While in His presence this morning this Word was given to me.
“They who fight for political rights
know little of the cross of Christ”
While in His presence this morning this Word was given to me.
“They who fight for political rights
know little of the cross of Christ”
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour:
therefore love is the fulfilling of the law”
Consider love as the ruling agent to all of our interaction with others…
We do not steal because it is offensive to Christ (first and foremost), besides being injurious to others it also brings dishonour to that glorious Name to whom we owe our life!
They who love with His Love cannot but seek to keep the commandments for His Love inspires us to treat others with the same grace He has treated us. “Love thinks no evil.” If we are held in the power of His Love I am not able conjure up or hold evil thoughts of others. They who have tasted of His love and forgiveness cannot and dare not hold unforgiveness towards another.
Where Love reigns so will the righteousness of Christ shine forth.
The “end” or the fulfillment of all the commandments of God are to bring us to this ONE END… The Love of God flowing out of a pure heart, lives lived in a clear and clean conscience and a living faith which is genuine and authentic.
“Now the end of the commandment
is charity out of a pure heart,
and of a good conscience,
and of faith unfeigned”
1 Timothy 1:5
“When the heart is right,
the tongue will be eloquent for God”
“My heart overflows with a noble theme.
I recite my verses for the king.
My tongue is like the pen of a skillful writer”
The love of God loosens the tongue and frees the heart. His presence graces the lips of men with praise and fills their lives with joy.
“…in thy presence is fulness of joy”
“Change is the revelation
of the power of God”
The unfolding of Christ to His Own is revealed in the consistency of our seeing of Him. No one may see Him and remained unchanged. Grace is the agency from which we arise from the deadness of the Old Adam into the living wonder of Christ.
“As HE IS,
so are we in this world“
1 John 4:17
The impact of this powerful statement leaves one with no other alternative than to feel the Spirit of Christ yearning for it to be true in every respect concerning our lives in Him. Too much power is given by many who preach the gospel today to give us excuses and teachings which deny the ability of the Holy Spirit to make it true in us. Too many proclaim that the “old Adam” is of greater influence than the Living Christ within. The Power of Christ IS greater than the grave clothes of the natural man with its associated malignancy. Let us lay aside the unbelief of the “gospel” of men and lets us seek to see and yield our lives unto the ONE who is ABLE to raise us up in the “newness” of His eternal life!
“If we receive the witness of men,
the witness of God is greater…”
1 John 5:9
Change is the revelation of the living Christ within our hearts, where there is no on-going change faith has ceased to touch the resurrected ONE.
“And we all, with unveiled face,
beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another…”
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
“But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great”
Obedience is the fruit of Love. The Love wherewith He has loved us is the foundation and the fountain from which all true obedience flows.
“We love him, because he first loved us”
1 John 4:19
Only the obedience which springs from His pure love moving in us is worthy of His glory.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called”
“He is in the way of life
that keepeth instruction“
A tender heart is open to the instruction of the Lord. It is attentive to His whispers. It is as we come to know His voice and His way that we are able to grow and develop in our life in God. Our teach-ability is evidence that we are in “the way of life”.
Paul was ever attentive to the instruction of the Lord. His life was one of continual learning. His was a life-long quest to know His God.
“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need”
This learning was experiential to the point where he could glorify God in every situation in which he found himself. While it is easy to gain knowledge, only the experiential knowing of Him will bring changes, eternal changes, into our lives.
It is in keeping His instruction whereby we can be confident that we are in the Way of Life. It is the verity of our life in Him.
“The law of the Lord is perfect,
converting the soul”
The Word of God shining forth in its perfection is the very breath of heaven to every soul bound in the prison of self. It is filled with power; a power that converts and transforms the heart of man with the liberty and freedom of Christ. For those who hear His voice and call there is an unmistakable change fashioned within. The chaos and emptiness of human existence are dissolved by this New LIFE.
Conversion is the evidence of a life which has embraced this Living Word. Faith is the evidence of the Word’s power; it moves and motivates the people of God. It is bursting with vitality and a quest for more of Him from whom it originated. This faith cannot be defined by the words of men nor captured by a statement. It is the very breath of God breathed into fallen souls to bring forth a whole new creation.
By faith …………Abraham went out
By faith ……….. Sarah received strength
By faith ……….. Noah was moved with fear
By faith ……….. Moses forsook Egypt
By faith …………The walls of Jericho fell down
Faith is the mover of men and women by the power of God. It is demonstrative, active and living.
“Then faith is of hearing,
and hearing through the Word of God”
“If any man thirst,
let him come unto me, and drink”
“For God will bring every work into judgment,
with every hidden thing, whether it is good,
or whether it is evil.”
The Light of God penetrates all things. His life is His Light. The Words He speaks, the Works He works and the Nature of all that He is, is Light and Life.
“In him was life,
and the life was the light of men”
The Life of God within the heart of an individual is one of His Light shining to uncover, pierce and transform. It is the nature of Light to illuminate and expose; it cannot be otherwise. Religion attempts to cover, conceal and overlook our sins and blemishes; God illuminates our wrongness with the intent of changing and transforming our lives into pure and simple expressions of the One who is Truth.
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”
Man’s initial response to the “voice of the Lord walking” (Genesis 3:8) in their midst was to hide and cover their nakedness. It was a spontaneous reaction to the Light of God. The fig leaves are a picture of man’s futility; a temporary solution to an eternal issue. In the fall Adam and Eve stepped out of eternity into the realm of time; in that moment the need to be covered was paramount and pressing. It was their consciousness of “now” that caused them to turn to a temporary solution. In the urgency of the moment their nakedness had to be covered; man’s response to the Light of God. The journey into truth begins with truth. In our acknowledgment of who we are, we are afforded the provisions of all that He is. “Come unto Me” is an invitation for change and rest. The stress and labor of “keeping up appearances” is burdensome and the accompanying fear of exposure is a torment to the soul.
Peace and rest are the result of being right with God.
“Come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest”
“It is said that Gainsborough, the artist, longed also to be a musician. He bought musical instruments of many kinds and tried to play them. He once heard a great violinist bringing ravishing music from his instrument. Gainsborough was charmed and thrown into transports of admiration. He bought the violin on which the master played so marvelously. He thought that if he had the wonderful instrument that he could play too. But he soon learned that the music was not in the violin, but was in the master who played it“. Quote from Mrs. Charles Cowman
So it is with us; we are but poor instruments. Only as we surrender ourselves to the master do we become effective in touching the life of others. In His hands we can bring His light to a lost world and a living hope to those who sit in darkness. In His hands the five loaves and two fishes fed the multitude, a little oil delivered a poor widow’s two sons from slavery and the song of the Lord at midnight shook a prison and set the captives free. May we discover this powerful truth; it is not who we are, it is who we are in the Master’s hands.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus“
It is worth noting that the global pandemic in which we find ourselves is not comparable to epidemics of former times. There were not the communications systems and infrastructure in place back then yet, during those times, Christians continued to reveal the love of God through their compassion and good works. There are a lot of considerations today with regard to quarantines and other precautions and there is a love and a wisdom in which we are called to walk. May our lives be sensitive to the leading of His Spirit in this time. All things are for our learning and growth. There is a fine line between presumption and faith; may we walk circumspectly. Love to you all.
The following is an article I found interesting:
“As a young village preacher, Charles Spurgeon admired the Puritan ministers who stayed behind to care for the sick and dying during the Great Plague of London in 1665. Now in the fall of 1854, the newly called pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London found himself pastoring his congregation amid a major cholera outbreak in the Broad Street neighborhood just across the river.
How did Spurgeon respond?
1) Prioritize local ministry
During that epidemic of cholera, though I had many engagements in the country, I gave them up that I might remain in London to visit the sick and the dying. I felt that it was my duty to be on the spot in such a time of disease and death and sorrow.
Spurgeon’s popularity had grown throughout the Fenland villages outside of Cambridge during his pastorate at Waterbeach. Even after arriving in London, he continued to be invited to preach in those villages during the week. But during the outbreak, Spurgeon recognized his responsibility to be present with those who were sick and dying. This was not a time to be an itinerant preacher. This was a time to focus on caring for his church and the community in which he lived. He would not outsource this task to his deacons or other church leaders but remained in London in order to fulfill his duty.
2) Adjust as needed, but continue meeting if possible
The Broad Street Cholera Outbreak of 1854 occurred in August and September of that year, and its effects would continue to be felt in the weeks and months following. The neighborhood where Spurgeon’s church met was not quarantined, so they were able to continue meeting throughout those months. Interestingly, no record of the sermons Spurgeon preached during those days remain. Perhaps the outbreak forced the congregation to adjust some of their previous practices, including the transcription of sermons. Additionally, Spurgeon was likely too busy in those days to edit sermons for publication.
However, we know that the congregation continued meeting during those days because the church’s minute books contain records of congregational meetings carried on throughout the fall of 1854. In those books, amid all the pastoral challenges of the outbreak, Spurgeon and his deacons continued to receive new members, pursue inactive members, observe the Lord’s Supper, and practice all the other normal activities of a church. Not only that, but in retrospect, it was particularly during this time, when news of death raged all around the city, that Spurgeon found Londoners most receptive to the gospel.
If there ever be a time when the mind is sensitive, it is when death is abroad. I recollect, when first I came to London, how anxiously people listened to the gospel, for the cholera was raging terribly. There was little scoffing then.
In other words, not only did Spurgeon gather his church amid the outbreak, but he saw in these gatherings a powerful opportunity for the gospel and proclaimed the gospel boldly.
Pastors need to exercise wisdom when it comes to gathering as a church, especially when the health and lives of people are at stake. Certainly, adjustments will need to be made and priority will have to be given to only the most important aspects of our gatherings. But when such gatherings are possible, pastors should realize that they can be tremendous opportunities for preaching the gospel to those who are desperately looking for hope.
3) Visit the sick
As the pastor, Spurgeon not only continued to gather his church, but he also made himself available throughout the week, working tirelessly to visit the sick and grief-stricken.
In the year 1854, when I had scarcely been in London twelve months, the neighborhood in which I labored was visited by Asiatic cholera, and my congregation suffered from its inroads. Family after family summoned me to the bedside of the smitten, and almost every day I was called to visit the grave.
In these visits, Spurgeon prayed with the sick and grieving, and pointed them to the hope of the gospel. But more than just bringing gospel content, his presence communicated something of God’s comfort to his people. Though these visits were often fearful and full of grief, there were also glorious occasions of faith and joy.
I went home, and was soon called away again; that time, to see a young woman. She also was in the last extremity, but it was a fair, fair sight. She was singing, — though she knew she was dying, — and talking to those round about her, telling her brothers and sisters to follow her to Heaven, bidding goodbye to her father, and all the while smiling as if it had been her marriage day. She was happy and blessed.
4) Be open to new evangelistic opportunities
Spurgeon did not limit himself merely to visiting members of his congregation but was willing to visit “persons of all ranks and religions.”
All day, and sometimes all night long, I went about from house to house, and. saw men and women dying, and, oh, how glad they were to see my face! When many were afraid to enter their houses lest they should catch the deadly disease, we who had no fear about such things found ourselves most gladly listened to when we spoke of Christ and of things Divine.
On one occasion, at three in the morning, Spurgeon was summoned to visit a dying man. Surprisingly, this was not a Christian, but someone who had opposed him:
That man, in his lifetime, had been wont to jeer at me. In strong language, he had often denounced me as a hypocrite. Yet he was no sooner smitten by the darts of death than he sought my presence and counsel, no doubt feeling in his heart that I was a servant of God, though he did not care to own it with his lips.
Spurgeon went right away, but by the time he arrived, there was little he could do.
I stood by his side, and spoke to him, but he gave me no answer. I spoke again; but the only consciousness he had was a foreboding of terror, mingled with the stupor of approaching death. Soon, even that was gone, for sense had fled, and I stood there, a few minutes, sighing with the poor woman who had watched over him, and altogether hopeless about his soul.
Not every evangelistic opportunity will result in dramatic conversions. But during times of disease, surprising opportunities may arise. Therefore, take advantage of any opportunities you might have to preach the gospel to those who are suffering.
5) Entrust your life to God
As Spurgeon gave himself to this pastoral work, he soon found himself physically and mentally exhausted. Not only that, but he began to fear for his own safety. Yet, amid his fears, he learned to entrust himself to God and to His faithfulness.
At first, I gave myself up with youthful ardor to the visitation of the sick, and was sent for from all corners of the district by persons of all ranks and religions; but, soon, I became weary in body, and sick at heart. My friends seemed falling one by one, and I felt or fancied that I was sickening like those around me. A little more work and weeping would have laid me low among the rest; I felt that my burden was heavier than I could bear, and I was ready to sink under it.
I was returning mournfully home from a funeral, when, as God would have it, my curiosity led me to read a paper which was wafered up in a shoemaker’s window in the Great Dover Road. It did not look like a trade announcement, nor was it, for it bore, in a good bold handwriting, these words: —
“Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”
The effect upon my heart was immediate. Faith appropriated the passage as her own. I felt secure, refreshed, girt with immortality. I went on with my visitation of the dying, in a calm and peaceful spirit; I felt no fear of evil, and I suffered no harm. The Providence which moved the tradesman to place those verses in his window, I gratefully acknowledge; and in the remembrance of its marvelous power, I adore the Lord my God.
Here, Spurgeon does not promise that no Christian will ever die of sickness. Rather, the Christian “[needs] not dread [sickness], for he has nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by death.”
Once again, pastors must exercise wisdom and take appropriate precautions as they visit those who are dying. At the same time, our security cannot be in those precautions, but it must be in God. As we entrust our lives to God and faithfully carry out our responsibilities, we have an opportunity to demonstrate what hope and peace look like in the midst of death.
In many ways, Spurgeon’s example during the cholera outbreak of 1854 follows the pattern of normal pastoral ministry on every occasion. Pastors are to be present with their people, lead in the gatherings of the church, care for those who are suffering, be faithful in evangelism, and continue trusting in God through it all. The main difference is that during an outbreak, there is a heightened reality of suffering and death. Therefore, the work becomes more intense and urgent, and the opportunities for the gospel multiply. As pastors and church leaders consider their response to the coronavirus in our present day, there is much to figure out practically and logistically. But the core of our ministry remains: Preach the gospel.
Speaking in 1866, amid another cholera outbreak, Spurgeon gave this charge to pastors and all Christians:
And now, again, is the minister’s time; and now is the time for all of you who love souls. You may see men more alarmed than they are already; and if they should be, mind that you avail yourselves of the opportunity of doing them good. You have the Balm of Gilead; when their wounds smart, pour it in. You know of Him who died to save; tell them of Him. Lift high the cross before their eyes. Tell them that God became man that man might be lifted to God. Tell them of Calvary, and its groans, and cries, and sweat of blood. Tell them of Jesus hanging on the cross to save sinners. Tell them that —
“There is life for a look at the Crucified One.”
Tell them that He is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him. Tell them that He is able to save even at the eleventh hour, and to say to the dying thief, “today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.”