But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God…That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. -1 Corinthians 1:24; 2:5
The gospel that we preach, although the worldly wise man despises it, is God’s gospel for all that. “Ah,” says he, “there is nothing in it: science has overthrown it.” “And,” says another, “this gospel is but so much platitude; we have heard it over and over again.” Ah, sir, and though it be platitude to you, and you decree it to be contemptible, you shall hear it or nothing else from us; “for it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” In its simplicity lies its majesty and its power. We are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. “God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We will proclaim it again with confidence; We will bring forth once more the selfsame truth as of old; and as the barley loaf smote the tent of Midian, so that it lay along, so shall the gospel overturn its adversaries. The broken pitcher, and the flaming torches, and the old war cry, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon” shall yet fill the foeman with dismay. Let us but be bold for Jesus, and we shall see what His arm can do. The gospel is the voice of the eternal God, and has in it the same power as that which brought the world out of nothing, and which shall raise the dead from their graves at the coming of the Son of Man. The gospel, the word of God, can no more return to Him void than can the snow go back to heaven, or the rain-drops climb again the path by which they descended from the clouds. Have faith in God’s word, faith in the presence of the Holy Ghost, faith in the reigning Savior, faith in the fulfillment of the everlasting purposes, and you will be full of confidence, and like an army with banners.~ C.H. Spurgeon
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. – ! Corinthians 1:18
We cannot place too much reliance in the gospel; our weakness is that we are so diffident and so apt to look somewhere else for strength. We do not believe in the gospel as to its power over the sons of men as we should believe in it. Too often we preach it with a coward’s voice. Have I not heard sermons commencing with abject apologies for the preacher’s daring to open his mouth; apologies for his youth, for his assertions, for his venturing to intrude upon men’s consciences, and I know not what else? Can God own ambassadors of this cowardly cringing breed, who mistake fear of men for humility! Will our Captain honor such carpet-knights, who apologize for bearing arms? I have heard that of old the ambassadors of Holland, and some other states, when introduced to his celestial majesty, the brother of the sun and cousin of the moon, the Emperor of China, were expected to come crawling on their hands and knees up to the throne; but when our ambassadors went to that flowery land, they declined to pay such humiliating homage to his impertinent majesty, and informed him that they would stand upright in his presence, as free men should do, or else they would decline all dealings with him, and in all probability his majesty would hear from a cannon’s mouth far less gentle notes than he would care for. Even thus, though we may well humble ourselves as men, yet as ambassadors of God we cannot crouch to the sons of men, to ask them what message would suit them best. It must not, shall not, be that we shall smooth our tongues and tone our doctrines to the taste of the age… “Ah,” says he, “there is nothing in it: science has overthrown it.” “And,” says another, “this gospel is but so much platitude; we have heard it over and over again.” Ah, sir, and though it be platitude to you, and you decree it to be contemptible, you shall hear it or nothing else from us; “for it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” In its simplicity lies its majesty and its power. “We are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. “God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might…Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. -Ephesians 6:10,13
When an army folds up its colors the fight is over. Little is being done in military circles when the banners are put away; the troops are on furlough, or are resting in barracks. An army with banners is exercising, or marching, or fighting; probably it is in the middle of a campaign, it is marshaled for offense and defense, and there will be rough work before long. It is to be feared that some churches have hung up their flags to rot in state, or have encased them in dull propriety…The reason for a church being a church lies in its mutual edification and in the conversion of sinners; and if these two ends are not really answered by a church, it is a mere name, a hindrance, an evil, a nuisance; like the salt which has lost its savor, it is neither fit for the land nor yet for the dunghill. May we all in our church fellowship be active in the energy of the Spirit of God. May none of us be dead members of the living body, mere impediments to the royal host, baggage to be dragged rather than warriors pushing on in the war. May we, every one of us, be soldiers filled with vigor to the fullness of our manhood, by the eternal power of the Holy Spirit; and may we be resolved that any portion of the church which does not uplift its banner of service shall not long number us among its adherents. Be it ours to determine that whether others will or will not serve God and extend the kingdom of His dear Son, we will, in His name and strength, contend even to the death. Unsheath your swords, ye soldiers of the cross; arise from your slumbers, ye careless ones, gird on your swords and prepare for the war. The Lord has redeemed you by His blood, not that you might sleep, but that you might fight for the glory of His name.~ C.H. Spurgeon
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying…Let all things be done decently and in order. – 1 Corinthians 14:26, 40
Brethren, in the church of God there must be discipline-the discipline not only of admission and of dismission in receiving the converts and rejecting the hypocrites, but the discipline of marshalling the troops to the service of Christ in the holy war in which we are engaged. Every soldier should have his orders, every officer his troop, every troop its fixed place in the army, and the whole army a regularity such as is prescribed in the rule, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” As in the ranks each man has his place, and each rank has its particular phase in the battalion, so in every rightly constituted church each man, each woman, will have, for himself or herself, his or her own particular form of service, and each form of service will link in with every other, and the whole combined will constitute a force which cannot be broken. A church is not a load of bricks, remember: it is a house builded together. A church is not a bundle of cuttings in the gardener’s hand: it is a vine, of which we are the branches. The true church is an organized whole; and life, true spiritual life, wherever it is paramount in the church, without rules and rubrics, is quite sure to create order and arrangement. Order without life reminds us of the rows of graves in a cemetery, all numbered and entered in the register: order with life reminds us of the long lines of fruit trees in Italy, festooned with fruitful vines. Sunday-school teachers, bear ye the banner of the folded lamb; sick visitors, follow the ensign of the open hand; preachers, rally to the token of the uplifted brazen serpent; and all of you, according to your sacred calling, gather to the name of Jesus, armed for the war.~ C.H. Spurgeon
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. -Psalm 60:4
We hear on all sides great outcries against creeds. Are these clamours justifiable? It seems to me that when properly analyzed most of the protests are not against creeds, but against truth, for every man who believes anything must have a creed, whether he write it down and print it or no; or if there be a man who believes nothing, or anything, or everything by turns, he is not a fit man to be set up as a model…Let us take hold of God’s truth with an iron grip, and never let it go. After all, there is a Protestantism still worth contending for; there is a Calvinism still worth proclaiming, and a gospel worth dying for. There is a Christianity distinctive and distinguished from Ritualism, Rationalism, and Legalism, and let us make it known that we believe in it.
Up with your banners, soldiers of the cross! This is not the time to be frightened by the cries against conscientious convictions, which are nowadays nicknamed sectarianism and bigotry. Believe in your hearts what you profess to believe; proclaim openly and zealously what you know to be the truth. Be not ashamed to say such-and-such things are true, and let men draw the inference that the opposite is false. Whatever the doctrines of the gospel may be to the rest of mankind, let them be your glory and boast. Display your banners, and let those banners be such as the church of old carried. Unfurl the old primitive standard, the all-victorious standard of the cross of Christ…Let others believe as they may, or deny as they will, for you the truth as it is in Jesus is the one thing that has won your heart and made you a soldier of the cross.~ C.H. Spurgeon
Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners? -Song of Songs 6:10
That she is an army is true enough, for the church is one, but many; and consists of men who march in order under a common leader, with one design in view and that design a conflict and a victory. She is the church militant here below, and both in suffering and in service she is made to prove that she is in an enemy’s country. She is contending for the truth against error, for the light against darkness: till the day break and the shadows flee away, she must maintain her sentinels and kindle her watch fires; for all around her there is cause to guard against the enemy, and to descend the royal treasure of gospel truth against its deadly foes.
The church of Christ displays its banners for distinction’s sake. It desires not to be associated with other armies, or to be mistaken for them, for it is not of this world, and its weapons and its warfare are far other than those of the nations. God forbid that followers of Jesus should be mistaken for political partisans or ambitious adventurers. The church unfurls her ensign to the breeze that all may know whose she is and whom she serves. This is of the utmost importance at this present, when crafty men are endeavoring to palm off their inventions. Every Christian church should know what it believes, and publicly avow what it maintains. It is our duty to make a clear and distinct declaration of our principles, that our members may know to what intent they have come together, and that the world also may know what we mean. Far be it from us to join with the Broad Church cry, and furl the banners upon which our distinctive colors are displaced.~ C.H. Spurgeon