“When the Comforter comes . . . He will testify about Me.” John 15:26. He shall testify to My person as self-existent Jehovah. He shall bear witness to My work as the perfect sin-atoner. He shall testify of My grace, how free it is, how full it is. He shall enable the sinner, any poor wretch, however vile in his own eyes–to trust his soul into the hands of Jesus. And having enabled the sinner to do this, then He will testify of Jesus, that He has received him, that he is safe in the arms and may be happy in the enjoyment of Jesus’ love. Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus! There will appear such consummate beauty, such infinite loveliness in His precious person, as will eclipse the glory of all other lovers. There will appear such true happiness in fellowship with Him, as will quite dethrone all former idols. And when the foolish heart would depart, the Comforter will not let it. Then will He testify of Jesus, “To whom would you go? Who has eternal life to give, but Him? Turn, turn again to your rest, oh my soul.” If the soul is mourning; He will testify of the joy that is in Jesus. If the soul is burdened; “Cast the burden,” He says, “on your Lord Jesus.” If the soul has lost any creature comfort; “Let it go,” He says, “Jesus is still your salvation and your great reward.” If the soul is grieved with indwelling sin; “It is pardoned,” He says, “you are free from the curse of sin.” Whatever the needs of the believer are, the Spirit’s office is to testify of Jesus: “Jesus is what you need–and you have Him freely.” The Comforter will keep you by His almighty power, until He brings you to the Heaven of heavens–the sight and enjoyment of dear Jesus, eternally dear and lovely Jesus! (Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!” Psalm 16:11. True happiness is not to be found in this life. It is a flower that only grows in the garden of eternity, and to be expected in its full fruition only in that life which is to come. If we do but seriously believe the truth of the gospel, the best things of this world will seem of small importance; and the worst things this world can inflict will seem but of little consequence. The worst things that this world can inflict will appear too light to provoke us to impatience or discontent. He who has everlasting glory in prospect, will have a mind full of contentment in the darkest condition here. This poor world is the place of our travel and pilgrimage, and, at the best, our temporary inn. Our home, our country, is Heaven, where there are no sorrows, nor fears, nor troubles. In my Father’s house there are mansions, many mansions, instead of my inn. My Savior Himself has gone before me to prepare a place for me. I will therefore content myself with the inconveniences of my short journey, for my accommodations will be inconceivable when I come to my true home, that heavenly inheritance which is the place of my eternal happiness. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints!” Ephesians 1:18. (Matthew Hale 1600-1675)
“My times are in Your hand!” Psalm 31:15. Every event is under Divine control. Nothing is left to ‘chance’. The hand of God is in all that occurs: directing, overruling, and sanctifying everything to our good and His glory. He appointed all that concerns us, and appointed all in infinite wisdom and love. Therefore we should not judge rashly–or conclude hastily. We know not what may occur today–but we know that the purpose of God cannot be frustrated, nor can His purpose fail. He works all things after the counsel of His own will. He says, “My purpose shall stand–and I will do all My pleasure.” But this is our comfort, that He takes pleasure in His people, and in the prosperity of His redeemed ones. Let us consider, then, that everything that happens to us passes under our Father’s eye; is overruled by our Savior’s power; is directed by the Holy Spirit to do us good. It shall not be as our enemies wish, or as our hearts fear; but as our God and Father pleases, and has ordained. Therefore do not be anxious, troubled, or cast down! The Lord God omnipotent reigns–and He is your Father and your God! He shall preserve you from all evil–He shall preserve your soul. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. (James Smith)
When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the soft pillow upon which you lay your head. There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. (C. H. Spurgeon)
C. H. Spurgeon on Sickness
- I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health–with the exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has.
- Those who dive in the sea of affliction–bring up rare pearls!
- Is there anything in the world that is worthy to be compared with the incalculable mercy of forgiven sin?
What if I am poor? Yet I am forgiven!
What if I am sickly? Yet I am forgiven!
What if I shall soon die? Yet I am forgiven!
- The groans of sick, yet submissive saints–are as musical to God’s ear as the hallelujahs of archangels!
- Why must we have a severe sickness or affliction in order to drive us to God and bring us to our knees? We must go to God in every time of peril and trouble–even in the minor trials and difficulties of life.
- It is well to praise the Lord for His mercy when you are in health–but make sure that you do it when you are sick, for then your praise is more likely to be genuine.
- The prayer of faith is not always literally answered. God, sometimes, instead of taking away the sickness or the death–gives us grace that we may profit by the sickness, or that we may triumph in the hour of death.
- Restoration from sickness should always be ascribed to God. Whatever part the physician may play, and he often plays a very important part–yet to God, who gives the physician wisdom and skill, must the gracious result be ascribed.
- You believe in God for the salvation of your soul.
Believe in Him about your temporal circumstances.
Believe in God about your sick wife or your dying child.
Believe in God about your losses and bad debts and declining business.
- Sickness may deprive us of a thousand comforts–but there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God!
- We are seldom grateful for good health. God knows that we need to be sick, sometimes, to make us know the value of health–and therefore He sends us to the bed of sickness that we may learn a lesson of gratitude.
- The weaklings and the sickly of the flock are the special objects of the Savior’s care.
“Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27. We profess a difference between ourselves and the unsaved, as radical as that between light and darkness, and almost as wide as that between Heaven and Hell. But in all the visible and practical concerns which interest the unrenewed heart–we nearly resemble them. Our words say that we believe riches to be vanity and emptiness.
Our acts seem to say that we love and seek them as intensely as those do who make them their all and their god. We say in words that “here we have no continuing city,” but in act we are as eager to adorn our dwellings here as though they were our only home. What is the result? The world believes our conduct, and not our words! “What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.” 2 Peter 3:11. “So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe!” Philippians 2:15. (Robert L. Dabney)
As we wait to return to public worship consider this quote from an article by Dr. Joey Pipa:
Twelve reasons to demonstrate that public worship is more important than private: 1. The Lord is more glorified by public worship than private. 2. There is more of the Lord’s presence in public worship than in private. 3. God manifests himself more clearly in public worship than in private. 4. There is more spiritual advantage in the use of public worship. 5. Public worship is more edifying than private. 6. Public worship is a better security against apostasy than private. 7. The Lord works his greatest works in public worship. 8. Public worship is the nearest resemblance of heaven. 9. The most renowned servants of God have preferred public worship before private. 10. Public worship is the best means for procuring the greatest mercies, and preventing and removing the greatest judgments. 11. The precious blood of Christ is most interested in public worship. 12. The promises of God are given more to public worship than to private. (David Clarkson, Public Worship to be Preferred Before Private, 1696)
The resurrection of Christ is one of the great foundation-stones of the Christian religion. In practical importance, it is second only to the crucifixion. The chapter we have now begun, directs our mind to the evidence of the resurrection. It contains unanswerable proof that Jesus not only died, but rose again. We see, in the verses before us — the reality of Christ’s resurrection. We read, that upon “the first day of the week” certain women came to the tomb in which the body of Jesus had been laid, in order to anoint Him. But when they came to the place, “they found the stone rolled away. When they entered in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” This simple fact is the starting-point in the history of the resurrection of Christ. On Friday morning His body was safe in the tomb. On Sunday morning His body was gone. By whose hands had it been taken away? Who had removed it? Not surely the priests and scribes and other enemies of Christ! If they had had Christ’s body to show in disproof of His resurrection — then they would gladly have shown it. Not the apostles and other disciples of our Lord! They were far too much frightened and dispirited to attempt such an action, and the more so when they had nothing to gain by it. One explanation, and one only, can meet the circumstance of the case. That explanation is the one supplied by the angels in the verse before us. Christ “had risen” from the grave. To seek Him in the sepulcher was seeking “the living among the dead.” He had arisen, and was soon seen alive and conversing, by many credible witnesses. The fact of our Lord’s resurrection rests on evidence which no infidel can ever explain away. It is confirmed by testimony of every kind, sort, and description. The plain unvarnished story which the Gospel writers tell about it — is one which cannot be overthrown. The more the account they give is examined — the more inexplicable will the event appear, unless we accept it as true. If we choose to deny the truth of their account — then we may deny everything in the world. It is not as certain that Julius Caesar once lived — as it is that Christ rose again. Let us cling firmly to the resurrection of Christ, as one of the pillars of the Gospel. It ought to produce in our minds, a settled conviction of the truth of Christianity. Our faith does not depend merely on a set of texts and doctrines. It is founded on a mighty historical fact which the skeptic has never been able to overturn. It ought to assure us of the certainty of the resurrection of our own bodies after death. If our Master has risen from the grave — then we need not doubt that His disciples shall rise again at the last day. Above all, it ought to fill our hearts with a joyful sense of the fullness of Gospel salvation. Who can condemn us? Our Great Surety has not only died for us, but risen again. (Romans 8:34.) He has died as an atoning sacrifice for our sins — and then arose triumphantly. The payment He made for us, has been accepted. The work of satisfaction has been perfectly accomplished. No wonder that Peter exclaims, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3.) (J. C. Ryle)
Summary of Psalm 84: The Psalmist complains that nothing proved to him a source of greater distress than his being prevented from coming to the tabernacle, and his being banished from the assembly of the saints, where God was called upon. And yet he shows, that nothing can withstand the longing desires of the godly; and that, surmounting all obstacles, they will be constantly engaged in seeking God, and, so to speak, will make a way for themselves where there is none. At length he expresses his desire to be restored to the tabernacle of God, and again testifies that a day spent in the tabernacle was in his estimation more to be prized than to live for a long time in the society of unbelievers. (John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms)
“Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8:5. “I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” Isaiah 48:10. I can truly say of everything I have ever tasted in this world of God’s mercy, (and my path has been remarkably strewn with divine lovingkindness), I feel more grateful to God for the bodily pain I have suffered, and for all the trials of diverse sorts I have endured, than I do for anything else. I am sure I have derived more real benefit, and permanent strength, and growth in grace, and every precious thing–from the furnace of suffering, than I have ever derived from prosperity. I know not how to quite express my meaning, but even depression of spirit and deep sadness have a particular charm within them, which laughter in vain may emulate. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted!” Psalm 119:71. Ponder and consider the much gratitude you owe to God for His chastening rod. Dwell much in your heart upon what God evidently regards as one of His distinguishing blessings. Do not lightly pass over, what God would have you consider. Count the cross and the rod to be doubly worthy of your deepest thought. “Heed the rod and Him who has appointed it.” Micah 6:9. Remember that whenever you are chastened, you are not chastened as a slave master smites his victim, nor as a judge orders the criminal to be lashed; but as a tender father chastens his son. Your chastisement is a sign of sonship, it is a token of love! It is intended for your good. Accept it, therefore, in the spirit of sonship, and “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither faint when you are corrected by Him.” It is the Lord your God who chastens you! If He were not your God, He might let you alone! If He had not chosen you to be His own, He would not take such care of you! If He had not given Himself to be your treasure, He might not be so diligent in weaning you from all other treasures! But because you are His, He will withdraw your love away from this poor world. Perhaps He will take one child after another from you, that all the love that was lavished on the children might flow towards Himself. Perhaps He will leave you a widow, that the love that ran in the channel of a husband may run altogether to Himself. Perhaps he will take away your riches, that the consolation you derived from them may be all derived from Him. Perhaps He will smite you, and then lay you on His own bosom, faint and helpless, that you may derive a strength and a joy from close and near fellowship with Himself, which you would never have had if it had not been that these other joys were removed. Bless God for your chastenings! Let the sweetest note of your music be to Him who, as a loving father, chastens His children for their good. “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son He receives.” Hebrews 12:6. (Charles Spurgeon)
“The Lord does whatever pleases Him, throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.” Psalm 135:6. How blessed that elementary truth: “The Lord reigns!” To know that there is no chance or accident with God; that He decrees the fall of a sparrow; the destruction of an atom; the annihilation of a world! The Almighty is not like Baal, “asleep.” “He who keeps Israel” can never for a moment “slumber.” Man proposes, but God disposes. “You, Lord have done it!” is the history of every event, past, present and to come. “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations!” Psalm 33:11. His purposes none can change. His counsels none can resist. “He stands alone, and who can oppose Him? He does whatever He pleases!” Job 23:13. “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please!” Isaiah 46:10. Believer, how cheering to know that all that befalls you is thus ordered in the eternal purpose of a Covenant God! Every minute circumstance of your lot; appointing the bounds of your habitation; meting out every drop in the cup of life; arranging what by you is called its “vicissitudes;” decreeing all its trials; and at last, as the great Proprietor of life, revoking the lease of existence when its allotted term has expired! How it should keep the mind from its guilty proneness to brood and fret over second causes, were this grand but simple truth ever realized–that all that befalls us are integral parts in a stupendous plan of wisdom; that there is no crossing or thwarting the designs and dealings of God. “He does all things well!” “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.” Psalm 115:3.
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!” Revelation 19:6. (John MacDuff, “The Night Watches”)