MANNA GATHERING: Fresh Insights Into The Heart Of The Gospels
Too often converts are made by excitement, and, as a consequence, when the excitement is gone, they grow cold; some of them go back to the world, and prove that they were never taught of God, and others linger on in a half-starved condition, because soul-sustaining truth is hidden from them. The man who knows the truth, and feels that the truth has made him free, is the man who will continue a free man at all hazards.
There are enemies of the faith about nowadays; error is put in very tempting forms. Those who try to subvert the gospel are exceedingly dextrous, and know how to make every falsehood fascinating.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon :: Morning and Evening
These will rend and devour, but who will be their victims? Not the instructed saints, not those who can say "Thy words were found, and I did eat them," but the mixed multitude in nominal union with the church, who scarce know what they believe, or knowing it merely in the letter have no inward vital acquaintance therewith. We read in the word of God of certain deceivers who would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect, from which we gather that the elect cannot be deceived, and that for this reason-that the truth is not held in the hand of the elect man as a staff which can be wrenched from him, but he has eaten it: it has entered into his vital substance.
You cannot tear away from a man what has become assimilated to himself. You might draw the silken thread out of a piece of tapestry, and in so doing injure the material, but you cannot remove the truth which is interwoven into the fabric of our new-born nature by the Holy Spirit. A Christian is dyed ingrain with the truth-he wears no flying nor fading colors; he can as soon cease to be as cease to believe what he has learned by the Spirit's teaching. In olden times, the fury of persecutors has failed to make the servants of Christ deny the faith.
The saints were taken to the stake, but the fires which devoured their bodies only burned their testimonies into the hearts of other witnesses. They were faithful even unto death. This glorious firmness in the faith is greatly needed now to resist the insidiousness of error. Besides, dear friends, it may in the providence of God happen that some of you will be taken away from the ministry which now feeds you, and what will you do if the word of God be not in your inmost souls?
I have observed many who did run well when under a gospel ministry, who, when they have been removed into a barren region, have lagged and loitered in the race. Some whose principles were never very deep have given them up when placed in society which despised them. I pray you get such a hold of the gospel, that you need not be dependent upon the preacher or upon earnest companions. Let not your faith stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. No truth will be of any use to you unless it is branded into you; yea, and made to penetrate the marrow of your being.
If you could give up truth you have never received it. He only has the truth of God who so holds it that he could never part with it. A person takes a piece of bread and eats it. He who gave it to him demands it back. If he had put that bread upon a shelf, or laid it in a cupboard, he can hand it down; but if he can reply, "I have eaten it," there is an end to the request; no human power can reproduce what is already eaten. We are utterly unable to do either. And why? Because our spiritual nature has absorbed the truth into itself, and none can separate it from us, or us from it.
To live upon the truth is the sure method to prevent apostacy. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. Besides, good friend, you cannot be very useful to others if you are an unintelligent Christian. To do much good, we must have truth ready to hand, and be apt to teach. I desire that you may grow up, you who are new-born into the Christian family, to become fathers and mothers in Israel; but this cannot be, unless you as new-born babes desire the unadulterated milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.
O for a race of Bible-reading Christians! We have long had a society for selling the Bible, but who shall found a society for getting the Bible read? A young man who never had read his Bible was tempted to do so, and led to conversion by the gift of a bookmarker, presented to him by a relative.
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The gift was made upon the condition that it should be put into his Bible, but should never stop two days in a place. He meant to shift it, and not to read the book, but his eye glanced on a text; after awhile he became interested, by-and-by he became converted, and then the bookmarker was moved with growing pleasure.
I am afraid that even some professors cannot say that they shift their bookmark every day. Probably of all the books printed, the most widely circulated, and the least read volume, is the word of God. Books about the Bible are read, I fear, more than the Book itself. Do you believe we should see all these parties and sects if people studiously followed the teaching of inspiration? The Word is one; whence these many creeds? We cry, "the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants;" but it is not true of half the Protestants. Some overlay the Bible with the Prayer-book, and kill its living meaning; others read through the spectacles of a religious leader, and rather follow man's gloss than God's text.
Few indeed come to the pure fount of gospel undefiled. A second-hand religion suits most, for it spares them the trouble of thinking, which to many is a labor too severe while to be taught of man is so much easier than to wait upon the Holy Spirit for instruction. Remember ye, my beloved children in Christ, the words of David, and make them your own.
I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee. But in order to get joy from God's word we must receive it universally. Jeremiah first speaks of God's "words," then he changes the number and speaks of God's "word. That man's heart is right with God who can honestly say that all the testimonies of God are dear to him.
If God appoints that sin should be punished, we are not to rebel against his righteous ordinance, nor to close our minds to the consideration of divine justice: God's judgments are right, and what is right we must rejoice in. Moreover, by the threatenings of the word many are led to forsake their sin, and thus the warning itself is a means of grace. To tender-hearted Jeremiah I have no doubt it was a trial to say, "Your city will be destroyed, and your women and your children will be slain. But, brethren, God's word is not all threatening.
How much of it consists of exceeding great and precious promises?
Further Help & Thought
How would even Jeremiah brush away the falling tear, while that face usually so clouded would beam as the sun when he spoke of the Messiah? Surely, if there be anything in the whole range of truth which can make our hearts leap for joy, it is the part of it which touches upon the lovely person and finished work of our adorable Redeemer, to whom be honor and glory for ever. Receive the whole of God's word. Do not cut a single text out of Scripture or desire to pervert its meaning.
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Hold the truth in its entirety and harmony, and then as a matter of certainty it will become to you the joy and rejoicing of your spirit. Allow me to interject another thought. No word of God to Jeremiah would have given him joy if he had not been obedient to it. If he had kept back a part of his Master's message, it would have been a burden intolerable to his conscience. What a wound it makes in the heart if we have inwardly to confess, "I have been unfaithful. I have neglected a command of the Host High.
There are ordinances to which some of you have not submitted yourselves which you know to be the will of Jesus Christ. How can the Scriptures be a joy and rejoicing to you when their pages accuse you of disobedience to your Master's will? In order to have the full joy of the testimony of God, your mind must yield itself to what God reveals as the plastic clay to the potter's touch, your willing spirit must be prompt to run as with winged feet in the ways of obedience to all that Christ commands.
Then the word being found, and you having eaten it, it will be to you a song in the house of your pilgrimage. Let me refresh your memories for a moment by reminding you of certain choice truths in God's word which are brimming with comfort. There is the doctrine of election: the Lord has a people whom he has chosen, and whom he loved before the foundations of the world. I will suppose that you have found it out for yourself, and have read the riddle, and like the apostle Paul, can say, "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son; and whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified.
Is not this the joy and rejoicing of your heart? Is it not to you a very heaven below to believe that ere the hills were made God loved you, ere sin was born or Satan fell, your name was in his book, and he regarded you with infinite affection? Could any doctrine be a more abundant table, spread for you in the presence of your enemies? Take the other doctrine, the doctrine of the immutability of divine love. Before you knew the secret of it, it was a mere dogma; but now you understand that Jesus never changes, and therefore the promises are yea and amen, you will, you must rejoice.
Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/Ekev
Having loved his own, he loved them to the end. Is not this music to your ear? As you sit down and consider for yourself, "God has loved me, for he has given me salvation in Jesus Christ, and the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed, but the covenant of his grace cannot depart from me;" will not your cup run over, and your soul dance before the ark of God? Of course it will not be so till you have found the word for yourself, and have eaten it, but then it shall be marrow and fatness to you. Thousands of God's people live in doubts and fears, because they have not eaten God's word as they should; they do not know the fullness of the blessings of the gospel of peace.
How many are in bondage through the fear that after all though they have been for years believers they are not yet saved, whereas if they read the Scriptures, and received their meaning, they would know that the moment the sinner believes in Christ he is saved in that very instant he has passed from death into life, and shall never come into condemnation. If they read the Scriptures, would they endure such doubts about being left to perish after having believed?
The thing is impossible. The people of his choice Jehovah cannot cast away. No members of Christ's body shall be suffered to perish, or else the body of Christ would be mangled, and he himself would be the head of a dismembered frame. To have a clear understanding of the gospel, to know the covenant which like a mighty rock underlies all gospel blessings, to know Christ and our union with him, to know his righteousness, his perfection and our perfection in him, to know the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, these things must inevitably make us strong in the joy of the Lord.
Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/Ekev - Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Half our doubts and fears would vanish if we had more acquaintance with the Lord's statutes. Other knowledge brings sorrow, but this wisdom is the joy and rejoicing of the heart. Beloved, if there is a quarrel between you and any text of Scripture, end the dispute by giving way at once, for the word of God is right, and you are wrong.
Do not say, "We have always been of one way of thinking, and our parents were so before us. The Lord's teaching is in this Book, and may be opened to you by his Spirit.