C.H. Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, February 10:
“I know how to abound.”
There are many who know “how to be abased” who have not learned “how to abound.” When they are set upon the top of a pinnacle their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall. The Christian far oftener disgraces his profession in prosperity than in adversity. It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the refining pot of prosperity. Oh, what leanness of soul and neglect of spiritual things have been brought on through the very mercies and bounties of God! Yet this is not a matter of necessity, for the apostle tells us that he knew how to abound. When he had much he knew how to use it. Abundant grace enabled him to bear abundant prosperity. When he had a full sail he was loaded with much ballast, and so floated safely. It needs more than human skill to carry the brimming cup of mortal joy with a steady hand, yet Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, “In all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry.” It is a divine lesson to know how to be full, for the Israelites were full once, but while the flesh was yet in their mouth, the wrath of God came upon them. Many have asked for mercies that they might satisfy their own hearts’ lust. Fulness of bread has often made fulness of blood, and that has brought on wantonness of spirit. When we have much of God’s providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God’s grace, and little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full and we forget God: satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven. Rest assured it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry-so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God. Take care that you ask in your prayers that God would teach you “how to be full.”
“Let not the gifts thy love bestows
Estrange our hearts from thee.”
Keeping the Lord’s Day
Rev. Alan Cairns explains the reason here:
We observe a Sabbath on the first day of each week because:
- Of apostolic example, which is authoritatively binding on Christians; and
- Scripture teaches it
- The Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments and there is no justification to excise it from the Bible.
- God’s 7th-day rest at creation was man’s first full day of existence. Man’s first day on earth was a Sabbath day so the Sabbath goes back to creation.
- In Exodus 20, the commandment says “the seventh day,” not “the seventh day of the week.” The weekly Sabbath was a 7-day thing.
- Man’s first Sabbath was on his first full day of existence.
- There is nothing requiring the Sabbath to be kept on the 7th day of the week, although the Jews did observe this up until New Testament times.
- In the New Testament,
- Jesus was raised on the first day
- Pentecost occurred on the first day
- Paul went to Troas to worship with believers on the first day
- 1 Corinthians contains instructions for taking up collections in services on the first day of the week
- Historically, the early Christians attended synagogues on Saturday to witness and evangelise. However, they worshiped together on the first day. A change took place regarding the day of worship. Why?:
- Hebrews 4:9 – There remains a Sabbath (not the Greek word for “rest” as in the rest of the chapter).
- Hebrews 4:10 – This Sabbath is on the first day because: As God finished his creation and then instituted the Sabbath, Jesus has finished His work and entered into His rest on the first day. For that reason, there is left a keeping of the Sabbath. The creation Sabbath celebrated God’s creation work. Christ’s Sabbath, which He instituted, celebrates His finished work, His redemption work.
- Jesus finished His work and rose on the first day. We keep His Sabbath in commemoration of that. We do not keep the Jewish weekly creation Sabbath or special Sabbaths.
“The greatest (and most honest) saints have always confessed that they had to walk though many valleys with no sense of God’s presence. [But] just because you feel that God is absent doesn’t mean He actually is. Just because you can’t track His footprints doesn’t mean He’s not walking beside you. If you’re a believer, that feeling of being alone is always an illusion. Yes, always… [For] Jesus faced the full measure of our aloneness in our place and put it away forever. By His death, He reconciled us to God, so that we can know He will never leave us or forsake us… So when you can’t ‘feel’ God, be assured, He’s there. The cross assures you that He is. Nothing can ever separate you from His love. He has united Himself, through His Spirit, inextricably to you. And just as He has done in the great saints of old, the Spirit is likely doing His best work in you in those dark times.”
~J.D. Greear, October 2015 TableTalk
“So numerous are the dangers which surround us, that we could not stand a single moment, if his eye did not watch over our preservation. But the true security for a happy life lies in being persuaded that we are under divine government.”
It is hard to prescribe a just measure of humiliation. It is the same in the new birth as in the natural. Some give birth with more pangs, and some with fewer. But would you like to know when you are bruised enough? When your spirit is so troubled that you are willing to let go those lusts which brought in the greatest income of pleasure and delight. When not only is sin discarded but you are disgusted with it, then you have been bruised enough. The medicine is strong enough when it has purged out the disease. The soul is bruised enough when the love of sin is purged out.
~“The Godly Man’s Picture” pg. 227
See more at: http://thomaswatsonquotes.com/would-you-like-to-know-when-you-are-bruised-enough/#sthash.qJ6RSoJh.dpuf
Douglas Kelly, “The Puritan Regulative Principle and Contemporary Worship,” from volume 2 of The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century:
“Our desperate need of recovering the Sabbath is much more pressing, I believe, than whether or not we do or do not encourage yearly celebrations of the dominical feasts [i.e., Christmas, Circumcision, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost]. By giving up Sabbath observance for whatever reasons, we have unwittingly contributed to the quicker secularization of our culture, and have in so doing left a deep gap or vacuum in the spirit of both churched and unchurched people for some kind of touch with traditional transcendent realities. If Sabbath observance is of no real consequence to church people, then the world has yet another practical argument for the peripheral nature of God and the transcendent … . And more to our concern here, if we neglect a whole-hearted observance of the Christian Sabbath, the Lord’s Resurrection Day, we do lose something of the transcendent; indeed, we lose a great deal of it in the very church itself.
Why fill in this deep, hurting gap with attempts at resuscitating ever more of the church year? Is there anything wrong with humbling ourselves and repenting of our abuse of the Lord’s Day, and seeking to return to a happy keeping of it? I suspect that would make the currently popular bringing in of church seasons such as Advent and Lent quite superfluous. After all, these seasons were historically closely tied in to the Medieval Penitential System. Who needs them, when hearts and eyes of faith are turned Sabbath by Sabbath to our great High Priest, who through the power of His atoning blood and resurrection, continually presents us to the Father?”