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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: November 3rd
“Come over and help us.”
An active spirit will not long be at rest. Love to Jesus sets a man at work for his cause, and leads him to stir up others, as Paul did Barnabas.
Acts 15:37 , Acts 15:38
He would not go out a second time with a faint-hearted deserter, and he was right. Barnabas, believing that John Mark was penitent for what he had done, and would henceforth be faithful, wished to give him another opportunity; and he was right. Now, since these two brethren had each right on his side, neither of them could yield the point without violating his honest judgment, and we do not therefore wonder that the contention grew hot. The Holy Spirit is very considerate in thus recording the difficulties which occurred even among inspired men. How can we expect always to see eye to eye, when Paul and Barnabas differed?)
There was no help for it but to part. Barnabas went one way with his nephew, and Paul another with Silas. Mark turned out well, and so justified the opinion of Barnabas, but Paul could not foresee that, and is not to be condemned for acting upon the general rule that he who puts his hand to the plough and looks back has proved himself unworthy. This separation, though painful in its cause, was a most excellent thing. There was no need for two such men to be together, they were each able to lead the way alone, and by their doing so double good was accomplished.
This is the great missionary call, and it is by night as well as by day sounding in the ears of the church of God. Once Europe thus called to Asia, now all the world is crying to us, “Come over and help us.”
The change of person and the use of the words “we,” and “us,” show that Luke was now in Paul’s company. Paul and Silas, Timothy and Luke, set forth to cross over into Macedonia as soon as the heavenly communication came. All servants of Christ should be thus prompt in obedience.
Acts 16:11 , Acts 16:12
In this manner the gospel came to our quarter of the globe. Blessed be God that ever Paul was led to cross the sea; may other lands rejoice in missionaries of the cross who shall visit them from us.
“In my name shall they cast out devils.”
All sorts of places have been consecrated to prayer, the field, the sea shore, a prison, and even the belly of a fish, and a fiery furnace. Among praying people the gospel is sure of a hearty welcome. It is well worthy of note that the first gospel address delivered in Europe, was heard at a prayer meeting. We ought therefore to prize this institution very highly.
The apostle did not bring crowds to Jesus on this occasion, yet was he amply repaid by the conversion of this one woman, whom providence had brought there in the course of her business, on purpose that she might be saved. Observe that it was not Paul who converted her, but the Lord himself Paul would have knocked at the door of her heart in vain, if he who has the key of all hearts had not opened it. Lord, open all our hearts to give attention to thy word.
Lydia showed her faith by her humility of speech and generosity of act. She was probably a merchant in easy circumstances, and she desired that her beloved teachers should share the comforts of her house. A hundred years before a bloody battle had been fought at Philippi: the bloodless victory of Paul was far more glorious, and its fruits far more useful to coming generations.
This poor creature was regarded as a prophetess, even as some wicked gipsy women are regarded among the extremely ignorant in our own day. Satan used her as the means of deceiving the people. The unclean spirit pretended to praise Paul and his friends, either with the view of puffing them up with pride, or to disgust the better sort of people by leading them to identify the gospel with the ravings of the maniac girl. Much money was paid to this poor woman by superstitious persons for her soothsaying, just as at this day the ungodly will pay much for the telling of their fortunes, or admission to a spiritualist séance, and yet think believers extravagant if they subscribe largely for the spread of the gospel.
The reward of these good physicians for the cure they wrought, was such as had been meted out to their Lord beforehand, yet we may be sure they would sooner be beaten than be praised by the devil.
Acts 16:23 , Acts 16:24
So ended a day which began with a miracle; but Satan’s brief victory was in a few hours turned into total defeat. Glory be to God, saints may be beaten, but they conquer still.
Paul and Silas were confined,
And their backs were torn with whips;
Yet, possessing peace of mind,
They could sing with joyful lips.
So the Christian, free from care,
May in chains or dungeon sing;
If the Lord be with him there,
He is happier than a king.
the First Week of Advent
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