Monday, 26 April 2010

Blessed is he that watches."—Revelation 16:15.

WE die daily," said the apostle. This was the life of the early Christians; they went everywhere with their lives in their hands. We are not in this day called to pass through the same fearful persecutions: if we were, the Lord would give us grace to bear the test; but the tests of Christian life, at the present moment, though outwardly not so terrible, are yet more likely to overcome us than even those of the fiery age.

We have to bear the sneer of the world—that is little; its blandishments, its soft words, its oily speeches, its fawning, its hypocrisy, are far worse. Our danger is lest we grow rich and become proud, lest we give ourselves up to the fashions of this present evil world, and lose our faith. Or if wealth be not the trial, worldly care is quite as mischievous. If we cannot be torn in pieces by the roaring lion, if we may be hugged to death by the bear, the devil little cares which it is, so long as he destroys our love to Christ, and our confidence in Him.

I fear that the Christian church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days than in those rougher times. We must be awake now, for we traverse the enchanted ground, and are most likely to fall asleep to our own undoing, unless our faith in Jesus be a reality, and our love to Jesus a burning flame. Many in these days of easy profession are likely to prove tares, and not wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the true-born children of the living God.

Christian, do not think that these are times in which you can dispense with watchfulness or with holy ardour; you need these things more than ever, and may God the eternal Spirit display His omnipotence in you, that you may be able to say, in all these softer things, as well as in the rougher, "We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."

1 comment:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

CHS - I am pretty sure this is a quotation from Charles Haddon Spurgeon - and thanks, brother, for posting these wise admonitions.

It's always on my mind to contemplate what the Church is, how it is, and when it is. Where it is doesn't bother me at all. I meet saints of God every day and I feel myself surrounded always by the great cloud of witnesses.

Some things I know: The Church is the Bride of Christ, the little flock, the pilgrim people who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. It is people always, never a building or an institution, though the Church can be found dwelling amidst these visible structures, yet it is never limited to them or by them.

How the Church is, that is more difficult to put my finger on: I have many questions, but few answers. Is what we see and experience as church, even when it is languishing in self-indulgence and smug accomplishment, still the church? How can it be? Yet there are souls in that condition and estate who confess the name of Jesus and can even give their testimony, yet the remainder of their life appears to be a false witness. Yet according to the letter of scripture, they are saved, because they can claim one or two verses as proof texts, and they have a license to do whatever they want. They call it "abundant life."

When the Church is, that also is difficult for me sometimes, mostly for the same reasons I wrote in the previous paragraph. When is the church the Church? Is it the Church when it is simply a sheep pen with the gates closed and latched shut? Is it the Church when it's free-roving rams outside the stockade rustling more sheep? Or is it only the Church when it is an open field full of sheep and rams that follow only the good Shepherd?

My Christian life is always lived in tension between all these ideas, but luckily, the Lord doesn't let me indulge in too much philosophizing or mooning about imponderables. He calls me every day and says, "Do this" and "Do that," and "Follow Me!" My only responsibility is to "just say Yes to Jesus." And everything, I mean everything, takes care of itself.

"Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things shall be added as well."