Tag Archives: The Church

“One marvelous exception” by Charles Spurgeon

“Christ Jesus is also joined unto His people in a mystical union. Borrowing once more from the story of Ruth, we remark that Boaz, although one with Ruth by kinship, did not rest until he had entered into a nearer union still, namely, that of marriage.

And in the same manner there is, super added to the natural union of Christ with His people, a mystical union by which He assumes the position of Husband, while the Church is owned as His bride.

In love He espoused her to Himself, as a chaste virgin, long before she fell under the yoke of bondage. Full of burning affection, He toiled like Jacob for Rachel, until the whole of her purchase-money had been paid.

And, now, having sought her by His Spirit, and brought her to know and love Him, He awaits the glorious hour when their mutual bliss shall be consummated at the marriage-supper of the Lamb.

Not yet hath the glorious Bridegroom presented His betrothed perfected and complete, before the Majesty of heaven, not yet hath she actually entered upon the enjoyment of her dignities as His wife and queen.

She is as yet a wanderer in a world of woe, a dweller in the tents of Kedar, but she is even now the bride, the spouse of Jesus, dear to His heart, precious in His sight, written on His hands, and united with His person.

On earth He exercises towards her all the affectionate offices of Husband. He makes rich provision for her wants, pays all her debts, allows her to assume His name, and to share in all His wealth.

Nor will He ever act otherwise to her. The word divorce He will never mention, for ‘He hateth putting away.’ Death must sever the conjugal tie between the most loving mortals, but it cannot divide the links of this immortal marriage.

In heaven they marry not, but are as the angels of God, yet there is this one marvelous exception to the rule, for in heaven Christ and His Church shall celebrate their joyous nuptials.

And this affinity as it is more lasting, so is it more near than earthly wedlock. Let the love of husband be never so pure and fervent, it is but a faint picture of the flame that burns in the heart of Jesus.

Passing all human union is that mystical cleaving unto the Church, for which Christ did leave His Father, and become one flesh with her. If this be the union which subsists between our souls and the person of our Lord, how deep and broad is the channel of our communion.

This is no narrow pipe through which a thread-like stream may wind its way, it is a channel of amazing depth and breadth, along whose breadth and length a ponderous volume of living water may roll its strength.

Behold He hath set before us an open door, let us not be slow to enter. This city of communion hath many pearly gates, every several gate is of one pearl, and each gate is thrown open to the uttermost that we may enter, assured of welcome.

If there were but one small loophole through which to talk with Jesus, it would be a high privilege to thrust a word of fellowship through the narrow door. How much we are blessed in having so large an entrance!

Had the Lord Jesus been far away from us, with many a stormy sea between, we should have longed to send a messenger to Him to carry Him our loves, and bring us tidings from His Father’s house.

But see His kindness, He has built His house next door to ours, nay, more, He takes lodging with us, and tabernacles in poor humble hearts, that so He may have perpetual intercourse with us.

O how foolish must we be, if we do not live in habitual communion with Him! When the road is long, and dangerous, and difficult, we need not wonder that friends seldom meet each other, but when they live together shall Jonathan forget his David?

A wife may when her husband is upon a journey, abide many days without holding converse with him, but she could never endure to be separated from him if she knew him to be in one of the chambers of her own house.

Seek thy Lord, for He is near; embrace Him, for He is thy Brother. Hold Him fast, for He is thine Husband; and press Him to thine heart, for He is of thine own flesh.”

–Charles Spurgeon, “Bands of Love; or Union With Christ” in Till He Come: Communion Meditations and Addresses (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, 1865/1978), 188-191.

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“Arise at once and come to Christ” by J.C. Ryle

“I ask you, whether you are a member of the one true Church of Christ? Are you in the highest, the best sense, a ‘churchman’ in the sight of God? You know now what I mean.

I look far beyond the Church of England. I am not speaking of church or chapel. I speak of ‘the Church built upon the rock.’ I ask you, with all solemnity—Are you a member of that Church?

Are you joined to the great Foundation? Are you on the rock? Have you received the Holy Ghost? Does the Spirit witness with your spirit, that you are one with Christ, and Christ with you?

I beseech you, in the name of God, to lay to heart these questions, and to ponder them well. If you are not converted, you do not yet belong to the ‘Church on the Rock.’

Let every reader of this paper take heed to himself, if he cannot give a satisfactory answer to my inquiry. Take heed, take heed, that you do not make shipwreck of your soul to all eternity.

Take heed, lest at last the gates of hell prevail against you, the devil claim you as his own, and you be cast away for ever. Take heed, lest you go down to the pit from the land of Bibles, and in the full light of Christ’s Gospel.

Take heed, lest you are found at the left hand of Christ at last,—a lost Episcopalian or a lost Presbyterian, a lost Baptist or a lost Methodist,—lost because, with all your zeal for your own party and your own communion table, you never joined the one true Church.

My second work of application shall be an invitation. I address it to every one who is not yet a true believer. I say to you, come and join the one true Church without delay.

Come and join yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ in an everlasting covenant not to be forgotten. Consider well what I say. I charge you solemnly not to mistake the meaning of my invitation.

I do not bid you to leave the visible Church to which you belong. I abhor all idolatry of forms and parties. But I do bid you come to Christ and be saved.

The day of decision must come some time. Why not this very hour? Why not today, while it is called today? Why not this very night, ere the sun rises to-morrow morning?

Come to Him, who died for sinners on the cross, and invites all sinners to come to Him by faith and be saved. Come to my Master, Jesus Christ. Come, I say, for all things are now ready.

Mercy is ready for you. Heaven is ready for you. Angels are ready to rejoice over you. Christ is ready to receive you. Christ will receive you gladly, and welcome you among His children.

Come into the ark. The flood of God’s wrath will soon break upon the earth. Come into the ark and be safe. Come into the life-boat of the one true Church.

This old world will soon break into pieces! Hear you not the tremblings of it? The world is but a wreck hard upon a sand-bank. The night is far-spent—the waves are beginning to rise,—the wind is getting up,—the storm will soon shatter the old wreck.

But the life-boat is launched, and we, the ministers of the Gospel, beseech you to come into the life-boat and be saved. We beseech you to arise at once and come to Christ.

Dost thou ask, ‘How can I come? My sins are too many. I am too wicked yet. I dare not come.’—Away with the thought! It is a temptation of Satan. Come to Christ as a sinner. Come just as you are.

Hear the words of that beautiful hymn:—

‘Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God I come.’

This is the way to come to Christ. You should come, waiting for nothing, and tarrying for nothing.

You should come, as a hungry sinner, to be filled,—as a poor sinner to be enriched,—as a bad, undeserving sinner, to be clothed with righteousness.

So coming, Christ would receive you. ‘Him that cometh’ to Christ, He ‘will in no wise cast out.’ Oh! come, come to Jesus Christ. Come into ‘the true Church’ by faith and be saved.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 320-322.

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“Christ is the almighty Builder” by J.C. Ryle

“Great is the wisdom wherewith the Lord Jesus Christ builds His Church! All is done at the right time, and in the right way. Each stone in its turn is put in its right place.

Sometimes He chooses great stones, and sometimes He chooses small stones. Sometimes the work goes on fast, and sometimes it goes on slowly. Man is frequently impatient, and thinks that nothing is doing.

But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great Builder makes no mistakes. He knows what He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning.

He works by a perfect, unalterable, and certain plan. The mightiest conceptions of architects, like Michaelangelo and Wren, are mere trifling and child’s play, in comparison with Christ’s wise counsels respecting His Church.

Great is the condescension and mercy which Christ exhibits in building His Church! He often chooses the most unlikely and roughest stones, and fits them into a most excellent work.

He despises none, and rejects none, on account of former sins and past transgressions. He often makes Pharisees and Publicans become pillars of His house. He delights to show mercy.

He often takes the most thoughtless and ungodly, and transforms them into polished corners of His spiritual temple.

Great is the power which Christ displays in building His Church! He carries on His work in spite of opposition from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

In storm, in tempest, through troublous times, silently, quietly, without noise, without stir, without excitement, the building progresses, like Solomon’s temple. ‘I will work,’ He declares, ‘and who shall let it?’ (Isaiah 43:13.)

We ought to feel deeply thankful that the building of the true Church is laid on the shoulders of One that is mighty. If the work depended on man, it would soon stand still.

But, blessed be God, the work is in the hands of a Builder who never fails to accomplish His designs! Christ is the almighty Builder. He will carry on His work, though nations and visible Churches may not know their duty.

Christ will never fail. That which He has undertaken He will certainly accomplish.”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 312-312.

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“What is the church?” by Jonathan Leeman

“So Christ came declaring a kingdom, but then He did something a little more personal. The king went to His death as a personal substitute for sinners. He offered a new covenant and sealed it with His blood.

With this act, He joined a people to Himself as fellow heirs and vice-regents. They too would inherit the earth like Adam, bear a great name and be a blessing like Abraham, enter God’s rest like Israel, and rule together with Christ like David.

What is the church? It is the new-covenant people of Christ. It’s the people of His holy love. It’s the people who are united to Him and share His identity, because He identified Himself with them in His incarnation, baptism, death, and resurrection.

He exchanged His life and righteousness for theirs. Whereas once Adam was our covenantal head, now Christ is our covenantal head.”

–Jonathan Leeman, The Church and The Surprising Offense of God’s Love (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 241-242.

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“The Church” by Charles Bridges

“The Church is the mirror that reflects the whole effulgence of the Divine character. It is the grand scene of the display of the Divine Perfections. The revelations made to the Church– the successive grand events in her history– and, above all– the manifestation of the Divine glory in the Person of the Son of God, furnish even to the heavenly intelligences fresh subjects of adoring contemplation.”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2005), 1.

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“He who grows in grace” by Charles Spurgeon

“We shall, as we ripen in grace, have greater sweetness towards our fellow Christians. Bitter-spirited Christians may know a great deal, but they are immature. Those who are quick to censure may be very acute in judgment, but they are as yet very immature in heart.

He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.

As he has sometimes to say of himself, ‘This is my infirmity,’ so he often says of his Brethren, ‘This is their infirmity.’ And he does not judge them as he once did. I know we who are young beginners in grace think ourselves qualified to reform the whole Christian Church.

We drag her before us and condemn her straightway. But when our virtues become more mature, I trust we shall not be more tolerant of evil, but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms. Sweetness towards sinners is another sign of ripeness.”

–Charles Spurgeon, “Ripe Fruit” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 16 (1870) – Sermon 945.

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“Her exalted destiny” by W.B. Johnson

“The church of the Lord Jesus is the chosen agent for the exhibition of the manifold wisdom of God. The unfolding, the clear and full display of this wisdom, will necessarily present all the attributes of the divine Being in their harmonious, their sublimest operations.

These operations will develop the scheme of that ‘salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.’ It is not surprising then, that the church in her progress to full maturity, presents to the view of angels those things into which they desire to look.

If the church in the changes through which she passes to the completion of her honored destiny, attracts the gaze of ‘the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,’ she should be no less an object of intense regard to ‘all men’ on this earth.

But to those who are found in her membership and her ministry, her interests, her success, her honor, should be most dear. With those, her spiritual nature and constitution, her high obligations, and exalted destiny, should be subjects of profound study and growing importance.”

–W.B. Johnson, The Gospel Developed (1846) as quoted in Polity: A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents, Ed. Mark Dever (Washington, D.C.: 9Marks Ministries, 2001), 166.

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