Monday, November 9, 2009

Initial sanctification

"We allow that the state of a justified person is inexpressibly great and glorious . . . He is 'created anew in Christ Jesus'; he is washed, he is sanctified. His 'heart is purified by faith' . . . And he has power both over outward and inward sin, even from the moment he is justified." ~ John Wesley

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Joy unspeakable

"My soul can never forget that day. Dying, all but dead, diseased, pained, chained, scourged, bound in fetters of iron, in darkness and the shadow of death, Jesus appeared unto me. My eyes looked to Him; the disease was healed, the pains removed, chains were snapped, prison doors were opened, darkness gave place to light. What delight filled my soul! — what mirth, what ecstasy, what sound of music and dancing, what soarings towards Heaven, what heights and depths of ineffable delight! Scarcely ever since then have I known joys which surpassed the rapture of that first hour." ~ Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A tale of two sermons

"I was once preaching upon conversion and salvation, and I felt within myself, as preachers often do, that it was but dry work to tell this story, and a dull, dull tale it was to me; but, on a sudden, the thought crossed my mind,'Why, you are a poor, lost, ruined sinner yourself; tell it, tell it as you received it; begin to tell of the grace of God as you trust you feel it yourself.' Why, then, my eyes began to be fountains of tears; those hearers who had nodded their heads began to brighten up, and they listened, because they were hearing something which the speaker himself felt, and which they recognized as being true to him if it was not true to them." ~ Charles Spurgeon

Spurgeon's reverence of Wesley

"Far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians." ~ Charles Spurgeon

Spurgeon's Wit

While I disagree with Mr. Spurgeon's view of the doctrine of election, I was greatly amused at his powerful wit:

"I recollect an Arminian brother telling me that he had read the Scriptures through a score or more times, and could never find the doctrine of election in them. He added that he was sure he would have done so if it had been there, for he read the Word on his knees. I said to him, 'I think you read the Bible in a very uncomfortable posture, and if you had read it in your easy chair, you would have been more likely to understand it. Pray, by all means, and the more, the better, but it is a piece of superstition to think there is anything in the posture in which a man puts himself for reading: and as to reading through the Bible twenty times without having found anything about the doctrine of election, the wonder is that you found anything at all: you must have galloped through it at such a rate that you were not likely to have any intelligible idea of the meaning of the Scriptures.'" ~ Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seeking divine transformation

"What shall I do my suit to gain?
Oh Lamb of God for sinners slain,
I plead what thou hast done!
Didst thou not die the death for me?
Jesu, remember Calvary,
And break my heart of stone.

Oh let thy Spirit shed abroad
The love, the perfect love of God,
In this cold heart of mine!
Oh might he now descend, and rest,
And dwell for ever in my breast,
And make it all divine!"

~ Charles Wesley

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Assurance before confidence

"It is by this faith . . . that we receive Christ . . . But is this the faith of assurance, or faith of adherence? The Scripture mentions no such distinction . . . And it is certain, this faith necessarily implies an assurance . . . that Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me. For 'he that believeth' with the true living faith 'hath the witness in himself': 'the Spirit witnesseth with his spirit that he is a child of God.' 'Because he is a son, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into his heart, crying, Abba, Father'; giving him an assurance that he is so, and a childlike confidence in Him. But let it be observed, that, in the very nature of the thing, the assurance goes before the confidence. For a man cannot have a childlike confidence in God till he knows he is a child of God. Therefore, confidence, trust, reliance, adherence, or whatever else it be called, is not the first, as some have supposed, but the second, branch or act of faith. " ~ John Wesley in "The Scripture Way of Salvation"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Impossible possibilities

". . . the commandments were given irrespective of human ability or inability to keep them; then when Jesus Christ came, instead of doing what we all too glibly say He did - put something easier before men, He made it a hundredfold more difficult, because He goes behind the law to the disposition." ~ Oswald Chambers

"If the old commandments were difficult, our Lord's principles are unfathomably more difficult. Our Lord goes behind the old law to the disposition. Everything He teaches is impossible unless He can put into us His Spirit and remake us from within." ~ Oswald Chambers

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Contesting for the truth

"In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, September 27, 2009

For by grace are ye saved

The words of John Bunyan an unspecified number of years before his soul was comforted with the witness of the Holy Spirit: "Sometimes I would tell my condition to the people of God; which, when they heard, they would pity me, and would tell me of the promises; but they had as good have told me, that I must reach the sun with my finger, as have bidden me receive or rely upon the promises: and as soon I should have done it. All my sense and feeling were against me; and I saw I had an heart that would sin, and that lay under a law that would condemn." ~ John Bunyan in Grace Abounding

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The strait gate and narrow way

"And though I was much troubled, and tossed, and afflicted, with the sight and sense and terror of my own wickedness, yet I was afraid to let this sight and sense go quite off my mind . . . I had seen some, who . . . seeking rather present ease from their trouble . . . cared not how they lost their guilt, so they got it out of their mind . . . but they grew harder and blinder . . . This made me afraid, and made me cry to God the more, that it might not be so with me.

In this condition I went a great while but when comforting time was come . . . I began to give place to the word which with power, did over and over make this joyful sound within my soul ... And with that my heart was filled full of comfort and hope, and now I could believe that my sins should be forgiven me." ~ John Bunyan in Grace Abounding

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A seeking heart

"But all this while, as to the act of sinning, I was never more tender than now . . . But my original and inward pollution; That, that was my plague and affliction . . .

Sin and corruption, I said, would as naturally bubble out of my heart, as water would bubble out of a fountain: I thought now, that every one had a better heart than I had . . . and thus I continued a long while, even for some years together.

My soul is dying, my soul is damning. Were my soul but in a good condition, and were I but sure of it, ah! how rich should I esteem myself, though blessed but with bread and water!" ~ John Bunyan in Grace Abounding

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bedrock Christianity

"Gold! could it have been gotten for gold, what would I have given for it? Had I had a whole world, it had all gone ten thousand times over for this, that my soul might have been in a converted state. How lovely now was every one in my eyes, that I thought to be converted men and women. They shone, they walked like a people that carried the broad seal of heaven about them." ~ John Bunyan in Grace Abounding

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Overflowing peace

"Let the redeemed give thanks and praise
To a forgiving God!
My feeble voice I cannot raise
Till washed in Jesu's blood:

Till at thy coming from above
My mountain-sins depart,
And fear gives place to filial love,
And peace o'erflows my heart.

Restored by reconciling grace,
With present pardon blest,
And fitted by true holiness
For my eternal rest."

- Charles Wesley

Friday, July 3, 2009

Seek, and ye shall find

"Jesus, the promised help supply,
Support the feeble, fainting mind,
Nor let me in the winter fly,
But seek till I acceptance find,
But ask, till I am saved from sin,
And knock, till mercy takes me in."

- Charles Wesley

Spiritual reality

"We as well as the first Christians, must receive the Holy Ghost, before we can be truly called the children of God . . . I will not say, all our letter-learned preachers deny this doctrine in express words; but however, they do in effect; for they talk professedly against inward feelings, and say, we may have God's Spirit without feeling it, which is in reality to deny the thing itself. And had I a mind to hinder the progress of the gospel, and to establish the kingdom of darkness, I would go about, telling people, they might have the Spirit of God, and yet not feel it." - George Whitefield

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The smaller of two mistakes

"Would to God another George Fox would spring up in all his quaint simplicity and rude honesty to rebuke the idol-worship of this age; to rail at their holy bricks and mortar, holy lecterns, holy alters, holy surplices, right reverend fathers, and I know not what. These things are not holy. God is holy; his truth is holy; holiness belongs not to the carnal and the material, but to the spiritual. O that a trumpet-tongue would cry out against the superstition of the age. I cannot, as George Fox did, give up baptism and the Lord's Supper, but I would infinitely sooner do it, counting it the smaller mistake of the two than perpetrate and assist in perpetrating the uplifting of baptism and the Lord's Supper out of their proper place. O my beloved friends, the comrades of my struggles and witnessings, cling to the salvation of faith, and abhor the salvation of priests." - Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Greater than our expectations

"No matter how high our expectation may be, when God finally moves into the field of our spiritual awareness we are sure to be astonished by His power to overwhelm the mind and fascinate the soul." - A. W. Tozer

Faith is the gift of God

"Author of faith, to thee I cry,
To thee, who wouldst not have me die,
But know the truth and live;
Open mine eyes to see thy face,
Work in my heart the saving grace,
The life eternal give.

I know the work is only Thine-
The gift of faith is all divine;
But if on thee we call
Thou will the benefit bestow,
And give us hearts to feel and know
That thou hast died for all.

Thou bidst us knock, and enter in,
Come unto thee, and rest from sin,
The blessing seek and find;
Thou bidst us ask thy grace, and have;
Thou canst, thou wouldst, this moment save
Both me, and all mankind."

- Charles Wesley

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What is faith?

"Faith is not that human notion and dream that some hold for faith . . . when they hear the gospel they fall-to and make for themselves, by their own powers, an idea in their hearts which says, 'I believe.' This they hold for true faith. But it is a human imagination and idea that never reaches the depths of the heart . . . Faith, however, is a divine work in us . . . Oh, it is a living, busy, mighty thing, this faith . . . Faith is a living, daring confidence on God's grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it a thousand times. This confidence in God's grace and knowledge of it makes men glad and bold and happy . . . Beware, therefore, of your own false notions and of the idle talkers, who would be wise enough to make decisions about faith . . . Pray God to work faith in you; else you will remain forever without faith, whatever you think or do." - Martin Luther

Monday, June 15, 2009

Miraculous timing

Those who question the exclusive claims of Christianity may want to consider the odds of the Jewish leaders precipitating the execution of Jesus at the Passover - a Jewish holy day commemorating a historical event that clearly typifies the death of "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." (John 1:29) Then they may want to also consider the odds of Jesus' disciples first experiencing the baptism and transforming power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost - a Jewish feast commemorating the giving of the ten commandments. The perfect timing of these two watershed historical events with their foreshadowing types are indisputable facts, and provides powerful evidence of the miraculous nature of these events.

The Reversing of Niagara Falls

"The Lord knows right well that you cannot change your own heart, and cannot cleanse your own nature; but He also knows that He can do both . . . Hear this, and be astonished: He can create you a second time; He can cause you to be born again. This is a miracle of grace, but the Holy Ghost will perform it. It would be a very wonderful thing if one could stand at the foot of the Niagara Falls, and could speak a word which should make the river Niagara begin to run up stream, and leap up that great precipice over which it now rolls in stupendous force. Nothing but the power of God could achieve that marvel; but that would be more than a fit parallel to what would take place if the course of your nature were altogether reversed. All things are possible with God. He can reverse the direction of your desires and the current of your life, and instead of going downward from God, He can make your whole being tend upward toward God."
- Charles H. Spurgeon