Sermon Sunday – C.H. Spurgeon – Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

September 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats

C.H. Spurgeon

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate, even for the evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a more clever thing than hinting to the Church that part of her mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view of winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? “Go ye….” into all the world and speak the Gospel to every creature. That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, “and provide amusement for those who do not relish the Gospel.” No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…for the work of the ministry.” Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no honor roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all of His apostles. What was the attitude of the Church to the world? “Ye are the salt,” not the sugar candy….something the world will spit out, not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance: “Let the dead bury the dead.” He was in awful earnestness!

Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His mission, He would have been more popular when He and His disciples went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear Him say, “Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a new kind of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick, Peter; we must get the people somehow!” Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them. In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the gospel of amusement. Their message is, “Come out, keep out, keep clean out!” Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous of its absence. They had boundless confidence in the Gospel and employed no other weapon. After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, “Lord, grant unto Thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.” If they had ceased not for preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the Gospel.

They “turned the world upside down.” That is the only difference! Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.

Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among the young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the Church met them halfway, speak and testify. Let the heavy-laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment has been God’s link in the chain of his conversation, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt that it sets men on fire.

 

Genesis 12:10-13:1

June 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels. But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? “Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.” Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him. So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him. Continue Reading Genesis 12:10-13:1…

Genesis 6:9-22

February 7, 2011 at 11:40 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. “This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. “Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark–you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. “Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. “As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.” Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did. Continue Reading Genesis 6:9-22…

Genesis 4:1-7

December 7, 2010 at 11:49 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

This week, we begin to see what happens after the Fall. We see how quickly the sinful nature takes hold of what was once a perfect creation. If you recall, Adam and Eve have been ousted from the garden of Eden because they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They’ve returned to where Adam was made and have settled there. Imagine for a minute being the only two people on the entire planet. It was always this way, but now, things are different. Now, you don’t have fellowship with God like you used to. Now, sin and death have entered the world and everything is a little more ominous. And yet, in all of this there is hope brought about by the promise given by God.

Eventually, Adam and Eve have a child and name him Cain. When Cain is born, she says, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord”. There is something interesting here though. In many Bibles, the phrase “the help of” is in italics. That means that this phrase isn’t found in the original writings. That would make Eve’s original quote, “I have gotten a manchild with the Lord”. The implication here is that the promise was going to be fulfilled in Cain. While she was wrong about that, it does show that Eve held on to the promise that God gave her. After Cain’s birth follows Abel’s. We don’t have any idea how much time passed from the expulsion of Adam and Eve to Cain’s birth or between Cain’s birth and Abel’s but, we do know that Adam was 130 years old when Seth (the third son) was born. This means that the Fall, expulsion, birth of Cain, birth of Abel, murder of Abel, and birth of Seth all happened within 130 years of the creation.

 Again, we aren’t given any indication of what happened as the boys grew other than the jobs they took on. Abel was a tender of the flocks and Cain was a tiller of the ground. The Bible says that “in the course of time” Cain brought an offering from the fruit of the ground. For his offering, Abel brought of the first born of his flock and their fat portions. Many people gloss over this (if not the entirety of chapters 4 and 5) but it’s important. Here we see that Cain and Abel both recognize that they are to give offerings to the Lord. This must have been something that Adam and Eve taught them to do. This in turn means that it is something that Adam and Eve did. From the beginning, man has been giving offerings to the Lord. Not only that, but it shows what type of offerings they were bringing. In the next few verses, we see that the Lord regarded Abel’s sacrifice, but He didn’t regard (accept) Cain’s. Why? If Cain was a tiller of the ground and God knew that, why would He disregard his offering? The reason is simple and it points to a basic problem that man will have until Christ returns. Man wants to do things his own way instead of doing them God’s way.

How do I know this? Well, from personal experience, from seeing it happen in others, and from what God says to Cain when he gets angry. God reminds Cain that if he “does well” his countenance will be lifted up. This implies that Cain knew that he was to bring a blood sacrifice. This is what Abel brought. I would suppose that this is because of what God did when man first sinned against him in the garden. Do you remember? God killed two animals to make clothes for Adam and Eve. Abel offers a blood sacrifice in remembrance of that. Cain does not. But, there is more to it then that. When God talks to Cain, He says that if Cain does well, his countenance will be lifted up. Cain was angry and crestfallen because God didn’t accept the sacrifice that he decided to bring to him. But, God says that if he “does well” he will be lifted up again. I can’t say with certainty because scripture doesn’t say for sure, but I believe that God was showing Cain that all he had to do was offer up a blood sacrifice. I believe that if Cain would have talked to Abel and asked for or traded for a sheep or goat, Abel would have given it. Cain could have sacrificed the way that God required and Abel’s death would not have taken place.

How often do we try to manipulate things or do things our way and hope that God blesses them? We do all that we can to work and get things set up just so, and when God refuses to bless something that wasn’t the way He wanted it done, we get mad and sin against Him and others. God warns Cain (and us) that if we are angry, sin crouches at our door and waits for us, desiring us to let it in. How many times have you heard on the news about some tragedy that has taken place just because someone got angry over something? It happens all the time and usually it is for the stupidest reasons. God warns us that if we will “do well” and make sure that we do things the way that He wants us to, we will have our countenances lifted up and we will master sin!

Will you be like Abel or like Cain? In the book of 1 John, John reminds us that we are not to love one another like Cain loved Abel. Cain didn’t really love Abel. If he did, he wouldn’t have killed him. When we get angry at others for walking according to scripture and in obedience to God, do we really love them? John says that the message that we’ve heard from the beginning is to love one another. The word that John uses for love in that verse is the Greek word agape. It is the God kind of love. Many people know this and can tell you this, but can they describe it? What does agape love really look like? The greatest example of agape love is the death of Jesus on the cross for sinful mankind. He was spotless and without sin and yet, He went through the ridicule, the mocking, the scourging, the crucifixion, and the wrath of God for those who hate Him. He hung on the cross and forgave those who put Him there. This is agape love and it’s the way that Christians are supposed to love others.

As we end this week, let me ask you: Do you love with agape love? Are you prepared to die for someone else? Someone that isn’t in your family? Someone that hates you? Someone that you don’t like? This is agape

As always, comments, questions, suggestions, and complaints are welcome. Just leave them below and I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can. Next week we continue with the murder of Abel. See you then!

A buried treasure

November 13, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Think of something precious to you. Not someone, some thing. Maybe this is a ring that has been handed down in your family for generations. Maybe this is a tool your grandfather gave you. It may be something from a loved one who is no longer here. Whatever it is, think about it. Could you describe it to me? What color is it? How big is it? What is it made of? Does it have any distinguishing features? Do you remember the day that you got it? Where you were? What was going on when you got it?

For most of us this exercise comes pretty easily. As humans, we hold on to those things that we hold dear. The things that are most important to use have a prominent place in our hearts. Now, think back on that object that is precious to you. See yourself holding it (if possible). Now imagine that you took the item outside; somewhere in your backyard. And you dug a hole, dropped that precious object into it, covered it back up with dirt, and tamped it down. Continue Reading A buried treasure…

What is the church?

June 28, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It seems like such an innocent question doesn’t it? Logic would say that there should be a simple definition for what the church is and that should be that. Unfortunately, there isn’t. Well, I take that back. There is a simple definition of what the church is. A large number of those who profess Christ even seem to know what this definition is. What’s odd is that, while they know the definition, it doesn’t match up with what they are living out. Taken to the next level, this same oddity seems to be true for local churches. Attendees can give the Sunday school answer for the question but, looking at the church/individual, there’s a discrepancy. Before I go where I’m going, it would be helpful to have the definition of what the church is according to the Bible: Continue Reading What is the church?…

False Teachers

May 10, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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With all of the different events taking place in the church and all of the men and women who claim to be preaching the gospel, a question arises. How do you know? How can you be sure that the man (or woman) that you are hearing speak is actually speaking the truth? Some talk about how they’ve heard from God and how God “told them” things. Others proclaim that the growth and size of their ministries is proof that God is “blessing” them. There are many “preachers” today, especially in America, and all of them profess to be Bible-believing, truth-preaching, Christians. But are they?

 In the New Testament, there are a number of passages of scripture that should give us pause before we go proclaiming that “Pastor so and so” is the next “up and coming” pastor. Unfortunately, a number of people in the church seem to go by appearance or charm. Others go by whether or not the one preaching agrees with what they already believe. We go by sound or size of the church or by popularity or by relevancy.

 So, how should Christians be testing their pastors/preachers and other people claiming to do the work of God?  Continue Reading False Teachers…

What has God done for me?

March 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Many people today, inside and outside the church, have become focused on self. They are all about them and what they can do. They often don’t know or care what God has done for them. Those who aren’t professing Christians can’t see that their very life is a gift from God. Sadly, this affects the gospel. When people don’t understand what God has done for them or why He did it, is cheapens the gospel and lessens the effect the good news can have in a person’s life. When pastors don’t preach the true gospel, the people listening don’t receive what they need to hear to help them understand who God is and what He’s done for them. Continue Reading What has God done for me?…

Dancing with Wolves

January 25, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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In day and time that we live, it seems like the eyes of the church have dimmed and its resolve has ebbed. It seems like we have dropped our guard, slid down the slope, and lowered our standards to the point that they’re already met. We’ve laid down our truth, our history, and the thousands of years of strong, steadfast, examples in favor of one shot, quick flash, celebrities and watery pastors. All of this in the name of “hope” and “reaching out” to the lost.

The scriptures talk about things like this happening in the last days:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30) Continue Reading Dancing with Wolves…

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