A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, March 21, 1880, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *1/16/2013
A great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came to him. [Mr 3:8]
1. The opposition of the great ones of the earth did not, after all, hinder the cause of Christ. The Pharisees, who were the leaders of religious thought, combined with the Herodians, who were the court party, to destroy Jesus; but at the very moment when their wrath had reached its highest pitch the crowd around the Saviour’s person was greater than ever. Let us not, therefore, dear friends, be at all dismayed if great men and learned men, and nominally religious men, should oppose the simple gospel of Christ. All the world is not bound up in a Pharisee’s phylactery, nor held in chains by a philosopher’s new thought. If some will not have our Saviour, others will: God’s eternal purpose will stand, and the kingdom of his Anointed shall come. If our Lord Jesus is rejected by the great, nevertheless the common people hear him gladly. To the poor the gospel is preached, and it is his joy and his delight that out of them he still gathers a company who, though poor in this world, are rich in faith, and give glory to God. I would have you, beloved, expect opposition, and regard it as a sign of coming blessing. Do not dread the black cloud, it only prognosticates a shower. March may howl and bluster, and April may soak all things with its rains, but the May flowers and the autumn’s harvest of varied fruits will come, and come by this very means. Go on and serve your God in the serenity of holy confidence and you shall live to see that the hand of the Lord is not to be turned back, though the kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take counsel together.
2. Those who came to Christ in such great multitudes did not all come from good motives, and I shall not assume that they did. Some came from idle curiosity, no doubt: others came to listen to what he had to say, but were not prepared to believe in him. We know that many came to be fed with loaves and fishes, swayed by the most mercenary motives. Still, in the case now under notice large numbers came to Jesus because they had heard of the great things which he did, hoping that he would do something of the same kind for them; for multitudes of those who came were sick folk, plagued, stricken with disease, and they came so that by touching him they might be delivered from all their sufferings. They gained this blessing, and glorified the name of the Lord. I shall not, therefore, take time to single out the characters who made up the crowd, but remind you that we must never expect that all who come to hear the gospel will receive it. Just as Jesus went up into the mountain, and there called out to himself whom he would, so he forms his church, which is an assembly of called out ones, whom the sovereign Lord selects from the congregation of hearers so that they may become a church of believers. The process of selection and separation is always going on, and the great heap which lies on the threshing-floor is being daily winnowed to divide the golden grain from the worthless chaff. For our present purpose only we shall just now view those who literally came to Christ as the types of those who come spiritually. Many, I trust, who are present at this time will come to Jesus for the same reason that these people came, namely, because they have heard of the great things which have been done by him. So to our work at once.
3. Three things are before us. The first is the attraction, — “They had heard what great things he did”: secondly, the gathering — “They came to him”; and thirdly, the context furnishes us with this, the result of the attraction and the gathering. We find it written “He had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him in order to touch him, as many as had plagues.”
4. I. Here is THE ATTRACTION — “they had heard what great things he did.” My dear hearers, the case of these people is parallel with your own. Most of you here have heard of the great things which Jesus Christ has done.
5. Let us notice, first, that these people had heard with something of a believing ear. Stories floated around concerning one who had healed blindness, palsy, leprosy; and they accepted the statements as facts. A lame man told how he had been made to leap like a hart, and a blind man declared that his eyes had been opened, and as these wonders passed from mouth to mouth these people believed them to be true. I know that even those of you who are not converted yet believe what is recorded in these four Gospels concerning the miracles that Jesus performed. You are persuaded that the records are authentic; you believe that the Lord Jesus healed the sick, and that he even raised the dead and cast out demons. You also accept the grand gospel statement that he is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him. Believing so much as that, you ought to believe a good deal more, and I pray the Holy Spirit now to lead you to that further faith. If you have come as far as that, the most reasonable thing to do is to go to him with your own case and trust him to heal you. I am persuaded that I may go very far with many here present in a statement of their beliefs. You believe that Jesus Christ has done great spiritual wonders for multitudes. You have been told of great sinners whose hard hearts have been softened, whose characters have been changed, whose lives have been renewed, whose sins have been forgiven. You have met them, have you not? The deed of grace was performed upon your own brother, perhaps, or upon some intimate friend, or some person of public notoriety. You know many such cases, and you believe them to be genuine wonders of grace. You do not think that conversion is all a delusion; you have not reached that degree of unbelief. Indeed, instead of unbelief, you are filled with ardent admiration and feel a measure of desire to be saved yourself; and while sitting in this house you have often said, “Yes, I believe it is so. Oh that the mighty grace of God would renew me, and that I could touch the hem of the Saviour’s garment so that he might save even me.” Believing so much as you do, you ought in all reason to believe more. I mean you should go on to trust him who has performed these great things, and place your own case in his hands and leave it there. This is the legitimate course to pursue. A man believes a certain medicine to have perform great cures, and he knows that he himself is sick with the disease which it is meant to heal; why, it seems as if no one needs to say, “The next step is that you should try that medicine on yourself.” Yet it grieves me that so many of you do not proceed to this saving point, but linger on the borders of faith. You see the river of the water of life, and wish to drink, for you are sure that it would quench your thirst, and yet you are in danger of perishing in sight of the flowing stream. Oh, Holy Spirit, remove the madness of sin, and teach men true wisdom.
6. The many who came to Jesus felt themselves drawn because they had heard of the great things which he had done and believed them; they proceeded, however, to the second step which I have already indicated, for they drew from what they had heard an argument of hope. They said, “Has he done these great things to others? Why should he not work the same gracious miracles upon us?” The palsied man said, “He who was sick as I am has been recovered; surely, if I could get near to Jesus, and could catch his eye, he would restore me.” The blind said, “He healed one like myself: oh, if I could only sit where he passes by I would cry, ‘You Son of David, have mercy on me,’ and he would open my eyes too.” They could not be at once sure that he would heal them, for that he works a cure in one is not in itself a proof that he will work upon another; but they were further informed that he delighted in mercy, and that he was gentle and gracious, and easily entreated, and therefore they concluded that if such a One had power to work such beneficial miracles, and evidently had a will to work them, they only had to come to him and they would be partakers of his healing power. Oh that my unconverted hearers would act reasonably at this time, and draw the same conclusion. I urge you, dear friends, see how sensible these people were, so that you may imitate them. To me it seems as plain as the working out of a proposition in mathematics. Jesus has saved such as I am, therefore he can save me. To believe in him is as reasonable an act as to eat what is good when you know it is good, and know that you need it; or to drink what quenches thirst, when you perceive that it is suitable for that purpose, and that you are in need of a drink. Oh that your hearts would say, — “Jesus Christ has accomplished great deeds of grace; he is evidently willing to work more; let me, then, come to him and trust myself in his hands.” If this is a time of cool, collected thought, and the Holy Spirit works wisdom in us, it will again happen that “A great multitude, when they had heard of the great things which Jesus did, came to him.”
7. One more step should be mentioned. No doubt these people were partly urged to come to him by their own sad condition. Some of them were full of pain through bodily plagues, and others suffered poverty and wretchedness through being blind, halt, lame, or withered, and they were anxious to be delivered from their infirmity and the poverty which came from it. Being convinced that their cases were similar to those which had been healed by Christ, they felt an eager desire to see what he could do for them. Now, I know that I may call my hearers to Christ until I lose my voice, but no one will come except those who feel that they need him; but, my dear unconverted hearers, you do need him whether you know it or not. There is a disease upon you which has already brought you down to spiritual death, and will bring you down to hell before long. The most moral of you, the most amiable of you, unless Jesus shall look upon you in love, is carrying about within himself a plague of the heart which will be your eternal ruin; Jesus must save you, or you are lost. There is no hope for any man among you unless it comes from him. Do you know this? If so, come at once to the Saviour. Do you not know it? Then believe it to be so, for it is so, and let the conviction lead you to seek his face.
8. But, remember, these people not only came because they were sick, or because they felt they were sick, for they had long known and felt their sicknesses, and had remained at home, or had resorted to other physicians, or to Bethesda’s pool, or to some other famous fount. They came to Jesus because, knowing and feeling their need, they also perceived that Jesus was able to handle their case. Come then to Christ, oh my sin-stricken hearer, because, whatever your condition may be, he can handle it. Are you troubled with hardness of heart? By his Spirit he can take away the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh. Is your difficulty unbelief? You cannot see the truth, but the Lord Jesus can open the eyes of him who was born blind. Is it a case of lack of power? Is your hand withered? The Lord can tell the withered hand to be stretched out, and it shall be done. It is not possible that there should be any moral or spiritual disease about any one of you that will baffle the power of my great Lord and Master. If you only come to him he can and will make you completely whole. He has already dealt with cases like yours, as bad as yours, as desperate as yours: in the record of his cures there are cases parallel to your own, and some which even surpass them in difficulty. Depend on it, he is able to do again what he has already done, for he is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. His arm is not shortened that he cannot save, he can reach as far as sin can go, and draw back those whom Satan has driven to the pit’s mouth. Now, be reasonable, and act upon this fact. May the Spirit of God lead you in the way of understanding, and then you will say today, “I also will join that multitude who, having heard of the great things which Jesus did, came to him.” May God grant that it may be so: yes, he will grant it, for his word shall not return to him void.
9. II. Secondly, I shall ask you to think of THE GATHERING. We have seen the attraction, now let us see what it drew together. “They came to him.”
Observe, then, that hearing did not satisfy them. I wish I could
say this of all my hearers. These people heard the story of what
Christ had done, and I am sure that they said, “It is good news;
rehearse it in our ears a second time.” They were told that he had
opened the eyes of a blind man, and a blind man who heard it cried
out, “Great news: tell me that again.” I am sure that that blind man
went many times to the house of the person who reported the cure, and
said, “Tell me again about this matter.” The woman, too, who was sick
with internal disease, said, “You told us of one who was healed; tell
us about that marvel again.” Yes, but what would you have thought if
they had kept on week after week, saying, “Tell us that story! tell
us that story!” and then had gone home and said, “We feel so much
better: we feel comforted by hearing this good news?” What fools they
would have been to have been satisfied with a mere report of other
people’s cures, without going to the great Physician to obtain
healing for themselves. Did you not sing the other day,
Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon,
The early dew of morning
Has passed away at noon?
Why should you be told that story so often? Will you never draw the
inference that Jesus is able to save you, and will you never go
to him for yourselves? I am afraid that some of you are getting
satisfied with coming to the Tabernacle, and that you are beginning
to think, “There is hope for me; I always hear the word of God; I am
a regular hearer of the gospel of Jesus.” Yes, but that is not it.
Those who are hearers only are not blessed in the deed. A hungry man
hears that food is given away to the poor, and he says, “Tell me
where the food is given and on what terms, and I will hurry to get
it, for I am famished.” Do you think the poor starving wretch will
stay here a week, and be refreshed by merely hearing about food? Not
he; he will die if he does that. He may perhaps ask again for
information and say, “Tell me once more; give me plain directions
where to go, and I will hurry to be fed as others have been”; but he
will not expect to fill his empty stomach with merely hearing the
news; he is not so stupid as that. I am compelled to feel that some
of you are very short of common sense when you are dealing with your
souls. Why, some of you might almost sing: —
Tell me the same old story,
Though you have cause to fear
That I shall miss of glory,
And die with grace so near.
Oh that this fooling would come to an end: do not think me harsh, I am only being honest; it is fooling, and nothing better, to go on hearing the word and refusing to obey its call. May God’s grace lead you to come to Jesus at once. Oh do not be hearers only. Turn your faces towards Christ, and accept his great salvation.
11. Observe, next, that these people did not wait until Jesus came to them. That we are to wait until Jesus comes to us is a common error: a kind of orthodox wickedness, a rebellious unbelief dressed up as humble submissiveness. I have known this preached, — that we are to wait at the pool of the ordinances, in the hope that one of these days the angel may trouble the pool and we shall step in. Those who talk so are not as a rule the most successful of soul winners, and that fact reminds me of a story I have heard of a Scotchman who had attended the ministry of an episcopal personage for some years. At last Donald forsook the episcopal church, and when he was missed the pastor came to him. “Why do not you come to the church, Donald?” “Because I want to be saved; and I get no good with you.” “Ah,” said the bishop, “you should wait at the pool.” “I have been waiting at the pool for a long time,” said Donald, “a very long while, and no good has come of it.” “But, Donald, you know the man who waited was healed at last.” “Ah, well, sir, but he had some encouragement, for he saw some step in before him, but all these years that I have waited at your pool I have never seen one step in yet, and therefore I will wait no longer.” Donald was right; no man can afford to run so terrible a risk as to remain in disobedience in the mere hope of some unpromised salvation. The gospel narrative does not teach us to wait at the pool. I want to call particular attention to that fact. See the crowd lying around the pool of Bethesda? What did Jesus do when he came walking along that morning through the five porches? Listen, you sick folk, waiting still at the pool. Does he say, “Wait patiently?” Not a word of it; but, singling out a man who was among the most despairing, he said, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk.” That is the gospel. It is a divine command to believe and live. Our Lord comes here at this moment by his gospel, and he does not say to you, “Wait, wait, wait,” but, “Behold, now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.” Believe in Jesus now, for he who believes in him has everlasting life. Look to him and be saved. The gospel which is preached in your ears is a voice from Jesus himself, attended by his own divine power, and if you feel it to be such, you will obey it, and you shall find salvation now, and wait no longer. These people did not wait until Jesus journeyed into their own regions, but when they heard what great things he did, they came to him. May you be led by the Spirit to do the same.
Notice, again, that these people did not stop at his disciples.
Satan tries to keep men from Christ by pointing them to ministers,
evangelists, or other eminent believers. People are impressed under a
sermon, and they say, “I should like to speak with some Christian
man.” That is very good, but after all it is not the thing which is
commanded by the gospel. You are to believe in the Master, and it
will not suffice to speak to the servants. “But I would like to go
into the enquiry room,” one says. Very well, I do not condemn that
action, but the best enquiry room for a seeking sinner is his own
bedroom, where he seeks the Lord at once, with no one between him and
his Redeemer. Why, if you could pick out the most earnest and
thoughtful divines who ever lived, and you could have twelve of them
locked up in your home, so that you might go and talk to them all day
and all night long, it would not be worth one bad farthing to you,
and it might even be an injury to you, if it kept you from going
straight to Jesus Christ. There is no salvation in men, and ministers
must not be mistaken for priests. I shake off the thought of being a
priest as Paul shook off the viper from his hand. I have often said I
would sooner be called devil than “priest” if by that word is meant
that I have any priesthood beyond what belongs to all my fellow
Christians, or any power to forgive sin, or to impart grace. My
ministry is for the extolling of Jesus, and not for the magnifying of
myself and my brethren. I dare not say, “Behold the priesthood!
Behold the church! Behold the sacraments!” My one business is to cry,
“Behold the Lamb of God.” I point you away from all ministries to
Jesus Christ the minister of the new covenant, who alone can save
your souls. These people were wise in not staying with the
disciples, for they could not meet their varied needs. They did not
rest in the company of the Virgin mother, nor in that of Peter, or
James, or John, but they hurried at once to the Lord Jesus himself to
touch his blessed person for themselves. In this I would have you all
imitate them. Oh that you would
Steal away, steal away to Jesus,
Steal away home;
For Jesus waits to save you.
13. Go to no one else except Jesus, for the great things that he did, and not the poor things that such worms as we are can ever do, should raise hope in your hearts.
14. Observe again that these people who came to Jesus in such crowds must have left their business. I do not know what became of their farms, their olive groves, their cattle, their shops, but they certainly left them to journey to Jesus. We do not commend any man for neglecting his business and daily calling; but I will say this, that when a man’s soul is not saved he cannot be blamed if he neglects everything until it is. That woman who came out in the morning with her waterpot to draw water from the well was doing a very useful and proper action, for I dare say those at home needed water to drink; but after she had heard Christ speak, it is written, “The woman left her waterpot.” Some of those at home may have said, “Where is the water, mistress?” But she would reply, “I have not thought of the poor waterpot. Come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did; is this not the Christ?” Ah, if you do leave your waterpots to find Christ you may very well be excused. Oh working man in soul-trouble, if you are out with a cart and the horse should stand still in the street while you breathed a prayer for salvation, who could blame you? If the engine paused while the stoker cried for mercy, or the shuttle lingered while the weaver begged for pardon, would there not be a justifiable excuse? If the shop shutters were kept closed for an hour later than usual while the shopkeeper sought the Saviour, yes, if the business of the senate house stood still, and all the commerce of a nation stopped while only one soul sought for Christ, it would be worth while; for what human business can equal the salvation of the souls of men? Elections occupy men’s thoughts just now; but what are all these compared with making your calling and election sure? You are candidates for heaven, and there is more importance in eternal election than in all other elections under heaven, for when everything else shall have passed away this must endure. See to the necessary one thing, with Mary, even if you do for a while neglect what Martha thinks to be the urgent demands of the household. Let your first care be for your soul, “For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”
15. Many of these people, too, came from a great distance. Some came from the south, from Judea; others came from the north, from Tyre and Sidon; some from across the river Jordan; others from the hills of Edom. Rough roads and deep rivers could not keep those back who resolved to come to Christ. Oh souls, if you want Christ, let nothing hinder you. If there were seven hells between a soul and Christ it would be worth while for it to force its way through all their fires to get at him; for when you get at him there is salvation and eternal life. Do not rest, I urge you, until you have forced a way over all impediments. There is a plenitude of mercy about our Lord Jesus which will well reward you for pressing towards him. Oh, get to my Master, however far off you may be, for the sight of him will well repay the weary journey. I delight to see the holy ingenuity of anxious minds when they are eager to find the Saviour: they will do anything to obtain salvation. I remember that years ago when Bibles were not so common as they are now, a very, very poor man, who was impressed with his need for Christ, longed to read the Word of God, and therefore he went to a shop to ask the price of a second-hand Bible — the cheapest, the oldest they had on hand. “Ah,” he said, as he shook his head, “I do not have money enough to buy it, but I will take great care of it if you will lend it to me from Saturday night until Monday morning: you will not miss the sale of it, and I may read a part of it.” As soon as he gained the friendly loan he gave himself up to the precious book until the moment he had to return it, and so sought to find Christ. Ah, you have Bibles, some of you half-a-dozen of them, but you never look at them; the dust on the unread books condemns you; you take no trouble to reach the Saviour. May God save you from this carelessness, and may you resolve to come to Jesus whoever may oppose. Be eager to listen to his gospel, though you may have far to go to hear it, and may be roughly squeezed in the crowd. When you hear the gospel, cry to the Lord God for his blessing upon it: though dark thoughts may gather, and Satan may try to thrust you back, do not be deterred from your purpose. Make a push for heaven and holiness. The Lord never does work in any man a firm resolution to find the Saviour and yet allow him to perish.
One thing I want to call very particular attention to, it is this,
these poor people came to Jesus with all their ailments about
them. I know they did, because we read that they pressed upon him
to touch him, and he made them whole. Now, suppose they had said, “We
will not come until we are recovered,” then, of course, they did not
need to come at all, and our Lord would have been a superfluity to
them. But no: he who was blind came blind, he who was lame hobbled as
best he could, and he who was palsied came shaking and trembling; but
they came. The poor people who had all kinds of dire complaints,
even those who had demons in them, came just as they were. That is
the point to which I would bring every man here who has not come to
Christ: you are to come just as you are. Are you a drunkard? You have
to give up the drink, but you must come to him as you are to help you
to give it up. Have you lived in uncleanness of life? Come and trust
in Christ, unclean as you are: trust him to make you pure. Have you
been dishonest? Come to him as dishonest, so that he may make you
honest. Do not attempt to make yourself fit for salvation, for it
is clear that no one is so fit for saving as the lost, no one so fit
for washing as the foul, no one so fit for healing as the sick. Come
to the Saviour; come just as you are. Catch the spirit of the hymn, —
Come needy and guilty,
Come loathsome and bare;
You can’t come too filthy;
Come just as you are.
If you think that it is necessary to begin the work yourself, what is that except to insinuate that the Lord Jesus cannot do anything until you have started the work? Would you have it to be supposed that he is not quite up to the mark, and needs help from you? Is he so poor a Saviour that he is nothing until you enable him to work? Do not think so, but come along. You have heard what great things he has done; come, then, to him even now, so that the same great things may be accomplished in you.
17. III. I will not say much upon the third point, which is THE RESULT.
18. Of all who came to our Lord, multitudes though they were, not one was ever repulsed: no, not one. Since the world began has one soul been driven away from the Saviour’s door? Oh, tell it in Gath, proclaim it in the streets of Askelon, if ever Christ shall be found casting out a sinner, for then the adversary may justly rejoice over the defeat of the gospel. Let it ring down the corridors of hell, and let every demon dance for joy as he hears that Christ has broken his promise, and is untrue to his character, whenever you hear of one who comes to him whom he casts out. I challenge all time; I challenge heaven, and earth, and hell, to bring a case in which my Lord and Master ever cast out a soul that put its trust in him. It cannot be.
Just as no one was repulsed, so all were healed; and even so all
who now believe in Christ are healed of sin and its plagues. “Ah,”
say objectors, “you preach faith as the way of salvation.” We confess
the charge; and glory in it, since it is most true that it does save
men. “But you ought to tell people to do good works in order to have
salvation.” See here, good sir; if the people who believe in Jesus do
not perform good works, and if this faith does not make them moral,
honest, sober, holy people, then we grant your point: but who shall
assert that the doctrine of faith is other than purifying and
sanctifying when we can bring multitudes of proofs that this very
preaching of faith and not of works is the most effective cause of
virtue and holiness? Those who cry “Works, works, works,” have
generally only a scant supply of such wares. Remember the age of Laud
and his popish preaching. Who were the followers of that theology
except the lecherous cavaliers? Those who preached salvation by
grace, — now, who were they except the godliest men in the nation, the
Puritans, against whom no man could bring any charge except that they
were too sternly good, and kept the Sabbath too precisely, and walked
before God with too much gravity? I wish the same fault could be
found with us all. If that is vile, we purpose to be viler still.
Talk we of morals, oh! thou bleeding Lamb;
The grand morality is love of thee.
How can this divine morality of love be created in us unless the Lord Jesus by his Holy Spirit bestows upon us a heart to trust him, and to take him and only him to be our salvation?
20. One thing I cannot help mentioning, and that is, as everyone who came to Christ was healed, it followed that the attraction grew. Say there had been five hundred healed; then when the people came and a hundred more were benefited there were six hundred to draw; and the next day if there were a hundred more healed, there were seven hundred to attract others. Now, there never was a time since the world began when there were so many reasons for a sinner’s coming to Christ as there are this morning. Just think of it. Every soul whom the Lord has saved is another argument that he is able to save me. In reasoning philosophically, if we find a fact we write it down; but we do not dare to draw any inference from it, because an isolated fact cannot prove a general rule. When we get two or three dozen facts, we say, “The common inference from all these is such and such,” and a rule is proven. Suppose we could collect two or three hundred of such facts, then we are sure. Now, for almost two millennia our Lord Jesus Christ has gone on saving sinners; and he has saved more sinners at this moment than ever before. Still they are coming, still they are coming, and still he is saving them, and every one of these is an argument that you should come. Oh my dear hearer, where are you — the man whom God intends to bless under this sermon? Come at once and say, “I, too, will trust him with my soul, for he has the power to save me.” Then another shall be added to the long list of his wonderful cures. May the Lord grant it may be so, and his shall be the praise.
21. I desire now to spend a few minutes in real, hard, earnest work, in which may God the Holy Spirit help me, while I plead with those who have never come to Jesus, that they should come to him at once. My dear hearer, if you have often heard about what Christ has done, and yet have never come to him yourself so that he might perform a similar work of love in you, I urge you do not delay any longer.
22. First, come, because his very name invites you, — Jesus, a Saviour. You are sinful; but he has forgiveness. Come to him. You will be well met, a sinner and a Saviour. Can two more congruous things come together? His name is Christ, too; that is, Anointed. Now, God has anointed him with power to save, and commissioned him to save, and he must and will discharge his high office by saving those who come to him. It is his business to save, and you may be sure that he wears no empty title, and makes no vain pretence of being what he is not. Come along, then; come along to him who is a real Saviour for real sinners. He is a Saviour commissioned by God, commit your soul’s business to his care. I say the name he bears rings out like a silver bell, and this is its note, “Come, and welcome! Come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ!”
23. Our Lord’s power should also encourage you to come to him. I have already spoken about that. Nothing has ever baffled him yet. Stormy winds and raging waves obey him; the very demons flee before him. Come along with you. He is mighty to save; therefore come and hang the whole weight of your souls upon him.
24. Next, let his character allure you. There was never such a mass of love as Jesus is; he speaks no harsh word to coming sinners: he gives them mercy liberally and does not upbraid. Has he not said, “I will receive them graciously and love them freely?” Oh, come to Jesus. I am not calling you to Moses with the broken fragments of the law at his feet thundering in indignation; I invite you to Jesus with his pierced hands and open side entreating souls to come to him.
25. Come to Jesus because God has made it his glory to pardon sinners. Constantine had a son whom he loved much, and he wished the empire to honour him; and so while his son was still a child he caused him to sign pardons, and charters, so that all gracious acts of the emperor bore the prince’s signature. The Prince Emmanuel signs and seals divine pardons for the chief of sinners: and the great God in heaven loves that his Son should give pardon to sinners, for it endears him to men and brings him honour. Since it will honour him to save you, come to him and do not be afraid.
26. Again, let me remind you of the preparations that are made for saving sinners. Christ has died to save them, he shed his blood to save them, and do you think he will have these preparations wasted? I smiled last night at a little incident in my own home. Three of our friends had been writing hard for me all day, and my wife expecting them to supper had spread the table bountifully, and adorned it with choice flowers. I came into the room and said, “They cannot stay for supper, for there is a meeting at the Orphanage, and they say they must hurry off.” I confess I felt sorry as I looked at the table and all its adornments. My own good wife replied, “No, no; they cannot go; they must have their supper. I cannot spread a table like this and have no one to come and eat. Go out and fetch in those highwaymen who want to run off: compel them to come in.” I fetched them in, and they were by no means loath to sit down and partake. It would have been a great disappointment to the kind hostess if no one had eaten what she had provided. This is a homely story, but it illustrates the need there is that our Lord’s provisions of grace should be used. He has spread a table, and he will have sinners come and feed at it. What did the king say who made a wedding feast for his son? “Go out quickly into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in.” So the wedding was furnished with guests. Strange guests they were, and yet they furnished the feast with guests; they were odd bits of furniture, but they were necessary: a wedding with a feast and no one to eat it would be a dishonour to the king, so that guests were necessary furniture. Oh you who are furthest off from God, my Master’s mercy wants your misery so that he may relieve it: he wants your emptiness so that he may impart his fulness, and grace for grace.
27. One thing more I have to say. I cannot tell if it will have power with anyone present, but I hope it may. I wish you would come to Jesus even for his servant’s sake. If I were a sculptor fashioning a statue I should feel that every stroke I took made a permanent impression, so that if I only accomplished a little upon the hard stone I should make some progress, and my work would remain. Alas! my labour is not so enduring in reference to some of you. I do my best each Sunday, but I am not much the farther ahead, for you seem to be statues of ice, and the six weekdays melt away my one day’s work. It is weary work to labour in vain like this.
28. A painter takes his brush, and though he may be executing a very difficult portrait, yet every stroke tells, each tint and touch of colour denotes progress. Alas! I seem as if I wrote on the sand with some of you; the week’s tide obliterates the Sabbath’s marks. Am I always to weave in the pulpit like this what is undone at home? You do not know how sadly we sometimes say to our Master, “Who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” We would give anything to see our hearers converted, so that our Master might have honour, and we are sad when men do not come at our call. If we see no souls brought to the Redeemer’s feet we are ready to lie down and die. I read the other day of an old minister who had been some twenty years without a conversion, as far as he knew, and yet he was a really earnest man. At last, having prayed much over it, he announced that he should preach no more in that place, but resign his charge, and the reason he gave them with many tears was, “I am doing no good among you, there are no souls saved, and perhaps if another minister filled my place you might listen to his appeals. At any rate, I will not stand in the way of one who might be more useful, and so I bid you farewell.” As he went out an old woman named Sarah said, “Oh, sir, you cannot go, for you were the means of leading me to Christ some three or four years ago.” “You,” he said, “Sarah, I thought you were one who did not care for my ministry.” “Oh, sir,” she said, “it has been my food and my drink.” “Woman,” he said, “why did you not tell me as much before? My heart has been breaking for you.” In the course of the week twenty or thirty came in to testify that they had sought and found the Saviour through his ministry. All he could do was to say, “Bless the Lord, I will not leave my post; but why did you not tell me about it before? Oh the sleepless nights I might have missed if you had only told me.” Some of you may have been saved, and yet you have never confessed the blessed fact, and I put it to you, whether you do well and kindly by his servant by this to rob him of his wages and keep back comforting news from his burdened heart.
However, that may pass. You who have not sought, and have not found,
my Lord, what message shall I take home this morning to my Master
when I go upstairs to speak with him alone? Shall I tell him you will
not believe on him? I set him before you once again as able to save
you, will you again refuse him? Or shall the message be that you will
trust in him for salvation? May God grant that you may give a wise
reply for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Mr 3]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Deity and Incarnation — ‘He Humbled Himself’ ” 259]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Return, Oh Wanderer” 522]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — Come And Welcome” 508]
Jesus Christ, Deity and Incarnation
259 — “He Humbled Himself”
1 Saviour of men, and Lord of love,
How sweet thy gracious name!
With joy that errand we review
On which thy mercy came.
2 While all thy own angelic bands
Stood waiting on the wing,
Charm’d with the honour to obey
The word of such a King.
3 For us mean, wretched, sinful men,
Thou laidst that glory by;
First, in our mortal flesh, to serve;
Then, in that flesh, to die.
4 Bought with thy service and thy blood,
We doubly, Lord, are thine;
To thee our lives we would devote,
To thee our death resign.
Philip Doddridge, 1755.
522 — Return, Oh Wanderer
1 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
Thy Father calls for thee;
No longer now an exile roam
In guilt and misery;
2 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
‘Tis Jesus calls for thee:
The Spirit and the Bride say, Come;
Oh now for refuge flee;
3 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
‘Tis madness to delay;
There are no pardons in the tomb,
And brief is mercy’s day.
Thomas Hastings, 1834.
508 — Come And Welcome <7s., 6 lines.>
1 From the cross uplifted high,
Where the Saviour deigns to die,
What melodious sounds I hear,
Bursting on my ravish’d ear!
Love’s redeeming work is done;
Come and welcome, sinner, come.
2 Sprinkled now with blood the throne,
Why beneath thy burdens groan?
On my pierced body laid,
Justice owns the ransom paid.
Bow the knee, and kiss the Son;
Come and welcome, sinner, come.
3 Spread for thee the festal board
See with richest dainties stored;
To thy Father’s bosom press’d,
Yet again a child confess’d,
Never from his house to roam,
Come and welcome, sinner, come.
Thomas Haweis, 1792.