2413. Despised Light Withdrawn

by Charles H. Spurgeon on February 13, 2018

No. 2413-41:229. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, May 15, 1887, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, May 19, 1895.

“While you have light, believe in the light, so that you may be the children of light.” Jesus spoke these things and departed, and hid himself from them. {Joh 12:36}

1. Our Saviour was very gentle with those who had real difficulties. He would reason with them over and over again; he would state a truth, and restate it; he would cast it into the form of a parable, or he would condense it into a sentence comparable to a proverb, or he would enlarge and expand it, for he was gentle with seeking souls as a mother is with her child. I do not believe that there is any real difficulty in the hearts of those of you who are sincerely seeking Jesus that he will despise. He will not quench the smoking flax, nor break the bruised reed; therefore, come to him with your doubts and your anxieties, believing that his tender heart so loves you, and so desires your good, that he will sit at your feet so that he may induce you to sit at his feet; he will come down to your level so that he may lift you up to his level.

2. I notice, however, that, while it is true that our gracious Master was very gentle and patient with those who had real difficulties, yet he did not always answer everyone’s objection. When the difficulty was raised for the sake of questioning and disputing, when it was mere quibbling, when the enquirers were not in earnest, and did not really wish to know the truth, he often declined to answer them. My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just for the sake of winning it. It is you and your salvation that he is seeking. So it was in the case of these Jews; when they came with new objections, saying, “Who is this Son of man?” our Lord, instead of replying to them, exhorted them to believe and walk in the light while they had it. He assumed that he was the light; he took that as a thing which had been proved, he did not go over that ground again; but he let the critics know that he claimed to be the light of life, the light by which men can come to God; and he pressed them to cease from questioning, and to begin to practise real and true dealing with him. “While you have light,” he said, “believe in the light, so that you may be the children of light.” I am not going, on this occasion, to attempt to meet any difficulties, or to answer any questions. Most of you have no difficulties about the way of salvation, and many whom I address here have finished asking questions about Christ. The point is, how to come to a practical decision. Spirit of the Living God, make this the day and this the hour when many shall believe in the great light, and shall be made the children of light once and for all!

3. I. First of all, I shall call your attention to a very solemn matter which may be described as THE THREATENED END TO A TIME OF PRIVILEGE: “while you have the light.” You have no freehold possession of it; you have the light, but the time of light will come to an end. Observe the 35th verse, “For a little while the light is with you.” You have it at present, but it will soon be gone from you. Take heed lest it is gone before you have used it, for when it has once been withdrawn, darkness will come on you, and “he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.”

4. Now what was this light of which our Lord spoke about? To the Jews, it was the light of the presence of Christ. It was a great privilege indeed for the people living in that age and in that country to have the Son of God among them bodily. John tells us that there were a number who beheld his glory, “the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”; but the vast multitude were so blinded that, with God himself in their midst in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, they did not perceive who the illustrious Stranger was. He came, and he went away again, and they did not know who it was that they had rejected, “for,” as Paul said in writing to the Corinthians, “had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” That was the light that the Jews had, and which they lost.

5. Christ has never personally come to you, dear friends, in the flesh, but the light of his gospel is still with you, and in a sense that is his presence, for Jesus is the very life of the gospel. There is also a light that comes to some men, I might even say in human form, for there are some ministers whom God especially appoints as his representatives to bless others. I cannot help looking back in history to such men as Whitfield and Wesley and their companions in that great revival period. It was a time of bright light while they were among the sons of men; they flew like flaming seraphs over this land, leaving a trail of light behind them, which banished much of the darkness in which England had been shrouded. It was a great privilege to have heard those men; and when they were gone, to a large extent, and to many people, “the light went with them.” There are still some preachers on the earth whom God blesses very greatly in the conversion of souls, men whom you cannot hear without being profited in your souls. Without exalting anyone or depreciating anyone, it is a fact that there are some preachers who do not touch your heart, and do not stir your spirit; they may be very useful to others, and useful in other directions, but they are not of service to you. On the other hand, there are those whom God blesses to your soul, and if you find anywhere, in this Tabernacle, or in any other house of prayer where Christ is preached, a voice that really moves you, it is, so to speak, a revealing of the light to you. Please do not play with it, or trifle with it, for, whoever the preacher may be, however humble the instrumentality, if it is instrumentality that is adapted to your case, it should be honoured in your conscience, and it should be highly regarded in your heart. That light may readily enough be quenched. The preacher and his hearers may be separated; he may be taken from you, or you may be taken from him. In either case, it may be a very sorrowful experience for you to have to look back on all you heard and saw in those days when there was an instrumentality exactly suited to your case, and yet you refused to be moved by it.

6. We always have with us the gospel of Jesus Christ that you can read in this Book whenever you wish; but the Holy Spirit must go with the gospel to make it the power of God to salvation. You cannot see the light that is in the Word unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to you. Some of you have been under the influence of the Holy Spirit in some measure and degree. There have been times when you have seen sin, and have stood aghast at it, when you have seen the Saviour, and have admired his blood and righteousness. There have been times when you have been strangely inclined to come away from yourself and your sin, and to come to Jesus, and be saved. You remember those powerful drawings, those inward strivings. Remember that this work of the Holy Spirit is only for a time, it does not last for ever. Those solemn words are still true, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” A day may come when the same preaching that now greatly stirs you, will have no influence over you, and when the Spirit of God himself will seem to be entirely absent both from the means of grace and from the Bible when you read it. Therefore I place before you this serious consideration, that you are at present favoured with the light, but you are only favoured with it for a certain term.

7. Do not count on always having it, for the light may be removed from you. My dear hearer, the day may come when you will have to go away from this country, and be found far off in the bush of Australia, or the backwoods of America; or you may even in this country be located where you will not be able to hear the gospel, for what you will hear will not be the gospel, and you will be obliged to confess that it is not. Therefore, while you have the light, remember that it is a favourable season for your decision for Christ. The day may come, as I said before, when the voice that has thrilled you again and again, and that wakes the echoes of your soul’s most secret chambers, shall be silent in death; the time may come when, although your minister and you yourself are still left in the same place, yet, as far as you are concerned, the Holy Spirit will be gone, and so the light will have departed from you.

8. Please take heed lest it really is so; and use the light while you have it. It may, perhaps, seem to some of you that I am raising a needless alarm; but indeed it is not so. I do not think that, for many a day, I have come to this platform to speak to you without being informed, during the day, of some one or two who have passed into eternity out of this congregation. Years ago, the majority of us, as church members, were young, and we lost comparatively few by the stroke of death; but, just as it is with the pastor, so it is with the people, we are all getting older. We have entered midlife, the great majority of us, and consequently our mortality is largely increasing; and every time we meet we may be positively certain that all of us shall never meet again here. Between this Sabbath and next Sabbath some in the ranks of our membership will have passed into heaven, and some out of our congregation will have been called to stand before God. I feel, therefore, like the guard of a train that is just ready to start. The time is up for us to be off, and the guard’s whistle has been blown, but there is someone who wants to talk to me about politics, or there is another person who wants to discuss a theological difficulty; and I feel bound to say, “Sir, the time is up, we must start at once; will you come on board, or must you be left behind? While the train is here at the platform, enter it, take your place, and journey with us to Zion, for now it is time for us to go. We cannot stay here for ever.” Time and tide wait for no man; neither will God wait for ever for men to turn to him and live; but the hour shall come when all opportunities will be past, when the gate of mercy will be finally shut. You remember how it was with the wise virgins and the bridegroom, “those who were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”

9. May God bless that word of warning! He can bless it, however feebly it may have been spoken.

10. II. Now, secondly, I take you a little further into our theme; here is AN ACT OF GRACE COMMENDED: “While you have the light, believe in the light.” This believing is the most essential act of a man’s life; therefore our Lord said, “Believe in the light.”

11. First, believe that it is the true light, believe the gospel to be from God. Many here have proved in their own experience that it is from God, and that “it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” That Jesus Christ the Son of God came into this world, and was made man, that as man he took on himself the sin of his people, and suffered for us, “the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God,” is most assuredly true; and that in his name there is salvation, that in him we have eternal life, is also equally true. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life,” even now. Believe this to be true.

12. “Well, I do believe it to be true,” one says, “but I am not saved for all that.” Then, next, I pray the Holy Spirit to help you to go a little further. Not only believe the gospel to be of God, but believe Jesus Christ himself. There is a text that is often misquoted; I have many a time heard it said, “I know in whom I have believed,” but Paul wrote, “I know whom I have believed.” He had not only believed in Christ, but he had believed Christ. I want you, dear friend, if you are sincerely seeking salvation, to believe Christ. Believe him to be what he says he is, believe that everything he says is true, believe that he himself does save, and can save, and will save you. So believe him as to hand yourself over to him, and take him to be your Saviour. In a word, as our text says, “while you have light, believe in the light.”

13. It is essential also that you should believe for yourselves. It is no use for people to try to believe the gospel for their friends or for their children. Believe it for yourselves. I notice that some unsaved people will read with great interest accounts of conversions, and even feel pleasure in hearing about this and that man being saved. My dear friend, why not believe Christ yourself? Why not take him to be your own Saviour? Remember that it is true to you that “he who believes in the Son has everlasting life.” May you be led at this moment to make it true for yourself! You stand in a banqueting hall tonight, the tables are delightfully spread with every kind of food that your hunger can crave, and every drink that is suitable to quench your thirst; you have been up and down those tables, and admired the generosity of him who furnished them so liberally; and you have rejoiced as you have seen others sit down and feast. Now I want you to do just this. There is the chair for you. What is next? Sit down at the table, and begin to feast. It is you yourself who will find the gospel true; it is your own personal participation in this feast that shall be to you your joy and your salvation. You do not want simply a Saviour; knock that little letter “a” out, and put in the blessed pronoun “my,” and say from your heart, “my Saviour.” Do not merely say, “I believe that there is pardon for sin”; take Christ to be your own Saviour, then you are pardoned, your sin is gone. All that is said in the Word of God to sinners in general is meant for each sinner in particular when he comes and takes it for himself by his own individual faith. There is a passage in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress where he says: — “These are the generals; come to particulars, man.” That is just what I want to say to you; all that you have heard, all that we have preached, may be put down as generals; but if it is to benefit you, you must come to particulars, you must personally appropriate the general truth, and say, “This is for me. This I believe. This I will take. This Saviour is mine.”

14. “Still,” one says, “suppose that I should take what was not mine.” That is a supposition which every honest man might fairly suggest; but, in this case, the gospel is so free that you may freely take it, and there will be no question about whether you had a right to it. See, there is a hungry dog! He rushes into a butcher’s shop, jumps up, steals a piece of meat, and runs off with it. It is hardly worth the butcher’s while to run after him, to take it away; but if the dog has actually eaten the meat, then I am sure that no sensible butcher will even think of taking it away from him. Now, I would advise you just to make a snatch at the gospel, and hungrily devour it by a ravenous faith; and I am sure that no one will ever take it away from you. Have you never read that promise of our Lord, “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out?” I see the Saviour standing there, and his different disciples come to him one after another, and he does not turn one of them away from him. At last, there comes a filthy beggar, leprous as snow; the white scales are on his brow, and men flee in terror from him; but he comes right up to Christ, and tries to get into his arms. Will he not push him away? No; for he says, “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out”; and he embraces this filthy, leprous beggar, and, wonder of wonders, as he presses him to his breast, the leprosy is healed, the filth is all gone, and his rags are transformed into shining clothing! Wonders of grace belong to Christ. Come along with you, then, and try him for yourselves; did he not himself say, “While you have light, believe in the light?” If you dare to believe in that light, you shall make no kind of mistake, for Jesus himself tells you to do so.

15. Very often, at the bottom of our unbelief, there lies this thought, “I am, after all, someone of importance.” It is the old story of Naaman over again. He went to the house of Elisha, we are told, “with his horses and with his chariot.” That equipage was a very important part of the real Naaman; his horses and his chariot went to show that he was a great man with his master, and he would have Elisha to know that he was a great man and honourable, albeit that he was a leper. Such a great man, when he goes to the prophet’s door, down that narrow street in the city of Samaria, must still have his horses and his chariot. The coachman thought he never would get down that lane; but Naaman said, “You must drive right up to the door. I must go with my horses and with my chariot.” The man of God was indoors, and Elisha knew how to treat the proud warrior. He did not even go out to him; but he sent a message to him, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall return again to you, and you shall be clean.” Naaman thought that Elisha would have come out to him; he said, “I thought, he will surely come out to me; the proudest man in all Syria has been glad to release the latchets of my sandals. Did I not come to the prophet’s door with my horses and my chariot? Yet he sent out a bit of a boy, or a servant girl, with a message to me. Then, besides, he tells me to wash! Does he think that I do not wash? I, a prince of Syria, need washing? And if I needed washing, must I come all the way to Jordan to wash in that paltry stream? No; there are Abana and Pharpar, back there at Damascus, the rivers of my very respectable country; may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.” Yet you know that, when he came to a proper state of mind, he did as the prophet told him; he washed seven times in Jordan, and his leprosy was cleansed. So, proud sinner, obey the gospel command, “Believe and live,” and you, too, shall be made whole.

16. III. I want you now to advance another step. I have almost anticipated this third point: “While you have light, believe in the light, so that you may be the children of light.” Here is, A RESULT OF FAITH MENTIONED.

17. Those who believe in Christ receive a change of nature. They were born heirs of wrath, but by grace they become children of light. “You were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord,” as soon as you have believed in Jesus Christ. This new birth, this regeneration, is a great puzzle to many poor sinners. One asks, “How can I make myself a new creature in Christ?” Of course, you can do nothing of the kind. This is a miracle; it is as much a work of God to make us children of light as it was to make light at the first. Only God can work this miracle; but notice this, there never was a soul yet that truly believed in Christ, but at the same time it underwent the change called the new birth or regeneration. Christians have often been asked about which is first, faith or regeneration, belief in Christ or being born again. I will tell you when you will answer this question for me, — When a wheel moves, which spoke moves first? “Oh, they all start together!” you say. So these other things all start together, whether it is the hub of the wheel, which is regeneration, or the spokes of the wheel, which are faith, and repentance, and hope, and love, and so on; when the wheel moves, it all moves at once.

18. If you believe in Jesus Christ and him crucified, in the moment that you believe, this great change of nature is accomplished in you; for faith has in itself an exceptional transforming power. It is a fact in everyday experience that, when a man comes to believe in his master, he becomes at once a better servant. A person whom I disliked, because I suspected him, becomes at once pleasing to me as soon as I trust him. So, faith towards God in itself produces a total change of mind in the man who has it.

19. But, besides that, there goes with faith a divine energy which changes the heart of man. I have heard of an old sinner, who had been in prison many a day, growing grey in his iniquity, who took a little child up in his arms, and, as he put his hand on the boy’s curly head, he said, “There would be some hope for me if I could become like this little child.” Now, that is exactly what God can do for you. If you believe in Jesus Christ, you shall receive a new and childlike nature. There shall be created in you something better than what is called the primitive innocence of infancy; it shall be a really pure and holy life that shall be given to you, and you shall become a new creature in Christ Jesus.

20. Is this not very wonderful? The text says, “Believe in the light, so that you may be the children of light.” The children of light — what a wonderful picture that might be if I were an artist, and could exercise the power of word-painting which some have! “The children of light.” Why, in the morning, when the sun first shines, those myriads of dewdrops, all brighter than diamonds of the first water, — these are the children of light! And those innumerable flowers that open their cups, and sweeten the air with their dainty perfume, — these are the children of light! And those birds that have been slumbering away there, during the night, in their hidden corners in the grove, come out, and begin at once their charming minstrelsy, for they are the children of the light! I cannot tell you how many and how bright these things are in nature which are the children of light; but God can make us by his grace to be like these things, only far better, children of light spiritually.

21. What are the children of light spiritually? Well, I have met some of them, and it has been a great joy to know them, for these children of light have a great delight in truth. They are not afraid of it, they love to dive into it. As children of light they like to know, they wish to know, even the deep things of God. They do not shut their eyes to the truth about eternity. They do not refuse to search their own hearts. They are children of light, and they desire the light to shine. They come to the light, so that their hearts, their thoughts, and their works may be revealed. They delight to know the truth; error and falsehood are loathsome to them, but what is true is charming to their judgment.

22. “Children of light.” They are those who move in a world of knowledge. They have come to know what others do not know. For them, the world is filled with invisible beings; for them, eternal things are no dreams, but they have become realities. Their eyes have been opened to a light that shines not from the sun; and they move in an atmosphere in which they see things, which the telescope cannot reveal. They are children of light, who have come into a world of perception and discoveries to which others are strangers.

23. “Children of light.” I will tell you again how you may know them. They practise truth. They speak the truth. It is said that an ambassador is a gentleman who is sent abroad to lie for the good of his country. I suppose that common saying is so nearly true that we need not correct it; and a politician is often a gentleman who has learned the art of concealing his thoughts, or who expresses opinions which he trusts will be in accordance with those of his constituency! A child of God is a man who says what he believes, let the world believe it or not. He does not understand “policy.” He is no mariner who trims his sail to every shifting wind, but believing in the difference between right and wrong, he chooses the right, and keeps clear of the wrong, for he is a child of light. He has made up his mind to follow the right, and the true, and the good, and the gracious, at all costs. Now, that is what faith in Christ will do for you. It will make you, by the good Spirit of God, to be a child of light.

24. A child of light, further, is one who exhibits the mind and character of God. He is not an earthworm, hiding himself away in the ground; he is not a rat, which loves to be behind the wainscotting except at night-time; he is a child of light. He wears his heart on his sleeve where crows may peck at it, and they will do so; but that will not affect him. It is not for him to conceal anything; what does he have to conceal? He lives in the sight of the eternal God: and as for how he appears in the sight of men, what is that to him? Such a one condemns me; but God acquits me, so let the other condemn if he wishes, what does it matter to me? Such a man acquits and applauds me; but if God condemns me, the acquittal of man is less than nothing and vanity. A child of light should be very bold for his Lord. You remember that the times were horribly dark in the days when Farel lived in Switzerland, and young John Calvin had written his weighty, volumes of treatises called the Institutes. They were the product of his early days, and he wrote in a flowing style, either in French or Latin, and he thought, if he wrote books, and sent them out, he would have done his part towards the Reformation; but Farel found this young writer, and said to him, “You must take up the work of the Reformers, and carry it on by preaching the truth.” Calvin replied, “I am a bookish man, I do not have the courage and the strength to stand up in the front of the battle; that is for men like Martin Luther. I am a studious person, and not so much a man of action.” Farel reasoned with him, and said, “You must come out, and take the lead in this Reformation fight”; and he asked him, “Are you afraid of losing your life?” Calvin protested that he had no such fear, he would willingly lay down his life for Jesus Christ if that were necessary, but he shrank from the “tumult of controversy.” Then Farel pronounced on him a curse so terrible, if he did not immediately come and take his proper place, that John Calvin had to yield, and he never doubted afterwards, but was always in the forefront, and always the bravest of the brave. I have often admired the noble veteran, Farel, who could not tolerate that this young man, with so much in him, should simply hold the pen, and stay in the background, but threatened that the Lord would follow him with all the vials of his vengeance if he did not take his place at the post of duty. I should like now, if I could, to put my hand on the shoulder of some young brother, and call on him to come out to serve his Lord. I feel myself tonight like an Elijah to you; and I charge you, Elisha, leave the cattle, and pursue this prophetic ministry. God calls you to it, and woe be to you if you recoil from it!

25. Again, a child of light is one who, by God’s grace, is bright, happy, restful, full of joy, life, fruitfulness. These are the children of light; and if we believe in Christ, who is the light, and take him for ourselves with all our hearts, then we shall be the children of light. I do pray that some of you may become the children of light even tonight. Oh God, work miracles of mercy in this house! Jehovah, you true God, when you answer by fire, then you are known to be God, and the priests of Baal flee away. If you will convert men by your own omnipotent grace, they will worship and adore you. If you will not do this, what can our voice do? Pray, oh you people of God, that he may bring those who have the light to believe in the light, and to become the children of light! These people to whom Christ spoke were bigoted persecuting Jews, yet he said even to them, “Believe in the light, so that you may be the children of light.” Whoever may be in my congregation tonight, — and doubtless there is a mixed medley here, — there is no one within these walls whom the power of divine grace cannot at this moment save. Our Lord Jesus Christ is as able to save the most abandoned as the most moral, and to bring to himself the most sceptical as well as the most credulous. May that miracle be performed in our midst by his great grace!

26. IV. My last point is, A GRIEVOUS CLOSE TO A SERMON.

27. Christ himself was the preacher on this occasion; do you therefore infer that these people believed? Let me read to you what happened when the sermon was over. They gathered around that extempore pulpit from which Jesus had addressed them; but, suddenly, they could scarcely tell how, he was gone! They said to each other, “Where is he?” According to the latter part of our text, this happened at the close of Christ’s sermon: “Jesus spoke these things, and departed, and hid himself from them.” So, although he had preached as never man preached, though his very soul had run over at his lips in a mighty cascade of love, yet his hearers were not converted, but the Divine Preacher had to go and hide himself from their malicious violence. The preacher on this occasion will not have to do that. No one will seek his life, or try to injure him; but it is a sad reflection that the same result may follow as followed from Christ’s own preaching. Men may go their way with their eyes blinded, and the question of Isaiah may have to be repeated again and again, “Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”

28. Do you blame Jesus because these people rejected his testimony? Do you blame Jesus because he had to escape from their violence? No, no no; a thousand times, no; and “in that day,” in that last dread day of judgment, I trust that you will exonerate me from all blame if you are lost, for I have earnestly exhorted you to believe in Jesus, and in Jesus only. There is salvation to be had in him; will you have it, or will you not? I would gladly grip your hand, to detain you, as that “ancient mariner,” {a} of whom Coleridge tells us in his weird poem, transfixed with his glittering eye the wedding guest, and held him when he wanted to be gone, and please remember that tonight may be the turning-point, the deciding hour, of your eternal destiny. The scales, I see, are quivering; which way shall they turn? Oh you blessed Christ, throw your cross into the balance, and turn it tonight for the salvation of each one before you; and to your name shall be praise for ever and ever! Amen.

{a} The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge written in 1797-1798. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rime_of_the_Ancient_Mariner"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 12:20-50}

20-24. And there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast: therefore the same came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” Philip comes and tells Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone but if it dies, it produces much fruit.’

I think that our Saviour looked on these Greeks as a kind of vanguard of the great army of Gentiles who would come to him as the result of his death; but he fixed his eye on the cause rather than the result, and so he began to talk about his death, and how it was that it would work such glorious results. If you want a grain of wheat to grow, you must put it into the ground; it must be reduced into its primary particles, — for that is what “to die” means, — and then it must spring up again with newness of life, or else it can never be multiplied. It was so with the Lord Jesus himself; it is still so with us, it is in proportion as we ourselves shall be prepared to die that we shall be prepared to give life to others.

25. He who loves his life shall lose it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.

To hoard your energies will be really to destroy them, like hoarded wheat which in the end becomes useless; but to give up your energies, to expend your life-forces, this is to sow the wheat, and this is the way to ensure the harvest.

26. If any man serves me, let him follow me;

Do not let him invent some new method of service: “Let him follow me.” If you would do Christ a service, it cannot be by will-worship, or by any way of your own devising: “If any man serves me, let him follow me.”

26. And where I am, there my servant shall also be:

“He shall be with me in tribulation; he shall be with me in humiliation; but he shall ultimately be with me in triumph and in glory.”

26. If any man serves me, my Father will honour him.

Those servants of Christ who follow at their Master’s heel, and do his bidding at all times, are the true knights of the King who win the honours that God alone can give.

27. Now my soul is troubled; and what shall I say ‘Father, save me from this hour’: but for this reason I came to this hour.

Often, my brethren, we should be checked in prayer if we would be as wise as our Lord. “What shall I say? Shall I ask to be delivered from sickness? Shall I ask that I may not endure the troubles which are the common lot of men? Shall I pray to be screened from persecution?” You see, I am rendering our Lord’s question into our language, bringing it down from the lofty height of his divine thought to the level of our poor humanity. We must often pause before we pray, and say with our Lord, “For this reason I came to this hour. Have I not been brought here on purpose to suffer? Have I not been led to this place so that I may glorify God by submitting to all his will?” Therefore, sometimes let us check ourselves in prayer, lest we should ask what is not for our own good or for God’s glory.

The next word of the Saviour will give us liberty enough, for he went on to say, —

28. Father, glorify your name.”

When we are pleading about that glorious name of Jehovah, we may pray with vehemence and persistence: “Father, whatever I do or suffer, glorify your name.”

28, 29. Then there came a voice from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The people therefore, who stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, “An angel spoke to him.”

Ah! they did not understand the voice of God, or the reason for the voice speaking to them. If the men of the world in our Saviour’s day did not understand the Father’s voice to the Only-Begotten, do not expect that the men of the world today will understand the divine voice in your heart. They will think that you are in error, and that God has not spoken to you; it has only thundered. They will be ready to invent all kinds of stories of angels, and I do not know what, so as to get rid of the voice of God to you. But you know it; if you are God’s children, you know his voice, and you also know what he means when he speaks.

30-32. Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now the prince of this world shall be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.”

This is the sermon, which has the Greeks for a text. They are already coming, being drawn to Christ: but when he dies, when he is lifted up on the cross, instead of losing his attractive power, he will have greater drawing force than ever: “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.”

33, 34. This he said, indicating what death he should die. The people answered him,

As they were always doing, capaciously answering; not answering to him with sentiments that responded to his, but replying against him with their objections.

34-41. “We have heard out of the law that Christ remains for ever: and why do you say, ‘The Son of man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of man?” Then Jesus said to them, “For a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness comes on you: for he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have light, believe in the light, so that you may be the children of light.” Jesus spoke these things and departed, and hid himself from them. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they did not believe on him: so that the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; so that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” Isaiah said these things, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him.

It is an awful thing to resist the Spirit of God, for if his softening influences are withdrawn, the heart grows hard; if his enlightening influences are taken away, the eyes of the understanding are darkened. I believe there are many who have trifled with conscience for so long and violated the best instincts of their nature that they are given up as those who are past hope. I pray God that it may not be so with any here; but it was so with many in the generation among whom Christ laboured.

42. Nevertheless also among the chief rulers many believed in him;

Christ has his secret followers in the darkest days. There are men who believe in him even when the current of infidelity runs most strongly.

42, 43. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

For which they deserved great censure. Yet some of them cast away their cowardice at the last, for Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were among those who confessed their love for the crucified Christ.

44-49. Jesus cried and said, “He who believes in me, does not believe in me, but in him who sent me. And he who sees me sees him who sent me. I am come as a light into the world, so that whoever believes in me should not remain in darkness. And if any man hears my word, and does not believe, I do not judge him: for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has one who judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

Christ did not pride himself on being a great original thinker. He took his word from his Father’s mouth; and the preacher of the gospel is to be no inventor of new thoughts. The “thoughtful” man of whom we hear so much is just a man who is rebellious against God. The Lord’s true servant is to repeat God’s thoughts, not his own, to borrow from the Scriptures, to borrow from the teaching of the Holy Spirit, even as the Lord Jesus Christ did.

50. And I know that his commandment is everlasting life: therefore whatever I speak, even as the Father said to me, so I speak.”

So if the great Head of the Church was only a messenger, the deliverer of a message from the Father, should not we, who at our best are such poor ministers of Christ, take heed to it that we also can say, “Even as the Father said to me, so I speak?” May God grant it! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Sheltering At The Cross” 611}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Supplicating” 587}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — ‘Come To The Ark’ ” 501}

The Christian, Contrite Cries
611 — Sheltering At The Cross
1 Redeemer, whither should I flee
   Or how escape the wrath to come?
   The weary sinner flies to thee
   For shelter from impending doom;
   Smile on me, dearest Lord, and show
   Thyself the friend of sinners now.
2 Beneath the shadow of thy cross
   My heavy laden soul finds rest;
   Let me esteem the world as dross,
   So I may be of thee possess’d!
   I borrow every joy from thee,
   For thou art life and light to me.
3 Chose to my Saviour’s bloody tree
   My soul untired shall ever cleave;
   Both scourged and crucified with thee,
   With Christ resolved to die and live:
   My prayer, my great ambition this,
   Living and dying to be his.
4 Oh nail me to the sacred wood,
   There tie me with thy Spirit’s chain;
   There seal me with thy fastening blood,
   Nor ever let me loose again:
   There let me bow my suppliant knee,
   And own no other Lord but thee!
               Augustus M. Toplady, 1759.

The Christian, Contrite Cries
587 — Supplicating <8.7.>
1 Jesus, full of all compassion,
      Hear thy humble suppliant’s cry:
   Let me know thy great salvation:
      See! I languish, faint, and die.
2 Guilty, but with heart relenting,
      Overwhelm’d with helpless grief,
   Prostrate at thy feet repenting,
      Send, oh send me quick relief!
3 Whither should a wretch be flying,
      But to him who comfort gives? —
   Whither, from the dread of dying,
      But to him who ever lives?
4 While I view thee, wounded, grieving,
      Breathless on the cursed tree,
   Fain I’d feel my heart believing
      That thou suffer’dst thus for me.
5 Hear, then blessed Saviour, hear me;
      My soul cleaveth to the dust;
   Send the Comforter to cheer me;
      Lo! in thee I put my trust.
6 On the word thy blood hath sealed
      Hangs my everlasting all:
   Let thy arm be now revealed;
      Stay, oh stay me, lest I fall!
7 In the world of endless ruin,
      Let it never, Lord, be said,
   “Here’s a soul that perish’d suing
      For the boasted Saviour’s aid!”
8 Saved — the deed shall spread new glory
      Through the shining realms above!
   Angels sing the pleasing story,
      All enraptured with thy love!
                     Daniel Turner, 1787.

Gospel, Invitations
501 — “Come To The Ark”
1 Come to the ark, come to the ark,
      To Jesus come away:
   The pestilence walks forth by night,
      The arrow flies by day.
2 Come to the ark: the waters rise,
      The seas their billows rear;
   While darkness gathers o’er the skies,
      Behold a refuge near.
3 Come to the ark, all, all that weep
      Beneath the sense of sin:
   Without, deep calleth unto deep;
      But all is peace within.
4 Come to the ark, ere yet the flood
      Your lingering steps oppose:
   Come, for the door which open stood
      Is now about to close.
                  John Coleman’s Coll., 1846.

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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