Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” – October 15, Morning — Theology Mix

“But who may abide the day of his coming?”-Malachi 3:2 His first coming was without external pomp or show of power, and yet in truth there were few who could abide its testing might. Herod and all Jerusalem with him were stirred at the news of the wondrous birth. Those who supposed themselves to be…

via Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” – October 15, Morning — Theology Mix

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Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” – October 11, Morning — Theology Mix


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“Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.”-Lamentations 3:41 The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favours without constraining us to pray for them we should never know how poor we…

via Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” – October 11, Morning — Theology Mix

Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” – October 4, Evening — Theology Mix

“If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”-1 John 2:1 “If any man sin, we have an advocate.” Yes, though we sin, we have him still. John does not say, “If any man sin he has forfeited his advocate,” but “we have an advocate,” sinners though we are.…

via Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” – October 4, Evening — Theology Mix

Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” – September 15, Morning — Theology Mix


See and listen to more Morning and Evening devotionals at TheologyMix.com

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings.”-Psalm 112:7 Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them, what do you more than other men? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved his faithfulness as you have done, and it…

via Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” – September 15, Morning — Theology Mix

Episode 31: Paul’s Persuasion

Sermon text here

This week’s song: Truly You Are the Son of God by the Loverlies

I want to start by reading the fuller context of our verse this week, from Romans 8:31-39:

What then shall we say? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,

“For your sake, we are being killed all the day long;
We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This passage is about hope.  Where do we place our hope?  I actually decided to read this sermon several weeks ago, but between my life being extremely busy right now and the ongoing production of the Morning and Evening podcast, I have had less time lately to produce regular sermon episodes.  But it is oddly fortunate that I should end up reading a sermon on this passage the week that we spend time recalling the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.  I do remember where I was, and what I was doing, and more than that I remember how I felt afterwards.  I wanted to put my hope in American might, and American goodness, and certainly now I realize that was foolish in many ways.

I recommend listening to John Piper’s sermon from that week, which is, not coincidentally, also on this same passage from Romans.  He reminds his listeners who are still reeling from the shock of the attack, that they cannot put their hope in anything that is here on earth, because it will ultimately fail them.  The words painted on the side of his church—“Hope in God”—have never rung more true, and the reason why is etched plainly in the lives of so many saints before us who have endured suffering for the sake of Christ: His love is unstoppable, irresistible, and perfectly sufficient for all things.

My fellow American Christians, I think it is safe to say that many of us feel very frustrated as we see a culture that has, for centuries, endured and enjoyed great bounty courtesy of a society informed and structured largely according to the Christian worldview if not according to submission to Christ, surrender that worldview en masse and replace it with evil, selfishness, and insanity.  There is a tendency to fear, both losing one’s place, as well as losing “the culture war.”  My brothers and sisters, the only war that really matters is already won.  The Victor stands at the right hand of God now, waiting for the time when His enemies will be made a footstool for His feet.  Meanwhile, we here continue, no matter who is elected president and no matter who is allowed into your public bathroom, to have the duty and joy of serving our fellow man as ambassadors from the living God, as ministers of reconciliation come to  bring the call to repent and turn to Christ, to find that true and neverending, never-damaged love.  Brethren, let us embrace that, though the world should hate us, though our flesh should fail us, though the devil should assault us, let us know that God is truly God and move forward in obedience and love.

Recommended this week:
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Morning and Evening: an update

We are closing in on the end of our first month releasing audio recordings of the Morning and Evening devotional through Theology Mix.  I wanted to thank Ryan Jackson, Len Flack and Cody Almanzar for being a part of creating these, and I am excited to see this through to the end of the book.  I’d also like to thank Jeremy Lundmark for bringing Spurgeon Audio into the ThM fold and encouraging me as I’ve pursued production of this podcast.

I think I wasn’t quite prepared at first for the scope of a project this size, even if each episode is only a couple minutes long.  But I am glad that it has gone so smoothly to date and I am hopeful that this has a positive impact on listeners.  If you have listened and enjoyed, please share them with your friends and family.  I am planning to keep these available for free download indefinitely.

If you are subscribed to the Spurgeon Audio RSS feed and wonder why you aren’t getting these twice-daily updates, it’s because they aren’t coming through that feed.  You should make sure you subscribe to Theology Mix through iTunes or your favorite podcast catcher, and you will be able to receive these daily, in addition to being able to follow several other excellent podcasts as well.

You can listen to and read all the Morning and Evening episodes released to date here, and don’t forget to follow Spurgeon Audio on Facebook and Twitter.  If there are sermons you’d like to hear recorded, email me and we will add them to our list for the future.

SAmorning

Episode 30: Christ’s Love to His Spouse

This episode is dedicated to my wife Jessica, in celebration of four amazing years together, and in hopes of many, many more.

Sermon text here

This week’s song: Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah by Dust Company
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Four years and a week or so ago, I stood sweating profusely across from my bride, as we took our vows together and covenanted with each other, that we would love each other, that we would serve one another and endure all things together.  When you take a vow like that, I doubt anyone really understands the depths of what it truly means.  No one understands it really, until you stand on the other side of it, having gone through all those things you promised to do together.  Yet the weight of it is not something you take on begrudgingly, but out of love—not the world’s twisted idea of love that has an expiration date, and a limit to how much it will do, but the love that God has shown to us, most clearly in the person of Jesus.

When I promised Jessica that I would be by her side through all things, that I would be there to serve her in her most difficult, frustrating, agonizing times, as well as to celebrate with her all the joys and successes and good gifts of God, this passage that Mr. Spurgeon preached on so many years ago was most definitely on my mind:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.—Ephesians 5:22-33

The first part of this passage has been roundly abused throughout the years, and today it is simply scoffed at by many.  And it’s understandable: men have thought of that call to wives to “submit” and thought “Oh, that means that I’m the one in charge, I’m calling the shots!”  But that misses Paul’s point completely.  If you haven’t listened to it yet, go back and listen to the Jonathan Edwards sermon that Ryan read on heaven, on what it looks like to hold a greater rank in the kingdom of heaven.  It is not a realm of people sitting back being served hors d’oeuvres by people below them.  The more authority you hold in the kingdom of God, the greater the servant you are.

And that’s why as we stood there taking that vows, that passage was most definitely on my mind, not because of my desire to lord authority over Jess, but because of my realizing that I was taking on an incredible responsibility: I was to become like Christ to my wife, in that I was to give myself up for her.  What does that mean?  What does that look like?  The answer to that question is many-faceted, like a beautiful jewel, and I am still turning it slowly from side to side, seeing how it gleams and glistens as we find a new trial together, or as I seek to bring new joy to her life, or as we seek after Jesus.  My desire in all the things I do, including this podcast, is to serve my wife, and to lay before her the absolute beauty and worth of Jesus Christ, and to see her heart become His more and more every day.  That desire brings upon myself a feeling of deep inadequacy, yet it is an inadequacy which drives me to prayer, and to the church, that in communion with God and with His people I may find that which I do not possess to better love and serve my wife.

And I pray for the day when all work is done, all striving is completely finished and rest, real rest, is here, in Jesus.  I pray every day that she will look at my conduct, at my heart for her, at the way I fight, and grow in affection for Jesus because of that, and I try to cut out the things that get in the way of that.  I am so far from the line, but because Jesus is perfect and because His is the perfect, finished work that I do mine upon, I can rest even in the most frustrating, heart-rending times, and know that Jesus is enough.

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Official announcement: Morning and Evening!

Ever since this podcast started, probably the biggest question Jon and I have fielded is “Will you record the Morning and Evening devotionals?”  And to be honest, that was the idea that prompted the creation of this podcast, but a day by day release of the devotional was a little outside my technical ability and budget.

Now though: thanks to the assistance of the Theology Mix network and three fellow podcasters, this wish from so many will be a reality!  You may remember Ryan Jackson from our heaven double-feature, and I will also be joined by Len Flack of Renewal Media and North Country Fellowship Church, and Cody Almanzar of The Ordinary Pastor podcast.

This will be kicking off next month, and will be exclusive to the Theology Mix podcast network.  If you haven’t subscribed to the TM RSS feed yet, this is a great reason to do so.  I will post more once we are about to begin posting, but right now the plan is to begin releasing on August 1.  Bookmark it!

Episode 29: Light For Those Who Sit in Darkness

Sermon text here.

This week’s song: My Soul Thirsts by the Loverlies

In the last episode we looked at Luke 13:1-5, where Jesus warns that death comes to all and that we must prepare our hearts, lest we be found unprepared before God.  This last week, sadly, I feel that we have found such preaching even more appropriate.  Yet even in that hope lingers.  And it is on that word, hope, which this sermon is founded.  Jesus is light for those who sit in darkness—He is hope for the hopeless.  Hope, real hope, in He that will never fail, is the foundation of our faith, and it is the reason we love.  It is the force that calls us to obedience of commands like “Love your enemy, do good to those who persecute you.”  If I have no hope, I have no reason to care about my enemy; I have no compelling reason to do good to those that persecute me if, at the end of life, there is no hope beyond—or worse yet, there is much worse beyond.

But there is hope, and that hope is Jesus Christ.  And I want to spend some time here holding him up before the people in this world that are angry, that are hurting, that are crying out for justice.

Injustice, abuse, and hatred: these are real things, real sins committed by people daily.  It is foolish to deny their existence or their effect.  It is further foolish to try to equivocate one evil against another.  Injustice begetting injustice, as we saw just a day or so ago: a man, angered by what he saw as injustice being perpetrated against his brethren, took violence into his hands and murdered people who had nothing to do with the act, and now is finding himself the subject of perfect justice.

But that’s the thing I want to point to in Christ: for the hurting, for the angry, for the confused, those wanting to understand how it is we can live in the world when people can be helplessly killed whether civilian or police officer, I want to point to Christ and say: let your desire for justice rest in him.  It is normal to feel angry about this; it is absolutely normal to desire to see wrongs righted.  Even our entertainment reflects this: how many millions upon millions of dollars are being spent now to put to film images of individuals given great power in one way or another to avenge wrong, and protect the innocent?

But perfect justice, that rights all wrongs and does good to the innocent, is not going to be done by any of us.  We will not establish that world on our own, for our desire for justice is tinged with selfishness, pride, and arrogance, with the sin that dwells in our very essence as humans.  No, that perfect justice will be done by God, and for those who believe in Jesus, it has been done on their behalf, fully, and perfectly.  If you are a person who is angry and wants to see justice, work for it here, but I call you to look to the cross and rest first in Jesus; then, you can work for justice while recognizing the fact that your hope does not lie in trying to perfect the world by yourself.  That is a fool’s errand.  No, your work to see justice done will be perfectly completed in Christ, and you can trust that not a single wrong will be unavenged by God.

Yet I also call you to look at yourself.  If your desire for justice is done without reflection of your own sin, and of the fact that you too will find yourself the subject of divine justice for the infinite number of evils you have committed against other men and against God, then you will find nothing but further frustration in your efforts.  Stop, turn, and look to the cross, the greatest injustice of all time, yet simultaneously the most perfect fulfillment of the most righteous justice that exists.  When you have looked long enough, and seen your sin that has nailed Him there, when you have felt the weight of that guilt you hold before a holy God, and the lightness of freedom in knowing that you can stand before God not as a guilty sinner, but as a righteous and adopted son of God clothed in Jesus’ work, cleansed by His blood, then turn and look back to the work you have before you to see justice done in this world.  Let the perspective of the Gospel inform your words, and your hands, and let good be done to those around you.  Love well, rest well, work hard, and trust in Him to do all things perfectly.

If you are someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one in this time, or you are just hurting and you want to find a way to deal with it, to engage the emotions you are working through in a constructive way and just find peace in the midst of turmoil, then I recommend very strongly the book Grieving: Our Path Back to Peace by Dr. James White.  You have probably heard me mention Dr. White here before and may know him from his more theological works like The God Who Justifies and The Forgotten Trinity.  But this is an excellent book that even a person in the midst of deep sadness can find hope in.  It is immensely practical, yet theologically solid as well, and it does not shy away from answering questions like “Why did God allow this to happen?” that often plague us during these times.  If you are feeling the weight of sadness, whether it is because of the turmoil going on right now or because of your own personal loss, you should get this book and read it, and follow the passages he quotes into the Scriptures to find the peace of God that passes understanding.

Episode 28: Accidents, Not Punishments

Sermon text here

This week’s song: With Peace Like A River (It Is Well) by the Loverlies

I suspect that some may consider it inappropriate or insensitive to read this sermon, in light of the recent tragedies that have been in the news, both the senseless shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and the little boy who was tragically killed on what should have been a dream vacation, to visit Disney World, by an alligator.  Even now as I write this, the news has just broken that Anton Yelchin, the young actor who played Pavel Chekov in the newest Star Trek movies, was killed as the result of what appears to be some kind of auto accident.  Wait, you might say, for healing to happen before reading this sermon.

I disagree.  I cannot think of a more appropriate time for this to be brought to the forefront.  After all, as I hope was made clear in the course of reading the sermon, Charles Spurgeon did not wait until all was calm and death could be viewed dispassionately to preach this topic.  In the weeks prior to his preaching it, not one but two terrible railway accidents had claimed many lives very suddenly.  And of course, as this was in 1861, across the ocean a terrible war was just starting to begin, one that would claim countless lives and spill much blood.  Yet we can’t look at this and just point directly from Sin A to Punishment B so simply.  Death is judgment for sin—but it is a judgment upon us all, because sin is an infection in this world and death is the only method by which it is expunged.

But as Christians, we cannot let ourselves be so haughty as to look at the suffering and pain and loss occurring in a place like Orlando and say “Well, they were engaged in sin, so we can call it judgment and move on.”  No, we are not able to because we must walk and speak in such a manner that is consistent with the message of the Gospel of Christ.  The truth is that just as easily as that man brought his weapons to a gay nightclub, he just as easily could have brought them to a mall, or to a city street, or to a church.  In fact, I suspect very much that I would not have to search very long before finding a story of churchgoers elsewhere slain in a similarly senseless manner.

I think there is a danger in reading the passage being preached on and thinking that Jesus is being callous about the deaths of the people being mentioned, whether those killed by Pilate’s men or those killed by the tower.  No, I think it is very clear that Jesus saw death very seriously, not as some sort of fake thing that didn’t matter, but as a horrible effect of sin upon the world.  He stood at the tomb of Lazarus, His friend and disciple, and wept with the mourners—and this was even knowing that He was about to bring Lazarus back to life!  No, Jesus was very direct in His response to the questioners because He did not want them to start thinking that they had any kind of superiority to them, or to make them turn aside from seeing their own sin compared to the righteousness of God, to instead compare it to the sin of others.  Jesus has great compassion on suffering, and yet He does not stop at healing it or at sympathizing.  He calls the sufferers to come to Him, to follow Him, and…to pursue more suffering in this world.  Not like some kind of monastic self-flagellation, but rather to follow after Him, to give ourselves up for the sake of others, to love others as ourselves and God above all, and to remember that this world is one that will eventually end, to give way to one that never will.

This is getting a bit long but I will encourage you, if you have the patience, to take a look at the series of blog posts I have put up over the last week, as I have attempted to address the particular questions and objections that have come up in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings.  Most importantly, I want to use even this horrible incident to point everyone to what matters most of all, to the cross and to the empty tomb.  If you are a Christian and you are in a position to minister to a suffering person, let that knowledge that Jesus calls us to empathize with the hurting drive you to dig deep in obedience.  If you are a Christian who is suffering, let the fact that Christ has passed through this road before us and now sits in glory encourage you even in your darkest hours.  And if you are one who hurts and cries out but do not know Jesus, I encourage you, do not waste a moment.  Stop holding on to things that will not last, stop clinging to the weight that drags you down in the deep farther, and look to Jesus and love Him.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace