He Preached from the Bloody Tree

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news” (Isaiah 61:1)

“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43).

“We may profitably note how earnestly our Lord kept to His work. It was His business to preach, and He did preach–He was always preaching! 

Even His miracles were sermons; they were acted discourses, full of instruction. 

All of His actions were sermons–He preached by every movement. 

He preached when He did not speak–His silence was as eloquent as His words! He preached from the bloody tree!With hands and feet fastened there, He delivered the most wonderful discourse on divine justice and on love, on divine vengeance and on grace, on death and on life, on damnation and on salvation–which was ever preached in this poor world!

Oh, yes, He preached–He was always preaching; with all His heart and soul He preached. He wept in secret, that He might the more compassionately preach the gospel which wipes men’s tears and sins away. As He walked the streets, He preached as He went along. This was His one calling; and this one calling, He pursued in the power of the eternal Spirit.

As our Lord ascended He said, ‘Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). His charge in brief was–preach, preach even as I have done before you!”

Charles Spurgeon

Be Cautious of Grace Denial

“Beloved, mistake not the nature and the evidence of growth in sanctification. In all your self-denial in this great work, be cautious of grace denial. You will need much holy wisdom here, lest you overlook the work of the Spirit within you.

You have thought, it may be, of the glory that Christ receives from brilliant genius, and profound talent, and splendid gifts, and glowing zeal, and costly sacrifices, and extensive usefulness.

But have you ever thought of the glory, the far greater, richer glory, that flows to Him from the contrite spirit, the broken heart, the lowly mind, the humble walk, the tear of godly repentance that falls when seen by no human eye, the sigh of godly sorrow that is breathed when heard by no human ear, the sin abhorrence, the self loathing, the deep sense of vileness, and poverty, and infirmity that takes you to Jesus with the prayer: ‘Lord, here I am; I have brought to You my rebellious will, my wandering heart, my worldly affections, my peculiar infirmity, my besetting and constantly overpowering sin. Receive me graciously, put forth the mighty power of Your grace in my soul, and subdue all, and rule all, and subjugate all to Yourself! Will it not be for Your glory, the glory of Your great name if this strong corruption were subdued by Your grace, if this powerful sin were nailed to Your cross, if this temper so volatile, if this heart so impure, if these affections so truant, if this mind so dark, if these desires so earthly, if these pursuits so carnal, if these aims so selfish, were all entirely renewed by Your Spirit, sanctified by Your grace, and made each to reflect Your image? Yes, Lord, it would be for Your glory, through time and through eternity!’ “

– Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts

The Sinfulness of Sin

“In order that by means of the Commandment the unspeakable sinfulness of sin might be plainly shown.” Romans 7:13

“The Christianity which is from the Holy Spirit, will always have a very deep view of the sinfulness of sin. It will not merely regard sin as a blemish and misfortune, which makes men and women objects of pity and compassion. It will see sin as the curse which cursed God’s beautiful creation, the cursed thing which makes the whole earth groan and struggle in pain, the abominable thing which God hates, the thing which makes people guilty and lost in his Maker’s sight, the thing which deserves God’s eternal wrath and condemnationIt will look on sin as the cause of all sorrow and unhappiness, strife and wars, quarrels and contentions, sickness and death!

Above all, it will see in sin the thing which will ruin us eternally–unless we can find a ransom, lead us captive–unless we can get its chains broken, and destroy our happiness, both here and hereafter–unless we fight against it, even unto death.

J.C. Ryle, Holiness

You Never Heard An Arminian Prayer

“You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say; but you never heard an Arminian prayer–for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free-will–there is no room for it. Imagine him praying:

‘Lord, I thank you I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to you of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have–they might all have been saved. Lord, I know You do not make us willing, if we are not willing ourselves. You give grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to Hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Spirit given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not Your grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal–still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not–that is the difference between me and them.’

That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that!”

 Charles Spurgeon, Free Will–A Slave

One Second of Glory Will Outweigh a Lifetime of Suffering

“Finally, the apostle here weighed the ‘sufferings‘ of this present time over against the ‘glory‘which shall be revealed in us, and as he did so he declared that the one is ‘not worthy to be compared‘ with the other. The one is transient, the other eternal. As, then, there is no proportion between the finite and the infinite, so there is no comparison between the sufferings of earth and the glory of heaven.

One second of glory will outweigh a lifetime of suffering. What were the years of toil, of sickness, of battling with poverty, of sorrow in any or every form, when compared with the glory of Immanuel’s land! One draught of the river of pleasure at God’s right hand, one breath of Paradise, one hour amid the blood-washed around the throne, shall more than compensate for all the tears and groans of earth. ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.‘ May the Holy Spirit enable both writer and reader to lay hold of this with appropriating faith and live in the present possession and enjoyment of it to the praise of the glory of Divine grace.”

– Arthur W. Pink, Comfort for Christians, p.18-19

No Spiritual Gains Without Pains

“Sanctification depends greatly on a diligent use of scriptural means. The ‘means of grace’ are such as Bible reading, private prayer, and regularly worshiping God in Church, wherein one hears the Word taught and participates in the Lord’s Supper. I lay it down as a simple matter of fact that no one who is careless about such things must ever expect to make much progress in sanctification. I can find no record of any eminent saint who ever neglected them. They are appointed channels through which the Holy Spirit conveys fresh supplies of grace to the soul and strengthens the work which He has begun in the inward man. Let men call this legal doctrine if they please, but I will never shrink from declaring my belief that there are no “spiritual gains without pains.” Our God is a God who works by means, and He will never bless the soul of that man who pretends to be so high and spiritual that he can get on without them.”

– J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p.25

He is Not a Half Savior

“He who supposes that Jesus Christ only lived and died and rose again in order to provide justification and forgiveness of sins for His people has yet much to learn. Whether he knows it or not, he is dishonoring our blessed Lord and making Him only a half Savior. The Lord Jesus has undertaken everything that His people’s souls require: not only to deliver them from the guilt of their sins by His atoning death, but from the dominion of their sins, by placing in their hearts the Holy Spirit; not only to justify them, but also to sanctify them. He is, thus, not only their ‘righteousness,’ but their ‘sanctification’ (1 Cor. 1:30). Let us hear what the Bible says: ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified.’ ‘Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it.’ ‘Christ . . . gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ ‘Christ . . . bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.’ Christ ‘has . . . reconciled [you] in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight’ (John 17:19; Eph. 5:25, 26; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24; Col. 1:22). Let the meaning of these five texts be carefully considered. If words mean anything, they teach that Christ undertakes the sanctification, no less than the justification, of His believing people. Both are alike provided for in that “everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure,” of which the Mediator is Christ. In fact, Christ in one place is called ‘He who sanctifies,’ and His people ‘they who are sanctified’ (Heb. 2:11).”

– J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p.20

The god of This Twentieth Century

Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel, “You thought I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21). Such must now be His indictment against an apostate Christendom. Men imagine that the Most High is moved by sentiment, rather that actuated by principle. They suppose that His omnipotence is such an idle fiction that Satan is thwarting His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s ‘free will’ and reduce him to a ‘machine.’ They lower the all-efficacious atonement, which has actually redeemed everyone for whom it was made, to a mere ‘remedy,’ which sin-sick souls may use if they feel disposed to; and they enervate the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to an ‘offer’ of the Gospel which sinners may accept or reject as they please.

The god of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ, than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The god who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible Conferences is the figment of human imagination, an invention of mushy sentimentality. The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form gods out of wood and stone, while the millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a god out of their own carnal mind. In reality, they are but atheists, for there is no other possible alternative between an absolutely supreme God, and no God at all. A god whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nothing but contempt!”

– Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God, p.21-22

His Infinite Fullness Fits Him For Us

“One great part of the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart is to . . .
empty us,
strip us of self,
lead us to feel our own weakness, and
bring us as poor sinners to look to Jesus alone, as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
And just in proportion as we feel our need of Christ, and realize our absolute nothingness without Christ–shall we prize Him, enjoy Him, and exercise dependence upon Him.

O how little do many of us know our need of Christ, and therefore it is that we . . .
make so little use of Christ,
receive so little from Christ,
and do so little for Christ!

We come to Him at first–as poor, lost, helpless sinners–that we may be saved by His merit and mercy. And as believers, we must continually come to Him…
with all our burdens–that He may bear them;
with all our cares–that He may manage them;
with all our sorrows–that He may sanctify them;
with all our foes–that He may conquer them;
with all our sins–that He may cleanse them; and
with all our needs–that He may supply them.

All that we need is in Christ–and it is in Christ, for us. Our sense of our need of Christ, if it is deep and increasing–will lead us to daily come to Christ for all our supplies.

Our deep necessity fits us for Christ–and His infinite fullness fits Him for us!

Our trials, troubles, temptations, disappointments, and vexations are to teach us our need of Christ; and drive us continually to Him.

There is often much prayer–and yet little communion with Christ. We should realize that He is giving us His whole attention. He expects us to tell Him . . .
all that troubles us,
all that grieves us,
all that pleases us,
all that we need,
and all that we desire.
We should keep back nothing from Him–but speak to Him freely on every subject, and every circumstance. He is always with us, listening to us, and sympathetically entering into all our concerns!

We must be intimate with Christ.
We must walk with Him.
We must carry everything to Him.
We must seek all we need from Him.
We must be constantly . . .
going to Christ,
conversing with Christ,
and obtaining from Christ–
if we would receive the consoling influences of His love!

– James Smith, Abide with Me

The Necessity of the Spirit to Pray and Continue in Prayer

“As the heart must be lifted up by the Spirit, if it pray aright, so also it must be held up the Spirit when it is up, if it is to continue to pray aright. I do not know what or how it is with others’ hearts, whether they be lifted up by the Spirit of God, and so continued, or no: but this I am sure of, first, that it is impossible that all the prayer books that men have in the world, should lift up, or prepare the heart, for that is the work of the great God himself. And, in the second place, I am sure that they are as far from keeping it up, when it is up. And indeed here is the life of prayer, to have the heart kept with God in the duty. It was a great matter for Moses to keep his hands lifted up to God in prayer; but how much more then to keep the heart in it! (Exod. 17:12).

The want of this is that which God complains of; that men draw nigh to him with their mouth, and know him with their lips, but their hearts are far from him (Is. 29:13; Ezek. 33:31), but chiefly they that walk after the commandments and traditions of men, as the scope of Matthew 15:8-9 testifies. And verily, may I but speak my own experience, and from that tell you the difficulty of praying to God as I ought, it is enough to make your poor, blind, carnal men to entertain strange thoughts of me. For, as for my heart, when I go to pray, I find it so loth to go to God, and when it is with him, so loth to stay with him, that many times I am forced in my prayers, first to beg of God that he would take mine heart, and set it on himself in Christ, and when it is there, that he would keep it there. Nay, many times I know not what to pray for, I am so blind, nor how to pray, I am so ignorant; only blessed be grace, the Spirit helps our infirmities (Ps. 86:11).

O the starting-holes that the heart has in the time of prayer! None knows how many by-ways the heart has, and back-lanes, to slip away from the presence of God. How much pride also, if enabled with expressions! How much hypocrisy, if before others! And how little conscience is there made of prayer between God and the soul in secret, unless the Spirit of supplication be there to help! When the Spirit gets into the heart, then there is prayer indeed, and not till then.”

– John Bunyan, Prayer, p.31-32