LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, March 17, 2006

Faith Very Simple - Spurgeon

Faith Very Simple

TO MANY, FAITH SEEMS a hard thing. The truth is, it is only hard because it is easy. Naaman thought it hard that he should have to wash in Jordan; but if it had been some great thing, he would have done it right cheerfully. People think that salvation must be the result of some act or feeling, very mysterious, and very difficult; but God's thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways. In order that the feeblest and the most ignorant may be saved, he has made the way of salvation as easy as the A, B, C. There is nothing about it to puzzle anyone; only, as everybody expects to be puzzled by it, many are quite bewildered when they find it to be so exceedingly simple.
The fact is, we do not believe that God means what he is saying; we act as if it could not be true.
I have heard of a Sunday-school teacher who performed an experiment which I do not think I shall ever try with children, for it might turn out to be a very expensive one. Indeed, I feel sure that the result in my case would be very different from what I now describe. This teacher had been trying to illustrate what faith was, and, as he could not get it into the minds of his boys, he took his watch, and he said, "Now, I will give you this watch, John. Will you have it?" John fell thinking what the teacher could mean, and did not seize the treasure, but made no answer. The teacher said to the next boy, "Henry, here is the watch. Will you have it?" The boy, with a very proper modesty, replied, "No, thank you, sir." The teacher tried several of the boys with the same result; till at last a youngster, who was not so wise or so thoughtful as the others, but rather more believing, said in the most natural way, "Thank you, sir," and put the watch into his pocket. Then the other boys woke up to a startling fact: their companion had received a watch which they had refused. One of the boys quickly asked of the teacher, "Is he to keep it?" "Of course he is," said the teacher, "I offered it to him, and he accepted it. I would not give a thing and take a thing: that would be very foolish. I put the watch before you, and said that I gave it to you, but none of you would have it." "Oh!" said the boy, "if I had known you meant it, I would have had it." Of course he would. He thought it was a piece of acting, and nothing more. All the other boys were in a dreadful state of mind to think that they had lost the watch. Each one cried, "Teacher, I did not know you meant it, but I thought—"No one took the gift; but every one thought. Each one had his theory, except the simple-minded boy who believed what he was told, and got the watch. Now I wish that I could always be such a simple child as literally to believe what the Lord says, and take what he puts before me, resting quite content that he is not playing with me, and that I cannot be wrong in accepting what he sets before me in the gospel. Happy should we be if we would trust, and raise no questions of any sorts. But, alas! we will get thinking and doubting. When the Lord uplifts his dear Son before a sinner, that sinner should take him without hesitation. If you take him, you have him; and none can take him from you. Out with your hand, man, and take him at once!
When inquirers accept the Bible as literally true, and see that Jesus is really given to all who trust him, all the difficulty about understanding the way of salvation vanishes like the morning's frost at the rising of the sun.
Two inquiring ones came to me in my vestry. They had been hearing the gospel from me for only a short season, but they had been deeply impressed by it. They expressed their regret that they were about to remove far away, but they added their gratitude that they had heard me at all. I was cheered by their kind thanks, but felt anxious that a more effectual work should be wrought in them, and therefore I asked them, "Have you in very deed believed in the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you saved?" One of them replied, "I have been trying hard to believe." This statement I have often heard, but I will never let it go by me unchallenged. "No," I said, "that will not do. Did you ever tell your father that you tried to believe him?" After I had dwelt a while upon the matter, they admitted that such language would have been an insult to their father. I then set the gospel very plainly before them in as simple language as I could, and I begged them to believe Jesus, who is more worthy of faith than the best of fathers. One of them replied, "I cannot realize it: I cannot realize that I am saved." Then I went on to say, "God bears testimony to his Son, that whosoever trusts in his Son is saved. Will you make him a liar now, or will you believe his word?" While I thus spoke, one of them started as if astonished, and she startled us all as she cried, "O sir, I see it all; I am saved! Oh, do bless Jesus for me; he has shown me the way, and he has saved me! I see it all." The esteemed sister who had brought these young friends to me knelt down with them while, with all our hearts, we blessed and magnified the Lord for a soul brought into light. One of the two sisters, however, could not see the gospel as the other had done, though I feel sure she will do so before long. Did it not seem strange that, both hearing the same words, one should come out into clear light, and the other should remain in the gloom? The change which comes over the heart when the understanding grasps the gospel is often reflected in the face, and shines there like the light of heaven. Such newly enlightened souls often exclaim, "Why, sir, it is so plain; how is it I have not seen it before this? I understand all I have read in the Bible now, though I could not make it out before. It has all come in a minute, and now I see what I could never understand before." The fact is, the truth was always plain, but they were looking for signs and wonders, and therefore did not see what was nigh them. Old men often look for their spectacles when they are on their foreheads; and it is commonly observed that we fail to see that which is straight before us. Christ Jesus is before our faces, and we have only to look to him, and live; but we make all manner of bewilderment of it, and so manufacture a maze out of that which is plain as a pikestaff.
The little incident about the two sisters reminds me of another. A much-esteemed friend came to me one Sabbath morning after service, to shake hands with me, "for," said she, "I was fifty years old on the same day as yourself. I am like you in that one thing, sir; but I am the very reverse of you in better things." I remarked, "Then you must be a very good woman; for in many things I wish I also could be the reverse of what I am." "No, no," she said, "I did not mean anything of that sort: I am not right at all." "What!" I cried, "are you not a believer in the Lord Jesus?" "Well," she said, with much emotion, "I, I will try to be." I laid hold of her hand, and said, "My dear soul, you are not going to tell me that you will try to believe my Lord Jesus! I cannot have such talk from you. It means blank unbelief. What has HE done that you should talk of him in that way? Would you tell me that you would try to believe me? I know you would not treat me so rudely. You think me a true man, and so you believe me at once; and surely you cannot do less with my Lord Jesus? Then with tears she exclaimed, "Oh, sir, do pray for me!" To this I replied, "I do not feel that I can do anything of the kind. What can I ask the Lord Jesus to do for one who will not trust him? I see nothing to pray about. If you will believe him, you shall be saved; and if you will not believe him, I cannot ask him to invent a new way to gratify your unbelief." Then she said again, "I will try to believe"; but I told her solemnly I would have none of her trying; for the message from the Lord did not mention "trying," but said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." I pressed upon her the great truth, that "He that believeth on him hath everlasting life"; and its terrible reverse—"He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." I urged her to full faith in the once crucified but now ascended Lord, and the Holy Spirit there and then enabled her to trust. She most tenderly said, "Oh, sir, I have been looking to my feelings, and this has been my mistake! Now I trust my soul with Jesus, and I am saved." She found immediate peace through believing. There is no other way.
God has been pleased to make the necessities of life very simple matters. We must eat; and even a blind man can find the way to his mouth. We must drink; and even the tiniest babe knows how to do this without instruction. We have a fountain in the grounds of the Stockwell Orphanage, and when it is running in the hot weather, the boys go to it naturally. We have no class for fountain-drill. Many poor boys have come to the Orphanage, but never one who was so ignorant that he did not know how to drink. Now faith is, in spiritual things, what eating and drinking are in temporal things. By the mouth of faith we take the blessings of grace into our spiritual nature, and they are ours. O you who would believe, but think you cannot, do you not see that, as one can drink without strength, and as one can eat without strength, and gets strength by eating, so we may receive Jesus without effort, and by accepting him we receive power for all such further effort as we may be called to put forth?
Faith is so simple a matter that, whenever I try to explain it, I am very fearful lest I should becloud its simplicity. When Thomas Scott had printed his notes upon "The Pilgrim's Progress," he asked one of his parishioners whether she understood the book. "Oh yes, sir," said she, "I understand Mr. Bunyan well enough, and I am hoping that one day, by divine grace, I may understand your explanations." Should I not feel mortified if my reader should know what faith is, and then get confused by my explanation? I will, however, make one trial, and pray the Lord to make it clear.
I am told that on a certain highland road there was a disputed right of way. The owner wished to preserve his supremacy, and at the same time he did not wish to inconvenience the public: hence an arrangement which occasioned the following incident. Seeing a sweet country girl standing at the gate, a tourist went up to her, and offered her a shilling to permit him to pass. "No, no," said the child, "I must not take anything from you; but you are to say, 'Please allow me to pass,' and then you may come through and welcome." The permission was to be asked for; but it could be had for the asking. Just so, eternal life is free; and it can be had, yea, it shall be at once had, by trusting in the word of him who cannot lie. Trust Christ, and by that trust you grasp salvation and eternal life. Do not philosophize. Do not sit down, and bother your poor brain. Just believe Jesus as you would believe your father. Trust him as you trust your money with a banker, or your health with a doctor.
Faith will not long seem a difficulty to you; nor ought it to be so, for it is simple.
Faith is trusting, trusting wholly upon the person, work, merit, and power of the Son of God. Some think this trusting is a romantic business, but indeed it is the simplest thing that can possibly be. To some of us, truths which were once hard to believe are now matters of fact which we should find it hard to doubt. If one of our great grandfathers were to rise from the dead, and come into the present state of things, what a deal of trusting he would have to do! He would say tomorrow morning, "Where are the flint and steel? I want a light;" and we should give him a little box with tiny pieces of wood in it, and tell him to strike one of them on the box. He would have to trust a good deal before he would believe that fire would thus be produced. We should next say to him, "Now that you have a light, turn that tap, and light the gas." He sees nothing. How can light come through an invisible vapor? And yet it does. "Come with us, grandfather. Sit in that chair. Look at that box in front of you. You shall have your likeness directly." "No, child," he would say, "it is ridiculous. The sun take my portrait? I cannot believe it." "Yes, and you shall ride fifty miles in an hour without horses." He will not believe it till we get him into the train. "My dear sir, you shall speak to your son in New York, and he shall answer you in a few minutes." Should we not astonish the old gentleman? Would he not want all his faith? Yet these things are believed by us without effort, because experience has made us familiar with them. Faith is greatly needed by you who are strangers to spiritual things; you seem lost while we are talking about them. But oh, how simple it is to us who have the new life, and have communion with spiritual realities! We have a Father to whom we speak, and he hears us, and a blessed Savior who hears our heart's longings, and helps us in our struggles against sin. It is all plain to him that understandeth. May it now be plain to you!


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22 Comments:

Blogger bluecollar said...

To all: What Spurgeon said here PERFECTLY articulates my thinking of faith in Christ, and what it means to come to Him as a child, believing Him for salvation. This totally represents my position. That is my stand.

March 17, 2006 12:05 PM

 
Blogger Kc said...

I can think of no better stand to take than this.

March 17, 2006 1:29 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Amen! In one sense I really gotta hand it to Antonio for waking me up out of making it difficult for others.

I certainley don't wish to be found on Judgment day knowing that I told people it was too hard for them to believe. We need to give people hope...not rob them of it.

Thanks to you too Bluecollar!

We need to stand fast in the liberty of Christ and be not again entangled in any yoke that seeks to put others in bondage. We need to offer hope.

To all...

I am sorry it got so ugly there for a while.

March 17, 2006 8:01 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Just a little caveat...even when other brothers and sisters may be lopsided in other areas...we can still learn from them. We shouldn't think ourselves to be too great to not learn from others.

Hey...I have a lopsided brain..so maybe they are better off than I. Better to have kiltered ideas than a brain that is such like.

March 17, 2006 8:05 PM

 
Blogger Doug E. said...

Excellent Quote,

Doug

March 17, 2006 9:06 PM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Casey, Brian, Doug: Thank you so much for stopping by. I love Spurgeon. What a love he had for Christ. He was disliked by Calvinist and non- calvinist alike. He stood his own ground, especially during the "Down grade" controversy. Even his own brother did not side with him as he left the Baptist Union in protest of what he thought was the infiltration of modern thought. Alexander McClaren disagreed with his stand as well. His preaching style made the staunch Calvinist wince. His Calvinism made the non-Calvinist uncomfortable. What a guy!

March 18, 2006 12:01 AM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

I agree Bluecollar. You know brother you are such an encouragement to us all. You have been able to see past all of our foibles and continue to love.
Brother...what a testimony. God has taught you to love. May he give me the strength to be like that. To have the backbone of Spurgeon with the heart of Corrie Ten Boom. Of course we need only to look to Jesus to see that model.

When I look at Spurgeon, and I am a fan of him too..I wonder if I would have stood by his side. I have been so faithless at times and still am...

As I look at all the ugliness in Church history along with some of the horrible things done by all differant groups of peoples...all I can think of is...well...

Grace

March 18, 2006 8:52 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Brian: Much is made in blogdom lately of Spurgeon's Quote on Calvinism being the gospel. Funny,he for opened his pulpit to D.L. Moody, a non-calvinist. But who in blogdom will also point that out! And, as soon as I find it, he had much to say about loving our brothers and sisters on the other side of the calvinist divide, I will put those quotes up here on bluecollar when I find them again.

March 18, 2006 10:05 AM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Amen! Though I have Calvinist leanings in areas...well I just step short and say I don't fully understand it all as I really do believe Jesus did die for the whole world. I don't understand it all, but the debates been raging for a long time hasn't it? All I know is that I wouldn't have chosen him if He hadn't have come after me first. He has been faithful the whole time. I have nothing to boast in. you are an encouragement brother.

Do you ever listen to Dr Lutzer from Moody. Oddly enough he represents a good deal of both Moody and Spurgeon. Odd that He should be the Pastor of Moody, but I think most would label him a Calvinist. When you hear him teach though I think many would assume him to be a friend of Zane Hodges and perhaps that is why the Calvinists stay away from him for the most part as he is accused of teaching Cheap grace.

March 18, 2006 5:45 PM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Brian, I must confess that I do not listen to Christian Radio. If anything, I listen to talk radio or 60's & 70's oldies radio. That way, both calvinist and noncalvinist alike would disown me. I am an equal opportunity offender. :-)

March 18, 2006 8:34 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Personally I think lack of prayer and the call for the aid of the Holy Spirit inhibits the response as well as we ourselves sometimes instead of letting God's word speak we jump in and aid it. I have been guilty of this. It causes sometime the spirit of man to withdraw. It is a very mysterious thing, and if we are not spirit led we fail.

Spurgeon himself once had an orphanage and a small parish pastor visited it from a local area. He made the comment that the work was a wonderful work, but somehow by the time it got back to Spurgeon he thought the man was critisizing it and saying bad things. That following Sunday..or Sabbath as He would say, well...Spurgeon just unloaded both barrels on this pastor and accused him in front of thousands so that England looked at this man wondering. The following Sunday everyone flooded the the small parish to hear what this small pastor might fight back with. Instead the pastor asked for a love offering to be taken for the orphanage since all those people were there visiting.

Later Spurgeon visited the man and told him, "Sir, you have dealt with me in grace."

Grace opens the heart when it is both taught and practiced regardless of the confusion the serpent loves to throw in our way to inhibit us from seeing.

March 18, 2006 11:26 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

BTW Bluecollar...you are a man of grace and you deal with us in grace. What a wonderful gift to both posses and share.

March 18, 2006 11:29 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Great stuff.

That is the true Gospel of eternal life.

God Bless

Matthew

March 19, 2006 6:32 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Matthew: As always I am blessed by your visit. Thank you so very much, my brother!

Brian: Thanks for sharing Spurgeon's all tooooo human desire for self vindication and revenge. Sometimes, even in the space of one letter written to a friend, Spurgeon would seem to have a mood swing and berate the person unmercifully only to turn loving just a few sentances later, all without explanation.

Some of his early sermons seem to me to be marked by pride and self absorbtion. Alas! He WAS human, saved by the grace of God just like EVERYBODY ELSE.

March 19, 2006 9:17 AM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Brother...thou hast blessed my day!

My favorite music is classic rock and the blues, but I must confess that I listen more to Christian radio now than I do classic rock, but I still occasionally give a listen to WRDU 106.1 in Raliegh/Durham, N.C

One day I was listening and Dust in the Wind came on, by Kansas,(Kerry Livgren- a Christian now) and Bob the Blade came on and said. "Man, its a Friday, why did I play that?, what a buzz kill!"

You see, the world is even getting the message in Rock and Roll itself and through the journey of men like Kerry Livgren.

I love the blues-Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robin Trower, BB and Muddy, and I love to play the blues on my guitar. I love to go to that drop d-Dorian mode. Its so beautiful.

One of the most beautiful pieces was written by a Christian and probably one of the greatest Blues players-Roy Buchanon.

Have you ever heard "The Messiah Will Come Again"?

He talks in it and speaks of Jesus bringing peace, but now that he has left, the world is a whole lot sadder today. Here was a constant drunk who stayed miserable in his sin and let the world know always groaning wishing to break free, but always being called back by his past.

Gary Moore(former guitarist from Thin Lizzy) re-made it back in the 80's. What a masterpiece. I spent a life like Roy Buchanon much of my life. I remember near that time, back when I had a subscription to Rolling Stone, being in Okinawa I think and reading where Roy Buchanon hung himself...you could just hear his weeping and groaning soul in the piece he wrote.

I guess there is a flipside to being Anthropocentric in Christianity(there are two sides in both Calvinism and Arminianism) and this is the side of it...somehow we lay in our misery, thinking that we are powerless to overcome our cancelled sin...but as John Wesley once wrote..."He breaks the Power of Cancelled sin.

He is risen and with his resurrection he has broken the power of sin and the bondage of it in our life..if we choose to believe it in our sanctification.

I guess Solomon sang a swan song of regrets at the end of his life, much like Roy Buchanon, but it doesn't have to be that way if we but believe that He is the resurrection and the life..not just in salvation, but in sanctification as well.

I remember near that time Roy Buchanon killed himself, I awoke one morning after drinking, a 5th of Jack, in a pool of vomit after chocking during the night and rolling over. That whole life comes back sometimes to haunt me and the same lie comes sometimes to tell me that I can't help but continue living there as I am a sinner...but I want to believe there is indeed hope in the cross as that old ghastly serpent whom I once was is now nailed to the cross and I bear him no more and my Spirit has been set free from the tomb. His ghost is still around to haunt and tempt me, but alas..he is but a ghost and naught else. We can live now in a sanctified life, if we but believe it.

March 19, 2006 3:12 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

BTW,

The Lord is good...I have been facing much chastening lately and through it all, though the Lord Himself has spoken against me, I know he is good.

I was feeling slightly down yesterday, yet assured in my heart of the goodness of God...and a couple walked up to my wife and I. They know we have very little money and we are struggling to save up for a vacation with the boys as we have never been able to go on a family vacation.

They came up to us yesterday and gave us a 7day pass to a resort down in Orlando Florida. yep, thats right...Zand Hodges style........ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Woooohoooooo! Amazing isn't he?

Check this verse out. It is a constant comfort to me now and I call it to rememberance whenever I face chastening.

"I have heard Ephraims grieving, 'You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God. For after I was instructed, I slapped my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'

Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD."
Jeremiah 31:18-20

March 19, 2006 3:42 PM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Brian,

Thank you for sharing. I like getting to know people in blogdom better. I feel like good friendships can be had in blogdom. I am glad to already count Matthew, Casey, Doug Eaton and the Cole's as dear friends, and now you.

Old bands I love to listen to are:

Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chuck Mangione (Rochester born), Dooby Brothers, America, and Bread.

I have been very down lately too. Any time you want to talk, feel free to drop me an email.

March 19, 2006 4:20 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Hey thanks for your friendship guy. You are an encourager and have helped me. Brother if anyone encourages in these down times as I experience them much too...it is Dr Lutzer. See if you can somehow feed him off of Moody somewhere on the internet.

Hang in there.

Good stuff with many of those bands. Micheal McDonald wrote a beautiful piece that we sang in our Christmas Cantada last year.

March 19, 2006 6:33 PM

 
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March 20, 2006 10:21 PM

 
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March 24, 2006 1:42 AM

 
Blogger J. Wendell said...

Great post!

March 24, 2006 1:10 PM

 

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