2265. Harvest Joy

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No. 2265-38:337. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, July 6, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, July 17, 1892.

You have multiplied the nation, and increased their joy: they rejoice before you according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. {Isa 9:3}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2265, “Harvest Joy” 2266}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3058, “Joy of Harvest, The” 3059}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3315, “Joy in Harvest” 3317}
   Exposition on Isa 9:1-7 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3315, “Joy in Harvest” 3317 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Notice that I make a correction in the version from which I am reading. The Authorized Version has it, “You have multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy.” This is not consistent with the context; the 1881 English Revised Version has very properly put it, “You have multiplied the nation, you have increased their joy.” I have not any learning to display; but I think I could show it to you, if this were the proper time, how the passage came to be read with a “not,” and I could also prove to you that, in this case, the Revisers were right in making their alteration.

2. Tonight, there are about eighty-two people, who have confessed Christ before the church, and have been baptized, who are to be received into our fellowship; and we feel very grateful for this large addition to our members; and all the more so because it is no strange thing; but month by month, all year round, they continue to come, though, not in such large numbers as at this time. May God be thanked for blessing us like this! We cannot allow these occasions to pass without joying before the Lord as men rejoice when they gather in their sheaves of grain.

3. To bring out your joy, think of how we should feel if we did not have an increase in the church. I know churches, and you know churches, where very few are ever added to them. The good old people seem quite content to be very few. Their notion is that the way to heaven is very narrow, as indeed it is, and that therefore they must not expect many to find that way. I remember a church where the good old deacons used to say concerning the converts, “Summer them and winter them. Keep them out until we have tried them for a very long time.” It came to pass, after the process of “summering and wintering,” that a great many of them never came forward at all. Though they were very excellent people, they never summoned courage enough to join such a church. Did you ever hear a farmer say of his wheat, “Summer it and winter it, and then take it into the barn?” No, farmers are not such fools. But these good men were so very wise that they became otherwise; so they said, “Keep the grain out in the field; otherwise you will bring in some poppies, or some corn-flowers, and we do not want them. Keep the converts out of the church until you are sure that there are no hypocrites among them.” Well, dear friends, we are not at all of this mind. We try to use every caution, and great prudence; and our friends do not come into this church without experiencing an examination, some of them even think it to be an ordeal; yet I find that the more difficult it is to get into a church, the more people want to come into it; and whenever the barriers are lowered, and you tell people that they may come without any test concerning the state of their souls, no one cares to come. Well, we have taken pains and care, and have sought only to welcome the worthy, that is, those who are trusting in Jesus, yet we have had a great number come. But suppose that we had none. Well, I hope every Christian man and woman here would be troubled about it. I should not wonder if the question arose, “Had we not better put someone else on the platform?” That person who is now here would be the first to say, “If I am doing no good, let someone else come and try; for it would be sad and sickening business to be fishing for souls, and never catching anything.” Last winter, at Mentone, I went out in a boat, where I was assured that there were shoals of fish; and I had a line, I should think it was a hundred and fifty feet long, and after waiting hour after hour, and never feeling the fish bite, I gave up the useless occupation. I think every minister is bound to give up the spiritual fishery in any particular place if, after many days of toil, he has caught nothing for Christ. Rachel says, “Give me children, or I die.” Christ’s servant says, “Give me converts, or I die.” Indeed, we are dead as far as our ministry is concerned unless God blesses it.

4. We also feel that we ought to be glad when others are joined to the church, because we look back, with exquisite pleasure, upon our own joining it. I remember the trouble it cost me to join the church. I think I went to see the pastor some four or five days running; he was always too busy to see me, until at last I told him it did not matter, for I would go to the church meeting, and propose myself as a member; and then he, all of a sudden, found time to see me, and so I managed to get into the church, and confess my faith in Christ. Oh, dear friends, that was one of the best days’ work I ever did, when I openly declared my faith in Christ, and united myself with his people! I think many here could say the same; they remember when they united with the people of God, and publicly affirmed their faith. You do not regret it brethren, do you? I am sure you feel that it was a happy day when you could say, —

   ’Tis done! the great transaction’s done:
   I am my Lord’s, and he is mine.

By the peace of mind which has come to us from joining with the people of God after believing in Christ, we feel glad to see other young soldiers stooping to take up the cross of Christ, and following him, “outside the camp, bearing his reproach.”

5. I. Looking at our text, I notice in it, first, A WORD OF DISCRIMINATION. If you look carefully at the passage, you will soon see it: “You have multiplied the nation, and increased their joy.”

6. Observe, first, that conversion must be the Lord’s work. The only multiplication of the Church of God that is to be desired is what God sends: “You have multiplied the nation.” If we add to our churches by becoming worldly, by taking in people who have never been born again; if we add to our churches by accommodating the life of the Christian to the life of the worldling, our increase is worth nothing at all; it is a loss rather than a gain. If we add to our churches by excitement, by making appeals to the passions, rather than by explaining truth to the understanding; if we add to our churches in any way other than by the power of the Spirit of God making men new creatures in Christ Jesus, the increase is of no worth whatever. A man picked himself up from the gutter, and rolled up against Mr. Rowland Hill, one night as he went home, and he said, “Mr. Hill, I am pleased to see you, sir. I am one of your converts.” Rowland said, “I thought it was very likely you were. You are not one of God’s converts, or else you would not be drunk.” There is a great lesson in that answer. My converts are no good; Rowland Hill’s converts could get drunk; but the converts of the Spirit of God, those are really renewed in the spirit of their mind, by a supernatural operation, these are a real increase to the church of God. “You have multiplied the nation.” Pray hard that the Lord may continue to send us converts. He never sends the wrong people. However poor they may be, however illiterate, if they are converted, as they will be if the Lord sends them, they will be the very people whom we want. May God send us thousands more!

7. The text also teaches us, with a word of discrimination, that conversion must be such as the Lord describes in this chapter: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light has shone.” When God brings men to the church, they are the people who have undergone a very remarkable change. They have come out of darkness, palpable, horrible, into light, marvellous and delightful. God sends no other kind than these. If you are not changed characters, if you are not new creatures in Christ Jesus, if you cannot say, “One thing I know, whereas I was blind, now I see,” the church cannot receive you as you are, and God has not sent you. Now, who can turn us from darkness to light but God? Who can work this great miracle within the heart? Darkness of heart is very hard to move. Who but God can make the eternal light burst through the natural darkness, and turn us from the power of Satan to God?

8. Next, conversion must have a distinct relationship to Christ. Look down the chapter, just a little way, and you come to this wonderful passage: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” We want converts who know this Christ, men and women to whom he is “Wonderful,” to whom he has become the “Counsellor.” We want no additions to the church of those who cannot call him “The mighty God. The everlasting Father.” We want men and women to whom Christ has become “The Prince of Peace.” If these are added to us, the church grows greatly. If others are added, they only increase our burden; they become our weakness; in many cases they become our disgrace. Dear hearers, you know whether you are trusting Christ or not. If you are, come and confess him. If you are not, weep in secret places, and cry to God the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to you as the Wonderful, Counsellor, and the mighty God, and then, when you know him as your Saviour, come and join yourself to his people, and God will, in your case, have multiplied the nation.

9. Once more, about this discrimination, the joy must be such as God gives. The text says, “You have multiplied the nation, and increased their joy.” The joy that we ought to have tonight, the joy of any growing church, will be joy such as God gives. That is the kind of joy we desire to have. If anyone wishes to see the church grow so that we may excel other churches, that is not the joy that God gives. If we like to see converts because we are glad that our opinions should be spread, God does not give that joy. If we crave converts so that we may steal them from other people, God does not give that joy, if it is a joy. I do not think God is the lover of sheep-stealers, and there are plenty of those around. We do not desire to increase our numbers by taking Christian people away from other Christian communities. No, the joy which God gives us is clear, unselfish delight in Christ being glorified, in souls being saved, in truth being spread, and in error being baffled. May God give us a joy over those who are added to us, which shall be pure, and Christ-like, and heavenly! Oh, that he might increase such joy! I think that he has increased it.

10. Did you ever worship in a place where there were more pews than people? Did you ever go to a church or chapel where the preacher could preach upon anything except the gospel of Christ, where you might hear about anything except the precious blood of Christ? That, the minister would be sure not to mention. Then, I think I see you go grumbling down the aisle after every service, or you sit there, and look up at the pulpit, and long for what you never hear, until the Sabbath becomes more wearisome than any day of the week. Oh, dear! Few people; little to be had; very little to be given; a terrible “starvation camp,” where every man looks at his fellow, and wonders who is going to die next. Well, now, we ought to thank God that it is not so with us. Look on this company gathered here tonight. Think of the congregation we had this morning; remember the deep attention, and think in how many cases God has blessed the Word to the hearers. I never, personally, felt so weak, or felt as great a burden in preaching; yet I never had so large a blessing; there are more converts than ever. Glory be to God, this is the kind of joy that comes from him, a joy in him, in his Word, in his power, that out of weakness makes his servant strong.

11. So much by way of discrimination.

12. II. Now, secondly, notice a WORD OF DESCRIPTION, which is the main part of the text. The joy of the church in receiving converts may be compared to the joy in harvest. In all nations, the time of reaping the grain, and gathering it into the garner, has been regarded as a festival. What is the joy of harvest?

13. Well, it is a joy which we ought to expect. The farmer expects a harvest. He says, “It is so many weeks to harvest.” He sows his seed with a view to harvest. He sends out a man to clear out the weeds with a view to harvest. He has a barn, and he has a threshing machine, all with a view to harvest. Well, now, every church should be looking out for a spiritual harvest. One said to me, once, “I have preached for several years, and I believe God has blessed the word; but no one ever comes forward to tell me so.” I said to him, “Next Lord’s day, say to the people, ‘I shall be in the vestry when the sermon is finished, to see friends who have been converted.’ ” To his surprise, ten or twelve came in; and he was quite taken back; but, of course, quite delighted. He had not looked for a harvest, so of course he did not get it. You know the story I tell of my first student, Mr. Medhurst. He went out to preach on Tower Hill, Sunday after Sunday. He was not then my student; but one of the young men in the church. He came to me, and said, “I have been out preaching now for several months on Tower Hill, and I have not seen one conversion.” I said to him, rather sharply, “Do you expect God is going to bless you every time you choose to open your mouth?” He answered, “Oh! No, sir; I do not expect him to do that.” “Then,” I replied, “that is why you do not get a blessing.” We ought to expect a blessing. God has said, “My Word shall not return to me void”; and it will not. We ought to look for a harvest. He who preaches the gospel with his whole heart, ought to be surprised if he does not hear of conversions; and he ought to begin to say in his heart, “I will know the reason why,” and never stop until he has discovered it. The joy of the harvest is what we have a right to expect.

14. The joy of harvest, next, is a joy which has respect for former toil. He is bound to rejoice in a harvest who has sorrowed in ploughing, and in the sowing of the seed, and in watching his crop when it was in the ear, and when frost, and blight, and mildew, threatened to destroy it. Brothers and sisters, many of us here can rejoice with the joy of harvest, because, in those converted to Christ, we see the fruit of our soul’s travail. I thank God first, and I thank many of you next, that when I sit to see enquirers, I find that I am very generally the spiritual grandfather of those who come, rather than their father in the faith; for I find that many of you, whom God gave me in years past, are diligent in seeking the souls of others. In the case of many who join the church, their conversion is due to this sister and to that, to this brother and to that, rather than distinctly to my ministry. I am very glad to have it so. During the last two days I have spoken to two friends, both of whom said to me, “I am your spiritual grandchild.” One from America said so this morning. I asked, “How is that?” The answer was, “Mr. So-and-so, whom you brought to Christ, came out to America, and he brought me to Christ.” You who have had any part in the conversion of these eighty-two, who are to be received tonight, will rejoice; in proportion as you have sighed, and prayed, and been beaten, and foiled, and disappointed, in that very proportion you will rejoice with the joy of harvest.

15. But, next, it is a joy which has solid ground to go on. I do not know of a more joyful occasion than when young men and women, and, for that matter, old men and women, too, are brought to confess Christ, and to unite with his people. It is a very joyful thing to attend a wedding; but it is always a speculation as to how it will turn out; but when you come to see a soul yield itself to Christ, there is no speculation about that; you have a blessed certainty. Oh, I think the angels sing more sweetly than ever as they hear a man, or woman, or child say, “I trust in Jesus; I confess his name.” When we know and believe that true faith in Christ means present salvation, there is a great joy about that. I heard, the other day, of some preachers who say that there is no such thing as present salvation; and though they constantly preach, they tell the people, every now and then, that they must be saved when they come to die; but there is no such thing as being saved now. I should like to present those brethren with a little “Catechism for the Young and Ignorant,” which Mr. Cruden was accustomed to give away; for, if they are not “young,” they certainly must be “ignorant” of the first principles of the faith. You are saved, my dear hearer, if you have believed in Christ Jesus. You are saved even now. If you were not, I do not see any reason why we should rejoice over you with the joy of harvest.

16. Moreover, we believe that, if you have trusted Christ, you will be saved eternally. Angels do not rejoice prematurely over repentant sinners. They never have to say to each other, “Gabriel, Michael, you made a very terrible mistake the other day. You rejoiced in the presence of God over that man who, after all, has gone down to hell. You rang the bells too soon.” Angels do not do that. Jesus gives to his sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of his hand. Therefore, we feel that the confession of Christ is, in itself, a thing to rejoice over; and the immediate salvation that goes with it, and the eternal salvation that is included in it, warrant us in rejoicing with the joy of the harvest.

17. Moreover, this is a joy which looks to the future. Men rejoice in the harvest because they remember that, all through the winter, they will feed upon the food which they are now gathering. The poorest man in London has reason to be thankful for a good harvest; for it will help to make food cheaper. We are to enjoy in days to come what we gather in the harvest time. There are sixteen girls coming from the Orphanage to join the church, and I am rejoicing in my heart over sixteen women who will, I trust, during a long life glorify Christ; sixteen matrons in the church, who shall be Deborahs, Dorcasses, and Phoebes, or whoever else you may like to think of among holy women. The boys also who come, however young they may be, and however little they may appear in some men’s eyes, we cannot tell to what they will grow. I may be receiving tonight a Livingstone, or a Moffat, or a Williams, or a Whitfield, or a Wesley, or some other servant of God, who, in some sphere or other, will serve him very nobly.

18. Beloved, some of us will soon be gone. There are some here who are older than I am, who, in the natural course of things, will soon sleep in the cemetery. Are you not glad to see others coming forward? They will “hold the fort” when you can no longer stand upon its walls; and, on account of this hope of the future, I rejoice with the joy of harvest.

19. This is a joy which many may join; for, in the harvest, anyone who likes may rejoice. There is the proprietor of the field; he rejoices. How greatly Christ rejoices! There are labourers; they may shout as they bring home the loads; they know what that field of wheat has cost. Let us, who are working for Jesus here, have the joy of harvest. The onlookers, too, as they go by, see the harvest gathered in, will stop, and even give a shout over the hedge. If you yourself are not saved, you might be glad that other people are. Even if you yourself are not going to heaven, rejoice that others are choosing the blessed road. I invite even you to come, and share with us the joy of harvest. The gleaner, Ruth, over there says, “I have stooped many times. I have almost broken my back over the work; and I have only picked up this little handful.” I know you, sister; and I am pleased that you should bring even one to Christ. I know you, my brother; and I rejoice with you that you should bring even one child to the Saviour. Though you are only a gleaner, join heartily with us tonight in the joy of the harvest.

20. Then something happens in our harvest that cannot happen in the common harvest; for the harvested ones rejoice. Sheaves cannot sing, ears of wheat cannot lift up their voices; but in our harvest the happiest of all are those who are called by divine grace. And, while they are happy, and we are happy, and all are happy, the angels hovering over the assembly tonight will mark this the first Sabbath in July, and it shall be a red-letter day even to them, so many shall tonight, for the first time, come to the table of their Lord, and confess his name here.

21. I have a great deal more to say, but our time is nearly gone. I can only say that this is a joy which has its moderating tone. “Why!” you say, “what is that?” The farmer says, “I have gotten that load in very well; but I wonder how it will thresh out.” I often think of you who are added to the church, and I think that you are first-rate people, and that I never saw better; but I wonder how you will turn out when you get inside the church. There are members of the church whom I never hear of as doing anything for Christ; they may be working away quietly, but I am afraid that some are not. I know that there are some in this church who are no better than they should be; indeed, that is true of us all; but there are some who are not what they ought to be, concerning practical service for Christ. We get many passengers to ride in the coach, but not so many to pull it; plenty of people to eat the fruit, but not so many to plant new trees. Yet I say not even this very heavily, or with any great emphasis, for the majority of the members of this church are earnestly engaged in the service of God, for which I bless his name. Still that is the question concerning the harvest, “How will it thresh out?”

22. There is another question: How much of it will be found to be real wheat in the last great day? Ah, we may judge our very best, and examine very carefully; but there always will be the goats with the sheep, and the tares with the wheat; and that is the dash of bitterness in our cup of rejoicing. May God grant that we may not have many added to us who will deteriorate instead of growing better! How will they stand at the last great day? “Well,” one says, “I am glad that you make that remark; I have always been opposed to revivals, because they bring in so many, and many of the converts fall away.” Dear friends, do you remember Mr. Fullerton’s answer to that? I thought it was as good and as complete as it was humorous. He said that when people say that they do not like revivals because certain of the converts afterwards turn back, they are like one of his countryman, who picked up a sovereign; but when he went with it to the bank, it turned out to be a light sovereign, and he only got eighteen shillings for it. Remember, he found it, so the eighteen shillings were clear gain. Some time after, he saw another sovereign lying on the road, and he would not pick it up; “for,” he said, “I lost two shillings by the one I picked up the other day; I shall not pick you up; very likely I should only get eighteen shillings for you.” So he passed on, and left it where it was. I cannot imagine an Irishman being so unwise; certainly, no Scotchman would have been; and I think no Englishman. However, that is the style of foolishness of a man who says that at a revival, so many come in, and then so many turn out to be bad. Well, but those who remain are a clear gain, and you ought to desire to have a similar gain again and again; you will get rich through such losses, if God will continue to give them to you. However, I hope that I shall not have any light sovereigns tonight. Yet, if these converts do not turn out to be twenty shillings in the pound, but only eighteen shillings, I will have great joy to have the eighteen shillings, and God shall have all the glory.

23. I think that I will pause here, though there is another division of my discourse; and, in closing, I will ask four questions.

24. First, What do we say about those who never sow? Well, they will never reap; they will never have the joy of harvest. Am I addressing, in this great assembly, any professing Christians who never sow, never speak a word for Christ, never call at a house, and try to introduce the Saviour’s name, never seek to bring children to the Saviour, take no part in the Sunday School, or any other service for Christ? Do I address some lazy man here, spiritually alive only for himself? Oh, poor soul, I would not like to be you, because I doubt whether you can be spiritually alive at all! Surely, he who lives for himself is dead while he lives; and you will never know the joy of bringing souls to Christ; and when you get to heaven, if you ever do get there, you will never be able to say, “Here I am, Father, and the children whom you have given to me.” You will have to remain eternally alone, having brought no fruit to God in the form of converts from sin. Shake yourselves up, brothers and sisters, from sinful sloth. “Oh!” one says, “I am not my brother’s keeper.” No, I will tell you your name; it is Cain. You are your brother’s murderer; for every professing Christian, who is not his brother’s keeper, is his brother’s killer; and be sure that it is so; for you may kill by neglect quite as surely as you may kill by the bow or by the dagger.

25. Next, What do we say to those who have never reaped? Well, that depends. Perhaps you have only just begun to sow. Do not expect to reap before God’s time. “In due season you shall reap if you do not faint.” There is a set season for reaping. But, if you have been a very long time sowing, and you have never reaped, may I ask the question, “Where do you buy your seed?” If I were to sow my garden year by year, and nothing ever came up, I should change my seed supplier. Perhaps you have bad seed, my dear friend, and have not sown the gospel pure and undiluted. You have not brought it out in all its fulness. Go to the Word of God, and get “seed for the sower” of a kind that will feed your own soul, for it is “bread for the eater”; when you sow that kind of seed, it will come up.

26. Next, What shall I say to those who know the Lord, but have never confessed him. What shall I say to you? Well, I do not think that I will say what I think; but I think very seriously about people who have been converted, and yet never tell the man who was the means of saving them that it has happened. “Well,” one says, “I do not think that I shall confess Christ; the dying thief did not confess him, did he? He was not baptized.” No, but he was a dying thief, remember; and if you are not baptized, I think that you will be a living thief, for you will rob God of his glory, and you will rob his servant also of the comfort which he ought to receive. Our wages are to hear that souls are saved; and, if we do not hear of it, we are robbed of our wages. You muzzle the ox that treads out the grain, if you allow a man to toil and labour, and you get good from his services, and you give him no return by way of encouragement. Come out, you who have so far hidden away like cowards! Men or women, if you love Christ, and have never confessed him, come out immediately, and do not be ashamed to say, “I am a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb.” May the great Captain of our salvation force you to do this very speedily!

27. Once more, What do we say to those who do confess Christ, and who are going to confess him tonight? Well, we say this: “Come in, you blessed of the Lord; why do you stand outside?” Beloved, when you do come in, keep your garments unspotted from the world. Come in with a true heart, and a reverent spirit, with this prayer upon your lips, “Hold me up, and I shall be safe.” May none of you who are tonight gathered into the barn turn out to be mere weeds dried in the sun! May the Lord save you, and keep you; and may you remember that the vows of the Lord are upon you; and may you never, in any way, dishonour that great name by which you are henceforth to be named!

28. May God bless every one of this great mass of people! “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved,” for “he who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe shall be damned.” May God save all of us from that fearful doom, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 49:13-26}

13. Sing, oh heavens; and be joyful, oh earth; and break out into singing, oh mountains; for the LORD has comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

When God blesses his Church, he blesses the world through her. Hence, heaven and earth are invited to be glad in the gladness of the Church of God. Oh, that God would visit this church; indeed, he has already done so, and I feel inclined to cry out, as the text does, “Sing, oh heavens; and be joyful, oh earth; and break out into singing, oh mountains: for the LORD has comforted his people.”

14. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.”

We often judge contrary to the truth; and when God is blessing us, we dream that he has forgotten us. Oh, wicked unbelief; cruel unbelief! It robs God of glory; it robs us of comfort. It snatches the song out of our mouth, and fills our soul with groaning: “Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’ ”

15. Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you.

The child is in a condition in which he reminds the mother of himself; her nursing child, her own child. Can she forget him? It is not according to nature, —

   “Yet,” saith the Lord, “should nature change,
      And mothers monsters prove,
   Sion still dwells upon the heart
      Of everlasting love.”

What is true of God’s Church as a whole, is true of every member of it. If any of you think that God has passed over you, one of his believing children, you think what is untrue. He cannot do it. It would be contrary to his nature. As long as he is God, he must remember his people.

16. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;

How appropriately Christ can say this when he looks on the nail-prints, “I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands!” As I said, this morning, Jesus can give nothing, he can take nothing, he can do nothing, he can hold nothing, without remembering his people: “I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2153, “The Iniquity of our Holy Things” 2154 @@ "20."} How I love that verse of Toplady’s hymn that speaks of this blessed truth! —

My name from the palms of his hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impress’d on his heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace:
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven.

16, 17. Your walls are continually before me. Your children shall make haste;

There shall be many of them. Converts shall be added to the church in great numbers. They shall hurry up; they shall not be long in coming. Very often they delay too long. The promise is, “Your children shall make haste.”

17. Your destroyers and those who make you waste shall go out from you.

I wish this were carried out. If it were, many of the churches of Christ, which are plagued with false doctrines and worldly habits, which are laying them waste, would be delivered from those curses. The enemies outside the walls, however malicious they are, will never be so mischievous as the traitors inside the fortress. Save Troy from the wooden horse, and save Zion from the traitors in her midst, who seek to do her harm.

18. Lift up your eyes all around, and behold; all these gather themselves together, and come to you.

There is a great company coming. The church is going to be increased. Have faith in God. We are not going to receive them now by ones and twos; we thank God we receive them by tens and scores. They are coming by hundreds and by thousands; let us expect them. By faith, let us see them even now coming. {a}

18. “As I live,” says the LORD, “you shall surely clothe yourself with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on you, as a bride does.

What an ornament to a church her converts are! These are our jewels. We care nothing for gorgeous architecture or grand music in the worship of God. Our true building is composed of our converts; our best music is their confession of faith. May God give us more of it!

19-21. For your waste and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up shall be far away. The children whom you shall have, after you have lost the other, shall say again in your ears, ‘The place is too small for me: give me a place so that I may live in.’ Then you shall say in your heart, ‘Who has begotten these for me, since I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and moving to and fro? And who has brought these up? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?’ ”

Sometimes a church is brought very low; there are no additions, there is no unity, everything is breaking up, and going to pieces. When God visits that church, what a change is seen! Then people come flocking to it, and the church wonders where the converts came from. May the Lord make us wonder in that way! It will take a great deal to astonish us, after all these years of mercy; yet the Lord can do it. It may be he will make these latter days to be better than the former. Though we have had nearly forty years of blessing together, he may still increase it, and make us rejoice even more and more.

22. Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

We do not mind how they are brought if they only come; some in the arms, and some according to the Oriental method of putting the child on the shoulder. When God lifts up his hand, great wonders of mercy and grace are accomplished.

23. And kings shall be your nursing-fathers, and their queens your nursing-mothers:

It will take a long time before they learn that art, for kings and queens have generally been destroyers of the Church of Christ. Those will be grand days when kings shall be the nourishers of the Church, and queens her nursing-mothers.

23. They shall bow down to you with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet:

I have heard the first part of this verse quoted as an argument for the union of Church and State: “Kings shall be your nursing-fathers, and queens your nursing-mothers.” I have not the slightest objection, if they will bow down to the Church “with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of her feet.” What is proposed to us is that the Church should bow down to the State, with her face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of the feet of the State, by becoming obedient to rules and regulations made by princes and parliaments. This is not according to the mind of God, nor according to the heart of his people.

23. And you shall know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed who wait for me.

If we wait for Christ, for his coming, for the help which he brings, for the salvation that is accomplished by him, we shall not be ashamed.

24-26. Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” But thus says the LORD, “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children. And I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh; and they shall be drunk with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.”

The mighty may hold their prey with a strong hand; but there is a stronger hand that will deliver the captive. It is Jehovah, the Saviour, the Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob, who says, “I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.” Here is a divine promise for every parent to plead: “I will save your children.” May the Lord give you grace to claim that promise, even now, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Redeeming Love” 423}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Public Worship, Prayer Meetings — Joy In Heaven Over A Repenting Sinner” 1004}


{a} It is remarkable that this sermon and exposition, which were selected long ago for publication this month, should be issued just as the Tabernacle church is again having a large ingathering of converts. Those who have read the sermons regularly, have been struck with the exceptional appropriateness of several of them, either to the condition of the Tabernacle church, or the general state of the churches of our land. A notable example of this fact is described in the “personal Notes” of the Sword and the Trowel for July. Many can see the overruling hand of the Lord even in the order in which the sermons have been published.

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Jesus Christ, His Praise
423 — Redeeming Love
1 To our Redeemer’s glorious name,
      Awake the sacred song!
   Oh may his love (immortal flame!)
      Tune every heart and tongue.
2 His love, what mortal thought can reach,
      What mortal tongue display?
   Imagination’s utmost stretch
      In wonder dies away.
3 Let wonder still with love unite,
      And gratitude and joy;
   Jesus be our supreme delight,
      His praise, our blest employ.
4 Jesus who left his throne on high,
      Left the bright realms of bliss,
   And came to earth to bleed and die —
      Was ever love like this?
5 Oh may the sweet, the blissful theme,
      Fill every heart and tongue,
   Fill every heart and tongue,
      And join the sacred song.
                              Anne Steele, 1760.


Public Worship, Prayer Meetings
1004 — Joy In Heaven Over A Repenting Sinner
1 Who can describe the joys that rise
   Through all the courts of paradise,
   To see a prodigal return,
   To see an heir of glory born?
2 With joy the Father doth approve
   The fruit of his eternal love;
   The Son with joy looks down, and sees
   The purchase of his agonies.
3 The Spirit takes delight to view
   The holy soul he form’d anew;
   And saints and angels join to sing
   The growing empire of their King.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

Spurgeon Sermons

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

Terms of Use

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

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