December 31, 2008

This last day of the year

December 31

Morning

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." John 7:37

Patience had her perfect work in the Lord Jesus, and until the last day of the feast he pleaded with the Jews, even as on this last day of the year he pleads with us, and waits to be gracious to us. Admirable indeed is the longsuffering of the Saviour in bearing with some of us year after year, notwithstanding our provocations, rebellions, and resistance of his Holy Spirit. Wonder of wonders that we are still in the land of mercy!

Pity expressed herself most plainly, for Jesus cried, which implies not only the loudness of his voice, but the tenderness of his tones. He entreats us to be reconciled. "We pray you," says the Apostle, "as though God did beseech you by us." What earnest, pathetic terms are these! How deep must be the love which makes the Lord weep over sinners, and like a mother woo his children to his bosom! Surely at the call of such a cry our willing hearts will come.

Provision is made most plenteously; all is provided that man can need to quench his soul’s thirst. To his conscience the atonement brings peace; to his understanding the gospel brings the richest instruction; to his heart the person of Jesus is the noblest object of affection; to the whole man the truth as it is in Jesus supplies the purest nutriment. Thirst is terrible, but Jesus can remove it. Though the soul were utterly famished, Jesus could restore it.

Proclamation is made most freely, that every thirsty one is welcome. No other distinction is made but that of thirst. Whether it be the thirst of avarice, ambition, pleasure, knowledge, or rest, he who suffers from it is invited. The thirst may be bad in itself, and be no sign of grace, but rather a mark of inordinate sin longing to be gratified with deeper draughts of lust; but it is not goodness in the creature which brings him the invitation, the Lord Jesus sends it freely, and without respect of persons.

Personality is declared most fully. The sinner must come to Jesus, not to works, ordinances, or doctrines, but to a personal Redeemer, who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree. The bleeding, dying, rising Saviour, is the only star of hope to a sinner. Oh for grace to come now and drink, ere the sun sets upon the year’s last day!

No waiting or preparation is so much as hinted at. Drinking represents a reception for which no fitness is required. A fool, a thief, a harlot can drink; and so sinfulness of character is no bar to the invitation to believe in Jesus. We want no golden cup, no bejewelled chalice, in which to convey the water to the thirsty; the mouth of poverty is welcome to stoop down and quaff the flowing flood. Blistered, leprous, filthy lips may touch the stream of divine love; they cannot pollute it, but shall themselves be purified. Jesus is the fount of hope. Dear reader, hear the dear Redeemer’s loving voice as he cries to each of us,

"IF ANY MAN THIRST,
LET HIM
COME UNTO ME
AND DRINK."


Evening

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." Jeremiah 8:20

Not saved! Dear reader, is this your mournful plight? Warned of the judgment to come, bidden to escape for your life, and yet at this moment not saved! You know the way of salvation, you read it in the Bible, you hear it from the pulpit, it is explained to you by friends, and yet you neglect it, and therefore you are not saved. You will be without excuse when the Lord shall judge the quick and dead. The Holy Spirit has given more or less of blessing upon the word which has been preached in your hearing, and times of refreshing have come from the divine presence, and yet you are without Christ. All these hopeful seasons have come and gone-your summer and your harvest have past-and yet you are not saved. Years have followed one another into eternity, and your last year will soon be here: youth has gone, manhood is going, and yet you are not saved. Let me ask you-will you ever be saved? Is there any likelihood of it? Already the most propitious seasons have left you unsaved; will other occasions alter your condition? Means have failed with you-the best of means, used perseveringly and with the utmost affection-what more can be done for you? Affliction and prosperity have alike failed to impress you; tears and prayers and sermons have been wasted on your barren heart. Are not the probabilities dead against your ever being saved? Is it not more than likely that you will abide as you are till death for ever bars the door of hope? Do you recoil from the supposition? Yet it is a most reasonable one: he who is not washed in so many waters will in all probability go filthy to his end. The convenient time never has come, why should it ever come? It is logical to fear that it never will arrive, and that Felix like, you will find no convenient season till you are in hell. O bethink you of what that hell is, and of the dread probability that you will soon be cast into it!

Reader, suppose you should die unsaved, your doom no words can picture. Write out your dread estate in tears and blood, talk of it with groans and gnashing of teeth: you will be punished with everlasting destruction from the glory of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. A brother’s voice would fain startle you into earnestness. O be wise, be wise in time, and ere another year begins, believe in Jesus, who is able to save to the uttermost. Consecrate these last hours to lonely thought, and if deep repentance be bred in you, it will be well; and if it lead to a humble faith in Jesus, it will be best of all. O see to it that this year pass not away, and you an unforgiven spirit. Let not the new year’s midnight peals sound upon a joyless spirit! Now, NOW, NOW believe, and live.

"ESCAPE FOR THY LIFE;
LOOK NOT BEHIND THEE,
NEITHER STAY THOU IN ALL THE PLAIN;
ESCAPE TO THE MOUNTAIN,
LEST THOU BE CONSUMED."

December 30, 2008

Question: What do you think of Jesus Christ?

The great test of your soul’s health is, What think you of Christ? Is he to you "fairer than the children of men"-"the chief among ten thousand"-the "altogether lovely"? Wherever Christ is thus esteemed, all the faculties of the spiritual man exercise themselves with energy. I will judge of your piety by this barometer: does Christ stand high or low with you? If you have thought little of Christ, if you have been content to live without his presence, if you have cared little for his honour, if you have been neglectful of his laws, then I know that your soul is sick-God grant that it may not be sick unto death! But if the first thought of your spirit has been, how can I honour Jesus? If the daily desire of your soul has been, "O that I knew where I might find him!" I tell you that you may have a thousand infirmities, and even scarcely know whether you are a child of God at all, and yet I am persuaded, beyond a doubt, that you are safe, since Jesus is great in your esteem. I care not for thy rags, what thinkest thou of his royal apparel? I care not for thy wounds, though they bleed in torrents, what thinkest thou of his wounds? Are they like glittering rubies in thine esteem? I think none the less of thee, though thou liest like Lazarus on the dunghill, and the dogs do lick thee - I judge thee not by thy poverty: what thinkest thou of the King in his beauty? Has he a glorious high throne in thy heart? Wouldest thou set him higher if thou couldest? Wouldest thou be willing to die if thou couldest but add another trumpet to the strain which proclaims his praise? Ah! then it is well with thee. Whatever thou mayest think of thyself, if Christ be great to thee, thou shalt be with him ere long.

"Though all the world my choice deride,
Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
For I am pleased with none beside,
The fairest of the fair is he"

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

December 25, 2008

Let us to-day go down to Bethlehem

December 25th devotional from Charles Spurgeon.

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14.

Let us to-day go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in him, and can sing, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance his miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, “The seed of the woman,” not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to his human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that he may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note his humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as “a virgin,” not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!

Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.


Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England's best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, became pastor of London's famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification. In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Spurgeon's printed works are voluminous, and those provided here are only a sampling of his best-known works, including his magnum opus, The Treasury of David. Nearly all of Spurgeon's printed works are still in print and available from Pilgrim Publications, PO Box 66, Pasadena, TX 77501.

December 24, 2008

George Whitefield, A Preacher with Power

Today (December 16th) is the 294th anniversary of the birth of George Whitefield, December 16, 1714. Last year, Tim Ashcraft wrote a fine biographical sketch of Whitefield that I would encourage you to read. A list of resource on Whitefield is also offered there. This morning, I opened up Iain Murray's Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace (BOT, 2008) and found a section in chapter two, "Preaching and the Holy Spirit," where Murray draws a comparison between Whitefield and Lloyd-Jones in order to illustrate the necessity of power in preaching. This is penetrating:

There is an obvious reason why preaching too often lacks the ability to hold the interest of those who listen. It is because the word spoken has no more than a fleeting access to the hearer's mind. A statement is briefly heard only to be crowded out by the individual's own thoughts, which he may well find more interesting and pleasant. Thus the twenty or forty minutes of a sermon may pass, with a person in the pose of a listener, yet actually paying attention to very little. In contrast, powerful preaching takes hold of the whole person. It gets within a man. It first arrests the mind and then speaks to the heart, the conscience, and the will. Where this element is present inattention becomes a near impossibility. Skilful oratory and carefully crafted speech can go some way to hold the hearers but it does not command attention in this manner. Powerful preaching penetrates more than the surface of the mind; it does more than merely present teaching; it is capable of causing a moral and emotional earthquake - 'not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction' (1 Thess. 1:4).

An eighteenth-century church-goer who was also a shipbuilder confessed that he had often built a ship from stem to stern during a sermon, but when he heard George Whitefield he found himself unable to lay a single plank. The reason for this was noted by another of the evangelist's hearers: 'Whitefield preached like a lion, he spoke as one conscious of his high credentials, with authority and power.' So it was with Lloyd-Jones. His message often carried the conviction that it was more important than any other possible consideration. (pp. 34-35, emphasis mine).

Posted by Jason Button

TheoSource: George Whitefield, A Preacher with Power

The Christmas Gift that lasts for Eternity

A Christmas Gift that lasts for Eternity, and what is that gift? It is the Gospel, it is the truth. It takes true love to tell someone something that no one else will tell them. I grew up as a kid in bondage to sin and no one ever told me I was going to Hell, they never told me I needed to repent or I would perish. It was all fun and games, and it was no big deal. In God's eyes it is a HUGE deal.

1 John 1:6 - If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

December 10, 2008

A Personal Revelation of Christ by David Wilkerson

If you are a preacher, missionary or teacher, think about this: What are you teaching? Is it what a person taught you? Is it a rehashing of the revelation of some great teacher? Or have you experienced your own personal revelation of Jesus Christ? If you have, is it ever-increasing? Is heaven opened to you?

Paul said, “In him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts17:28). True men and women of God live within this very small yet vast circle. Their every move, their entire existence, is wrapped up only in the interests of Christ. Years ago I knew the Holy Spirit was drawing me into such a ministry, one that preached Christ alone. Oh, how I yearned to preach nothing but him! But my heart was unfocused, and I found the circle too narrow. As a result, I had no flow of revelation to sustain my preaching.

To preach Christ, we must have a continuous flow of revelation from the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we will end up repeating a stale message. If the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and searches the deep and hidden things of the Father, and if he is to well up as flowing water within us, then we must be available to be filled with that flowing water. We must stay filled up with a never-ending revelation of Christ. Such revelation awaits every servant of the Lord who is willing to wait on him, believing and trusting the Holy Spirit to manifest to him the mind of God.

Paul said Christ was being revealed in him, not just to him (see Galatians 1:16). In God’s eyes it is unfruitful to preach a word that has not already worked its power in the preacher’s life and ministry. It may seem all right for certain shallow ones to preach Christ with contention—but not so for the man or woman of God. We must preach an ever-increasing revelation of Christ, yet only as that revelation effects a deep change in us.

Paul also voiced a personal concern: “Lest…when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Paul certainly never would have doubted his security in Christ; that was not in his mind here. The Greek word used for castaway means “unapproved” or “not worthy.” Paul dreaded the thought of standing before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged for preaching a Christ he did not really know or for proclaiming a gospel he did not fully practice. This is why Paul speaks so often of the “living Christ” or “Christ living in me.”

We cannot continue another hour calling ourselves servants of God until we can answer this question personally: Do I truly want nothing but Christ? Is he truly everything to me, my one purpose for living?

Is your answer yes? If you mean it, you will be able to point to a dung heap of your life, the one that Paul spoke of when he said, “I…do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Have you counted all things as loss for the revelation of him? If you want nothing but Christ, then your ministry is not a career—your ministry is prayer! You will not have to be prodded to seek him; you will go often to your secret closet, knowing that the moment you walk in you are seated at his table. You will worship him, sitting in his presence unhurried, loving him, praising him with upraised hands, yearning after him and thanking him for his wisdom.


http://davidwilkersontoday.blogspot.com/


David Wilkerson is the founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York City and is most notably known for his book The Cross and the Switchblade. His passionate preaching and prophetic wisdom has impacted untold numbers of Christians around the world.

Additional information concerning David Wilkerson Ministries can be found at the World Challenge Inc. website.

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