A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, December 31, 1876, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *6/28/2012
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let him who hears say, “Come.” And let him who is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely. [Re 22:17]
1. Our text stands at the end of the Bible even as today stands at the end of the year: and it is full of gospel even as we would make our closing Sabbath discourse. It would seem as if the Holy Spirit were loath to put down the pen while so many remained unbelieving, notwithstanding the testimony of the inspired word, and therefore before he closes the canon of Holy Scripture and guards it against all additions or mutilations, with most solemn words, he gives one more full, free, earnest, gracious invitation to thirsty souls to come to Christ and drink. So on this last page of the year I would gladly write another gospel invitation that those who have not so far believed our report may, even on this last day of the feast, incline their ear and accept the message of salvation. Even before the midnight bell proclaims the birth of a new year, may you be born to God: at any rate once more the truth by which men are regenerated shall be lovingly brought to your attention. I ask those of you who have the Master’s ear to raise this request to him just now, that if the arrows have missed the mark on the previous fifty-two Sabbaths they may strike the target this time, being directed by the divine Spirit. Pray also that if some have kept the door of their hearts firmly closed against the Lord Jesus until now, he may himself come in the preaching of the Word this morning, and put in his hand by the latch of the door, so that their hearts may be moved for him. In answer to that prayer we shall be sure to get a blessing. Let us expect it and act upon the expectation, and we shall see men flying to Jesus as a cloud, and as doves to their windows.
2. Are not the words of our text the words of the Lord Jesus? Can they be regarded as the words of John? I do not think so, for they follow so closely upon the undoubted language of Jesus in the former verse. Thus runs the passage: — “I Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you about these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ ” We can hardly, I think, divide the paragraph, and we must, it seems to me, regard our text as the words of the risen Jesus, that morning star whose cheering beams foretell the glorious day. The lover of men’s souls was not quite finished speaking to sinners; there was a little more to say, and here he says it. The divine Redeemer, leaning from his throne in which he sits as the reward of his accomplished work, and bending over sinners with the same love which led him to die for them says, “Let him who hears say, ‘Come.’ and let him who is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
3. Looking at the words, therefore, in that golden light as coming from the dear lips of the Well-Beloved, let us notice first, the heavenward cry of prayer — “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come.’ ” These voices go upward to Christ. Then, secondly, let us hear the earthward cry of invitation — “Let him who is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely”; that cry goes outward and downward towards needy and sorrowing spirits. Then, thirdly, we shall pause for a while to notice the relationship between these two cries; for the coming of Christ is connected with the coming of sinners: and then, as best we can, we shall observe and expect the response to the two cries; both from him who sits in the heavens and from souls thirsting here below. Oh divine Spirit, bless the Word.
4. I. First, then, our text begins with THE HEAVENWARD CRY OF PRAYER, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come.’ ”! I think it will be evident, if you read carefully, that this cannot be interpreted as being only the voice of the Spirit and the bride to the sinner. Surely the sense requires us to regard this cry of “come” as addressed to our Lord Jesus, who in a previous verse had been saying, “Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me.” We may see the second included in it, but it will never do to exclude the first. We shall not have dealt honestly with the words before us unless we regard them first as spoken upwards towards our Lord, whose coming is our great hope.
5. The matter of this cry is first to be noticed — it is the coming of Christ. “The Spirit and the bride say ‘Come.’ ” This is and always has been the universal cry of the church of Jesus Christ. There is no one common theory about the exact meaning of that coming, but there is one common desire for it, in some form or other. Some of us are expecting the bodily coming, because the angel said when the cloud concealed the rising Christ, “This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.” We therefore look for his descent upon the earth in person, to be here literally among us. Some expect that when he comes it will be to reign upon the earth, making all things new and bringing to his people a glorious period of a thousand years, in which there shall be perpetual Sabbath rest. Others think that when he comes he will come to judge the world, and that the day of his appearing is rather to be regarded as the end of all things and the conclusion of this age rather than as the beginning of the age of gold. There are some who think the millennium to be a dream, and the coming of Christ in person to be a mere fantasy, but they believe that he will come spiritually, and they are looking for a time when the gospel shall spread very wonderfully, and there will be an extraordinary power about the ministry of the word, so that nations shall run to him and be converted to his truth. Now it would be very interesting to take up these various statements and speculations, but we do not want to do so, because after all, in whatever way men look at it, all the true people of God still desire the coming of Christ, and as long as he draws near they are content. They may have more or less light about the manner of it, but still ever since the time when he departed the coming of Christ has been the great wish and desire, yes and the agonizing prayer of the church of God. “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus,” is the cry of the whole host of the Lord’s elect. It is true that some have not always desired this coming from motives of the most commendable kind, and many become more than ever earnest in this prayer when they have been in a state of disappointment and sorrow, but still what they desire is a right thing, and a promised blessing to be given in its time. I suppose the file of sorrow will always give a keener edge to the desire of Christ’s coming. Luther on one occasion, when much discouraged, said, “May the Lord come at once! Let him cut the whole matter short with the day of judgment; for there is no amendment to be expected.” When we get into this state of mind the desire, though right in appearance, may not be quite as pure as we think. Desires and prayers which grow out of unbelief and petulance can hardly be of the very best kind. Perhaps when we more patiently wait and quietly hope, we may not be quite so feverishly anxious for the speedy coming, and yet our state of mind may be more sober and more truly watchful and acceptable than when we showed more apparent eagerness. Waiting must sit side by side with desiring: patience must blend with hope. The Lord’s “quickly” may not be my “quickly”; and if so, let him do what seems good to him. It may be a better thing after all for our Lord to delay a little longer, so that by a more lengthened conflict he may all the better reveal the patience of the saints and the power of the eternal Spirit. It may be the Lord may linger yet for a while, and if so, while the church desires his speedy advent, she will not quarrel with her Master, nor dictate to him, nor even wish to know the times and the seasons. “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,” is her heart’s innermost wish, but as for the details of his coming she leaves them in his hands.
6. Having noticed the matter of the cry, let us next observe the people crying. The Spirit is first mentioned — “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ ” And why does the Holy Spirit desire the coming of the Lord Jesus? At present the Spirit is, so to speak, the vicegerent of this age upon earth. Our Lord Jesus is gone into the heavens, for it was expedient for him to go, but the Comforter whom the Father has sent in his name has taken his place as our teacher, and continually remains on earth as the witness to the truth, and the worker for it in the minds of men. But the Spirit of God is daily grieved during this season of longsuffering and conflict. It is not possible for us to know how much he is provoked all the world over! The forty years in the wilderness must have become as nothing compared with almost two millennia of rebellious generations. The ungodly vex him, they reject his testimony, and resist his operations. And, alas, the saints grieve him too. You and I have, I fear, grieved him often during the past year; and so he desires the end of this evil state, and says to our Lord Jesus, “Come.” Besides, the Spirit’s great object and desire is to glorify Christ, even as our Lord says, “He shall glorify me, for he shall take of mine and show them to you.” Now, since the coming of Christ will be the full revelation of the Redeemer’s glory, the Spirit therefore desires that he may come and take for himself his great power, and reign. The Holy Spirit seals us “to the day of redemption,” always having an eye for that great event; his work tends towards its completion in the day of the appearing of the sons of God. He “is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” Therefore the Spirit has sympathy in the groanings of his saints for the glorious appearing, and it is in this connection especially that he is described as helping our infirmities, and making intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. In this sense the Spirit says “Come”; indeed, all such cries of “Come” in this world are of his prompting.
7. Our text next tells us that, “the bride says, ‘Come.’ ” We all know that the bride is the church, but perhaps we have not noticed the uniqueness of her name. It is not “The Spirit and the church say, ‘Come,’ ” but “the Spirit and the bride,” for she says “Come” always more fervently when she experiences her near and dear relationship to her Lord, and all that it involves. Now, a bride is one whose marriage is near, either as having just happened or as close at hand. She is far more than merely espoused — either she is married or about to be, although the actual marriage feast may not have been eaten. So the church is very nearly arrived at the grand hour, when it shall be said “the marriage of the Lamb is come and his bride has made herself ready”; and because of that she is full of joy at the prospect of hearing the cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom comes.” Who marvels that it is so? It would be unnatural if there were no desire on the part of the church to see her beloved Lord and Head. Is it not as it should be when the bride says “Come?”
I wish to call your attention to the fact that while I have made two
of the people mentioned in the text for the purpose of discoursing
upon them in due order, yet they are not divided in the passage
before us. It does not say the Spirit says “come” and the bride says
“come,” but “the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ ” That is to say,
the Spirit of God speaks through the church when he cries. “Come,”
and the church cries to Christ for his coming because she is moved to
it by the Holy Spirit. True prayer is always a joint work; the Holy
Spirit within us writes acceptable desires upon our hearts and then
we present them. The Holy Spirit does not plead apart from our
desiring and believing: we must ourselves desire and will and plead
and agonize because the Spirit of God works in us so to will and to
do. We plead with God because we are prompted and guided by his
Holy Spirit. Our pleadings, which go up to heaven for the advent of
Jesus, are the Holy Spirit crying in the hearts of the blood-bought.
The church herself prays in the Holy Spirit, instantly crying day and
night for the fulfilment of the greatest of all the covenant promises.
Come, Lord, and tarry not;
Bring the long look’d for day;
Oh, why these years of waiting here,
These ages of delay?
Come, for thy saints still wait;
Daily ascends their sigh;
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come”;
Dost thou not hear the cry?
9. The next clause of the text indicates that each separate believer should breathe the same desire, “Let him who hears say, ‘Come.’ ” Brethren, this will be the index of your belonging to the bride, the sign of your sharing in the one Spirit, and being joined to the one body, if you unite with the Spirit and the bride in saying, “Come.” For no ungodly man truly desires Christ’s coming; but on the contrary he desires to get away from him, and forget his very existence. To delight in drawing near to the Lord Jesus Christ is an evidence of our election and calling; to wish more and more fully to know him and to live more near to him is the sign of our having been reconciled to God by his death, and of our having a new nature implanted in us: to long to see him revealed in fulness of glory is the ensign of a true soldier of the cross. Do you feel this? Do you desire to be better acquainted with the Lord Jesus? You have heard the gospel, do you say as the church does, “Come, Lord Jesus?” Alas, for many the day of the Lord will be darkness and not light, and they cannot desire it, for it will be a day of terror and confusion to them; but to such as have heard and believed in the precious name of the Son of God it will be joy and peace, and therefore the cry of their, heart is, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
This utterance of “Come” by him who hears it, is the sign of his
joyful consent; to the fact that Christ shall come. It is well, my
friend, if when you hear that Christ will come you say, “Let him
come.” If he comes to reign, let him, for blessed be his name, who
should reign except him? If he descends to judge the earth, let him
come, for we shall be justified at his judgment bar. His purpose and
objects in coming can only be full with infinite benefit for us and
glory for our God, and therefore we would not delay his chariot
wheels by so much as an hour.
Hasten Lord! The promised hour;
Come in glory and in power;
Still thy foes are unsubdued;
Nature sighs to be renew’d.
Time has nearly reached its sum,
All things with thy bride, say “Come”;
Jesus, whom all worlds adore,
Come and reign for evermore!
The saying of “come” by each true hearer is the sign that his heart responds to the doctrine which he has been taught. We have received it by revelation that Christ is to come, and our soul says, “Even so. Come Lord Jesus; it is our happiness that it should be so.”
11. Thus we have mentioned the people from whom this cry is uttered and now let us add a word upon the tense in which the cry is put. It is in the present tense. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come.’ ” The Spirit and the bride are anxious that Christ should come at once, and he who knows Christ and loves him desires also that he should not delay. Look, my brethren, is it not time as far as our poor judgments go that Jesus should come? See how iniquity abounds! Behold our very streets, how foul they are with sin! See how errors are multiplied: do they not swarm even in the church of God itself? Have not heresies come down like birds of prey upon the sacrifice, to pollute even the altars of the Most High? See at this present time how sceptics defy the living God, how they hiss out from between their teeth the question, “Where is the promise of his coming, for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were?” Behold how Antichrist also stalks boldly through the land. Superstitions which your fathers could not bear are set up among you yet again, and the carved images, crosses, crucifixes and sacraments, gods many and lords many, of old Rome have come back to England again, and they are worshipped in her national church. In England, stained with the blood of martyrs, once again the mark of the beast is to be seen on the foreheads of those whom she feeds to teach her people! Is it not time that the Lord should come? Oh hoary systems of superstition, what else can shake you from your thrones! Oh gods that have long ruled over superstitious minds, who else can hurl you to the moles and to the bats? You know him who made you quiver on your thrones on that night when he was born in Bethlehem’s manger, and you may well tremble, for when he comes it will be with an iron rod to smash you to pieces. “Even so,” we cry, “come, Lord Jesus: come quickly. Amen.”
12. II. Now, secondly, let us listen to THE EARTHWARD CRY OF INVITATION TO MEN.
13. I must confess I cannot quite tell you how it is that the sense in my text glides away from the coming of Christ to the earth into the coming of sinners to Christ, but it does. Like colours which blend, or strains of music which melt into each other, so the first sense slides into the second. This almost invisible transition seems to me to have been occasioned by the memory of the fact that the coming of Christ is not desirable for all mankind. There are the unbelievers who have not obeyed him, and when they hear the Spirit and the bride say “Come,” immediately they begin to tremble, and they say within themselves, “What if he should come! Alas, we rejected him, and his coming will be our destruction.” I think I hear some such sinners weeping and wailing at the very thought of the Lord’s coming, for they know that they also who have pierced him must behold him and weep because of him. It seems almost cruel on the part of the bride and the Spirit to be saying “come,” when that coming must be for the overthrow of all the adversaries of the Lord: and so Jesus himself seems gently to turn aside the prayer of his people while he pleads with the needy ones. He lets the prayer flow towards himself, but yet directs its flow towards poor sinners also. He himself seems to say, “You ask me to come, but I, as the Saviour of men, look at your brothers and your sisters who are still in the far country, the other sheep who are not yet part of the fold, whom I must also bring in, and in answer to your cry to me to come I speak to those wandering ones, and say, ‘Let him who is thirsty come, and whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ ” Is that not the way in which the sense glides from its first direction?
14. Now, from whom does this cry arise?
15. It first comes from Jesus. It is he who says, “Let him who is thirsty come.” The passage so stands, as I have already said, that we can only believe this verse to have been the utterance of him who is the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. From heaven he cries to the unconverted, “Let him who is thirsty come.” Will they refuse him who speaks? Shall Jesus himself invite them, and will they turn a deaf ear?
16. But next, it is the call of the Spirit of God. The Spirit says, “Come.” This Book which he has written, on every page says to men, “Come! Come to Jesus.” This is the cry of the Spirit in the preaching of the word. What do sermons and discourses mean except “Come sinner, come?” And those secret motions of power upon the conscience, those times when the heart grows calm even amid dissipation, and thought is forced upon the mind, those are the movements of the Spirit of God by which he is showing man his danger and revealing to him his refuge, and so is saying, “Come.” All over the world wherever there is a Bible and a preacher the Spirit is saying “Come.”
17. And this is the speech of the church too in conjunction with the Spirit, for the Spirit speaks with the bride and the bride speaks by the Spirit. The church is always saying “Come.” This is indeed the meaning of her Sunday gatherings, of her testimony in the pulpit, of her teaching in the Sunday Schools, of her prayers and her exhortations. Everywhere, poor wandering hearts, the church of God is saying to you, “Come”; or if she does not do so she is not acting in her true character as the bride of Christ. This is the reason that there is a church in the world at all; if it were not for this our Lord might take his people home as soon as they have believed, but they are kept here to be a seed to keep the truth alive in the world, and their daily earnest cry to you is “Come, come to Jesus.” “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ ”
18. The next giver of the invitation is spoken of as “him who hears.” If you have had an ear to hear, and have heard the gospel resulting in your own salvation, the very next thing you have to do is to say to those around you, “Come.” Go and speak to anyone whom you meet, to everyone you meet, according as opportunity and occasion shall be given to you, and say what all the church says and what the Spirit is saying — namely, “Come” Give your Master’s invitation, distribute the testimony of his loving will, and invite poor sinners to come to Jesus. Your children and your servants, — invite them to come; your neighbours and your friends, — invite them to come; the strangers and the far-off ones, invite them to come; the prostitute and the thief, — invite such to come; those who are in the highways and the hedges, those who are far off from God by abominable works — say also to all these “Come.” Because you have heard the message and proved its truth, go and invite others to the feast of love. Oh, if there were more of these individual proclaimers what blessings would descend upon London! I do not know how many believers in Christ there are present in this house, but I do know that there are five thousand of us associated in Church fellowship at this Tabernacle; and if all of these five thousand would only begin to bear witness for Christ with all their might, there would be enough salt even within this one house to season all London, with God’s blessing upon our efforts. My brothers and sisters, let us not be slow to address ourselves to those to whom the Spirit of God within us, and the voice of Jesus from above, and the cry of the whole church is addressed. Let each individual member take up the note of invitation until all around the trembling sinner hears the encouraging cry of “Come.”
19. Now, notice the remarkably encouraging character of this “Come” which is given by the Spirit of the Bride. One part of it is directed to the thirsty: “let him who is thirsty come.” By thirst is meant necessity, and an appetite for its supply. Do you feel yourself to be guilty, and do you desire pardon? — you are a thirsty one. Are you disquieted and filled with unrest, and do you long to be pacified in heart? — you are a thirsty one. Is there a something, you perhaps do not know what it is, for which you are sighing, and crying, and pining? you are a thirsty one, and to you the invitation is most positively and distinctly given, “Let him who is thirsty come.”
20. But how much I rejoice that the second half of the invitation does not contain even an apparent limit, as this first sentence has been thought to do! I regard the thirst here mentioned as by no means requiring of any man that he should have gone through a process of horror on account of guilt, or should have been overwhelmed with conviction, and driven to despair of salvation. I believe that any desire and any longing will come under the description, of “thirst”; but since some have stumbled over it, and have said again and again, “I feel I do not thirst enough,” see how sweetly the second clause of our text puts it — “Whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” whether you are thirsty or not, yet do you have a will to drink? Do you have a will to be saved? a will to be cleansed from sin? a will to be made a new creature in Christ Jesus? Do you will to have eternal life? Then thus says the Spirit to you, “Whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
21. Now, notice three vast doors through which the largest and most elephantine sinner that ever made the earth shake beneath the weight of his guilt may go. Here are the three doors. “Whoever” — “will” — “freely.” “Whoever,” — there is the first door. “Whoever” — then what man dares to have the impudence to say that he is excluded? If you say that you cannot come in under “whoever,” I ask you how you dare to narrow a word which is in itself so broad, so infinite. “Whoever” — that must mean every man who ever lived, or ever shall live, while he is still here and wills to come. Well, then, the word “will.” There is nothing about past character, nor present character; nothing about knowledge, or feeling, nor anything else except the will: “Whoever will.” Speak of the gate standing ajar! This looks to me like taking the door right off the hinges and carrying it away, “Whoever Will.” There is no hindrance whatever in your way. And then, “freely.” God’s gifts are given without any expectation or payment, or any requirements and conditions — “Let him take the water of life freely.” You do not have to bring your good feelings, or good desires, or good works, but come and take freely what God gives you for nothing. You are not even to bring repentance and faith in order to obtain grace, but you are to come and accept repentance and faith as the gifts of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit. What broad gates of mercy these are! How wide the entrance which love has prepared for coming souls! “Whoever!” “Will!” “Freely!”
22. Observe how the invitation sums up the work the sinner is called upon to do. First, he is invited to come. “Whoever will, let him come.” Now, to come to Christ means simply for the soul to draw near to him by trusting him. You are not asked to bring a load with you, nor to work for Christ in order for salvation, but just to come to him. Nothing is said about the manner of coming, come running or creeping, come boldly or timidly, for if you only come to Jesus, he will in no wise cast you out. A simple reliance upon the Lord Jesus is the one essential for eternal life.
23. Then the next direction is “take.” “Whoever will, let him take.” That is all. That word “take” is a grand word to express the gospel. The world’s gospel is “bring”: Christ’s gospel is “take.” Nature’s gospel is “make”: just change the letter and you have the gospel of grace which is “take.” There is the water dear friends, you do not have to dig a well to find it, you only have to take it. There is the bread of heaven, you do not have to grind the flour or bake the loaf, you have only to take it. There is a garment woven from the top throughout, and without seam; you do not have to add a fringe to it, you only have to take it. The way of salvation may be summed up in the four letters of the word “take.” Do you desire Christ? take him. Do you want pardon? take it. Do you need a new heart? take it. Do you want peace on earth? take it. Do you want heaven hereafter? take it, — that is all. “Whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
24. And there is one other word which I love to dwell on, and it comes twice over “let him who is thirsty come, and whoever will let him take.” It is graciously said, let him. It seems to me as if the Lord Jesus Christ saw a poor soul standing thirsty at the flowing crystal fountain of his love, and the devil standing there whispered to him, “You see the sacred stream, but it flows for others It is what you need, but you must not have it, it is not for you.” Listen, there is a voice from beyond the clouds which cries aloud, “Let him take it!” Stand back devil, let the willing one come! He is stooping down to drink — he understands it now — but there comes rushing upon him a host of his old sins like so many winged harpies, [a] and they scream out to him, “Go back, you must not draw near, this fountain is not for you: this pure crystal stream must not be defiled by such leprous lips as yours.” Again there comes from the throne of love this blessed password, “Let him come and let him take.” It is like the time when a man is in court and is called for, to go into the witness box. He is standing in the crowd, and his name is called: what happens? As soon as he hears his name he begins to push through the throng to reach his place. “What are you doing?” one says. “I am called,” he says. “Stand back; why do you push so?” another says. “I am called by the judge,” he says. A big policeman demands, “Why are you making such confusion in court?” “But,” says the man, “I am called. My name was called out, and I must come.” If he cannot come, if it is not possible for him to get through the throng, one of the authorities calls out, “Make way for that man — he is summoned by the court. Officers, clear a passage and let him come.” Now the Lord Jesus calls the thirsty one and he says, “Whoever will, let him come!” Make way doubts, make way sins, make way fears, make way demons, make way all of you for Jesus Christ the great king and judge of all has said, “Let him come!” Who shall hinder when Jesus permits? He who is divinely called shall surely come to Jesus. He shall come, no matter who may stand in his way. This morning I feel as if I could come to Jesus over again, and I will do so. Do you not feel the same, my beloved brethren? Well then, dear brother or sister, after you have done so turn around and proclaim this precious gospel invitation to all around you, and say to them “Come and take the water of life freely.”
25. III. The third point is THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THESE TWO COMINGS. Is there any relationship between the coming of Christ from heaven to earth, and the coming of poor sinful creatures to Christ and trusting him?
There is this relationship, first, they are both suggested in this
passage, by the closing of the scriptural canon. John is about to
write by the voice of the Lord that no one is to add to or take from
the completed Book of God. The church says, “If there are no more
prophets to proclaim the mind of God, no more apostles to write with
infallible authority, and no more instructors to give out new
revelations, or bring new promises, then it only remains that the
Lord should come.” “Then,” she says, “Come, Lord Jesus.” And here are
the sinners standing around, and they hear that no other gospel is to
be expected, no more revelations are to be added to those which are
in this book, there will be no other atonement, no other way of
salvation, therefore it is their wisdom to come at once to Jesus. It
is because the Book was about to receive its finis that the
Spirit and the bride unitedly cried to the sinners to come at once.
No fresh gospel is to be expected, therefore let them come at once.
Why should they tarry any longer? The oxen and fatlings are killed,
come to the supper! All things are ready, there is nothing more to be
done, or to be revealed; upon us the ends of the earth have come. “It
is finished” has rung through heaven and earth, therefore —
“Come and welcome, sinner come!”
27. I think I perceive another connection, namely, that those people who in very truth love Christ enough to cry to him continually to come are sure to love sinners also, and to say to them also, “Come.” Not that there are some who talk a great deal about Christ’s coming, and yet reveal very little care for other men’s souls. Well, it is talk; the profession of looking for the second advent is nothing but talk when it does not lead people to cry to perishing men, “Come to Christ.” He who loves Christ as he should loves sinners also; and that man who loves Christ so very much that he is quite wrapped up in himself, and forgets the dying millions around him, and stands stargazing into heaven, expecting to see a sudden glory, to take himself away, does not understand what he is saying: for if he loved his Lord he would get to work for him, and would show that he expected the King to come by endeavouring to extend his kingdom.
28. There is this connection also, that before Christ comes a certain number of his elect must be gathered in. He shall not come until an appointed company shall have been brought to eternal life by the preaching of the Word. Oh then, brethren, it is ours to labour so that the wanderers may come home, for so we are, as far as lies in us, hurrying the time when our Beloved himself shall come.
29. Once more, there is a kind of coming of Christ which, though it is not the first meaning here, may be included in it, for it touches the centre of the sinner’s coming to Christ. Because, brethren, when we cry, “Come, Lord Jesus,” if he shall answer us by giving us his Spirit more fully, so that he comes to us spiritually, then penitent souls will assuredly be brought to his feet. We know this, that wherever the Lord himself is in a meeting, hearts are sure to be broken and repentance is certain to be revealed. Wherever Jesus Christ is in power there must be a revival, for dead souls must come to life in him. The great thing we want above all others is a grip of that glorious promise, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world,” and as we in this sense obtain the coming of the Lord, we shall see sinners come and partake of the water of life.
30. IV. Well then, lastly, WHAT ARE THE RESPONSES?
31. We sent up a cry to heaven, and said, “Come.” The response is, “Behold, I come quickly.” That is eminently satisfactory. You may have to wait for a while, but the cry is heard, and if the Lord should not come in your lifetime, the same preparation of heart which made you look for his coming will be blessedly useful to you if he sends his messenger to take you home by death. The same waiting and watching will serve in either case, so you need not be under any distress about which of the two shall happen. Christ will descend to earth as surely as he ascended to heaven, and when he comes there will be victory to the right and to the true, and his saints shall reign with him.
32. And now concerning this other cry of “Come.” We ask sinners to come. We have asked them in a fourfold voice: Jesus, the Spirit, the bride, and him who hears, they have all said, “Come.” Will they come? Brothers and sisters, it is a question which I cannot answer. You must not ask me, for I do not know; but you had better ask the people themselves: they are of age, ask them. Take care that you do ask them before they get out of the Tabernacle this morning. They know, and therefore they can tell you whether they intend to come or not. I will say this to them, — my dear friends, I do trust that this last day of the year may be for you a day of mercy. The Jews had a feast of ingatherings at the end of the year, and I earnestly pray that we may have an ingathering of precious souls to Christ before the year quite runs out: that would be a grand finish to this year of grace, and a sweet encouragement for the future.
33. But suppose you do not come. Well, you have been invited. If a Christmas feast is provided for the poor, and a number of beggars are standing shivering outside in the sleet and snow, and will not come in though earnestly invited, we say, “Well, you have been invited: what more do you want?” Remember, also, that you have been invited very earnestly. The Spirit, the bride, and him who hears, and Jesus himself, — they have all said to you, “Come.” I am as the man who hears, and I have said, “Come.” I do not know how to say it more earnestly than I have said it. Oh, how my soul would delight if everyone here came to Christ at this moment! I would ask for no greater joy outside of heaven to crown this year with. You are invited, and you are earnestly invited, what more do you want? If you never come, you will have this thought to haunt you for ever — “I was invited and pressed again and again, but I would not come.”
I want you to remember, too, that you are called to come now, at
once. You may not be invited to come tomorrow for several reasons:
you may not be alive, or there may be no earnest person near you to
invite you. Can there be a better day than today? You have always
said “Tomorrow,” yet where are you now? Some of you are not a bit
closer than you were ten years ago. Do you remember that sermon when
you were made to tremble so, and you said, “Please God, if I get out
of this service, I will seek his face,” but you postponed it, and are
you any closer now? You remember the story of the countryman who
would not cross the river just yet, but sat down and said he would
wait until all the water had gone by. He waited long in vain, and he
might have waited for ever, for rivers are always flowing. You too
are waiting until a more convenient season shall come, and all the
difficulties shall have gone by. Quit such supreme folly. There
always will be difficulty, the river will always flow. Oh man, be
wise, plunge into it and swim across. Now is the accepted time, and
now is the day of salvation. Oh that you would believe, in Jesus
Christ! May his Spirit lead you to do so now.
Only trust him! only trust him!
Only trust him now!
He will save you! he will save you!
He will save you now!
Cast yourselves upon the blood and merits of the Lord Jesus, and the
great work is done. May the Lord help you to do so. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Re 22]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Lord’s Day — Sweet Rest” 917]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — Come Quickly” 345]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — Come And Welcome” 509]
[a] Harpy: Greek and Latin Mythology. A fabulous monster, rapacious and filthy, having a woman’s face and body and a bird’s wings and claws, and supposed to act as a minister of divine vengeance. OED.
Public Worship, The Lord’s Day
917 — Sweet Rest
1 My Lord, my love, was crucified,
He all the pains did bear;
But in the sweetness of his rest
He makes his servants share.
2 How sweetly rest thy saints above
Which in thy bosom lie!
The church below doth rest in hope
Of that felicity.
3 Welcome and dear unto my soul
Are there sweet feasts of love;
But what a Sabbath shall I keep
When I shall rest above!]
4 I bless thy wise and wondrous love,
Which binds us to be free;
Which makes us leave our earthly snares,
That we may come to thee!
5 I come, I wait, I hear, I pray!
Thy footsteps, Lord, I trace!
I sing to think this is the way
Unto my Saviour’s face!
John Mason, 1683.
Jesus Christ, Second Advent
345 — Come Quickly
1 Come, Lord, and tarry not;
Bring the long look’d for day;
Oh, why these years of waiting here,
These ages of delay?
2 Come, for thy saints still wait;
Daily ascends their sigh;
The Spirit and the bride say, Come;
Dost thou not hear the cry?
3 Come, for creation groans,
Impatient of thy stay,
Worn out with these long years of ill,
These ages of delay.
4 Come, for the corn is ripe,
Put in thy sickle now,
Reap the great harvest of the earth;
Sower and Reaper thou!
5 Come, in thy glorious might,
Come with the iron rod,
Scattering thy foes before thy face,
Most mighty Son of God.
6 Come, and make all things new,
Build up this ruined earth,
Restore our faded Paradise,
Creation’s second birth.
7 Come, and begin thy reign
Of everlasting peace;
Come, take the kingdom to thyself,
Great King of Righteousness.
Horatius Bonar, 1857.
509 — Come And Welcome <8.7.4.>
1 Come, and welcome, to the Saviour,
He in mercy bids thee come:
Come, be happy in his favour,
Longer from him do not roam;
Come, and welcome,
Come to Jesus, sinner, come!
2 Come, and welcome; start for glory,
Leave the wretched world behind:
Christ will spread his banner o’er thee,
Thou in him a friend shalt find;
Come, and welcome,
To a Saviour good and kind.
3 Come, and welcome: do not linger,
Make thy happy choice today;
True thou art a wretched sinner,
But he’ll wash thy sins away:
Come, and welcome,
Time admits of no delay.
Albert Midlane, 1865.