Angelic Ministrations of Care & Comfort

Luke 4:1,2; Luke 4:13; Matthew 4:11

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him.

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): They came to Him in a visible, human form, as they were used to do under the Old Testament dispensation, and that after the temptation was over―after Satan was foiled, and was gone―that it might appear that Christ alone had got the victory over him, without any help or assistance from them. When they were come, they “ministered to Him.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Perhaps food to His body, as once to Elias, 1 Kings 19:5, 6; but certainly comfort to His soul, as to Jacob, Hagar, Daniel, Zacharias, Joseph, Cornelius, and Paul…Though they do not often vocally express it, they do pity our human frailties, and secretly suggest comfort to us, when we perceive it not.

JOHN GILL: Thus, as the angels are “ministering spirits” to the heirs of salvation, both in a temporal and in a spiritual sense, Hebrews 1:14, so they were to Christ.

JOHN TRAPP: Christ indeed was not comforted by them till the temptation was over; but to us they minister, many times, in the hour of temptation.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): On many occasions we find angels employed by God to execute His purposes respecting men. Sometimes they have been sent as executioners of His judgments; but most generally as dispensers of some special mercy.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The angels are sometimes used by God to cheer us, and to give us comfort and consolation; for the apostle Paul tells his companions on that ship, you remember, that was already in a shipwrecked condition―“for there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul,” and he told him certain things, Acts 77:22-24. The angel was sent by God in order to cheer up the apostle.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): What was the happy hour in which the angel knocked at Daniel’s door to let him know how God loved him? Was it not when he was knocking at heaven’s door by his prayer? “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee, for thou art greatly beloved,” Daniel 9:23.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Not only that, but we find that the angels are used in protecting us. Do you remember the 91st Psalm, verses ten and eleven? “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Do you remember Daniel being cast into that cage with the lions? Yet he came out quite unscathed, and here is his explanation of it: “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me,” Daniel 6:22…And there is very little doubt that it was the angels who enabled that poor, unhappy, miserable, pessimistic servant of Elisha to realize that though the enemy was coming with great might to attack them, that they were also surrounded by an unseen host that would destroy the enemy, 2 Kings 6:17.

JOHN TRAPP: They have power over the devils to restrain them; and―though invisibly and insensibly―are as ready to help and comfort us as the evil angels to tempt and trouble us: else were not our protection equal to our danger, and we could neither stand nor rise.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: But the angels are also used by God to give us deliverance. Do you remember that in the 12th chapter of Acts, we read of Peter being arrested and thrown into prison?  And do you remember what happened to him? “And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.” Then the angel went and opened doors and gates, and Peter simply follows the angel. He was delivered from prison through the means of an angel.

JOHN TRAPP: Socrates and Theodoret tell us of one Theodorus, a martyr, put to extreme torments by Julian the apostate, and dismissed again by him, when he saw him unconquerable. Ruffinus tells us that he met with this martyr, a long time after this trial, and asked him, “whether the pain he felt were not insufferable?” He answered, “that at first it was somewhat grievous; but after a while, there seemed to stand by him a young man in white, who with a soft handkerchief wiped off the sweat of his body and bade him be of good cheer.” Insomuch as that it was rather a punishment than a pleasure to him to be taken off the rack, since, when the tormentors had done, the angel was gone―and how many unspeakable comforts ministered the good angels to [other] martyrs in their prisons, at the stake, and in the fire!

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): How angels thus keep us we cannot tell. Whether they repel demons, counteract spiritual plots, or even ward off the subtler physical forces of disease, we do not know. Perhaps we shall one day stand amazed at the multiplied services which the unseen bands have rendered to us.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Now all that is very marvelous and very wonderful, isn’t it? That’s what the angels do for us while we’re in this life. But now I am going to say something that I trust may give great comfort and consolation to many people who may have been looking forward perhaps to the end of their life in this world with fear, and dread, and terror, and alarm, afraid of the physical aspect of death. My dear friend, you needn’t be, for I read in Luke 16:22 this: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): As soon as saints are cut down by death, they fall into the hands and bosoms of the angels of God, who bear them in their arms and bosoms to their Father. For look, as these blessed spirits did rejoice at their conversion, Luke 5:10, and thought it no dishonour to minister them, so when they are cut down by death, they will rejoice to be their convoy to heaven.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: And when you come to die, they’ll be there to receive your spirit, and to take it to paradise. That’s the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Never again, Christian people, imagine that when you come to die, you’ll be going in some awful loneliness as a disembodied spirit to an unknown. Not at all. The angels of God will be there to receive you, and to conduct you, and to take you to be with the Lord in paradise.  What a wonderful thing!

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Editor’s Note: Today’s post is the 500th post published on the Bible Truth Chat Room. But far more importantly, 2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Beginning next week, and during the remainder of this year, occasionally we hope to publish some posts to commemorate that Anniversary. And let us all pray that God will revive His Church in our own day, confound the spiritual enemies of Jesus Christ and His truth, and once again put them to flight by another mighty Reformation.

 

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The Everlasting Love of God the Father

Matthew 6:9

Our Father which art in heaven.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): It was not without meaning that He taught us when we pray to say, “Our Father.”

ROBERT HAWKER (1753-1827): Do earthly parents love to hear the voice of their little ones, as soon as they can lisp out father? And will not our heavenly Father be pleased with the name, when taught by the Spirit to call Him “Abba, Father,” Romans 8:15?

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): There is more eloquence in that word, “Abba, Father,” than in all the orations of Demosthenes or Cicero put together.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): The conception of the Divine nature is no doubt infinitely deepened, made more tender and more lofty, by the thought of the Fatherhood of God―Fatherhood! what does that word itself teach us? It speaks of the communication of a life, and the reciprocity of love. It rests upon a Divine act, and it involves a human emotion. It involves that the father and the child shall have kindred life―the father bestowing and the child possessing a life which is derived; and because derived, kindred; and because kindred, unfolding itself in likeness to the father that gave it.

C. H. SPURGEON: This relationship also involves love. If God is my Father, He loves me.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): That you may see God’s fatherly love to His children, consider, God makes a precious valuation of them. “Since thou wast precious in my sight,” Isaiah 43:4. A father prizes his child above his jewels. Their names are precious, for they have God’s own name written upon them: “I will write upon him the name of my God,” Revelation 3:12. He has bowels of affections towards us.

ROBERT HAWKER: What dearness of affection must they stand in to God, when Jesus Himself, speaking to the Father concerning them, saith: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou, hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me,” John 17:23―and, in what a high sense, God’s children, yea, God’s dear children so loved, may be.

THOMAS WATSON: He delights in their company. He loves to see their faces, and hear their voices, Song of Solomon 2:14. He cannot refrain long from their company; let but two or three of His children meet and pray together, He will be sure to be among them. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name—there am I in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:20.

C. H. SPURGEON: Now, we cannot truly cry unto God, “Abba, Father,” without, at the same time, feeling, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,” 1 John 3:1…As loving children we feel a holy awe and reverence as we realize our relationship to Him who is our Father in Heaven—a clear, loving, tender, pitiful Father.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): If earthly parents, especially, look after their children when weak, much more our heavenly Father.

THOMAS WATSON: He bears his children in His bosom, as a nursing father does the sucking child, Numbers 11:12; Isaiah 46:4. To be carried in God’s bosom shows how near His children lie to His heart—If God is our Father, He will be full of sympathy towards His children. “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him,” Psalm 103:13…If it is so unnatural for an earthly father not to love his child, can we think God can be defective in His love?

C. H. SPURGEON: Some will have it that God’s people may sin, partially and finally, so as never to be the Lord’s Beloved again. They say they can sin themselves out of the Covenant. But we have not so learned Christ, neither have we so understood the Fatherhood of our God.

THOMAS WATSON: The Arminians hold falling away from grace, so that a child of God may be deprived of his inheritance. But God’s children can never be degraded or disinherited, and their heavenly Father will not cast them off from being His children. It is evident that God’s children cannot be finally disinherited, by virtue of the eternal decree of heaven…That decree ties the knot of adoption so fast, that neither sin, death, nor hell, can break it asunder. “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified,” Romans 8:30.

C. H. SPURGEON: Whom once He loves, He never leaves, but loves them to the end. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” on His part towards His people…No, it is not, “I will strike their names out of the Book of Life.” It is not, “I will disinherit them, seeing they have proved unfaithful to Me,” but, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely,” Hosea 14:4—that is to say, “whatever their sin may have been I will overcome it, I will drive it out, I will restore them to their first condition of health. I will do more, I will so heal them that one day without spot or wrinkle or any such thing they shall see their Father’s face.”

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” Luke 12:32. God is on their side, and will not leave, nor forsake them.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): It is not the will of our heavenly Father that the least and meanest believer should perish, Matthew 18:14.

THOMAS WATSON: Besides God’s decree, He has engaged Himself by promise, that the heirs of heaven shall never be put out of their inheritance. “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me,” Jeremiah 32:40. God’s fidelity, which is the richest pearl of His crown, is engaged in this promise for His children’s perseverance. A child of God cannot fall away while he is held fast in these two arms of God—His love, and His faithfulness.

THOMAS LYE (1621-1684): When our heavenly Father is, as it were, forced to put forth His anger, He then makes use of a father’s rod, not an executioner’s axe. He will neither break His children’s bones, nor His own covenant.

THOMAS WATSON: He loves His children with the same love as He loves Christ, John 17:26. It is the same love, for the unchangeableness of it. God will no more cease to love His adopted sons than He will to love Christ, His Son.

C. H. SPURGEON: If we ever did, in truth, call God “Father,” we shall always be able to use that blessed title, for the relationship of fatherhood is not a temporary one, and cannot come to an end…A man cannot get rid of fatherhood by any possible means. Yes, though my boy should transgress and dishonor his father’s name, yet I am still his father. There is no getting out of this relationship by any conceivable method and so, if, indeed, the Lord is unto you a Father, He will always give you a father’s love. In your adoption and regeneration the Lord has avowed Himself to be your Father and has virtually said, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” Jeremiah 31:3.

 

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Parades of Pride, Glorying in Their Shame

Isaiah 3:9; Romans 1:26-28; Philippians 3:19

They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): There is such a thing as judicial blindness. If men can see, and yet will not see, God is at last so provoked by their wickedness that He takes away the light altogether, and removes from them the very faculty of sight.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): They will not receive the love of the truth―and for this cause God delivers them up to strong delusions, vile affections, base and beastly practices; as committing and defending of sodomy, and such like abhorred filth, not once to be named among Christians.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): They who are slaves to their lusts are the worst of slaves, and stop at nothing to gratify them.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Many rush into such excesses of lasciviousness, as to glory in their shame.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Though the world always lies in wickedness, yet there are some times in which it may be said, that iniquity doth in a special manner abound; as when it is more extensive than ordinary, as in the old world, when “all flesh had corrupted his way,” Genesis 6:12; and when it is more excessive than ordinary…When wickedness abounds, and goes barefaced, under the protection and countenance of those in authority―who, instead of putting the laws in execution against vice and injustice and punishing the wicked according to their merits, patronize and protect them, give them countenance, and support their reputation by their own example―then “the wicked walk on every side,” Psalms 12:8; they swarm in all places, and go up and down seeking to deceive, debauch, and destroy others; they are neither afraid nor ashamed to discover themselves; they declare their sin as Sodom and there is none to check or control them.

JOHN TRAPP:  Now may they do what they will―for no man must find fault; and they are glad of this.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): They glory in their iniquity. This is the highest pitch of ungodliness.

JOHN CALVIN: Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time,” Amos 5:3. When therefore Amos says, that the time would be evil, he means, that such audacity would prevail, that all liberty would be denied to wise men. They would then be forced to be silent, for they could effect nothing by speaking, nay, they would have no freedom of speech allowed them: and though they attempted to discharge their office, yet tyrannical violence would instantly impose silence on them. Similar was the case with Lot―he was constrained, I have no doubt, to be silent after having often used free reproofs; nay, he doubtless exposed himself to many dangers by his attempts to reprove the Sodomites. Such seems to me to be the meaning of the Prophet, when he says, that the prudent would be silent, because these tyrants would impose silence on all teachers—visiting them with some punishment, or loading them with reproaches, or treating them with ridicule as persons worthy of contempt.

C. H. SPURGEON: Sodomites cannot have much love for righteous men…They do the same today.

JOHN CALVIN: But we must see how Sodom rushed forward to that degree of licentiousness so as to be horrified by no enormity. God says that they began by pride, Ezekiel 16:49―and surely pride is the mother of all contempt of God and of all cruelty.

MATTHEW HENRY: It was the pride of the Sodomites that they despised righteous Lot, and would not bear to be reproved by him; and this ripened them for ruin.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Their pride, and wantonness, and impiety manifestly shows itself in their very looks and carriages, and will be swift witness against them both before God and men. They declare their sin; they act it publicly, casting off all fear of God, and reverence to men, and they glory in it. They hide it not, as men do who have any remainders of modesty or ingenuity.

C. H. SPURGEON: Deep is our shame when we know that our judges are not clear in this matter, but social purity has been put to the blush by magistrates of no mean degree.

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): Nay, we glory in this as “progress,” “culture,” and “enlightenment,” as freedom from the bigotry of other centuries and the narrowness of our half-enlightened ancestors.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The problem is not so much immorality but the total absence of morality—amorality, a tendency to doubt all types of moral standards. Indeed, some would go so far as to say that all those who acknowledge moral standards live an incomplete life and do an injustice to their personalities. These people claim that what was once called sin is nothing but self-expression. The old foundations are being shaken, and the old boundaries and hedges are being swept away…This has become an amoral or a non-moral society. The very category of morality is not recognized at all, and men and women are virtually in the position of saying “evil be thou my good.”

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): But I would affectionately remind them, that confidence in error will not make error cease to be what it is; and that a pertinacity in error may cause God to give them over to judicial blindness and hardness. We read that God gives over some “to a strong delusion, to believe a lie, that they may be damned, because they believe not the truth, but obey unrighteousness,” 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12. Their “believing a lie” does not make it true; nor does its being “a delusion” prevent their being “damned” for yielding to it.

JOHN CALVIN: We may further observe, that men have then advanced to the extremity of evil, when reception is no more given to sound doctrine and salutary counsels, and when all liberty is sternly suppressed, so that prudent men dare not to reprove vices, however rampant they may be, which even children observe, and the blind feel. When licentiousness has arrived to this pitch, it is certain that the state of things is past recovery and that there is no hope of repentance or of a better condition.

MATTHEW HENRY: When wickedness has come to the height, ruin is not far off. Abounding sins are sure presages of approaching judgments.

 

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The Tongues of Pentecost & the Tongues of Pentecostalism

Acts 2:1-12

When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Marvellous, beyond conception, was the miracle wrought on the day of Pentecost.

ROBERT HAWKER (1753-1827): Here were no less than fifteen different nations of the earth brought together on this occasion, and all of them distinguished by a different language. And to these different nations those poor, humble, untaught fishermen of Galilee, were at once qualified to talk on the great things of God.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): They did not speak here and there a word of another tongue, or stammer out some broken sentences, but spoke it as readily, properly, and elegantly, as if it had been their mother tongue.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): Some commentators of note, both ancient and modern, have maintained that they spoke only one language, that is, Hebrew, or Syro-Chaldaic; but that the people heard them every one in their own language. This is really making the miracle consist in the hearing, and not in the speaking, and seems so groundless, that it does not need any laboured confutation. Our Saviour promised, Mark 16:17, that they should speak with new tongues. And Luke here plainly asserts that they did “speak with other tongues,” or in other languages.

MATTHEW HENRY: They spoke not from any previous thought or meditation, but “as the Spirit gave them utterance;” He furnished them with the matter as well as the language. It is probable that the apostles spoke of Christ, and redemption by Him, and the grace of the gospel; and these are indeed the great things of God―they heard them both praise God for these great things and instruct the people concerning these things.

WILLIAM KELLY (1821-1906): It must be borne in mind that the Spirit works in conjunction with the understanding—that is, with the understanding of the one who speaks, and those who hear.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): They did not utter anything of themselves, and what came into their minds, things of little or no importance; nor in a confused and disorderly manner; but they were wise and weighty sentences they delivered, as the word signifies; even the wonderful works of God―the great doctrines of the Gospel; and though in different languages, yet in a very orderly and distinct manner, so as to be heard and understood by the people.

MATTHEW HENRY: These disciples of Christ, that now speak with other tongues, speak good sense, and know what they say, and so do those they speak to.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): They “began to speak with other tongues,”―not in the absurd and unintelligible jargon of cunning impostors or deluded fanatics.

PHILIP MAURO (1859-1952): We believe that the modern error regarding tongues, as made prominent by those who call themselves “pentecostals,” is one of the most dangerous of these last days…Most earnestly, therefore, do we warn the beloved people of God against it.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): [In England, about 1830], Edward Irving, founder of the “Catholic Apostolic Church,” propounded the theory that the supernatural gifts which existed in the early Church had been lost through the unbelief and carnality of its members, and that if there was a return to primitive order and purity, they would again be available. Accordingly he appointed “apostles,” and “prophets” and “evangelists.” They claimed to speak in tongues, prophesy, interpret and work miracles…Irving’s theory, with some modifications and some additions has been popularized and promulgated by the more recent so-called “Pentecostal movement,” where a species of unintelligible jabbering and auto-suggestion cum mesmerism is styled “speaking in tongues.”

A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): It has magnified one single gift above all others and that one gift, as Paul said, was the least. Now, that does not cause me to have great confidence in the movement that would do that. Then there is an unscriptural exhibition of that gift, which incidentally began in the United States about 1904.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): There seems something monstrous in this determination to hold converse with God in sounds which fall without meaning from the tongue. Even if God did not declare His displeasure, nature herself, without a monitor, rejects it. Besides, it is easy to infer from the whole tenor of Scripture how deeply God abominates such an invention. As to the public prayers of the church, the words of Paul are clear―the unlearned cannot say Amen if the benediction is pronounced in an unknown tongue, 1 Corinthians 14:16. And this makes it the more strange, that those who first introduced this perverse practice ultimately had the effrontery to maintain that the very thing which Paul regards as ineffably absurd was conducive to the majesty of prayer.

PHILIP MAURO: Its phenomena—ecstasies, transports, prostrations, yielding to “the power,” displaced personality—are the very same as hypnotism, spiritism, and other psychic and occult phenomena.

H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): Some time ago I officiated at a funeral―I was told that the dear lady who had passed away had a number of friends given to the use of a gift that they called “speaking in tongues,” though it certainly was not that which the Bible refers to as the gift of tongues. They had a habit of going off into a semi-trance condition and uttering strange sounds. Someone forewarned me, “Just as you stand up to preach, these women will immediately begin to exercise this weird gift of theirs. Their jaws will work in a peculiar way for a few minutes and after that they will start to babble.” I began to preach and, sure enough, in a minute or two I saw the jaws begin to work. But the undertaker was on the job and immediately suggested to the four ladies that they leave. In a moment they straightened up, but answered with indignation, “This is a gift of God and we are free to use it where we will.” The undertaker replied, “Not here in my undertaking parlor.” And so they were quiet.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): If you meet people who say they speak in tongues, or if you have been at a meeting where this is claimed, and if there was disorder and confusion, then you are entitled to say, in terms of the scriptural teaching, that whatever else it may have been, it was not the gift of tongues.

 

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Christ Washing Peter’s Feet

John 13:3-10

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.

H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): Notice what Jesus did not say, and then notice what He did say. He did not say, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in me.” He did say, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” What is the difference between “part in Him,” and “part with Him?” Well, “part in Him,” is life, and Peter already had divine life. He was already “in Him.” To be in Christ is just the opposite of being in Adam. We are in Christ by new birth. And Peter had been already born of God. He had already received Him as his Saviour, and so he was in Him. But now Jesus says, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me,” and with Him is communion. With Him is fellowship.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): He has washed all Believers, once and for all, in His most precious blood—cleansing, as before the bar of justice, is completely accomplished forever for all the chosen by the great blood-shedding upon Calvary. That is a matter of the past—a thing for which to bless God for all eternity. “We are clean, through Jesus’ blood we are clean.” But here is another kind of washing—not of the entire man, but of the feet only. Not with blood, but with water—not in the fountain filled from the Saviour’s veins—but in a basin filled with water.

H. A. IRONSIDE: Every believer is linked up with the Lord Jesus Christ by two links. There is the link of union, and the link of union is so strong that the weight of a world could not break it. He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,” John 10:27,28. It might be translated: “They shall never, by any means, perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand.” That is the link of union. But there is also the link of communion.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): Union with Christ is fundamentally necessary to all communion with Him. All communion is founded in union; and where there is no union, there can be no communion…Communion with God pre-supposes the habits of grace implanted in the soul by sanctification; a sound and sincere change of heart. No sanctification, no communion.

H. A. IRONSIDE: We must be clean to enjoy communion with Christ…The link of communion is so fragile that the least unconfessed sin will break it in a moment, and the only way it can be reformed is by confessing and forsaking the sin that snapped it.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): Let me remind you that there is no cleansing without Christ. Can you do it for yourselves, do you think? There is an old proverb, ‘One hand washes the other.’ That is true about stains on the flesh. It is not true about stains on our spirits. Nobody can do it for us but Jesus Christ alone.

C. H. SPURGEON: It is even so! He does do it—He does, in this sense, wash His people’s feet! When Jesus Christ puts away from us day by day our daily infirmities and sins, does He not wash our feet? Last night, when you bowed the knee, you could not help confessing that there had been much in the week’s transactions which was not worthy of your standing and profession. And even tonight, when the engagements of this day are over, you will have to mourn that you foolishly committed the very sins which you repented of weeks ago…And yet Jesus Christ will have great patience with you! He will hear your confession of sin! He will say, “I will, be thou clean.” He will again apply the blood of sprinkling—He will speak peace to your conscience and remove every spot.

H. A. IRONSIDE: And so Jesus says, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” He means, “If I am not daily washing thee from the defilement that continually clings to one’s feet, you cannot have fellowship with Me.”

Now Peter goes to the other extreme. He says, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” But Jesus says, “No, Peter, you are wrong again. He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit…”—What is it the Savior is telling us here? Why, this: when a Christian fails and becomes defiled in thought or deed or word, he does not thereby cease to be a Christian; he does not cease to be a child of God and have to begin all over again, but he simply needs to have his feet washed. He needs to have his walk cleansed.

C. H. SPURGEON: Oh, it is a great act of eternal love when Christ, once and for all absolves the sinner, takes him from under the dominion of the Law and puts him into the family of God! But what long-suffering and patience there is when the Saviour, with much long-suffering, bears the daily follies of the recipient of so much mercy! Day by day and hour by hour He puts away the constant sin of the erring but yet beloved child! To dry up a flood of sin is something marvelous—but to endure the constant dropping of daily sins—to bear with that constant weary trying of patience, this is Divine, indeed! To blot out the whole of sin like a thick cloud is a great and matchless power, as well as Grace—but to remove the mist of every morning and the damp of every night—oh, this is condescension! I wish I could describe it—it is condescension well imaged in the washing of Peter’s feet.

 

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Casting Thy Bread Upon the Waters

Ecclesiastes 11:1,2,6

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight, for thou knowest not what evil may be upon the earth…In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): To cast one’s bread upon the surface of the waters, where it must be either devoured by the fish, or diluted to nothing, before the waves leave it upon the shore, would be a very odd way of providing for futurity; and I doubt whether one who would try the experiment could find his bread again after many days. But the case is quite otherwise with respect to seed thrown upon the surface of an inundation; when the waters subside, the corn which remains in the mud grows, and is found again many days after, at the time of harvest.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): In Egypt, for instance, where the Nile overflows the country periodically to a vast extent, it is common for men to cast their seed—their rice especially, upon the waters, whilst yet they are at a considerable depth. This might seem to be folly in the extreme: but experience proves, that, instead of losing their seed, they find it again after many days, rising into an abundant crop.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Waters, in Scripture, are put for multitudes, Revelation 17:15.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The exhortations of Ecclesiastes chapter 11 have also a spiritual import, with a particular application unto the minister of the Gospel. As faith is needed by the farmer in order to the discharge of his duties—so it is with the evangelical gardener. He must not be discouraged by the lack of response he meets with, and the absence of immediate fruitage to his labours. If he is faithful in casting the Bread of life upon the human “waters,” particularly “thy bread”—those portions you have personally received from God and which have proved a blessing to your own soul—the sure promise is “thou shall find it again after many days.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): I remember, how during the depths of the Second World War, when everything was about as discouraging as it could be—bombing had scattered our congregation and so on—and I was facing great discouragement. I suddenly received a letter from the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia. It was from a Dutch soldier who wrote saying that his conscience had been pricking him and, at last, had driven him to write to tell me what had happened to him eighteen months before. He explained how he had come to England with the Dutch Free Army and while stationed in London had attended our services for some time. While doing so he had been convinced of the fact that he had never been a Christian at all though he had thought he was. He had then passed through a dark period of conviction of sin and hopelessness, but, eventually, he had seen the Truth and had been rejoicing in it ever since.

ROBERT HAWKER (1753-1827): Can you need a more striking subject of instruction, respecting the spiritual seed of the gospel?Like seed sown in the field, it lays hid for awhile. Its product is in future, not now. Preachers of the gospel of Christ, may find great beauty, as well as great encouragement, in these precepts blended with promises. How often, indeed, after many days and years do they find the fruit of their labours.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): Sixty-two years ago I preached a poor, dry, barren sermon with no comfort to myself and, as I imagined, with no comfort to others.  But a long time afterwards I heard of nineteen distinct cases of blessing resulting from that sermon.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Frequently I have gone home groaning over a sermon which God has blessed to never-dying souls. And those very discourses which I have thought the worst of, God has blessed the most. I think we are not to be judges of how we do our work—the Master knows better than we do the success of our enterprises. Beside, dear friends, you do not expect to see fruit at once, do you? “Cast your bread upon the waters and you shall find it tomorrow,”—is that the text? If I read rightly it is, “You shall find it after many days.”—We must preach in faith believing that the Word cannot return unto our Master void.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): The husbandman throws his seed freely, be­cause he sows in hope.

C. H. SPURGEON: To go on tilling a thankless soil, to continue to cast bread upon the waters and to find no return has caused many a true heart to faint with inward bleeding. Yet this is full often the test of our fidelity. It is a noble thing to continue preaching, like Noah, throughout a lifetime, amid ridicule, reproach and unbelief—but it is not every man who can do so…You must take care that you have this faith.

A. W. PINK:For thou knowest not what evil may be upon the earth,” supplies a further incentive to fidelity. Things are indeed bad enough today—but the shrewdest is quite incapable of foreseeing how much worse they may become…Therefore it is the part of wisdom—to redeem the time and make the most of the privileges which are ours today. “Work while it is called day—for the night comes when no man can work,” John 9:4. Since we have no guarantee about the future, utilize to the full, the present.

JOHN BERRIDGE (1716-1793): I preach only at two times—in season and out of season. Such are my orders, and my Master has also said, “preach the gospel to every creature.”

MATTHEW HENRY: Let us continue our pious endeavours for the good of souls, for, though we have long laboured in vain, we may at length see the success of them. Let ministers, in the days of their seedness, sow both morning and evening; for who can tell which shall prosper?

A. W. PINK: Therefore be not slack or exclusive, but “give portions to seven, yes, to eight,” for if you prayerfully seek opportunities and carefully observe the openings which Providence makes—you will be brought into touch with hungry souls. There is many a starved sheep wandering about today who will deeply appreciate the ministrations of one of Christ’s shepherds.

C. H. SPURGEON: Remember the promises, let them come up before your mind—believe them, and go in the strength of them. “In due season we shall reap if we faint not,” Galatians 6:9; “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love,” Hebrews 6:10…But if you should not live to see it on earth, remember, you are only accountable for your labour—not for your success! Sow still, toil on! “Cast your bread upon the waters: for you shall find it after many days.” God will not allow His Word to be wasted—“it shall not return to Him void, but shall accomplish that which He pleases,” Isaiah 55:11.

 

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A Mother’s Day Post: Samuel & His Mother Hannah

1 Samuel 1:20, 24-28; 1 Samuel 3:1

Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD…

And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.

And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Samuel was a model child.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The child Samuel ministered unto the Lord,” in such parts of service, relating to the tabernacle of the Lord, as he was capable of, such as opening and shutting the doors of it, lighting the lamps, singing the praises of God…As he proceeded on in years, and grew in stature, he appeared more and more to be a virtuous, holy, and gracious person, “and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men,” 1 Samuel 2:26.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): He maintained a blameless reputation, and at the close of his life, could thus challenge the whole nation: “I have walked before from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you,” 1 Samuel 12:3.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): The continuous growth of a character, from a child serving God, and to old age walking in the same path, is the great lesson which the story of Samuel teaches us.

WILLIAM JAY: But what has this to do with Hannah? Much, in every way.

C. H. SPURGEON: Mothers make men. They have the formation of their boys’ characters.

JOHN GILL: Hannah, the mother of Samuel, is by the Septuagint called Anna, and it signifies “grace;” or “gracious:” and as was her name, so was she, a gracious woman―one that had the grace of God herself, and was a publisher of the glad tidings of grace and redemption by Christ to others.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): As she was a good woman, so she was a good mother.

WILLIAM JAY: Did Samuel learn not to be idle? Did he readily obey those who had the rule over him? Did he cheerfully submit to restraints and privations? Did he show no unwillingness to be left behind in the tabernacle? Had he no fear to sleep alone? Could he hear an extraordinary voice in the night without terror? Did the fear of God banish every other fear? (1 Samuel Chapters 2 & 3). All this proclaims Hannah’s influence. All this she had early taught him. All this shows the excellency of her discipline, the wisdom of her teaching, and the influence of her example. All this, under God, was owing to Hannah. All that enobled him praises her; and the history of the son is eulogium of the mother.

C. H. SPURGEON: One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters―she has the first hand in the fashioning.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): My mother was a pious woman and as I was her only child, she made it the chief business and pleasure of her life to instruct me, and bring me up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord…When I was four years old, I could read and could likewise repeat the answers to the questions in the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, with the proofs; and all Isaac Watts’s smaller Catechisms, and his Children’s Hymns.

GEORGE SWINNOCK (1627-1673): The mother can toil and moil all day with her child, and count it a pleasure―but what is the reason? nothing but her love.

C. H. SPURGEON: A mother’s love is the cream of love. It is most pure, holy, and unselfish―we have heard of a good mother who wanted to teach her child something; but when someone complained that she had to repeat the same thing twenty times, she answered, “Yes, I did that because nineteen times would not do.”

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): A sweet happiness to any child to have a good mother.

C. H. SPURGEON: David had been taught by his good mother. I know he had a godly mother, for he says, “Lord, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant and the son of Thine handmaid,” Psalm 116:16. He calls his mother, God’s handmaid, which shows that she was one of God’s servants. I have no doubt that she took David on her knee and taught him God’s Word while he was but a child, for he had such a love of it afterwards that he must have had a love of it while he was yet little!―the man never forgets what he learns at his mother’s knee.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians of England.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Who can estimate the worth of a Christian mother—a Hannah?

C. H. SPURGEON: Samuel was the son of a praying mother—certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come? How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, “Oh, that my son might live before Thee!”

JOHN NEWTON: My dear mother, besides the pains she took with me, often commended me with many prayers and tears to God.

GEORGE SWINNOCK: Augustine saith that his mother travailed in greater pain for his spiritual than for his natural birth; but surely there are few Monicas.

C. H. SPURGEON: Doubtless a good man generally comes of a good mother. It was usually so in Scriptural times, and it is so still―and the daughter of a good mother, will be the mother of a good daughter…The future of society is in the hands of mothers.

CHARLES BRIDGES: If there were more Hannahs, would there not be more Samuels? If thou wouldst have, Christian mother, thy child a Samuel or an Augustine, be thyself a Hannah or a Monica.

 

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Counterfeit Humility

Exodus 3:11,12

And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Moses, we know, was called to go to Pharaoh, and to bring the Lord’s people out of Egypt. Now, in opposition to this call, he urged his own unworthiness of such an office.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): He answers that he is not sufficient for it, and therefore refuses the commission. His comparison of himself with Pharaoh was an additional pretext for declining it. This, then, seems to be the excuse of modesty and humility; and as such, I conceive it not only to be free from blame, but worthy of praise.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): He thought the Lord had made a mistake, that he was not the man. He said, “Who am I?” He was very small in his own estimation.

JOHN CALVIN: But another question arises, why he, who forty years ago had been so forward in killing the Egyptian, and, relying on the vocation of God, had dared to perform so perilous a deed, should now timidly deny his sufficiency for the deliverance of the people? It does not seem probable that his rigour had decreased from age.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Age had made him cool and considerate; the remembrance of his brethren’s rejection of him, when he was a great man at court, took away all probability of prevailing with them to follow him, much more of prevailing with Pharaoh to let them go. Thus Moses falls into that distemper to which most men are prone, of measuring God by himself, and by the probabilities or improbabilities of second causes.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Now, catch this—God said, “Never mind who you are. “Certainly I will be with thee.” Here was strength enough for him. What more does Moses want?

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): One difficulty being solved, Moses raised another…The second question asked by Moses was eminently reasonable. He pictures to himself his addressing the Israelites, and their question, Exodus 3:13―“Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN (1863-1945): The answer was threefold: first, for himself, “I AM THAT I AM,” Exodus 3:14; second, for Israel, “the LORD God of your fathers,” verse 15; and finally, for Pharaoh, “the LORD God of the Hebrews,” verse 18.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): He ought, therefore, to be perfectly satisfied to go forth.

D. L. MOODY: And yet, he seemed to draw back, and began to make another excuse, and said: “They will not believe me,” Exodus 4:1.

CHARLES SIMEON: Moses would not in plain terms refuse to obey his God: but he tried by every method to excuse himself from undertaking the office assigned him. He first pretends to decline through modesty―and we might have given him credit for real humility, if his subsequent refusals had not shown that he was actuated by a far different principle. When God has obviated all objections arising from his unworthiness, then, in direct opposition to God’s promise, he objects that the people will not believe his message. To remove all apprehensions on this ground, God works three miracles before him, and commissions him to perform the same in the sight of Pharaoh and the people of Israel, Exodus 4:2-9.

D. L. MOODY: But Moses made another excuse, and said, “I am slow of speech, slow of tongue,” Exodus 4:10.

CHARLES SIMEON: He pleads his want of eloquence, and his consequent unfitness for such an undertaking. To obviate this, God asks him, “Who made man’s mouth?” and whether He, who had given him the faculty of speech, was not able to give effect to his endeavours? Yea, He promises to “be with him, and to teach him what he shall say,” Exodus 4:11,12.

C. H. MACKINTOSH: We might suppose that Moses had seen and heard enough to set his fears entirely aside. The consuming fire in the unconsumed bush, the condescending grace, the precious, endearing, and comprehensive titles, the divine commission, the assurance of the divine presence—all these things might have quelled every anxious thought, and imparted a settled assurance to the heart.

CHARLES SIMEON: And does all this overcome his reluctance? No: he still declines the service, and begs that God would employ any other person rather than himself, Exodus 4:13. But what were all these objections? They were, in truth, only so many excuses, urged to cover his own backwardness to undertake the work―the very excuses which a false humility invariably suggests.

C. H. MACKINTOSH: Divinely-wrought humility is an inestimable grace. To “be clothed with humility,” is a divine precept, 1 Peter 5:5; and humility is, unquestionably, the most becoming dress in which a worthless sinner can appear. But, it cannot be called humility to refuse to take the place which God assigns, or to tread the path which His hand marks out for us. That it was not true humility in Moses is obvious from the fact that “the anger of the Lord was kindled against him,” Exodus 4:14. So far from its being humility, it had actually passed the limit of mere weakness. So long as it wore the aspect of an excessive timidity, however reprehensible, God’s boundless grace bore with it, and met it with renewed assurances; but when it assumed the character of unbelief and slowness of heart, it drew down Jehovah’s just displeasure.

CHARLES SIMEON: That iniquity should prevail among the blind and ignorant, is no more than might reasonably be expected: but when we behold it in the most eminent saints, we are ready to exclaim, “Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou so regardest him?” It should seem indeed that God has determined to stain the pride of human glory, by recording the faults of his most favoured servants.

C. H. MACKINTOSH: How hard it is to overcome the unbelief of the human heart! How difficult man ever finds it to trust God! How slow he is to venture forth upon the naked promise of Jehovah. Anything, for nature, but that.—This is a real practical truth: Unbelief is not humility, but thorough pride. It refuses to believe God because it does not find, in self, a reason for believing.

D. L. MOODY: Some one has said that there are three classes of people, the “wills,” the “won’ts,’ and the “can’ts;” the first accomplish everything, the second oppose everything, and the third fail in everything. If God calls you, consider it a great honour. Consider it a great privilege to have partnership with Him in anything. Do it cheerfully, gladly. Do it with all your heart, and He will bless you. Don’t let false modesty, or insincerity, self-interest, or any personal consideration turn you aside.

 

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Coming to God By Coming Unto Jesus Christ

Hebrews 11:6; John 14:1,6; Matthew 11:28-30

Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): “He that cometh to God.” Now what does that mean?

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): In general, it denotes an access of the person into the favour of God―we must therefore inquire what it is thus to come to God, and what is required thereunto.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): All that men undertake without faith is vain and useless―faith alone is sufficient, because this alone does God require from us, that we believe.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Now, if believing be so necessary, and unbelief so dangerous and fatal, it deeply concerns us to know what it is to believe―what is faith?

ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER (1772-1851): Faith is a firm persuasion or belief of the truth, apprehended under the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

A. W. PINK: The old Puritan writers tell you that faith is made up of three things: first knowledge, then assent, and then what they call affiance, or the laying hold of the knowledge to which we give assent, and making it our own by trusting in it—“Recumbency” on the truth was the word which the old preachers used. You will understand that word: Leaning on it; saying, “This is truth, I trust my salvation on it.” Now, true faith, in its very essence rests in this—a leaning upon Christ. It will not save me to know that Christ is a Saviour; but it will save me to trust Him to be my Saviour. I shall not be delivered from the wrath to come by believing that His atonement is sufficient, but I shall be saved by making that atonement my trust, my refuge, and my all.

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): I shall not attempt a definition of faith. This only let me say in a few words, that the faith which goes no further than the intellect can neither save nor sanctify. It is no faith at all. It is unbelief. No faith is saving but that which links us to the Person of a living Saviour. Whatever falls short of this is not faith in Christ. While salvation is described sometimes in Scripture as a “coming to the knowledge of the truth,” 1 Timothy 2:4, it is more commonly represented as a “coming to Christ” Himself.

A. W. PINK: What, then, is meant by “coming to Christ?”

DANIEL ROWLAND (1711-1790): The man within the body is possessed of three principal faculties: the understanding, the affections, and the will…The motions of Divine grace work through the apprehensions of faith in the understanding, these warming and firing the affections, and they in turn influencing and moving the will. Every faculty of the soul is put forth in a saving “coming to Christ.”

WILLIAM MASON (1719-1791): To “come to Christ” in its proper sense, is to receive Him as He is offered to us in the Word; to believe in Him, as a suitable and all-sufficient Saviour; to submit to His government, in both suffering and doing His will, with all lowly-mindedness and humility; and this by the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit upon the soul.

A. W. PINK: To “come to Christ” signifies the movement of a Spirit-enlightened mind toward the Lord Jesus—as Prophet, to be instructed by Him; as Priest, whose atonement and intercession are to be relied upon; as King, to be ruled by Him. To “come to Christ” is the turning of the whole soul unto a whole Christ in the exercise of Divine grace upon Him: it is the mind, heart, and will being supernaturally drawn to Him, so as to trust, love and serve Him.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is “to believe on Him, as the Scripture hath said,” John 7:38,39.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): But surely men ought to be told to repent as well as to believe. They should be told why they are to come to Christ, and what they are to come for, and whence their need arises.

PHILIP MAURO (1859-1952): There is, in the heart of man―corrupted as it is by sin―not only an obstinate reluctance to admit his hopelessness as a guilty sinner, and his utter helplessness to do anything for his own recovery; but there is, also, a rooted aversion to being saved by grace alone.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Repentance means that you realize that you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): The coming, then, intended in the text, is to be understood of the coming of the mind to Him, even the moving of the heart towards Him―from a sound sense of the absolute want that a man has of Him for his justification and salvation.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): It is looking from yourself to Jesus.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): By repentance a man abhors himself, by faith he goes out of himself.

A. W. PINK: It is a going out of self so as to rest no longer on anything in self. It is the abandoning of every idol and of all other dependencies, the heart going out to Him in loving submission and trustful confidence. It is the will surrendering to Him as Lord, ready to accept His yoke, take up the cross, and follow Him without reserve.

HUGH BINNING (1625-1654): To believe in Christ is simply this: I, whatsoever I be―ungodly, wretched, polluted, desperate―am willing to have Jesus Christ for my Saviour.

C. H. SPURGEON: Remember the story of the plowman and James Hervey? The plowman asked Hervey what he thought was the greatest hindrance to men’s salvation. Hervey replied, “Sinful self.” “No,” said the plowman, “I think righteous self is a greater hindrance to men’s salvation than sinful self. They that are sinful will come to Christ for pardon, but they that think they are righteous never will.”

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): To “come to Christ” for life, in short, is to give up our own righteousness, and be justified by His.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): This is the very thing your salvation will stand or fall on; even on your yielding to come to Him―on your leaning to His righteousness or not, and according as you act faith or not on Him, in this respect, so will the sentence of your absolution or condemnation pass in the great day.

JOHN OWEN: Do not deceive yourselves; it is not an indifferent thing whether you will come to Christ upon His invitation or not; a thing which you may put off from one occasion into another. Your present refusal of it is as high an act of enmity against God as your nature is capable of.

 

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As God is the Creator of Mankind, Are All Men the Children of God?

Genesis 1:26,27, Acts 17:26,28; Malachi 2:10

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth…for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us?

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): “All men,” we are told, “are God’s children, whatever be their creed or religion: all are finally to have a place in the Father’s house, ‘where there are many mansions.’”

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): What a muddle there is made in this world about the Fatherhood of God…We hear a great deal about the ‘universal fatherhood of God,’ but it is all nonsense―and that sort of fatherhood, of which I hear men talk, is the portion of those who blaspheme God and live in utter rebellion against Him.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The fact that such verses have been grossly perverted by some holding erroneous views on “the universal fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man,” must not cause us to utterly repudiate them.

H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): The concept of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, if understood correctly, is a Scriptural doctrine…There is a sense in which it is perfectly right to speak of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. There is another sense in which it is wrong.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): In what sense is God a Father?

A. W. PINK: God is the Father of all men naturally, being their Creator.

THOMAS WATSON: But there is little comfort in this; for God is Father in the same way to the devils by creation; but He who made them will not save them.

C. H. SPURGEON: We take no delight in the ‘universal fatherhood’ which comes of creation—That is a poor thing and belongs as much to dogs and cats as it does to us, for they are as truly created by God as we are!—No, Beloved, it needs something beyond creation to constitute the relationship, and those who can say, “Our Father which art in Heaven,” are something more than God’s creatures—they have been adopted into His family.

H. A. IRONSIDE: The aspect of God’s universal fatherhood through creation is very different from the relationship within the family of God as revealed by our Lord and His apostles…This distinction needs to be kept in mind in our day of looseness and laxity. Men who rebel against the truth of the fall gladly call God their Father and see no need for the new birth. They link up saint and sinner in one great family.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): The doctrine of the New Testament about the Fatherhood of God and the sonship of man does not in the slightest degree interfere with these three great truths, that all men, though the features of the common humanity may be almost battered out of recognition in them, are all children of God because He made them; that they are children of God because still there lives in them something of the likeness of the creative Father; and, blessed be His name! that they are all children of God because He loves and provides and cares for every one of them. But it is—

C. H. SPURGEON: I must disagree with the idea that mere creation brings God necessarily into the relationship of a Father with us.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN: But—it is also true that there is a higher relation than that to which the name “children of God” is more accurately given, and to which in the New Testament that name is confined.

H. A. IRONSIDE: It is perfectly true that one God is the Creator of all men, and God has made all of one blood…As created originally, Adam was the son of God. God was his Father by creation, but sin came in and man became alienated from God. All men are now born in sin. There is a universal brotherhood of man, but it is a brotherhood of sinners―“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23―and that is why men need to be born again in order that we may be brought into the family of God, that we may look up into His face and say, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Matthew 6:9. When people are born again, when they are regenerated, then they enter into a new relationship. They are in a new sense the children of God. God is their Father, and they that believe are all brethren in Christ.

THOMAS WATSON: What is that which makes God our Father? Faith. “You are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26. An unbeliever may call God his Creator—and his Judge—but not his Father. Faith legitimizes us—and makes us of the blood-royal of heaven. “You are the children of God by faith.”

C. H. SPURGEON: Now, as there is nothing like Scripture, let me read you a few texts:

As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14. The idea of a Divine Fatherhood extending over all mankind does not appear to have been recognized by the Apostle Paul, in this text, at any rate. Here the fatherhood is for some, not for all, and the text discriminates between “as many as are led by the Spirit of God,” and the rest of mankind who are under no such influence.

Let us mark a yet more positive passage, Romans 9:8—“The children of the flesh, these are not the children of God.” What then is to be said to this? “These are not the children of God.” If any man will contradict that flatly—well, be it so. I have no argument with which to convince the man who denies so strong and clear a witness…

As I have warned you before, abhor the doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God, for it is a lie and a deep deception! It stabs at the heart, first, of the Doctrine of the Adoption which is taught in Scripture, for how can God adopt men if they are already all His children? In the second place, it stabs at the heart of the Doctrine of Regeneration, which is certainly taught in the Word of God. Now it is by regeneration and faith that we become the children of God, but how can that be if we are already the children of God?

J. C. RYLE: Our Lord’s words should never be forgotten: “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” John 14:3. Mark carefully what an unanswerable argument this sentence supplies against the modern notion that it does not matter what a man believes—that all religions will lead men to heaven if they are sincere—that creeds and doctrines are of no importance—that heaven is a place for all mankind, whether heathen, Mahometan, or Christian—and that the Fatherhood of God is enough to save all at last, of all sects, kinds, and characters! God is a Father to none but to those who believe in Christ…The Fatherhood of God, out of Christ, is a mere idol of man’s invention, and incapable of comforting or saving.

 

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