Thursdays With Spurgeon—No Other Name

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

No Other Name

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (Philippians 3:20—4:1). 

     What is it to be in the Lord? Well, brothers and sisters, we are in the Lord vitally and evidently when we fly to the Lord Jesus by repentance and faith and make Him to be our refuge and hiding place. Is it so with you? Have you fled out of self? Are you trusting in the Lord alone? Have you come to Calvary and beheld your Savior? … There is no shelter for a guilty soul but in His wounded side! Have you come there? Are you in Him? Then stay there. You will never have a better refuge! In fact, there is no other. No other name is given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved [Acts 4:12]. I cannot tell you to stand fast in the Lord unless you are there. Hence my first inquiry is, are you in Christ? Is He your only confidence? In His life, His death, and His resurrection, do you find the grounds of your hope? Is He Himself all your salvation and all your desire? If so, stand fast in Him.

From The Watchword For Today: “Stand Fast”

I am reminded of two of the stanzas from a Charles Wesley hymn:

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease—
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the pow’r of canceled sin,
He sets the pris’ner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

If you do not know this Savior for yourself, don’t wait another minute to invite Him into your heart! If you do know Jesus as your Savior, stand fast in Him no matter what life may throw at you!

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Susanna Wesley (book review)

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I think most people are familiar with the saying, “Behind every good man there is a good woman.” In the case of Samuel and Susanna Wesley almost the opposite is true: Susanna excelled as a godly mother despite the obstinacy and shortcomings of her husband Samuel. Arnold A. Dallimore delivers a fair overview of their lives in his biography of Susanna Wesley. 

Rev. Dallimore does an admirable job of telling Susanna’s story through the first person accounts of almost all of the Wesley family members. He has culled through the historical records, reading the letters of Samuel, Susanna, their children, and their relatives to give us a fairly unbiased look at this notable family. The subtitle of the book is, “The mother of John and Charles Wesley,” which is no small gift to the world! The preaching and song-writing ministries of these two brothers has had a huge impact on both the secular and church worlds, which is still being felt today. 

Samuel Wesley at times was distant from his family, to the extent of even abandoning them for a period of time, and was a very poor provider for his family. They were constantly in debt and struggling for the basic necessities. But despite these obstacles, Susanna created her own curriculum to instruct her children, and continued to correspond with them into their adulthood to give them her motherly wisdom. 

What a debt of gratitude we owe to this godly woman for not only persevering but thriving in the face of challenges that would have thwarted most people. And we also should be grateful to Arnold Dallimore for his well-researched biography of this amazing woman. 

(I previously reviewed Rev. Dallimore’s biography of George Whitefield.) 

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Poetry Saturday—Depth Of Mercy

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Depth of mercy! can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

Kindled His relentings are:
Me He now delights to spare;
Cries, “How shall I give thee up?”
Lets the lifted thunder drop.

There for me the Savior stands,
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands.
God is Love; I know, I feel;
Jesus weeps, but loves me still. ―Charles Wesley

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Poetry Saturday—Arise, My Soul, Arise

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Arise, my soul, arise,
shake off your guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice,
in my behalf appears;
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above,
for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love,
His precious blood, to plead;
His blood atoned for every race,
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears;
received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers;
they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray,
His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away
the presence of His Son;
The Spirit answers to the blood,
The Spirit answers to the blood
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled;
His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child;
I can no longer fear
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry. —Charles Wesley

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Living Between The Advents

We live in an amazing time—the First Advent of Jesus has already happened in Bethlehem, and yet we are eagerly anticipating Christ’s Second Advent at any moment! 

The fourth stanza of Charles Wesley’s classic Christmas carol Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is a wonderful between-the-Advents look at what happened at the First Advent, and what we have to look forward to in the Second Advent. The key thing to note in this stanza is the verbs: come, fix, rise, bruise, efface, stamp, and reinstate. 

COME, Desire of nations—What is the “desire of nations”? It’s the restoration of God’s glory on earth, so it’s not really a what but a Who. The prophet Haggai informs us that our Desire is realized in the Advent of Jesus (2:1-9).  

FIX in us Thy humble home—At His First Advent, Jesus came and humbly made His home among us, even dying to pay the penalty for our sins (Hebrews 2:14, 17; Philippians 2:7-8). 

RISE, the woman’s conquering seed—Although Jesus was obedient to death—even death on a Cross, He didn’t stay dead but was resurrected (Philippians 2:8-9; Revelation 1:18)! 

BRUISE in us the serpent’s head—With His death and resurrection, Jesus took away the sting of death from satan, fulfilling one of God’s first prophesies (Genesis 3:15; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, 54-57).  

Adam’s likeness now EFFACE—That means to wipe out, do away with, expunge. That’s exactly what God does with our forgiven sins (Psalm 103:1-4, 10-12)! 

STAMP Thine image in its place—Although our sin has been effaced, God doesn’t leave us as blank slates, but instead He allows the image of His Son Jesus to be stamped onto our lives (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18). 

REINSTATE us in Thy love—The relationship we longed for is now reborn in us (1 Corinthians 15:49)! 

The Desire of Nations HAS come, and yet He WILL come again! We’re living between the Advents now, so a good question for Christians to ask is: “How are we to live?” I think there are three key things—

  1. In celebration that Jesus came at His First Advent to be our Savior
  2. In anticipation of the Second Advent
  3. In obedience to God’s Word (Revelation 22:7)

To take a look at the other stanzas of this Christmas carol, please click here.

The Everlasting Hope In Our Everlasting Lord

It was for our benefit that God came to Earth in His First Advent, not in thunder, and lightning, and all the brilliance of His heavenly glory, but as a Baby. Otherwise, He would have been unapproachable by sinful man. 

But make no mistake about it—although born as a human baby, Jesus was still “Christ by highest heaven adored; Christ the everlasting Lord”! 

The thought of God being everlasting permeates the Scriptures:

  • He is everlasting Lord
  • He fulfills an everlasting covenant
  • so He is worthy of everlasting praise
  • His everlasting arms support us
  • and give us His everlasting love and everlasting kindness
  • His everlasting salvation gives us everlasting life, or rejecting it leads to our everlasting punishment
  • and in His presence is everlasting joy  

Charles Wesley captures this fully-God-fully-Man essence in his song Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by calling Jesus the everlasting Lord and then listing His humanness at His First Advent with phrases like offspring of a virgin’s womb, veiled in flesh, incarnate Deity, pleased as Man with men to appear, and Immanuel. 

Jesus came to earth as Man not because He was forced to, but because it fulfilled the everlasting covenant that God had planned. The writer of Hebrews explains beautifully how He became like us in all of our humanness so that He could be a merciful help to us (see Hebrews 2:10-18). 

When Matthew tells the birth story of Jesus, he includes a line pregnant with meaning: “All this took place to fulfill…” (Matthew 1:22). 

What “all this”? Just take a look at Christ’s genealogy in the opening verses of Matthew 1. You see Abraham who tried to “help” God fulfill the covenant by fathering a child with another woman; Jacob who swindled his birthright from Esau; Judah who fathered Perez through his widowed daughter-in-law, whom he thought was a prostitute; Rahab was a prostitute; Ruth was a non-Jewish foreigner; David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed, and from their relationship came Solomon; Solomon’s son split the kingdom in two; from Abijah to Jeconiah the kings became progressively more and more evil; from Jeconiah forward the kings were without a kingdom; and then Joseph was a prince without a throne or even the glimmer of a hope of a throne. 

Yet ALL THIS took place to fulfill God’s plan. All of history is His story! Every deed and misdeed was used by God to fulfill His everlasting plan of redemption. Jesus had a very human family tree so that none of us could be outside His merciful reach.

What’s your genealogy like? More good than bad? What about your own history? More mess ups than positives? Nothing in your genealogy—past or present—can ever stop our everlasting Lord from fulfilling His everlasting covenant with YOU (Romans 8:28)! 

Christ’s genealogy is proof that your genealogy is no hindrance to His everlasting plan! 

It may appear He is late in time, but behold Him come at just the right time. Accept Him as your everlasting Lord, lean on His everlasting arms, and bask in His everlasting joy. 

Jesus—our Immanuel here—came so you could have all of God’s everlastingness! 

To take a look at the other stanzas of this Christmas carol, please click here.

Joining The Angel Choir

The angels are highly visible around the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, but here’s the amazing thing—we are invited to join the angelic choir singing praise to Jesus! 

Nowhere else do we see such a concentration of angels as during Christ’s time on earth, and especially at His birth. In the Old Testament prior to Christ’s birth, and in the New Testament following Christ’s ascension, we don’t see as many angels clustered together on Earth— 

  • Gabriel brings a birth announcement to Zechariah 
  • Gabriel brings a birth announcement to Mary
  • an angel talks to Joseph in a dream (three times!) 
  • an angel gives instructions to the wise men in a dream
  • angels minister to Jesus in the wilderness after His battle with the devil 
  • angels are poised for action in case Jesus calls on them prior to His crucifixion
  • angels are present at Christ’s tomb after His resurrection
  • and a massive angel choir sings at Christ’s birth (Luke 2:8-14) 

Charles Wesley wrote a Christmas carol called Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. In the first stanza, we’re invited to “join the triumph in the skies.” But how can someone sing a song grand enough, majestic enough, or worthy enough to honor Almighty God?! That would be like me being asked to compose a song or play something on the piano to honor Mozart—how could I play anything worthy of his musical talent? 

In a similar way, when the Israelites thought about coming into God’s presence, they were gripped with knee-knocking, gut-churning fear (Exodus 19:16-19; 20:18-19)! 

But notice that the angels didn’t sing, “God is born in Bethlehem.” They sang, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.” Christ: the Messiah; the One who sets things right. No wonder this is such good news of great joy that brings peace and God’s favor (Luke 2:10, 14). 

The simple fact is that we couldn’t approach God and join in their angelic song. Instead, Jesus approached us as our Messiah, our Deliverer. How could this happen? Wesley’s carol reminds us that Jesus came so that God and sinners are reconciled! 

The First Advent is God approaching us. If we allow Jesus to reconcile us to our Holy Heavenly Father, then we have no fear of Christ’s Second Advent. His Second Advent will be attended to by angels just like His First Advent (Matthew 25:31-32; Mark 8:38; Jude 1:14-15). Those who haven’t had their sins forgiven will hear a song that is soul-crushing to them, while those who have accepted the reconciling work of Jesus will join with the angelic host in a victorious song bringing glory to God forever and ever (Revelation 14:9-11; 15:1-4). 

We don’t have to wait until we get to Heaven to join the triumph of the skies. We can join the angelic choir right now in singing our praise to God today. And every day! 

To take a look at the other stanzas of this Christmas carol, please click here.

Poetry Saturday—Beloved

Charles WesleyNot from his head was woman took,
As made her husband to o’erlook;
Not from his feet, as one designed
The footstool of the stronger kind;
But fashioned for himself a bride;
An equal, taken from his side.

Her place intended to maintain,
The mate and glory of the man;
To rest, as still beneath his arm
Protected by her lord from harm—
And never from his heart removed,
As only less than God beloved. ―Charles Wesley

Poetry Saturday―And Can It Be Said That I Should Gain

Charles WesleyAnd can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain―
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace―
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray―
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own. —Charles Wesley

Poetry Saturday—Soldiers Of Christ, Arise

Charles WesleyTo keep your armor bright,
Attend with constant care,
Still walking in your Captain’s sight,
And watching unto prayer.
Ready for all alarms,
Steadfastly set your face,
And always exercise your arms,
And use your every grace.

Pray without ceasing, pray,
Your Captain gives the word;
His summons cheerfully obey
And call upon the Lord;
To God your every want
In instant prayer display,
Pray always; pray and never faint,
Pray, without ceasing, pray!

In fellowship; alone,
To God with faith draw near;
Approach His courts, besiege His throne
With all the powers of prayer:
Go to His temple, go,
Nor from His altar move;
Let every house His worship know,
And every heart His love.

To God your spirits dart,
Your souls in words declare,
Or groan, to Him who reads the heart,
The unutterable prayer.
His mercy now implore,
And now show forth His praise,
In shouts, or silent awe, adore
His miracles of grace.

Pour out your souls to God,
And bow them with your knees,
And spread your hearts and hands abroad,
And pray for Sion’s peace;
Your guides, and brethren, bear
For ever on your mind;
Extend the arms of mighty prayer,
In grasping all mankind.
From strength to strength go on,
Wrestle, and fight, and pray,
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day;
Still let the Spirit cry
In all His soldiers, “Come!”
Till Christ the Lord descends from high
And takes the conquerors home. —Charles Wesley

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