Knowing who you are
Sat May 25, 2013
by Jeremy Pace
Resurgence roundup, 5/24/13
Fri May 24, 2013
The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
Spurgeon Sermon Notes: Church Increase
Isaiah 49: 20-21. – “The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, the place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. Then thou shalt say in thine heart, who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? And who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?”
A hopeful mood becomes the church of God, for the memories of the past, the blessings of the present, and the promises of the future are full of good cheer: "All the promises do travail with a glorious day of grace." The church lives, progresses, conquers by her faith; let her abandon despondency, as her weakness, her sin, her greatest hindrance.
Believe great things; attempt great things; expect great things.
The prophet, to remove all fear, reminds us that:
In the church there are decreases
"I have lost my children," etc. This is frequently the bitter cry of a church.
- Death invades the house of God, and takes away those who were its pillars and ornaments. But those who depart go to swell the chorus of heaven.
- Providence takes away useful persons by removal, or by excessive occupation which keeps them from holy service. The removed ones go to build up the church elsewhere: those who are lawfully detained by business are still doing the Lord's will.
- Sin causes some to backslide, wander away, or become inactive.
- But they go from us because they are not of us.
This decrease is painful, and it may go so far that a church may feel itself to be "desolate" and "left alone." Yet the Lord has not forgotten his church, for he is her Husband.
In the church we should look for increase
"The children which thou shalt have." Let us not be absorbed in lamenting losses; let us rejoice by faith in great gains which are surely coming.
- Increase is needful, or what will become of the church?
- Increase is prayed for, and God hears prayer.
- Increase can only come through God, but he will give it, and be glorified by it.
- Increase is promised in the text, and in many other Scriptures.
- Increase is to be labored for with agony of heart. "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth children."
A hopeful mood becomes the church of God, for the memories of the past, the blessings of the present, and the promises of the future are full of good cheer.
In the church increase often causes surprise
So narrow are our hearts, so weak our faith, that we are amazed when conversions are numerous.
- Because of the time: "Behold, I was left alone."
- Because of their number: "Who hath begotten me these?"
- Because of their former character: "These, where had they been?" They were not after all so very far off. Some of them were quite near to us and near to the kingdom, in the family, school, class, congregation, inquiry-room. Others were far off in irreligion, and open sin. Others were opposed through rationalism, superstition, or self-righteousness.
- Because of their good nurture: "Who hath brought up these?"
- Because of their eagerness and courage. "Shall say again in thine ears, the place is too strait for me."
- Because of their constancy. "Give place to me that I may dwell." They come to remain.
Where had they been? Say rather, "Where had we been?" that we had not long ago looked after them, and welcomed them.
In the church increase should be prepared for
We make ready for the coming of children. Is the church an unnatural mother? Will she not welcome new-born souls? We must prepare for an increase:
- By intense united prayer for it.
- By the preaching of the gospel, which is the means of it.
- By every form of Christian effort which may lead to it.
- By enlarging our bounds: "The place is too strait for me." To provide a larger audience-chamber may be a true act of faith.
- By welcoming all true-born children of God: who say, each one, “give place to me that I may dwell."
Oh, for a triumphant faith that the little one shall become a thousand! Oh, for grace to act upon such faith at once! "Believe great things; attempt great things; expect great things."
Converts come in flocks
My observation leads me to believe that, where churches are duly careful in the admission of members, they will find that their best converts come in flocks. My impression is that, when very few come forward, everybody leans towards a less exact judgment than in times when many are forthcoming. Bad fish are more likely to be taken home when fish are scarce than when they are plentiful; for then the fisherman feels more free to make a rigid selection. I say nothing about the severity or laxity of a church in receiving members, but it is incidental to human nature that when we are in a revival we become more guarded, and in dull times we are more apt to look at a convert with a hope which is rather eager than anxious. Thus I account for what I believe to be a fact, that rare converts are frequently bare converts; and that the best sheep come to us in flocks.
Dr. Judson, the devoted missionary to Myanmar, during his visit to Boston, was asked, "Do you think the prospect bright of the speedy conversion of the heathen?" "As bright," he replied, "as the promises of God."
Monday, December 22, 1800. – Creesturo, Gokol and his wife, and Felix Carey gave us their experience tonight. Brother C. concluded in prayer after we had sung, "Salvation, oh, the joyful sound!" Brother Thomas is almost mad with joy. – Diary of the Rev. W. Ward of Serampore
''I am inclined to think that a single soul is never born again, apart from the tender concern and anxiety of some creaturely heart or hearts. Probably Saul was converted in answer to the prayers of the disciples at Damascus." – John Pulsford.
Dr. Isaac Barrow, when a lad, was most unpromising. Such was his misconduct, and so irreclaimable did he seem, that his father, in despair, used to say that "if it pleased God to remove any of his children, he wished it might be his son Isaac." What became of the other and more hopeful children of the worthy linen-draper, we cannot tell; but this unworthy son lived to be the happiness and pride of his father's old age, to be one of the most illustrious members of the university to which he belonged, and one of the brightest ornaments of the church of which he became a minister.