1737. John’s First Doxology

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No. 1737-29:469. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Morning, September 2, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At Exeter Hall.

To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. {Re 1:5 6}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1737, “John’s First Doxology” 1738}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2230, “Loved and Laved” 2231}
   Exposition on Re 1 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2498, “Portrait No Artist Can Paint, A” 2499 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Re 1 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3467, “New Creation, A” 3469 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Re 1 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3501, “Feast of the Lord, The” 3503 @@ "Exposition"}
   {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Re 1:6"}

1. John had hardly begun to deliver his message to the seven churches, he had hardly given in his name and stated from whom the message came, when he felt that he must lift up his heart in a joyful doxology. The very mention of the name of the Lord Jesus, “the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth,” fired his heart. He could not sit down coolly to write even what the Spirit of God dictated: he must rise; he must fall upon his knees; he must bless and magnify, and adore the Lord Jesus. This text is just the upward burst of a great geyser of devotion. John’s spirit has been quiet for a while, but suddenly the stream of his love for Jesus leaps up like a fountain, rising so high that it would seem to bedew heaven itself with its sparkling column of crystal love. Look at the ascending flood as you read the words, “To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

2. Now, in the matter of this bursting out of devotion at unexpected times, John is one among the rest of the apostles. Their love for their divine Master was so intense that they had only to hear his footfall and their pulse began to quicken, and if they heard his voice, then they were carried completely away: whether in the body or out of the body, they could not tell, but they were under constraint to magnify the Saviour’s name; whatever they were doing they felt compelled to pause at once, to render direct and distinct homage to the Lord Jesus by adoration and doxology. Observe how Paul breaks out into doxologies: “Now to him who is able to do most abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Again: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The same is true of Jude, who cries: “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with very great joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.” The apostles overflowed with praise.

3. This explains to me, I think, those texts which tell us “rejoice for evermore,” “bless the Lord at all times,” and “pray without ceasing”: these do not mean that we are always to be engaged in devotional exercises, for that would cause a neglect of other duties. The very apostle who tells us to “pray without ceasing,” did a great many other things besides praying; and we should certainly be very faulty if we shut ourselves up in our private rooms, and there continued perpetually on our knees. Life has other duties, and necessary ones; and in attending to these we may render to our God the truest worship: to cease to work in our callings in order to spend all our time in prayer would be to offer to God one duty stained with the blood of many others. Yet we may “pray without ceasing,” if our hearts are always in such a state that at every opportunity we are ready for prayer and praise; better still, if we are prepared to make opportunities, if we are instant in season and out of season, and ready in a moment to adore and supplicate. If not always soaring, we may be as birds ready for instant flight: always with wings, if not always on the wing. Our hearts should be like beacons made ready to be fired. When invasion was expected in the days of Queen Elizabeth I, piles of wood and combustible material were laid ready on the tops of certain hills, and watchmen stood prepared to kindle the piles should there be notice given that the ships of the enemy were in the offing. Everything was in waiting. The heap was not made of damp wood, neither did they have to go and look for kindling; but the fuel waited for the match. The watch-fire was not always blazing, but it was always ready to shoot out its flame. Have you never read, “Praise waits for you, oh God, in Zion?” So let our hearts be prepared to be fired with adoring praise by one glimpse of the Redeemer’s eyes; to be all ablaze with delightful worship with one touch from that dear, pierced hand. Anywhere, wherever we may be, may we be clad in the robes of reverence, and be ready at once to enter upon the angelic work of magnifying the Lord our Saviour. We cannot be always singing, but we may be always full of gratitude and this is the fabric of which true psalms are made.

4. This spontaneous outburst of John’s love is what I am going to preach on this morning. First of all I shall ask you to consider the condition of heart out of which such outbursts come, and then we will look more closely at the outburst itself; for my great desire is that you and I may often be transported into praise like this, carried off into ecstatic worship. I long that our hearts may be like Aeolian harps {a} through which each wind as it sweeps on its way makes charming music. Just as roses are ready to shed their perfume, so may we be eager to praise God; so much delighting in the blessed exercise of adoration that we shall plunge into it when colder hearts do not expect us to do so. I have read of Mr. Welch, a minister in Suffolk, that he was often seen to be weeping, and when asked why, he replied that he wept because he did not love Christ more. May not many of us weep that we do not praise him more? Oh that our meditation may be used by the Holy Spirit to help us in that direction!

5. I. First, let us look at THE CONDITION OF THE HEART OUT OF WHICH OUTBURSTS of adoration arise.

6. Who was this man who when he was beginning to address the churches needs to lay down his pen to praise the Saviour? We will learn the character of the man from his own devout language. We shall see his innermost self here, for he is carried off his feet, and speaks out his very heart in the most unguarded manner. We shall now see him as he is, and learn what manner of people we must be if, like him, we would overflow with praise. It would be easy to talk at great length about John from what we know of his history from other parts of Scripture; but this time I tie myself down to the words of the text, and I notice, first, that this man of doxologies, from whom praise flashes out like light from the rising sun, is first of all a man who has known the person of his Lord. The first word is, “To him”; and then he must a second time before he has finished say, “To him be glory and dominion.” His Lord’s person is evidently before his eye. He sees the actual Christ upon the throne. The great fault of many professors is that Christ is to them a character on paper; certainly more than a myth, but yet a person of the dim past, a historical personage who lived many years ago, and did most admirable deeds, by which we are saved, but who is far from being a living, present, bright reality. Many think of Jesus as gone away, they do not know where, and he is little more actual and present to them than Julius Caesar or any other remarkable personage of antiquity. We have a way, somehow, a very wicked way it is, of turning the facts of Scripture into romances, exchanging solidities for airy notions, regarding the august sublimities of faith as dreamy, misty fantasies, rather than substantial matters of fact. It is a grand thing personally to know the Christ of God as a living existence, to speak into his ear, to look into his face, and to understand that we reside in him, and that he is always with us, even to the end of the world. Jesus was no abstraction to John; he loved him too much for that. Love has a great vivifying power: it makes our impressions of those who are far away from us very lifelike, and brings them very near. John’s great, tender heart could not think of Christ as a cloudy conception; but he remembered him as that blessed One with whom he had spoken, and on whose heart he had leaned. You see that is so, for his song rises at once to the Lord’s own self, beginning with, “TO HIM.”

7. He makes us see Jesus in every act of which he speaks in his doxology. It runs like this: “To him who loved us.” It is not “To the love of God,” an attribute, or an influence, or an emotion; but it is “To him who loved us.” I am very grateful for love, but more grateful to him who gives the love. Somehow, you may speak of love and eulogize it; but if you know it only in the abstract what is it? It neither warms the heart nor inspires the spirit. When love comes to us from a known person, then we value it. David would not have cared for the love of some unknown warrior, but how greatly he prized that of Jonathan, of whom he sang, “Your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women!” It is sweet to sing of love; but sanctified hearts delight even more to sing, “To him who loved us.”

8. So, too, with the washing from sin. It is enough to make us sing of pardoning mercy for ever and ever if we have been cleansed from sin; but the centre of the joy is to adore him “who washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Observe that he cleansed us, not by some process outside of himself, but by the shedding of his own blood of reconciliation. It brings the blood-washing into the highest estimation with the heart when we look into the wounds from where the atonement flowed, when we gaze upon that dear visage so sadly marred, that brow so grievously scarred, and even peer into the heart which was pierced by the spear for us to furnish a double cleansing for our sin. “To him who washed us.” The disciples were bound to love the hands that took the basin and poured water on their feet, and the loins which were girt with the towel for their washing; and we, brethren, must do the same. But as for the washing with his own blood, how shall we ever praise him enough? Well may we sing the new song, saying, “You are worthy, for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood.” This puts body and weight into our praise when we have known him, and understood how distinctly these precious deeds of love as well as the love itself come from him whose sacred heart is all our own.

9. So, too, if we are “kings and priests,” it is Jesus who has made us so.

   Round the altar priests confess:
   If their robes are white as snow,
   ’Twas the Saviour’s righteousness
   And his blood that made them so.

Our royal dignity and our priestly sanctity are both derived from him. Let us not only behold the streams, but also consider the source. Bow before the blessed and only Potentate who crowns and enthrones us, and extol the faithful high priest who enrobes and anoints us. See the divine actor in the grand scene, and remember that he lives for ever, and therefore we should render perpetual glory to him. John worships the Lord himself. His mind is not set upon his garments, his crowns, his offices, or his works, but upon himself, his very self. “I SAW HIM,” says the beloved apostle, and that vision almost blotted out the rest. His heart was all for Jesus. The censer must smoke to him, the song must rise to him; — to himself, to his very self.

10. I pray that every professor here may have a real Christ, for otherwise he will never be a real Christian. I want you to recognise in this vision of Christ by John this teaching, — that we are to regard our holy faith as based on facts and realities. We have not followed cunningly devised fables. Do you believe in the divine life of Christ? Do you also believe that he who is “very God of very God” actually became incarnate and was born at Bethlehem? Do you put down the union of the Godhead with our humanity as a historical fact, which has the most potent bearing upon all the history of mankind? Do you believe that Jesus lived on earth and trod the blessed acres of Judea, toiling for our sake, and that he did actually and really die on the behalf of sinners? Do you believe that he was buried, and on the third day rose again from the dead? Are these stories in a book or facts in the life of a familiar friend? To me it is the grandest fact in all history, that the Son of God died and rose again from the dead, and lives for ever as my representative. Many statements in history are well attested to, but no fact in human records is one half as well attested to as the certain resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is no invention, no fable, no parable, but a literal fact, and on it all the confidence of the believer leans. If Christ is not risen, then your faith is vain; but since he surely rose again, and is now at the right hand of God, even the Father, and will shortly come to be our judge, your faith is justified, and shall in due season have its reward. Get a religion of facts and you will have a religion which will produce facts by operating on your life and character; but a religion of fancies is only an imaginary religion, and nothing practical will come of it.

11. To have a real personal Christ is to get good anchor-hold for love, and faith, and hope. Somehow men cannot love what is not tangible. What they cannot apprehend they do not love. When I was about to begin the Orphanage at Stockwell, a gentleman who had had much experience in an excellent orphanage said to me, “Begin by never expecting to receive the slightest gratitude from the parents of the children, and you will not be disappointed”; for, he said, “I have been connected with a certain orphanage,” which he mentioned, “for a great many years, and except in the rarest case I have never seen any signs of gratitude in any of the mothers whose children have been received.” Now, my experience is very different. I have had a great many firm handshakes which meant warm thanks, and I have seen the tears flow from the mother’s eyes very often, and I have received many a grateful letter because of help given to the orphan children. How do I explain the difference? Not that our Orphanage has done more than the other; but the other Orphanage is conducted by a Committee with no well-known head, and hence it is somewhat of an abstraction; the poor women do not know who is to be thanked, and consequently thank no one. In our own case the poor people say to themselves, “Here is Mr. Spurgeon, and he took our children into the Orphanage.” They recognise in me the outward and visible representative of the many generous hearts that help me. They know me, for they can see me, and they say, “God bless you,” because they have someone to say it to. There is nothing particular about me, certainly, and there are others who deserve far more gratitude than what comes to me; but it does come to me because the poor people know the name and the man, and do not have to look at a mere abstraction. Pardon the illustration: it suits my purpose well. If you have a Christ whom you cannot know you will not love him with that fervent affection which is so much to be desired. If you cannot reach the Lord in your mind, you will not embrace him in your heart; but if you have known the blessed Master, if he has become a true existence to you, one who has really loved you and washed you from your sins, and made you a king and a priest, then your love must flow out towards him. You cannot resist the impulse to love one who has so truly loved you, and is so well known to you.

12. This also gives a foothold for faith. If you know the Lord Jesus you feel that you can trust him. “Those who know your name will put their trust in you.” Those to whom Christ has become a well-known friend do not find it difficult to trust him in the time of their distress. An unknown Christ is not trusted; but when the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus he also fosters faith. By the same means, your hope also becomes vivid, for you say, “Oh, yes; I know Jesus, and I am sure that he will keep his word. He has said, ‘I will come again and receive you to myself’; and I am sure that he will come, for it is not like him to deceive his own chosen.” Hope’s eyes are brightened as she thinks of Jesus and knows him as loving to the end; believing in him, she rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory. To love, to trust, to hope, are all easy in the presence of a real living Christ; but if, like the disciples at midnight on the Galilean lake, we think him to be a mere spectre or apparition, we shall be afraid, and cry out for fear. Nothing will suffice a real Christian but a real Christ.

13. Next, the apostle John, in whom we note this outburst of devotion, was a man firmly assured of his possession of the blessings for which he praised the Lord. Doubt has no outbursts; its chilly breath freezes all things. Nowadays we hear Christian people talk in this way: — “To him whom we hope has loved us, and whom we humbly trust has washed us, and whom we sometimes believe has made us kings, to him be glory.” Alas! the doxology is so feeble that it seems to imply as little glory as you like. The fact is, if you do not know that you have a blessing, you do not know whether you ought to be grateful for it or not; but when a man knows he has covenant mercies, that divine assurance which the Holy Spirit gives to Christians works in him a sacred enthusiasm of devotion for Jesus. He knows what he enjoys, and he blesses him from whom the enjoyment comes. I would have you, beloved, know beyond all doubt that Jesus is yours, so that you can say without hesitation, “He loved me and gave himself for me.” You will never say, “You know all things; you know that I love you,” unless you are first established on the point that Jesus loves you; for “we love him because he first loved us.” John was certain that he was loved, and he was furthermore most clear that he was washed, and therefore he poured out his soul in praise. Oh to know that you are washed from your sins in the blood of Jesus! Some professors seem half afraid to say that they are cleansed; but oh, my hearer, if you are a believer in Jesus, the case is clear, for “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” “He who believes in him has everlasting life.” “He who believes in him is justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the law of Moses.” “You are clean,” says Christ. “He who is washed does not need to wash except for his feet, but is clean every whit”; and “You are clean.”

   Oh how sweet to view the flowing
      Of the Saviour’s precious blood!
   With divine assurance, knowing
      He has made my peace with God.

This well-grounded assurance will throw you into ecstasy, and it will not be long before the depths of your heart will well up with fresh springs of adoring love. Then you shall also praise the Lord with some such words as these: “To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

14. Once more, I think we have brought out two points which are clear enough. John had known his Master, and firmly grasped the blessings which his Master brought him; but he had also felt and was feeling very strongly, his communion with all the saints. Notice the use of the plural pronoun. We should not have wondered if he had said, “To him who loved me, and washed me from my sins in his own blood.” Somehow there would have been a loss of sweetness had the doxology been so worded, and it would have hardly sounded like John. John is the very mirror of love, and he cannot live alone, or rejoice in sacred benefits alone. John must have all the brotherhood all around him, and he must speak in their name, or he will be as one bereft of half himself. Beloved, it is good for you and me to use this “us” very often. There are times when it is better to say “me,” but in general let us get away to the “us”; for has not our Lord taught us when we pray to say, “Our Father who is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread forgive us our trespasses,” and so on? Jesus does not tell us to say, “My Father.” We do say it, and it is good to say it; but yet our usual prayers must run in the “Our Father” style; and our usual praises must be, “To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins.” Let me ask you, beloved brethren, do you not love the Lord Jesus all the better and praise him all the more heartily because his grace and love are not given to you alone? Why, that blessed love has embraced your children, your neighbours, your fellow church members, myriads who have gone before you, multitudes who are all around you, and an innumerable company who are coming after; and for this we ought to praise the gracious Lord with unbounded delight. It seems so much the more lovely, — this salvation, when we think of it, not as a cup of water of which one or two of us may drink, but as a well of water opened in the desert, always flowing, always giving life and deliverance and restoration to all who pass that way. “To him who loved us.” Oh, my Lord, I bless you for having loved me; but sometimes I think I could adore you for loving my wife, for loving my children, and all these dear friends around me, even if I had no personal share in your salvation. Sometimes this seems the greater part of it, not that I should share in your compassion, but that all these poor sheep should be gathered into your fold and kept safe by you. The instinct of a Christian minister especially leads him to love Christ for loving the many; and I think the thought of every true worker for the Lord runs much in the same line. No man will burst out into such joyful adoration as we have now before us unless he has a great heart within him, full of love for all the brotherhood; and then, as he looks upon the multitude of the redeemed all around him, he will be prompted to cry with enthusiastic joy:

   To him that lov’d the souls of men,
      And wash’d us in his blood,
   To royal honours raised our head,
      And made us priests to God;
   To him let every tongue be praise,
      And every heart be love!
   All grateful honours paid on earth,
      And nobler songs above!

So much upon the condition of heart which suggests these doxologies.

15. II. Secondly, let us look at THE OUTBURST ITSELF.

16. It is a doxology, and as such does not stand alone: it is one of many. In the book of Revelation doxologies are frequent, and in the first few chapters they distinctly grow as the book advances. If you have your Bibles with you, as you ought to have, you will notice that in this first outburst only two things are ascribed to our Lord. “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” Now turn to Re 4:9, and read, “Those living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to him who sat on the throne.” Here we have three words of honour. Go to Re 4:11 and read the same. “Saying, you are worthy, oh Lord, to receive glory and honour and power.” The doxology has grown from two to three in each of these verses. Now turn to Re 5:13. “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying, ‘Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be to him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.’ ” Here we have four praise notes. Steadily but surely there is an advance. By the time we get to Re 7:12, we have reached the number of perfection, and may not look for more. “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power and might, be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.” If you begin praising God you are bound to go on. The work engrosses the heart. It deepens and broadens like a rolling river. Praise is somewhat like an avalanche, which may begin with a snowflake on the mountain moved by the wing of a bird, but that flake binds others to itself and becomes a rolling ball this rolling ball gathers more snow around it until it is huge, immense; it crashes through a forest; it thunders down into the valley; it buries a village under its stupendous mass. So praise may begin with the tear of gratitude; immediately the heart swells with love; thankfulness rises to a song; it breaks out into a shout; it mounts up to join the everlasting hallelujahs which surround the throne of the Eternal. What a mercy it is that God by his Spirit will eventually give us greater capacities than we have here! for if we continue to learn more and more of the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge we shall be driven to desperate straits if confined within the narrow and drowsy framework of this mortal body. This poor apparatus of tongue and mouth is already inadequate for our zeal.

   Words are but air and tongues but clay,
   But his compassions are divine.

We want to get out of these fetters, and rise into something better adapted to the emotions of our spirit; I cannot emulate the songsters of Emmanuel’s land though I would gladly do so; but as Berridge says — 

   Strip me of this house of clay,
   And I will sing as loud as they.

These doxologies occur again and again throughout this book as if to remind us to be frequent in praise; and they grow as they proceed, to hint to us that we also should increase in thankfulness.

17. Now, this outburst carried within itself its own justification. Look at it closely and you perceive the reasons why, in this enthusiastic manner, John adores his Saviour. The first is, “To him who loved us.” Time would fail me to speak long on this charming theme, so I will only notice briefly a few things. This love is in the present tense, for the passage may be read, “To him who loves us.” Our Lord in his glory still loves us as truly and as fervently as he did in the days of his flesh. He loved us before the world was, he loves us now with all his heart, and he will love us when sun and moon, and stars have all expired like sparks that die when the fire is quenched upon the hearth and men go to their beds. “He loves us.” He is himself the same yesterday, today, and for ever, and his love is like himself. Dwell on the present character of it and be at this moment moved to holy praise.

18. He loved us first before he washed us: “To him who loved us, and washed us.” Not “To him who washed us and loved us.” This is one of the glories of Christ’s love, that it comes to us while we are defiled with sin — yes, dead in sin. Christ’s love does not only go out to us as washed, purified, and cleansed, but it went out towards us while we were still foul and vile, and without anything in us that could be worthy of his love at all. He loved us, and then washed us: love is the fountain-head, the first source of blessing.

19. Think of this as being a recognisable description of our Lord — “to him who loved us.” John wanted to point out the Lord Jesus Christ, and all he said was, “To him who loved us.” He was sure no one would make any mistake concerning who was intended, for no one can be said to love us in comparison with Jesus. It is interesting to note that, as John is spoken of as “that disciple whom Jesus loved,” so now the servant describes the Master in something like the same terms: “To him who loved us.” No one fails to recognise John or the Lord Jesus under their various love-names. When the apostle mentioned “him who loved us,” there was no fear of men saying, “That is the man’s friend, or father, or brother.” No; there is no love like that of Jesus Christ: he bears the palm branch for love; yes, in the presence of his love all other love is eclipsed, even as the sun conceals the stars by its unrivalled brightness.

20. Again, the word “him who loved us,” seems as if it described all that Christ did for us, or, at least, it mentions first the grandest thing he ever did, in which all the rest is wrapped up. It is not, “To him who took our nature; to him who set us a glorious example; to him who intercedes for us”; but, “To him who loved us,” as if that one thing comprehended all, as indeed it does.

21. He loves us: this is a matter for admiration and amazement. Oh, my brethren, this is an abyss of wonder for me! I can understand that Jesus pities us; I can very well understand that he has compassion on us; but that the Lord of glory loves us is a deep, great, heavenly thought, which my finite mind can hardly hold. Come, brother, and drink from this wine on the lees, well refined. Jesus loves you. Grasp that. You know what the word means in some little degree according to human measurements, but the infinite Son of God loved you of old, and he loves you now! His heart is knit with your heart, and he cannot be happy unless you are happy.

22. Remember he loves you with his own love according to his own nature. Therefore he has for you an infinite love altogether immeasurable. It is also like himself, immutable; and can never know a change. The emperor Augustus was noted for his faithfulness to his friends whom he was slow in choosing. He used to say,

   “Late ere I love, long ere I leave.”

Our blessed Lord loved us early, but he never leaves us. Has he not said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you?” The love of Jesus is a pure, perfect, and divine love: a love whose heights and depths no one can measure. His nature is eternal and undying, and such is his love. He could not love you more; he will never love you less. With all his heart and soul and mind and strength he loves you. Come; is that not a grand excuse, if excuse is needed, for often lifting up our hearts and voices in hearty song to the Lord? Why should we not seven times a day exalt before him, saying, “To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen?” Oh for new crowns for his blessed brow! Oh for new songs for his love-gifts ever new. Praise him! Praise him, all earth and heaven!

23. Then the apostle passes on to the second reason why he should magnify the Lord Jesus like this by saying, “And washed us from our sins in his own blood.” “Washed us.” Then we were foul; and he loved us though we were unclean. He washed us who had been more defiled than any. How could he condescend so far as to wash us? Would he have anything to do with such filthiness as ours? Would that sublime holiness of his come into contact with the abominable guilt of our nature and our practice? Yes, he loved us so much that he washed us from our sins, black as they were. He did it effectively, too: he did not try to wash us, but he actually and completely “washed us from our sins.” The stains were deep and damnable; they seemed indelible, but he has “washed us from our sins.” No spot remains, though we were black as midnight. “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow,” has been experienced by every believer here. But think of how he washed us — “with his own blood.” Men are very careful with their own blood, for it is their life; yet brave ones will pour it out for their country or for some worthy object; but Jesus shed his blood for such unworthy ones as we are, so that he might by his atonement for ever put away the iniquity of his people. At what a cost was this cleansing provided! Too great a cost I had almost said. Have you never felt at times as if, had you been there and seen the Lord of glory about to bleed to death for you, you would have said, “No, my Lord, the price is too great to pay for such a one as I am?” But he has done it; brethren, his sin-atoning work is finished for ever: Jesus has bled, and he has washed us, and we are clean beyond fear of future defilement. Shall he not have glory for this? Will we not wish him dominion for this?

   Worthy is he that once was slain,
   The Prince of Peace that groan’d and died;
   Worthy to rise, and live, and reign
   At his Almighty Father’s side.

Does this doxology not carry its justification in its own heart? Who can refuse to praise at the memory of such grace as this?

24. Nor is this all. The Lord who loved us would do nothing by halves, and therefore when he washed us in his own blood, he “made us kings.” What is that? Are we kings this morning? We do not feel our crowns as yet, nor perhaps grasp our sceptres as we might, but the Lord has made us a royal priesthood. We reign over ourselves, and that is a dominion which is hard to gain, indeed, impossible without grace. We walk like kings among the sons of men, honoured before the Lord and his holy angels — the peerage of eternity. Our thoughts, our aims, our hopes, and our longings are all of a nobler kind than those of the mere carnal man. Ours is a nature of a higher order than theirs, since we have been born again by the Spirit. Men do not know us because they do not know our Lord; but we have an inheritance they do not have, and we have prepared for us a crown of life which does not fade away. The Lord has made us kings and endowed us with power before his presence, yes he has made us rich since all things are ours. We read of the particular treasures of kings, and we have a choice wealth of grace. He has made us even now among the sons of men to possess the earth and to delight ourselves in the abundance of peace.

25. Furthermore our Lord has made us priests. Certain men impiously set up to be priests above the rest of the Lord’s people. They are like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and they need to fear lest they and their evil system should go down into the pit. Whoever they may be, all the people of God are priests. Every man who believes in Jesus Christ is from that moment a priest, though he is neither shaven nor shorn, nor bedecked in particular array. To the true believer his common garments are vestments, every meal is a sacrament, every act is a sacrifice. If we live as we should live, our houses are temples, our hearts are altars, our lives are an oblation. The bells upon our horses are holiness to the Lord, and our common pots are as the bowls before the altar. It is the sanctification of the Holy Spirit which gives men a special character, so that they are the priesthood of the universe. The world is dumb, and we must speak for it: the whole universe is as a great organ, but it is silent; we place our fingers on the keys, and the music rises towards heaven. We are to be priests for all mankind. Wherever we go we are to teach men, and to intercede with God for them. In prayer and praise we are to offer up acceptable oblations, and we are ourselves to be living sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ our Lord. Oh, what dignity is this! How you and I are bound to serve God! Peter Martyr told Queen Elizabeth I, “Kings and queens are more bound to obey God than any other people; first as God’s creatures, and secondly as his servants in office.” This applies to us also. If common men are bound to serve God how much more those whom he has made kings and priests to his name!

26. What does the doxology say? “To him be glory and dominion.” First, “To him be glory.” Oh, give him glory, my beloved, this morning! Do I address anyone who has never yet accepted Christ’s salvation? Accept it now, and so give your Saviour glory. Have you never trusted Jesus to save you? The best, the only thing you can do to give him glory is to trust him now, sinner as you are, so that he may remove your transgressions. Are you saved? Then, dear brother, give him glory by speaking well of his name, and by perpetual adoration. Glorify him in your songs, glorify him in your lives. Behave yourselves as his disciples should do, and may his Spirit help you.

27. But the doxology also ascribes to him dominion. My heart longs for Jesus to have dominion. I wish he might get dominion over some poor heart this morning which has so far been in rebellion against him! Yield, oh rebel! Yield to your Sovereign and Saviour! “Kiss the Son, lest he is angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled only a little.” To him be dominion over hearts that have never submitted to him; and assuredly to him be fullest dominion over hearts that love him. Reign my Lord, reign in my heart more and more; cast out every enemy and every rival; reign supreme, and reign eternally. Set up your throne also more and more conspicuously in the hearts and lives of all who call themselves Christians. Oh my brethren, ought it not to be so? Is it not clear to you that since he has loved and washed us he should have dominion over us? Ah! let him have dominion over the wide, wide world, until those who dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. Reign for ever, King of kings and Lord of lords.

28. Then it is added, let him have glory and dominion “for ever and ever.” I suppose we shall have some gentlemen coming up to prove that “for ever and ever” only means for a time. They tell us that everlasting punishment means only for a time, and, of course, everlasting life must mean just the same, and this praise must also have a limit. I do not think so, nor do you, beloved. I pray that our Lord may have endless glory, eternal dominion. I pray that Christ’s power and dominion may be over this generation, and the next, and the next, until he comes, and then that it may be said, “The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.” Hallelujah! As long as there is wing of angel or song of man; as long as God himself shall live, may the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and washed us have glory and dominion.

29. Now we have come to the last word of the text. It finishes up with “Amen.” “For ever and ever. Amen.” Can you heartily say “Amen” to this? Do you wish Christ to have glory and dominion for ever and ever? If you know he loved you, I am sure you do; if you know he washed you, I am sure you do. Now let our beating hearts in solemn silence say, “Amen”; and when we have done that, do you think you could join with one voice with me and say it out aloud, like thunder? Now, “To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”; and “Amen” yet again. (Here the great congregation joined aloud with the preacher.) The prayers of David the son of Jesse were ended when he came to that, and so may ours be, and so may this morning’s service be. May God bless you through his adorable Son. Amen and Amen.

[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Re 1]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Song Of Songs” 427}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, In Heaven — The Glory Of Christ In Heaven” 337}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Ascension — Sing, Oh Heavens” 317}


{a} Aeolian harp: a stringed instrument adapted to produce musical sounds on exposure to a current of air. OED.

Jesus Christ, His Praise
427 — Song Of Songs
1 Come, let us sing the song of songs,
   The saints in heaven began the strain,
   The homage which to Christ belongs:
   “Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain!”
2 Slain to redeem us by his blood,
   To cleanse from every sinful stain,
   And make us kings and priests to God:
   “Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain!”
3 To him who suffer’d on the tree,
   Our souls, at his soul’s price, to gain,
   Blessing, and praise, and glory be:
   “Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain!”
4 To him, enthroned by filial right,
   All power in heaven and earth proclaim,
   Honour, and majesty, and might:
   “Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain!”
5 Long as we live, and when we die,
   And while in heaven with him we reign;
   This song our song of songs shall be:
   “Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain!”
                  James Montgomery, 1853.


Jesus Christ, In Heaven
337 — The Glory Of Christ In Heaven
1 Oh the delights, the heavenly joys,
   The glories of the place
   Where Jesus sheds the brightest beams
   Of his o’erflowing grace!
2 Sweet majesty and awful love
   Sit smiling on his brow,
   And all the glorious ranks above
   At humble distance bow.
3 Those soft, those blessed feet of his,
   That once rude iron tore,
   High on a throne of light they stand,
   And all the saints adore.
4 His head, the dear majestic head
   That cruel thorns did wound,
   See what immortal glories shine,
   And circle it around!
5 This is the Man, th’ exulted Man,
   Whom we unseen adore;
   But when our eyes behold his face,
   Our hearts shall love him more.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.


Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Ascension
317 — Sing, Oh Heavens <7s.>
1 Sing, Oh heavens! Oh earth, rejoice!
   Angel harp, and human voice,
   Round him, as he rises, raise
   Your ascending Saviour’s praise.
                           Alleluia!
2 Bruised is the serpent’s head,
   Hell is vanquish’d, death is dead
   And to Christ gone up on high,
   Captive is captivity.
                           Alleluia!
3 All his work and warfare done
   He into his heaven is gone,
   And beside his Father’s throne,
   Now is pleading for his own:
                           Alleluia!
4 Asking gifts for sinful men,
   That he may come down again,
   And, the fallen to restore,
   In them dwell for evermore.
                           Alleluia!
5 Sing, Oh heavens! Oh earth, rejoice!
   Angel harp, and human voice,
   Round him, in his glory, raise
   Your ascended Saviour’s praise.
                           Alleluia!

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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