While I was in college, I was part of a prayer group that was highly focused on witnessing miracles. Most of these miracles circled around supernatural healing, but that was not the only thing we were chasing. There were also times of extreme laughter that accompanied our prayer times. Some people classify this as holy laughter. I now, classify this as hogwash. What was actually happening was a group of young kids were getting together and acting like children. One person would begin to laugh then the room would burst out in laughter. We also were amazed at stories of people receiving visions or dreams from God. It was like a drug that we were hooked on. When one person told us about a dream or vision we all wanted to get one that much more.
I would go to these meetings for a time of prayer, but really, I was chasing acceptance. I was also chasing the supernatural. What I wasn’t chasing was God. Chasing the manifestations of God is far different from seeking God himself. The more I went the more convicted I became. I knew this was not Christianity. I knew that this was not holy, but I kept going. Then one day, I came across a quote from Charles Spurgeon that shook me up:
Now, the only feeling I ever want to have is just this,—I want to feel that I am a sinner and that Christ is my Saviour. You may keep your visions, and ecstasies and raptures, and dancings to yourselves; the only feeling that I desire to have is deep repentance and humble faith; and if, poor sinner, you have got that, you are saved.
Why, some of you believe that before you can be saved there must be a kind of electric-shock, some very wonderful thing that is to go all through you from head to foot. Now hear this, “The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart. If thou dost with thy heart believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and with thy mouth dost confess, thou shalt be saved.” What do ye want with all this nonsense of dreams and supernatural thoughts? All that is wanted is, that as a guilty sinner I should come and cast myself on Christ. That done, the soul is safe, and all the visions in the universe could not make it safer. -“A Simple Sermon for Seeking Souls,“ a sermon preached Sunday morning, 12 July 1857, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
I read this and immediately began to repent for my childish ways. I wanted to see people healed. I wanted God to give me dreams. And I wanted to have visions that would blow me, and everyone else, away. What I didn’t realize was that these wishes were not from God…they were from me. What God wants is for his people to have contrite hearts, humble spirits, and renewed minds. Chasing dreams, visions, and healings are not godly. The realization that I am a sinner saved by grace is enough to bring me to godliness.
As Spurgeon said:
All that is wanted is, that as a guilty sinner I should come and cast myself on Christ. That done, the soul is safe, and all the visions in the universe could not make it safer.
And to that I can only say…Amen!
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BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH “By grace are ye saved, through faith” (Ephesians 2:8 ). I THINK IT WELL to turn a little to one side that I may ask my reader to observe adoringly the fountain-head of our salvation, which is the grace of God. “By grace are ye saved.” Because God is gracious, therefore sinful men are forgiven, converted, purified, and saved. It is not because of anything in them, or that ever can be in them, that they are saved; but because of the boundless love, goodness, pity, compassion, mercy, and grace of God. Tarry a moment, then, at the well-head. Behold the pure river of water of life, as it proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb!
What an abyss is the grace of God! Who can measure its breadth? Who can fathom its depth? Like all the rest of the divine attributes, it is infinite. God is full of love, for “God is love.” God is full of goodness; the very name “God” is short for “good.” Unbounded goodness and love enter into the very essence of the Godhead. It is because “his mercy endureth for ever” that men are not destroyed; because “his compassions fail not” that sinners are brought to Him and forgiven. Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon the faith which is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God’s grace in us. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost. “No man cometh unto me,” saith Jesus, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last moving cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is, is only an important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved ”through faith,” but salvation is “by grace.” Sound forth those words as with the archangel’s trumpet: “By grace are ye saved.” What glad tidings for the undeserving! -Spurgeon, Charles (2009-02-14). Christian Classics: five books by Charles Spurgeon in a single file, with active table of contents, improved 9/21/2010 (Kindle Locations 483-492). B&R Samizdat Express. Kindle Edition.
Only God is good. Only God can save. Only God deserves glory. It is by God’s amazing grace that he loves the “undeserving”!
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Everyday God is saving people. God’s saving actions are an amazing miracle. You may be wondering why God’s salvation is such a miracle. Well, God doesn’t only save people. God changes people. This is what the great preacher, Charles Spurgeon said about God changing the sinner’s heart:
Did it ever strike you what a wonderful thing it is for the Lord to give a new heart and a right spirit to a man? You have seen a lobster, perhaps, which has fought with another lobster, and lost one of its claws, and a new claw has grown. That is a remarkable thing; but it is a much more astounding fact that a man should have a new heart given to him. This, indeed, is a miracle beyond the powers of nature. There is a tree. If you cut off one of its limbs, another one may grow in its place; but can you change the tree; can you sweeten sour sap; can you make the thorn bear figs? You can graft something better into it and that is the analogy which nature gives us of the work of grace; but absolutely to change the vital sap of the tree would be a miracle indeed. Such a prodigy and mystery of power God works in all who believe in Jesus. -Spurgeon, Charles (2009-02-14). Christian Classics: five books by Charles Spurgeon in a single file, with active table of contents, improved 9/21/2010 (Kindle Locations 450-455). B&R Samizdat Express. Kindle Edition.
God is powerful enough to change the most evil people…and that includes you.
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