flame, burning for a moment and then extinguished; but a flame which shall increase and increase, and still increase, till your heart shall be swallowed up therein, and Jesus Christ’s one name shall be the sole object of your affection. We must, in running the heavenly race, set nothing less before us than that which Christ did set before Him. He set the joy of salvation before Himself, and then He did run, despising the cross and enduring the shame. So let us do; and may God give us good success, that by His good Spirit we may attain unto eternal life, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord!~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0198.cfm

The Esteem of Men is a Poor Reward

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 6:1

Some people think they must be religious, in order to be respectable. There are a vast number of people in the world who go to church and to chapel, because everybody else does so. It is disreputable to waste your Sundays, not to be found going up to the house of God, therefore they take a pew and attend the services, and they think they have done their duty: they have obtained all that they sought for, when they can hear their neighbors saying, “Such-and-such a man is a very respectable person; he is always very regular at his Church; he is a very reputable person, and exceedingly praiseworthy.” Verily, if this be what you seek after in your religion, you shall get it; for the Pharisees who sought the praise of men “had their reward.” But when you have gotten it, what a poor reward it is! Is it worth the drudgery? I am sure, for my own part, I would not care a solitary rap what I was called, or what I was thought; nor would I perform anything that was irksome to myself for the sake of pleasing any man that ever walked beneath the stars, however great or mighty he may be. It is the sign of a fawning, cringing spirit, when people are always seeking to do that which renders them respectable. The esteem of men is not worth the looking after, and sad it is, that this should be the only prize which some men put before them, in the poor religion which they undertake.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0198.cfm

Run to Obtain the Crown

So run, that ye may obtain. – 1Corinthians 9:24

We are continually insisting upon it from day to day, that salvation is not of works, but of grace. We lay this down as one of the very first doctrines of the gospel. “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” But we find that it is equally necessary to preach the absolute necessity of a religious life for the attainment of heaven at last. Although we are sure that men are not saved for the sake of their works, yet are we equally sure that no man will be saved without them; and that he who leads an unholy life, who neglects the great salvation, can never inherit that crown of life which fadeth not away. In one sense, true religion is wholly the work of God; yet there are high and important senses in which we must ourselves “strive to enter in at the strait gate.” We must run a race; we must wrestle even to agony; we must fight a battle, before we can inherit the crown of life. We have in our text the course of religion set down as a race; and inasmuch as there be many who enter upon a profession of religion with very false motives, the apostle warns us that although all run in a race, yet all do not obtain the prize: they run all, but only one is rewarded: and he gives us, therefore, the practical exhortation to run that we may obtain; for unless we are the winners we had better not have been runners at all; for he that is not a winner is a loser; he who makes a profession of religion, and does not at last obtain the crown of life, is a loser by his profession; for his profession was hypocrisy or else formality, and he had better not have made a profession, than fall therein.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0198.cfm

He Takes Care of Our Eternity, Too

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ – Philippians 1:6

He that takes care of our times, will take care of our eternity. He that has brought us so far, and wrought so graciously for us, will see us safely over the rest of the road. I marvel at some of you older folks, when you begin to doubt. You will say, “Look at yourself.” Well, so I do; and I am heartily ashamed that ever a grain of mistrust should get into the eye of my faith. I would weep it out, and keep it out for the future. Still, some of you are older than I am, for you are seventy or eighty years of age. How much longer do you expect to travel in this wilderness? Have you another ten years, think you? God has been gracious to you for seventy years, and will you fret about the last ten, which, indeed, may never come? That will never do. God has delivered some of you out of such great trials, that your present ones are mere flea-bites. Sir Francis Drake, after he had sailed round the world, came up the Thames, and when he had passed Gravesend there came a storm which threatened the ship. The brave commander said, “What! Go round the world safely, and then get drowned in a ditch? Never!” So we ought to say. God has upheld us in great tribulations, and we are not going to be cast down about trials which are common to men A man of energy, if he takes a work in hand, will push it through and the Lord our God never undertakes what He will not complete. Even we may never die; for it is written, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” Some of us may be alive and remain at the coming of the Lord. Who knows? Behold, He comes quickly. My times are in Thy hand, and therefore the end will be glorious. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/2205.cfm