Discernment is not simply telling the difference between right and wrong;
rather it is the difference between right and almost right.
“Lord, give me a new understanding;
wash my mind with the clean water of the Spirit;
come and dwell in my judgment,
and then give me the new strength of thy Spirit,
and then will I love thee with all my new heart,
with all my new life,
with all my renewed mind,
and with all my spiritual strength,
from this time forth,
even for evermore.”
Spurgeon from The First and Great Commandment
“As long as a man is alive & out of hell, he cannot have any cause to complain.”
False gods patiently endure the existence of other false gods.
Dagon can stand with Bel, and Bel with Ashtaroth;
how should stone, and wood, and silver,
be moved to indignation;
but because God is the only living and true God,
Dagon must fall before His ark;
Bel must be broken,
and Ashtaroth must be consumed with fire.
Charles Spurgeon from A Jealous God, Sermon 502, March 29, 1863
Whatever “call” a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry.
“O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait thy wise, thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by thee.”
Spurgeon ~ Morning And Evening
I thought this might be helpful since there was some question as to my explanation of Psalm 11. Mine doesn’t compare to Spurgeon’s by any means, but it is not different in the gist.
1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
This is quite long because it goes verse by verse and includes several different notes from other preachers. Well worth reading, but I’ll just give a few quotes.
“Treasury of David” – Psalm 11 by Charles H. Spurgeon
… When Satan cannot overthrow us by presumption, how craftily will he seek to ruin us by distrust! He will employ our dearest friends to argue us out of our confidence, and he will use such plausible logic, that unless we once for all assert our immovable trust in Jehovah, he will make us like the timid bird which flies to the mountain whenever danger presents itself.
“Jehovah’s throne is in the heavens;” he reigns supreme. Nothing can be done in heaven, or earth, or hell, which he doth not ordain and over-rule. He is the world’s great Emperor. Wherefore, then, should we flee? If we trust this King of kings, is not this enough? Cannot he deliver us without our cowardly retreat? Yes, blessed be the Lord our God, we can salute him as Jehovah-nissi; in his name we set up our banners, and instead of flight, we once more raise the shout of war.
Look at the black mark upon the faces of our persecutors, and we shall not run away from them. If God is in the quarrel as well as ourselves, it would be foolish to question the result, or avoid the conflict. Sodom and Gomorrah perished by a fiery hail, and by a brimstone shower from heaven; so shall all the ungodly. They may gather together like Gog and Magog to battle, but the Lord will rain upon them “an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone:” Ezekiel 38:22.
Are we tempted to put our light under a bushel, to conceal our religion from our neighbours? Is it suggested to us that there are ways of avoiding the cross, and shunning the reproach of Christ? Let us not hearken to the voice of the charmer, but seek an increase of faith, that we may wrestle with principalities and powers, and follow the Lord, fully going without the camp, bearing his reproach. Mammon, the flesh, the devil, will all whisper in our ear, “Flee as a bird to your mountain;” but let us come forth and defy them all. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” There is no room or reason for retreat. Advance! Let the vanguard push on! To the front! all ye powers and passions of our soul. On! on! in God’s name, on! for “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
We don’t have to flee from the enemy but we can stand strong with the Lord as our refuge. Now that does not mean we take sin lightly. There are many ways to stand firm without risking falling into sin. (We’ll look at some ways later.)
But let the Light shine in a dark world.
Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
The disciples did not spread the Gospel to the world by running away, but by advancing forward with the Gospel. Not with Conservatism. Not with Moral Values. Not with Political leverage. But by sharing the Gospel with sinners.
Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Righteousness from the Law means that Christ died in vain!
Galatians 2:11-21 (KJV)
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Galatians 2:11-21 (ESV)
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.
13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;
16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!
18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.
19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Salvation by the works of the law must be felt to be impossible by every man who would be saved. We must learn that salvation is of grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, and not by our own doings or feelings; but this is a doctrine no one will receive till he has learned the previous truth, that salvation by the works of the law can never come to any man of woman born. Yet the law must be fulfilled. Many will say with Nicodemus “How can these things be?” I answer, the law is fulfilled in Christ, and by faith we receive the fruit thereof.
So is the Old Testament Law worthless? By no means!
The law serves a most necessary purpose.
They [unbelievers] will never accept grace
until they tremble before a just and holy Law.
I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel
who does not preach the law.
The purpose of the Law is to reveal to us our sin.
Romans 7:7-13 (ESV)
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.
9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.
10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.
11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.
12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
Romans 3:20 (ESV) For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 7:7 (ESV) What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
Romans 3:9-10 (ESV)
9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
Galatians 2:19 (ESV) For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.
Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;
Ephraim is a cake not turned.
This verse has always caught my attention when I’ve read it.
You think this might be the basis for the American expression “half-baked”?
The tribe of Ephraim is accused of mixing with the pagan people and following their customs.
Being half-baked is being over done on one side and uncooked on the other. Similar to trying to cook pancakes but never flipping them. The bottom side would be burnt while the top side would be raw. Nothing suitable for eating but only for spewing out.
It is very easy for someone to pick a few verses of the Bible and make them their mantra and to only focus on them while ignoring the rest of Scripture. Everyone has seen those who claim to be Christians who are adamant about certain portions of Scripture. Drawing man-made lines in the sand saying you can never cross this line, yet in other areas seeming to totally ignore the Scriptures.
These are the ones you hear about in the news often. The strong Christian leader who is well respected in the community yet is found to have been living a double life at home or at least is not as he seemed.
“Ephraim is a cake not turned.” Hosea 7:8
A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace: though there was some partial obedience, there was very much rebellion left. My soul, I charge thee, see whether this be thy case. Art thou thorough in the things of God? Has grace gone through the very centre of thy being so as to be felt in its divine operations in all thy powers, thy actions, thy words, and thy thoughts? To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.
A cake not turned is soon burnt on the side nearest the fire, and although no man can have too much religion, there are some who seem burnt black with bigoted zeal for that part of truth which they have received, or are charred to a cinder with a vainglorious Pharisaic ostentation of those religious performances which suit their humour. The assumed appearance of superior sanctity frequently accompanies a total absence of all vital godliness. The saint in public is a devil in private. He deals in flour by day and in soot by night. The cake which is burned on one side, is dough on the other.
If it be so with me, O Lord, turn me! Turn my unsanctified nature to the fire of Thy love and let it feel the sacred glow, and let my burnt side cool a little while I learn my own weakness and want of heat when I am removed from Thy heavenly flame. Let me not be found a double-minded man, but one entirely under the powerful influence of reigning grace; for well I know if I am left like a cake unturned, and am not on both sides the subject of Thy grace, I must be consumed for ever amid everlasting burnings.
(from Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
As Spurgeon said “… there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.”
Are you striving to be well done through and through?