2194. Between The Two Appearings

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No. 2194-37:145. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Morning, March 15, 1891, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Now once at the end of the ages he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed to men to die once, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to those who look for him he shall appear the second time without sin to salvation. {Heb 9:26-28}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 759, “Jesus Putting Away Sin” 750}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 911, “Putting Away of Sin, The” 902}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 962, “Personal Application, A” 953}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2194, “Between the Two Appearings” 2195}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2283, “Christ’s One Sacrifice for Sin” 2284}
   Exposition on Heb 9:18-10:25 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2951, “With or Without Blood Shedding” 2952 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Heb 9:24-10:18 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2283, “Christ’s One Sacrifice for Sin” 2284 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Heb 9:24-10:39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3102, “Forerunner, The” 3103 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Heb 9; Ex 24:1-10 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3293, “Blood of the Testament, The” 3295 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Heb 9 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2427, “Ark of His Covenant, The” 2428 @@ "Exposition"}
   {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Heb 9:27"}
   {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Heb 9:28"}

1. The two great links between earth and heaven are the two advents of our Lord: or, rather, he is the great bond of union, by these two appearings. When the world had revolted, and God had been defied by his own creatures, a great gulf was opened between God and man. The first coming of Christ was like a bridge which crossed the chasm and made a way of access from God to man, and then from man to God. Our Lord’s second advent will make that bridge far broader, until heaven shall come down to earth, and ultimately earth shall go up to heaven. At these two points a sinful world is drawn into closest contact with a gracious God. Jesus is seen here as opening the door which no one can shut, by means of which the Lord is beheld as truly Emmanuel, God with us.

2. Here, too, is the place for us to build a grand suspension-bridge, by which, through faith, we ourselves may cross from this side to the other of the stormy river of time. The cross, at whose feet we stand, is the massive column which supports the structure on this side; and as we look forward to the glory, the second advent of our Lord is the solid support on the other side of the deep gulf of time. By faith we first look to Jesus, and then for Jesus; and herein is the life of our spirits. Christ on the cross of shame, and Christ on the throne of glory, we dwell between these two boundaries: these are our Dan and Beersheba, and all between is holy ground. As for our Lord’s first coming, there lies our rest: the once-offered Sacrifice has put away our sin, and made our peace with God. As for his second coming, there lies our hope, our joy; for we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. The glories of his sacred royalty shall be repeated in all the saints; for he has made us kings and priests to our God: and we shall reign with him for ever and ever. At his first advent we adore him with gratitude, rejoicing in “God with us,” as making himself to be our near kinsman. We gather with grateful boldness around the infant in the manger, and behold our God. But in the second advent we are struck with a solemn reverence, a trembling awe. We are not less grateful, but we are more prostrate as we bow before the majesty of the triumphant Christ. Jesus in his glory is an overpowering vision. John, the beloved disciple, writes, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.” We could have kissed his feet until he left us on Olivet; but at the sight of the returning Lord, when heaven and earth shall flee away, we bow in lowliest adoration. His first appearing has given us that life and holy confidence with which we press forward to his glorious appearing, which is the crown of all.

3. I want, at this time, to bring before you those two appearings of our Lord. The text says, “He has appeared”; and again, “He shall appear.” The twenty-sixth verse speaks of his unique appearing already accomplished, and the twenty-eighth verse promises the glorious second outshining, as it promises, “He shall appear.” Between these two lights — “he has appeared” and “he shall appear” — we shall sail safely, if the Holy Spirit will direct our way.

4. My first point is this, once, and no second; and my other division of discourse will make a kind of paradox, but not a contradiction — yet a second.

5. I. Our first theme is, ONCE, AND NO SECOND. “Now once at the end of the ages he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” This he has done once, and he will never repeat it. Let us dwell on the subject in detail.

6. Our Lord Jesus Christ has once appeared, and though he will appear again, it will not be for the same purpose. Fix your thoughts on his first appearing; for its equal will never be seen again. In the bosom of the Father he lay concealed as God; as the second person of the divine Trinity in Unity he could not be seen, for “no man has seen God at any time.” It is true that “without him was not anything made that was made”; and so his hand was seen in his works; but as for himself, he was still hidden; revealed in type and prophecy, but yet in fact concealed. Jesus was not revealed to the sons of men, until one midnight an angel hastened from the skies, and informed the shepherds that to them was born in Bethlehem a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Then the rest of the angelic host, discovering that one of their number had gone before them on so wonderful an errand, were swift to overtake him; and in one mass of glittering glory they filled the midnight skies with heavenly harmony as they sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” Well might they sing; for the Son of God now appeared. In the manger he might be seen with the eyes, and looked upon, and handled; for there the Word was made flesh, and God was incarnate. He whom the ages could not contain, the glorious One who dwelt with the Father for ever unseen, now appeared within the bounds of time and space, and humble shepherds saw him, and adored. By Gentiles he was seen; for wise men from the East beheld and worshipped him whose star had led them. As he grew up, the children of Nazareth beheld him as a child obedient to his parents; and eventually he was revealed to men by the witness of John and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him at his baptism. God bore him witness as he went up and down the hills of Palestine preaching the kingdom and proclaiming salvation to the sons of men. Men saw him; for he spoke among them openly, and walked in their midst. His was not the seclusion of dignity, but the manifestation of sympathy. “He went about doing good.” He was seen by angels, for they came and ministered to him; and he was seen by demons, for they trembled at his word. He lived among us, and we beheld his glory: he was the revelation of God to men, so that he could say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” He was revealed still more by his death; for in his crucifixion he was lifted up from the earth, so that all might behold him. He was exalted upon the cross, even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, on purpose so that whoever looked to him might live. Then and there he opened those four conspicuous founts of cleansing blood which were made to flow by the nails. See how it flows from his hands and feet! There, too, he laid bare his side, and set his heart abroach for dying men, and immediately there flowed blood and water. So we may look into his innermost heart. High on the cross the Saviour hung, without veil or curtain to conceal him. “Once at the end of the ages he has appeared.” I know of no appearance that could have been more complete, more unreserved. He moved in the midst of crowds, he spoke to men and women one by one. He was on the mountain, and by the sea; he was in the desert, and by the river; he was both in house and in temple; he was accessible everywhere; in the fullest sense “once at the end of the ages he has appeared.” Oh, the glory of this gracious epiphany! This is the greatest event in history: the invisible God has appeared in human form.

7. The text tells us very precisely that in this first coming of our Lord he appeared to put away sin. Notice that fact. By his coming and sacrifice he accomplished many things; but his primary purpose and object was “to put away sin.” You know what the modern babblers say: they declare that he appeared to reveal to us the goodness and love of God. This is true; but it is only the fringe of the whole truth. The fact is, that he revealed God’s love in the provision of a sacrifice to put away sin. Then, they say that he appeared to exhibit perfect manhood, and to let us see what our nature ought to be. Here also is a truth; but it is only part of the sacred design. He appeared, they say, to reveal self-sacrifice, and to set us an example of love for others. By his self-denial he trampled on the selfish passions of man. We deny none of these things; and yet we are indignant at the way in which the less is made to hide the greater. To put the secondary purposes into the place of the grand object is to turn the truth of God into a lie. It is easy to distort truth, by exaggerating one portion of it and diminishing another; just as the drawing of the most beautiful face may soon be made a caricature rather than a portrait by neglect of proportion. You must observe proportion if you would take a truthful view of things; and in reference to the appearing of our Lord, his first and primary purpose is “to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” The great object of our Lord’s coming here was not to live, but to die. He has appeared, not so much to subdue sin by his teaching, as to put it away by the sacrifice of himself. The master-purpose which dominated all that our Lord did, was not to reveal goodness, nor to perfect an example, but to put away sin by sacrifice. What the moderns would thrust into the background, our Lord placed in the forefront. He came to take away our sins, even as the scapegoat typically carried away the sin of Israel into the wilderness so that the people might be clean before the living God. The Lord Jesus has come here as a priest to remove sin from his people: “You know that he was revealed to take away our sins.” Do not let us think of Jesus without remembering the intention of his coming. Please, brethren, do not know Christ without his cross, as some pretend to know him. We preach Christ; as a great many also do: but, “we preach Christ crucified”; as a great many do not do. We preach concerning our Lord, his cross, his blood, his death; and upon the blood of his cross we lay great stress, extolling much “the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” We know no past appearing of God in human flesh except that appearing which ended with a sacrifice to put away sin. For this our Saviour came, even to save sinners by putting away their sin. We will not deny, nor conceal, nor depreciate his master-purpose, lest we are found guilty of trampling on his blood, and treating it as an unholy thing. The putting away of sin was a Godlike purpose; and it is a well-spring of hope to us, that for this reason Jesus appeared among men.

8. Let us go a step further with our text: only once does the Lord appear for the purpose of putting away sin. He came once to do it, and he has done it so well that there is no need for him to offer any further sacrifice. “This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down.” He will never appear a second time for the putting away of sin. It was his purpose once; but he has so fulfilled it that it will never be his purpose again. The high priest, as you know, came every year with blood for the putting away of sin. He has slain the victim this year, but next year he must come in the same manner, and the next, and the next, and the next; because the sacrifice had not really removed the guilt; but our Lord has come once for this divine purpose; and he has so achieved that purpose that he could truly cry, “It is finished”; for the work is done once and for all. He has so perfectly put away sin by the sacrifice of himself that he will never need to offer a second sacrifice. That our Lord should ever come a second time as he came the first time is inconceivable by those who love him. He will come a second time, but in a very different way, and for a very different purpose; not as a sacrifice for sins, but as King and Judge.

9. And here learn yet further, that only once is sin put away. Jesus died to finish transgression and make an end of sin. Our Lord made atonement for sin when he died the just for the unjust: he made peace for us when the chastisement of our peace was upon him. When the Lord had laid upon him the iniquity of us all, divine wrath fell upon him on account of our sins, until he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” Then sin was put away. There, but never anywhere else, full atonement was presented, and iniquity was blotted out. There is no other place of expiation for sin but the place of our Lord’s sacrifice of himself. Believing in him who died on the cross, our sins are put away; but without faith in him there is no remission for sin. Beyond our Lord’s, there is no other sacrifice; there will never be any other sacrifice. If any of you here are entertaining some “larger hope,” I would say to you — Hope what you please; but remember, that hope without truth behind it, is an anchor without a holdfast. A baseless hope is a mere delusion. Wish what you will; but wishes without promises from God to back them, are vain imaginings. Why should you imagine or wish for another method of salvation? Rest assured that the Lord God thinks so highly of the one sacrifice for sin, that for you to desire another is evil in his sight. If you reject the one sacrifice of the Son of God, there remains no hope for you; nor ought there to be. Our Lord’s way of putting away sin is so just to God, so honouring to the law, and so safe for you, that if you reject it your blood must be on your own head. By once offering up himself to God, our Lord has done what myriads of years of repentance and suffering could never have done. Blessed be the name of the Lord, the sin of the world, which kept God from dealing with men at all, was put away by our Lord’s death! John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” God has been able to deal with the world of sinners in a way of grace, because Jesus died. I thank our Lord even more, because the actual sins of his own chosen — even of all those who believe in him in every age — have been put away. These sins were laid on him; and in him God visited man for them. “He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree”; and so put them away for ever, and they are cast into the depths of the sea. The putting away of my guilt as a believer was really, effectively, and eternally accomplished by the death of your great Substitute upon the bloody tree. This is the basis of our everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Jesus did it alone; he did not only seem to do it, but he actually achieved the putting away of sin. He blotted out the handwriting that was against us. He finished transgression and made an end of sin; and brought in everlasting righteousness when once and for all he died upon the cross.

10. Beloved, there is a further note here: observe that only once he has made a sacrifice of himself. “Now once at the end of the ages he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” The very best way to describe the death of our Lord is to call it “the sacrifice of himself.” It may be proper to divide the sacrifice, as the priest cut up the young bull or the ram. You may speak of our Lord’s bodily sufferings, his mental griefs, and his spiritual anguish; but for the most part we are not able to go far in this detailed appreciation of the wondrous sacrifice. We are such poor folk in spiritual things, that instead of bringing a young bull which could be anatomized and its vital organs all laid bare, we are content to bring a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons; and these were not carefully divided, but burned on the altar. Most of us have to take our Lord Jesus Christ as a whole; since, from lack of understanding, we cannot go into detail. What did he offer to God? He made a sacrifice of himself. Truly he sacrificed his crown, his rest, his honour, his reputation, and his life; but the essence of the sacrifice was himself: he himself took our iniquity, and bore our sorrows. “He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” Your sacrifice, oh Christ, is not to be measured unless we could compute the infinity of your Godhead. It was not only your labour, your pain, your shame, your death; your sacrifice was yourself; what more could even you offer? There, on the altar, the Son of God placed himself, and there he bled and died so that he might be the victim of punitive justice, the substitute for guilty men. There he was a sweet-smelling savour to God, because he vindicated the law, and made it possible for the Lawgiver to be justly merciful. This, according to our text, was done once, and only once, and it never will be repeated; so that the whole business of our Lord’s appearing to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, is confined to one appearing and one offering. I want that word “ONE” to ring in your ears. “By one offering he has perfected for ever those who are sanctified.” I would have the adverb “once” go through every ear, and remain in every heart. “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Peter says, “Christ also has once suffered for sins.”

11. Once it is, and only once. To suppose the contrary would be, first, to break away from the analogy of human things. Read the twenty-seventh verse: “Just as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment.” A man dies once, and after that everything is fixed and settled, and he answers for his doings at the judgment. One life, one death — then everything is weighed, and the result declared: “after this the judgment.” So Christ comes, and dies once; and after this, for him also the result of what he has done, namely, the salvation of those who look for him. He dies once, and then reaps the fixed result, according to the analogy of the human race, of which he became a member and representative. Men do not come back here to die twice; men die once, and then the matter is decided, and then comes the judgment. So Christ dies: he does not come back here to die again; but he receives the result of his death — that is, the salvation of his own people. “He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” “You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood.” The Christ is so completely man that he follows the analogies of manhood, as the apostle here observes, and we must not break away from them.

12. To suppose a second death for our Lord would be to forget what he came to do. The punishment of sin was, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” One death was the sentence. It is true that we have to speak of that one death as divided into the first and the second death; but it is judicially one sentence of death which is pronounced on man. When Christ comes, therefore, he bears the one sentence of death. He laid down his life for us. The penalty due to sin was death: “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”; Christ, therefore, must die, and die he did; “By the grace of God he tasted death for every man.” But it was not said, “You shall die twice.” No; and Christ does not die twice. “Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died to sin once: but in that he lives, he lives to God.” He has borne the full sentence which was pronounced on sin, and so he has put away the sin which involved us under the penalty.

13. To suppose that our Lord should be made a sacrifice again is a supposition full of horror. When you study deeply the death of your Lord, unless your heart is like an adamant stone, you must be bowed down with grief. The visage of him who was heaven’s glory was more marred than that of any man, and his form more than the sons of men. He whose brow was from the beginning surrounded with majesty, had his forehead and temples torn with a coronet of thorns. Those blessed cheeks that are as beds of spices were stained with spittle from the lips of menials. His face, which is the joy of heaven, was buffeted and bruised by mockers. His blessed shoulders, which bear up the world, they scourged with knotted whips until the blood ran down in crimson rivers as the ploughers made deep furrows. How could they flout him so? Was it possible that my Beloved should be scorned and slandered, spit upon and condemned as a felon? Did they lay the shameful cross upon his blessed back, and lead him through the streets amid the ribald mob? He who knew no sin was numbered with the transgressors. Found guilty of nothing except excess of love for man, he was led away to be crucified. They hurried him off to die at the commonplace of the gibbet. The rough soldiers nailed him to the cross, and lifted up the rough tree for all to gaze at it. I wonder how the angels bore it. It seems extraordinary that they should look on while men were taking their Lord and Master, and driving bolts through his hands and feet, and lifting his sacred body upon the cruel tree. But they did bear it; and the Christ hung on the tree of doom in a burning heat, through the fierce sun, and the inflammation of his wounds, and inward fever. He was so parched that his tongue was dried up like a potsherd, and was made to cleave to the roof of his mouth. There he hung amid derision, his bones all dislocated, and his very flesh dissolved with faintness as though it were turning back to its native dust. Meanwhile his soul was “extremely sorrowful, even to death”; and the Father’s face which has sustained thousands of martyrs was turned away from him until he cried, “Lama sabachthani.” And is there heart so brutal as to suggest a repetition of this divine agony? Repeat this! Repeat this! Oh sirs, we rise at once, as one man, in horror against an idea so revolting. One Calvary is glorious, for it has accomplished the grand deed of our redemption; but two Calvaries would mean double shame, and no glory. Shall the Son of God, after all that he has done, come down on earth to be a second time “despised and rejected by men?” Shall he a second time be dragged through mire and blood? It must not, cannot be. God forbid! He has trodden the wine-press once and for all. No more shall he stain his garments with his own blood.

14. To suppose a repetition of the sacrifice is to cast suspicion upon the work and efficacy of the great offering of himself. Was not that sacrifice infinite in value? It must have been, for it was the sacrifice of God himself. Why, then, present it again? Unless the first was altogether or measurably a failure, why repeat it? The repetition of the cross would destroy the cross. Oh man, you have taken away from the death of the Lord all its virtue if you would dream of his dying yet again. As for that invention of the Church of Rome — the continual offering of the bloodless sacrifice of the Mass — it is a dead thing, for the “blood is its life”; and it is as gross an insult to the one great sacrifice as could well have been devised by his cruellest enemies. He has for ever put away the sin of his people by his one offering, and now there remains no more sacrifice for sin.

15. My brethren, the idea that our Lord Jesus did not effectively perform the work of taking away sin removes the foundation of our faith. If by one offering he did not put away sin, shall it be repeated? Suppose for a moment that he died twice: why not three times? Why not four times? Why not fifty times? Why not for ever the rehearsal of Calvary, for ever the doleful cry, for ever the tomb of Joseph, and the dead body wrapped in linen? And yet, even after a thousand repetitions, how could we know that we were saved? How could we be sure that the sacrifice sufficed, and that sin was really put away? If the one offering of himself did not satisfy justice, what would or could do it? Then we are without hope, and of all men most miserable; for a golden dream of the putting away of sin has come to us, and, lo! it has melted away. Once that tree, once that tomb; once the broken seal and the frightened watch: on that one sacrifice and justification we rest securely, and we need no repetition of the work. It was enough, for Jesus said, “It is finished.” It was enough, for God has raised him from the dead.

16. I do not need, I hope, to linger here to warn you that it is of no use to expect that God will put away sin in any other way than what he has provided at so great a cost. If sin could have been removed in any other way than by the death of his dear Son, Jesus would not have died. If there had been within the range of supposition any method of pardon except by the sacrifice of himself, depend on it Jesus would never have bowed his head to death. The great Father would never have inflicted death upon the perfect One if it had been possible that the cup should pass from him. He could never have inflicted upon his Beloved a superfluous pain. His death was necessary; but, blessed be God, having been once endured, it has once and for all put away sin, and hence it will never be endured again.

17. II. We come now to look at the rest of the text. Once, and no second; AND YET A SECOND. “He shall appear a second time.” Yes, Christ Jesus shall appear a second time; but not a second time for the same purpose as before.

18. He will appear. The appearing will be of the most public character. He will not be visible in some quiet place where two or three are met, but he will appear as the lightning is seen in the heavens. At his first appearing he was truly seen: wherever he went he could be looked at and gazed upon, and touched and handled. He will appear quite as plainly eventually, among the sons of men. The observation of him will be far more general than at his first advent; for “every eye shall see him.” Every eye did not see him here when he came the first time, for he did not travel out of Palestine, except only when, as an infant all unknown, he was carried down into Egypt. But when he comes a second time all the nations of the world shall behold him. Those who are dead shall rise to see him, both saints and sinners; and those who are alive and remain when he shall come shall be absorbed in this greatest of spectacles. Then Balaam shall find it true, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near.” Though they cry, “Hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne,” they shall cry in vain; for before his judgment seat they must all appear.

19. His second appearing will be without sin. That is to say, he will bring no sin offering with him, and will not himself be a sacrifice for sin. Why should it be so? We have seen that he once offered himself without spot to God, and therefore, when he comes a second time, his relationship to human guilt will finally cease. He will then have nothing further to do with that sin which was laid upon him. Our sin, which he took to himself by imputation, he has borne and discharged. Not only is the sinner free, but the sinner’s Surety is free also; for he has paid our debt to the utmost farthing. Jesus is no longer under obligation on our account. When he comes a second time, he will have no connection of any kind with the sin which he once bore. He will come, moreover, without those sicknesses and infirmities which arise out of sin. At his first advent he came in suffering flesh, and then he came to hunger and to thirst, to be without a place to lay his head; he came to have his heart broken with reproach, and his soul grieved with the hardness of men’s hearts. He was encompassed with infirmity; he came to his God with strong crying and tears; he agonized even to bloody sweat; and so he journeyed on with all the insignia of sin hanging on him. But when he comes a second time it will be without the weakness, pain, poverty, and shame which accompany sin. There will then be no marred visage nor bleeding brow. He will have reassumed his ancient glory. It will be his glorious appearing.

20. When our Lord comes to the full in his glory there will remain no sin upon his people. He will present his bride to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing. The day of his appearing will be the unveiling of a perfect body as well as a perfect Head. Then the righteous shall shine out as the sun when their Lord’s countenance is as the sun shining in its strength. Just as he will be “without sin,” so they will be “without sin.” Oh, what a glorious appearing is this! A true appearing, and yet the very opposite of the first. Then the text adds: “He shall appear without sin to salvation.” What does that mean? It means that he will then display the perfect salvation of all those who put their trust in him. He will come to celebrate the great victory of mercy over sin. At his coming he will set his foot upon the dragon’s head, and bruise Satan under our feet. He will come to have all his enemies put under his feet. Today we fight, and he fights in us; we groan and he groans in us, for the dread conflict is raging. When he comes again the battle will be ended: he shall divide the spoil of vanquished evil and celebrate the victory of righteousness.

21. But the resurrection is the salvation principally intended here. Alas, what evil sin has done! How many of our best beloved lie rotting beneath the clay! The worms are feeding on those whose voices were the music of our lives. The scythe of death has cut them down like grass; they lie together in rows in that cemetery. Who slew all these? The sting of death is sin. But when our Lord comes, who is the resurrection and the life, from beds of dust and silent clay our dead men shall rise; they shall leap up into immortality. “Your brother shall rise again.” Your children shall come again from the land of their captivity. Not a bone, nor a piece of a bone, of a saint shall be left as a trophy in the hand of the enemy. When our Lord brought out Peter from the prison, he did not let him leave his old sandals behind him, but the angel said, “Gird yourself, and bind on your sandals, and follow me”; and when the Lord Jesus shall come and open wide the door of the sepulchre, he will tell us to come out in the entirety of our nature, and leave nothing behind. Salvation shall mean to us the perfection of our manhood in the likeness of our Lord. No aching heads and weary brows then; but we shall be raised in power. Our vile body shall be changed, and made like his glorious body. Though sown in corruption, our body shall be raised in incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. What a glorious prospect lies before us in connection with the day of his appearing a second time to salvation!

22. Now notice that this appearing and this salvation will chiefly belong to those who look for him. Will you bear with me patiently for a minute or two here? I wonder how many there are in the Tabernacle who are looking for him. The text says, “To those who look for him he shall appear a second time without sin to salvation.” Beloved, I will ask the question again: How many here are looking for our Lord’s second coming? I am afraid if conscience has her perfect work many will have to say, “I am afraid I am not among the number.” I will tell you what it is to look for that second appearing. It is to love the Lord Jesus, to love him so that you long for him as a bride longs for her husband. Why are his chariots so long in coming? Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Strong love hates separation, it pines for union. It cries, “Come, Lord! Come, Lord!” Longing follows on the heels of loving. To look for his coming is to prepare for him. If I were asked to visit you tomorrow evening, I am sure you would make some preparations for my call — even for one so commonplace as myself. You would prepare, because you would welcome me. If you expected the Queen to call, how excited you would be! What preparation good housewives would make for a royal visitor! When we expect our Lord to come, we shall be concerned to have everything ready for him. I sometimes see the great gates open in front of the larger houses in the suburbs; and it means that they are expecting company. Keep the great gates of your soul always open, expecting your Lord to come. It is idle to talk about looking for his coming if we never set our house in order, and never put ourselves in readiness for his reception. Looking for him means that you stand in a waiting attitude, as a servant who expects his master to be at the door presently. Do not say, “The Lord will not come yet, and therefore I shall make my plans irrespective of him for the next twenty or thirty years.” You may not be here in the next twenty or thirty minutes, or, if you are, your Lord may be here also. He comes; he is on the road; he started long ago, and he sent on a herald ahead of him to cry, “Behold, I come quickly.” He has been coming quickly over the mountains of division ever since; and he must be here soon. If you look for his appearing you will be found in an attitude of one who waits and watches, so that when his Lord comes he may meet him with joy. Christ is coming, I must not sin: Christ is coming, I must not be rooted to the world. Are you expecting him like this? I am afraid I shall only be speaking the truth, if I say that very few Christians are in the highest sense waiting for the appearing of the Lord. My friend Mr. Govett, in his Commentary on my text, reminds us of the story of Moses, when God told him to take seventy men up the hill with him. We read of these honoured men, that “they saw God, and ate and drank.” What a privilege! They were all the Lord’s guests. As Moses went up to God into the thick darkness, he said to them, “Stay here until we come again to you.” Moses was gone for forty days, and how many waited for him? I do not know when they began to slip down from the hill, or whether they went one by one, or in groups; but when Moses returned not a soul of them was left, except Joshua, whom Moses had taken up with him to even higher ground. The seventy had gone down among the people, and probably spread that unbelief among them which led to the making of the golden calf. No one can do so much mischief as those who have been with God, but cannot wait for the glorious appearing. You tell me that Moses was gone a long time — well nearly six weeks. Yes, and that is why many cannot wait for the Lord now, because the delay is so long: it is nearly two millennia since he went away. True, four thousand years rolled away before he came the first time, but two thousand quite wear out the watchers for his second coming. Men cannot wait, and therefore go down to the world and help to make its idols. Only here and there do we see a Joshua who will remain in his place until his leader appears.

23. As for watching, this is rarer than waiting. The fact is, even the better kind of believers who wait for his coming, as all the ten virgins did, nevertheless do not watch. Even the best kind of the waiters slumbered and slept. You are waiting, but you are sleeping! This is a mournful business. A man who is asleep cannot be said to look; and yet it is “to those who look for him” that the Lord comes with salvation. We must be wide awake to look. We ought to go up to the watch-tower every morning, and look toward the sunrising, to see whether he is coming. Surely our last act at night should be to look out for his star, and say, “Is he coming?” It ought to be a daily disappointment when our Lord does not come; instead of being, as I fear it is, a kind of foregone conclusion that he will not come just yet. How pleased we are if some daring fellow will tell us when he will come, for then we can get ready near the time, and need not perpetually watch! We would not go to a gipsy in a red cloak, and let her tell our own fortune; but we will let a man in a black coat tell us the fortune of our Lord. What folly! Of that day and of that hour knows no man, nor even the angels of God. This time of the advent is a secret; and purposely so, that we may always be on tiptoe of expectation, always looking out, because our Lord is surely coming; but we are not sure when he comes. “And to those who look for him he shall appear the second time without sin to salvation.” Many professing Christians forget Christ’s second coming altogether; others drop a smile when we speak about it, as though it belonged only to fanatics and dreamers. But you, beloved, I trust are not of that kind. Just as you believe really in the first coming and the one great sacrifice, so believe really in the second coming without a sin offering to the climax of your salvation. Standing between the cross and the crown, between the cloud that received him out of our sight, and the clouds with which he will come with ten thousands of his saints to judge the quick and the dead, let us live as men who are not of this world, strangers in this age which lies darkly between two bright appearings, happy beings saved by a mystery accomplished, and soon to be glorified by another mystery which is hastening on. Let us, like her in the Revelation, have the moon under our feet, keeping all sublunary things in their proper place. May we even now be made to sit together with Christ in the heavenlies!

24. Now all this must be strange talk for some of you. I wish it would alarm those of you who once made a profession of true religion, and have gone back to the world’s falsehood. How will you face him, you backsliders, in that day when he shall appear, and everything else shall vanish in the blaze of his light, as stars when the sun shines? What will you do when your treachery shall be made clear to your consciences by his appearing? What will you do, who have sold your Master, and given up your Lord, who was and is your only hope for the putting away of your sins? Oh! please, as you love yourselves, go to him as he appears in his first coming; and then, washed in his blood, go forward to meet him in his second coming for salvation. May God bless you, and by his Son and Spirit make you ready for that great day which comes on apace!

[Portions Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Heb 9:24-10:18 Mt 25:1-13]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — Judgment” 361}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Wonders Of The Cross” 289}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — ‘Oh Lord, How Long?’ ” 356}

Jesus Christ, Second Advent
361 — Judgment <8.7.4.>
1 Lo! he comes with clouds descending,
   Once for favour’d sinners slain;
   Thousand thousand saints attending,
   Swell the triumph of his train:
   God appears on earth to reign.
2 Every eye shall now behold him,
   Robed in dreadful majesty;
   Those who set at nought and sold him,
   Pierced and nail’d him to the tree,
      Deeply wailing,
   Shall the true Messiah see.
 3 Every island, sea, and mountain,
      Heaven and earth shall flee away:
   All who hate him must, confounded,
      Hear the trump proclaim the day:
         Come to judgment!
      Come to judgment, come away!
4 Now redemption, long expected,
   See in solemn pomp appear!
   All his saints, by man rejected,
   Now shall meet him in the air
   See the day of God appear.
5 Answer thine own bride and Spirit,
   Hasten, Lord, the general doom;
   The new heaven and earth t’ inherit,
   Take thy pining exiles home:
      All creation
   Travails, groans, and bids thee come!
6 Yea, amen, let all adore thee,
   High on thine eternal throne!
   Saviour, take the power and glory;
   Claim the kingdom for thine own:
      Oh come quickly!
   Everlasting God, come down.
         Variation by Martin Madan, 1760;
               From John Cennick, 1752;
               Charles Wesley, 1758.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
289 — Wonders Of The Cross
1 Nature with open volume stands,
   To spread her Maker’s praise abroad;
   And every labour of his hands
   Shows something worthy of a God.
2 But in the grace that rescued man
   His brightest form of glory shines;
   Here, on the cross, ‘tis fairest drawn
   In precious blood and crimson lines.
3 Here I behold his inmost heart,
   Where grace and vengeance strangely join,
   Piercing his Son with sharpest smart,
   To make the purchased pleasures mine.
4 Oh, the sweet wonders of that cross,
   Where God the Saviour loved and died!
   Her noblest life my spirit draws
   From his dear wounds and bleeding side.
5 I would for ever speak his name,

Jesus Christ, Second Advent
356 — “Oh Lord, How Long?”
1 To Calvary, Lord, in spirit now,
   Our weary souls repair,
   To dwell upon thy dying love,
   And taste its sweetness there.
2 Sweet resting place of every heart,
   That feels the plague of sin,
   Yet knows that deep mysterious joy,
   The peace with God, within.
3 There, through thine hour of deepest woe,
   Thy suffering spirit pass’d;
   Grace there its wondrous victory gain’d,
   And love endured its last.
4 Dear suffering Lamb! thy bleeding wounds,
   With cords of love divine,
   Have drawn our willing hearts to thee,
   And linked our life with thine.
5 Thy sympathies and hopes are ours:
   Dear Lord! we wait to see
   Creation, all below, above,
   Redeem’d and blest by thee.
6 Our longing eyes would fain behold
   That bright and blessed brow,
   Once wrung with bitterest anguish, wear
   Its crown of glory now.
7 Why linger then? Come, Saviour, come,
   Responsive to our call;
   Come, claim thine ancient power, and reign
   The Heir and Lord of all.
                     Edward Denny, 1839.

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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