Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.—Ruth 4:1.
It is blessed to see when, from general calls in the gospel, the call becomes personal. The general invitation is, “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” The personal call is, “Ho! such a one.” Jesus calleth his own sheep by name; how is this done? When at any time the Lord speaketh by the ministry of his word to their particular state and circumstances; as for example, Jesus saith, I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; faith saith in answer, Then it is for me; for I am a sinner. So again when it is said, God commendeth his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us; faith replieth, Then is that love suited to my case and circumstances, for I am both by nature and by practice a sinner before God.
So again, when Jesus ascended up on high, he is said to have received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Faith again finds similar encouragement to go upon, in order to make the thing personal; for the believer saith, I have been rebellious from the womb. In short, faith always discovers ground to rest for assurance, when, from general rules, there is found sufficient scope for special application; and in the suitableness of Christ to the sinner’s necessity, and the suitableness of the sinner for the Redeemer’s glory, the word comes with power to the heart, and with an energy not unlike the application of the Apostle’s sermon: To you is the word of this salvation sent; for then like the kinsman of Boaz, the call becomes personal, altering the appellation from every one to such a one; and the believing soul comes at the call, turns aside, and sits down, as the very one with whom the business is to be transacted.
My soul! hast thou heard the gospel invitation, and found it personal? The answer will not be far to obtain, if such evidences be discoverable in thyself. Faith is a precious grace, which never rests until it hath acquired all it stands in need of. As the invitation comes from Christ, so, where it is personally received and accepted, it leads to Christ. Faith is never satisfied with general views, its whole aim is at personal enjoyments. There is a selfishness to appropriate and bring home all that is offered. Salvation is proclaimed from heaven for sinners. God the Father gives it; God the Son purchaseth it; God the Spirit sends it to the heart with a Ho! such a one, turn aside, sit down. See to it, my soul, that thou hast this personal interest in it, and that Christ is formed in thy heart the hope of glory.
Robert Hawker, The Poor Man’s Evening Portion
10 JANUARY (1858)
Paul’s sermon before Felix
“And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Acts 24:25
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Acts 17:30–18:1
Felix, unhappy Felix! why is it that thou dost rise from thy judgment-seat? Is it that thou hast much business to do? Stop, Felix; let Paul speak to thee a minute longer. Thou hast business, but hast thou no business for thy soul? Stop, unhappy man! Art thou about again to be extortionate, again to make thy personal riches greater? Oh! stop: canst thou not spare another minute for thy poor soul? It is to live forever: hast thou naught laid up for it—no hope in heaven, no blood of Christ, no pardon of sin, no sanctifying Spirit, no imputed righteousness?
Ah! man, there will be a time when the business that seems so important to thee will prove to have been but a day-dream, a poor substitute for the solid realities thou hast forgotten. Dost thou reply, “Nay, the king has sent me an urgent commission; I must attend to Caesar.” Ah! Felix, but thou has a greater monarch than Caesar, there is one who is Emperor of heaven and Lord of the earth: canst thou spare no time to attend to his commands? Before his presence Caesar is but a worm. Man! wilt thou obey the one, and wilt thou despise the other?
Ah! no; I know what thou durst not say. Felix, thou art turning aside again to indulge in thy lascivious pleasures. Go, and Drusilla with thee! But stop! Darest thou do that, with that last word ringing in thy ears, “Judgment to come?” What! Wilt thou repeat that wanton dalliance that hath damned thee already, and wilt thou go again to stain thy hands in lust, and doubly damn thy spirit, after warnings heard and felt? O man! I could weep o’er thee.
FOR MEDITATION: When you hear the Word of God preached, do you get impatient for the sermon to finish and forget about it as soon as you can? That can be a very dangerous habit. We need to act upon it there and then—receive, remember, repent (Revelation 3:3; Luke 8:18).
C. H. Spurgeon