LOVE: THE KEY TO DIVINE VISITATION


 
LOVE: THE KEY TO DIVINE VISITATION

Hebrews 13:2
 God is love, therefore those who desire to have an encounter with God must walk in love. An encounter with love is an encounter with God.

1 John 4:8
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
New Living Translation
But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
English Standard Version
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Berean Study Bible
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Berean Literal Bible
The one not loving has not known God, because God is love.
New American Standard Bible
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
King James Bible
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
International Standard Version
The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
NET Bible
The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Because God is love, and everyone who does not love does not know God.
GOD'S WORD® Translation
The person who doesn't love doesn't know God, because God is love.
New American Standard 1977
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Jubilee Bible 2000
He that does not love does not know God, for God is charity.
King James 2000 Bible
He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version
He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American Standard Version
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Douay-Rheims Bible
He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity.
Darby Bible Translation
He that loves not has not known God; for God is love.
English Revised Version
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Webster's Bible Translation
He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.
Weymouth New Testament
He who is destitute of love has never had any knowledge of God; because God is love.
World English Bible
He who doesn't love doesn't know God, for God is love.
Young's Literal Translation
he who is not loving did not know God, because God is love.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
4:7-13 The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love. He that does not love the image of God in his people, has no saving knowledge of God. For it is God's nature to be kind, and to give happiness. The law of God is love; and all would have been perfectly happy, had all obeyed it. The provision of the gospel, for the forgiveness of sin, and the salvation of sinners, consistently with God's glory and justice, shows that God is love. Mystery and darkness rest upon many things yet. God has so shown himself to be love, that we cannot come short of eternal happiness, unless through unbelief and impenitence, although strict justice would condemn us to hopeless misery, because we break our Creator's laws. None of our words or thoughts can do justice to the free, astonishing love of a holy God towards sinners, who could not profit or harm him, whom he might justly crush in a moment, and whose deserving of his vengeance was shown in the method by which they were saved, though he could by his almighty Word have created other worlds, with more perfect beings, if he had seen fit. Search we the whole universe for love in its most glorious displays? It is to be found in the person and the cross of Christ. Does love exist between God and sinners? Here was the origin, not that we loved God, but that he freely loved us. His love could not be designed to be fruitless upon us, and when its proper end and issue are gained and produced, it may be said to be perfected. So faith is perfected by its works. Thus it will appear that God dwells in us by his new-creating Spirit. A loving Christian is a perfect Christian; set him to any good duty, and he is perfect to it, he is expert at it. Love oils the wheels of his affections, and sets him on that which is helpful to his brethren. A man that goes about a business with ill will, always does it badly. That God dwells in us and we in him, were words too high for mortals to use, had not God put them before us. But how may it be known whether the testimony to this does proceed from the Holy Ghost? Those who are truly persuaded that they are the sons of God, cannot but call him Abba, Father. From love to him, they hate sin, and whatever disagrees with his will, and they have a sound and hearty desire to do his will. Such testimony is the testimony of the Holy Ghost.




Pulpit Commentary
Verse 8. - In giving the opposite, St. John again varies the thought, this time very remarkably. Instead of "love is of God" (verse 7), we have "God is Love" - a far deeper thought; and instead of "knoweth not God," we have "knew not God," or, as we should say in English, "hath not known" or "never knew God." The man's not loving his brother shows that in no real sense has he ever in the past known God: he is of the world (chapter 3:1), not of God. We must beware of watering down "God is Love" into "God is loving," or even "God of all beings is the most loving." Love is not a mere attribute of God; like light, it is his very nature. As "God is Light" sums up the Being of God intellectually considered, so "God is Love" sums up the same on the moral side. Only when this strong meaning is given to the statement does St. John's argument hold, that "he that loveth not knoweth not God." A man who has no idea of any one of the attributes of God, as order, or beauty, or power, or justice, has an imperfect knowledge of God. But he who has no idea of love has no knowledge of God, for love is himself. God alone loves in the fullest and highest sense of the word; for he alone loves with perfect disinterestedness. It is love which alone can explain creation. Why should a Being perfectly blessed in himself create other beings, but to bestow a blessing upon them?
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that loveth not, knoweth not God,.... If a man loves not the children of God, those that are born of him, he does not know, so as to love God, the Father of them; for to pretend love to God, the begetter of them, whom he sees not, and not love those who are begotten by him, and are visible objects of respect, is a contradiction, and cannot be reconciled: see 1 John 4:20. This clause is left out in the Ethiopic version, and is transposed in the Syriac version, which reads the text thus, "for God, is love, and whoever loveth not, knoweth not God". By which reading, the following reason stands in close connection with 1 John 4:7.
For God is love; he loves himself; there is an entire love between the three divine Persons, who are in the strictest, and in the most inconceivable and inexpressible manner affected to each other; their love is natural and essential: God loves all his creatures as such, nor does he hate any of them, as so considered; and he bears an everlasting, unchangeable, and invariable love to his elect in Christ Jesus; of which an instance is given in the following verses, and is a reason why the saints should love one another; that they might be like their heavenly Father, by whom they are begotten, and of whom they are born, and whose children they are; seeing he is love itself, and in his breast is nothing else but love. So the Shekinah is, by the Cabalistic Jews (t), called "love".
(t) Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 15. 1. & Lex. Cabal. p. 43, 44.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. knoweth not—Greek aorist: not only knoweth not now, but never knew, has not once for all known God.
God is love—There is no Greek article to love, but to God; therefore we cannot translate, Love is God. God is fundamentally and essentially LOVE: not merely is loving, for then John's argument would not stand; for the conclusion from the premises then would be this, This man is not loving: God is loving; therefore he knoweth not God IN SO FAR AS God is loving; still he might know Him in His other attributes. But when we take love as God's essence, the argument is sound: This man doth not love, and therefore knows not love: God is essentially love, therefore he knows not God.
1 John 4:8 Additional Commentaries


Context
Love Comes from God
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.…
Cross References
1 John 3:10
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Treasury of Scripture
He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
knoweth.
God is.
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Alphabetical: because does for God is know love not one The who Whoever
NT Letters: 1 John 4:8 He who doesn't love doesn't know God (1J iJ 1Jn i jn 1 jo) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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Hebrews 13:2




Hebrews 13:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
New Living Translation
Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
English Standard Version
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Berean Study Bible
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Berean Literal Bible
Do not be forgetful of hospitality, for through this, some have entertained angels unawares.
New American Standard Bible
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
King James Bible
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Don't neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.
International Standard Version
Stop neglecting to show hospitality to strangers, for by showing hospitality some have had angels as their guests without being aware of it.
NET Bible
Do not neglect hospitality, because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And do not forget kindness to strangers, for by this, some who, while they were unaware, were worthy to receive Angels.
GOD'S WORD® Translation
Don't forget to show hospitality to believers you don't know. By doing this some believers have shown hospitality to angels without being aware of it.
New American Standard 1977
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Jubilee Bible 2000
Do not forget to show hospitality; for thereby some, having entertained angels, were kept.
King James 2000 Bible
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
American King James Version
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
American Standard Version
Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Douay-Rheims Bible
And hospitality do not forget; for by this some, being not aware of it, have entertained angels.
Darby Bible Translation
Be not forgetful of hospitality; for by it some have unawares entertained angels.
English Revised Version
Forget not to shew love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Webster's Bible Translation
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for by this some have entertained angels unawares.
Weymouth New Testament
Do not neglect to show kindness to strangers; for, in this way, some, without knowing it, have had angels as their guests.
World English Bible
Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Young's Literal Translation
of the hospitality be not forgetful, for through this unawares certain did entertain messengers;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
13:1-6 The design of Christ in giving himself for us, is, that he may purchase to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; and true religion is the strongest bond of friendship. Here are earnest exhortations to several Christian duties, especially contentment. The sin opposed to this grace and duty is covetousness, an over-eager desire for the wealth of this world, with envy of those who have more than ourselves. Having treasures in heaven, we may be content with mean things here. Those who cannot be so, would not be content though God raised their condition. Adam was in paradise, yet not contented; some angels in heaven were not contented; but the apostle Paul, though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in any state, to be content. Christians have reason to be contented with their present lot. This promise contains the sum and substance of all the promises; I will never, no, never leave thee, no, never forsake thee. In the original there are no less than five negatives put together, to confirm the promise: the true believer shall have the gracious presence of God with him, in life, at death, and for ever. Men can do nothing against God, and God can make all that men do against his people, to turn to their good.
Pulpit Commentary
Verse 2. - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers (or, of hospitality): for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Allusions to this duty are frequent in the Epistles; its exercise would be of especial importance, in those days of persecution, towards scattered and destitute brethren as well as towards missionaries, though it by no means appears that it was meant to be confined to "them that are of the household of faith." Possibly some of the wavering Hebrew Christians might be becoming less ready to open their doors to the persecuted from fear of "reproach" in Jewish circles. The allusion of the latter part of the verse is evidently to Abraham and Lot (Genesis 18. and 19.). At any time the visits even of our fellow-men may be to us as visits of angels, as being messengers of God's purposes for good when least expected. And especially to be noted are our Lord's own words, "He that receiveth you receiveth me," etc., and "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers,.... By whom are meant, not unconverted men, who are strangers to God and Christ, and the covenants of promise; nor saints, who are as pilgrims and strangers in this world; but such as are of another country, and are unknown; and even though wicked men, they are not excluded; though such as are obliged to quit their own country for righteousness sake are chiefly designed; all strangers in distress are meant, and hospitality is to be exercised towards them; which lies negatively in doing nothing to distress them, and positively in providing food, raiment, lodging, &c. for them, and in comforting, counselling, and directing them in all matters in which they may stand in need thereof: and that this is a duty, appears from the light of nature, and practices of the Heathens, Acts 28:2, from the express law of God, Deuteronomy 10:19 and many others made in favour of strangers, binding on the Jews; from the sundry exhortations to it in the New Testament, Romans 12:13 and from the exhortation here not to forget it; and from the great regard which Christ will show to such as mind it, and his disregard to others at the last day: the persons who are to exercise it are not only the ministers of the Gospel, who should be given to hospitality; but all the saints, even the meaner sort are not exempted, but should use it according to their ability; though it is chiefly binding on those that are rich. And this should not be forgot, but pursued and followed after; it should be frequently performed; men should be given, and used to it; it should be done without grudging, and in a friendly and loving manner:
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares; as Abraham, Genesis 18:1, he knew them not to be angels at first; they appeared as men, and he treated them as such; but they were angels, yea, one of them was Jehovah himself; and hereby he received many favours, Genesis 18:10, and Lot, Genesis 19:1 who knew not that they were angels he took into his house; but they were, and he was delivered by them from the burning of Sodom; yea, some have unawares, this way, entertained Christ himself, Luke 24:15 and indeed, entertaining of his members is entertaining him, Matthew 25:38. It is an observation of a Jewish writer (r) upon the first of these instances;
"from hence we learn (says he) how great is the strength (or virtue) of the reception of travellers (or hospitality), as the Rabbins of blessed memory say, greater is , "hospitality", than the reception of the face of the Shechinah.''
And this is said to be one of the six things which a man enjoys the fruit of in this world, and for which there remains a reward in the world to come (s). 

Context
Love for Brothers
1Let love of the brethren continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.…
Cross References
Genesis 18:1
The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.
Genesis 18:2
Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
Genesis 19:1
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.
Isaiah 58:7
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Matthew 25:35
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
Romans 12:13
Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
1 Timothy 3:2
Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
1 Peter 4:9
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
3 John 1:5
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you.
Treasury of Scripture
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
not.
some.
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SEPTEMBER 2015 – THE MONTH OF DIVINE VISITATION



Men may talk all the time, but God’s spirit talks as He wills (1 John 7:1-8). When He talks, power talks. The time of men is always right but God’s time is the best. When God moves, power moves.

WELCOME TO

SEPTEMBER – THE MONTH OF DIVINE VISITATION.

GEN 18:1-10

Just like God visited Abraham and sarah, He will visit you this month. I decree your season of Divine Visitation in Jesus’ Name.



Genesis 18:1-10 New International Version (NIV)
The Three Visitors
18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,[a] do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[b] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said.
10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 18:3 Or eyes, Lord
  2. Genesis 18:6 That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms



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REIGNING BY GRACE


 
              REIGNING BY GRACE
 Visit your favorite retailer to download a free copy of GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION FOR YOU by Kum Eric Tso or simply click here: smashwords.com to go the author's page.
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 “So that as sin has reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:21.

I SHALL not pretend to enter into the fullness of this text, but merely select that topic, “grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Our apostle represents man as being subject to two great kings. Sin is the grim tyrant, to whom, in the first place, man has bowed his willing neck. The reign of sin is a reign of terror and delusion; it promises pleasure, but being full of all manner of deceivableness, of unrighteousness, it gives pain even in this world—and in the world to come—eternal death! An awful contemplation is that of the reign of
sin. 

Permitted to come into this world as a usurper—having mounted its throne upon the heart of man by flattering blandishments, and crafty pleasantries, it was not long before it fully developed itself. Its first act was to smite Eden with blast and mildew by its breath; its next act was to slay the second child of man, and that by the hand of the eldest-born. 

Since then, its reign has been scarlet with blood, black with iniquity, and fraught with everything that can make the heart of man sad and wretched! Oh sin, you tyrant monster, all the demons that ever sat upon the throne of Rome were never such as you are! And all the men, who, from the wild north, have come forth as the scourges of man, the destroying angels of our race, though they have waded up to their knees in the blood of mortals, have never been so terrible as you are! 

You have reigned in death and that an eternal death—a death from which there shall be no resurrection—a death which casts souls into an eternal grave—a grave of fire! Our apostle now changes the subject, and represents man under the gracious state, as rejoicing in another government, ruled by another king. Just as sin has reigned, and with despotic and irresistible power has ground his subjects in the very dust, and then cast them into the flames, so divine grace with irresistible goodness, compel the chosen multitude to yield obedience, and thus prepares them for eternal bliss. Look, it lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, and makes him to sit among princes! 

Mark its shining course, and behold it blessing the sons of man wherever it stretches out its silver scepter, chasing away the misery of night, and giving the gladsomeness of gospel day; sending back the fiends of discord
and of cruelty, to the dens from which they once escaped. See its bidding the angels of mercy keep perpetual watch and ward over the sons of Adam who have given themselves up to its sway of the kingdom of grace!

My business this morning is not with sin, but with grace—a pleasing and a glowing theme. May God fill souls, and touch our tongue, that we may speak of those things which we have made touching the king, and may God greatly bless what shall be said to each of our hearts!

I shall invite you, first of all, to see grace in its reigning acts; and then I shall bid you come with joy and wonder, and behold grace as it sits upon its throne. I. First, then, I shall need your attention to a series of pictures, in which you shall see grace manifesting its REIGNING POWER and reigning, too, in places the most unlikely ever to have yielded to its power. Come with me then, brothers and sisters, and I will take you in spirit to the Valley of Vision. 

See, strewn there among the rugged rocks, the bleached and dried bones of the house of Israel—a skull there, and the arm which once was allied to it, scattered so far apart that human wisdom could not bring them bone to bone, much less could human strength clothe the bones with flesh. Death reigns there—that irresistible all-subduing power, before whom monarchs and all their armies, though they be number-less as the host of Xerxes, must bow themselves. O, Death, we come this day to see you defeated, to see you cast from your throne! 

But who shall do it? Come forth, you ministers of Christ, and see what you can do. Here are souls spiritually dead—no, dry—as far away from hope as the bones of the morgue are from life! Come, you ministers, attune your eloquence and see what you can do! 

Behold, Chrysostom speaks, the golden-mouthed John showers forth his marvelous sentences, but the bones stir not. And now Whitefield speaks with seraph voice as though he would move heaven and earth, but there is not a motion among those crisp particles that once might have lived, but which live no more. 

Come, Isaiah, and let us hear your thundering appeals, or you, Jeremy, cannot your tears bedew these bones with the circulating drops of life? Come, Ezekiel, with your eagle eyes, and with your soaring wing, or you, Daniel, with your fiery words piercing through the thick clouds of the future and exposing, as with lightning fire, the glory that is to come! I hear them speak, and seer follows seer in noble emulation of earnest utterance, but the dry bones move not! 

They are locked in the fell embrace of death, and life comes not to them even by these living words. Alas, eloquence, and human might and wisdom, and rhetoric and logic—yes, and zeal and earnestness, and God-given passion—cannot wake the soul of the spiritually dead!

Though all the men whom God has chosen to be His representatives from the beginning of the reign of
grace even to the end thereof—though all should strive and persuade, and plead with eloquence that might move a rock, yet souls dead in trespasses and sin could not and would not live by power so weak as this! Come, you apostles and confessors, Paul, and Peter, and John, and all the holy brotherhood of inspired ambassadors! Come, I say, and spend your strength in vain, for apart from divine grace, you
cannot charm the dull cold ear of death, or stir the lifelessness of a spirit dead in sins! 

And now Moses, you who did smite the first-born of Egypt, the chief of all her strength—come you forth and lift up the fiery tablets of stone, and bid these men live by the works of the law. But no, he declines the futile task; he knows that he is of no power to deal with souls that are dead! 

But hearken, the divine Voice exclaims with trumpet voice, “Almighty grace, arise and quicken these dead souls,” and behold, grace stands before you, in angel form—no, better, inthe form of man, or rather incarnate God—and I hear Him say, “Thus says the Lord, You dry bones live!” Listen to the rustling as every bone hastens to its fellow!
Look how the skeleton starts upright, and how the flesh grows on the frame! “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live!” 

It is done, and in the place of a morgue, you see an army, and what once seemed to bethe rubbish and sweepings of a tomb now stands before you a great host as the host of God, a host of men full of life and who shall soon be clothed with glory! “Grace reigns unto eternal life.”

Ah, do you understand this parable? Has this act ever beenperformed in you? Oh, there are some of you over whom a mother wept, and for whom a father prayed; and many a time have these eyes wept for you, too! I have longed for your soul’s salvation,and sought out goodly words which might move your heart. But you were like the deaf adder, you would not hear nor be charmed—charm we ever so wisely.

Ah, but glory be to God, you heard at last! How was it? How was it, I say? Speak! Speak, you who have
been brought out from spiritual death, how was it accomplished? By the might of the creature? By the power of the law? By the energy of nature? “No,” unanimously you cry, “God’s grace has done it! God’s grace has reigned in us unto eternal life.”

Rest awhile and now come with me and behold another scene. The man is alive; he has been quickened—but no sooner is he quickened than he feels the terrible bondage of sin! See him yonder? I see him now in vision before my very eyes. He is a man who has been a drunkard, a swearer, and all else that is vile. All manner of sins has he committed, but now he feels that this mode of life will surely end in eternal death, and he, therefore, longs to escape. 

But see how he is bound with a hundred chains and held in bondage by seven fierce and strong devils! See him yonder? The hot sweat is on his brow while he strives to free his right arm of one huge bloated devil, called drunkenness, who seeks to hold him down and rivet the fetters about his wrist. Look how he struggles with foot and hand, for he is a prisoner everywhere, like Laocoon of old, whom the serpents enfolded from head to foot, although he strove to tear away those awful folds, and to escape the jaws which stained his holy fillets with their venom! Shall that man ever be delivered? Can that slave of lust snap fetters so strong, which have for years been about him till they have grown into his very flesh and become part of his nature? Shall those lips be freed from the propensity to swear? Can that heart be delivered from pride? Shall that foot be so turned from all its paths that it shall hate the road of wickedness? And shall those eyes no longer be filled with lust and crime, but shall they flash with purity and joy? Come here, sirs, you who are wise; you who understand how to reform mankind—come and ply your arts upon him and see what you can do! 

The man sincerely longs to be delivered, but when he thinks he has pulled off one coil of the old serpent, lo—like a huge constrictor, it has folded itself again! He goes back again, like the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. There seems for him no deliverance. His nature still is vile, and though he longs to be free, yet that nature has the mastery over him. 

Oh, some of you know what this means! You know how you took the pledge, perhaps a dozen times, but you broke it as often. You know how you promised yourself you would never curse God again, butin a moment of passion you were overpowered, and again the oath came trembling from your tongue! All these things—all your resolutions and your vows were powerless! They could not deliver you; they could not set you free. 

But divine grace—come here and see what you can do! Grace speaks the word and says, “Get you hence, Satan—away, you fiends—let the man be free!” And free he is, no more to be a slave! Now he hates the things which once he loved; now he abhors the vices in which he once indulged. Now to be holy is not hard for him—it would be far harder to make him live in sin as once he did! His nature is changed! 

Grace has so entirely created new the man, that he is a new creature in Christ Jesus, and he runs with delight and joy in all the paths of holiness. Grace has done it. Grace reigns unto eternal life!

But now come with me to another scene. There in the prison of conviction, bound in affliction and iron—there sits a miserable wretch. The walls of his dungeon are of solid granite, and the door is of brass, with many bolts most fast and firm. The captive sits both day and night with tangled hair, weeping, weeping, and weeping! Ask him why, and his answer is, “I have sinned—I have sinned and I cannot
look up. Beneath me there is the yawning gulf of death, and deeper still a devouring hell! Above me there is an angry God and a judgment seat blazing with vengeance; within me there is an accusing conscience, the foretaste of the wrath to come!” “But is there not hope for you?” “No,” he says, “none. 

I am righteously bound, and it is only long-suffering mercy which spares me yet a little while, for if I had my due deserts, I would be taken out to execution and that at once.” Oh, come here, you sons of mirth, and see what you can do for this poor prisoner. Can your music and your dancing open yonder gates, or shake those granite walls? Come here, you who are masters of the art of consolation, see what you can do! 

But as one who sings songs to a sad heart, and as vinegar upon niter, so are you. In vain even the minister, himself, who knowing the blessings of the gospel, sets before that man the grace of Christ, and the riches of His love! All that the minister can say, though sent of God, seems but to plunge him deeper in the mire! “Ah,” groans the mourner, “Christ is merciful, but I have no part in Him. 

Yes, I know He is able to save the chief of sinners, but not such a one as I am. My heart is too hard, too vile.” He puts from him the way of salvation, and goes back to his cold stony state, weeping, weeping, weeping, both by night and day! Grace, come and see if you can reign even here. I see Him come, and bearing in His hand the cross, He speaks to the prisoner and cries, “Look here, look here,” and oh, let us wonder to tell it, when the prisoner lifts his eyes, he sees a Savior bleeding on the tree, and in a moment a smile takes the place of his sorrow! He receives the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. 

“Rise, rise,” says grace, “you are free, you are free! Shake yourself from the dust; pluck off your sackcloth, and put on your beautiful garments. Lo,” He says, “see what I have done.” And He breaks the gates of brass, and cuts the bars of iron in pieces. As the walls of Jericho fell down before the blast of the trumpet, so fall the walls of the dungeon, and the man finds himself rejoicing, and glad, and free—an heir of heaven, a child of God, his feet are set upon the rock, and his goings are established! 

Oh, grace divine, what have you done? You are indeed triumphant, O reigning grace, where despair itself had triumphed! Thus have I painted you three pictures. O that I had the hands of those mighty masters who could depict these things until they stood out visibly before your eyes! I shall need your patience this morning—I know I shall have your attention as I take you from place to place and show you how God’s grace reigns. 

And now, the sinner set free both from the chains of his old lusts and of his old despairing, says within himself— “I’ll to the gracious king approach, Whose scepter mercy gives; Perhaps He may command my touch, And then the suppliant lives.” I see him journeying towards a palace exceedingly fair and beautiful to look upon. As he enters the gate, he hears a whisper in his heart which is, “This is the palace of justice, you will be driven forth with shame from these walls, for you are too vile to have an audience here.” Ah, but says he—
“I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try!
For if I stay away I know
I must forever die.”

He traverses the passages of the house with beating heart, until at last he comes to the audience chamber and there, enthroned on light, he beholds a glorious king. The sinner dares not so much as look up, for he knows not whether he shall feel devouring fire, or whether mercy shall speak to him with her silver voice. He trembles; he all but faints. When lo, reigning grace who sits smiling upon a throne of love, stretches out its scepter and says, “Live, live.” 

At that sound, the sinner revives; he looks up, and before he has fully seen the wondrous vision, he hears another voice—“Your sins which are many are all forgiven you. I have blotted out like a cloud your iniquities, and like a thick cloud your sins. I have chosen you and not cast you away,” And now, the sinner bowing low before the throne of mercy, begins to kiss its feet with rapture and delight, and mercy cries, “Rise, rise, my beloved one! I have put a fair jewel upon your neck. 


I have clothed you with ornaments—I have decked you with pearls and precious stones as a bridegroom decks out his bride. Go, then, and rejoice, for you are my son who was lost, but are found, who was dead, but is alive again.” Never, perhaps, does grace seem more glorious than when, with the silver scepter in her hand, she touches the despairing, fainting sinner and cries, “Live.” My soul remembers that glad hour. I speak from out of the fullness of my heart. Oh, you golden moment, you shall never be forgotten, when mercy said, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.”

But we must pass on. The man has now become a forgiven one—a saint—but grace has not ceased to reign, nor has he ceased to need its reign. It is after sin is forgiven that the battle begins! If we had only grace enough to transform us from sinners into saints, it were not worth having, because saints would soon return to their sins—unless grace were constantly bestowed. 

And now let me show you a saint after he has been renewed by grace. There he stands, sir, and did you ever see a man in such a position as that! You have heard of battles, and you have sometimes read the story of some valiant hero around whom the battle made fearful center. He had to fight, with horses slain beneath him, standing on heaps of bodies which he had slain; behold his ardor, his courage, his burning valor, as he finds that he is the target for all arrows; that all the battle-axes and the spears are dashed and thrust against his person—that every son of wrath is thirsting for his blood! See now, he hurls about him a hail of iron blows; right, left, and all around, his sword sweeps in awful circle. 

Now such is the true Christian—such and yet more solemn is his position. There has never such a fight been seen on earth as that man must wage who hopes to enter into the kingdom of heaven, for no sooner are we converted than at once hell is alive against us, and earth is on fire with anger—and we have both earth and hell to dispute our salvation!

Young Christian do you tremble? Let me do with you as Elias did with his servant of old. Young man, you see horses and chariots that are innumerable—come with me and I will pray for you and touch yours eyes. What see you now? “Oh,” he says, “I see the mountain full of horses of fire, and chariots of fire that are round about Elijah!” Blessed be His name, it is no vision—it is the very truth of God—“More are they who are for us, than all they who are against us.” 

And if the fray thickens, angels shall rush to the valley with their good swords to drive back the foe and the standard-bearer shall not fall, though fall full well he may! The soldier of Christ shall stand, for underneath him are the everlasting arms! He shall tread upon his enemies, and shall destroy them, in the words of Deborah of old, “Oh my soul, you have trod down strength.” So then, grace reigns in the thick battle of temptation, and makes those who are the subjects of its kingdom more than conquerors through Him who has loved them!

To push still further: The man, being kept in temptation, has a work to do for his Lord. I have often felt that there is no case where grace reigns more powerfully than in the use which God makes of such poor, infirm, feeble, decrepit creatures as His servants are. Let me show you a picture of grace reigning. Do you see Peter there in Pilate’s hall, afraid of a little maid? He denies his Master, and with oaths and curses, he says, “I know not the man.” Wait awhile. Some six or seven weeks have passed, and there is a great crowd in the streets. 


There is a multitude gathered from all countries—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia. Who is to preach to them—who shall be the minister? Grace—to your honor let it be told—you did not select John, who stood at the foot of the cross, nor he who was surnamed Zelotes, because of his zealousness—no, Peter, who denied his Master, must come forth to acknowledge Him afresh! And here he comes. I think I see him. Perhaps as he ascends the place where he is to speak, his heart whispers to him, “Simon, son of Jonas, what are you doing here? The cock crows, Simon, and it reminds you that you denied your Lord; what are you doing here?” And then conscience seemed to say, “Are you the man to be a preacher—you? Give place. Can you hope to do any good, or to save immortal souls, such a feeble head-strong, presumptuous worm as you are?” But grace is with him! Grace has touched his lips, and the cloven tongue is like a sword of fire within his mouth!

He comes forward—and he begins to speak. Soon the heavenly fire descends from Him, upon the multitude, and that day, 3,000 baptisms tell what God can do, and how grace can reign in the feeblest instrumentality! I am the living witness that God can make use of the weakest means to accomplish the mightiest results! In that day when you shall review the sling of David, and the ox-goad of Shamgar; when you shall have to look back upon Jael’s nail, and these little things which have done great exploits, then shall I beg you to write down my name as that of one by whom many souls have been saved, but who, himself, has wondered more than you all, whenever God has blessed him, and whenever a soul has been saved by such an unworthy one! Grace, grace, you can prevail! You have done it; You can make use of the meanest instruments to produce the grandest effects and to increase Your glory among men!

I must still trespass upon you while I take you to another spot, to show you how grace can reign where you little think it would ever live at all. The sea is agitated with a great storm, and a man has just been thrown into the sea; it is Jonah. A fish has swallowed him. That fish dives into unfathomable depths, till the ocean has covered up both fish and prophet. The earth with her bars is about him forever; the weeds are wrapped about his head. As the creature sucks in mouthful after mouthful of its food, there lies this man and yet he lives! Divine grace is there preserving his life! 

Grace was there, even when the fish was led to swallow him, but can that man ever find deliverance? Is he not in trouble too great, and cast out from the very presence of God? Listen! He groans out of the darkness of that living prison; he begins to cry towards the temple of God. grace, grace, come forth—He divides the sea—He speaks to Leviathan—he comes up upon the dry land; he vomits forth the prophet and he lives! Have you ever seen the like of that in your own case? Have you ever been in a strait and a trouble so difficult that you imagined there was no deliverance? If you ever have, I turn you to your own history as an illustration of how grace can reign in redeeming you out of the most terrible trials! I tell you brothers and sisters, if all the troubles that ever came from heaven; all the persecutions that ever came from earth; and all the afflictions that ever arose from hell could meet on your poor devoted head, the reigning grace of God would make you master of them all! 

You have never need to fear! Storms are the triumph of His art and grace can steer the ship the better for tempestuous waves! Trust in the Lord, and do good; rest on His grace, and hope in His mercy. When the water is very deep, He will put His hand beneath your chin, so that you shall not lose your breath. Or if you shall sink, He will sink with you; and if you should go to the very bottom, He will be at the very bottom with you! Wherever you go, He will be your companion,
saying to you, “Fear not, I will help you. I will be with you. 

When you go through the waters, you shall not be drowned, and when you go through the fire, you shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon you.” I have thus shown you grace reigning in the midst of spiritual death, spiritual bondage, spiritual despair—grace reigning in the effort of judgment, grace in the battle of temptation, grace in the quagmires of infirmity, and grace triumphant in the midst of our direst afflictions! I need to give you but one other picture—grace reigning in the hour of death—and triumphing in the moment of our entrance into heaven! 

Last Friday evening, as I lay upon my bed having been much tossed about, and tempted and tried, it pleased God to visit His servant and cheer him somewhat. And among many sweet thoughts which gladdened my mind, I fell into a half-asleep and half-awake state, and I thought I saw an angel who came from the upper skies, and who had in his hand a crown. 

He said to me, “You have fought the good fight, behold your reward.” And I waved my hand and said, “No, no, I cannot receive it! I am not worthy of it; I cannot take it.” He said, “Heaven lies before you—enter.” And I said, “No, I cannot. I deserve it not. I have no claim to any reward, no right to any rest, though it will be given to the children of God.” And he looked at me, and he said, “It is of grace and not of merit.” 

Then I thought I would take the crown, but lo, I awoke and the dream was over! Yes, and I mused on that a long, long while, and I thought, if heaven were by merit, it would never be heaven to me, for if I were even in it, I would say, “I am sure I am here by mistake; I am sure this is not my place; it is not my heaven. I have no claim to it.” I would walk among the redeemed, with their golden harps, and say, “No, no, you have what you have fought for, and have won, but I am an intruder here.” I would be afraid of losing an inheritance to which I had no title, and of being cast out, at last, from a portion which I had no right to have obtained. But if it is of God’s grace, and not of works—why, then, we may walk into heaven with boldness! 

We may receive the crown with gladness, and sit down with the redeemed with joy and confidence! I proclaim I never could enter heaven, even if I might, if it were not of divine grace! I dare not in common honesty enter. Neither you nor I could claim a reward, or could ever dare to take it as a merited recompense. It must be given simply of God’s free love and covenant faithfulness, or else, indeed, when given we should seem like robbers who had taken to ourselves what was not ours, and should always feel that the possession was not safe, because the title was not sound. It is of grace, then. 

And so, beloved, when you come to die, grace shall bear you up in the midst of Jordan and you shall say, “I feel the bottom and it is good.” When the cold waters shall chill your blood, grace shall warm your heart! When the eyes gather the death-glaze, and the light of earth is being shut out from you forever, grace shall lift the curtains of heaven and give you visions of eternity! And when at last the spirit leaps from time into eternal space, then grace shall be with you to conduct you to your Father’s house! And when the judgment throne is set, grace shall put you on the right hand; grace shall robe you about with Jesus’ righteousness; grace shall make you bold to stand where sinners tremble, and grace shall say to you, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”— “It lays in heaven the topmost stone.

And well deserves the praise.”
And now I have conducted you into the many scenes, or rather into a few of them, where grace reigns. I want you now if you can before we close, to take by faith a view of GRACE SITTING ON ITS THRONE.

Be gone vain thoughts; far removed be every worldly imagination! We are about to come into an awful presence, and well may we cry, “Take off your shoes, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground.” I think I see the throne of grace! It is but through a glass darkly, but these eyes behold it. 

The throne is placed upon the eternal hills of God’s immutable purpose and decree. Deep settled in unfailing wisdom, and unswerving love, these mountains never move. There they stand. While nature changes, they move not, and though the sun may rise and set, they abide forever and forevermore the same! The throne, itself, standing upon those lofty hills, has for its pedestal, divine fidelity, divine faithfulness, and the eternal will of God. 

Did you ever see such a throne as that? The thrones of monarchs rock and reel, but this is settled, and abides forever in God’s faithfulness and truth! It is true that the throne of many a dynasty has been cemented by blood and so is this, indeed, but not with the blood of murdered men, or of soldiers slain in battle. To make this throne secure, it is cemented with the precious blood of the Son of God, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot. 

No, as if this did not suffice, this throne is settled by the eternal oath! God swears by Himself because He can swear by no greater, that by two immutable things wherein it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to Christ Jesus our Lord! Oh, grace—I see your throne, I mark its solid base! A faithful and unchanging God lays the foundation of this throne in oaths, and promises, and blood. And now look upward. Do you see the shining steps? The throne is of pure white alabaster, and every step is of solid light. 

The steps are the divine openings of providence as He gradually develops His mighty scheme. And see on either side—as on the throne of Solomon there were lions that did lie upon the steps—so on either side of the steps of the throne of grace I see two lions ready to guard and protect it. And who are these? Their names are Justice and Holiness! 

Let any attempt to assail that throne, and Justice will devour them, and Holiness, with its fiery eyes, will utterly consume them! Oh, glorious thought, Christian!
That very justice which once seemed to stand in the way of grace, is one of the lions which guard the throne; and that very holiness which seemed once to put a barrier between your soul and bliss, now stands there as a mighty one to guard the seat and throne of sovereign grace!

Now look upward, if your eyes can bear the light. You cannot see the full form and visage of the Lord of Grace—the King; but if you can dimly discern it—I see upon that throne, one who— “Looks like a Lamb who has been slain, And wears His priesthood still.”

Yes, though you cannot see Him, yet He sees us, and that divine Image is scattering mercies upon us
even now! The eyes of grace are the suns of the spiritual universe! The hands of grace scatter lavish bounties throughout all the church of the first-born, and those lips of grace are uttering continually those once unspoken decrees which speak when they are fulfilled, and carried out in gracious providences. 

But come here and look upward. Bow yourself in that presence before which the angels cry, “Holy, holy, holy,” and veil their faces with their wings! See above the throne, and above the Image and likeness of Him who sits thereon—above that throne of grace, behold, behold, THE CROWN! Was ever such a crown? No, it is not one, it is many—there are many crowns, and many jewels in each of the many crowns. And from where came these crowns of grace? 

Oh, they are crowns that have been won in fields of fight; they are crowns, too, that have been given by grateful hearts. And there, as I gaze, I think I see many a soul that was once black with sin, made bright and sparkling, and there it is in the crown of grace, glittering like a diamond and, my soul, shall you be there? Shall you be one of those ever glittering, undimmed jewels? Shall you be in that crown? Oh, glorious day, when shall you come, when I shall be a real jewel in the crown of Jesus? But are you not there now, brothers and sisters? Have you not crowned Jesus Christ already, some of you? Have not you in your songs, and in your fires, felt that you must crown Him? And often, as we have sung that hymn, could you not sing it again?—“All hail the power of Jesus’ name, Let angels prostrate fall!
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all!”

Jesus, we crown You! We crown You. All hail! All hail! You King of kings—You God of love. Behold Your church bows herself before You— “With vials full of odor sweet, And harps of sweeter sound.” The elders chant before Your presence and we, even we, adore You! Though silver of angelic praise, and gold of perfect melody we cannot boast—yet such as we have, we give You! Unto Him who sits upon the throne—unto Him who lives and was dead—unto grace, in the person of the Lord Jesus, be glory, and honor, and majesty, and power, and dominion, and might, forever and ever! Amen.

Adapted from The C. H. Spurgeon Collection, Version 1.0, Ages Software.


PLEASE PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST

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