In a musical instrument there are some keys that must be touched in order to evoke its fullest melodies; God is a wonderful organist who knows just what heart-chord to strike.
In the Black Forest of Germany, a baron built a castle with two lofty towers. From one tower to the other he stretched several wires, which in calm weather were motionless and silent. When the wind began to blow, the wires began to play like an Eolian harp in the window. As the wind rose into a fierce gale, the old baron sat in his castle and heard his mighty hurricane-harp playing grandly over the battlements.
So while the weather is calm and the skies clear, a great many of the emotions of a Christian’s heart are silent. As soon as the wind of adversity smites the chords, the heart begins to play; and when God sends a hurricane of terrible trial, you will hear strains of submission and faith, and even of sublime confidence and holy exultation which could never have been heard in the calm hours of prosperity.
Oh, brethren, let the winds smite us, if they only make the spices flow; let us not shrink from the deepest trial, if at midnight we can only sing praises to God.
— From God’s Light on Dark Clouds by Theodore Cuyler, 1882
Are you afraid that preaching the gospel will not win souls? Are you despondent as to success in God’s way? Is this why you pine for clever oratory? Is this why you must have music, and architecture, and flowers and millinery? After all, is it by might and power, and not by the Spirit of God? It is even so in the opinion of many.
Brethren beloved, there are many things which I might allow to other worshippers which I have denied myself in conducting the worship of this congregation. I have long worked out before your very eyes the experiment of the unaided attractiveness of the gospel of Jesus. Our service is severely plain. No man ever comes hither to gratify his eye with art, or his ear with music. I have set before you, these many years, nothing but Christ crucified, and the simplicity of the gospel; yet where will you find such a crowd as this gathered together this morning? Where will you find such a multitude as this meeting Sabbath after Sabbath, for five-and-thirty years? I have shown you nothing but the cross, the cross without flowers of oratory, the cross without diamonds of ecclesiastical rank, the cross without the buttress of boastful science. It is abundantly sufficient to attract men first to itself, and afterwards to eternal life!
Jesus said, “When he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He is truth essentially in himself, and he is the one who leads the church into all truth.
But what does Jesus mean by “all truth”? He does not mean “all truth” absolutely. The Holy Spirit’s work is not to lead us into all historical, geographical, astronomical and mathematical truth. The Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth concerning the mysteries of the kingdom of God, of the gospel, of the counsel of God about the salvation of the church by Christ (Acts 20:27). The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth necessary for faith and obedience (Acts 20:21).
Each believer is led into all the truth necessary to his own state and condition, to enable him to do his duty and work (Eph. 4:7). Christ gives to each according to his measure and needs.
It is the world that lies in the believer’s way to heaven, and is the great impediment to our entrance there. But he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God believes therein that Jesus came from God to be the Savior of the world, and powerfully to conduct us from the world to heaven, and to God, who is fully to be enjoyed there. And he who so believes must needs by this faith overcome the world.
For, the believer must be well satisfied that this world is a vehement enemy to his soul, to his holiness, his salvation, and his blessedness. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16). He sees it must be a great part of the Savior’s work, and of his own salvation, to be redeemed and rescued from this malignant world. Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world (Galatians 1:4). The believer sees in and by the life and conduct of the Lord Jesus on earth that this world is to be renounced and overcome.
Let me give you a parable. In the days of Nero there was great shortness of food in the city of Rome, although there was an abundance of corn to be purchased at Alexandria. A certain man who owned a vessel went down to the sea coast, and there he noticed many hungry people straining their eyes toward the sea, watching for the vessels that were to come from Egypt with corn. When these vessels came to the shore, one by one, the poor people wrung their hands in bitter disappointment, for on board the galleys there was nothing but sand which the tyrant emperor had compelled them to bring for use in the arena. It was infamous cruelty, when men were dying of hunger to command trading vessels to go to and fro, and bring nothing else but sand for gladiatorial shows, when wheat was so greatly needed.
In contradiction to the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It includes justification before God on the grounds of human merits. Its sacramental phrase is “Be good and do good;” but it fails to recognize that in the flesh there dwelleth no good thing. It announces salvation by character, which reverses the order of God’s word–character by, as the fruit of, salvation. Its various ramifications and organizations are manifold. Temperance Reform movements, “Christian Socialists Leagues,” ethical culture societies, “Peace Congresses,” are all employed, perhaps unconsciously, in proclaiming this Gospel of Satan–salvation by works. The pledge card is substituted for Christ; social purity for individual regeneration, and politics and philosophy, for doctrine and prophecy. The cultivation of the old man is considered more practical than the creation of the new man in Christ Jesus; whilst universal peace is looked for apart from the interposition and return of the Prince of Peace.
The latest evidences that our Gospel Signal must rise above the noise of America’s baneful culture:
NBC: DC Witches Out Of The Broom Closet
MarketWatch: Millennials Ditching Religion For Witchcraft, Astrology
YouTube: Celtic Witch Says The Force Is Just Like Her Witchcraft
Brynn Jones: Should Christians Be Excited About The Last Jedi?
Peter M. Burfeind’s Gnostic America: The First Three Chapters (PDF)
The Nathans: “Christian” Romanticism, Mythology, and The Inklings