2087. Grace For Grace

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No. 2087-35:289. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Morning, May 19, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God; so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. {1Co 2:12}

1. The course of our fallen race has been a succession of failures. Whenever there has been an apparent rise, it has been followed by a real fall. Into ever-increasing darkness the human mind seems resolved to plunge itself in its struggles after a false light. When men have been fools, they have danced in a delirium of sin; when they have been sober, they have given themselves up to a phantom wisdom of their own, which has revealed their folly more than ever. It is a sad story, the story of mankind! Read it in the light of God’s Word, and it will bring tears from your very heart.

2. The only hope for man was that God should intervene; and he has intervened, as though he began a new creation, or performed a resurrection out of the kingdom of death. God has come into human history, and here the bright lights begin. Where God is at work in grace, abounding sin is conquered, hope begins, and good becomes perceptible. This better state is always markedly the effect of a break in the natural course of things, a supernatural product which would never have been seen in this poor world had it been left alone. See that avalanche rushing down the steep mountain side; such is humanity left to itself. Lo, God in Christ Jesus throws himself in the way; he so intervenes as to be crushed beneath the descending rocks. But, beloved, he rises from the dreadful burial; he stops the avalanche in its terrible career; he hurls back the tremendous mass, and changes the whole aspect of history. In this divine intervention, of which the Bible gives us the best record, to which, I trust, our experience has added a happy appendix, we behold and adore the almighty grace of God.

3. In the intervention of omnipotent grace, we notice that the Lord so works as to preserve his own glory. He takes care that no flesh shall glory in his presence. He might have used the power of the great, but he has not; he might have instructed man by man’s own wisdom, but he has not; he might have declared his gospel with the excellency of human speech, but he has not. He has taken for his tools, not the armour of a king, but the sling of a shepherd; and he has placed his treasure of truth, not in the golden vase of talent, but in the clay vessels of lowly minds. He has not made men speak for him under the spell of genius, but as they have been moved by his Holy Spirit. The Lord of hosts will save men, but he will not give men an inch for boasting; he will grant them a salvation, which shall humble them in the dust and lead them to know that he is God, and besides him there is no one else. “The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.” God’s gracious intervention reveals his sovereignty, his wisdom, his power, his love, his grace; but it reveals nothing in men which can permit a boastful thought.

4. The Lord our God has worked in a way parallel with his central intervention, which is seen at the cross, where Jesus unveiled Jehovah’s way of revealing power in weakness. It is in such a context that Paul says, “I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” He knew that there was nothing else to know. The plan of the cross is to conquer death by death, to remove sin by the endurance of the penalty, to work mightily by suffering terribly, to glorify himself by shame. The gibbet on which Christ died was the abyss of reproach and the climax of suffering; but it was also the focus of God’s intervening grace. He there glorified himself in connection, not with honour and power, but with shame and death. The great self-sacrifice of God is the great victory of grace. Beloved, it is most sweet to think that all the ways of God to men are in harmony with this way of the cross, and that the cross is the pattern of the Lord’s constant method of accomplishing his purposes of grace rather by weakness than by strength, by suffering rather than by the splendour of his majesty.

5. Let me also add, that this way which God has taken, by which he saves men and glorifies himself, is entirely suitable to the condition of those whom he saves. If salvation had been by human excellence I could never have been saved. If the plan of salvation had required something in which a man might rightly glory, how could it have come to sinners without strength or goodness? Such a gospel would have been no gospel to us, for it would have been far out of our reach. God’s plans are workable plans, suitable to the weakness of our fallen race. In Christ he comes to the wounded man where he is, and does not ask him, in his fainting condition, to come a certain part of the way. Grace does not begin halfway down the alphabet, but it is the Alpha of our hope.

6. It is my delightful task, though in much weakness, to present the very great freeness of the grace of God, and so to set before you an open door, that you who have never entered may boldly do so; and that you who have already entered may sit within, and sing to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he has made you “accepted in the Beloved.” My text speaks of the gifts of God freely given to us, and of the way by which we may receive them, and come to know their excellence and value: in all these three things it shows us that everything is by grace — it is given of grace, it is received through grace, it is understood by grace. “Grace reigns,” and grace alone.

7. This morning I shall speak, first, of the things which are freely given to us by God; secondly, of the power to receive them, which is also given, since it is spoken of as “received”; and, thirdly, of the knowledge of them, which is also given through the Spirit. When we have discussed these three things we shall have ranged through a wide domain of sovereign grace.

8. I. First, then, THE THINGS OF GOD ARE FREELY GIVEN.

9. All the blessings of salvation are a gift. All the inheritance of the covenant is a gift. Everything that comes by our Lord Jesus to save and sanctify men is a gift. A gift is not a return for purchase-money. We are not asked, in any sense, to bring a price to God with which to purchase pardon, justification, or eternal life. Where the notion of purchase is for an instant hinted at, it is only to show more plainly how free the blessing is: “Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” God freely gives his grace, expecting nothing in return, but that we as freely receive as he freely bestows; and even that free reception is a part of the gift which he bestows upon us. Do not be feeling for your purse: money is useless for purchasing salvation. Do not be searching in your character, or in your resolutions, to find some little recommendation: neither the coins of the merchant nor of the self-righteous are worth anything here. The free grace of God would be insulted by being put up to auction, or set out for sale. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

10. It is a gift, and not a prize. There are heavenly prizes to be run for, to be fought for, and to be obtained by divine help. There is a reward for which we are to look, and a crown for which we are to strive; but the grace that forgives sin, and works faith, is no prize for exertion, but a gift to those without strength. “It is not by him who wills, nor by him who runs, but by God who shows mercy.” Jehovah will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion, according to the good pleasure of his own will. Salvation is not granted to men as the result of anything they are, or do, or resolve to be, but it is the undeserved gift of heaven. If it were by works, it would not be by grace; but it is by faith, that it might be by grace alone.

11. The blessings of salvation are freely given to us by God, therefore they are not a loan, handed to us for a time, and to be one day recalled. Our heavenly inheritance is not held on lease, upon terms of annual payment: it is an unencumbered freehold to every man who has by faith put his foot upon it. To give a thing and take a thing is for little children in their play; and even among them it is the subject of ridicule. But the gifts and calling of God are without repentance on his part. When he has given it, the deed is done outright, and can never be reversed. Oh believer, if your sin is blotted out, it can never be written in again! God has declared that he has forgiven our transgressions; and then he adds, “Their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.” There is no playing fast and loose in connection with the everlasting love of God and its glorious acts; if you have God, you have him by an eternal holding, of which no one can deprive you. “This God is our God for ever and ever.” The better part which Jesus gives to his beloved shall not be taken away from us. All the things of God are free gifts, with no legal condition appended to them which would make their tenure one of payment rather than of absolute gift. We may not say that the blessings of salvation, such as pardon, justification, and eternal life, are gifts with an “if” in the core of them, rendering them uncertain. No, the gift of God is not temporary life, but “eternal life.”

12. We will dwell for a minute upon the fact that saving blessings are the gifts of God. Some despise the work of salvation, and the blessings which accompany it; but, surely, they do not know what they despise. Every part of salvation, from its Alpha to its Omega, is to the highest degree precious, for it is from God. It is the gift of the heavenly King, the gift of the Almighty Sovereign, whose hand makes the gift priceless. If the Lord himself has given you this or that blessing, you should prize the gift as coming from such a hand! What your father gave you, preserve; for there is a sanctity in the gift of love. What your choice friend has given you, wear it, and for his sake value it as the sign of friendship. But what your God has given to you, prize above all other things; his touch has perfumed it with unutterable fragrance. Value every part of the work of grace because it came from God and leads to God. God’s gifts are always worthy of the giver. God does not give trinkets and counterfeits; his gifts are solid gold and lasting treasure. The gifts of divine grace have a quality of divinity about them: they are all Godlike. The Lord gives in a Godlike way. His grace is like the rest of his nature. How you are blest if you are divinely pardoned and divinely justified! “It is God who justifies.” “Who is he who condemns?” Jehovah is your strength and your song, he also has become your salvation.

13. I like to think of every blessing of grace that I have received as coming from God; because each mercy then becomes prophetic of more. God is unchangeable, and therefore what he has given he will give again. “Still there is more to follow,” is a popular way of putting a great truth. The stream which has begun to flow will never cease flowing. The more the Lord gives, the more we may expect. Every blessing is not only in itself a mercy, but it is a promise of more mercies to come. When we get the most of God’s mercy that we can hold, we are by its greatness enlarged to receive even more. Reception begets expectation, and expectation increases reception. Each mercy as it comes makes room for another larger than itself, even as the narrow end of the wedge opens the way for its wider portion. Every mercy bears a thousand mercies in its heart. John Bunyan said that God’s flowers bloom double: not only do they bloom double, but they bloom sevenfold; and out of every one of those flowers there comes a seed which will yield seventy times seven. Therefore, be encouraged. The least of the things which are freely given to us by God draws behind it an endless chain of more than golden links of love. The seed of salvation, glory, and eternal life, is small as a grain of mustard seed; but he who has it has received what neither earth nor heaven can fully contain. What a mercy is a single mercy! I cannot talk to you about the gifts of God; you must think over the subject for yourself. What comes from God’s own hand should be much on our mind.

14. I am going to dwell for a minute or two upon that word “freely” “The things that are freely given to us by God.” Listen, you who have never yet found grace; and sing while you listen, you who have found it, and are enjoying it now. “Freely given.” “Well,” you say, “the word ‘given’ is enough to express the meaning, is it not?” Yes, it would be enough, if men were willing to understand; but the additional word “freely” is meant to make the meaning doubly plain. When we say “grace,” there is no need to say free grace, is there? Yet there are some people who will be conveniently deaf, if they can. We wish to speak so that they not only can understand us, but cannot misunderstand, if they try. The text is very expressive — “Freely given to us by God.”

15. How is salvation “freely given?” It comes from God without compulsion. If a man is stopped on the road with, “Your money or your life,” he gives his money; but it is not freely given. Now, no one can force mercy from God; blessed be his name, there is no need to think of such a thing. God gives freely, that is, even without persuasion. God was never persuaded to be gracious. He is ready to pardon, and his grace persuades us to accept mercy. Our praying does not turn the heart of God to love us, but proves that we are turning to love him. It is because he is gracious that he starts us praying. You have not, poor sinner, to convert an unwilling God to be willing to forgive: the conversion is in your will, not in his will: “He delights in mercy.” He persuades Japheth to dwell in the tents of Shem, but Japheth does not need to persuade Jehovah to receive him. The fountain of divine love pours out its streams of grace at all seasons without pressure. There is no need to tread the grapes of mercy to force out their cheering juice. The paths of the Lord drop fatness, distilling spontaneously as the dew and the rain.

16. Yes, the grace of God is so free in its gifts that they come without suggestion. A man may be generous at heart, and yet he may need a hint to put it into his mind to relieve the needy. Mention a charity to him, and inform him that it is in need, and his guineas are forthcoming; but he needs a prompter. No one has prompted the grace of God. No one ever suggested any deed of bounty to God; out of his own heart the thought has come by itself. The gifts of his grace were in his eternal purpose from of old, and there by his own good pleasure. He freely instructs us how to pray for those gifts which he has of old purposed to bestow. Our prayer does not instruct the Lord; it only shows that he has, in a measure, instructed us. He gives freely in the sense of absolute spontaneity.

17. He also gives without begrudging. We have known men to say, “Well, I suppose I must give something; but these claims come terribly often; my purse is always being drawn upon; but I suppose I cannot get out of it without a donation.” He gives as if he were parting with his blood. His fingers tremble and linger long over the shilling, which has to be extracted as forcibly as if it were a tooth. One wonders that the Queen’s image is left on it when it has been held with such pressure. But the Lord gives out of the greatness of his heart, without so much as a trace of unwillingness. Even when the blessing was his own Son, he freely delivered him up. There is never a reluctance in the Lord’s mind towards those who draw upon him the most largely and the most frequently. “He does not upbraid.” Many who give take the opportunity to upbraid, saying, “I do not think you ought to have been in this plight. You must have been wasteful, and not so industrious as you ought to have been, or you would not be drawing upon me,” and so on, until they have taken full compensation for their shilling out of the poor creature, who feels bound to endure the chastisement. God gives liberally, and adds no sorrow with it to those who humbly seek wisdom from his hands. Oh, the splendour of the generosity of God! He is ready to save — waiting to deliver. It delights him to bestow his goodness. The cost was paid long ago on Calvary’s tree, and that is over. Since the great sacrifice has been presented, all the blessings of grace are freely given to us by God, with a willingness which shows that his heart goes with them.

18. Once more: you know that we use the word “freely” in the sense of bountifully. We say of such and such a person, “His banquet was spread with a free hand,” or we say, “He helps his poor neighbours very freely”; that is to say, his gifts are without stint. The benefits bestowed by some are like the provisions of a workhouse, weighed out by ounces; but free grace does not limit itself by calculations, nor bound the applicant by estimates. Just as a free-handed housekeeper makes liberal provision, so the Lord provides more than need demands. The mere crumbs from the Lord’s table would suffice to feed multitudes. The Lord does not give his Spirit by narrow measure: we are not constrained in him. Come along with you, you needy saint or sinner; the more you can take in the better pleased the Lord will be with you; and if, sitting at his table, you feel as if you could eat all that is on it, do not hesitate to make the attempt, for you shall be heartily welcome. Your capacity will fail long before the provision. The Lord desires you to open your mouth wide, and he will fill it: it is easier for him to give than for you to open your mouth. He encourages and requests you to bring large petitions with you when you come before his mercy seat. Come and receive “the things that are freely given to us by God.”

19. I do not know whether I have made my point quite so plain as I wanted to do; but this I would set before you — God gives his grace freely, in the most emphatic sense. His sovereign grace is from himself: “It is not by him who wills, nor by him who runs, but by God who shows mercy.” He is not compelled to be gracious by the force of our persistence, but he often gives to those who have never asked of him, as it is written: “I am found by those who did not seek me.” He calls by his divine power those who previously were unwilling to come to him; even as in the case of Saul of Tarsus, who received light and grace when he was in the act of persecuting the saints. God gives his grace as freely as the sun, which, as soon as it rises from its chambers in the east, “sows the earth with orient pearl.” See how freely it visits the tiny flower, which holds up its cup to have it filled with sunshine! How it peers into the glade of the forest, where, by the brook, the fern loves the shade. Whether the lark flies up to meet it, or the mole burrows in the earth to escape its light, the sun shines all the same. It fills the heavens and floods the earth with the brilliance which it is its nature to diffuse. The Lord comes by promise to those who seek him; but he comes also in sovereign grace to those who do not seek him. He is coming this morning to some of you who do not look for him; for he is like the dew, which does not wait for man, neither tarries for the sons of man. You came from the country, and you said that you would go and hear Spurgeon this morning; but you did not know that the Lord was about to save you. Give yourself up to the writ of grace, of which I am the officer this morning. Surrender your hearts to almighty love; and when you do so, you will perceive many of “the things that are freely given to us by God.”

20. Now, let us talk about what these things are. They are altogether immeasurable, these “things that are freely given to us by God.” Shall I tell you what they are in one word? GOD. God gives us God. God the Father gives himself to the unworthy sons of men. He becomes their Father and their friend. He gives them his wisdom, his power, his love, his immutability. He gives himself to men to be their possession for ever. In adoption he gives his fatherhood, and grants them sonship, so that they may cry, “Our Father, who is in heaven.” He gives them pardon and acceptance. He grants them answers to their prayers in ten thousand ways. He gives them his Providence to guide and lead them. He gives them all they need for this life, and then he gives them an inheritance with himself for ever in the world to come. He who gave us Jesus, with him also freely gives us all things.

21. Beloved, the Son of God also gives himself. “He loved me, and gave himself for me.” “He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” Jesus gives his people his blood to wash out their sins, his righteousness to cover them with beauty, his intercession to plead their cause, and his enthronement to secure their victory. He gives his loving care to prepare a place for them in the sky; he gives his resurrection to bring them up from the grave, and his union with them to preserve them through the perils of life. We are married to him, and so he freely gives his heart’s love to us. Even his crown, his throne, and his heaven he freely gives to his chosen. Oh, what a gift of grace this is that is freely given to us by God! “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son.” He is God’s unspeakable gift. No one can speak it, for no one can encompass it within the range of thought.

22. The Holy Spirit also freely gives himself to us. He is the “free Spirit,” and never freer than when he gives himself to enlighten, quicken, convert, comfort, and sanctify his people. He leads to repentance and to faith. He conducts to knowledge and holiness; he preserves and perfectly conforms us to the image of Christ. So see a summary of the things which are freely given to us by God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

23. All things are yours, the free gifts of God. Now if Paul, when he was writing as an apostle, spoke of these things, not as what he had won or deserved, but as free gifts to him, you and I, poor sinners that we are, may well be glad to accept these priceless blessings on the same terms. We are happy to think that these blessings are laid at our door, with nothing to pay and nothing to do but simply to accept them as the “things that are freely given to us by God.” I have used simple language, but my theme is sublime. May the Lord bless it!

24. II. Our second point is: THE POWER TO RECEIVE THESE GIFTS IS ALSO FREELY GIVEN. Some of you are saying, “I see very clearly that salvation is the gift of God, but how can I get it? How can I lay hold on these blessings, and make them my own?” Dear friend, the text says, “We have received the Spirit who is from God.” The power with which we receive these gifts, which God freely gives, is the power of the Holy Spirit; and this, also, we do not purchase or deserve, but we freely receive it.

25. The power to grasp Christ does not lie in our nature in its own strength or goodness. Our state is that of death, and death cannot grasp life. God the Holy Spirit must breathe life into us before we can rise from the grave of our natural depravity, and lay hold upon Christ, who is our life. It is not in unrenewed human nature even to see the kingdom of God, much less to enter it. “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God.”

26. The power to receive the things of God does not lie in high gifts or attainments. We may not think that a Homer, or a Socrates, or a Plato would be able to obtain the things of God more readily than common men. Genius is no help towards grace. Indeed, great talent and great learning often miss the way where lowliness travels with ease. Do not sit down and say, “I am a poor stupid person, and cannot be taught by God.” Or, “I am a humble countryman, or a poor woman keeping house for others; I cannot know these precious things.” It is not so. Read the words of Paul in the first chapter of this epistle: “You see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” The power to receive the blessings of God does not lie in talent at all, but it lies in the Spirit of God. You think that if you had a long hand you could reach the grace of God. No, but if you have a withered hand, that grace can reach you. You suppose that if you had a clear eye you could see the Lord; indeed, but if you have no eye but a blind one, the Lord can open it, and give you sight. Grace is not tied to the rare gifts of genius, nor to the precious acquirements of experience, nor to the high attainments of learning. No young child may say, “I cannot receive the things of God, for I am too young.” Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings he has perfected praise. People who have had a long and instructive experience are often as far from grace as if they had never suffered anything. People who have taken degrees at the university may be still as ignorant as Hottentots concerning heavenly things. The power to receive is still of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit does not find good in us, but brings it to us. “Well,” one says, “but surely we must pass through a period of great anguish and distress before we can receive the things of God.” Very often men do suffer greatly from a sense of guilt, and the fear of punishment before they lay hold on Christ; but they do not lay hold on Christ by this experience. The wounded man is not restored by his pains, the famishing man is not fed by his hunger. The power to lay hold on Christ is a spiritual power, which must be given from above; it does not lie concealed within, but is implanted by the Lord from without. No process of discipline, or education, or evolution, can enable a man to lay hold on the things of God. He must be born again from above, and his heart must be opened to receive the grace of God. A man can receive nothing unless it is given to him to receive it, and that gift is the Holy Spirit.

27. The receptive power is not bestowed by human excitement, nor by the oratorical power of the preacher to whom the man listens. Possibly some have thought, “If I could hear So-and-so preach, I should then be able to believe.” Put that thought away: you will believe in Jesus Christ when the Holy Spirit leads you to see how worthy your Saviour is of your confidence. You will never believe in him if you are looking to yourself for the power to believe, rather than to the truth itself, and to that Spirit who can make the truth clear to you, and work in you to will and to do of God’s good pleasure. Come, then, dear hearts, you who feel so dull and dead, and so weak that you cannot do anything, remember very confidently that the Holy Spirit can enable you to receive all the gifts of God. May he at this time bless the truth to you, and you will feel the soft, sweet influence of repentance, melting you to tears on account of sin: you will feel something telling you that in Christ there is just what you need, and you will feel a resolve forming in your heart, “I will have it if it may be had.” Then you will come to a solemn decision for the present hour, “I will have it now. I will even now rest in Jesus, who died for the ungodly. Once and for all I will turn my eyes to the cross, and look to him who hung upon it, and trust my soul’s weight on him.” That is how the work is done. You may not know at the time that the moving power is the Spirit of God, but no one else brings us to this point except the Holy Spirit. We do not see the Spirit, nor hear his voice, nor recognise his person at the time, but being emptied of self, and led to accept the things that are freely given to us by God, we are spiritually enriched, and then we perceive that it was all of grace by the free gift of the Spirit of God.

28. One thing I should like to say before leaving this point: remember there are two spirits: there is the Spirit of God and the spirit of the world. This last one is active everywhere, and believers feel it to be their foe: it works evil, and only evil. Only the Spirit of God can save you: the spirit of the world will ruin all who yield to it. I warn you against the spirit of this age — the spirit of the world. Do not lay yourselves under the influence of the spirit of the world; for even if you are truly saved, its pestilential influence will injure you. Are you seeking salvation? Keep clear of the spirit of the world as much as possible; and you will have no easy task, for its contagion will be found in men professing religion, but cunningly undermining it; and in books which pretend to reverence our Lord while they betray him. The religious world is more dangerous by far than the sensual world; it wears the sheepskin, but it has all the fierceness of the wolf. You cannot expect the Spirit of God to bless you if you yield to the spirit of the world. Do not meddle with what is doubtful. There are works of fiction nowadays in abundance whose tendency is polluting: the world is drenched with them; avoid them as you would a bath of sulphuric acid. If you would find eternal life, go where the Spirit of God works: search the Scriptures, and hear the truth through which the Spirit of God usually operates; and associate with those in whom the Spirit of God dwells. Hear that preaching which comes from God, for that alone will lead you to him. You can soon tell what kind the preaching is. I do not think you need to stay for ten minutes before you will find out whether it is according to the spirit of the world, or is in the power of the Spirit of God. Those two opposite spirits are waging a fierce battle at this hour; and, I grieve to say it, many who profess godliness are tainted with the spirit of the world. Take good heed that you follow the right Spirit, for in so doing you will find the things which are freely given to us by God, and with them glory, and immortality, and eternal life.

29. Now, I have done what I wanted to do, if I have made you feel how free salvation is. I would have you know that not only are the gifts of grace most free, but that the very hand with which we take the gift is nerved to do so by God’s grace. Undeserved bounty bestows not only the money, but also the purse in which we carry it home. God gives not only the blessing to the heart, but also the heart to receive the blessing. Hallelujah!

30. III. My last point is this: THE KNOWLEDGE OF THESE GIFTS IS FREELY GIVEN.

31. This is so in the lowest and most ordinary sense, since a knowledge of the things freely given by God is communicated to our minds by the revelation contained in the inspired Scriptures. These sacred writings are open to all, and all are invited to search them. Read the Word of God, and you will know in the letter what are the free gifts of God to men. But this form of knowledge does not suffice: we cannot savingly know the things of God by mere reading, neither can they be taught to us by a book. The head learns by nature, but the heart must learn by grace. The way to know the things of God is for what is written in the Word of God to be also written upon the heart by the same Spirit who wrote in the book. I heard about repentance, but I never knew repentance until I repented; I heard of faith, but I never knew faith until I believed; I heard of pardon, but I never knew pardon until I was washed in the blood of the Lamb; I read about justification by faith, but I was never justified until, by faith, I received the Lord Jesus to be my righteousness. Appropriation by faith gives an apprehension by the understanding: practical enjoyment creates true acquaintance. Beloved, go to the Holy Spirit, and ask him to enable you to take the things which God freely gives, and when you possess them, you will “know” them.

32. If you still desire to know more about the infinite preciousness of the gifts of God, it is a wise ambition; and it will be fully and freely satisfied by the Holy Spirit. Resort to him, for he is the great Teacher; there is no instructor like him. His knowledge surpasses all other, for he knows the mind of God. No man can communicate to you what he does not know, and no man knows the mind of God except the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit knows the infinite and the unsearchable; and therefore he is able to teach you what you cannot learn elsewhere. The Spirit can unfold to you the mind and meaning of God in every gift of grace. There is no being truly taught unless you are taught by the Spirit of God. All other teaching is superficial, and therefore temporary and vain; but the Holy Spirit speaks to the soul, and writes the lines of truth on the fleshy tablets of the heart, so that they can never be erased. If you would know the things freely given to us by God, the Holy Spirit must lead you into the inner secret of the sacred treasure-house.

33. By the same divine aid you must be enabled to feed on these choice things, and have a full enjoyment of them. The things of God, as I have said before, are best known by a personal enjoyment of them. Who can know food and drink except by living on them? When you can feed on a Scripture, when you can suck out the marrow of a doctrine, when you can extract the juice from a divine promise, when you are made fat and flourishing by inspired teaching, then the Lord has made you freely to know the blessings of his covenant. Oh, that the Holy Spirit may be to you as the seven-branched lamp gladdening your eyes with his light, and as the loaves of the showbread nourishing your heart, and then may he lead you within the veil, and make you to see the mercy seat, and all the glory of the Lord your God! Oh, to experience that blessing, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord!” May we be taught by actual enjoyment and heavenly communion, so that we may come into holy familiarity with the choice things that are freely given to us by God. I do not know that I want to hear any lecture on bread; I know all that I want to know about that form of food, because I eat it every day; even so, we need little talk about covenant blessings, because they are the continual portion of our souls, our strength in every stage of our heavenward pilgrimage, and our song in anticipation of the eternal rest.

34. My dear brothers and sisters, go to this high school of heaven. The terms are, “nothing to pay,” though the education is beyond all other. Blessed school, where sinners are made saints, and saints are made to grow into the likeness of Jesus. Everything is as free in this university as in the first elementary school of humble faith, where the sinner learns repentance, and ventures to trust his Saviour. Eternal life is the gift of God, in its first breathing; and it is still the gift of God in its highest development. When you stand before the throne of the Most High, you will stand there through grace alone. All along, from sin’s pit to heaven’s gate, without a break, the whole road is paved with grace. We do not begin with grace, and then go on to trust in works: we do not at first receive freely, and then afterwards have to live upon a hard-earned wage. No; still, still, still he works in us to will and to do, and we lovingly work under his divine guidance, as we are strengthened by his divine power. Grace lays the foundation-stone, and

   Grace all the work shall crown,
      Through everlasting days;
   It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
      And well deserves the praise.

What of all this? Listen to me for a very few minutes more.

35. I speak to those of you who know the things that are freely given to you by God. Learn from these things to be humble. If you know anything, you have been taught it. If you possess anything, it has been given to you. You are a charity child. The clothes on your back are furnished by the Lord’s favour. The bread in your mouth is the provision of his love. A proud saint is a contradiction in terms. “What do you have which you have not received?”

36. In the next place, be generous. I cannot believe in a stingy saint. Here again there is a flat contradiction in terms. All things are freely given to you, are you going to be stingy with them? “Freely you have received, freely give.” He who turns over the coin in his pocket, to make it as small as he ever can before he gives it, is a poor creature. He gets the smallest change on Saturday, so that he may give it on Sunday. He is a saint, is he? Let those believe in his saintship who can. The child of God should be free-hearted. He should give himself away, because Jesus gave himself for us. You should be of large heart, for you serve a large-hearted Christ, who has given you all things freely to enjoy.

37. Next, be ready to impart what you know. If the Spirit of God has made you to know the things freely given by God, try to tell someone else. Do not act as if you had a patent, or a monopoly, and wanted grace to be a secret. You do not have the gift of God yourself if you have no desire that others should have it. The first instinct of a converted man is to try to convert others. If you have no wish to bring others to heaven, you are not going there yourself.

38. Try and impart this knowledge in the way in which you received it. You received it by the Holy Spirit; then go and teach it, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but in the power of the Spirit of God. Last night I felt so unwell that I thought I should not be able to preach today; but I cheered myself with this reflection — if you cannot give wealth of illustration, if you can display no beauty of style, never mind, you can proclaim the soul-saving truth in plain words, and God will honour it. Holy Spirit, bless my feeble words this morning! You can do it, and you shall have all the praise. Go to your Sunday School class this afternoon, dear friend, and say, “Lord, put words into my mouth, and teach me, so that I may teach others. Enable me to labour, not in the power of my knowledge, eloquence, or experience, but under the guidance of your Spirit.” Better five words in the Spirit than a long oration in your own power.

39. Lastly, if the Lord has given us all these things freely, let us praise him. I did not mind hearing our brother over there cry out “Amen.” He may do it again, if he likes. Sometimes it is good to let the living water of praise to God burst the pipes, and flood the streets. What a silent set we are! The Lord has to pull hard at the rope before our bell rings at all. Let us praise him for what he has done for us, and make this vow this morning: —

   I will praise him in life, I will praise him in death,
   And praise him as long as he lendeth me breath;
   And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
   “If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

40. May the Lord himself bless you all, according to the riches of his grace. Amen.

[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — 1Co 1:18-2:16]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Jesus” 386}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — ‘I Am Alpha And Omega’ ” 491}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — Salvation By Grace In Christ” 236}


Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
386 — Jesus
1 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
   In a believer’s ear!
   It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
   And drives away his fear.
2 It makes the wounded spirit whole,
   And calms the troubled breast,
   Tis manna to the hungry soul,
   And to the weary, rest.
3 Dear name! the rock on which I build,
   My shield, and hiding place;
   My never failing treasury, fill’d
   With boundless stores of grace.
4 By thee my prayers acceptance gain,
   Although with sin defiled;
   Satan accuses me in vain,
   And I am own’d a child.
5 Jesus, my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
   My Prophet, Priest, and King;
   My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
   Accept the praise I bring.
6 Weak is the effort of my heart,
   And cold my warmest thought;
   But when I see thee as thou art,
   I’ll praise thee as I ought.
7 Till then I would thy love proclaim
   With every fleeting breath;
   And may the music of thy name
   Refresh my soul in death.
                        John Newton, 1779.


Gospel, Invitations
491 — “I Am Alpha And Omega”
1 Oh what amazing words of grace
      Are in the gospel found!
   Suited to every sinner’s case
      Who knows the joyful sound.
2 Here Jesus calls, and he’s a true,
      A kind, a faithful friend;
   He’s “Alpha and Omega, too,
      Beginning and the end.”
3 Come, then, with all your wants and wounds.
      Your every burden bring;
   Here love, eternal love abounds,
      A deep celestial spring.
4 “Whoever wills” — oh gracious word!
      “Shall of this stream partake”;
   Come, thirsty souls, and bless the Lord,
      And drink for Jesus’ sake.
5 This spring with living water flows,
      And living joy imparts;
   Come, thirsty souls, your wants disclose,
      And drink with thankful hearts.
6 To sinners poor, like me and you,
      He saith he’ll “freely give”;
   Come, thirsty souls, and prove it true;
      Drink, and for ever live.
                        Samuel Medley, 1789.


The Work of Grace as a Whole
236 — Salvation By Grace In Christ
1 Now to the power of God supreme
   Be everlasting honours given;
   He saves from hell (we bless his name),
   He calls our wand’ring feet to heaven.
2 Not for our duties or deserts,
   But of his own abounding grace,
   He works salvation in our hearts,
   And forms a people for his praise.
3 ‘Twas his own purpose that begun
   To rescue rebels doom’d to die;
   He gave us grace in Christ his Son
   Before he spread the starry sky.
4 Jesus the Lord appears at last,
   And makes his Father’s counsels known;
   Declares the great transactions past,
   And brings immortal blessings down.
5 He dies; and in that dreadful night
   Did all the powers of hell destroy;
   Rising, he brought our heaven to light,
   And took possession of the joy.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

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).

Terms of Use

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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