Meet me in heaven – Charles Spurgeon

MY READER has not followed me step by step as he has read my pages, I am truly sorry. Book-reading is of small value unless the truths which pass before the mind are grasped, appropriated, and carried out to their practical issues. It is as if one saw plenty of food in a shop and yet remained hungry, for want of personally eating some. It is all in vain, dear reader, that you and I have met, unless you have actually laid hold upon Christ Jesus, my Lord. On my part there was a distinct desire to benefit you, and I have done my best to that end. It pains me that I have not been able to do you good, for I have longed to win that privilege. I was thinking of you when I wrote this page, and I laid down my pen and solemnly bowed my knee in prayer for everyone who should read it. It is my firm conviction that great numbers of readers will get a blessing, even though you refuse to be of the number. But why should you refuse? If you do not desire the choice blessing which I would have brought to you, at least do me the justice to admit that the blame of your final doom will not lie at my door. When we two meet before the great white throne you will not be able to charge me with having idly used the attention which you were pleased to give me while you were reading my little book. God knoweth I wrote each line for your eternal good. I now in spirit take you by the hand. I give you a firm grip. Do you feel my brotherly grasp? The tears are in my eyes as I look at you and say, Why will you die? Will you not give your soul a thought? Will you perish through sheer carelessness? Oh, do not so; but weigh these solemn matters, and make sure work for eternity! Do not refuse Jesus, His love, His blood, His salvation. Why should you do so? Can you do it?

I beseech you, Do not turn away from your Redeemer!sunrise-with-man-760278-print

If, on the other hand, my prayers are heard, and you, my reader, have been led to trust the Lord Jesus and receive from Him salvation by grace, then keep you ever to this doctrine, and this way of living. Let Jesus be your all in all, and let free grace be the one line in which you live and move. There is no life like that of one who lives in the favor of God. To receive all as a free gift preserves the mind from self-righteous pride, and from self-accusing despair. It makes the heart grow warm with grateful love, and thus it creates a feeling in the soul which is infinitely more acceptable to God than anything that can possibly come of slavish fear. Those who hope to be saved by trying to do their best know nothing of that glowing fervor, that hallowed warmth, that devout joy in God, which come with salvation freely given according to the grace of God. The slavish spirit of self- salvation is no match for the joyous spirit of adoption. There is more real virtue in the least emotion of faith than in all the tuggings of legal bond-slaves, or all the weary machinery of devotees who would climb to Heaven by rounds of ceremonies. Faith is spiritual, and God who is a spirit delights in it for that reason. Years of prayer-saying, and church-going, or chapel- going, and ceremonies, and performances, may only be an abomination in the sight of Jehovah; but a glance from the eye of true faith is spiritual and it is therefore dear to Him. “The Father seeketh such to worship him.” Look you first to the inner man, and to the spiritual, and the rest will then follow in due course.
If you are saved yourself, be on the watch for the souls of others. Your own heart will not prosper unless it is filled with intense concern to bless your fellow men. The life of your soul lies in faith; its health lies in love. He who does not pine to lead others to Jesus has never been under the spell of love himself. Get to the work of the Lord–the work of love. Begin at home. Visit next your neighbors. Enlighten the village or the street in which you live. Scatter the word of the Lord wherever your hand can reach.
heavenReader, meet me in heaven! Do not go down to hell. There is no coming back again from that abode of misery. Why do you wish to enter the way of death when Heaven’s gate is open before you? Do not refuse the free pardon, the full salvation which Jesus grants to all who trust Him. Do not hesitate and delay. You have had enough of resolving, come to action. Believe in Jesus now, with full and immediate decision. Take with you words and come unto your Lord this day, even this day. Remember, O soul, it may be

        now or never

        with you. Let it be now; it would be horrible that it should be never.
Again I charge you,
Meet me in heaven.

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Meet me in heaven – by Charles Spurgeon from All of Grace

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THE GIFT OF CHRIST IS THE HIGHEST MANIFESTATION OF GOD’S LOVE

The following excerpt is taken from The Fountain of Life, a book by the Puritan John Flavel 

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How this gift of Christ was the highest, and fullest manifestation of the love of God, that ever the world saw: and this will be evidenced by the following particulars:

(1.) If you consider how near and dear Jesus Christ was to the Father; he was his Son, “his only Son,” says the text; the Son of his love, the darling of his Soul: His other Self, yes, one with himself; the express image of his person; the brightness of his Father’s Glory: In parting with him, he parted with his own heart, with his very affections, as I may say. “Yet to us a Son is given,” Isa. 9:6, and such a Son as he calls “his dear Son,” Col. 1:13. A late writer tells us, that he has been informed, that in the famine in Germany, a poor family being ready to perish with famine, the husband made a motion to the wife, to sell one of the children for bread, to relieve themselves and the rest: The wife at last consents it should be so; but then they began to think which of the four should be sold; and when the eldest was named, they both refused to part with that, being their first born, and the beginning of their strength. Well, then they came to the second, but could not yield that he should be sold, being the very picture and lively image of his father. The third was named, but that also was a child that best resembled the mother. And when the youngest was thought on, that was the Benjamin, the child of their old age; and so were content rather to perish altogether in the famine, than to part with a child for relief. And you know how tenderly Jacob took it, when his Joseph and Benjamin were rent from him. What is a child, but a piece of the parent enrapt up in another skin? And yet our dearest children are but as strangers to us, in comparison of the unspeakable dearness that was between the Father and Christ. Now, that he should ever be content to part with a Son, and such an only One, is such a manifestation of love, as will be admired to all eternity. And then,

(2.) Let it be considered, To what he gave him, even to death, and that of the cross; to be made a curse for us; to be the scorn and contempt of men; to the most unparalleled sufferings that ever were inflicted or borne by any. It melts our affections, it breaks our heart, to behold our children striving in the pangs of death: but the Lord beheld his Son struggling under agonies that never any felt before him. He saw him falling to the ground, groveling in the dust, sweating blood, and amidst those agonies turning himself to his Father, and, with a heart rending cry, beseeching him, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass,” Luke 22:42. To wrath, to the wrath, of an infinite God without mixture; to the very torments of hell was Christ delivered, and that by the hand of his own Father. Sure then that love must needs want a name, which made the Father of mercies deliver his only Son to such miseries for us.

(3.) It is a special consideration to enhance the love of God in giving Christ, that in giving him he gave the richest jewel in his cabinet; a mercy of the greatest worth, and most inestimable value, Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is: He is the better half of heaven; and so the saints account him, Psalm. 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but you?” Ten thousand thousand worlds, says one, as many worlds as angels can number, and then as a new world of angels can multiply, would not all be the bulk of a balance, to weigh Christ’s excellency, love, and sweetness. O what a fair One! what an only One! what an excellent, lovely, ravishing One, is Christ! Put the beauty of ten thousand paradises, like the garden of Eden, into one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness in one; O what a fair and excellent thing would that be? And yet it should be less to that fair and dearest well-beloved Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths. Christ is heaven’s wonder, and earths wonder.

Now, for God to bestow the mercy of mercies, the most precious thing in heaven or earth, upon poor sinners; and, as great, as lovely, as excellent as his Son was, yet not to account him too good to bestow upon us, what manner of love is this!

(4.) Once more, let it be considered on whom the Lord bestowed his Son: upon angels? No, but upon men. Upon man his friend? No, but upon his enemies. This is love; and on this consideration the apostle lays a mighty weight, in Rom. 5:8, 9, 10. “But God (says he) commends his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, – When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” Who would part with a son for the sake of his dearest friends? but God gave him to, and delivered him for enemies: O love unspeakable!

(5.) Lastly, Let us consider how freely this gift came from him: It was not wrested out of his hand by our importunity; for we as little desired as deserved it: It was surprising, preventing, eternal love, that delivered him to us: “Not that we loved him, but he first loved us,” 1 John 4:19. Thus as when you weigh a thing, you cast in weight after weight, until the scales break; so does God, one consideration upon another, to overcome our hearts, and make us admiringly to cry, what manner of love is this! And thus I have showed you what God’s giving of Christ is, and what matchless love is manifested in that incomparable gift.

JOHN FLAVEL

Tears of Repentance – Thomas Watson

 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.“  —  Revelation 3:20

There is no rowing to paradise except upon the stream of repenting tears. Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet. Why are the wells of repentance stopped? Do not the sinners of the land know that they should repent? Have they no warning? Have not God’s faithful messengers lifted up their voice as a trumpet and cried to them to repent? But many of these tools in the ministry have been spent and worn out upon rocky hearts. Do we think that God will always put up with our affronts?

Some bless themselves that they have a stock of knowledge, but what is knowledge good for without repentance? Learning and a bad heart is like a fair face with a cancer in the breast. Knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light the way to hell. Repentant tears may be compared to myrrh, which though it is bitter in taste, has a sweet smell and refreshes the spirit. So repentance, though it is bitter in itself, yet it is sweet in the effects. It brings inward peace.

We are to find as much bitterness in weeping for sin as ever we found sweetness in committing it. Surely David found more bitterness in repentance than ever he found comfort in Bathsheba. Tears have four qualities: they are moist, salt, hot, and bitter. It is true of repenting tears, they are hot to warm a frozen conscience; moist, to soften a hard heart; salt, to season a soul decaying in sin; bitter, to wean us from the love of the world. And I will add a fifth, they are sweet, in that they make the heart inwardly rejoice.

David, who was the great weeper in Israel, was the sweet singer of Israel. The sorrows of the repentant are like the sorrows of a travailing woman: “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world”   (John 16:21).

Be as speedy in your repentance as you would have God be speedy in His mercies. Many are now in hell that purposed to repent. Satan does what he can to keep men from repentance. When he sees that one begins to take up serious thoughts of reformation, he bids them wait a little longer. It is dangerous to procrastinate repentance. The longer any go on sinning, the harder they will find the work of repentance. Delay strengthens sin and hardens the heart and gives the devil fuller possession.

A plant at first may be easily plucked up, but when it has spread its roots deep in the earth, a whole team cannot remove it. It is hard to remove sin when it comes to be rooted. The longer the ice freezes the harder it is to be broken. The longer a man freezes in security, the harder it will be to have his heart broken.

Presuming upon God’s mercy can be eternally fatal. Many suck poison from this sweet flower. Oh, one says, “Christ has died; He has done all for me; therefore I may sit still and do nothing.” Thus they suck death from the tree of life and perish by a savior. So I may say of God’s mercy, it accidentally causes the ruin of many. Because of mercy, some men presume and think they may go on sinning. But should a king’s clemency make his subjects rebel? The psalmist says, “there is mercy with God, that he may be feared,” (Psalms 130:4) but not that we may sin. Can men expect mercy by provoking justice? God will hardly show those mercy who sin because mercy abounds. Many would rather go sleeping to hell than weeping to heaven.

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— Body of Divinity, Thomas Watson

‘Do you pray?’ By J.C.Ryle

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I ask whether you pray, because diligence in prayer is the secret of holiness.

Without doubt there is a vast difference among true Christians. There is an immense interval between the foremost and the rearmost in the army of God.

They are all fighting the same good fight but how much more valiantly some fight than others. They are all doing the Lord’s work but how much more some do than others. They are all running the same race but how much faster some get on than others. They all love the same Lord and Saviour but how much more some love him than others. Are not these things so?

There are some of the Lord’s people who seem never able to get on from the time of their conversion. They are born again but they remain babes all their lives. You see in them the same lack of spiritual appetite, the same lack of interest in any thing beyond their own little circle. They are pilgrims, indeed, but pilgrims like the Gibeonites of old; their bread is always dry and moldy, their shoes always old and their garments always rent and torn. I say this with sorrow and grief but l ask again, is it not true?

There are others of the Lord’s people who seem to be always advancing. They grow like the grass after rain, they increase like Israel in Egypt, they press on like Gideon though sometimes faint, yet always pursuing. They are ever adding grace to grace, faith to faith and strength to strength.  Every year they appear to see more, know more, believe more and feel more in their faith. They not only have good works to prove the reality of their faith but they are zealous of them. They not only do well but they are unwearied in well-doing. They attempt great things and they do great things. When they fail they try again and when they fall they are soon up again. And all this time they think themselves poor, unprofitable servants and fancy they do nothing at all. These are those who make their faith lovely and beautiful in the eyes of all.  It does one good to see, to be with and to hear them. When you meet them you could believe that like Moses they had just come out from the presence of God.

Now how can we account for the difference which I have just described? What is the reason that some believers are so much brighter than others? I believe the difference arises from different habits about private prayer. l believe that those who are not eminently holy pray little, and those who are eminently holy pray much.

I dare say this opinion will startle some readers but I have little doubt that many look on holiness as a kind of special gift which none but a few can aim at. They admire it at a distance in books, they think it beautiful when they see an example near them, but as to its being a thing within the reach of any but a very few, such a notion never seems to enter their minds.

Now I believe that this is a most dangerous mistake. l believe that spiritual as well as natural greatness depends in a high degree on the faithful use of means within everybody’s reach. Of course I do not say we have a right to expect a miraculous grant of intellectual gifts, but this I do say, that when a man is once converted to God his progress in holiness will be much in accordance with his own diligence in the use of God’s appointed means. l assert confidently that the principal means by which most believers have become great in the church of Christ is the habit of diligent private prayer.

Look through the lives of the brightest and best of God’s servants, whether in the Bible or not. See what is written of Moses and David, Daniel and Paul. Mark what is recorded of Luther and other reformers. Observe what is related of the private devotions of Whitefield and Cecil, Bickersteth and M‘Cheyne. Tell me of one of all the goodly fellowship of saints and martyrs who has not had this mark most prominently, he was a man of prayer. Depend upon it, prayer is power.

Prayer obtains fresh and continued outpourings of the Spirit. He alone begins the work of grace in our hearts. He alone can carry it forward and make it prosper, but the good Spirit loves to be entreated. And those who ask most will have most of his influence. Prayer is the surest remedy against the devil and besetting sins. That sin will never stand firm which is heartily prayed against. But then we must spread out all our case before our heavenly Physician if He is to give us daily relief.

Do you wish to grow in grace and be a devoted Christian? Be very sure, if you wish it you could not have a more important question than this, Do you pray?

I ask whether you pray because neglect of prayer is one great cause of backsliding.

There is such a thing as going back in faith and trust after making a good profession. We may run well for a season, like the Galatians and then turn aside after false teachers. We may profess loudly while our feelings are warm, as Peter did, and then in the hour of trial deny our Lord. We may lose our first love as the Ephesians did. We may cool down in our zeal to do good like Mark, the companion of Paul. We may follow an apostle for a season and like Demas go back to the world. All these things we may do.

It is a miserable thing to be a backslider. Of all unhappy things that can befall us, l suppose it is the worst. A stranded ship, a broken-winged eagle, a garden overrun with weeds, a harp without strings, a church in ruins, all these are sad sights, but a backslider is a sadder sight still. A wounded conscience, a mind sick of itself, a memory full of self-reproach, a heart pierced through with the Lord’s arrows, a spirit broken with a load of inward accusation, all this is a taste of hell.

Now what is the cause of most backsliding? I believe one of the chief causes is neglect of private prayer. I can only give my opinion as a minister of Christ and a student of the heart, but that opinion is that backsliding generally first begins with neglect of private prayer.

Bibles read without prayer, sermons heard without prayer, marriages contracted without prayer, journeys undertaken without prayer, residences chosen without prayer, friendships formed without prayer, the daily act of private prayer itself hurried over or gone through without heart, these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy or reaches the point where God allows him to have a tremendous fall.

This is the process which forms the lingering Lots, the unstable Samsons, the wife-idolizing Solomons, the inconsistent Asas, the pliable Jehoshaphats, the over-careful Marthas, of whom so many are to be found in the church of Christ. Often the simple history of such cases is this, they became careless about private prayer.

You may be very sure men fall in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world. Like Peter, they first disregard the Lord’s warning to watch and pray and then, like Peter, their strength is gone and in the hour of temptation they deny their Lord.

If you are a Christian I trust you will never be a backslider, but if you do not wish to be a backsliding Christian remember the question I ask you, Do you pray?

‘A Call to Pray’ By J.C.Ryle jc-ryle

Graphic by Deen Carnes

http://reformedspirit.blogspot.com/2015/12/backsliding-generally-first-begins-with.html

John Flavel – True repentance is a drop out of the eye of faith

The Whole Works of John Flavel Volume 1
Ah! Christian, canst thou look upon #Jesus as standing in thy room, to bear the wrath of a Deity for thee? Canst thou think on it, and not melt? That when thou, like Isaac, wast bound to the altar, to be offered up to justice, Christ, like the ram, was caught in the thicket, and offered in thy room. When thy sins had raised a fearful tempest, that threatened every moment to entomb thee in a sea of wrath, Jesus Christ was thrown over to appease that storm! Say, reader, can thy heart dwell one hour upon such a subject as this? Canst thou with faith, present Christ to thyself, as he was taken down from the cross, drenched in his own blood, and say, These were the wounds that he received for me; this is he that loved me, and gave himself for me: out of these wounds comes that balm that heals my soul; out of these stripes my peace: When he hanged upon the cross, he bore my name upon his breast, like the high priest. It was love, pure love, strong love to my poor soul ; to the soul of an enemy that drew him down from heaven, and all the glory he had there, to endure these sorrows in soul and body for me.
O then, for ever bless the Lord, that hath done that for you, which none else could do, and which he has done but for few be sides you.
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The Whole Works of John Flavel Volume 1

Robert Murray M‘Cheyne – There is something infinitely vast and glorious in the righteousness of God

Robert Murray McCheyne
 O brethren! it is this we come to offer you this day; a righteousness so vast that it is able to cover you divinely. For every sin of yours here is a stripe in Jesus. For the sins of infancy, here are the sufferings of his infancy; for the sins of youth, here are the sufferings of his youth; for the sins of manhood, here are the sufferings of his manhood. For your infinite dishonor done to the law of God, here is infinite honor done to the law. His obedience is divine obedience. For your unholy life, here is his divinely holy life to cover you. Here are his divinely holy thoughts to cover your unholy thoughts; here are his holy words, to cover your unholy words; his holy actions, to cover your unholy actions. There is something infinitely vast and glorious in the righteousness of God. When the deluge covered the earth, it covered the highest mountains. Looking down from above, not one mountain-top could be seen, but a vast worldof waters; a vast plain reflecting the beams of the sun. So if you this day lie down under the righteousness of God, the mountains of your sins will not be seen, but only the vast, deep, glorious righteousness of your God and Saviour. If you were to cast a stone into the deepest part of the ocean, it would be lost and swallowed up by the deep waves of ocean; so when a sinner is cast down under the righteousness of God, he is as it were lost and swallowed up in Christ.
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Robert Murray McCheyne

A lamp for my feet! – J. R. Miller

A lamp for my feet!

“Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105 
God’s Word is represented as a lamp for the feet. It is a “lamp” — not a blazing sun, nor even a lighthouse — but a plain, common lamp or lantern which one can carry about in the hand. It is a lamp “for the feet,” not throwing its beams afar, not illumining a hemisphere — but shining only on the one little bit of road on which the pilgrim’s feet are walking.

The law of divine guidance is, “Step by step”. One who carries a lantern on a country-road at night, sees only one step before him. If he takes that step, he carries his lantern forward, and thus makes another step plain. At length he reaches his destination in safety, without once stepping into darkness. The whole way has been made light for him, though only a single step of it at a time. This illustrates the usual method of God’s guidance.

If this is the way God guides, it ought never to be hard for us to find our duty. It never lies far away, inaccessible to us — but is always near. It never lies out of our sight, in the darkness, for God never puts our duty where we cannot see it. The thing that we think may be our duty — but which is still lying in obscurity and uncertainty, is not our duty yet, whatever it may be a little farther on. The duty for the very moment is always clear — and that is as far as we need concern ourselves; for when we do the little that is clear, we will carry the light on, and it will shine on the next moment’s step.

Jesus said, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness.” Prompt, unquestioning, undoubting following of Christ — takes all the perplexity out of Christian life and gives unbroken peace. There never is a moment without its duty; and if we are living near to Christ and following Him closely, we shall never be left in ignorance of what He wants us to do.

Our daily prayer should be, “Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me.” Psalm 119:133

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– J. R. Miller

Christian Praise and Worship in Songs, Sermons, and Audio Books