Saturday, September 8, 2018

My Victorian Year #33

This week I'll be sharing quotes from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening and J.C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on Matthew.

From Morning and Evening:

  • A truthful Savior ought to be believed. He is truth itself. Why will you ask proof of the veracity—of One who cannot lie? The devils themselves declared Him to be the Son of God; will you mistrust Him?
  • We ought not to be satisfied with a superficial hope that Jesus loves us, and with a bare hope that we love Him. The old saints did not generally speak with “buts,” and “ifs,” and “hopes,” and “trusts,” but they spoke positively and plainly. “I know whom I have believed,” says Paul. “I know that my Redeemer lives,” says Job.
  • Get positive knowledge of your love of Jesus, and do not be satisfied until you can speak of your interest in Him as a reality, which you have made sure by having received the witness of the Holy Spirit, and His seal upon your soul by faith.
  • Why do we love Jesus? Because He first loved us. Why do we love Jesus? Because He “gave Himself for us.” We have life through His death; we have peace through His blood. Though He was rich—yet for our sakes He became poor.
  • All events are under the control of God’s Providence; consequently all the trials of our outward life are traceable at once to the great First Cause.
  • All providences are doors to trial. Even our mercies, like roses, have their thorns. Men may be drowned in seas of prosperity as well as in rivers of affliction.
  • Our mountains are not too high, and our valleys are not too low for temptations; trials lurk on all roads. Everywhere, above and beneath, we are beset and surrounded with dangers. Yet no shower falls unpermitted from the threatening cloud; every drop has its order—before it hastens to the earth.
  • Our Lord in His infinite wisdom and superabundant love, sets so high a value upon His people’s faith, that He will not screen them from those trials by which faith is strengthened.
  • As a Christian, you have to live in the midst of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry, “Woe is me!” Jesus did not pray, “O that you should be taken out of the world!” And what He did not pray for—you need not desire.
  • A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week, without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions.
  • We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Savior, and the weary to a divine resting-place.
  • Christian men should know that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed. The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to—that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world.
  • We need not enquire, “Am I without sin naturally?” but, “Have I been washed in the fountain opened for sin and for impurity?” It is not “Am I in myself well pleasing to God?” but it is “Am I accepted in the Beloved?” 
  • Judge yourself at what Christ is—rather than at what you are. Satan will try to mar your peace by reminding you of your sinfulness and imperfections; you can only meet his accusations by faithfully adhering to the gospel and refusing to wear the yoke of bondage.
  • In the resurrection of Christ, as in our salvation, there was put forth nothing short of a divine power. What shall we say of those who think that conversion is wrought by the free will of man, and is due to his own goodness of disposition?
  • When we shall see the dead rise from the grave by their own power—then may we expect to see ungodly sinners of their own free will turning to Christ. It is not the Word preached, nor the Word read in itself; all quickening power proceeds from the Holy Spirit.
  • This power was irresistible. All the soldiers and the high priests could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; Death himself could not hold Jesus in his bonds—even thus irresistible is the power put forth in the believer when he is raised to newness of life.
  • No sin, no corruption, no devils in hell nor sinners upon earth—can stay the hand of God’s grace when it intends to convert a man. If God omnipotently says, “You shall!” man shall not say, “I will not.”
  • Observe that the power which raised Christ from the dead was glorious. It reflected honor upon God and wrought dismay in the hosts of evil. So there is great glory to God in the conversion of every sinner.
  • It was everlasting power. “Christ being raised from the dead—dies no more; death has no more dominion over Him.” So we, being raised from the dead, do not go back to our dead works, nor to our old corruptions—but we live unto God.
  • Lastly, in the text mark the union of the new life to Jesus. The same power which raised the Head—works life in the members. What a blessing to be quickened together with Christ!

From Expository Thoughts on Matthew, chapter 12 and 13

Matthew 12:1-13

  • Let us, in the first place, settle it in our minds as an established principle, that our Lord Jesus Christ does not do away with the observance of a weekly Sabbath day. Let us, in the second place, settle it in our minds, that our Lord Jesus Christ allows all works of real necessity and mercy to be done on the Sabbath day. But to give the Sabbath to idleness, pleasure-seeking, or the world, is utterly unlawful. It is contrary to the example of Christ, and a sin against a plain commandment of God.

Matthew 12:14-21

  • The first thing which demands our notice in this passage, is the desperate wickedness of the human heart, which it exemplifies. The unconverted heart hates God, and will show its hatred whenever it dares, and has a favorable opportunity. It will persecute God's witnesses.
  • The second thing which demands our notice in this passage, is the encouraging description of our Lord Jesus Christ's character, which Matthew draws from the prophet Isaiah. "He won't break a bruised reed, he won't quench a smoking flax."
  • The simplest explanation seems to be, that the Holy Spirit is here describing believers whose grace is at present weak, whose repentance is feeble, and whose faith is small. Weak as the broken reed is, it shall not be broken. Small as the spark of fire may be within the smoking flax, it shall not be quenched.
  • It is a standing truth in the kingdom of grace, that weak grace, weak faith, and weak repentance, are all precious in our Lord's sight. Mighty as He is, "He doesn't despise anyone." (Job 36:5.)
  • Let them know that weak faith gives a man as real and true a saving interest in Christ as strong faith, though it may not give him the same joy.
  • There is life in an infant as truly as in a grown up man. 
  • We err greatly if we do not encourage the very first movements of a soul towards Christ. Let the ignorant world scoff and mock, if it will. We may be sure that "bruised reeds" and "smoking flax" are very precious in our Lord's eyes.

Matthew 12:22-37

  • It is not difficult to show from Scripture what the sin is not. It is difficult to show clearly what it is.
  • The Bible would not be the book of God, if it had not deep places here and there, which man has no line to fathom.
  • Are we with Christ, and working in His cause? If not, we are against Him. Are we doing good in the world? If not, we are doing harm.
  • May God give us a will to use our knowledge, whether it be little or great! May we beware of neglecting our opportunities, and leaving our privileges unimproved!
  • In the last place, let us gather from these verses the immense importance of carefulness about our daily words.
  • There is nothing, perhaps, to which most men pay less attention than their words. They go through their daily work, speaking and talking without thought or reflection, and seem to imagine that if they do what is right, it matters but little what they say.
  • Our words are the evidence of the state of our hearts, as surely as the taste of the water is an evidence of the state of the spring.
  • Our words will form one subject of inquiry at the day of judgment. We shall have to give account of our sayings, as well as our doings.
Matthew 12:38-50

  • The authority of the Old and New Testament stands or falls together. The same Spirit inspired men to write of Solomon and Jonah, who inspired the Evangelists to write of Christ.
  • Let us never be content with a partial reformation of life, without thorough conversion to God, and mortification of the whole body of sin.
  • It is a good thing to strive to cast sin out of our hearts. But let us take care that we also receive the grace of God in its place.
Matthew 13:1-23

  • Wherever the word of God is preached or expounded, and people are assembled to hear it, the sayings of our Lord in this parable are found to be true. It describes what goes on, as a general rule, in all congregations.
  • Like the sower, the preacher must SOW GOOD SEED, if he wants to see fruit. He must sow the pure word of God, and not the traditions of the church, or the doctrines of men.
  • Like the sower, the preacher must be DILIGENT. He must spare no pains.
  • Like the sower, the preacher CANNOT GIVE LIFE. He can scatter the seed committed to his charge, but cannot command it to grow.
  • Let these things sink down into our hearts. It is no light thing to be a real minister of God's Word.
  • In the next place, let us learn from this passage, that there are various ways of hearing the word of God without benefit.
  • It is not enough that we come to hear. We may come, and be careless. It is not enough that we are not careless hearers. Our impressions may be only temporary, and ready to perish.
  • It is not enough that our impressions are not merely temporary. But they may be continually yielding no result, in consequence of our obstinate cleaving to the world.
  • In the last place, let us learn from this parable, that there is only one evidence of hearing the word rightly. That evidence is to BEAR FRUIT.
  • We must not be satisfied with clear knowledge, warm feelings, and a decent profession. We must see to it that the Gospel we profess to love, produces positive "fruit" in our hearts and lives.

Matthew 13:24-43

  • In the first place, this parable teaches us, that good and evil will always be found together in the professing Church, until the end of the world.
  • Hypocrites and deceivers will creep in. And, worst of all, if we are extreme in our efforts to obtain purity, we do more harm than good.
  • We shall never find a perfect Church. We may spend our lives in migrating from communion to communion, and pass our days in perpetual disappointment. Go where we will, and worship where we may we shall always find weeds.
  • In the second place the parable teaches us, that there is to be a day of separation between the godly and ungodly members of the visible Church, at the end of the world.

Matthew 13:44-50

  • These two parables are meant to teach us, that men really convinced of the importance of salvation, will give up everything to win Christ, and eternal life.
  • Behold in this single picture, the conduct of a true Christian explained! He is what he is, and does what he does in his religion, because he is thoroughly persuaded that it is worth while.
  • Behold in these two parables the real clue to the conduct of many unconverted people! They are what they are in religion, because they are not fully persuaded that it is worth while to be different.
  • Let us LEARN from this parable, that all congregations of professed Christians ought to be regarded as mixed bodies. They are all assemblies containing "good fish and bad," converted and unconverted, children of God and children of the world, and ought to be described and addressed as such.

Matthew 13:51-58

  • The Bibles and religious books, which are so plentiful in England, the means of grace of which we have so abundant a supply, the preaching of the Gospel which we hear every week--all, all are liable to be undervalued.
  • It is mournfully true that in religion, more than in anything else, "familiarity breeds contempt."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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