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Christ's Incarnation, A Quietus to Fear

Christ's Incarnation, A Quietus to Fear

Christ's Incarnation, A Quietus to Fear

THE angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” The very object for which He was born, and came into this world, was that He might deliver us from sin. What, then, was it that made us afraid? Were we not afraid of God, because we felt that we were lost through sin? Well, then, here is joy upon joy, for not only has the Lord come among us as a man, but He was made man in order that He might save man from that which separated him from God.

I feel as if the sorrow of my heart would flow forth in a flood of tears over the many sinners who have gone far away from God, and have been spending their lives riotously in various evil ways. I know they are afraid to come back; they think that the Lord will not receive them, and that there is no mercy for such sinners as they have been. But Jesus Christ has come to seek and to save that which was lost. If He does not save, He was born in vain, for the object of His birth was the salvation of sinners. If He shall not be a Saviour, then His mission in coming to this earth has missed its end, for its design was that lost sinners might be saved.

Lost one, lost one, if there were news that an angel had come to save thee, there might be some good cheer in it; but there are better tidings still. God Himself has come; the Infinite, the Almighty, has stooped from the highest heaven that He may pick thee up, a poor undone and worthless worm. Is there not comfort for thee here? Does not the Incarnation of the Saviour take away the horrible dread which hangs over men like a black pall?

The angel described the new-born Saviour as “Christ.” There is His manhood, for it was as man that He was anointed. But the angel also rightly called Him “Christ the Lord.” There is His Godhead. This is the solid truth upon which we plant our foot. Jesus of Nazareth is “very God of very God.” He who was born in Bethlehem’s manger is now, and always was, “over all, God blessed for ever.”

There is no Gospel at all if Christ be not God. It is no news to me to tell me that a great prophet is born. There have been great prophets before; but the world has never been redeemed from evil by mere testimony to the truth, and it never will be. But tell me that God is born, that God Himself has espoused our nature, and taken it into union with Himself, then the bells of my heart ring merry peals, for now may I come to God since God has come to me.

God has sent an Ambassador who inspires no fear. Not with helmet and coat of mail, not with sword or spear, does Heaven’s Herald approach us; but the white flag is held in the hand of a Child, in the hand of One chosen out of the people, in the hand of One who died, in the hand of One who, though He reigns in glory, wears the nailprints still.

O man, God comes to you in the form of one like yourself! Do not be afraid to draw near to the gentle Jesus. Do not imagine that you need to be prepared for an audience with Him, or that you must have the intercession of a saint, or the intervention of priest or minister. Anyone could have come to the Babe in Bethlehem. The hornèd oxen, methinks, ate of the hay on which He slept, and feared not. It is the terror of the Godhead which, oftentimes, keeps the sinner away from reconciliation; but see how the Godhead is graciously concealed in that little Babe, who needed to be wrapped in swaddling-bands like any other new-born child. Who feareth to approach Him? Yet is the Godhead there.

My soul, when thou canst not, for very amazement, stand on the sea of glass mingled with fire, when the Divine glory is like a consuming fire to thy spirit, and the sacred majesty of Heaven is altogether overpowering to thee, then come thou to this Babe, and say, “Yet God is here, and here can I meet Him in the person of His dear Son, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Oh, what bliss there is in the Incarnation of Christ as we remember that therein God’s omnipotence cometh down to man’s feebleness, and infinite majesty stoops to man’s infirmity!

The shepherds were not to find this Babe wrapped in Tyrian purple, nor swathed in choicest fabrics fetched from afar.

      “No crown bedecks His forehead fair,

      No pearl, nor gem, nor silk is there.”

Nor would they discover Him in the marble halls of princes, nor guarded by prætorian legionaries, nor attended by vassal sovereigns; but they would find Him the babe of a peasant woman,—of princely lineage, it is true, but of a family whose stock was dry and forgotten in Israel. The Holy Child was reputed to be the son of a carpenter. If you looked on the humble father and mother, and at the poor bed they had made up, where aforetime oxen had come to feed, you would say, “This is condescension indeed.”

O ye poor, be glad, for Jesus is born in poverty, and cradled in a manger! O ye sons of toil, rejoice, for the Saviour is born of a lowly virgin, and a carpenter is His foster-father! O ye people, oftentimes despised and downtrodden, the Prince of the democracy is born, One chosen out of the people is exalted to the throne! O ye who call yourselves the aristocracy, behold the Prince of the kings of the earth, whose lineage is Divine, and yet there is no room for Him in the inn! Behold, O men, the Son of God, who is bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh; who, in His after life, was intimate with all your griefs, hungered as ye hunger, was weary as ye are weary, and wore humble garments like your own; yea, suffered worse poverty than you do, for He was without a place whereon to lay His head! Let the heavens and the earth be glad, since God hath so fully, so truly come down to man.

Jesus is the Friend of the poor, the sinful, and the unworthy. You, poor ones, need not fear to come unto Him; for He was born in a stable, and cradled in a manger. You have not worse accommodation than He had; you are not poorer than He was. Come and welcome to the poor man’s Prince, to the peasant’s Saviour. Stay not back through fear of your unfitness; the shepherds came to Him in all their déshabille. I read not that they tarried to put on their best garments; but, in the clothes in which they wrapped themselves that cold midnight, they hastened, just as they were, to the young Child’s presence. God looks not at garments, but at hearts; and accepts men when they come to Him with willing spirits, whether they be rich or poor.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 25–29). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 4

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 4

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 4

The Father's Intent in Giving

The Father, therefore, in giving of them to him to save them, must needs declare unto us these following things:—

 First, That he is able to answer this design of God, to wit, to save them to the uttermost sin, the uttermost temptation, &c. (Heb 7:25). Hence he is said to lay “help upon one that is mighty,” “mighty to save” (Psa 89:19; Isa 63:1) and hence it is again, that God did even of old promise to send his people “a Saviour, a great one” (Isa 19:20). To save is a great work, and calls for almightiness in the undertaker: hence he is called the “Mighty God, the wonderful Counsellor,” &c. Sin is strong, Satan is also strong, death and the grave are strong, and so is the curse of the law; therefore it follows, that this Jesus must needs be, by God the Father, accounted almighty, in that he hath given his elect to him to save them, and deliver them from these, and that in despite of all their force and power.

And he gave us testimony of this his might, when he was employed in that part of our deliverance that called for a declaration of it.  He abolished death; he destroyed him that had the power of death; he was the destruction of the grave; he hath finished sin, and made an end of it, as to its damning effects upon the persons that the Father hath given him; he hath vanquished the curse of the law, nailed it to his cross, triumphed over them upon his cross, and made a show of these things openly (2 Tim 1:10; Heb 2:14, 15; Hosea 13:14; Dan 9:24; Gal 3:13; Col 2:14, 15).  Yea, and even now, as a sign of his triumph and conquest, he is alive from the dead, and hath the keys of hell and death in his own keeping (Rev 1:18).

Second, The Father’s giving of them to him to save them, declares unto us that he is and will be faithful in his office of Mediator, and that therefore they shall be secured from the fruit and wages of their sins, which is eternal damnation, by his faithful execution of it.  And, indeed, it is said, even by the Holy Ghost himself, That he “was faithful to him that appointed him,” that is, to this work of saving those that the Father hath given him for that purpose; as “Moses was faithful in all his house.”  Yea, and more faithful too, for Moses was faithful in God’s house but as a servant; “but Christ as a Son over his own house” (Heb 3).  And therefore this man is counted worthy of more glory than Moses, even upon this account, because more faithful than he, as well as because of the dignity of his person.  Therefore in him, and in his truth and faithfulness, God resteth well pleased, and hath put all the government of this people upon his shoulders.  Knowing that nothing shall be wanting in him, that may any way perfect this design.  And of this he, to wit, the Son, hath already given a proof.  For when the time was come, that his blood was, by Divine justice, required for their redemption, washing, and cleansing, he as freely poured it out of his heart, as if it had been water out of a vessel; not sticking to part with his own life, that the life which was laid up for his people in heaven might not fail to be bestowed upon them.  And upon this account, as well as upon any other, it is that God calleth him “my righteous servant” (Isa 53:11).  For his righteousness could never have been complete, if he had not been to the uttermost faithful to the work he undertook; it is also, because he is faithful and true, that in righteousness he doth judge and make work for his people’s deliverance. He will faithfully perform this trust reposed in him.  The Father knows this, and hath therefore given his elect unto him.

Third, The Father’s giving of them to him, to save them, declares that he is, and will be gentle, and patient towards them, under all their provocations and miscarriages.  It is not to be imagined, the trials and provocations that the Son of God hath all along had with these people that have been given to him that saves them: indeed he is said to be “a tried stone;” for he has been tried, not only by the devil, guilt of sin, death, and the curse of the law, but also by his people’s ignorance, unruliness, falls into sin, and declining to errors in life and doctrine. Were we but capable of seeing how this Lord Jesus has been tried even by his people, ever since there was one of them in the world, we should be amazed at his patience and gentle carriages to them. It is said, indeed, “The Lord is very pitiful, slow to anger, and of great mercy.”  And, indeed, if he had not been so, he could never have endured their manners as he has done from Adam hitherto.  Therefore is his pity and bowels towards his church preferred above the pity and bowels of a mother towards her child.  “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee,” saith the Lord (Isa 49:15).

God did once give Moses, as Christ’s servant, an handful of his people, to carry them in his bosom, but no further than from Egypt to Canaan; and this Moses, as is said of him by the Holy Ghost, was the meekest man that was then to be found in the earth; yea, and he loved the people at a very great rate; yet neither would his meekness nor love hold out in this work; he failed and grew passionate, even to the provoking his God to anger under this work.  “And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant?”  But what was the affliction? Why, the Lord had said unto him, “Carry this people in thy bosom as a nursing father beareth the suckling child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers.” And how then?  Not I, says Moses, “I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. If thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, and let me not see my wretchedness” (Num 11:11–15).

God gave them to Moses, that he might carry them in his bosom, that he might show gentleness and patience towards them, under all the provocations wherewith they would provoke him from that time till he had brought them to their land; but he failed in the work; he could not exercise it, because he had not that sufficiency of patience towards them.  But now it is said of the person speaking in the text, “That he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isa 40:11). Intimating, that this was one of the qualifications that God looked for, and knew was in him, when he gave his elect to him to save them.

Fourth, The Father giving of him to save them, declares that he hath a sufficiency of wisdom to wage with all those difficulties that would attend him in his bringing of his sons and daughters unto glory. He made him to us to be wisdom; yea, he is called wisdom itself (1 Cor 1:30).  And God saith, moreover, That “he shall deal prudently” (Isa 52:13).  And, indeed, he that shall take upon him to be the Saviour of the people, had need be wise, because their adversaries are subtle above any. Here they are to encounter with the serpent, who for his subtilty outwitted our father and mother, when their wisdom was at highest (Gen 3).  But if we talk of wisdom, our Jesus is wise, wiser than Solomon, wiser than all men, wiser than all angels; he is even the wisdom of God. “Christ is the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24).  And hence it is that he turneth sin, temptations, persecutions, falls, and all things, for good unto his people (Rom 8:28).

Now these things thus concluded on do show us also the great and wonderful love of the Father, in that he should choose out one every way so well prepared for the work of man’s salvation.

Herein, indeed, perceive we the love of God.  Huram gathered, that God loved Israel because he had given them such a king as Solomon (2 Chron 2:11).  But how much more may we behold the love that God hath bestowed upon us, in that he hath given us to his Son, and also given his Son for us?

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 245–246).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

 

Baptism With The Holy Spirit

Baptism With The Holy Spirit

The Baptism With The Holy Spirit

Introduction

It was a great turning point in my ministry, when, after much thought and study and meditation, I became satisfied that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit was an experience for to-day and for me, and set myself about obtaining it.  Such blessing came to me personally, that I began giving Bible readings on the subject, and with increasing frequency as the years have passed.  God in His wondrous grace has so greatly blessed these readings, and so many have asked for them in printed form, convenient for circulation among their friends, that I have decided to write them out in full for publication.  It is an occasion of great joy that so many and such excellent books on the person and work of the Holy Spirit have appeared of late.  I wish to call especial attention to two of these: “Through the Eternal Spirit,” by James Elder Cumming and “The Spirit of Christ,” by Andrew Murray.

In the following pages I speak uniformly of the Holy Spirit, but in the quotations from the Bible retain the less desirable phraseology there used—“The Holy Ghost”—except in those instances where the translators themselves varied their usage.  Probably most of the readers of this book already know that “the Holy Spirit” and “the Holy Ghost” are simply two different translations of precisely the same Greek words.  It seems very unfortunate, and almost unaccountable, that the English revisers did not follow the suggestion of the American Committee, and, for “Holy Ghost”, adopt uniformly the rendering “Holy Spirit.”

Torrey, R.  A.  (1895).  The baptism with the Holy Spirit.  (pp.  9–24).  New York; Chicago: Fleming H.  Revell Company.  (Public Domain)

Christ's Incarnation, At the Right Time

Christ's Incarnation, At the Right Time

Christ's Incarnation, At the Right Time

PAUL wrote to the Galatians, “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” The reservoir of time had to be filled by the inflowing of age after age; and when it was full to the brim, the Son of God appeared. Why the world should have remained without Him who is its one great Light for four thousand years after Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth, and why it should have taken that length of time for the Jewish Church to attain her full age, we cannot tell; but this we are plainly told, that Jesus was sent forth “when the fullness of the time was come.” Our Lord did not come before His time, nor behind His time; He was punctual to the appointed hour, and cried, to the exact moment, “Lo, I come.”

We may not curiously pry into the reasons why Christ came just when He did; but we may reverently muse on the great fact. The birth of Jesus is the grandest light of history, the sun in the heavens of all time. It is the pole-star of human destiny, the hinge of chronology, the meeting-place of the waters of the past and the future. Why did it happen just at that moment?

The main reason is, because it was so predicted. There were many prophecies, in the Old Testament Scriptures, which pointed, as with unerring fingers, to the place, the manner, and the time when the Shiloh would come, and the great sacrifice for sin should be offered. Jesus came at the very hour which God had determined.

The omniscient Lord of all appoints the date of every event; all times are in His hand, none are left to chance. There are no loose threads in the providence of God, and no dropped stitches. The great clock of the universe keeps perfect time, and the whole machinery of providence moves with unerring punctuality. It was to be expected that the greatest of all events should be most accurately and wisely timed, and so it was. God willed it to be when and where it was, and that will is to us the ultimate reason.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 23–24). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 3

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 3

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 3

The Person Giving, The Father

“All that the Father giveth.”  By this word “Father,” Christ describeth the person giving; by which we may learn several useful things.

First, That the Lord God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is concerned with the Son in the salvation of his people.  True, his acts, as to our salvation, are diverse from those of the Son; he was not capable of doing that, or those things for us, as did the Son; he died not, he spilt not blood for our redemption, as the Son; but yet he hath a hand, a great hand, in our salvation too.  As Christ saith, “The Father himself loveth you,” and his love is manifest in choosing of us, in giving of us to his Son; yea, and in giving his Son also to be a ransom for us. Hence he is called, “The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.”  For here even the Father hath himself found out, and made way for his grace to come to us through the sides and the heart-blood of his well-beloved Son (Col 1:12–14).  The Father, therefore, is to be remembered and adored, as one having a chief hand in the salvation of sinners.  We ought to give “thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12).  For “the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (John 4:14). As also we see in the text, the “Father giveth” the sinner to Christ to save him.

Second, Christ Jesus the Lord, by this word “Father,” would familiarize this giver to us.  Naturally the name of God is dreadful to us, especially when he is discovered to us by those names that declare his justice, holiness, power, and glory; but now this word “Father” is a familiar word, it frighteth not the sinner, but rather inclineth his heart to love, and be pleased with the remembrance of him.  Hence Christ also, when he would have us to pray with godly boldness, puts this word “Father” into our mouths; saying, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven;” concluding thereby, that by the familiarity that by such a word is intimated, the children of God may take more boldness to pray for, and ask great things.  I myself have often found, that when I can say but this word Father, it doth me more good than when I call him by any other Scripture name.  It is worth your noting, that to call God by his relative title was rare among the saints in Old Testament times.  Seldom do you find him called by this name; no, sometimes not in three or four books: but now in New Testament times, he is called by no name so often as this, both by the Lord Jesus himself, and by the apostles afterwards.  Indeed, the Lord Jesus was he that first made this name common among the saints, and that taught them, both in their discourses, their prayers, and in their writings, so much to use it; it being more pleasing to, and discovering more plainly our interest in, God, than any other expression; for by this one name we are made to understand that all our mercies are the offspring of God, and that we also that are called are his children by adoption.

[Import of the word GIVETH]—“All that the Father Giveth”

This word “giveth” is out of Christ’s ordinary dialect, and seemeth to intimate, at the first sound, as if the Father’s gift to the Son was not an act that is past, but one that is present and continuing; when, indeed, this gift was bestowed upon Christ when the covenant, the eternal covenant, was made between them before all worlds.  Wherefore, in those other places, when this gift is mentioned, it is still spoken of, as of an act that is past; as, “All that he hath give me; to as many as thou hast given me; thou gavest them me; and those which thou hast given me.”  Therefore, of necessity, this must be the first and chief sense of the text; I mean of this word “giveth,” otherwise the doctrine of election, and of the eternal covenant which was made between the Father and the Son, in which covenant this gift of the Father is most certainly comprised, will be shaken, or at leastwise questionable, by erroneous and wicked men: for they may say, That the Father gave not all those to Christ that shall be saved, before the world was made; for that this act of giving is an act of continuation.  But again, this word “giveth” is not to be rejected, for it hath its proper use, and may signify to us—

1.  That though the act of giving among men doth admit of the time past, or the time to come, and is to be spoken of with reference to such time; yet with God it is not so. Things past, or things to come, are always present with God, and with his Son Jesus Christ:  He “calleth those things which be not,” that is, to us, “as though they were” (Rom 4:17).  And again, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”  All things to God are present, and so the gift of the Father to the Son, although to us, as is manifest by the word, it is an act that is past (Acts 15:16).

2.  Christ may express himself thus, to show, that the Father hath not only given him this portion in the lump, before the world was, but that those that he had so given, he will give him again; that is, will bring them to him at the time of their conversion; for the Father bringeth them to Christ (John 6:44).  As it is said, “She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle-work;” that is, in the righteousness of Christ; for it is God that imputeth that to those that are saved (Psa 45:14; 1 Cor 1).  A man giveth his daughter to such a man, first in order to marriage, and this respects the time past, and he giveth her again at the day appointed in marriage.  And in this last sense, perhaps, the text may have a meaning; that is, that all that the Father hath, before the world was, given to Jesus Christ, he giveth them again to him in the day of their espousals.

Things that are given among men, are ofttimes best at first; to wit, when they are new; and the reason is, because all earthly things wax old; but with Christ it is not so.  This gift of the Father is not old and deformed, and unpleasant in his eyes; and therefore to him it is always new. When the Lord spake of giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites, he saith not, that he had given, or would give it to them, but thus:  “The Lord thy God giveth thee-this good land” (Deut 9:6).  Not but that he had given it to them, while they were in the loins of their fathers, hundreds of years before.  Yet he saith now he giveth it to them; as if they were now also in the very act of taking possession, when as yet they were on the other side Jordan. What then should be the meaning?  Why, I take it to be this.  That the land should be to them always as new; as new as if they were taking possession thereof but now.  And so is the gift of the Father, mentioned in the text, to the Son; it is always new, as if it were always new.

“All that the Father giveth me.”  In these words you find mention made of two persons, the Father and the Son; the Father giving, and the Son receiving or accepting of this gift.  This, then, in the first place, clearly demonstrateth, that the Father and the Son, though they, with the Holy Ghost, are one and the same eternal God; yet, as to their personality, are distinct.  The Father is one, the Son is one, the Holy Spirit is one.  But because there is in this text mention made but of two of the three, therefore a word about these two.  The giver and receiver cannot be the same person in a proper sense, in the same act of giving and receiving.  He that giveth, giveth not to himself, but to another; the Father giveth not to the Father, to wit, to himself, but to the Son:  the Son receiveth not of the Son, to wit, of himself, but of the Father: so when the Father giveth commandment, he giveth it not to himself, but to another; as Christ saith, “He gave me a commandment” (John 12:49).  So again, “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (John 8:18).

Further, here is something implied that is not expressed, to wit, that the Father hath not given all men to Christ; that is, in that sense as it is intended in this text, though in a larger, as was said before, he hath given him every one of them; for then all should be saved:  he hath, therefore, disposed of some another way. He gives some up to idolatry; he gives some up to uncleanness, to vile affections, and to a reprobate mind.  Now these he disposeth of in his anger, for their destruction, that they may reap the fruit of their doings, and be filled with the reward of their own ways (Acts 7:42; Rom 1:24, 26, 28).  But neither hath he thus disposed of all men; he hath even of mercy reserved some from these judgments, and those are they that he will pardon, as he saith, “For I will pardon them whom I reserve” (Jer 50:20).  Now these he hath given to Jesus Christ, by will, as a legacy and portion. Hence the Lord Jesus says, “This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39).

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 243–245).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

 

 

The Name of Jesus Indicates His Work

The Name of Jesus Indicates His Work

The Name of Jesus Indicates His Work

“THOU shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” He is not called Jesus because He is our Exemplar, though indeed He is perfection itself, and we long to tread in His foot-steps; but He is called Jesus because He has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

He is Christ, too, or the Anointed, but then He is Christ Jesus; that is to say, it is as a Saviour that He is anointed. He is nothing at all if He is not a Saviour. He is anointed to this very end. His very Name is a sham if He does not save His people from their sins.

It is a gracious but very startling fact that our Lord’s connection with His people lies in the direction of their sins. This is amazing condescension. He is called Saviour in connection with His people, but it is in reference to their sins, because it is from their sins that they need to be saved. If they had never sinned, they would never have required a Saviour, and there would have been no Name of Jesus known upon earth.

That is a wonderful text in Galatians 1:4,—did you ever meditate upon it?—“Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” It is true, as Martin Luther says, He never gave Himself for our righteousness, but He did give Himself for our sins. Sin is a horrible evil, a deadly poison, yet it is this which gives Jesus His title when He overcomes it. What a wonder this is! The first link between my soul and Christ is, not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need. He comes to visit His people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins.

O ye sinners,—I mean you real sinners,—not you who call yourselves by that name simply because you are told that is what you are, but you who really feel yourselves to be guilty before God, here is good news for you! O you self-condemned sinners, who feel that, if you are ever to get salvation, Jesus must bring it to you, and be the beginning and the end of it, I pray you to rejoice in this dear, this precious, this blessed Name, for Jesus has come to save you, even you! Go to Him as sinners, call Him “Jesus,” and say to Him, “O Lord Jesus, be Jesus to me, save me, for I need Thy salvation!” Doubt not that He will fulfill His own Name, and exhibit His saving power in you. Only confess to Him your sin, and He will save you from it. Only believe in Him, and He will be your salvation.

What does Paul mean when he says “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”? He means, first, that Jesus came to save them from the punishment of their sin. Their sin shall not be laid to their charge, so that they shall be condemned for it, if they do but trust in Him who was punished in the place of those who were really guilty. That is one thing that Christ Jesus came into the world to do for sinners.

He came, also, to save them from the pollution of their sin, so that, though their mind has been debased, and their taste degraded, and their conscience deadened by sin, He came to take that evil away, and to give them a tender heart, and a hatred of sin, and a love for holiness, and a desire for purity. That is a great work for Him to accomplish, yet Jesus came to do even more than that.

He came, also, to take away our tendencies to sin, those tendencies which are born in us, and which grow up with us. He came by His Spirit to eradicate them, to pluck them up by the roots, and to put within us another principle, which shall fight with the old principle of sin, and overcome it, till Christ alone shall reign, and every thought shall be brought into captivity to Him.

Further, Jesus came to save His people from apostasy. He “came into the world to save sinners,” in the fullest possible sense, by keeping them faithful to the end, so that they shall not go back unto perdition. This is a very important part of the work of Divine grace. To start a man right, is but little; but to keep that man holding on even to the end, is a triumph of almighty grace, and this is what Christ has come to do.

“Christ Jesus came into the world,” not to half save you, not to save you in this, direction or that, and in this light or that, but to save you from your sin, to save you from an angry temper, to save you from pride, to save you from strong drink, to save you from covetousness, to save you from every evil thing, “and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” This is a glorious truth, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” He came to Bethlehem’s manger, and afterwards to Calvary’s cross, with this as His one business, that He might save sinners. Is He not able to save? Is He not just the Saviour that we need? God and yet man in one adorable Person, He is able to sympathize because He is man, and He is able to save because He is God. Blessed God-man, Jesus Christ, Thou art able and willing to save me, and Thou art able and willing to save all other sinners who will believe in Thee!

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 19–22). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 2

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 2

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 2

First, The Text Treated by Way of Explication

The Extent of the Gift

“All that the Father giveth me.”  This word all, is often used in Scripture, and is to be taken more largely, or more strictly, even as the truth or argument, for the sake of which it is made use of, will bear. Wherefore, that we may the better understand the mind of Christ in the use of it here, we must consider, that it is limited and restrained only to those that shall be saved, to wit, to those that shall come to Christ; even to those whom he will “in no wise cast out.”  Thus, also, the words all Israel, is sometimes to be taken, although sometimes it is taken for the whole family of Jacob. “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom 11:26).  By all Israel here, he intendeth not all of Israel, in the largest sense; “for they are not all Israel which are of Israel;”  “neither because they are of the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom 9:6–8).

This word ALL, therefore, must be limited and enlarged, as the truth and argument, for the sake of which it is used, will bear; else we shall abuse Scripture, and readers, and ourselves, and all.  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,” said Christ, “will draw ALL men unto me” (John 12:32).  Can any man imagine, that by ALL, in this place, he should mean all and every individual man in the world, and not rather that all that is consonant to the scope of the place?  And if, by being “lifted up from the earth,” he means, as he should seem, his being taken up into heaven; and if, by “drawing ALL men after him,” he meant a drawing them unto that place of glory; then must he mean by ALL men, those, and only those, that shall in truth be eternally saved from the wrath to come.  “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom 11:32).  Here again you have all and all, two alls; but yet a greater disparity between the all made mention of in the first place, and that all made mention of the second. Those intended in this text are the Jews, even all of them, by the first all that you find in the words. The second all doth also intend the same people; but yet only so many of them as God will have mercy upon. “He hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”  The all also in the text, is likewise to be limited and restrained to the saved, and to them only.  But again;—

The word “giveth,” or “hath given,” must be restrained, after the same manner, to the same limited number. “All that the Father giveth me.”  Not all that are given, if you take the gift of the Father to the Son in the largest sense; for in that sense there are many given to him that shall never come unto him; yea, many are given unto him that he will “cast out.”  I shall, therefore, first show you the truth of this; and then in what sense the gift in the text must be taken.

First, [ALL cannot be intended in its largest sense.]  That ALL that are given to Christ, if you take the gift of the Father to him in the largest sense, cannot be intended in the text, is evident-

1.  Because, then, all the men, yea, all the things in the world, must be saved. “All things,” saith he, “are delivered unto me of my Father” (Matt 11:27).  This, I think, no rational man in the world will conclude. Therefore, the gift intended in the text must be restrained to some, to a gift that is given by way of speciality by the Father to the Son.

2.  It must not be taken for ALL, that in any sense are given by the Father to him, because the Father hath given some, yea, many to him, to be dashed in pieces by him.  “Ask of me,” said the Father to him, “and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” But what must be done with them? must he save them all?  No.  “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psa 2).  This method he useth not with them that he saveth by his grace, but with those that himself and saints shall rule over in justice and severity (Rev 2:26, 27). Yet, as you see, “they are given to him.”  Therefore, the gift intended in the text must be restrained to some, to a gift that is given by way of speciality by the Father to the Son.

In Psalm 18 he saith plainly, that some are given to him that he might destroy them.  “Thou hast given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me” (verse 40).  These, therefore, cannot be of the number of those that are said to be given in the text; for those, even ALL of them, shall come to him, “and he will in no wise cast them out.”

3.  Some are given to Christ, that he by them might bring about some of his high and deep designs in the world.  Thus Judas was given to Christ, to wit, that by him, even as was determined before, he might bring about his death, and so the salvation of his elect by his blood.  Yea, and Judas must so manage this business, as that he must lose himself for ever in bringing it to pass.  Therefore the Lord Jesus, even in his losing of Judas, applies himself to the judgment of his Father, if he had not in that thing done that which was right, even in suffering of Judas so to bring about his Master’s death, as that he might, by so doing, bring about his own eternal damnation also.

“Those,” said he, “that thou gavest me, I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12).  Let us, then, grant that Judas was given to Christ, but not as others are given to him, not as those made mention of in the text; for then he should have failed to have been so received by Christ, and kept to eternal life.  Indeed, he was given to Christ; but he was given to him to lose him, in the way that I have mentioned before; he was given to Christ, that he by him might bring about his own death, as was before determined; and that in the overthrow of him that did it.  Yea, he must bring about his own death, as was before determined, and that in the overthrow of him that did it.  Yea, he must bring about his dying for us in the loss of the instrument that betrayed him, that he might even fulfil the Scripture in his destruction, as well as in the salvation of the rest.  “And none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

[Second, Those intended as the gift.]—The gift, therefore, in the text, must not be taken in the largest sense, but even as the words will bear, to wit, for such a gift as he accepteth, and promiseth to be an effectual means of eternal salvation to.  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  Mark!  they shall come that are in special given to me; and they shall by no means be rejected.  For this is the substance of the text.

Those, therefore, intended as the gift in the text, are those that are given by covenant to the Son; those that in other places are called “the elect,” “the chosen,” “the sheep,” and “the children of the promise,” &c. These be they that the Father hath given to Christ to keep them; those that Christ hath promised eternal life unto; those to whom he hath given his word, and that he will have with him in his kingdom to behold his glory.

“This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39).  “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28).  “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word; I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.”  “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”  “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:1, 6, 9, 10, 24).

All these sentences are of the same import with the text; and the alls and manies, those, they, &c., in these several sayings of Christ, are the same with all the given in the text.  “All that the Father giveth.”

So that, as I said before, the word ALL, as also other words, must not be taken in such sort as our foolish fancies or groundless opinions will prompt us to, but do admit of an enlargement or a restriction, according to the true meaning and intent of the text.  We must therefore diligently consult the meaning of the text, by comparing it with other the sayings of God; so shall we be better able to find out the mind of the Lord, in the word which he has given us to know it by.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 242–243).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

The Name of Jesus, Common, Yet Unique

The Name of Jesus, Common, Yet Unique

The Name of Jesus, Common, Yet Unique

THE name Jesus was not at all uncommon among the Jews. Josephus mentions no less than twelve persons who bore that name. Salvation of a certain kind was so longed for by the Jews that their eagerness was seen even in the choice they made of their children’s names. Their little ones were, because of their hopes concerning them, called saviours, yet they were not really saviours.

How common are nominal saviours! “Lo, here,” say some, “is a saviour!” “Lo, there,” cry others, “is another saviour!” All these have the name, but not the power; and now, our Lord Jesus Christ has claimed the title exclusively for Himself. His Name shall be called Jesus, for He alone is a Prince and a Saviour, and He only saves His people from their sins.

Other so-called saviours do but mock the hopes of mankind; they promise fairly, but they utterly deceive all who rely upon them. But this Holy Child, this blessed, glorious “God with us,” has truly brought us salvation, and He saith, “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” This Jesus of Nazareth, the King of kings, and Lord of Lords, is the one and only Saviour. He, and none but He, shall save His people. He, and not another, shall save them by His own act and deed. Singly and unaided, He shall save His people. Personally, and not by another, in His own Name, and on His own behalf, He shall, by Himself, purge away His people’s sins.

He shall do all the work, and leave none of it undone; He shall begin it, carry it on, and complete it; and therefore is His Name called Jesus, because He shall fully, entirely, and perfectly, save His people from their sins. The name Jesus has been, in a minor sense, applied to others aforetime; but now, henceforth, no one else may wear it, since there is no other Saviour but Christ the Lord; “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 17–18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 1

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 1

Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ

“ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME SHALL COME TO ME; AND HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.”—JOHN 6:37.

A little before, in this chapter, you may read that the Lord Jesus walked on the sea to go to Capernaum, having sent his disciples before in a ship, but the wind was contrary; by which means the ship was hindered in her passage. Now, about the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came walking upon the sea, and overtook them; at the sight of whom they were afraid. Note, When providences are black and terrible to God’s people, the Lord Jesus shows himself to them in wonderful manner; the which sometimes they can as little bear, as they can the things that were before terrible to them. They were afraid of the wind and the water; they were also afraid of their Lord and Savior, when he appeared to them in that state.

But he said, “Be not afraid, it is I.”

Note, That the end of the appearing of the Lord Jesus unto his people, though the manner of his appearing be never so terrible, is to allay their fears and perplexities.

Then they received him into the ship, and immediately the ship was at land whither it went.

Note, When Christ is absent from his people, they go on but slowly, and with great difficulty; but when he joineth himself unto them, oh! how fast they steer their course! how soon are they at their journey’s end!

The people now among whom he last preached, when they saw that both Jesus was gone and his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him, they wonderingly asked him, “Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” but the Lord Jesus, slighting their compliment, answered, “Verily, verily, ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”

Note, A people may follow Christ far for base ends, as these went after him beyond sea for loaves. A man’s belly will carry him a great way in religion; yea, a man’s belly will make him venture far for Christ.

Note again, They are not feigning compliments, but gracious intentions, that crown the work in the eye of Christ; or thus, it is not the toil and business of professors, but their love to him, that makes him approve of them.

Note again, When men shall look for friendly entertainment at Christ’s hand, if their hearts be rotten, even then will they meet with a check and rebuke. “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”

Yet observe again, He doth not refuse to give, even to these, good counsel: he bids them labor for the meat that endureth to eternal life. Oh! how willingly would Jesus Christ have even those professors that come to him with pretenses only, come to him sincerely, that they may be saved.

The text, you will find, is, after much more discourse with and about this people, and it is uttered by the Lord Jesus as the conclusion of the whole, and intimateth that, since they were professors in pretense only, and therefore such as his soul could not delight in, as such, that he would content himself with a remnant that his Father had bestowed upon him. As who should say, I am not like to be honored in your salvation; but the Father hath bestowed upon me a people, and they shall come to me in truth, and in them will I be satisfied. The text, therefore, may be called Christ’s repose; in the fulfilling whereof he resteth himself content, after much labor and many sermons spent, as it were, in vain. As he saith by the prophet, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain” (Isa 49:4).

But as there he saith, “My judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God;” so in the text he saith, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” By these words, therefore, the Lord Jesus comforteth himself under the consideration of the dissimulation of some of his followers. He also thus betook himself to rest under the consideration of the little effect that his ministry had in Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida: “I thank thee, O Father,” said he, “Lord of heaven and earth, because thou has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Matt 11:25; Luke 10:21).

The text, in the general, standeth of TWO PARTS, and hath special respect to the Father and the Son; as also to their joint management of the salvation of the people: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The first part of the text, as is evident, respecteth the Father and his gift; the other part the Son and his reception of that gift.

FIRST, For the gift of the Father there is this to be considered, to wit, the gift itself; and that is the gift of certain persons to the Son. The Father giveth, and that gift shall come: “And him that cometh.” The gift, then, is of persons; the Father giveth persons to Jesus Christ.

SECOND, Next you have the Son’s reception of this gift, and that showeth itself in these particulars:—1. In his hearty acknowledgement of it to be a gift: “The Father giveth me.” 2. In his taking notice, after a solemn manner, of all and every part of the gift: “All that the Father giveth me.” 3. In his resolution to bring them to himself: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” 4. And in his determining that not anything shall make him dislike them in their coming: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

These things might be spoken to at large, as they are in this method presented to view: but I shall choose to speak to the words, FIRST, BY WAY OF EXPLICATION. SECOND, BY WAY OF OBSERVATION.

Bunyan, J. (2006). Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, p. 241). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

 

 

 

Room For Christ Jesus

Room For Christ Jesus

Room For Christ Jesus

THE palace, the forum, and the inn, had no room for Christ; have you room for Him? “Well,” says one, “I have room for Him, but I am not worthy that He should come to me.” Ah! I did not ask about your worthiness; have you room for Him? “Oh!” says another, “I have an aching void the world can never fill.” Ah! I see that you have room for Christ. “Oh, but the room I have in my heart is so base!” So was the manger at Bethlehem. “But it is so despicable.” So was the manger a thing to be despised. “Ah! but my heart is so foul.” So, perhaps, the manger may have been. “Oh, but I feel it is a place not at all fit for Christ!” Nor was the manger a place fit for Him, and yet there was He laid. “Oh! but I have been such a great sinner; I feel as if my heart had been a den of evil beasts.” Well, the manger had been a place where beasts had fed.

I repeat the question,—Have you room for Christ in your heart? Never mind what your past life has been; He can forget and forgive. It mattereth not what even thy present state may be if thou sincerely mournest thy sinfulness. If thou hast but room for Christ, He will come, and be thy Guest. Do not say, I pray you, “I hope I shall have room for Him;” the Gospel message is, “To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation;” “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Make room for Jesus! Make room for Jesus now!

“Oh!” saith one, “I have room for Him, but will He come to me?” Will He come? Do you but set the door of your heart open, do you but say, “Jesus Master, all unworthy and unclean, I look to Thee; I trust in Thee; come Thou, and dwell within my heart;” and He will come to thee, and He will cleanse the manger of thy heart; nay, more, He will transform it into a golden throne, and there He will sit and reign for ever and ever. I rejoice that I have such a free Christ, such a precious loving Jesus to make known; One who is willing to find a home in every humble heart that will receive Him. Oh! it will be a happy day for you when you shall be enabled to take Him in your arms, and receive Him as the Consolation of Israel. You may then look forward even to death with joy, and say, with good old Simeon, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”

My Master wants room; and I, as His herald, cry aloud, “Room for the Savior! Room! Here is my royal Master, have you room for Him? Here is the Son of God made flesh, have you room for Him? Here is He who can forgive all sin, have you room for Him? Here is He who can take you up out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, have you room for Him? Here is He who, when He cometh in to your soul, will never go out again; but will abide with you for ever, to make your heart a heaven of joy and bliss through His presence? Have you not room for Him?” That is all He asks, room. Your emptiness, your nothingness, your want of feeling, your want of goodness, your want of grace,—all these will be but room for Him.

John tells us that, “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God;” and in the last great day, the Lord Jesus will say to those on His right hand, “I was a stranger, and ye took Me in.” Is it not a strange thing that “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him,” and yet He was a stranger in it? Yet it is not a whit more strange than true; for, when He was born, there was no room for Him in the inn. Inns had open doors for ordinary strangers, but not for Him; for He was a greater stranger than any of those who were around Him. It was Bethlehem of David, the seat of the ancient family to which He belonged; but, alas! He had become “a stranger unto His brethren, and an alien unto His mother’s children,” and no door was opened unto Him.

Soon, there was no safe room for Him in the village itself, for Herod the king sought the young Child’s life, and He must flee into Egypt, to be a stranger in a strange land, and worse than a stranger,—an exile and a fugitive from the land whereof by birthright He was King. On His return, and on His appearing in public, there was still no room for Him among the great mass of the people. He came to His own Israel, to whom prophets had revealed Him, and types had set Him forth; but they would not receive Him. “He was despised and rejected of men.” He was the Man “whom men abhorred;” whom they so much detested that they cried, “Away with Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Jew and Gentile conspired to prove how truly He was a stranger; the Jew said, “As for this fellow, we know not from whence He is;” and the Roman asked Him, “Whence art Thou?”

Perhaps the strangest thing of all, and the greatest wonder of all, is that this Heavenly Stranger should be willing to be received by us, and that He should deign to dwell in our hearts. Such an One as Jesus in such an one as I am! The King of glory in a sinner’s bosom! This is a miracle of grace; yet the manner of accomplishing it is simple enough. A humble, repenting faith opens the door, and Jesus enters the heart at once. Love shuts to the door with the hand of penitence, and holy watchfulness keeps out intruders. Thus is the promise made good, “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.” Meditation, contemplation, prayer, praise, and daily obedience, keep the house in order for the Lord; and then follows the consecration of our entire nature to His use as a temple; the dedication of spirit, soul, and body, and all their powers, as holy vessels of the sanctuary; the writing of “Holiness unto the Lord” upon all that is about us, till our every-day garments become vestments, our meals sacraments, our life a ministry, and ourselves priests unto the Most High God. Oh, the supreme condescension of this indwelling of Christ! He never dwelt in angel, but He resides in a contrite spirit. There is a world of meaning in the Redeemer’s words concerning His disciples, “I in them.” May we know the meaning of them as Paul translates and applies them, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”!

The moment Christ is received into our hearts by faith, we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of faith; for the Lord adopts us, and puts us among His children. It is a splendid act of Divine grace, that He should take us, who were heirs of wrath, and make us heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Such honor have all the saints, even all that believe on Christ’s Name.

Then, when Christ is in us, we search out opportunities of bringing prodigals, strangers, and outcasts to the great Father’s house. Our love goes out to all mankind, and our hand is closed against none; if so be we are made like to God, as little children are like their father. Oh, sweet result of entertaining the Son of God by faith! He dwells in us, and we gaze upon Him in holy fellowship; so that “we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

“Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” May we daily feel the power of Jesus within our hearts, transforming our whole character, and making us to be more and more manifestly the children of God! When our Lord asks concerning us, “What manner of men were they?” may even His enemies and ours be compelled to answer, “As Thou art, so were they: each one resembled the children of a King.” Then shall Jesus be admired in all them that believe, for men shall see in all the children of His great family the Divine Stranger’s gracious and glorious handiwork.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 137–142). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 


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