Spurgeon Saturday: The Roaring Lion

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SATAN, who is called by various names in the Scriptures, all descriptive of his bad qualities, was once an angel of God, perhaps one of the chief among the fiery ones —

“Foremost of the sons of light,
Midst the bright ones doubly bright.”

Sin, all-destroying sin, which has made an Aceldama out of Eden, soon found inhabitants for hell in heaven itself, plucking one of the brightest stars of the morning from its sphere, and quenching it in blackest night. From that moment this evil spirit, despairing of all restoration to his former glories and happiness, has sworn perpetual hostility against the God of heaven. He has had the audacity openly to attack the Creator in all his works. He stained creation. He pulled down man from the throne of glory and rolled him in the mire of depravity. With the trail of the serpent he despoiled all Eden’s beauty, and left it a waste that bringeth forth thorns and briers, a land that must be tilled with the sweat of one’s face. Not content with that; in as much as he had spoiled the first creation, he has incessantly attempted to despoil the second. Man, once made in the image of God, he soon ruined; now he uses all his devices, all his craft, all the power of his skill, and all the venom of his malice to destroy twice-made man, created in the image of Christ Jesus, and with ceaseless toil and untiring patience, he is ever occupied in endeavouring to crush the seed of the woman. There is no believer in Christ, no follower of that which is true and lovely, and of good repute, who will not find himself, at some season or other, attacked by this foul fiend and the legions enlisted in his service. Now, behold your adversary. Yea, though ye cannot see his face, or detect his form, believe that such a foe withstands you. It is not a myth, nor a dream, nor a superstitious imagination. He is as real a being as ourselves. Though a spirit, he has as much real power over hearts as we have over the hearts of others; nay, in many cases far more. This is, I repeat it, no vision of the night; no phantom of a disordered brain. That wicked one is as sternly real this day as when Christ met him in deadly conflict in the wilderness of temptation. Believers now have to fight with Apollyon in the valley of Humiliation. Woe to the professors of godliness who are defeated by this deadly antagonist; they will find it a terrible reality in the world to come. Against this prince of darkness we utter afresh this morning the warning of the apostle, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith.”

Spurgeon, “The Roaring Lion,” MTP 7:419 (1861).

Good Morning Devo for 9.24.2021: Keep Your Eyes on What Matters

September 24 (JPG)

Good morning! In the greatest sermon ever preached (the Sermon on the Mount) by the greatest preacher who ever preached, Jesus told his listeners, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). When Jesus came, the kingdom of God was central to his mission. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus told his followers, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). So what is this Kingdom that we are to seek? What kingdom are we to turn from in our repentance? What kingdom are we to believe in, or more importantly to treasure? Jesus tells us to seek his kingdom, we must know what we are seeking.

This was not the first time he mentioned the Kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount.  In what is known as the Model Prayer, Jesus prayed, “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  In Matthew 6:24, Jesus warned the listeners, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and espies the other. You cannot serve God and money”—or material possessions or the material order. In our contemporary culture (even in the church, mind you), many struggle with the notion of any sort of kingship or authority is rejected. In reading a book on the kingdom of God by Stephen Um, he quoted a postmodernist thinker Don Cupitt who declared, “The age of authority of grand institutions, of legitimating myths, and capital T-truth, is over.”

Yet, did Cupitt not make a declaration with authority, thus negating his own statement? Many of us wish to run our own lives from within and reject any authority from without. Yet, when one reads the Scriptures, we see through all 66 books written over the span of 1500 years by 40 different authors one common thread: the rule of God in His Kingdom. From the boundaries and rules he established pre-Fall in the Garden of Eden when God commanded man to be caretakers and stewards of the earth (Genesis 1:27-28; Genesis 2:15), to the giving of the covenant to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17), to the giving of the Law (Exodus 20:1-17) to the establishing of the kingship through king David (2 Samuel 7:13-14), to the sending of the prophets to preach not only about God’s present rule but about the Messianic rule to come in the person of Jesus. Each of these steps were just that, steps—steps to bring about God’s ultimate rule in the person of His Son.

In his book The Gospel of the Kingdom, George Eldon Ladd noted:

The Hebrew-Christian faith expressed its hope in terms of the Kingdom of God. This Biblical hope is not in the same category as the dreams of the Greek poets but is at the very heart of revealed religion. The Biblical idea of the Kingdom of God is deeply rooted in the Old Testament and is grounded in the confidence that there is one eternal, living God who has revealed Himself to men and who has a purpose for the human race which He has chosen to accomplish through Israel.

George Eldon Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1959), 14

Why this beckoning for God’s kingdom to come and for us to seek this Kingdom in the meantime? By seeking the kingdom of God first, Jesus is calling us to take our eyes off the kingdom of this world that can and often does occupy our hearts and minds.

Matthew R. Perry, Ph.D., serves as Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO

Good Morning Devo for 9.23.2021: The Rich Table of the Humble Saint

September 23 (JPG)

Good morning! Henry Law helps us understand this verse:

Heavenly counsels call us to know by glad experience the goodness of the Lord. The cup is brought to our very lips. We are invited to exhaust these waters of delight. The strongest in their strength may suffer famine; but all abundance of real food is the rich table of the humble saint.

Do you have a relationship with Christ so you not only know about Him but also know Him? The Apostle Paul tells us the need to know Him:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

The Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:7-12

The Apostle Peter adds to this:

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 2:1-3

Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good? Then you will put away that which does not belong to Him. Trust in Christ–you will certainly see then how good the Triune God is.

Good Morning Devo for 9.22.2021: Adversity Does Not Mean God is Absent

September 22 (JPG)

Good morning! God never promised an absence from trouble, but ultimate deliverance in the midst of them. In 2 Timothy 3:12, we see, “All those who live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Jesus even calls those who are persecuted “blessed” because they are in a long line of faithful ones who endured persecution and derision for the cause of Christ.

One of the strangest verses (at least to our ears) is that from 1 Corinthians 16. The Corinthian church begged him to come stay with him. Here’s Paul’s answer.

But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 16:8-9

Henry Law in his wonderful commentary on Psalm 34 noted:

Jesus at once appears. We learn from this particular, to seek Him throughout these hymns. He never is far distant from the eye of faith. When He was lifted up on the cross, the soldiers drew near to break His legs; but He was marvelously dead, and so they touched Him not. He drank to the dregs the cup of sorrow; but sorrow issued in eternal joy.

Adversity does not mean God is absent. Look to the cross. The suffering Christ endured was part of God’s plan to rescue His imagebearers from their own sin and brokenness.

Have you been rescued? If you have, you know His nearness even in adversity. If you have not, come to Christ and know that, regardless of whether you are on the mountain or the valley, He will be with you!

Understanding the “Macro” and “Micro” of God’s Will

In Ephesians 5:17, the Apostle Paul says, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” In this, Paul refers to the “macro” of understanding His will but there are pieces of recognizing the “micro” of God’s will for our individual lives.

Let’s talk about that.

Book referred to in the video: “Be Careful How You Listen: How to Get the Most Out of a Sermon” by Jay Adams.

Good Morning Devo for 9.21.2021: Mild Labels Make for Deadly Poison

September 21 (JPG)

Good morning! Christians contribute to His Kingdom with a love that holds in hope.  God’s love holds His people.  This tri-fold expression that Paul gives is that which is all about holding on in hope.  We must remind ourselves that this hope is not as we normally use as a verb:  I hope this will happen.  This is desire coupled with uncertainty.  This is a noun use of the word:  We have a hope of what is to come.  This is desire coupled with certainty.  Paul spoke of this in Romans 8:18-21 says:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

The world is a mess.  Yet, the world will not always be this way.  The reason the world is the way it is, is that the curse of sin that taken hold.  Adam and Eve ushered in that curse of sin when they turned away from the word of God and listened to the word of Satan, the enemy of all things godly.  He has deceived the minds of all into thinking that the world is a good place and that the only sin is not doing what you want to do.

Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman told of a distinguished minister, Dr. Howard, from Australia who preached very strongly on the subject of sin. After the service, one of the church officers came to counsel with him in the study. “Dr. Howard,” he said, “we don’t want you to talk as openly as you do about man’s guilt and corruption, because if our boys and girls hear you discussing that subject they will more easily become sinners. Call it a mistake if you will, but do not speak so plainly about sin. The minister took down a small bottle and showing it to the visitor said,

You see that label? It says strychnine — and underneath in bold, red letters the word ‘Poison!’ Do you know, man, what you are asking me to do? You are suggesting that I change the label. Suppose I do, and paste over it the words, ‘Essence of Peppermint’; don’t you see what might happen? Someone would use it, not knowing the danger involved, and would certainly die. So it is, too, with the matter of sin. The milder you make your label, the more dangerous you make your poison!

The more we understand the poison this world has taken, the more we rejoice in the hope.  The more patient we are.  And the more we shall pray to the one who shall redeem us out of this world.  I came across this quote from Martin Luther, “The fewer the words, the better the prayer. To have prayed well is to have studied well.”  Some say, “I don’t need to study much.  That seems to take away from the Spirit.”  God calls us to study and study much and study well.  Pastors are called to partake in prayer and the ministry of the Word as an example for those under our charge.  Some of the greatest joys I have is praying to God to help me understand His Word, then studying His Word and studying others who have studied—and this fuels my preaching and praying even more. 

Good Morning Devo for 9.20.2021: Christ-Like Humility is Never a Weakness

September 20 (JPG)

Good morning!   In our culture, as in most cultures, humility is a sign of weakness.  Being humble is the equivalent of milquetoast, ho-hum.  If you were to pick a cartoon character, we would likely think of Eeyore.  But that’s not the case in God’s economy.  Humility and meekness are strengths.  The opposite of humility is pride—pride is destructive because of its reliance on self to find answers and solve problems.  Pride is the source of all idolatry—for pride sets up one’s own self as god.  You are the center of the universe—the world admires this, until you get in the way of someone else’s universe. 

Yet, our life is fragile.  We do all we can to avoid this simple principle of life, but it’s true.  No matter how well we eat, no matter how much we exercise, no matter how many vitamins or pills we take, we find out in a hurry that life is fragile.

We are fragile physically.  Everytime we watch a football game, we see that these specimens flying at each other on the field can do some damage.  No one is immune!  Not a quarter goes by where someone isn’t limping, isn’t having their ‘bell rung,’ or any other physical issue.  The mildest car accident can cause an injury to the neck or back that can linger for years.  Some are struggling with physical illnesses.  We don’t need any reminders of the fragility of our physical bodies.

We can be fragile emotionally.  We hear men and women who return from combat with post traumatic stress disorder who struggle to adapt to civilian life.  We hear of teenagers who take their lives because their parents divorced or their boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with them.  We hear of those who fall into addictions to escape either their situations or themselves (either sexual or substance addictions). 

We can be fragile spiritually.  Every one of us is looking for meaning and purpose in life.  This is a spiritual issue.  Everyone of us at one point has asked themselves, “Why am I here?  Where do I belong?  Where is life taking me?”  This brings an understanding of how finite our lives are, but also can be beneficial!   We realize that this is not all there is, but we also begin to see where the true treasure lies—and that treasure does not come from us.

In 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, we read:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

The Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

Recognizing our humility due to Christ’s strength is of great strength to us!

Sunday Sermon: “Make Your Time Count: Walking Wisely in an Unwise World” (Ephesians 5:15-21)

Christ expects His people to make the time that He has given them count. We are Kingdom people living in a world that is either apathetic toward or against all that this Kingdom stands for. What is sad is that Kingdom people have grown apathetic.

Psalm 139:16: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God has numbered our days. Given that we are not God, we do not know how many days we have. So let’s make them count.

David Livingston, the British missionary, was asked about the wisdom of going on mission to Africa when it was so dangerous. He replied, “I am immortal until my work is accomplished.” One might believe this would cause Livingstone (and others) to be reckless. Not so! This caused him to be wise for the cause of Christ!

What you will notice is the presence of the Trinity in this passage. Be filled with the Spirit in verse 18; and in verse 20, giving thanks to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; then submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. The Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) do not waste one moment in fulfilling their work. There is no frivolous activity–everything they did, they did in full wisdom to the glory of God and the good of His creation.

Living wisely means walking in the light and the love of the Triune God.

Saturday Spurgeon: Spurgeon on Bi-Vocational Ministry (Geoff Chang)

Geoff Chang recently posted an article called “The Free Lances of Christ’s Army: Spurgeon on Bi-Vocational Ministry.” In this article, he gave this quote from Spurgeon:

The most practicable remedy is to find volunteer laborers who will not need maintenance from the people. This admirable remedy is already largely used, but not so largely as it might be. We have among us numbers of brethren engaged in handicrafts and professions who are endowed with gifts at least sufficient for the gathering of moderate congregations; and some of them display ability equal if not superior to the average of stipendiary pastors. It is an exceedingly great gain to the community when these brethren addict themselves to the ministry of the saints.

To read the rest, click here.