In 1853, a young Charles Spurgeon was invited to leave his church in the country and take up a preaching ministry at New Park Street Chapel, where he would stay until his death in 1892.
The story goes that the famous London congregation sent him a letter requesting him to come and when he read it, he passed it along to his deacons saying, “They must have another Mr. Spurgeon in mind.”
For Spurgeon was young and, like Alexander Hamilton, “didn’t have a dollar to his name.” All he had was a few years of preaching and his “top-notch brain.”
Nevertheless, he went to London and for his first sermon there he preached on James 1:17, in a sermon called “The Father of Lights.”
A version of the sermon is reprinted in his Autobiography, but the original manuscript will soon appear in the final version of The Lost Sermons published by The Spurgeon Library and B&H Academic in 2022. Spurgeon reflects on the majestic aspects of the unchanging attributes of God—but listen to where Spurgeon decides to put his emphasis:
“He is immutable. The sun changes, mountains crumble, the ocean shall be dried up, the stars shall wither from the vault of night; but God, and God alone, remains ever the same.
“Were I to enter into a full discourse on the subject of immutability, my time, if multiplied by a high number, would fail me. But reminding you that there is no hang in His power, justice, knowledge, oath, threatening, or decree, I will confine myself to the fact that His love to us knows no variation.
“How often it is called unchangeable, everlasting love. He loves me now as much as He did when first He enscribed my name in His eternal book of election. He has not repented of His choice. He has not blotted out one of His chosen; there are not erasures in that book; all whose names are written in it are safe for ever. Nor does God love me less now than when He gave that grand proof of love, His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me.”
In a recent chapel message on this same text, it was my aim to present how this type of reflection and focus on God and His Christ is the answer for persevering in faithfulness. In James 1:12-18, James writes two paragraphs that serve to present two sides of the same issue—namely how does the believer remain steadfast in times of trial.
Titled, “Beauty for Trials: God Knows the Way Out,” I review James’ purpose and then assert that the greatest obstacle to our perseverance in trials is our sinful nature. To put it another way, we are the problem. However, while God never tempts us, he remains with us when we are tempted. He is the solution and trusting him, and all that is good, beautiful, and true about him, will lead us to persevere.
You can watch the video of that message here: