Answers to Life's Questions

Oct 23, 2007 at 18:41 o\clock

Eternal Perspective

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Living with an eternal perspective

By I Gordon

‘He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.’                                                 Jim Elliot – Martyred Missionary to Ecuador

Introduction

Last year, I did a series of messages in my church on Bible prophecy and end times. And I must say, I really enjoyed it… possibly I was the only one who did but as long as one person benefits (me) then it has got to be worth it right? There is something very good for a believer’s soul in spending time focusing on prophecy and end times, because it gets you to focus on eternity – and that is something we don’t do enough. This may be why the book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible that pronounces a blessing (which it does twice) for those who read and adhere to its words.

Now, part of this series got me examining what the Bible calls ‘the judgment seat of Christ’ or ‘the bema[1] seat of Christ’. Two studies have evolved from this. This one will simply look at the fact that we will all stand before the Lord and the impact that should have in helping us to live with an eternal perspective right now. The second will look at what we are rewarded for, in what ways we could lose our rewards and what God’s standard for measurement is. So let’s go!

What is your ambition, your purpose in this life?

2 Cor 5:9-10 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

When you read the Bible, you find that the Apostle Paul’s purpose, his goal in this life, was to please the Lord. He really wanted to please the one who had pleased him so much. And this ambition of Paul’s was very closely tied in with his thoughts of eternity[2]. So straight after saying that he wants to please the Lord, he says ‘for we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ.’

What it is, and what is isn’t…

The judgment seat of Christ -

  • Isn’t for determining whether someone enters Heaven or not. Only those who have been saved stand before the Lord at this judgement seat. The judgement of the unsaved comes later at the Great White Throne judgement of Rev 20:11. (Don’t confuse the Judgement seat of Christ with the Sheep and the Goats judgement of Matt 25:31 either. This judgement of the ‘nations’ is at the end of the tribulation to determine who will enter into the Millennial Kingdom. It is totally different.)
  • Isn’t for punishment of sins in the believer either before or after salvation. No child of God will answer for his sins as they are ‘remembered no more’! (See Ps 103:10-12, Isa 38:17, Heb 8:12, Heb 10:14)
  • Is for God’s children to give an account of their lives from the point of salvation on, as stewards of God. (Rom 14:10-12)
  • Is for determining the quality and eternal significance of our life as a Christian (1 Cor 3:10-15)
  • Is for determining the motives of our heart and to receive praise from God! (1 Cor 4:5)

So Romans 14:10-12 gives us this soul searching thought…

“We will all stand before God’s judgment seat... So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” [3] Gold and Silver or Hay and Stubble?1 Cor 3:10-15 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

When we stand before the Lord, our lives will be examined by fire the scriptures tell us. The fire either purifies or destroys and it is the same when our works are examined. If they have something of the Lord’s life in them then they will stand the fire and come forth of precious materials, refined in the fire. If they are not based upon faith in the Lord Jesus and are our own ‘dead works’ then the fire will consume them. Note also from the above scripture that even if all a man’s works are burnt up, he will suffer loss (of reward), but he himself will still be saved. How much better though is it to live our lives now, with Christ as our foundation, laying up treasures in Heaven?

Desire for rewards… A wrong motive?

Some think that a desire for rewards is a wrong motive for living the Christian life. Now it would be if we were after earthly rewards! It is true that love is the best motive for anything that we do in this life, but it is certainly not wrong to desire heavenly rewards. In fact, it was that which strengthened and motivated some of the saints of old recorded Hebrews’ ‘Hall of faith’ chapter.

  • Abraham – Was able to leave his home and follow God in faith because he was ‘longing for a better country—a heavenly one.’ Heb 11:16
  • Moses – ‘chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Heb 11:25,26
  • Other Saints - were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Heb 11:35

Keeping the eternal perspective

So we see from the ‘hall of faith’ in Hebrews chapter 11, that it was the sense of eternity and the longing for ‘the things to come’ that enabled the great saints of old to hold fast and walk in faith through their difficult times down here on earth. If you are honest however, you will agree that it is not always easy to keep such an eternal perspective. In fact, at times, it is tremendously difficult. Thankfully, Asaph comes to our help.[4] You see, Asaph, in Psalm 73, expresses feelings that we all have and in doing so gives some great advice on keeping an eternal perspective. Let’s look at different parts of this great psalm.

Seventy-Three

Vs 1-6 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.

For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.

They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.

Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.

This awesome psalm starts off in brutal honesty. As he looks upon the prosperity of the wicked, at their life of ease, and seemingly struggle-free existence, Asaph can’t help but be jealous. He envies their life. Can you relate to this? Have you ever looked at others in this way, at those who seem to have such an easy life, and envied the ‘prosperity of the wicked’? If so, you wouldn’t be alone. But remember that as Asaph does this, his foothold in his walk with God loosens and his feet come close to slipping…     

Vs 10-14 Therefore his people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.

They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?” 

This is what the wicked are like— always carefree, they increase in wealth.

Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.

Have you thought that it was in vain that you have lived a godly Christian life? When you get on this path of envying the wicked, the next stop is where Asaph finds himself here. It this part of the psalm, Asaph shows that even God’s people are tempted to join the wicked in their corrupt practices because of the seemingly easy life they live. So as he ponders this, Asaph is even closer to slipping. There is no view of eternal things in his mind. Only the here and now… Until –

Vs 16-17 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me.

Until I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 

Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.

From an earthly perspective it is all hard to fathom. The wicked prosper while the righteous struggle. It was too oppressive for Asaph UNTIL he entered the sanctuary of God. In God’s presence we can see clearly, for we receive an eternal perspective! From this viewpoint, Asaph wrote, ‘then I understood their final destiny. I saw that at any moment they could slip and there would be no coming back. It is a slip that will last for eternity and there will be no one to help him back up.’[5]

Vs 19-20 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!

As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.

What sobering and terrifying verses! Can you remember your last dream? I’m sure you can remember the sense of relief and peace that comes when waking from a scary dream and realising that it’s not actually reality… whew! Or maybe you have experienced the disappointment of having a really pleasant dream and again waking to find it’s not reality. Well, in these verses, Asaph likens the life of the wicked to a dream. You see, they too will die and like waking from a dream they will find that this life on earth wasn’t reality. And having mocked or ignored God they will find that the actual reality is a lot worse! Their sense of peace and comfort will be stripped in one day and no money, power or connections that they had in this life will be able to help them. Sobering thought.  

Vs 21-25 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. 

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  

Having come into the presence of God and having seen life from an eternal perspective, Asaph finally sees things clearly. ‘I was an ignorant beast’ he says. ‘I was living and acting like this life is all there is, like an animal would!’ Like Asaph, we will not see with an eternal perspective unless we learn to come into God’s presence and let Him speak to us about the things that actually matter. And, to state the obvious, it is the things of eternity that matter. The Lord graciously guides us in this life and then we are taken to be with him in glory! It is so important to keep the right perspective. Think carefully about the quote by Jim Elliot that started this study off – ‘He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.’ True wisdom in found by keeping an eternal perspective[6].

Psalm 90:12 ‘Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

One of the last things Jesus told us in the Bible was -

‘Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.’May we learn to live in the present with this thought in mind, so that our faith ‘may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.’ (1 Pet 1:7)


[1] The Greek word ‘bema’ simply means ‘judgement seat’. It was an elevated seat on which the judge of a contest sat. After the contest, the competitors would stand before this seat to receive their awards for their achievement in the contest.

[2] There are people who use the cliché ‘He is so heavenly minded he is no earthly good.’ Now, that sounds fine but have you actually met somebody that would fit this category? I don’t think I have. I have met some super-spiritual Christians who speak a strange language called ‘Christianese’, and some of them struggle to be understood by normal people in the world… but I don’t know of anyone who I would say thinks too much about heaven and eternity so that it makes them useless down here. Having said that, the opposite is definitely true… there are plenty of Christians of whom it could be said that they are so ‘earthly minded that they are no heavenly good.’ Make no mistake, where your heart is your treasure will be also.

[3] Daniel Webster was once considered the greatest of all living Americans. He was a statesman, lawyer, and orator. At a banquet held in his honour, among his fellow peers and leaders of America, he was asked this question – ‘Sir, what is the greatest thought that has ever entered your mind?’ To which Webster replied, ‘The greatest thought is that one day I will have to stand before a holy God and give an account of my life!’ Well said!

[4] Isn’t Asaph great? So talented! He is… aye? You haven’t heard of him? The outstanding musician in the time of David… the appointed minister of music in the temple… the composer of 12 psalms in the Bible… the father many singers and musicians…(1 Chr 15:19, 16:5, Ezra 2:41)  Oh dear, where have you been? Mmmm, ok, I didn’t know much about him either. But thankfully, and far more important than any of his musical achievements, Asaph was a very honest man and wrote psalms expressing his doubts and failures as well as his victory and faith. This is what we shall see in an awesome psalm he wrote (Ps 73).   
[5] Having written that last sentence it can’t help but make a Christian thankful again for the secure position they have been placed ‘in Christ’. Speaking of the righteous’ fall, David wrote ‘When he falls he shall not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the one who holds his hand.’ How terrible is the fall of the wicked mentioned in Psalm 73 however. There is no one to catch him as he has relied on himself his whole life.  
[6] I’ve written this quote a few times but it is always worth remembering. CS Lewis said ‘If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought the most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.’

Oct 18, 2007 at 18:12 o\clock

Memorable Quotes - D.E.

Quotes from Dan Edelen

http://ceruleansanctum.com/2007/10/100-truths-in-30-years-with-christ.html

  1. Love God. Love people. It’s that simple.
  2. Anytime we interact with another person, we should ask the Lord, In what ways can I help this person grow closer to You?
  3. Christians who take time to observe the world around them see God and gain wisdom.
  4. The most worthy lessons of the Kingdom take the entirety of one’s life to fully learn.
  5. You are never more alone than in an unfriendly church.
  6. God could directly feed the widows and the orphans with manna from heaven, but He instead chose us in the Church to bake the bread through the resources He’s already given us and then distribute it.
  7. The world is tired of hearing Christians talk about the Gospel; they want to see it actually lived.
  8. In the end, nothing in life satisfies but Jesus.
  9. It’s a terrible indictment against men and young people in the American Church that old women are praying most of the intercessory prayers.
  10. Always lead with love. Love should precede every act we perform in the name of Christ and love should be the finale.
  11. Small home groups are fantastic for relationship-building, prayer, and sharing, but usually not the best venue for serious Bible study (especially if they’re co-ed).
  12. Admonish an adult once, perhaps twice, then turn the issue over to the Lord in prayer. Never hound people.
  13. We won’t find ourselves transformed, much less change the world, if we pray less than an hour a day.
  14. Most Evangelicals have little or no understanding of the Holy Spirit.
  15. Too many Evangelicals long to see Jesus thrash those they view as heretics rather than help them come to a better understanding of truth.
  16. One of the most easily seen fruits in mature Christians is that they pray for people who oppose them rather than complain about them.
  17. A simple truth we constantly forget: Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
  18. If all other aspects of Sunday meetings were removed, prayer would be the one untouchable, yet we spend less time doing it in our meetings than anything else.
  19. The mature Christian is more concerned with being loving all the time than being correct all the time.
  20. Each of use should know our neighbors’ names and the names of their children. We should also know their birthdays, if possible, because the card we send might be the only one they receive. And that’s a powerful witness.
  21. It is a sign of our trustworthiness as Christians that other people seek us out when they need help. If that’s not the case, then something is wrong with our witness.
  22. There is no shame in confessing a need, especially before fellow believers. That’s one reason why the Church exists.
  23. We must start seeing discipleship in terms of an entire lifespan and not what we can accomplish in the moment.
  24. Preaching is most effective when it’s lived by the preacher.
  25. We do a great disservice to families in our churches when we split them up the second they hit the lobby.
  26. If we wish to see the American Church be all She can be, then let’s welcome persecution.
  27. A youth minister’s primary responsibility isn’t to teens directly but to their parents. A good youth minister teaches parents how to teach their own teens, leaving the bulk of the responsibility to them.
  28. The way we so easily judge people offends the One who said, “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”
  29. We are too obsessed with heretics and not concerned enough with understanding what their heresy says about our own shortcomings and failures.
  30. It costs us nothing to judge others, but an enormous amount to walk beside them and help them grow.
  31. Bible study works best when led by highly-trained, Scripturally-knowledgeable people who have lived what they believe.
  32. Busyness is crippling the effectiveness of the American Church, but no one wants to fix the root causes because doing so would call into question the very nature of our modern society.
  33. True love is laying down our plans and schedules to help a person in need.
  34. One of the worst things a Christian can be is unteachable.
  35. God never rescinded His first command to Man: Steward the Earth.
  36. The man who recognizes the goodness of God in nature and sees Christ in the stranger has the more complete theology.
  37. A man is only as deep as his prayer life.
  38. A message every church in America should learn: You never have to advertise a fire.
  39. The more we restrict God in what He can and will do, the more He’ll honor that restriction.
  40. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He only shows up where He’s gratefully invited.
  41. Our neighbors should know that our houses are always open to them.
  42. Love truly does cover a multitude of sins.
  43. If we haven’t died at the cross, we’re worthless to the Kingdom.
  44. Who we are in secret is a better gauge of our spiritual maturity than who we are in public.
  45. Not seeng results in prayer? Better check how grateful we are to God for the little things He gives us.
  46. We never know enough of someone else’s story to judge them perfectly. Better to listen carefully, then admonish…carefully.
  47. No great, wise saint of God started out that way. We never know at what stage we meet one of those future saints, so we must always be gracious when interacting with others.
  48. The perfect recipe for helping someone grow in Christ: Six parts love to every one part admonition.
  49. God makes all things beautiful in His time, not ours.
  50. If there were no people, there would be no reason for the Gospel.
  51. If we are unwilling to help others work through the admonitions we give them, we should instead remain silent.
  52. On Judgment Day, God will be far less concerned with how well we knew the Scriptures than how we practiced what we knew.
  53. Too much of what we supposedly do for the Kingdom comes from the arm of flesh, not from the power of the Spirit.
  54. There’s no reason each of us can’t lead at least one person a year to Christ.
  55. Most churches never once consider what it feels like to be an outsider, which is why so few visitors take root.
  56. Most of the West has heard about Jesus (even if they’ve heard incorrectly), which is why our practice of our message is as vital as our pronouncement of it.
  57. A person may have perfect doctrine and a form of religion, but if he doesn’t care about his neighbor, it’s all for naught.
  58. The reason we learn the Scriptures is to be equipped for every good work.
  59. The more tender my heart is toward the least of these, the more tender it is toward God—and vice versa.
  60. We minister best from the overflow of our Spirit-filled hearts, not from being poured out until empty.
  61. For some reason, we stopped making heaven the ultimate destination.
  62. Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain.
  63. We make an idol of the nuclear family if we raise it above the needs of the household of Faith.
  64. If a fellow Christian has a financial need, forget about buying that plasma TV. And remember this: someone is always in need.
  65. The first thing the new Church did after being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was to see that no one among them lacked for anything.
  66. Fear drives almost all human failings. The opposite of fear is love.
  67. You can tell the effectiveness of a church’s discipling program by noting how many of the leadership staff came from within.
  68. A king’s ambassador, when sojourning in a foreign land, is the full representative of the king and wields his complete power and authority. Never forget that we are Christ’s ambassadors.
  69. We perpetually underestimate Satan’s wiles; at the same time, we underestimate our authority over him in Christ.
  70. Most lost people aren’t consciously looking for ways to sin; they’re only trying to get by.
  71. You and I have benefitted greatly from the prayers of others, but most people have never had someone pray for them.
  72. Because our God is a God of beauty and truth, we Christians need to honor our artists and intellectuals as much as our pastors and preachers.
  73. Most of the Lord’s finest servants labor in obscurity.
  74. We Christians should spend every day working to depopulate hell.
  75. We may know what it means to be a sinner, but few of us have appropriated what it means to be a saint.
  76. A church-hopper is a carrier of dissension.
  77. We need to treat our pastors as imperfect fellow laborers, not as Grand Exalted Poobahs.
  78. Without the Lord, we can do nothing.
  79. If we Christians stopped worrying about what others think of us, the Church would be transformed and the world along with us.
  80. We spend too much time trying to keep our youth from sleeping with each other and not enough time teaching them to be husbands and wives.
  81. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
  82. We were all born to serve.
  83. American Christians are more concerned about what’s in their bank accounts than in their treasure chests in heaven.
  84. Joy can only well up in a grateful heart.
  85. Gossip destroys anyone it touches.
  86. In Christ, there is no shame or guilt.
  87. Christians who pray prayers with enormous faith get enormous results.
  88. If we don’t reach people with the Gospel before they are 21, most will never come to Christ.
  89. We have not because we ask not.
  90. It is best to think of the Scriptures not as what we can read through in a year, but as what we can read through in an entire lifetime.
  91. We come to Christ full of holes. Whatever hole we forbid Christ to fill will instead be filled by the world.
  92. If we’re discipling correctly, no Christian in a church should be irreplaceable.
  93. A community of Christians is only as strong as its weakest members.
  94. If our lives are filled with everything but Christ, then we are impoverished indeed.
  95. We are all dust.
  96. God is always nearer to us than we believe Him to be.

Oct 9, 2007 at 19:06 o\clock

Christ above All

The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves at home here on earth.
         ...
Malcolm Muggeridge
 When Christ reveals Himself there is satisfaction in the slenderest portion, and without Christ there is emptiness in the greatest fulness. 
         ...
Alexander Grosse
Above all, desire to please Christ; dread his disapproval above everything else.
         ...
Rowland Croucher, Sunrise Sunset
We can have no power from Christ unless we live in a persuasion that we have none of our own.
         ...
John Owen 

Oct 9, 2007 at 18:35 o\clock

Testimony to the world

Selected from the writings of A.W. Tozer 

Men who have been used of God in any generation from Calvary down to this hour have not invented and preached new truths. They have simply had the anointed vision to discover truths that had been obscured by the overemphasis of certain other truths.

The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted.

Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its environment, actually stands in sharp opposition to it.

Could it be that too many of God's true children, and especially the preachers, are sinning against God by guilty silence?...I for one am waiting to hear the loud voices of the prophets and reformers sounding once more over a sluggish and drowsy church. They'll pay a price for their boldness, but the results will be worth it.

To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men. This is such a common truth that one hesitates to mention it, yet it appears to have been overlooked by the majority of Christians today.

Apart from God nothing matters. We think that health matters, that freedom matters, or knowledge or art or civilization. And but for one insistent word they would matter indeed. That word is eternity.

We are in real need of a reformation that will lead to revival among the churches.

The man who has been taught by the Holy Spirit will be a seer rather than a scholar. The difference is that the scholar sees and the seer sees through; and that is a mighty difference indeed.

The apostles went to jail, and that is not too revealing because they went against their will; but when they got out of jail and could go where they would they immediately went to the praying company. The choices of life, not the compulsions, reveal character.

Moral power has always accompanied definitive beliefs. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need right now a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that liveth and abideth forever.

The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way. The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him.

I believe that the imperative need of the day is not simply revival, but a radical reformation that will go to the root of our moral and spiritual maladies and deal with causes rather than with consequences, with the disease rather than with symptoms.

When the children of God accept the world's values it is time some Christians spoke up. Babylon may have her gods, her own way of life and moral standards. It is when Israel begins to adopt them that the prophet of God becomes responsible to rise and cry out against them.

Truth consists not merely in correct doctrine but in correct doctrine to which is added the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit...John the Baptist said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). He was not referring to men's gifts. He was speaking of spiritual truth.

The radical element in testimony and life that once made Christians hated by the world is missing from present-day evangelicalism.

It is useless for large companies of believers to spend long hours begging God to send revival. Unless we intend to reform we may as well not pray. Unless praying men have the insight and faith to amend their whole way of life to conform to the New Testament pattern there can be no true revival.

The fact is that we are not today producing saints. We are making converts to an effete type of Christianity that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament. The average so-called Bible Christian in our times is but a wretched parody on true sainthood. Yet we put millions of dollars behind movements to perpetuate this degenerate form of religion and attack the man who dares to challenge the wisdom of it.

And when the deliverers come---reformers, revivalists, prophets---they will be men of God and men of courage. They will have God on their side because they will be careful to stay on God's side. They will be co-workers with Christ and instruments in the hand of the Holy Ghost. Such men will be baptized with the Spirit indeed...

Our only hope is that renewed spiritual pressure will be exerted increasingly by self-effacing and courageous men who desire nothing but the glory of God and the purity of the church. May God send us many of them.

Today we need prophetic preachers; not preachers of prophecy merely, but preachers with a gift of prophecy. The word of wisdom is missing. We need the gift of discernment again in our pulpits.

What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present.

Any spirit that permits compromise with the world is a false spirit. Any religious movement that imitates the world in any of its manifestations is false to the cross of Christ and on the side of the devil.

The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy of it.

Some who desire to be teachers of the Word, but who understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm, insist upon "naked" faith as the only way to know spiritual things. By this they mean a conviction of the trustworthiness of the Word of God (a conviction, it may be noted, which the devils share with them). But the man who has been taught even slightly by the Spirit of Truth will rebel at this perversion. His language will be, "I have heard Him and observed Him. What have I to do any more with idols?" For he cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text.

The man who preaches truth and applies it to the lives of his hearers will feel the nails and the thorns. He will lead a hard life, but a glorious one. May God raise up many such prophets. The church needs them badly.

The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another...He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.

Oct 3, 2007 at 18:26 o\clock

Victory God's Way

Author: Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Morning: Being Seen and Heard
Evening: All Day Long

Morning: Being Seen and Heard

"The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon."
--Judges 7:20

Gideon ordered his men to do two things: covering up a torch in an earthen pitcher, he bade them, at an appointed signal, break the pitcher and let the light shine, and then sound with the trumpet, crying, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon! the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" This is precisely what all Christians must do. First, you must shine; break the pitcher which conceals your light; throw aside the bushel which has been hiding your candle, and shine. Let your light shine before men; let your good works be such, that when men look upon you, they shall know that you have been with Jesus. Then there must be the sound, the blowing of the trumpet. There must be active exertions for the ingathering of sinners by proclaiming Christ crucified. Take the gospel to them; carry it to their door; put it in their way; do not suffer them to escape it; blow the trumpet right against their ears.

Remember that the true war-cry of the Church is Gideon's watchword, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" God must do it, it is His own work. But we are not to be idle; instrumentality is to be used--"The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" If we only cry, "The sword of the Lord!" we shall be guilty of an idle presumption; and if we shout, "The sword of Gideon!" alone, we shall manifest idolatrous reliance on an arm of flesh: we must blend the two in practical harmony, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" We can do nothing of ourselves, but we can do everything by the help of our God; let us, therefore, in His name determine to go out personally and serve with our flaming torch of holy example, and with our trumpet tones of earnest declaration and testimony, and God shall be with us, and Midian shall be put to confusion, and the Lord of hosts shall reign for ever and ever.