2169. The Man Who Shall Never See Death{a}

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No. 2169-36:565. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Morning, October 19, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

This sermon was preached, in great sorrow, after the sudden death of the senior deacon of the Tabernacle church, Mr. William Olney. He had been more than fifty years a member, and for many years our right-hand man. His zeal in service was only rivalled by his patience in suffering. Love was his prominent characteristic. He was graciously impetuous, and yet persistently constant. While he was a very ready speaker, he was not a mere talker; but was as liberal with his gifts, and as abundant in his prayers, as he was frequent in his exhortations. No Pastor had a more able or earnest helper. His son very worthily sustains the honour of the house, but scarcely could any dozen workers fill up the gap which the father’s death has caused in the departments of prayer meetings, foreign missions, home evangelization, and orphanage. Help, Lord, for a great man has fallen in our Israel! — C. H. S.

Truly, truly, I say to you, “If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death.” Then said the Jews to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and you say, ‘If a man keeps my saying, he shall never taste of death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom do you make yourself to be?” {Joh 8:51-53}

1. In the previous part of this chapter we hear the Jews, with malicious voices, assailing our blessed Lord with this bitter question, “Do we not well say that you are a Samaritan, and have a demon?” How very quietly the Saviour answered them! He answered them, because he judged it necessary to do so; but he did so with great patience, and with sound argument: “I do not have a demon; but I honour my Father.” This is clear proof! No man can be said to have a demon who honours God; for the evil spirit from the beginning has been the enemy of everyone who glorifies the Father. Paul, who had not read this passage — for the Gospel of John was not then written — was nevertheless so filled with his Master’s spirit, that he answered in a similar way when Festus said, “Paul, you are beside yourself; much learning makes you mad.” He calmly replied, “I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak the words of truth and soberness.” This was a fine copy of our Saviour’s gentle and forcible reply: “I do not have a demon; but I honour my Father.” Brethren, whenever you are falsely accused, and an evil name is hurled at you, if you need to reply, “give a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Do not be heated and hurried; for if so, you will lose strength, and will be apt to err. Let your Lord be your model.

2. The false charge was the occasion of our Lord’s uttering a great truth. On they rush, furious in their rage, but he flashes in their faces the light of truth. To put down error, lift up truth. So their deadly saying was met by a living saying: “Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death.’ ” Nothing so baffles the adversaries of the faith as to utter with unshaken confidence the truth of God. The truth which Jesus stated was full of promise; and if they wilfully rejected his promise, it became worse to them than a threatening. Christ’s rejected promises curdle into woes. If these men, when he said to them, “If a man keeps my saying he shall never see death,” still went on reviling him, then their consciences, when afterwards awakened, would say to them, “He who does not believe shall not see life; but the wrath of God remains on him.” If the believer shall never see death, then the unbeliever shall never see life. So the gospel itself becomes “a savour of death to death” to those who refuse it; and the very word which proclaims eternal life threatens eternal death to the wilfully unbelieving. I pray that, this morning, we may be put into a gracious frame of mind, and may be so helped to keep Christ’s saying, that we may inherit this wonderful promise: “If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death.”

3. May the Holy Spirit especially aid me while I first speak upon the gracious character: the man who keeps Christ’s saying. Secondly, I would dwell upon the glorious deliverance: “He shall never see death.” Thirdly, taking the two later verses of my text, I would honour the great Quickener, for evidently, according to the Jews, our Lord was making much of himself by what he said; and in truth the fact that the believer shall never see death does greatly magnify the Lord Jesus. May he be glorified in our mourning hearts while we think of our departed friend as one who shall never see death!

4. I. First, consider THE GRACIOUS CHARACTER: “If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death.”

5. Observe, that the one conspicuous characteristic of the man who shall never see death is that he keeps Christ’s saying or word. He may have other characteristics, but they are comparatively unimportant in this respect. He may be of a timorous nature; he may often be in distress; but if he keeps Christ’s saying, he shall never see death. He may have been a great sinner in his early life; but, being converted, and led to keep Christ’s saying, he shall never see death. He may be a strong-minded man, who keeps a firm grip on eternal realities, and therefore becomes supremely useful; but none the more for that, is this promise true to him: the reason for his safety is the same as in the case of the weak and timorous: he keeps Christ’s saying, and therefore he shall never see death. Divest yourselves, therefore, of all enquiries about other matters, and only make inquisition in your own heart upon this one point: do you keep Christ’s saying? If you do this, you shall never see death.

6. Who is this man who keeps Christ’s saying? Obviously, he is a man who has close dealing with Christ. He hears what he says; he notes what he says; he clings to what he says. We meet people nowadays who talk about faith in God; but they do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as the great sacrifice and reconciler. But without a mediator there is no coming to God. Jesus says, “No man comes to the Father, but by me.” His witness is true. Brethren, we glorify Christ as God himself. Truly, the unity of the Godhead is never doubted among us; but while “there is one God,” there is also “one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” Always remember that Christ Jesus as God-man, Mediator, is essential to all our communion with the Father. You cannot trust God, nor love God, nor serve God properly, unless you willingly consent to his appointed way of reconciliation, redemption, justification, and access, which is only through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. In Christ we draw near to God. Do not attempt to approach to Jehovah, who is a consuming fire, except through the incarnate God. Tell me, my hearer, is your faith fixed upon him whom God has presented to be the propitiation for sin? Do you come to God in God’s own way? for he will not receive you in any other. If you reject the way of salvation through the blood of the Lamb, you cannot be keeping the saying of Christ; for he says, “He who has seen me has seen the Father”; and he says this of no one else.

7. These people, next, making the Lord Jesus their all in all, reverenced his word, and therefore kept it: they respected, observed, trusted, and obeyed it. By keeping his saying is meant, first, that they accept his doctrine. Whatever he has laid down as truth is truth to them. My hearer, is it so with you? With some their great source of belief is their own thought. They judge the divine revelation itself, and claim the right, not only to interpret it, but to correct and expand it. In the fulness of self-confidence, they make themselves the judges of God’s Word. They believe a doctrine because the light of the present age confirms it or invents it. Their foundation is in man’s own thought. In their opinion, parts of Scripture are extremely faulty, and need tinkering with scientific hammers. The light of the Holy Spirit is to them a mere glow-worm as compared with the light of the present advanced age. But he who is to share the promise now before us is one who believes the Saviour’s word, because it is his word. He takes the sayings of Christ, and his inspired apostles, as being therefore true, because so spoken. To him the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is the warrant of faith. This is a very important matter: the foundation of our faith is even more important than the superstructure. Unless you base your faith upon the fact that the Lord has spoken, your faith lacks that worshipful reverence which God requires. Even if you are correct in your beliefs, you are not correct in your spirit unless your faith is based on the authority of God’s own Word. We are to be disciples, not critics. We have finished with criticizing, for we have come to believing. In this our departed deacon stood on firm ground. By him every teaching of the Word was accepted with a lively, childlike faith; and though tempted by the school of doubt, he was not in the least affected by its reasonings. To him the gospel was dear as life itself. Just as he did, so must we believe Christ’s doctrines.

8. Next, the gracious man trusts Christ’s promises. This is a crucial point. Without trust in Jesus we have no spiritual life. Say, my hearer, do you rely on the saying of the Lord Jesus, “He who believes in me has everlasting life?” Do you believe in the promise of pardon to the man who confesses and forsakes his sin — pardon through the precious blood of the great sacrifice? Are the promises of Christ certainties to you, certainties hall-marked with his sacred “Truly, truly, I say to you?” Can you hang your soul upon the sure peg of the Lord’s saying? Some of us rest our eternal destiny solely upon the truthfulness of Christ. When we take all his promises together, what a fulness of confidence they create in us!

   How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
   Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!

9. Furthermore, the gracious man obeys his precepts. No man can be said to keep Christ’s saying unless he follows it practically in his life. He is not only teacher, but Lord to us. A true keeper of the Word cultivates that spirit of love which is the very essence of Christ’s moral teaching. He endeavours to be meek and merciful. He strives for purity of heart, and peaceableness of spirit. He follows after holiness even at the cost of persecution. Whatever he finds that his Lord has ordained, he cheerfully performs. He does not kick at the Lord’s command, as involving too much self-denial and separation from the world; but he is willing to enter in by the strait gate, and to follow the narrow way, because his Lord commands him. That faith which does not lead to obedience is a dead faith and a false faith. That faith which does not cause us to forsake sin, is no better than the faith of demons, even if it is so good.

   Faith must obey her Father’s will,
      As well as trust his grace:
   A pardoning God is jealous still
      For his own holiness.

10. So, now you see who the man is who keeps Christ’s saying. That man receives, through the Word of God, a new and everlasting life; for the Word of God is a “living and incorruptible seed, which lives and endures for ever.” Wherever the seed of the Word drops into a soil which accepts it, it takes root, remains and grows. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is by Christ’s saying, or by Christ’s Word, that life is implanted in the soul: by that same word the heavenly life is fed, increased, developed, and at length perfected. The power and energy of the Holy Spirit which work through the word are used as the beginning, the sustaining, and the perfecting of the inner life. The life of grace on earth is the blossom of which the life of glory is the fruit. It is the same life all along, from regeneration to resurrection. The life which comes into the soul of the believer, when he begins to keep Christ’s sayings, is the same life which he will enjoy before the eternal throne in the realms of the blessed.

11. We may know what keeping Christ’s saying is from the fact that he himself has set us the example. Note well where Jesus says concerning the Father — “Yet you have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, ‘I do not know him,’ I shall be a liar like you: but I know him, and keep his saying.” {Joh 8:55} We are to keep our Lord’s saying, even as he kept his Father’s saying. He lived on the Father’s word, and therefore refused Satan’s temptation to turn stones into bread. His Father’s word was in him, so that he always did the things which pleased the Father. When he spoke, he did not speak his own words, but the word of him who sent him. He lived so that the divine word might be executed: even on the cross he was careful that the Scripture might be fulfilled. He said, “He who is of God hears God’s words”; and this was so truly the case with him that he said, “You have opened my ears.” The word was everything to him, and he rejoiced over his disciples, because he could say of them, “They have kept your word.” He, whose word you are to keep shows you how to keep it. Live for him as he lived for the Father, and then you shall receive the promise he has made: “Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death.’ ” If love is the fulfilling of the Lord’s saying, our dearly beloved but now departed friend kept the saying of Christ — for in that matter many believers have done virtuously, but he excelled them all. He has not looked on death.

12. II. Now we turn to the delightful part of our subject, namely, THE GLORIOUS DELIVERANCE which our Lord promises here: “He shall never see death.”

13. Our Lord did not mean that he shall never die, for he died himself; and his followers, in long procession, have descended to the grave. Some brethren are cheered by the belief that they shall live until the Lord comes, and therefore they shall not sleep, but shall only be changed. The hope of our Lord’s appearing is a very blessed one, whenever he may come; but I do not conceive that to be alive at his coming is any great object of desire. Is there any great preference in being changed beyond that of dying? Do we not read that, “We who are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who are asleep?” This is a great truth. Throughout eternity, if I die I shall be able to say I had actual fellowship with Christ in the article of death, and in the descent into the grave, which those happy saints who will survive can never know. It is no matter of doctrine, but yet, if one might have a choice in the matter, it might be better to die.

   The graves of all his saints he bless’d,
      And soften’d every bed:
   Where should the dying members rest,
      But with the dying Head?

14. How dear will Christ be to us when, in the ages to come, we shall think of his death, and shall be able to say, “We, too, have died and risen again!” You who are alive and remain will certainly not have a preference over us, who, like our Lord, shall taste of death. I am only speaking now of a matter of no great importance, which, as believers, we may use as a pleasant subject of discourse among ourselves. We do not grieve that our brother has fallen asleep before the Lord’s glorious appearing, for we are sure that he will be no loser by it. Our Lord has said, “If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death”; and this does not relate to the few who will remain at his second advent, but to the entire company of those who have kept his saying, even though they pass into the grave.

15. What does this promise mean? It means this, in the first place: our face is turned away from death. Here I am, a poor sinner, convicted of sin, and aroused to a fear of wrath. What is there before my face? What am I compelled to gaze upon? The Greek is not fully interpreted by the word “see”: it is a more intense word. According to Westcott, the sight here mentioned is that of “a long, steady, exhaustive vision, by which we become slowly acquainted with the nature of the object to which it is directed.” The awakened sinner is made to look at eternal death, which is the threatened punishment of sin. He stands gazing upon the result of sin with terror and dismay. Oh, the wrath to come! The death that never dies! While unforgiven, I cannot help gazing upon it, and foreseeing it as my doom. When the gospel of the Lord Jesus comes to my soul, and I keep his saying by faith, I am turned completely around. My back is upon death, and my face is towards eternal life. Death is removed; life is received; and more life is promised. What do I see within, around, and before me? Why, life, and only life — life in Christ Jesus. “He is our life.” In my future course on earth, what do I see? Final falling from grace? By no means; for Jesus says, “I give to my sheep eternal life.” What do I see far away in the eternities? Unending life. “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” Now I begin to comprehend the meaning of that text, “I am the resurrection: he who believes in me, though he were dead, yet he shall live.” And again, “I am the life: he who lives and believes in me shall never die.” The man who has received the saying of the Lord Jesus has passed from death to life, and shall never come into condemnation, and consequently shall never gaze upon death. All that lies before the believer is life, life more abundantly, life to the full, life eternal. What has become of our death? Our Lord endured it. He died for us. “He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” In his death as our representative we died. There is no death-penalty left for the believer; for not the least charge can be brought against those for whom Christ has died. Hence we sing —

   Complete atonement thou hast made,
   And to the utmost farthing paid
      Whate’er thy people owed:
   Nor can his wrath on me take place,
   If shelter’d in thy righteousness,
      And sprinkled with thy blood.

Shall we die for whom Christ died in the purpose of God? Can our departure out of the world be sent as a punishment, when our Lord Jesus has so vindicated justice that no punishment is required? When I behold my Lord die upon the cross, I see that for me death itself is dead.

16. Then comes in another sense of the expression. “He who keeps my saying shall never see death,” means that his spiritual death is gone never to return. Before the man knows Christ, he abides in death, and wherever he looks he sees nothing but death. Poor souls! you know what I am talking about, you who are now under concern of soul; for you try to pray, and find death in your prayers; you try to believe, but seem dead regarding faith. Alas, you ungodly ones! although you do not know it, death is everywhere within you. You are “dead in trespasses and sins.” Your sins are to you what grave-clothes are to a corpse; they seem your natural attire; they cling to you, they bind you. Little do you know what corruption is coming upon you, so that God himself will say of you, “Bury the dead out of my sight.” As soon as ever the gospel saying of the Lord Jesus comes to a man with power, what is the result? He is dead no longer: he begins to see life. It may be, that at first it is a painful life — a life of deep regrets for the past, and dark fears for the future; a life of hungering and thirsting; a life of pining and panting; a life that lacks something, it scarcely knows what, but it cannot live without it. This man sees life; and the more he keeps his Saviour’s word, the more he rejoices in Christ Jesus, the more he rests on his promise, the more he loves him, the more he serves him, the more his new life will drive death out of sight. Life now abounds and holds sway, and the old death hides away in holes and corners. Though often the believer has to mourn over the old death which struggles to return, yet he does not gaze upon that death of sin as he once did; he cannot endure it, he takes no pleasure in the contemplation of it, but cries to God for deliverance from it. Grace frees us from the reign of death as well as from the penalty of death; and in neither of these senses shall the keeper of Christ’s saying ever look upon death.

17. “But,” one cries, “will a Christian man not die?” I answer, not necessarily; for some will remain at the coming of our Lord, and these will not die; and hence there is no legal necessity that any should die, since the obligation would then rest equally on all. But good men die. The signs of death are seen in mournful array on my pulpit. Yet our dear brother did not die as the penalty of his sin. He was forgiven; and it is not according to God’s grace or justice to punish those whom he has forgiven. Oh my hearers, if you do not believe in the Lord Jesus, death will be a penal infliction to you; but death is changed in its nature in the case of a believer in Jesus. Our death is a falling asleep, not a going to execution. It is a departure out of the world to the Father, not a being driven away in wrath. We leave the militant host of earth for the triumphant armies of heaven by the gate of death; what was a cavern leading to blackness and darkness for ever, has, by the resurrection of our Lord, been made into an open tunnel, which serves as a passage into eternal glory. As a penal infliction upon believers, death was abolished by our Lord; and now it has become a stairway from the grace-life below to the glory-life above.

18. “If a man keeps my saying, he shall never gaze upon death,” may further mean, he shall not live under the influence of it. He shall not be perpetually thinking of death and dreading its approach, and what follows after it. I must admit that some Christians are in bondage through fear of death; but that is because they do not keep their Master’s saying as they ought to do. The result of his saying upon us is frequently such that instead of being afraid to die, we come to long to depart. In such a case we should believe the verses of Watts, who tells us that if we could see the saints above, we should long to join them.

   How we should scorn these robes of flesh,
      These fetters and this load!
   And long for evening to undress,
      That we may rest in God.
   We should almost forsake our clay
      Before the summons come,
   And pray and wish our souls away
      To their eternal home.

I have to check some dear brethren when they say to me, “Let me die the death of the righteous.” No, do not talk as Balaam did; but rather say, “Let me live, so that I may glorify God and help my sorrowing brethren in the Lord’s work.” Please do not hurry to be gone; and yet this impatience proves that death has lost its terrors for us. We do not see death looming before us as a coming tempest: we do not gaze upon it as a fascinating horror which makes our faces pale, and casts a lurid glare on all around. We do not see the darkness, for we walk in the light: we do not fear the rumbling of the chariot, for we know who rides to us in it.

19. We shall never see what is the reality and essence of death, namely, the wrath of God in the second death. We have no reason to fear condemnation, for “it is God who justifies.” That final separation from God, which is the real death of human nature, can never come to us. “Who shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” That ruin and misery which the word “death” describes, when used in relationship to the soul, will never befall us; for we shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck us out of Christ’s hand.

20. When the believer dies, he does not gaze upon death. He walks through the valley of the shadow of death; but he fears no evil, and sees nothing to fear. A shadow was cast across my road, but I passed through it, and scarcely perceived that it was there. Why was that? Because I had my eye fixed upon a strong light beyond; and I did not notice the shadow which otherwise would have distressed me. Believers are so gladdened by the presence of their Lord and Master, that they do not observe that they are dying. They rest so sweetly in the embrace of Jesus, that they do not hear the voice of wailing. When they pass from one world into another, it is something like going from England to Scotland: it is all one kingdom, and one sun shines in both lands. Often travellers by railway ask, “When do we pass from England into Scotland?” There is no jerk in the movement of the train; no broad boundary: you glide from one into the other, and scarcely know where the boundary lies. The eternal life that is in the believer glides along from grace to glory without a break. We grow steadily on from the blade to the head, and from the head to the full kernel in the head; but no black belt separates the stages of growth from each other. We shall know when we arrive; but the passage may be so rapid that we shall not see it. From earth to heaven may seem the greatest of journeys, but it is ended in the twinkling of an eye.

   One gentle sigh, the fetter breaks,
      We scarce can say, “He’s gone,”
   Before the ransomed spirit takes
      Its mansion near the throne.

He shall never gaze upon death: he shall pass it by with no more than a glance. He shall go through Jordan as though it were dry land, and scarcely know that he has crossed a river at all. Like Peter, the departing shall scarcely be sure that they have passed through the iron gate, which shall open of its own accord; they shall only know that they are free. Of each one of them it may be said, as of Peter, “He do not know that it was true what was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.” Do not fear death; for Jesus says, “He who keeps my saying shall never see death.”

21. Follow the soul when it enters into the other world: the body is left behind, and the man is a disembodied spirit; but he does not see death. All the life he needs he has within his soul by being one with Jesus. Meanwhile, he is expecting that at the trumpet of the resurrection his body will be reunited with his soul, having been made to be the dwelling and the instrument of his perfected spirit. While he is absent from the body, he is so present with the Lord that he does not look on death.

22. But the judgment day has come, the great white throne is set, the multitudes appear before the Judge! What about the keeper of Christ’s saying? Is he not afraid? It is the day of days, the day of wrath! He knows that he shall never see death, and therefore he is in no confusion. For him there is no “Depart, you cursed.” He can never come under the eternal sentence. See! hell opens wide her tremendous mouth. The pit which of old was dug for the wicked yawns and receives them. Down sink the ungodly multitude, a very cataract of souls. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations who forget God.” In that terrific hour, will his foot not slip? No; he shall stand in the judgment, and shall never see death.

23. But the world is all ablaze; all things are being dissolved, and the elements are melting with fervent heat; the stars are falling like the leaves of autumn, and the sun is black as sackcloth of hair. Is he not now alarmed? Ah, no! He shall never see death. His eyes are fixed on life, and he himself is full of it. He continues to live, he spends that life in praising God. He shall never gaze upon death; for Jesus says, “Because I live, you shall live also.” Oh blessed eyes, that shall never look on death! Oh happy mind, that has been made confident in Jesus Christ of an immortality for which there is no risk of loss! Our dear brother was the embodiment of life in the service of the Lord. Last Sabbath he sat in this seat behind me, and responded in his very soul to the Word of the Lord. Last Monday was spent all day in the service of God and this church, in the most hearty manner. Though a great sufferer, his spirit carried him over his bodily weakness, and he constantly exhibited an amazing zeal for God and the souls of men. To the last the old ruling passion was strong in him: he would speak for his Lord. He was so struck down that he did not know that he was dying. He found himself in heaven even before he was aware, and I dare say he said to himself, “I thought I was going to the Tabernacle; but here I am in the temple of my God. For many a year I took my seat among my brethren below, or went about serving my Lord among his people, and now I have a mansion above, and behold his face; but I will now see what there is to do.” Yes, he will serve God day and night in his temple, just as he did here; for he was never tired of work for Jesus. He was always at it, and always full of life. He never beheld death while he was with us, for he overflowed with life; and when physical death came, he did not gaze upon it, but simply bowed his head, and found himself before the throne.

24. What a glorious word is this! Alas for you who are ungodly! you are made to look on death. It haunts you now; what will it be in the hour of your decease? “What will you do in the swelling of Jordan?” Nothing remains for you but the wages of sin, which is death. The ruin and misery of your souls will be your endless portion. You will be shut in with the finally destroyed, ruined, and wretched ones for ever! This is a dreadful looking for of judgment. It ought to startle you. But as for the believer, surely the bitterness of death is past. We have nothing more to do with death as a penalty or a terror, any more than we have to do with spiritual death as the choke-damp {b} of the heart, and the mother of corruption.

25. III. This brings me to the third point — THE GREAT QUICKENER.

26. Those Jews — what a passion they were in! How unscrupulous their talk! They could not even quote Christ’s words correctly. They said, “You say, ‘If a man keeps my saying, he shall never taste of death.’ ” He did not say that. He said, “Shall never see death.” We may be said to taste of death as our Master did; for it is written that “He tasted death for every man.” And yet in another sense we shall never taste the wormwood and gall of death, for to us it is “swallowed up in victory.” Its drop of gall is lost in the bowl of victory. However, the Lord Jesus did not say that we shall never taste of death; neither did he mean that we shall not die, in the common sense of the word. He was using, to the Jews, words in that religious sense in which their own prophets used them. The ancient Scriptures so used the word death; and these Jews knew their meaning very well. Death did not always mean the separation of the soul from the body; for the Lord’s declaration to Adam was, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Assuredly, Adam and Eve died in the sense intended; but they were not annihilated, nor were their souls separated from their bodies; for they still remained to labour on earth. “The soul that sins it shall die,” relates to a death which consists of degradation, misery, inability, ruin. Death does not mean annihilation, but something very different. Overthrow and ruin are the death of a soul, just as perfection and joy are its life for ever. The separation of the soul from God is the death-penalty; and that is death indeed. The Jews refused to understand our Lord; yet they clearly saw that what Jesus claimed tended to glorify him above Abraham and the prophets. Hidden away in their abusive words, we find a sense which is instructive. It is not the greatness or the goodness of a believer that secures his eternal life; it is his being linked by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is greater than Abraham and the prophets. The man keeps Christ’s saying, and that becomes a bond between him and Christ, and he is one with Christ. Because of their Lord, the saints live; and the living of the saints by him brings to him glory and honour. His life is seen in every one of his people: like mirrors, they reflect his divine life. He has life in himself, and that life he imparts to his chosen. Just as the old creation displays the glory of the Father, so the new creation reveals the glory of the Son. Believers find their highest life in Christ Jesus their Lord, and every particle of it glorifies him.

27. It is also to our Lord’s glory that we live by his word. He does not sustain us by the machinery of providence, but by his word. Just as the world came into being because God spoke, so do we live and continue to live because of Christ’s saying. What he taught, being received into our hearts, becomes the origin and the nourishment of our eternal life. It is greatly glorifying to Christ that, by his word, all spiritual life in the countless myriads of believers is created and sustained.

28. It is clear that the Lord Jesus is far greater than Abraham and all the prophets. Their word could not make men live, nor even live themselves. But the saying of Jesus makes all live who receive it. By keeping it they live — yes, live for ever. Glory be to the name of him who quickens whom he wills!

29. A sweet inference flows from all this, and with that I conclude. The glory of Christ depends on the not seeing of death by all who keep his saying. If you and I keep his saying, and we see death, then Jesus is not true. If you, believing in Jesus, gaze upon death, it will be proved that either he did not have the power or the will to make his promise good. If the Lord fails in any one case, he has lost the honour of his faithfulness. Oh you trembling, anxious souls, lay hold on this:

   His honour is engaged to save
   The meanest {lowliest} of his sheep.

If the saint of God, who has won thousands for Jesus, should after all perish, what a failure of covenant engagements there would be! But that failure would be just as great if one of the least of all those who keep our Lord’s word should be permitted to perish. Such a loss of honour to our all-glorious Lord is not to be imagined; and hence if one of you who are the least in your father’s house do really trust in him, though encumbered with infirmities and imperfections, he must keep you from seeing death. His truth, his power, his immutability, his love, are all involved in his faithfulness to his promise to each believer. I want you to take this home with you, and be comforted.

30. Indeed, and if I have some foul transgressor here this morning, the grossest sinner whoever lived, if you will come to Christ, lay hold on his gracious saying, keep it, and be obedient to it, you shall never see death. There is not a soul in hell that can ever say, “I have kept Christ’s saying, and I have seen death, for here I am.” There never will be such a one, or Christ’s glory would be tarnished throughout eternity. Keep his saying, and he will keep you from seeing death!

31. How eagerly did my departed friend long for the conversion of those who came to the Tabernacle! He was never satisfied while any were unblessed. He had great longings. He loved revivals and missions. News of souls saved stirred his innermost soul. Oh, that his prayers, while he was with us, may be answered now that he is gone from us! He not only lived among us, but he lived in our hearts. He needs no praise from me; his praise is in all the church. He will require no monument; all your hearts are his memorials. Never can I forget my beloved fellow worker either in time or in eternity. Beloved, the real William Olney has not seen death, although with many tears we must lay him in the grave next Wednesday. Pray much for me: my loss is not to be measured. Pray much for his dear family, whose loss cannot be repaired. Amen.

[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Re 7]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Heaven — Sweet Fields” 875}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Heaven — The Redeemed In Heaven” 877}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Heaven — The Everlasting Song” 872}


{a} This sermon had a black rectangular border on every page.
{b} Choke-damp: A miner’s term for the carbonic acid gas (or air largely mixed with it) which accumulates in old workings in coal-pits, and at the bottom of wells, quarries, and caves. OED.

The Christian, Heaven
875 — Sweet Fields
1 There is a land of pure delight,
      Where saints immortal reign;
   Infinite day excludes the night,
      And pleasures banish pain.
2 There everlasting spring abides,
      And never-withering flowers:
   Death, like a narrow sea, divides
      This heavenly land from ours.
3 Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
      Stand dress’d in living green;
   So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
      While Jordan roll’d between.
4 But timorous mortals start and shrink
      To cross this narrow sea,
   And linger, shivering on the brink,
      And fear to launch away.
5 Oh! could we make our doubts remove,
      Those gloomy doubts that rise,
   And see the Canaan that we love
      With unbeclouded eyes!
6 Could we but climb where Moses stood,
      And view the landscape o’er,
   Not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,
      Should fright us from the shore!
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.


The Christian, Heaven
877 — The Redeemed In Heaven <7s.>
1 Who are these array’d in white,
   Brighter than the noonday sun,
   Foremost of the sons of light,
   Nearest the eternal throne?
2 These are they who bore the cross,
   Faithful to their Master died,
   Suffer’d in his righteous cause,
   Followers of the crucified.
3 Out of great distress they came,
   And their Master died,
   In the blood of Christ the Lamb,
   They have wash’d as white as snow.
4 More than conquerors at last,
   Here they find their trials o’er:
   They have all their sufferings pass’d,
   Hunger now and thirst no more.
5 He that on the throne doth reign
   Them for evermore shall feed,
   With the tree of life sustain,
   To the living fountain lead.
6 He shall all their griefs remove,
   He shall all their wants supply;
   God himself, the God of love,
   Tears shall wipe from every eye.
                     Charles Wesley, 1745.


The Christian, Heaven
872 — The Everlasting Song
1 Earth has engross’d my love too long,
      ‘Tis time I lift mine eyes
   Upward, dear Father, to thy throne,
      And to my native shies.
2 There the blest man, my Saviour, sits:
      The God! how bright he shines!
   And scatters infinite delights
      On all the happy minds.
3 Seraphs with elevated strains
      Circle the throne around;
   And move and charm the starry plains
      With an immortal sound.
4 Jesus, the Lord, their harps employs: —
      Jesus, my Love, they sing!
   Jesus, the life of both our joys,
      Sounds sweet from every string.
5 Hark, how beyond the narrow bound
      Of time and space they run;
   And echo in majestic sounds
      The Godhead of the Son.
6 And now they sink the lofty tune,
      And gentler notes they play;
   And bring the Father’s Equal down,
      To dwell in humble clay.
7 But when to Calvary they turn,
      Silent their harps abide;
   Suspended songs a moment mourn
      The God that loved and died.
8 Then, all at once, to living strains,
      They summon every chord,
   Tell how he triumph’d o’er his pains,
      And chant the rising Lord.
9 Now let me mount and join their song,
      And be an angel too;
   My heart, my ear, my hand, my tongue —
      Here’s joyful work for you.
10 I would begin the music here,
         And so my soul should rise:
      Oh for some heavenly notes to bear
         My passions to the skies!
11 There ye that love my Saviour sit,
         There I would fain have place,
      Among your thrones or at your feet,
         So I might see his face.
                              Isaac Watts, 1706.

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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