2307. The Greatest Exhibition Of The Age

by Charles H. Spurgeon on September 18, 2017

No. 2307-39:217. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, May 5, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, May 7, 1893.

For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you show the Lord’s death until he comes. {1Co 11:26}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2307, “Greatest Exhibition of the Age, The” 2308}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2595, “What the Lord’s Supper Sees and Says” 2596}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2638, “Right Observance of the Lord’s Supper, The” 2639}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2872, “Lord’s Supper, The” 2873}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2942, “Object of the Lord’s Supper, The” 2943}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3151, “Lord’s Supper, Simple But Sublime, The” 3152}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3338, “Witness of the Lord’s Supper, The” 3340}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3501, “Feast of the Lord, The” 3503}
   Exposition on 1Co 11:17-34 Lu 22:14-24 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2638, “Right Observance of the Lord’s Supper, The” 2639 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 26:17-30 1Co 11:18-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2865, “Fencing the Table” 2866 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 26:17-30 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2595, “What the Lord’s Supper Sees and Says” 2596 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 26:17-39 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2699, “Examination Before Communion” 2700 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 26:26-30 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2268, “Question for Communicants, A” 2269 @@ "Exposition"}

1. First, let me say that the Lord’s supper is nothing to us unless we partake of it as spiritual people in a spiritual way. We must understand what we are doing in coming to the communion table; the mere mechanical celebration will be vanity; it may even be a sin. To observe this ordinance properly, you must bring your mind in an awakened state, you must come with holy faith, and love, and concentrated thought. I pray that we may come like this tonight. I know how mechanical we all get. We even stand up and sing, and often we forget what we are singing while the sounds issue from our lips. We cover our eyes in prayer, but we do not always pray. There is such a thing as preaching from the mouth outward, instead of speaking from the heart; and I believe there is a kind of hearing which is dreadfully superficial, and can do the hearer no good. Now, if you come to the supper tonight, bring your hearts with you; and if your hearts are warm with love for Christ, desire to have them even fuller of love for your Lord. I remember reading of a Mr. Welch, a very devout minister of the gospel in Suffolk, who was found weeping one day; and when he was asked by a brother minister why he wept, he said it was because he could love Christ more than he did. That was a very good reason for weeping. Now, let us love our Lord much tonight; and if we cannot feel the glow of love as we wish to feel it, let us weep to think that it is so. May the Spirit of God come and put life into our communion, so that every child of God here may have real fellowship with Christ in the breaking of bread!

2. But now, let us get to our work. The Lord’s supper, dear friends, is first of all a memorial. “Do this in memory of me.” It is intended to keep alive in our own hearts, and in the minds of others, the wondrous fact that the Son of God was here among men, and laid down his life a sacrifice for sin. It is well known that a custom, a rite, a festival, has a very great historical power to keep up in the minds of men the memory of a fact; and our Lord has selected this common meal, this supper, as a method by which men should be made to know to the very end of time that he died. There can be no doubt about the death of Christ, because through long ages all history bears record that Christian men and women have met together, and have eaten bread, and have drunk wine, to keep up the memory of his sufferings and death. This is better than if there had been a statue erected, or than if a document had been written, or than if a bronze tablet had been inscribed. We are not without memorials of other kinds; especially we are not without books; but this perpetually celebrated feast, kept up without cessation, kept up in every country on the face of the earth, is one of the very best memorials that the death of Christ can have. All of you who come to the table tonight will be helping to keep alive in the memory of men the great fact that Jesus died.

3. But the Lord’s supper is more than a memorial, it is a fellowship, a communion. Those who eat this bread, spiritually understanding what they do, those who drink from this cup, entering into the real meaning of that reception of the wine, in it receive Christ spiritually into their hearts. Their heart, soul, and mind feeds on Christ himself, and on what Christ has done. We do not merely record the fact, but we enjoy the result of it. We do not merely say that Christ died; but we desire to die with him, and to live only as the result of his having died. We take part and parcel with Christ as we come to the table. We say deliberately, “Yours we are, oh Son of God, and all that we have; and you are ours, and in testimony of this we eat this bread, and we drink from this cup, to show that we are one with yourself, partners with you in this great fellowship of love.”

4. Well, now, if you want a permanent memorial, and a perpetual means of fellowship, it will be wise to have a rite or ceremony in which there shall also be a likeness to the fact that has to be remembered. This supper is therefore an exhibition, a showing, a presentation, a proclamation of the death of Christ. That you may remember that Jesus died, there is something here that bears a resemblance to his death. That you may have all the better fellowship with him in his death, here is something which is a vivid picture of that death, and which will help to bring it more clearly before your mind’s eye. That is the subject for tonight’s meditation, — this supper as a presentation, an exhibition of Christ’s death “until he comes.”

5. In speaking of this exhibition, this presentation, we will consider, first, what it shows; secondly, how it shows it; and thirdly, how long it is to show it.

6. I. Thinking of this supper, that we are about to celebrate, we will consider, first, WHAT IT SHOWS. “As often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you show the Lord’s death.”

7. Brethren, tonight, we are to show, to exhibit, to demonstrate, to present, to symbolize, to represent, to picture the death of Christ. He lived, or he could not have died; that fact is, therefore, included in our confession of faith. But the point we especially mention is this, that he died, he who was born at Bethlehem, the Son of Mary, and who lived here on earth, being also the Son of God, in due time died, he gave his life a ransom for many. Why do we record that fact? To my intense grief, I have heard it said, even among a certain class of preachers, that we dwell too much on the death of Christ. They ask why we do not talk more about his life. The death of a man, they say, is not so important, by a great many degrees, as his life. May the Lord have mercy on the miserable and ignorant men who talk in that way! But we have a reason for making so much of Christ’s death. The Lord has instituted no memorial of his life, the memorial that he has instituted is to keep before his people the perpetual memory of his death. And why is that the case?

8. I take it, because this is the very heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The doctrine that he died, “the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,” is essential to the gospel. Leave out the vicarious sacrifice to death, and you have left out the life of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are some truths which ought to be preached in due proportion with other truths; but if they are not preached, souls may be saved; but this is a truth which must be preached, and if it is left out, souls will not be saved. I should have more hope for the salvation of a man hearing a Roman Catholic priest, with all his superstition, if he preached the death of Christ, than I should of one hearing a Unitarian, {a} with all his intelligence, if he left out the doctrine of the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. “The blood is its life.” “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Because the death of Christ is the life of the gospel, therefore it is that there is an ordinance to symbolize that death “until he comes.”

9. And this is all the more so, in the next place, because this is the point where the gospel is always being assailed. You shall find, in almost every controversy, that the fight thickens around the cross. It is around the standard that the foes cluster. There the sword rings on the armour, there the loudest shout is heard, there you see the garment rolled in blood. So the cross, the cross is the standard of our Christianity. Around the atoning sacrifice the controversialists gather. They think they are aiming at other things; but the real password is, “Fight neither with small nor great, except only with the Divine Substitute for men.” If they could once get rid of the doctrine of the atoning sacrifice, they would destroy what is the greatest tower of strength to the gospel of Christ; but, thank God, they cannot get rid of the cross! We can still sing, —

    The cross it standeth fast,
    Defying every blast,
    The winds of hell have blown,
    The world its hate hath shown,
    Yet it is not o’erthrown.
             Hallelujah for the cross!
             It shall never suffer loss!

Therefore, represent the atoning sacrifice of Christ, brethren, in this ordinance, “until he comes.”

10. So well does this supper represent the death of Christ in that respect, that it has been argued by some brethren that, if a man comes to the communion table, unless he is a great liar, he has already made a confession of faith in Christ. I will not go to that length; but there is a good deal of truth in the argument. If you truly eat and drink of this supper, you must believe in the atoning sacrifice; you come here under false pretences if you are not a believer in that; for, at the institution of this supper, the Saviour said, “This is my blood of the new testament (or covenant) which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” The pardon of sin must be by the shedding of the blood of Christ; and if you reject the blood of Christ, you have rejected the true meaning of this supper, and certainly you cannot come here with a clear conscience. This supper, then, represents the great fact that Jesus died; and it is ordained to symbolize that death because it is essential to the gospel, and because it is the point which is most fiercely attacked.

11. And you will notice, brethren, according to our text, that this showing of the death of Christ is to be kept up through every age “until he comes.” It will not be needed after the coming of Christ, for reasons which we will speak of eventually; but until then it will always be needed. Shall I always have to preach the doctrine of atonement? Yes, always. Shall we always have to present Christ publicly crucified among men? Yes, always. First, because we always need to have this truth presented. You and I, who are firm believers in this glorious truth, still cannot think on it too often. I love to come every Lord’s day to the communion table; I should be very sorry to come only once a month, or, as some do, only once a year. I could not afford to come as seldom as that. I need to be reminded, forcibly reminded, of my dear Lord and Master very often. We so soon forget, and our unloving hearts so soon grow cold. How is it with you, my brethren? I know that it is so with me. I sing sometimes, —

    Gethsemane, can I forget?
       Or there thy conflict see,
    Thine agony and bloody sweat,
       And not remember thee!

But that is the point of my argument. We need to go often to Gethsemane, and there see our Lord’s agony and bloody sweat, so that we may remember him. I suppose that, until we see his face, we shall never have one communion too many, and we shall never have a thought of Christ that is superfluous. No, banish all poetic thought rather than that I should lose a thought of him. Away with the most delightful classical expression, and the most charming thoughts of philosophers, if they would push out one thought of Jesus; for thoughts of Christ are golden thoughts, and thoughts of other things, however burnished by the wit and genius of men, are only poor metal compared with thoughts of Jesus. We need this supper for ourselves, brethren, and we should partake of it often, for that is what is meant by our Lord’s words, “As often as you drink it.” We need that we should eat this bread, and drink this cup often, and show his death for our own sins.

12. But this supper is as much needed for the sake of others. We are to show Christ’s death that others may know about it, that others may be impressed by it, that others may be saved by it. I sometimes wonder, when I am talking to you on this theme, that I do not preach much better; and yet, when I have finished, I say to myself, “Well, how can there be anything better if one only tells the story truly?” That God came here in human flesh, and for our sins served, died, that he bore the vengeance due to our guilt, the punishment which our transgressions had incurred, brethren, that is poetry. It is essential poetry, even though I only put it into a child’s speech. It needs no garnishing. The face of perfect beauty must not be touched with Jezebel’s paints; and all the garnishing of eloquence that can be brought to such a fact as this is unnecessary, gaudy, and degrading. Oh, hear the story, and then, as you come to the table, remember what it is that you are doing, and say to yourself, “I am, by this action, telling a story more wonderful than all the histories of men put together. I am showing to those who look on something which angels desire to look into, which the most wonderful intelligences will, throughout all the ages, study with ever-growing wonder and delight — God Incarnate, suffering in the sinner’s place.” Demonstrate that, brethren, for it is worth the showing.

13. II. But now, secondly, having mentioned what it is that this supper shows, let me prove to you HOW IT SHOWS IT.

14. It does so, first, very instructively in the emblems themselves. We want to tell men and to tell our own hearts that Jesus died. Well, see, here is bread; notice that, not a wafer, but a piece of household bread. And here is wine in a cup; not wine and water, but the true juice of the grape, which our Lord called “the fruit of the vine.” What then? Here are bread and the fruit of the vine, separately. Bread, representing the flesh of Christ, has a million sermons in it. Shall I tell you its story? It was a grain of wheat, they threw it into the ground, they buried it beneath the clods, it lay there exposed to winter’s cold. It sprang up, and many a frost nipped it in the green blade; but there came spring weather, and summer-time, and the wheat grew and grew on until it turned into the yellow golden grain. See, they come along with a sharp sickle, and cut it down; it must feel the keen edge. After cutting it down, they take it away in sheaves. They spread it out on the barn-floor. Here are flails, which come hammering down on it, — in those olden times they used flails. Now they beat out the grain from the ear; and now, when they have all the grain separated from the straw, it must be winnowed, and the chaff must be blown away. Then they take this grain, and put it between two stones, and grind it. Woe to you, oh grain, you are ground into the finest flour! But it has not finished its history of suffering yet. When well ground, and separated from the bran, it is taken, and a woman kneads it with all her might, and makes it into dough. Nor is its suffering ended yet, for she thrusts it into the oven. Now it feels the heat of the fire; and when the loaf is taken out of the oven, it is cut, or broken, and devoured. It is a story of suffering from the beginning to the end. Now take that cup, and look into its ruddy depths. Do you see that vine over there? You expected to find it festooned on trelliswork, a lovely object; but looking at it in the winter and spring, you say to yourself, “Is that a vine? It looks like an old, dead stick left in the ground.” Yes, it has been cut down. Did you not see the pruner’s knife? How sharply he cut! “Surely,” you said, “he is killing that vine.” No, vines are made to bear much fruit by being closely cut and pruned. But now it is summer, and in the early months of autumn the vine is loaded with red grapes; and those grapes must be taken off the vine, and severed from the branch. See, they are throwing them into the wine-press, heaps on heaps; look how they are piled up! And what happens now? Men leap in on them, and with their feet they tread the grapes. The blood of the grape runs out of the wine-press, red like ruddy gore. This is the history of the wine of which you drink, and so it comes to you. And, oh, I need not tell you of your Lord, how he was thrown into the wine-press, and how he suffered even to death! These elements of bread and wine are stories to you, and emblems of suffering. You notice, too, that these emblems are separate. If I were to take the bread, and crumble it into the cup, and then pass it to you so that you might drink of that curious mixture, you would not celebrate the Lord’s death at all. It would not be possible, for it is the body with the blood separated from it that represents death. While the blood is in the veins, you have life; but when the blood is drawn away from the body, which is illustrated for you in the pure white bread and in the red juice of the grape, then you have the picture of death; and in that way you show Christ’s sufferings and death in the celebration of this supper. So far I have, I hope, made plain enough for all to understand.

15. Now notice the manner of the use of these two elements, for the manner of their use vividly shows Christ’s death. I think it is in the Church Catechism that we are taught that the word “sacrament” means “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” That definition will do for this ordinance, which is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.

16. It is very remarkable how the emblems before us appeal to our various senses. Notice, first, the Saviour took the bread and the cup. You see them; they are before you, you can see them. After he had blessed them, he said, “Take.” Did you ever see, in a very Ritualistic church, that little game played by the priest with his napkin held out under the chin of the communicant, and telling him to open his mouth, and popping the wafer in? This is not eating the Lord’s supper, for the command at the institution of the Lord’s supper was, “Take, eat.” It is essential that you take it in your hand. “Take, eat.” So there is another sense that is affected in this sacred exercise, that is, the sense of touch. Jesus took the bread, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, so that they might employ the second sense. They had seen, now they touched. “Take, eat,” said the Lord; and they held it in their hands. But never do you have the Lord’s supper without an appeal to the ear, for he said, “This is my body.” Whenever we break this bread, we say the same, “This bread is Christ’s body,” so there is an appeal to the ear. You put the bread and the wine into your mouth; there comes in your fourth sense, your taste, so that four senses are made to assist you in realizing that Christ did really die, that his death is no dream, no fiction. It is not merely a man in a book, but a living man who died, a real man who poured out his life to death for you. I have said that four senses are appealed to; but I might add the sense of smell also. There is an old proverb, “Nothing smells so sweet as bread”; and to a hungry man there is nothing so refreshing as the presence of bread which delights the sense of smell. The Lord has given us an ordinance here in which he brings our body to support our soul, and to render vivid to our mind by at least four, if not all of our five senses, this most blessed fact, that Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary and the Son of God, did really lay down his life as a sacrifice for us.

17. But now I remind you of another thing. We show the death of Christ, in the next place, by the mode of the disposal of this bread and this wine, for these elements go into our bodies. They are received into the inner man, and are digested and assimilated there, and taken up into our system, to build us up; and by this we teach that Christ, dying for us, is to be received by faith into the heart. We are to believe in that death as being for us. We are to appropriate it as our own; we are to trust in it; we are to live on it. It is to become part and parcel of our spiritual nature, and we are to be built up by it, for Christ’s death on the cross saves no one to whom Christ does not come into the heart. If you do not believe, even Christ lifted up between earth and heaven will not save you. “As many as received him, he gave power to them to become the sons of God.” But without receiving him, Christ is dead in vain so far as you are concerned. You have no part nor lot in this matter. This fact, I say, we represent by the method of the disposal of the emblems.

18. And now, carefully notice that the spirit of this ordinance also is very instructive. How does it begin? Jesus takes bread, and blesses it. In other words, he gives thanks. It is very usual to call this ordinance the Eucharist, or, the giving of thanks. That is the spirit of it; it is all through a giving of thanks. Now, notice that, there is no reason to give thanks for the death of Christ unless it was an atoning death, and an expiation for sin. I should regret, infinitely regret, that a good man should die as Jesus died unless there was a purpose to be accomplished by it worthy of that death. The end of Christ’s death was that, dying for us, by the shedding of his blood, there might be remission of sins; and for that we may well give thanks. The communion begins with thanksgiving, but how does it continue? It continues by our sitting at ease. There are some who think that, to kneel at the communion is the most reverent posture. So it is, and I do not doubt that God accepts their reverence; but it is a most unscriptural posture. There is more presumption than reverence in it, for to alter the ordinance of Christ even on the pretence of reverence is not justifiable. When our Lord first of all instituted the supper, they did not sit down as we do, but they reclined as the Orientals still do, at their ease, so much at their ease that the head of John was on the breast of Jesus. I cannot conceive anything more exactly the opposite of coming up to an altar rail, and kneeling down, than this reclining on couches with your head on your next neighbour’s bosom. The fact is, that it meant ease, it meant rest; and that is what the posture which we take up should mean. Our nearest approach to what can be tolerated in our western clime is to sit as much as you can at ease, as a person in this country does at a banquet, as near an approach as possible to the method of the Oriental at his banquet. That is how the feast goes on it began with a blessing, it proceeds with a restful posture. How does it end? After supper they sang a hymn. It was not a dirge, it was not a funeral; they celebrated the death of Christ, but not with funeral rites. They sang a hymn, it was joyful, probably part of the great Hallel of the Jewish Passover. This indicates to us, and we demonstrate it, that the death of Christ is now a joyful event; that to all of his people it is not a thing to sigh over; but that, believing in Christ, it is a thing to thank God for, to be at ease about, and to sing over; and we represent that by the manner in which we partake of this supper.

19. One thing more we represent. The people who come to the table must be, according to Christ’s rule, believers in him. They, and they only, have a right to eat this feast. Others eat and drink unworthily, and drink and eat condemnation to themselves. We do, therefore, say, albeit that there is no limit to the value of the sacrifice of Christ (that would be inconceivable), yet he had a special object in it, and he died for a special people, which people are known by their being led to believe in him, to unite with him in a distinct affiance by trusting in him. This will not avail for you all; but for all of you who believe, for so it is written, “For God so loved the world,” so much and no more, “that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” — a universality which, nevertheless, has a speciality hidden in its inner self. Believe this, or else this death is not for you. Trust Christ, or else you shall have no share in the blessings which his death has purchased. And we demonstrate that when, gathering at the table, we come as believers; but we are obliged to tell others that, if they are not believers, they must not come: they have no right to come.

20. III. My time has nearly gone, and therefore I must finish with the third point. We have seen what this supper shows, and how it shows it; now we are to consider HOW LONG IT IS TO SHOW IT.

21. I have tried, as best I could, in a very simple way, to show how this supper symbolizes and represents the death of Christ. How long are we to do it? “Until he comes.” Well, now, what does that teach us? When Jesus comes, we are to stop observing the Lord’s supper, but not until he comes.

22. It teaches us, then, that there will always be a value in Christ’s wondrous death. God would not have us commemorate a thing that is done with, a sucked orange, a mere shell out of which the seed is gone. If the death of Christ were not abundantly efficacious still, he would not have us commemorate it. But tonight we can sing, with as much meaning and force as we ever could, —

    Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
       Shall never lose its power,
    Till all the ransom’d Church of God
       Be saved to sin no more.

It is nearly two millennia since Jesus was here, and yet his blood is still powerful, his death can still take away sin. Come and try it tonight, some of you who have never believed in him; tonight, I say, at the close of this —

    Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
       The bridal of the earth and sky.

Come now, tonight, and yield yourself to the Lamb of God, and wash in his precious blood, and you shall be whiter than snow. That communion table is just now covered with a white cloth; but when it is uncovered, and you see the bread and the wine, they will say to you, “The atonement is still existing, it is still efficacious, it is still full of power.” We celebrate the ordinance because Christ’s death is still available for all who trust in it.

23. The next thing is, dear friends, that by saying that we will partake of this supper until Christ comes, we confirm our belief in the perpetuity of we ordinance until the influence of Christ’s death shall have been infallibly secured. We are now in a world where men forget; and as long as we are in such a world, we must keep this sign-post, this direction to those who want to journey to heaven. We must never take this sign-post down until there will be no need of it because Christ will have come; and when he shall have come, beloved, we shall not then forget his death. When he shall come, do not think that we shall give up the Lord’s supper because we give up thinking of him. No, we shall give it up because we shall then never give up thinking of him. He will be present with us; and he being present with us, we shall not need the help which our weakness now requires.

24. So then, in closing, I say to you that this supper is a window, a window of agate, and the outlook of this supper is the Second Coming of the Lord from heaven. This supper is also a gate of carbuncle, and through this gate we are to watch for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from the throne of his glory to this earth. The Lord shall come. As surely as we are sitting here in this house, so surely will he, before long, appear a second time on earth, “without sin, to salvation”; and we intend to keep up this feast “until he comes.”

    See, the feast of love is spread;
    Drink the wine, and break the bread:
    Sweet memorials, till the Lord
    Call us round his heavenly board.
    Some from earth, from glory some,
    Severed only “Till he come!”

25. Could you keep on feasting “until he comes,” my unsaved hearer? I think that you had better weep and mourn, repent and believe, and so get ready for his appearance. But those who are ready may just keep on feasting on him, and rejoicing in him, until he puts in his last and glorious appearance. May God help us to continue so, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

{a} Unitarian: One who affirms the unipersonality of the Godhead, especially as opposed to an orthodox Trinitarian. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 16:1-20}

This chapter contains some of the most precious words that the Lord Jesus uttered before he died on the cross.

1. “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be offended.

Or, as the 1881 English Revised Version translates it, “be made to stumble.” Christ would not have his children stumble. There is an offence of the cross, but he would not have us needlessly offended. How careful is our dear Saviour not to give us offence! We ought to be very careful not to offend him; but what condescension it is on his part that he should be careful of not offending us, or of permitting us to be offended, or made to stumble.

2. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yes, the time comes, that whoever kills you will think that he does God service.

Can you remain faithful to your Master then, when you lose your job, or your character, or men put you out of the synagogue? When you nearly lose life itself, and when they shall think they are doing God’s service by seeking to kill you, can you stand true to Christ then? The Master knew that days of bitter persecution would soon come on his followers, so he strengthened them against those evil times that were approaching.

3. And they will do these things to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

It is ignorance that makes men hate God’s people and his Son: “They have not known the Father, nor me.” Truly did Paul say, “I did it ignorantly in unbelief”; and for such persecutors there is full and free forgiveness. When they turn to the Lord, even this sin shall be forgiven them; but they will not forgive themselves for having committed it; and, like Paul, they will consider themselves the chief of sinners because they persecuted the Church of God.

4. But I have told you these things so that when the time shall come, you may remember that I told you about them.

“You will then see my foresight, my care for you, my prophetic power. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. You will not be taken by surprise.” If any of you who have recently been converted should encounter great opposition, do not be surprised; Jesus has told you to expect it; and if the fire should get seven times hotter, think it no strange thing that the fiery trial has happened to you. It has happened to others before you, and will happen to others after you; therefore be prepared for it.

4. And I did not say these things to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

“While I was with you, you could run to me, and tell me all about your trials and difficulties. If anyone was harsh with you, I could come to your help, and comfort you. You did not need to know these things before, so I did not tell you about them. You do need to know them now, and now I tell you about them.”

5. But now I go my way to him who sent me;

Christ was going to the cross, and to the grave, and afterwards to heaven.

5. And none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’

For lack of asking that question, Christ’s disciples were full of grief. Sometimes we do not ask enough questions. We ask too many questions of doubt; it would be good if we were to ask a few more questions of believing curiosity. There are some things that we ought to wish to know; and Christ encourages his people to come to him for information.

6. But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.

When a poor Christian friend is dying, you are full of sorrow because he is going away from you. Why do you not ask where he is going? If he is going home to heaven and to glory, why, then be comforted about him; you have no reason for distress on his account.

7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away.

“It is better for you that I should be absent than that I should be present.” Their Lord was their joy, their Leader, their Teacher, their Comforter. He is going away, and he tells them that his absence will be a gain to them. “It is expedient for you that I go away.”

7. For if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.

Now, it is better for us to have the Comforter than to have Christ here in bodily presence; for if Christ were here tonight, in this Tabernacle, where could we put him so each one of us would be equally near to him? I should certainly want him up here on the platform; and you, up there in the top gallery, would say, “Well, we are a long way off; why should he not come up here?” You see, if it is bodily presence that is enjoyed, some must be near, and some must be far off; but now that Christ has gone up to heaven, his Spirit is here. Where is that Spirit? On the platform, I hope, and everywhere else. Any of you who desire it may have the Holy Spirit’s presence. The Lord says, “I will put my Spirit within you.” Better than the bodily presence of Christ is the real, though spiritual, presence of the Holy Spirit.

8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

What, a Comforter reprove? Yes. The Holy Spirit never comforts until he has reproved. There must be a reproof of sin before there can be comfort in Christ. And while the Spirit comforts saints, he reproves the world.

9. Of sin, because they do not believe on me;

The greatest sin in all the world is, not believing in Jesus. Our Lord did not say, “Of sin, because of the evil of drunkenness.” That is a great sin, a cursed sin, and there are other great sins; but Christ said, “Of sin, because they do not believe in me.” That is the root sin, the foundational sin, the sin that keeps a man in his sin.

10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more;

It is God’s righteousness that takes Christ up to heaven. He has been here; he has lived a perfect life; he has died a sacrificial death; and God has shown his acceptance of him, for he has gone to his reward.

11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

When Christ came here, there was a crisis, a judgment; and sin was judged and condemned; and the prince of the world, the chief sinner in the world, received his death-blow: “the prince of this world is judged.”

12. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

See how Christ teaches us slowly, wisely, prudently. There are some things which some of you young Christians do not know; you could not bear them if you did know them. You shall know them when you can bear them. A man with a doctrine that he cannot handle is often like a child with a tough piece of meat which he cannot bite. Give the child milk, or the crumb of the loaf. Do not put crusts into his mouth until he has teeth to bite them; do not give him meat until he can digest it. See the gentle Saviour’s way of imparting instruction. He teaches us much, but not too much at a time.

13. However when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that he shall speak: and he will show you things to come.

See, my dear brethren in the ministry, how little value the Holy Spirit places on originality. We have men nowadays straining to be original. Strain the other way, for listen, “He shall not speak of himself,” — not even the Holy Spirit, — “He shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that he shall speak.” He is the Repeater of the Father’s message, not the inventor of his own. So let it be with us ministers. We are not to make up a gospel as we go along, as I have heard some say. We are not to mould it to the times in which we live, and suit it to the congregations to whom we speak. God forbid! Let this be true of every one of us, “He shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that he shall speak”

14. He shall glorify me:

The Holy Spirit does that; therefore, surely we, who are the preachers of the gospel, should strive for the same object: “He shall glorify me.” It should be our one desire to magnify and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ.

14-16. For he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you. All things that the Father has are mine: therefore I said, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it to you. A little while, and you shall not see me; and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father.”

That was a very simple statement, every Sunday School scholar understands it now; but the eleven disciples did not understand it when they heard it.

17, 18. Then some of his disciples said among themselves, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me’: and, ‘Because I go to the Father?’ ” They said therefore, “What is this that he says, ‘A little while?’ we cannot tell what he says.”

They said this “among themselves.” This was not a wise course, for what can ignorance learn from ignorance? Here were disciples questioning each other; none of them knew anything, and yet they were trying to teach each other. If they had all gone to their Master, how much more quickly would they have understood his words! Take everything to Jesus. Test everything by the Word of God. Do not believe what you hear because I say it, or because someone else says it. Go to the Word of God to learn what you need to know, and to the Spirit of God to teach you the meaning of what you read.

19, 20. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said to them, “Do you enquire among yourselves of what I said, ‘A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me?’ Truly, truly, I say to you, that you shall weep and lament,

Christ would die; he would go away and be unseen. On the cross he would depart out of this life; in the tomb he would be hidden from his disciples: “You shall weep and lament.”

20. But the world shall rejoice:

But not for long; the world’s joy at Christ’s death was soon over.

20. And you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

I think we may stop our reading at this verse, with these words to flavour our mouth all this week: “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” May God grant that it may be so with many here present, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Crucifixion To The World By the Cross” 282}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — Christ The Eternal Life” 820}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — Beauties Of Jesus” 802}

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
282 — Crucifixion To The World By the Cross
1 When I survey the wondrous cross
   On which the Prince of Glory died,
   My richest gain I count but loss,
   And pour contempt on all my pride.
2 Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
   Save in the death of Christ, my God,
   All the vain things that charm me most,
   I sacrifice them to his blood.
3 See from his head, his hands, his feet,
   Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
   Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
   Or thorns compose so rich a crown!
4 His dying crimson, like a robe,
   Spreads o’er his body on the tree,
   Then am I dead to all the globe,
   And all the globe is dead to me.
5 Were the whole realm of nature mine,
   That were a present far too small;
   Love so amazing, so divine,
   Demands my soul, my life, my all!
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
820 — Christ The Eternal Life
1 Jesus, our Kinsman and our God,
   Array’d in majesty and blood,
   Thou art our life; our souls in thee
   Possess a full felicity.
2 All our immortal hopes are laid
   In thee, our Surety and our Head;
   Thy cross, thy cradle, and thy throne,
   Are big with glories yet unknown.
3 Oh, let my soul for ever lie
   Beneath the blessings of thine eye;
   ‘Tis heaven on earth, ‘tis heaven above,
   To see thy face, and taste thy love.
                        Isaac Watts, 1734.

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
802 — Beauties Of Jesus <8.7.4.>
1 White and ruddy is my Beloved,
      All his heavenly beauties shine;
   Nature can’t produce an object,
      Nor so glorious, so divine;
         He hath wholly
      Won my soul to realms above.
2 Farewell, all ye meaner creatures,
      For in him is every store;
   Wealth, or friends, or darling beauty,
      Shall not draw me any more;
         In my Saviour,
      I have found a glorious whole.
3 Such as find thee find such sweetness
      Deep, mysterious, and unknown;
   Far above all worldly pleasures,
      If they were to meet in one;
         My Beloved,
      O’er the mountains haste away.
                  William Williams, 1772.

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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