For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Malachi 4:2

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Galatians 6:14
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Let the motto upon your whole ministry be - "Christ is All!" - Mather

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Christ: The Fountain Of Mercy At Just The Right Time

Psalm 147:11 - The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy . . .

Oh Father, please have mercy . . . for Jesus' sake!

Charles Spurgeon wrote:
Just when we need a mercy, and when the mercy is much more a mercy because it is so timely, that is when it comes. If it had come later, it might have been too late, or at any rate it would not have been so seasonable and thus not so sweet.

Who knows what is the right time? God, who sees all at a single glance, knows. He knows when to give and He knows when to take. In every godly life there is a set time for each event. There is no need to ask, "Why is the white here and the black there? Why this gleam of sunlight and that roar of tempest? Why here a marriage and there a funeral? Why sometimes a harp and at other times a trumpet?" God knows. And it is a great blessing when we can leave it all in His hands.

Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters, ed. Roy H. Clarke (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999) 174.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jesus Christ: The Good Above All Goods!

Thomas Watson wrote:
1. Christ is the most SUPREME good. Put what you will in the balance with Christ — He infinitely outweighs it. Is life sweet? Christ is better. He is the life of the soul, Colossians 3:4. "His loving-kindness is better than life," Psalm 63:3. Are relations sweet? Christ is better. He is the friend who "sticks closer than a brother."

2. Christ is the most sufficient good. He who has Christ needs no more. He who has the ocean — needs not the cistern. If one had a manuscript which contained all knowledge in it, having all the arts and sciences — he need look in no other book. So he who has Christ needs look no further. Christ gives both grace and glory, Psalm 84:11; grace to cleanse us — and glory to crown us. As Jacob said, "It is enough, Joseph my son is yet alive," Genesis 14:28. So he who has Christ may say, "It is enough, Jesus is yet alive!"

3. Christ is the most SUITABLE good. In Him dwells all fullness, Colossians 1:19. Christ is whatever the soul can desire. Christ is beauty to adorn, gold to enrich, balm to heal, bread to strengthen, wine to comfort, and salvation to crown. If we are in danger, Christ is a shield; if we are disconsolate, He is a sun. He has enough in His wardrobe, to abundantly furnish the soul.

4. Christ is the most SANCTIFYING good. He makes every condition happy to us; He sweetens all our comforts — and sanctifies all our crosses.

Christ sweetens all our comforts. He turns them into blessings. Health is blessed; estate is blessed; relations are blessed. Christ's love is like pouring sweet water on flowers, which makes them give a more fragrant perfume. A wicked man cannot have that comfort in outward things which a godly man has. He may possess more — but he enjoys less. He who has Christ may say, "This mercy is given to me by the hand of my Savior; this is a love-token from Him, a pledge of glory!"

Christ sanctifies all our crosses. They shall be medicinal to the soul; they shall work sin out — and work grace in. God's stretching the strings of His violin — is to tune it and make the music better. Christ sees to it that His people lose nothing in the furnace, but their drossy impurities.

5. Christ is the most RARE blessing; there are but few who have Him. The best things, when they grow common, begin to he slighted. When silver was as common in Jerusalem as stone, 1 Kings 10:27, it was apt to be trod upon. Christ is a jewel that few are enriched with, which may both raise our esteem of Him and quicken our pursuit after Him. Those to whom God has given both the Indies, He has not given them Christ. They have the fat of the earth — but not the dew of heaven. And, among us Protestants, many hear of Christ but few have Him. Read Luke 4:25. There are many in this city who have Christ sounded in their ears—but few who have Christ formed in their hearts. Oh, how should we labor to be of this few! They who are Christians should be restless.

6. Christ is the most choice good. God shows more love in giving us Christ — than in giving us crowns and kingdoms. God may give a man many worldly things — and hate him; but in giving Christ to a man He gives him the blessings of the throne. What if others have a crutch to lean on — if you have a Christ to lean on? Abraham sent away the sons of the concubines with gifts but "he gave all he had to Isaac," Genesis 25. God may send away others with a little gold and silver — but if He gives you Christ, He gives you all that ever He had, for "Christ is all, and in all."

7. Without Christ, nothing else is good. Without Christ, health is not good; it is fuel for lust. Riches are not good; they are golden snares. Ordinances are not good; though they are good in themselves, yet not good to us. They do not profit. They are as breasts without milk, as bottles without wine. Nay, they are not only a dead letter — but a savor of death. Without Christ, they will damn us. For lack of Christ, millions go loaded to hell with ordinances.

8. Christ is the most ENDURING good. Other things are like the lamp which, while it shines, it spends itself. The heavens "shall wax old like a garment," Psalm 102:26. But Jesus Christ is a permanent good; with Him are durable riches, Proverbs 8:18. They last as long as eternity itself lasts.

9. Christ is a DIFFUSIVE, communicative good. He is full not only as a vessel — but as a spring. He is willing to give Himself to us. Now, then, if there is all this excellency in Jesus Christ, it may make us ambitiously desirous of an interest in Him.

Thomas Watson, Christ All In All

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Christ Is Everything!

Charles Spurgeon on Hebrews 12:2: "Looking unto Jesus"
It is always the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan's work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus."

All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self; He tells us that we are nothing, but that Christ is everything. Remember, therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you - it is Christ that saves you - it is Christ, it is not your joy in Christ that saves you- it is Christ's blood and merits.

Therefore, do not look so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ as to Christ; do not look to your hope but to Jesus, the source of your hope; do not look to your faith, but to Jesus the founder and perfecter of your faith. We will never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our deeds, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we are to overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking to Jesus."

Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercessions be fresh upon your mind. When you waken in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him. Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, June 28th

Oh To Be Ravished With The Amazing Beauties Of Jesus Christ!

Thomas Watson wrote:
He is lovely to God His Father, lovely to the saints, and lovely to the angels.

1. He is lovely to God His Father. God is infinitely delighted with Him. Christ is called "the Rose of Sharon," and how God delights to smell this rose! Isaiah 42:1: "My Chosen One in whom My soul delights." Surely if there is loveliness enough in Christ to delight the heart of God, there may well be enough in Him to delight us. Christ is the center, where all the lines of His Father's love do meet.

2. Christ is lovely in the account and esteem of His saints. 2 Thessalonians 1:10: "He shall admired by all those who have believed." He is admired now — and He shall be more admired by them. Well may the saints admire to see Christ sitting in the bright robe of their flesh above the angels in glory. Well may they admire to see their nature united with the Deity. Oh, how lovely and beautiful is this sight! Well may Christ be admired by His saints.

3. Christ is lovely in the esteem of the angels. They adore Him. Hebrews 1:6: "And let all the angels of God worship Him." The cherubim are painted with their faces looking upwards, to show that the angels in heaven all are still looking upward, admiring and being ravished with the amazing beauties of Jesus Christ.

Do it Father, please ravish us with all His beauties! For Jesus' sake!

Thomas Watson, The Loveliness Of Christ

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Christ Is All Everlasting!

Kevin DeYoung spoke on the glories of heaven at the NEXT 2011 conference:
Life everlasting is all the power and the dignity and the beauty and delight and truth and sweetness that you experience now in children or marriage or lakes or mountains or rivers or sports or books or academics or laughter or food and you roll all of that into one experience and you put at the center of it the Giver of all of it; the forgiver of everything; the Lord; your Savior; your Sovereign; the all worthy one; the all glorious one - Jesus Christ - and you take that experience and you multiply it by ten then by a thousand then by ten million.

Eternal life will be such a weight of glory that it will feel as if we never knew happiness on this earth, and in a moment all of our earthly troubles will feel inconsequential. And it will go on and on and on. All of your earthly joy is fleeting. Food is good - it's gone . . . taste is gone. Sex is enjoyable - it's over . . . on earth there is an anticipation of pleasure. You're always looking forward to the next thing. You have a moment of delight and it passes. Joy here is always mingled with some pain. Delight is always interrupted by suffering. But not in heaven.

There the glory and delight and love are always growing, always swelling, always increasing as we see and learn and know more of God so that every Tuesday is better than Monday; every Wednesday is better than Tuesday; every Thursday better than Wednesday. Non-stop, continuous, everlasting glory . . . that's the hope, that's the aim, that's the blessedness of praising God and delighting in Him for ever and ever. That, friends, is what you were made for.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Christ Is Altogether Lovely!

Charles Spurgeon wrote:
Morning, June 21

Scripture: “Thou art fairer than the children of men.”(Psalm 45:2)

The entire person of Jesus is but as one gem, and his life is all along but one impression of the seal. He is altogether complete; not only in his several parts, but as a gracious all-glorious whole. His character is not a mass of fair colors mixed confusedly, nor a heap of precious stones laid carelessly one upon another; he is a picture of beauty and a breastplate of glory. In him, all the “things of good repute” are in their proper places, and assist in adorning each other. Not one feature in his glorious person attracts attention at the expense of others; but he is perfectly and altogether lovely.

Oh, Jesus! thy power, thy grace, thy justice, thy tenderness, thy truth, thy majesty, and thine immutability make up such a man, or rather such a God-man, as neither heaven nor earth hath seen elsewhere. Thy infancy, thy eternity, thy sufferings, thy triumphs, thy death, and thine immortality, are all woven in one gorgeous tapestry, without seam or rent. Thou art music without discord; thou art many, and yet not divided; thou art all things, and yet not diverse. As all the colors blend into one resplendent rainbow, so all the glories of heaven and earth meet in thee, and unite so wondrously, that there is none like thee in all things; nay, if all the virtues of the most excellent were bound in one bundle, they could not rival thee, thou mirror of all perfection. Thou hast been anointed with the holy oil of myrrh and cassia, which thy God hath reserved for thee alone; and as for thy fragrance, it is as the holy perfume, the like of which none other can ever mingle, even with the art of the apothecary; each spice is fragrant, but the compound is divine.

Oh, sacred symmetry! oh, rare connection
Of many perfects, to make one perfection!
Oh, heavenly music, where all parts do meet
In one sweet strain, to make one perfect sweet!

Charles Spurgeon, Morning By Morning, June 21.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Finding Christ Sweet!

Augustine:
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood.

John Owen:
O to behold the glory of Christ . . . Herein would I live; herein would I die; herein would I dwell in my thoughts and affections . . . until all things below become unto me a dead and deformed thing, no way suitable for affectionate embraces.

Friday, June 10, 2011

May He Be Our Center, Our Meditation, Our Delight, And Our Boast!

D. A. Carson writes:
The only thing of transcendent importance to human beings is the knowledge of God. This knowledge does not belong to those who endlessly focus on themselves. Those who truly come to know God delight just to know him. He becomes their center. They think of him, delight in him, boast of him. They want to know more and more what kind of God he is. As they learn that he is the God "who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth," naturally they want those same values to prevail - not because their egos are bound up with certain arbitrary notions of, say, "justice," but because their center is God and they take their cues from him and his character. They boast in him . . . For the better we know God, the more we will want all of our existence to revolve around him, and we will see that the only goals and plans that really matter are those that are somehow tied to God himself, and to our eternity with him. Did not Jesus tell his followers to store up for themselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21)?

D. A. Carson, The Cross And Christian Ministry (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 32-33.

Others confirm Carson's thoughts:

Jim Elliot wrote:
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

C. T. Studd wrote:
Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in that day my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God's holy will to cleave;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e'er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,"Thy will be done;"
And when at last I'll hear the call,
I know I'll say "twas worth it all;"
Only one life,'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Monday, June 6, 2011

All Strength, Beauty, Faithfulness, And Wisdom In Christ!

Commenting on Jesus Christ's altogether loveliness, John Flavel wrote:
He embraces all things that are lovely: he seals up the sum of all loveliness. Things that shine as single stars with a particular glory, all meet in Christ as a glorious constellation. Col. 1:19, "It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell." Cast your eyes among all created beings, survey the universe: you will observe strength in one, beauty in a second, faithfulness in a third, wisdom in a fourth; but you shall find none excelling in them all as Christ does. Bread has one quality, water another, raiment another, medicine another; but none has them all in itself as Christ does. He is bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, a garment to the naked, healing to the wounded; and whatever a soul can desire is found in him . . . .

John Flavel, Christ: Altogether Lovely

Christ Is All Tomorrow And Forever!

Charles Spurgeon commented on tomorrow for the Christian:
A Christian can look forward to tomorrow with joy. Tomorrow is a happy thing. It is one stage nearer glory, one step nearer heaven, one more mile sailed across life's dangerous sea, one mile closer to home.

Tomorrow is a fresh lamp of the fulfilled promise that God has placed in His firmament. Use it as a guiding star or as a light to cheer your path. Tomorrow the Christian may rejoice. You may say that today is black, but I say that tomorrow is coming. You will mount on its wings and flee. You will leave sorrow behind.

Look forward to tomorrow with ecstacy, because our Lord may come. Tomorrrow, Christ may be on this earth. "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:44). Tomorrow, we may all be in heaven. Tomorrow, we may lean on Christ's breast.

Tomorrow, or perhaps before then, this head will wear the crown (James 1:12). This arm will wave the palm (Rev. 7:9). This lip will sing the song (Rev. 5:13). Tomorrow, this heart will be full of immortal, everlasting, eternal bliss (Rev. 21:4). Be of good cheer, fellow Christian, tomorrow can have nothing negative for you.

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth" (Prov. 27:1); rather, comfort yourself with tomorrow. You have a right to do that. You cannot have a bad tomorrow. It may be the best day of your life, for it may be your last day on earth.

Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters, ed. Roy H. Clarke (Nashville: Thomas Neslon, 1999), 120.