2259. The Simplicity And Sublimity Of Salvation

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No. 2259-38:265. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, March 6, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, June 5, 1892.

He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, he gave power to them to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in his name: Who were born, not by blood, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by God. {Joh 1:11-13}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1055, “Ingratitude of Man” 1046}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1212, “Faith and its Attendant Privilege” 1203}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2259, “Simplicity and Sublimity of Salvation” 2260}
   Exposition on Joh 1:1-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2259, “Simplicity and Sublimity of Salvation” 2260 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 1:1-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3222, “Lamb of God, The” 3223 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 1:1-37 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2329, “Lamb of God in Scripture, The” 2330 @@ "Exposition"}
   {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Joh 1:12"}
   {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Joh 1:13"}

1. Everything here is simple; everything is sublime. Here is that simple gospel, by which the most ignorant may be saved. Here are profundities, in which the best instructed may find themselves beyond their depth. Here are those everlasting hills of divine truth which man cannot climb; yet here is that plain path in which the wayfaring man, though a fool, need nor err, nor lose his way. I always feel that I have no time to spare for critical and captious {fault-finding} people. If they will not believe, neither shall they be established. They must take the consequences of their unbelief. But I can spare all day and all night for an anxious enquirer, for one who is blinded by the very blaze of the heavenly light that shines on him, and who seems to lose his way by reason of the very plainness of the road that lies before him. In this most simple text are some of the deep things of God, and there are souls here that are puzzled by what are simplicities to some of us; and my one aim shall be, so to handle this text as to help and encourage and cheer some who would gladly touch the hem of the Master’s garment, but cannot for the numerous difficulties and grave questions which rise before their minds.

2. Let us go to the text at once, and notice, first, a matter which is very simple: “As many as received him … even to those who believe in his name”; secondly, a matter which is very delightful: “he gave power to them to become the sons of God”; and thirdly, a matter which is very mysterious: “Who were born, not by blood, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by God.”

3. I. Here is, first, A MATTER WHICH IS VERY SIMPLE; receiving Christ, and believing in his name. Oh, that many here may be able to say, “Yes, I understand that simple matter. That is the way in which I found eternal life!”

4. The simple matter of which John speaks here is receiving Christ, or, in other words, believing in his name.

5. Receiving Christ is a distinctive act. “He came to his own, and his own did not receive him.” The very people you would have thought would have eagerly welcomed Christ did not do so; but here and there a man stood out from the rest, or a woman came out from her surroundings, and each of these said, “I receive Christ as the Messiah.” You will never go to heaven in a crowd. The crowd goes down the broad road to destruction; but the way which leads to eternal life is a narrow way; “and few there are who find it.” Those who go to heaven must come out one by one, and say to him who sits at the wicket-gate, “Write my name down, sir, as a pilgrim to the celestial city.” Those who would enter into life must fight as well as run, for it is an uphill fight all the way, and there are few who fight it out to the end, and win the crown of the victors.

6. Those who received Christ were different from those who did not receive him; they were as different as white is from black, or light from darkness. They took a distinct step, separated themselves from others, and came out and received him whom others would not receive. Have you taken such a step, dear friend? Can you say, “Yes, let others do as they wish, as for me, Christ is all my salvation, and all my desire; and at all costs I am quite content to be thought eccentric, and to stand alone; I have lifted my hand to heaven, and I cannot draw back. Whatever others may do, I say, ‘Christ for me’?”

7. Just as it was a distinctive act, so it was a personal one: “To as many as received him.” Each one of them had to receive Christ by his own act and deed. “Even to those who believe in his name.” Believing is the distinct act of a person. I cannot believe for you any more than you can believe for me; that is clearly impossible. There can be no such thing as sponsorship in receiving Christ, or in faith. If you are an unbeliever, your father and mother may be the most eminent saints, but their faith does not overlap and cover your unbelief. You must believe for yourself. I have had to even remind some that the Holy Spirit himself cannot believe for them. He works faith in you; but you have to believe. The faith must be your own distinct mental act. Faith is the gift of God; but God does not believe for us; how could he? It is for you distinctly to believe. Come, dear hearer, have you been trying to put up with a national faith? A national faith is a mere sham. Or have you tried to think that you possess the family faith? “Oh, we are all Christians, you know!” Yes, we are all hypocrites; that is what that comes to. Unless each one is a Christian for himself, he is a Christian only in name, and that is to be a hypocrite. Oh, that we might have the certainty that each one of us has laid our sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God! May God grant that, if we have never done so before, we may do so this very moment!

8. Note, next, that, just as it was a distinctive and personal act, so it related to a Person. I find that the text runs like this, “He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, he gave power to them to become the Sons of God, even to those who believe in his name.” That religion which leaves out the person of Christ, has left out the essential point. You are not saved by believing a doctrine, though it is good for you to believe it if it is true. You are not saved by practising an ordinance, though you should practise it if you are one of those to whom it belongs. You are not saved by any belief except this, believing in Christ’s name, and receiving him. “I take in a body of divinity,” one says. Do you? There is no body of divinity that I know of except Christ, who is divinity embodied. Beware of resting on a system of theology. You must rest on him who is the true theology, the Word of God; on Christ, the Son of God in human flesh, living, bleeding, dying, risen, ascended, soon to come; you must lean on him; for the promise is only to as many as receive him.

9. This reception of Christ consisted in faith in him: “As many as received him … even to those who believe in his name.” He was a stranger, and they took him in. He was food, and they took him in, and fed on him. He was living water, and they received him, drank him up, took him into themselves. He was light, and they received the light. He was life, and they received the life, and they lived by what they received. It is a beautiful description of faith, the act of receiving. Just as the empty cup receives from the flowing fountain, so do we receive Christ into our emptiness. We, being poor, and naked, and miserable, come to him, and we receive riches, and clothing, and happiness in him. Salvation comes by receiving Christ. I know what you have been trying to do; you have been trying to give Christ something. Let me caution you against a very common expression. I hear converts continually told to give their hearts to Jesus. It is quite correct, and I hope they will do so; but your first concern must be, not what you give to Jesus, but what Jesus gives to you. You must take him from himself as a gift to you, then you will truly give your heart to him. The first act, and, indeed, the underlying act all the way along, is to receive, to imbibe, to take in Christ, and that is called believing in his name. Note that “name.” It is not believing a fanciful christ; for there are many christs nowadays, as many christs as there are books, nearly; for every writer seems to make a christ of his own; but the christ whom men make up will not save you. The only Christ who can save you is the Christ of God, that Christ who, in the synagogue at Nazareth, found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

10. You are to believe in the Christ as he is revealed in the Scriptures. You are to take him as you find him here; not as Renan, or Strauss, or anyone else, pictures him; but as you find him here. As God reveals him, you are to believe in his name: “the Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”; Emmanuel, God with us; Jesus, saving from sin; Christ anointed by the Father. You are to believe in his name, not on the Christ of Rome, nor the Christ of Canterbury, but the Christ of Jerusalem, the Christ of the eternal glory; no christ of a dreamy prophecy, with whom some are defaming the true prophetic spirit of the Word, no christ of idealism, no man-made christ; but the eternal God, incarnate in human flesh, as he is here pictured by Psalmist, Prophet, Evangelist, Apostle, very God of very God, yet truly man, suffering in your place, bearing the sin of men in his own body on the tree. It is believing in this Christ that will really save your soul. To believe is to trust. Prove that you believe in Christ by risking everything on him.

   Upon a life I did not live,
   Upon a death I did not die,
   I risk my whole eternity.

On him who lived for me, and died for me, and rose again for me, and has gone into heaven for me; on him I throw the whole weight of past, present, and future, and every interest that belongs to my soul, for time and for eternity.

11. This is a very simple matter, and I have noticed a great many sneers at this simple faith, and a great many depreciatory remarks concerning it; but, let me tell you, there is nothing like it under heaven. Possessing this faith will prove you to be a son of God; nothing short of it ever will. “To as many as received him, he gave power to them to become sons of God”; and he has given that power to no one else. This will prove you to be absolved, forgiven. “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”; but if you have no faith in Christ Jesus, the wrath of God rests on you. Because you have not believed in the Son of God, you are condemned already. One grain of this faith is worth more than a diamond the size of the world; yes, though you should thread such jewels together, as many as the stars of heaven for number, they would be worth nothing compared with the smallest atom of faith in Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God.

12. But where does this wonderful power of faith come from? Not from the faith, but from him on whom it leans. What power Christ has! The power of his manhood suffering, the power of his Godhead bowing on the cross, the power of the God-man, the Mediator, surrendering himself as the greatest sacrifice for sin; why, he who touches this, has touched the springs of omnipotence! He who comes, by faith, into contact with Christ, has come into contact with boundless love, and power, and mercy, and grace. I do not marvel at anything that faith brings when it deals with Christ. You have a little key, a little rusty key, and you say, “By the use of this key I can get all the gold that I want.” Yes, but where is the box to which you go for the gold? When you show me, and I see that it is a large room filled full of gold and silver, I can understand how your little key can enrich you when it opens the door into such a treasury. If faith is the key which unlocks the fulness of God, “for it pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell,” then I can understand why faith brings such boundless blessings to him who has it. Salvation is a very simple business. May God help us to look at it simply and practically, and to receive Christ, and believe in his name!

13. II. Now, secondly, here is A MATTER WHICH IS VERY DELIGHTFUL: “He gave power them to become sons of God.”

14. If I had a week to preach from this text, I think that I should be able to get through the first point; but at this time I can only throw out just a few hints. Look at the great and delightful blessing which comes to us by our faith in Christ. We give Christ our faith, and he gives us power to become sons of God, the authority, liberty, privilege, right, — something more than mere strength or force — to be sons of God.

15. When we believe in Jesus, he indicates to us the Great Father’s willingness to let us be his sons. We who were prodigals, far away from him, perceive that, when we receive Christ, the Father, who gave us Christ, is willing to take us to be his sons. He would not have yielded up his Only-Begotten if he had not wished to take us into his family.

16. When we believe in Jesus, he bestows on us the status of sons. We were slaves before; now we are sons. We were strangers, aliens, enemies; any and every word that means an evil thing might have been applied to us; but when we laid hold on Christ, we were regarded as the sons of God. Just as a man in Rome, when he was adopted by some great citizen, and publicly acknowledged in the forum as being henceforth that man’s son, was really regarded as such, so, as soon as we believe in Jesus, we get the status of sons. “Beloved, now we are the sons of God.”

17. Then Christ does something more for us. He gives us grace to feel our sonship. As we sang just now, —

   My faith shall “Abba, Father,” cry,
   And thou the kindred own.

God acknowledges us as his children, and we acknowledge him as our Father; and henceforth, “Our Father, who is in heaven,” is no meaningless expression, but it comes welling up from the depths of our heart.

18. Having given us grace to feel sonship, Christ gives us the nature of our Father. He gives us “power to become the sons of God.” We get more and more like God in righteousness and true holiness. By his divine Spirit, shed abroad in our hearts, we become more and more the children of our Father who is in heaven, who does good to the undeserving and the unthankful, and whose heart overflows with love even to those who do not love him.

19. When this nature of sons shall be fully developed, Christ will bestow his glory upon us. We shall be in heaven, not in the rear rank, as servants, but nearest to the eternal throne. He has never said to angels, “You are my sons”; but he has called us sons, poor creatures of the dust, who believe in Jesus; and we shall have all the honour, and joy, and privilege, and delight that belong to the princes of the blood-royal of heaven, members of the imperial house of God, in that day when the King shall reveal himself in his own palace.

20. Some of us could draw parallels, about being made sons, from our own lives. You were once a very tiny child; but you were a son then as much as you are now. So it is with you who have only just begun to believe in Christ; he has given you the authority and the right to become sons of God. Very early in our life, our father went down to the registrar’s office, and wrote our name in the roll as his sons. We do not remember that, it was so long ago; but he did it, and he also wrote our name in the family Bible, even as our Father who is in heaven has enrolled our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. You remember that, as a child, you did not go into the kitchen to dine with the servants; but you took your seat at the table. It was a very little chair in which you first sat at the table; but as you grew bigger, you always went to the table, because you were a son. The servants in the house were much bigger than you, and they could do a great many things that you could not do, and your father paid them wages. He never paid you any; they were not his sons, but you were. If they had put on your clothes, they would not have been his sons. You had privileges that they did not have. I remember that, in the parish where my home was, on a certain day in the year, the church-bell rang, and everyone went to receive a penny roll. Every child had one, and I remember having mine. I claimed it as a privilege, because I was my father’s son. I think there were six of us, who all had a roll; every child in the parish had one. So there are a number of privileges that come to us very early in our Christian life, and we intend to have them, first, because our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the right to have them; and, next, because, if we do not take what he bought for us, it will be robbing him, and wasting his substance. Since he has paid for it all, and has given us the right to have it, let us take it.

21. You were sent to school because you were a son. You did not like it; I daresay that you would rather have stayed at home to play. And you had a touch of the rod, sometimes, because you were a son. That was one of your privileges: “for what son is he whom the father does not chasten?” One day you were in the street with other boys, doing wrong, and your father came along, and punished you. He did not touch your companions, for they were not his sons. You smile at those little things, and you did not at the time consider your punishments as privileges; but they were. When the chastening of the Lord comes, call it a privilege, for that is what it is. There is no greater mercy that I know of on earth than good health unless it is sickness; and that has often been a greater mercy to me than health.

22. It is a good thing to be without a trouble; but it is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to get grace enough to bear it. I am not so much afraid of the devil when he roars, as I am when he pretends to go to sleep. I think that, often, a roaring devil keeps us awake; and the troubles of this life stir us up to go to God in prayer, and what looks bad for us turns out for our good. “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

23. III. Now I come to my last point, that is, A MATTER WHICH IS MYSTERIOUS. We are not only given the status of children, and the privilege of being called sons, but this mysterious matter is one of heavenly birth: “Who were born, not by blood, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by God.”

24. This new birth is absolutely necessary. If we are ever to be numbered among God’s children, we must be born again, born from above. We were born in sin, born children of wrath, even as others; to be God’s children, it is absolutely necessary that we should be born again.

25. The change accomplished by it is wonderfully radical. It is not a mere outside washing, nor any touching up and repairing. It is a total renovation. Born again? I cannot express to you all that the change means, it is so deep, so thorough, so complete.

26. It is also intensely mysterious. What must it be to be born again? “I cannot understand it,” one says. Nicodemus was a teacher in Israel, and he did not understand it. Does anyone understand it? Does anyone understand his first birth? What do we know about it? And this second birth; some of us have passed through it, and know that we have, and remember well the pangs of that birth, yet we cannot describe the movements of the Spirit of God, by which we were formed anew, and made new creatures in Christ Jesus, according to that word from him who sits on the throne, “Behold, I make all things new!” It is a great mystery.

27. Certainly it is entirely superhuman. We cannot contribute to it. Man cannot make himself to be born again. His first birth is not from himself, and his second birth is not one jot more so. It is a work of the Holy Spirit, a work of God. It is a new creation; it is a quickening; it is a miracle from beginning to end.

28. Here is the point to which I call your special attention, it is assuredly ours. Many of us here have been born again. We know that we have, and herein lies the evidence of it, “As many as received him, he gave power to them to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in his name, who were born, not by blood, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by God.” If you believe in Christ’s name, you are born by God. If you have received Christ into your soul, you have obtained that birth that does not come by blood, nor by the will of parents, nor by the will of man, but by God. You have passed from death to life.

29. Let no man sit down here, and cover his face, and say, “There is no hope for me. I cannot understand about this new birth.” If you will take Christ, to have and to hold, henceforth and for ever, as your sole trust and confidence, you have received what no line of ancestors could ever give you; for it is “not by blood.” You do possess what no will of the father and mother could ever give you; for it is “not by the will of the flesh.” You have what your own will could not bring you; for it is “not by the will of man.” You have what only the Giver of life can bestow; for it is “by God.” You are born again; for you have received Christ, and believed in his name. I do not urge you to look within, to try and see whether this new birth is there. Instead of looking within yourself, look to him who hangs on that cross, dying the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Fix your eyes on him, and believe in him; and when you see in yourself much that is evil, look away to him; and when doubts prevail, look to him; and when your conscience tells you of your past sins, look to him.

30. I have to go through this story almost every day of the year, and sometimes half-a-dozen times in a day. If there is a despairing soul anywhere within twenty miles, it will find me, no matter whether I am at home, or at Mentone, or in any other part of the world. It will come from any distance, broken down, despairing, half insane sometimes; and I have no medicine to prescribe except “Christ, Christ, Christ; Jesus Christ and him crucified. Look away from yourselves, and trust in him.” I go over and over and over with this, and never get one jot further, because I find that this medicine cures all soul-sicknesses, while human quackery cures no one. Christ alone is the only remedy for sin-sick souls. Receive him; believe in his name. We keep hammering away at this. I can sympathize with Luther when he said, “I have preached justification by faith so often, and I feel sometimes that you are so slow to receive it, that I could almost take the Bible, and bang it on your heads.” I am afraid that the truth would not have entered their hearts if he had done so. This is what we aim at, to get this one thought into a man, “You are lost, and therefore such a one as Christ came to save.”

31. One said to me just recently, “Oh, sir, I am the biggest sinner whoever lived!” I replied, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” “But I do not have any strength.” “While we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died.” “Oh! but,” he said, “I have been utterly ungodly.” “Christ died for the ungodly.” “But I am lost.” “Yes,” I said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” “The Son of man has come to save those who were lost.” I said to this man, “You have the brush in your hand, and at every stroke it looks as if you were quoting Scripture. You seem to be making yourself out to be the very man who Christ came to save. If you were to make yourself out to be good and excellent, I should give you this word — Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He did not die for the good, but for the bad. He gave himself for our sins; he never gave himself for our righteousness. He is a Saviour. He has not come yet as a Rewarder of the righteous; that will be in his Second Advent. Now he comes as the great Forgiver of the guilty, and the only Saviour of the lost. Will you come to him in that way?” “Oh! but,” my friend said, “I do not have anything to bring to Christ.” “No,” I said, “I know that you have not; but Christ has everything.” “Sir,” he said, “you do not know me, otherwise you would not talk to me like this”; and I said, “No, and you do not know yourself, and you are worse than you think you are, though you think that you are bad enough in all conscience; but no matter how bad you may be, Jesus Christ came on purpose to lift up from the dunghill those whom he sets among princes by his free, rich, sovereign grace.”

32. Oh, come and believe in him, poor sinner! I feel that, if I had all your souls, I would believe in Christ for their salvation; I would trust him to save a million souls if I had them, for he is mighty to save. There can be no limit to his power to forgive. There can be no limit to the merit of his precious blood. There can be no boundary to the efficacy of his plea before the throne. Only trust him, and you must be saved. May his gracious Spirit lead you to do so now, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 1:1-34}

May the Holy Spirit, who inspired these words, inspire us through them as we read them!

1. In the beginning was the Word,

The divine Logos, whom we know as the Christ of God. “In the beginning was the Word.” The first words of this gospel remind us of the first words of the Old Testament: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Even then “the Word” was; he existed before all time, even from everlasting.

1. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I do not know how the deity of Christ can be more plainly declared than in his eternal duration. He is from the beginning. In his glory he was “with God.” In his nature he “was God.”

2. The same was in the beginning with God.

As we have been singing —

   “Ere sin was born, or Satan fell”;

before there was a creation that could fall, “the same was in the beginning with God.”

3. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.

He who hung upon the cross was the Maker of all worlds. He who became an infant, for our sake, was the Infinite. How low he stooped! How high he must have been that he could stoop so low!

4. In him was life;

Essentially, Eternally.

4, 5. And the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it.

It never has done so; it never will. You may sometimes call the darkness, the ignorance of men, or the sin of men. If you like, you may call it the wisdom of men, and the righteousness of men, for that is only another form of the same darkness. “The light shines in darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

How very different is the style of this verse from those that precede it! How grand, how sublime, are the Evangelist’s words when he speaks of Jesus! How truly human he becomes, how he dips his pen in ordinary ink, when he writes: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” Yet that was a noble testimony to the herald of Christ. John the Baptist was “a man sent from God.”

7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, so that all men through him might believe.

Dear friends, if you and I know our real destiny, and are the servants of God, we are sent so that men might, through us, believe in Jesus. John was a special witness; but we ought all to be witnesses to complete the chain of testimony. Every Christian man should think that he is sent from God to bear witness to the great Light, so that, through him, men might believe.

8, 9. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which gives light to every man who comes into the world.

There was no light from John except what he reflected from his Lord. All the light comes from Jesus. Every man who comes into the world with any light borrows his light from Christ. There is no other light; there can be no other. He is the “Light of the World.”

10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world did not know him.

This is a sad verse. He was a stranger in his own house. He was unknown amid his own handiwork. Men whom he had made, made nothing of him. “The world did not know him”; did not recognise him.

11. He came to his own, and his own did not receive him.

That favoured circle, the Jewish nation, where revelation had been given, even there, there was no place for him. He must be despised and rejected even by his own nation.

12, 13. But as many as received him, he gave power to them to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in his name: who were born, not by blood, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by God.

To receive Christ, a man must be born by God. It is the simplest thing in all the world, one would think, to open the door of the heart, and let him in; but no man lets Christ into his heart until God has first made him to be born again, born from above.

14. And the Word was made flesh, and lived among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Those who saw Christ on earth were highly privileged; but it is a spiritual sight of him alone that is to be desired, and we can have that even now. How full of grace, how full of truth, he is to all those who are privileged to behold him!

15, 16. John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, “This was he of whom I spoke, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.’ ” And of his fulness we have all received and grace for grace.

I wish that we could all say that. Even out of this company, many can say it; and linking our hands with those who have gone before us, and those who are still with us in the faith, we say unitedly, “Of his fulness we have all received,” and we hope to receive from it again tonight, for it is still his fulness. There is never a trace of declining in him. It was fulness when the first sinner came to him; and it is still fulness; it will be fulness to the very end. “And grace for grace.” We get grace to reach out to another grace, each grace becoming a stepping-stone to something higher. I do not believe in our rising on the “stepping-stones of our dead selves.” They are poor stones; they all lead downwards. The stepping-stones of the living Christ lead upwards; grace for grace, grace upon grace, until grace is crowned with glory.

17. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

We know that the law came by Moses. The law has often burdened us, crushed us, convicted us, condemned us. Let us be equally clear that grace and truth come by this divine channel, “Jesus Christ.”

18. No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

We do not need to see God apart from Christ. I am perfectly satisfied to see the Eternal Light through his own chosen medium, Christ Jesus. Apart from that medium, the light might blind my eyes. “No man has seen God at any time.” Who can look on the sun? What mind can look on God? But Christ does not hide the Father; he reveals him. “The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.”

19-23. And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed and did not deny; but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he says, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? so that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say of yourself?” He said, “I am ‘The voice

Not “I am the Word,” but “I am the voice.” Christ is the essential Word; we are only the voice to make that word sound across the desert of human life.

23. Of one crying in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord,"’ as said the prophet Isaiah.”

You see, even as a voice, John was not original. That straining after originality, of which we see so much today, finds no warrant among the true servants of God. Even though John is only a voice, yet he is a voice that quotes the Scriptures: “ ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as said the prophet Isaiah.” The more of Scripture we can voice, the better. Our words, what are they? They are only air. His Word, what is it? It is “grace and truth.” May we continually be lending a voice to the great Words of God that have gone before!

24-27. And those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him, “Why do you baptize then, if you are not that Christ, nor Elijah, neither that prophet?” John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water: but there stands one among you, whom you do not know; it is he, who coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”

Ah! Dear friends, although it was a lowly expression that John used, you and I often feel that we need something that goes lower even than that. What are we worthy to do for Christ? Yet there are times when, if there is a shoe-latchet to be unloosed, we are too proud to stoop to do it. When there is something to be done that will bring no honour to us, we are too high and mighty to do it. Oh child of God, if you have ever been in that condition, be greatly ashamed of yourself! John was first in his day, the morning star of the Light of the gospel, yet even he felt that he was not worthy to do the least thing for Christ. Where shall you and I put ourselves? Paul said that he was “less than the least of all the saints.” He ran away with a title that might have been very appropriate for us. Well, we must let him have it, I suppose; and we must try to find another like it; or if we cannot find suitable words, may God help us to have the humble feeling, which is still better!

28, 29. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and says, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

John preached a sacrificial Saviour, a sin-bearing Saviour, a sin-atoning Saviour. You and I have nothing else to preach. Let each of us say —

   ’Tis all my business here below
   To cry, “Behold the Lamb!”

30, 31. This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me: for he was before me.’ And I did not know him:

Although John knew the Saviour personally, he did not know him officially. He had a sign given to him by God, by which he was to know the Messiah; and he did not officially know him until he had that sign fulfilled.

31-33. But that he should be revealed to Israel, therefore I am come baptizing with water.” And John bore record, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him. And I did not know him: but he who sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, ‘Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

John would not know by his own judgment. No doubt he was morally certain that Jesus was the Christ. He had been brought up with him; he knew his mother, he had heard of his wondrous birth; John and Jesus must have been often together; but he was not to use his own judgment in this case, but to wait for the sign from heaven; and until he witnessed it, he did not say a word about it. When he saw the Holy Spirit descend upon him, then he knew that it was even he.

34. And I saw, and bore record that this is the Son of God.”

Hear, then, the witness of John. The Christ, who came from Nazareth to be baptized by him in Jordan, he on whom the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, “This is the Son of God.” This is the sin-bearing Lamb. Oh, that you and I might fulfil John’s expectation, for he spoke so that we might believe. He, being dead, still speaks. May we believe his witness, and be assured that “This is the Son of God!”

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Deity and Incarnation — Deity And Humanity Of Our Lord” 249}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — The Solid Rock” 549}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Adoption — Adoption” 728}
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From The Pulpit To The Palm-Branch, A Memorial of C. H. Spurgeon.
Five Memorial Sermons By Dr. A. T. Pierson.

Descriptive accounts of Mr. Spurgeon’s long illness, and partial recovery; his last month at Menton, including verbatim reports of the last two addresses given by him, and the last two articles he wrote; with full particulars of the Memorial and Funeral Services at Menton, Newington, and Norwood; and lists of Churches, Societies, &c., from which expressions of sympathy were received.

Addresses by Revs. Joseph Angus, D.D.; A. T. Pierson, D.D.; Alexander Mclaren, D.D.; Canon Fleming, B.D.; Canon Palmer, M.A.; J. Monro Gibson, D.D.; Herber Evans, D.D., T. B. Stephenson, D.D.; A. G. Brown; W. Y. Fullerton; J. Manton Smith; J. W. Harrald; and F. B. Meyer, B.A.; Sir Arthur Blackwood, K.C.B.; Colonel Griffin; Messrs. George Williams, Ira D. Sankey, T. H. Olney, W. Olney, S. R. Pearce, and J. T. Dunn.

List of Illustrations. — Portrait of C. H. Spurgeon, taken at Menton, January 8th, 1892; Mr. C. H. Spurgeon and Mr. J. C. Houchin at Stambourne; Hôtel Beau Rivage, Menton; Mr. Harrald, Mr. Spurgeon’s “armour-bearer”; New Portrait of Mrs. Spurgeon; Mr. Spurgeon’s “cosy corner,” where he wrote his Commentary on Matthew; Mr. Spurgeon’s Bedroom after his removal; View of Menton; Funeral Cortege at Menton Station; Pastor James A. Spurgeon; Dr. A. T. Pierson; The Olive-casket in the Tabernacle; The Funeral Cortège entering Norwood Cemetery; Pastor A. G. Brown delivering his address at the grave.

London: Passmore & Alabaster, 4, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.

Jesus Christ, Deity and Incarnation
249 — Deity And Humanity Of Our Lord
1 Ere the blue heavens were stretch’d abroad,
   From everlasting was the Word:
   With God he was; the Word was God,
   And must divinely be adored.
2 By his own power were all things made;
   By him supported all things stand;
   He is the whole creation’s head,
   And angels fly at his command.
3 Ere sin was born, or Satan fell,
   He led the host of morning stars;
   (Thy generation who can tell,
   Or count the number of thy years?)
4 But lo! he leaved those heavenly forms,
   The Word descends and dwells in clay,
   That he may hold converse with worms,
   Dress’d in such feeble flesh as they.
5 Mortals with joy beheld his face,
   Th’ eternal Father’s only Son;
   How full of truth! how full of grace!
   When through his eyes the Godhead shone!
6 Archangels leave their high abode
   To learn new mysteries here, and tell
   The love of our descending God,
   The glories of Immanuel.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

Gospel, Received by Faith
549 — The Solid Rock
1 My hope is built on nothing less
   Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
   I dare not trust the sweetest frame;
   But wholly lean on Jesus’ name:
      On Christ the solid rock I stand,
      All other ground is sinking sand.
2 When darkness veils his lovely face,
   I rest on his unchanging grace;
   In every high and stormy gale,
   My anchor holds within the veil:
      On Christ the solid rock I stand,
      All other ground is sinking sand.
3 His oath, his covenant, and his blood,
   Support me in the sinking flood;
   When all around my soul gives way,
   He then is all my hope and stay:
      On Christ the solid rock I stand,
      All other ground is sinking sand.
4 When the last awful trump shall sound,
   On may I then in him be found,
   Dress’d in his righteousness alone,
   Faultless to stand before the throne:
      On Christ the solid rock I stand,
      All other ground is sinking sand.
                     Edward Mote, 1825, a.

The Christian, Privileges, Adoption
728 — Adoption
1 Behold what wondrous grace
      The Father hath bestow’d
   On sinners of a mortal race,
      To call them sons of God!
2 ‘Tis no surprising thing,
      That we should be unknown:
   The Jewish world knew not their King,
      God’s everlasting Son.
3 Nor doth it yet appear
      How great we must be made,
   But when we see our saviour here,
      We shall be like our Head.
4 A hope so much divine
      May trials well endure,
   May purge our souls from sense and sin,
      As Christ the Lord is pure.
5 If in my Father’s love,
      I share a filial part,
   Send down thy Spirit, like a dove.
      To rest upon my heart.
6 We would no longer lie
      Like slaves beneath the throne;
   My faith shall Abba Father cry,
      And thou the kindred own.
                        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).

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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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