27 March 2016

“He is not here"

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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 18, sermon number 1,081, "A visit to the tomb."

"Does not this truth, that Christ is not here, but is gone, fall upon our ears with a sweet force as it compels us to feel that this is the reason why our heart should not be here?" 

"He is not here:" then our heart should not be here. When this text, "He is not here," was first spoken, it meant that he was not in the grave. He was somewhere on earth then. But now he is not here at all.

Suppose you are very rich, and Satan whispers to you, "These are delightful gardens; this is a noble mansion, take thine ease:"—reply to him, "But he is not here; he is not here, he is risen; therefore I dare not put my heart where my Lord is not." Or, suppose thy family makes thee very happy, and as the little ones cluster around thee and sit around the fireside, thy heart is very glad; and though thou have not much of this world’s goods, yet thou hast enough, and thou hast a contented mind.

Well, if Satan should say to thee, "Be well content, and make thy rest here." Say to him, "No, he is not here; and I cannot feel that this is to be my abiding place. Only where Jesus is can my spirit rest." And have you lately started in life? Has the marriage day scarcely passed over? Are you just now beginning the merry days of youth, the sweet enchantment of this life’s purest joy?

Well, delight thyself therein, but still remember that he is not here, and therefore thou hast no right to say, "Soul, take thine ease!" Nowhere on earth is Christ, and therefore nowhere on earth may our heart build her nest. Nowhere,—no, not in the high places, or in the quiet resting places; not in the tents of Kedar, or between Solomon's curtains; not even at his sacramental table, nor yet amongst the means of grace, is Christ bodily, actually, present.

So we will take the sweetness of all, and the spiritual good there may be in all outward means; but still they shall all point us upward; they shall all draw us away. As the sun exhales the dew, and draws it upward towards heaven, so shall Christ magnetise and draw our hearts away, and our thoughts up, and our longings up, and our whole spirits up, towards himself!

"He is not here." Then why should I be here? Oh, get thee up, my soul; get thee up and let all thy sweetest incense go towards him who "is not here, for he is risen."

20 March 2016

He is good

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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Treasury of David, Psalm 118:1, Hendrickson Publishers.

"Grateful hearts are greedy of men's tongues, and would monopolize them all for God's glory." 

The whole nation was concerned in David's triumphant accession, and therefore it was right that they should unite in his adoring song of praise. The thanks were to be rendered unto Jehovah alone, and not to the patience or valour of the hero himself. 

It is always well to trace our mercies to him who bestows them, and if we cannot give him anything else, let us at any rate give him our thanks. We must not stop short at the second agent, but rise at once to the first cause, and render all our praises unto the Lord himself. 

Have we been of a forgetful or murmuring spirit? Let us hear the lively language of the text, and allow it to speak to our hearts: "Cease your complaining, cease from all self glorification, and give thanks unto the Lord." "For he is good."

 This is reason enough for giving him thanks; goodness is his essence and nature, and therefore he is always to be praised whether we are receiving anything from him or not. Those who only praise God because he does them good should rise to a higher note and give thanks to him because he is good. 

In the truest sense he alone is good, "There is none good but one, that is God"; therefore in all gratitude the Lord should have the royal portion. If others seem to be good, he is good. If others are good in a measure, he is good beyond measure. 

When others behave badly to us, it should only stir us up the more heartily to give thanks unto the Lord because he is good; and when we ourselves are conscious that we are far from being good, we should only the more reverently bless him that "he is good." 

We must never tolerate an instant's unbelief as to the goodness of the Lord; whatever else may be questionable, this is absolutely certain, that Jehovah is good; his dispensations may vary, but his nature is always the same, and always good. 

It is not only that he was good, and will be good, but he is good; let his providence be what it may. Therefore let us even at this present moment, though the skies be dark with clouds, yet give thanks unto his name.

17 March 2016

Do Not Put God to The Test

by Phil Johnson

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.

This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Phil back in November 2009. This post was one of several in series on the topic of gambling.

As usual, the comments are closed.
God is sovereign over our prosperity. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, "It is [the Lord] that giveth thee power to get wealth."

Hope in sheer fortune is misplaced hope. Faith in "Good Luck" is misplaced faith. It is a kind of idolatry. We are not supposed to hope in such things.

In fact, there is no such thing as sheer, random chance. God is sovereign over all the details of life. The Bible says He even determines every roll of the dice: "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD" (Proverbs 16:33, NKJV).

There is nothing random in gambling. There is no such thing as Lady Luck, or the goddess of fortune, or Chance as a determinative force. God is sovereign even over the roll of the dice; He is the one who sovereignly determines everything that appears to be random.

That is why in the Old Testament, many decisions were made by drawing lots. And even early in the book of Acts, a replacement for Judas was chosen by lots. That was one way people had of getting guidance from God before canon of Scripture was complete and the Spirit given. (I don't believe it's a legitimate way for you and me to determine the will of God, but that is a totally different matter.)

The drawing of lots in such cases was not "gambling," because there was no transfer of any assets from the loser to the winner.

Someone will surely ask, "If God is the one who determines the roll of the dice, then what's wrong with trusting the Lord for the outcome of a gambling contest? Why not put my money on the spin of a roulette wheel and trust God for the ball to fall in the right place?"

Think about that question seriously. If that were a legitimate means of gaining wealth at all—if such an attitude were a true and warranted expression of authentic "faith" in any real sense—it would actually be better to bet your whole livelihood, your church's assets, and everything you could possibly get your hands on, on a single roll of the dice. Why squander an opportunity to make the most of an act of faith?

But we all know that's a ridiculous question, on the face of it. In fact, the question is not functionally different from the one with which Satan tempted Jesus: "Why don't you jump off the pinnacle of the Temple? You know the Bible says, "He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up."

Remember Jesus' answer? Matthew 4:7: "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." That's a quotation from Deuteronomy 6:16: "Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God."

Although we know God determines everything, including every roll of the dice, we are strictly forbidden to put Him to the test.

And furthermore, you cannot pretend to "trust" God for something He has not promised. To speak of trusting God in such circumstances is to twist the meaning of faith. God has never promised to allow you to prosper at a game of chance, so to think that He will is not to "trust" Him, but to presume on Him, and that is sin.

13 March 2016

God asks for your weakness

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 37, sermon number 2,209, "The best strengthening medicine."

"If we were by faith to begin, humbly waiting upon the Lord for words, and taking hold upon divine strength, might we not accomplish far more than we now do?"

I have heard of one brought to Christ, who was a very great sinner—of so stiff a neck that he never would be approached by anybody who aimed at his conversion. He hated the very mention of religion. He answered all appeals very coarsely.

But one of his neighbours felt forced to go to him very early in the morning and to say to him, “I beg your pardon for intruding so early, but I lay awake all last night thinking about you; and I cannot rest till I tell you something.” He answered, “What were you thinking about me for? I don’t want any of your thoughts.”

“Oh,” said the other, “I felt so sorry to think that, if you were to die, you would die without hope, that I was obliged to come to you.” The bearish man grumbled, “Mind your own business.” “But,” said the other, “it is my business. I think my heart will break unless I see you saved.” All the answer was, “Go away with you. Don’t come here with your cant.”

The brother went home weeping; but he was not the only one who felt his heart breaking. The bearish one went away from his forge, and said to his wife, “I can always answer these religious fellows. I do not care for your parsons a bit; but that neighbour of ours has been in here and he says he shall break his heart unless I am converted; and that beats me.

He was beaten. Out of a sort of kindly pity for his neighbour’s weak-mindedness, with a mixture of an unacknowledged feeling on his own account, he went to hear the preaching of the Word, and was brought to Jesus. “But,” says one, “I know if I were to try to speak to any of my neighbours, I should break down.”

Friend, I am not careful in that matter, nor need you be. If you are in real earnest, you might possibly do more by a break-down than by anything else. Only break the ice, and begin; and you shall find my text to be true in your case also, and out of weakness you, too, shall be made strong.

God does not need your strength; he has more than enough of power of his own. He asks your weakness: he has none of that himself, and he is longing, therefore, to take your weakness, and use it as the instrument in his own mighty hand. Will you not yield your weakness to him, and receive his strength?

06 March 2016


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 37, sermon number 2,203, "Lo, I come."
"The devil had played his cards so well that man was left bankrupt of virtue, bankrupt of happiness, bankrupt of hope." 

Then, in the volume of the Book, it was written, “I said, Lo, I come.” Yes, in the hour when hellish falsehood had robbed man of everything. No man hath yet dealt with the devil without being a loser. The arch-deceiver promises very fairly; but he lies from beginning to end.
I know he promised you pleasure unbounded, and liberty unrestrained. Now, the pleasure is burnt out, and the ashes of that which once blazed and crackled, are terrible to look upon. As for liberty, where is it? You have become the bond-slave of sin. You were to enjoy life, and lo, you are plunged in death!

It may be, there are in this house persons who bear in their bodies the marks, not of the Lord Jesus, but of the devil’s temptations. He has made you so to sin that your bones are filled with the sins of your youth; and you know it. He needs a long spoon who eats out of the same dish as the devil and your spoon has not been long enough.

Sin has overreached and betrayed you; and you stand trembling before God as the result of having listened to the falsehoods of hell, and having rejected the commands of heaven.  Supposing such a person to be present—and I feel sure he is—I pray that he may hear my text as from the Lord Jesus himself. “Then said I, Lo, I come.”

The devil has trod you down, but Jesus comes to raise you up. Your paradise is lost, and by him it is to be restored. Jesus has come to give repentance and remission of sins. That crafty head which deceived you, the Lord Jesus has broken; he came for this purpose. If you had not been betrayed, you would not have needed a deliverer; but your misery has made room for his mercy.

Not while Adam is perfect in paradise is there any news of the Seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s head; but after the serpent has done his deceitful work, and has ruined the race, then we hear that ancient gospel of God, and see the only hope of fallen man.

Here is good cheer for you who look with shame upon your foolish yielding to Satan’s deceits. You are caught as silly birds in a snare; you have been as foolish as the fish of the sea which are taken in a net; but when you are captives, Christ comes to be your Liberator and God commends his love towards you in that while you are yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly.