the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”
Ephesians 4:1-8 , Ephesians 4:11-32
So far from being ashamed of being shut up in a dungeon like a felon, Paul again repeats, as his choice title of honour, the words, “the prisoner of the Lord.” It is inexpressibly delightful to be allowed to suffer for him who suffered to the death for us. Paul uses his afflicted condition as an affectionate plea with the Ephesians to give heed to his counsel.
True believers are one; Christ has only instituted one church, he has quickened it with but one Spirit, and set before it one sole hope. The Lord is the alone Head of the church, she has not two Lords, neither has Jesus revealed more than one faith, or commanded any other than one baptism: hence believers should anxiously maintain unity, and endeavour each one to promote the good of the whole.
All the ascension-gifts come to us for the building up, not of many sects, but of the Lord’s one church. His choicest gifts are holy men, qualified for various gracious works, which they carry on for the perfecting of each believer, and of the whole body of the faithful.
Being made parts of a new body, of which the Lord Jesus is the head, we cannot act as we once did, or we should belie our profession altogether. Filthiness must be now abhorred, and holiness panted for; is it so with us?
We may be angry at wrong without sinning thereby, but if anger be a selfish resentment, it is always sinful, and if it lives beyond a day it cannot be justified. One of the hardest things in the world is to be angry and not to sin.
The cure for dishonesty is industry, and the remedy for a disposition to steal from others, is to learn to give to them.
Do we always attend to this? Are not some jests which are commonly heard very far from edifying?
Let this be written up in our chambers, and practised in every room in the house. What a heaven will our family then become.
Fill every part of me with praise,
Let all my being speak
Of thee and of thy love, O Lord,
Poor though I be, and weak.
So shalt thou, Lord, from me e’en me,
Receive the glory due;
And so shall I begin on earth
The song for ever new.
Lost in astonishment I see,
Jesus, thy boundless love to me;
With angels I thy grace adore,
And long to love and praise thee more.
Still may I view thee on the cross,
And all beside esteem but loss;
Here still be fixed my feasted eyes,
Enraptur’d with thy sacrifice.
Grace led my roving feet
To tread the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet
While pressing on to God.
Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o’erflow;
‘Twas grace that kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.
Grace all the work shall crown,
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.
Bless’d are the pure in heart,
For they shall see our God;
The secret of the Lord is theirs;
Their soul is Christ’s abode.
The Lord, who left the heavens
Our life and peace to bring,
To dwell in lowliness with men,
Their Pattern and their King;
He to the lowly soul
Doth still himself impart,
And for his dwelling and his throne
Chooseth the pure in heart.
Lord, we thy presence seek;
May ours this blessing be;
Give us a pure and lowly heart,
A temple meet for thee.
A fulness resides in Jesus, our Head,
And ever abides to answer our need;
The Father’s good pleasure has laid up in store,
A plentiful treasure to give to the poor.
Whate’er be our wants, we need not to fear;
Our numerous complaints his mercy will hear;
His fulness shall yield us abundant supplies;
His buckler shall shield us when dangers arise.
When troubles attend, or danger or strife,
His love will defend and guard us through life;
And when we are fainting and ready to die,
Whatever is wanting his hand will supply.
Worthy art thou, O dying Lamb?
Worthy, O bleeding Lord;
Eternal, Infinite, I AM,
Ceaseless to be adored!
Fulness of riches is in thee!
From thee all mercies spring:
And grace and love, divine and free,
And power enlivening.
Out of the deep of every heart,
Let praise to thee ascend:
Till thou to heaven shalt us translate,
Where praises never end!
“Be ye filled with the Spirit.”
followers or imitators
Here is a model at once so attractive and so perfect that we may love and copy it at the same time. We may not take the conduct of others for our model, and treat them as they treat us; the only pattern for a Christian is Christ.
Ephesians 5:3 , Ephesians 5:4
Sins of the tongue are fearfully common. Cheerfulness is a virtue, chaste pleasantries are the flowers of conversation, but those unholy allusions and unedifying jests which so often are commended as exceedingly clever should never obtain currency among the followers of the holy Jesus.
The covetous man is here placed in very disreputable company. This proves that the Holy Spirit judges lust for gold to be as vile a lust as any other; he sets the brand of Cain upon the brow of the greedy. We send missionaries abroad, and yet we do not sorrow over idolaters at home. If a man worships a god of gold, is he not quite as debased as if his idol were made of wood?
Avoid bad company. Choose only those for your friends who are also friends of God. How can we reprove sin if we take those who openly practise it to be our bosom friends?
Death hides in darkness, life loves light. We, therefore, who have spiritual life should never do anything which we should be ashamed to have published to the whole world. Christ has given us light, let us not hide it, neither let us shut our eyes to it.
Look all around, and be anxious that your conduct may do harm to no one, from any point of view.
Men filled with wine call for a song, and when believers are exhilarated by the divine Spirit they also should have their singing, but they must choose the songs of Zion, such as the Lord himself will account to be true melody.
Ephesians 5:20 , Ephesians 5:21
To make God great and ourselves little is our peculiar occupation; we are to give him glory in all that we do, and seek no honour for ourselves, but willingly take the lowest place among our brethren for the Lord’s sake.
Fill thou my life, O Lord my God,
In every part with praise;
That my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and thy ways;
Surrendering my fondest will,
In things or great or small,
Seeking the good of others still,
Nor pleasing self at all.
So shall each fear, each fret, each care,
Be turnèd into song;
And every winding of the way
The echo shall prolong.