rss

CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Christ's Incarnation, The Wonder of Angels

Christ's Incarnation, The Wonder of Angels

Christ's Incarnation, The Wonder of Angels

HOW surprised the angels must have been when they were first informed that Jesus Christ, the Prince of life, intended to shroud Himself in clay, and become a human babe, and live and die upon the earth! We know not how the information was first communicated to the angels; but when the rumor began to circulate among the shining hosts, we may imagine what strange wonderment there was in their lofty minds. What! was it true that He, whose crown was all bedight with stars, would lay that crown aside? What! was it certain that He, about whose shoulders was cast the purple robe of universal sovereignty, would become a man, dressed in a peasant’s garment? Could it be true that He, who was everlasting and immortal, would one day be nailed to a cross? How their wonderment must have increased as the details of the Saviour’s life and death were made known to them. Well might they desire to “look into” these things, which were so surprising and mysterious to them.

And when He descended from on high, they followed Him; for Jesus was “seen of angels,” and seen in a very special sense; for they looked upon Him in rapturous amazement, wondering what it could mean when He, “who was rich, for our sakes became poor.” Do you see Him as, on that day of Heaven’s eclipse, He did, as it were, ungird Himself of His majesty? Can you conceive the increasing wonder of the heavenly hosts when the great deed was actually done, when they saw His priceless tiara taken off, when they watched Him unbind His girdle of stars, and cast away His sandals of gold? Can you conceive what must have been the astonishment of the angels when He said to them, “I do not disdain the womb of the virgin; I am going down to earth to become a man”? Can you picture them as they declared that they would follow Him? They followed Him as near as He would permit them; and when they came to earth, they began to sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Nor would they go away till they had made the shepherds also wonder, and till heaven had hung out new stars in honor of the new-born King.

And now wonder, ye angels, as ye see that the Infinite has become an infant. He, upon whose shoulders the universe doth hang, hangs at His mother’s breast. He, who created all things by the word of His power, and who bears up the pillars of creation, hath now become so weak that He must be carried in the arms of a woman! Wonder, ye that knew Him in His riches, whilst ye behold Him in His poverty. Where sleeps the new-born King? Hath He the best room in Cæsar’s palace? Hath a cradle of gold been prepared for Him, and pillows of down, on which to rest His head? No; in the dilapidated stable where the oxen stood, and in the manger where they fed, there the Saviour lies, swathed in the swaddling-bands of the children of poverty. Nor doth He rest long there; on a sudden, His mother must carry Him to Egypt; He must go there, and become a stranger in a strange land. When He came back, and grew up at Nazareth, the angels must have marveled to see Him that made the worlds handle the hammer and the nails, assisting His reputed father in the trade of a carpenter.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 33–35). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

Christ's Incarnation, The Marvel of Mortals

Christ's Incarnation, The Marvel of Mortals

Christ's Incarnation, The Marvel of Mortals

IF the angels were so astonished at Christ’s birth, it is not surprising that man should be filled with holy wonder at the great mystery. That God should have such consideration for His fallen creatures that, instead of sweeping them away with the besom of destruction, He should devise a wonderful scheme for their redemption, and that He should Himself undertake to be their Redeemer, and to pay their ransom price, is, indeed, marvelous.

Probably, it will seem most marvelous to you in its relation to yourself, that you should be redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, that God should forsake the thrones and royalties above to suffer ignominiously below for you. If you truly know yourself, you can never see any adequate motive or reason in your own self for such a wonderful deed as this. “Why should God display such love to me?” you may well ask.

If David, when the Lord revealed to him the honors in store for him and for his family, could only say, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto? And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” what should you and I say? Had we been the most meritorious of individuals, and had we unceasingly kept the Lord’s commands, we could not have deserved such a priceless boon as Christ’s Incarnation; but as we are sinners, offenders, rebels, who have revolted, and continually gone further and further away from God, what shall we say of this incarnate God dying for us, but “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”?

Let your soul lose itself in wonder, for wonder is, in this way, a very practical emotion. Holy wonder will lead you to grateful worship; being amazed at what God has done, you will pour out your soul with astonishment at the foot of the golden throne in the grateful and adoring song, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and majesty, and power, and dominion, and might be unto Him who sitteth on the throne, and doeth these great things to me.”

This wonder will also produce in you godly watchfulness; you will be afraid to sin against such love as this. Feeling the presence of the mighty God in the gift of His dear Son, you will put off your shoes from off your feet, because the place whereon you stand is holy ground.

You will be moved, at the same time, to a glorious hope. If Jesus has given Himself to you, if He has done this marvelous thing on your behalf, you will feel that Heaven itself is not too great for your expectation, and that the rivers of pleasure at God’s right hand are not too sweet or too deep for you to drink thereof. Who can be astonished at anything when he has once learned the mystery of the manger and the cross?

What is there wonderful left after one has seen the Savior? The nine wonders of the world! Why, you may put them all into a nutshell,—machinery and modern art can excel them all; but this one wonder is not the wonder of earth only, but of Heaven and earth, and even of hell itself. It is not the wonder of the olden time, but the wonder of all time, and the wonder of eternity. They who see human wonders a few times, at last cease to be astonished; the noblest pile that architect ever raised, at last fails to impress the onlooker; but not so this marvelous temple of incarnate Deity; the more we look at it, the more we are astonished; the more we become accustomed to it, the more have we a sense of its surpassing splendor of love and grace. There is more of God’s glory and majesty to be seen in the manger and the cross, than in the sparkling stars above, the rolling deep below, the towering mountain, the teeming valleys, the abodes of life, or the abyss of death. Let us then give ourselves up to holy wonder, such as will produce gratitude, worship, love, and confidence, as we think of that great “mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 36–38). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 6

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 6

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 6

What It Is To Come To Christ

FIRST, I would show you WHAT IT IS TO COME TO CHRIST.  This word come must be understood spiritually, not carnally; for many came to him carnally, or bodily, that had no saving advantage by him.  Multitudes did thus come unto him in the days of his flesh; yea, innumerable companies.  There is also at this day a formal customary coming to his ordinances and ways of worship, which availeth not anything; but with them I shall not now meddle, for they are not intended in the text.  The coming, then, intended in the text is to be understood of the coming of the mind to him, even the moving of the heart towards him.  I say the moving of the heart towards him, from a sound sense of the absolute want that a man hath of him for his justification and salvation.

This description of coming to Christ divideth itself into two heads: First, That coming to Christ is a moving of the mind towards him.  Second, That it is a moving of the mind towards him, from a sound sense of the absolute want that a man hath of him for his justification and salvation.

[First.] To speak to the first, that it is a moving of the mind towards him.  This is evident; because coming hither or thither, if it be voluntary, is by an act of the mind or will; so coming to Christ is through the inclining of the will.  “Thy people shall be willing” (Psa 110:3).  This willingness of heart is it which sets the mind a-moving after or towards him.  The church expresseth this moving of her mind towards Christ by the moving of her bowels.  “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him” (Can 5:4).  “My bowels;” the passions of my mind and affections; which passions of the affections are expressed by the yearning and sounding of the bowels, the yearning or passionate working of them, the sounding of them, or their making a noise for him (Gen 43:30; 1 Kings 3:26; Isa 16:11).

This, then, is the coming to Christ, even a moving towards him with the mind.  “And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live” (Eze 47:9).  The water in this text is the grace of God in the doctrine of it. The living things are the children of men, to whom the grace of God, by the gospel, is preached.  Now, saith he, every living thing which moveth, whithersoever the water shall come, shall live.  And see how this word moveth is expounded by Christ himself, in the book of the Revelations:  “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will,” that is, willing, “let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).

So that to move in thy mind and will after Christ, is to be coming to him.  There are many poor souls that are coming to Christ, that yet cannot tell how to believe it, because they think that coming to him is some strange and wonderful thing; and, indeed, so it is.  But I mean, they overlook the inclination of their will, the moving of their mind, and the sounding of their bowels after him; and count these none of this strange and wonderful thing; when, indeed, it is a work of greatest wonder in this world, to see a man who was sometimes dead in sin possessed of the devil, an enemy to Christ and to all things spiritually good; I say, to see this man moving with his mind after the Lord Jesus Christ, is one of the highest wonders in the world.

Second, It is a moving of the mind towards him, from a sound sense of the absolute want that a man hath of him for his justification and salvation.  Indeed, without this sense of a lost condition without him, there will be no moving of the mind towards him.  A moving of their mouth there may be; “With their mouth they show much love” (Eze 33:31).  Such a people as this will come as the true people cometh; that is, in show and outward appearance.  And they will sit before God’s ministers, as his people sit before them; and they will hear his words too, but they will not do them; that is, will not come inwardly with their minds.  “For with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart,” or mind, “goeth after their covetousness.”  Now, all this is because they want an effectual sense of the misery of their state by nature; for not till they have that will they, in their mind, move after him.  Therefore, thus it is said concerning the true comers, At “that day the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem” (Isa 27:13).  They are then, as you see, the outcasts, and those that are ready to perish, that, indeed, have their minds effectually moved to come to Jesus Christ.  This sense of things was that which made the three thousand come, that made Saul come, that made the jailer come, and that, indeed, makes all others come, that come effectually (Acts 2:8, 18).

Of the true coming to Christ, the four lepers were a famous semblance, of whom you read, (2 Kings 7:3), &c. The famine in those days was sore in the land, there was no bread for the people; and as for that sustenance that was, which was asses’ flesh and doves’ dung, that was only in Samaria, and of these the lepers had no share, for they were thrust without the city.  Well, now they sat in the gate of the city, and hunger was, as I may say, making his last meal of them; and being, therefore, half dead already, what do they think of doing? Why, first they display the dismal colo rs of death before each other’s faces, and then resolve what to do, saying, “If we say we will enter into the city, then famine is in the city, and we shall die there: if we sit still here, we die also. Now, therefore, come, let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; if they kill us, we shall but die.” Here, now, was necessity at work, and this necessity drove them to go thither for life, whither else they would never have gone for it.  Thus it is with them that in truth come to Jesus Christ.  Death is before them, they see it and feel it; he is feeding upon them, and will eat them quite up, if they come not to Jesus Christ; and therefore they come, even of necessity, being forced thereto by that sense they have of their being utterly and everlastingly undone, if they find not safety in him.  These are they that will come.  Indeed, these are they that are invited to come.  “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).

Take two or three things to make this more plain; to wit, That coming to Christ floweth from a sound sense of the absolute need that a man hath of him, as afore.

1.  “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them; I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble” (Jer 31:9).   Mind it; they come with weeping and supplication; they come with prayers and tears. Now prayers and tears are the effects of a right sense of the need of mercy. Thus a senseless sinner cannot come, he cannot pray, he cannot cry, he cannot come sensible of what he sees not, nor feels.  “In those days, and in that time-the children of Israel shall come; they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go and seek the Lord their God.  They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten” (Jer 1:4, 5).

2.  This coming to Christ, it is called a running to him, as flying to him; a flying to him from wrath to come. By all which terms is set forth the sense of the man that comes; to wit, That he is affected with the sense of his sin, and the death due thereto; that he is sensible that the avenger of blood pursues him, and that, therefore, he is thus off, if he makes not speed to the Son of God for life (Matt 3:7; Psa 143:9).  Flying is the last work of a man in danger; all that are in danger do not fly; no, not all that see themselves in danger; flying is the last work of a man in danger; all that hear of danger will not fly. Men will consider if there be no other way of escape before they fly.  Therefore, as I said, flying is the last thing. When all refuge fails, and a man is made to see that there is nothing left him but sin, death, and damnation, unless he flies to Christ for life; then he flies, and not till then.

3.  That the true coming is from a sense of an absolute need of Jesus Christ to save, &c., is evident by the outcry that is made by them to come, even as they are coming to him, “Lord, save me,” or I perish; “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” and the like (Matt 14:30; Acts 2:37; 16:30).  This language doth sufficiently discover that the truly-coming souls are souls sensible of their need of salvation by Jesus Christ; and, moreover, that there is nothing else that can help them but Christ.

4.  It is yet further evident by these few things that follow: It is said that such are “pricked in their heart,” that is, with the sentence of death by the law; and the least prick in the heart kills a man (Acts 2:37).  Such are said, as I said before, to weep, to tremble, and to be astonished in themselves at the evident and unavoidable danger that attends them, unless they fly to Jesus Christ (Acts 9:16).

5.  Coming to Christ is attended with an honest and sincere forsaking of all for him.  “If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26, 27).

By these and the like expressions elsewhere, Christ describeth the true comer, or the man that indeed is coming to him; he is one that casteth all behind his back; he leaveth all, he forsaketh all, he hateth all things that would stand in his way to hinder his coming to Jesus Christ.  There are a great many pretended comers to Jesus Christ in the world; and they are much like to the man you read of in Matthew 21:30, that said to his father’s bidding, “I go, Sir, and went not.” I say, there are a great many such comers to Jesus Christ; they say, when Christ calls by his gospel, I come, Sir; but still they abide by their pleasures and carnal delights.  They come not at all, only they give him a courtly compliment; but he takes notice of it, and will not let it pass for any more than a lie. He said, “I go, Sir, and went not;” he dissembled and lied.  Take heed of this, you that flatter yourselves with your own deceivings. Words will not do with Jesus Christ.  Coming is coming, and nothing else will go for coming with him.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 247–249).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

Christ's Incarnation, Joyous and Personal

Christ's Incarnation, Joyous and Personal

Christ's Incarnation, Joyous and Personal

TO the shepherds the angel said, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people;” and, truly, the angelic message is still the source of joy to all who hear it aright: “Unto you is born … a Saviour.” Rejoice, then, ye who feel that ye are lost; for Christ Jesus the Saviour comes to seek and to save you. Be of good cheer, ye who are in the prison-house of sin, for He comes to set you free. Ye who are famished and ready to die, rejoice that Christ Jesus the Lord has consecrated for you a better Bethlehem, a true “house of bread,” and that He has Himself come to be the bread of life to your souls. Rejoice, O sinners, everywhere, for the Restorer of the castaways, the Saviour of the fallen, is born!

Join in the joy, ye saints, for He is also the Preserver of the saved ones, delivering them from innumerable perils, and He is the sure Perfecter of all whom He preserves. Jesus is no partial Saviour, beginning a work, and never completing it; but, saving and cleansing, restoring and upholding, He also perfects and presents the saved ones, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, before His Father’s face. Rejoice, then, all ye people; let your hills and valleys ring with joy, for a Saviour, who is mighty to save, is born among you.

This joy began with the shepherds, for the angel said to them, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Reader, shall the joy begin with you to-day? It avails you little that Christ is born, or that Christ died, unless unto you a Child is born, and for you Jesus bled. A personal interest in the birth, life, and death of Christ is the main point for each one of us.

“But I am poor,” saith one. So were the shepherds. O ye poor, to you this mysterious Child is born! “The poor have the Gospel preached unto them.” “He shall judge the poor of the people, He shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.”

“But I am obscure and unknown,” saith one. So were the watchers on the midnight plain. Who, save God, knew the men who endured hard toil, and kept their flocks by night? And you, unknown of men, are known to God; shall it not, then, be said that “unto you a Child is born”? The Lord regardeth not the greatness of men, but He hath respect unto the lowly.
Possibly, you say that you are illiterate, you cannot understand much. Be it so; but unto the shepherds Christ was born, and their simplicity did not hinder them from receiving Him, but even helped them to do so. Let it be so with yourself; receive gladly the simple truth as it is in Jesus. The Lord hath exalted One chosen out of the people.

No aristocratic Christ have I to commend to you, but the Saviour of the people, the Friend of publicans and sinners. Jesus is the true “poor man’s Friend;” He is “a Witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people.” Oh, that each one of us might truly say, “Unto me is Jesus born”! If I truly believe in Him, Christ is born unto me, and I may be as sure of it as if an angel announced it personally to me, since the Scripture assures me that, if I believe in Jesus, He is mine, and I am His, and through union with Him I become a partaker in His everlasting life, and in all that He has.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 30–32). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 5

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 5

Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ, Part 5

The Son's Reception of the Gift

“All that the Father giveth me SHALL COME.”  In these last words there is closely inserted an answer unto the Father’s end in giving of his elect to Jesus Christ.  The Father’s end was, that they might come to him, and be saved by him; and that, says the Son, shall be done; neither sin nor Satan, neither flesh nor world, neither wisdom nor folly, shall hinder their coming to me.  “They shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Here, therefore, the Lord Jesus positively determineth to put forth such a sufficiency of all grace as shall effectually perform this promise.  “They shall come;” that is, he will cause them to come, by infusing of an effectual blessing into all the means that shall be used to that end. As was said to the evil spirit that was sent to persuade Ahab to go and fall at Ramoth-Gilead; Go:  “Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so” (1 Kings 22:22).  So will Jesus Christ say to the means that shall be used for the bringing of those to him that the Father hath given him . I say, he will bless it effectually to this very end; it shall persuade them, and shall prevail also; else, as I said, the Father’s end would be frustrate; for the Father’s will is, that “of all which he hath given him, he should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day,” (John 6:39); in order next unto himself, Christ the first fruits, afterwards those that are his at his coming (1 Cor 15).  But this cannot be done if there should fail to be a work of grace effectually wrought, though but in any one of them.  But this shall not fail to be wrought in them, even in all the Father hath given him to save.  “All that the Father hath given me shall come unto me,” &c.

But to speak more distinctly to the words, THEY “SHALL COME,” two things I would show you from these words—FIRST, What it is to come to Christ. SECOND, What force there is in this promise, to make them come to him.

Bunyan, J. (2006).  Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, pp. 246–247).  Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.  (Public Domain)

 

 

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)

 

 

 


Christian Military Fellowship

An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

Contact Us

  • Address:
    PO Box 1207, Englewood, CO 80150-1207

  • Phone: (800) 798-7875

  • Email: admin@cmfhq.org

Webmaster

Book Offers