Sermon to self...

theophilus

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Furthermore, I should like you to notice that real prayer cannot come from men whose characters are contrary to the
mind of God. He whose character contradicts his prayer has not prayed. His life has effectually pleaded against his lips.
Saul of Tarsus was opposed to the Son of God—how could he be in favor with God? He did not believe the Gospel,
though the seal of God was on it—how, then, could God receive his prayer? How shall the Lord listen to us if we will not
listen to Him? How shall God accept us if we will not accept His Son? If we set ourselves in opposition to His Gospel, do
we not shut the door of mercy in our own faces? While we pretend to be knocking at Heaven’s gate, we are turning the
key against ourselves! Saul had been more than an opposer, he had become a persecutor—can persecutors enjoy the favor
of God? Can we hope for God’s blessing while we are cursing God’s people? How can a persecutor pray?

Love is the element of the children of God!

“Everyone that loves is born of God”—but Saul had conceived such an intense disgust against the followers of the Crucified,
that he hauled them to prison and voted for their death! Brothers and Sisters, we have no right to persecute any man
for his religion or his irreligion—whether he is Catholic, Jew, Muslim, or Infidel, we must do nothing wrong towards
him, nor rob him of any of his rights, however erroneous his views may be. We are bound to be just and right towards all
men as men, whatever their religions convictions, or irreligious notions. Injustice is no friend to the Truth of God! We
must not fight God’s battles with the weapons of ill will. For us to hate those who are in error and talk of them with contempt
or wish them ill, or do them wrong is not according to the Spirit of Christ. You cannot cast out Satan by Satan,
nor correct error by violence, nor overcome hate by hate. The conquering weapon of the Christian is love and if Paul had
sought to overthrow what he thought to be an error by love, although he had been mistaken, he would not have been so
guilty.
Whoever they might be, whether righteous or wicked, men or women, he would compel them to blaspheme the name
of Jesus, whom he judged to be an impostor. He sought to domineer over their consciences and to oppress them for their
beliefs. How, then, can God hear his prayer? If you have the spirit of hate in you, it nullifies your devotions and makes
your prayer to be no prayer. In love lies the essence of prayer and prayer ought to be the flower and crown of love. If I go
through the world hating my fellow men because they differ from me. If I am determined to force my own doctrines upon
others with an iron hand, I cannot lift that hand in prayer! A malicious heart pollutes the sacrifice which it offers.

~from "Behold, he prays"
C. H. Spurgeon
Sermon #1860
http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols31-33/chs1860.pdf
 
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