Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Year with Spurgeon #3

Heavenly Worship
Charles Spurgeon
“And I looked and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps; And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders, and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” — Revelation 14:1-3.
This morning I shall endeavor to show you, first of all, the object of heavenly worship — the Lamb in the midst of the throne; in the next place we shall look at the worshippers themselves, and note their manner and their character; in the third place we shall listen to hear their song, for we may almost hear it; it is like “the noise of many waters and like great thunder ;” and then we shall close by noting, that it is a new song which they sing, and by endeavoring to mention one or two reasons why it must necessarily be so.
But he begins by saying,”I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!” to teach us that the very first and chief object of attraction in the heavenly state is “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” Nothing else attracted the Apostle’s attention so much as the person of that Divine Being, who is the Lord God, our most blessed Redeemer: “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!”
It is the joy of the heart to hold daily fellowship and communion with Jesus; thou shalt have the same joy in heaven. “there shalt thou see him as he is, and thou shalt be like him.” Thou shalt enjoy the constant vision of his presence, and thou shalt dwell with him for aye, “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!”
Why, that Lamb is heaven itself, for as good Rutherford says, “Heaven and Christ are the same things; to be with Christ is to be in heaven, and to be in heaven is to be with Christ.” And he very sweetly says in one of his letters, wrapped up in love to Christ: “Oh! my Lord Christ, if I could be in heaven without thee, it would be a hell; and if I could be in hell, and have thee still, it would be a heaven to me, for thou art all the heaven I want.” It is true, is it not Christian? Does not thy soul say so?
Why should Christ in heaven choose to appear under the figure of a lamb, and not in some other of his glorious characters? We reply, because it was as a lamb that Jesus fought and conquered, and therefore as a lamb he appears in heaven.
The second point is, THE WORSHIPPERS, WHO ARE THEY? Turn to the text, and you will note, first of all, their numbers — “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand.”
There will be just as many in heaven as are sealed by God — just as many as Christ did purchase with his blood; all of them, and no more and no less. There will be just as many there as were quickened to life by the Holy Spirit, and were, “born again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” “Ah,” some say, “there is that abominable doctrine of election.” Exactly so, if it be abominable; but you will never be able to cut it out of the Bible. You may hate it, and gnash and grind your teeth against it; but, remember, we can trace the pedigree of this doctrine, even apart from Scripture, to the time of the apostles Church of England ministers and members, you have no right to alter from me on the doctrine of election, if you are what you profess by your own Articles. You who love the old Puritans, you have no right to quarrel with me, for where will you find a Puritan who was not a strong Calvinist? You who love the fathers, you cannot differ from me. What say you of Augustine? Was he not, in his day, called a great and mighty teacher of grace?
But, above all, I challenge every man who reads his Bible to say that that doctrine is not there.
We hold, as the Bible says, that all the elect, and those only, shall be saved, but we hold that all who repent are elect, that all who believe are elect, and that all who go to Christ are elect.
So that if any of you have in your heart a desire after heaven and after Christ; if you carry out that desire in sincere and earnest prayer, and are born again, you may as certainly conclude your election as you can conclude that you are alive. You must have been chosen of God before the foundation of the world, or you would never have done any of these things, seeing they are the fruits of election.
The choristers of heaven have all had rehearsals upon earth, before they sing in that orchestra. You think that, die when you may, you will go to heaven, without being prepared. Nay, sir, heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, and unless you are “made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” you can never stand there among them. If you were in heaven without a new heart and a right spirit, you would be glad enough to get out of it, for heaven, unless a man is heavenly himself, would be worse than hell. A man who is unrenewed and unregenerate going to heaven would be miserable there. There would be a song —he could not join in it; there would be a constant hallelujah, but he would not know a note: and besides, he would be in the presence of the Almighty, even in the presence of the God he hates, and how could he be happy there? No sirs; ye must learn the song of paradise here, or else ye can never sing it. Ye must learn to sing — “Jesus, I love thy charming name, ‘tis music to my ears.” You must learn to feel that “sweeter sounds than music knows mingle in your Saviour’s name,” or else you can never chant the hallelujahs of the blest before the throne of the great “I AM.” Take that thought, whatever else you forget; treasure it up in your memory, and ask grace of God that you may here be taught to sing the heavenly song, that afterwards in the land of the hereafter, in the home of the beatified, you may continually chant the high praises of him that loved you.
WHY IS THE SONG SAID TO BE A NEW SONG? But one remark here. It will be a new song, because the saints were never in such a position before as they will be when they sing this new song. They are in heaven now, but the scene of our text is something more than heaven. It refers to the time when all the chosen race shall meet around the throne, when the last battle shall have been fought, and the last warrior shall have gained his crown. It is not now that they are thus singing, but it is in the glorious time to come, when all the hundred and forty and four thousand — or rather, the number typified by that number — will be all safely housed and all secure. I can conceive the period. Time was — eternity now reigns. The voice of God exclaims, “Are my beloved all safe?” The angel flies through paradise and returns with this message,”Yea, they are.” “Is Fearful safe? Is Feeble-mind safe? Is Ready-to-Halt safe? Is Despondency safe?” “Yes, O King, they are,” says he. “Shut-to the gates,” says the Almighty, “they have been open night and day, shut them to now.” Then, when all of them shall be there, then will be the time when the shout shall be louder than many waters, and the song shall begin which will never end.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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