2436. “How Good To Those Who Seek!”

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No. 2436-41:505. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, October 23, 1887, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, October 27, 1895.

The LORD is good . . . to the soul that seeks him. {La 3:25}

1. I do not know whether it has ever struck you what a grand man Jeremiah was. If you were to read the book of his prophecy through from beginning to end, and make yourself familiar with the circumstances under which the prophet spoke and wrote, I think you would come to admire him as one of the greatest men who ever lived; for he was not, like Isaiah, brightened and cheered by having a joyful message to deliver, but he had received a sorrowful burden from his Lord, and he faithfully carried it; and when the people rejected his testimony, and refused his message, he went on delivering it all the same. There was no gleam of success to gladden his ministry, yet he never flinched. No one seemed to believe in him, he was the jest and the byword of the people; but that did not matter to him at all. He was tender and affectionate, so that he cried, “Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” Yet he was as stern and unflinching as if his face had been made of adamant stone. I think him second to no man in the whole list of human beings who have ever lived. Hence, when I found some of those with whom I have been in controversy recently describing one of my protests against false doctrine and worldliness as a “Jeremiad” or a Jeremiah’s Lamentation, I said to myself, “That is the highest compliment they could pay me.” If they even call me a fool, yet nevertheless I will accept the epithet with delight. I consider it no dishonour to have to lament as Jeremiah did, and to have to bear a sorrowful testimony even as Jeremiah did; and in that great day when the Lord rewards his servants, the rewards will not be in proportion to the way in which their testimony was received, but in proportion to the fidelity with which they delivered it. If Jeremiah is rejected by men, yet, if he has delivered his Master’s message, he is not rejected by his Master; and in that great day when God the Judge of all shall bring us to account, we who have spoken out of the depths of our soul, and have had our testimony made a jest and a byword, shall receive no less honour from our Lord if we have faithfully delivered it.

2. I begin with this thought, concerning the man who uttered my text, because the people who speak somewhat sorrowfully and sadly are said to be “pessimists.” It is an ugly word, yet I have had it applied to myself; whereas other men who speak very brightly, — possibly more brightly than they ought to speak, — those who have couleur de rose for everything, are called “optimists.” Well now, when a man is in deep distress of mind, and in severe trouble of heart, if a person comes to him, and says, “Oh, my dear sir, there is really not much the matter with you! It is a very simple thing to cure, and I will soon get you through it,” you say to yourself, “That gentleman is an optimist,” and you make very large deductions from what he has to say, because you feel that he is inclined to flatter, and to put a brighter face on things than they ought to wear. But if another person comes, who is called a pessimist, one who always makes the worst of everything, — a man who writes “Jeremiads” and who utters lamentations, — if he, nevertheless, says something very bright and cheering, you say to yourself, “Now I know that what he says is true; there must be something really cheering and hopeful when such a man as that, who dares to look at the dark side of things, can still try to encourage me.” Well now, it is the prophet Jeremiah, in his Book of Lamentations, who says to you who are seeking the Lord, “The Lord is good to the soul that seeks him.” You do not need to take any discount off his words of cheer. Depend on it, what he says is true. If he of the weeping eyes, if he of the sorrowful spirit, yet nevertheless, in all the bitterness of his misery, bears testimony that the Lord is good to the soul that seeks him, then, depend on it, it is so. So we begin at an advantage. Please believe the text, because of the man who was inspired to utter it.

3. I shall try briefly and earnestly, first, to describe a seeking soul; next, to assure him that God is good to him: and then, further to cheer him on in his seeking.

4. I. First, I am to try to DESCRIBE A SEEKING SOUL.

5. Everyone does not seek the Lord. There are many who say to God, by their actions if not by their words, “Depart from us; we do not desire the knowledge of your ways.” The man who seeks the Lord is the man who feels that he needs him. He is under a sense of need, — a need which he could hardly describe, but which, nevertheless, weighs very heavily on him. He wants something very great, but he hardly knows what it is. He feels that he has a void, an emptiness within, that needs filling. There is something that he believes would satisfy him if he could get it, but he has not gotten it yet. He feels that he is not right with God, he feels like one who is far off from God. He feels guilty, and he wants a pardon. He feels sinful, and he wants renewing. He feels everything that he ought not to be, and he wants to be changed, to be made a new man. That is the one who seeks the Lord; a man does not seek after what he does not want, but a conscious and urgent need drives the troubled soul to seek after God.

6. This seeker, also, is one who, though he does not know it, has a measure of faith, for he believes, deep down in his heart, that if he could once get to God, all would be well with him. He has heard of God in Christ Jesus, and he says within himself, “Oh, if I could only find this blessed Mediator, if I could only discover this glorious Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, it would be good for me.” He has not believed so as to appropriate Christ, but he believes so much as to wish that he could appropriate him. This is the man who seeks the Lord. We do not seek for what appears to have no value in it; but, in proportion as a man has, first, a sense of his need, and secondly some idea of the value of the great blessing which he needs, he becomes an earnest seeker. I hope I am talking to some people of this kind, as I am describing their true character.

7. Further, this seeker sometimes seeks very unwisely. He goes to seek God where he will never find him, like the holy women did when they went to the sepulchre to find the risen Christ, and the angel asked them why they were seeking the living among the dead. When a soul wants God, and wants salvation, it will begin to seek the Lord by its own doings, by its own feelings, by its own strange eccentricities, perhaps. It wants God, and it must have him. You know how a starving man will break through stone walls to get at the food that he so terribly needs; and, often, a man who is seeking after God would go through stone walls, or over them, if he might only find him; yet that is not the way to seek the Lord. “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who shall ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, ‘Who shall descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)” Christ is not far off, he is very near you; and yet the seeker is unwisely seeking after God as though he were very far away, and for Christ as though he had to do some strange and wonderful thing in order to find him. Some of you think that you must have a remarkable dream, others expect an angelic vision, some are waiting to hear a very extraordinary sermon, and to feel very exceptional emotions. This is the nature of seekers, that they often seek in a very unwise way; but still, they do seek; and it is a mercy that they do seek, for “the Lord is good to the soul that seeks him.”

8. I will tell you what true seekers do when they act wisely. I notice that they often get alone. When you begin to seek the Lord, my young friend, you will steal away by yourself. Father and mother will say, “We do not quite know what has come over him, he seems so different from what he used to be. He gets up into his little room, we think he must go there to pray.” If his parents are gracious people, they begin to have great hope for him. I remember times when I was never so happy as when I could get alone. Seekers, true seekers, will find some quiet place; that is a difficult thing to find in this noisy London, yet a real seeker will make even a crowded street to be his place of retirement, or he will walk down some back alley, and be thinking, and crying, and seeking, and groaning. But in the country, how often have I known young lads to get down a saw-pit, or up a hayloft, or in the corner of a barn, or anywhere where they could only sit in quiet meditation, and try to think their way to Jesus’ feet, so that they might find him if they could. That getting alone is a good sign. When a stag is wounded, it delights to hide in the recesses of the forest, that it may bleed and die alone; and when God has shot his arrow of conviction into a human heart, one of the first signs of the wounding is that the man likes to get alone.

9. I will tell you another thing about the true seeker. You will find that he begins to bring out his Bible, that much-neglected Book. Now that he is seeking the Lord, he knows that —

    Within this sacred Volume lies,
    The mystery of mysteries.

And he begins to study his Bible as he never did before. It is a blessed sign when the young man or the young woman begins to take an interest in the Word of God, and searches the Scriptures, saying, “Lord, bless this Book to me. The Christ is here. He feeds among the lilies of your revealed truth; oh, that I might meet him, and that I might call him mine!”

10. And as, perhaps, in his study of the Scriptures he finds difficulties, you will find that this seeking young man is anxious to go and hear the Word preached; for the Word properly preached has a warmth about it, and a vividness, which are not always so obvious to the seeker in his reading of the Word. If you are true seekers, I know that you will want to go and hear a preacher who touches your conscience, who speaks to your heart, and who longs to bring you to Christ. My dear hearers, I do not mind where you go on the Sabbath day if you really hear the truth faithfully preached. As far as I am concerned, there are plenty of people here; but I wish that, on the Sabbath, and on week-nights too, you would not have any desire to go and hear a “clever” preacher, or to some fine musical service, but that you would say, “We have to care first for our immortal souls, and we long to seek and find eternal life, therefore let us go where the minister preaches Jesus Christ and him crucified, let us go where we can hear the gospel of the grace of God, for that is what we want.” You cannot afford to throw away a single hour, either in listening to human oratory or to any other kind of performance. With you it must be, “Give me Christ, or else I die.” Therefore, be diligent in hearing the gospel preached.

11. That is, then, another mark of a true seeker, he loves to be alone, he searches the Scriptures, he goes as much as he can to hear the gospel preached.

12. And there is another sign of the true seeker that I always love to see; he likes to get into godly company. He does not care now for the friends he once so much admired, — his merry friends who laughed away the years, — if he can only get where he can hear a few poor people talking about Jesus; something like John Bunyan, you remember, who saw three or four godly women at Bedford talking about the things of God, and the tinker drew near, and listened to their gracious conversation, though their talk about the new birth was beyond his comprehension. That is good seeking when you turn eavesdropper to hear about Christ, when you like to listen to some poor neighbour who does not know much more than you yourself know, but who, in her simple language, talks about an experience of the things of God to which you have not as yet attained, but which you wish you had felt and known.

13. There is another mark of a seeker that is even better: “Behold, he prays.” Possibly, he used to repeat a form of prayer; but he has given that up, and now he talks to God straight out of his heart, and asks for what he really wants; and he not only does that morning and evening, but he is praying during most of the day. If you watch him even from the other side of the counter, you may hear a sigh every now and then; or when he is at his work, driving the plane, or using the hammer, if you are close to him, you may see his lips moving, and you may catch such words as these, “Saviour, reveal yourself to me. Blood of Christ, cleanse me. Spirit of God, renew me.” That is one of the men who are seeking the Lord.

14. I think there will be one more mark that you will see in a sincere seeker; he will quit all that is evil as much as possible, and he will seek after what is good, and especially, he will seek after faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has heard it said that he who believes in him has everlasting life, and he says to himself, “Oh, that I could believe in him!” You will see him now trying to believe, very much like a little child tries to take his first steps in walking alone. His mother holds out an apple, and baby makes a daring attempt to try with three or four steps to get across to where mother holds out the bribe. Oh, I love to see poor souls trying to trust Christ, trying to rest in Jesus! They often make sorry work of it; but still, the Lord accepts it, for with their hearts they are really trying to rest in Jesus. If, poor trembling seeker, your faith should bring you no comfort because it is so weak, yet keep on trusting in Christ. When the bronze serpent was lifted up, all who looked at it were healed. There were, doubtless, some clear bright eyes that saw the bronze serpent from its head to its tail; and as they looked, they lived. But there were probably others who were so bitten by the serpents that their eyes were swollen, and dim; they could only see out of the corners, and the death-dew seemed to blind even that little bit of sight which they had; but, oh! if they could only get just a glimpse, so as just to see the glittering bronze, though they could not make out the shape of the serpent, yet they lived. They were told to look; and if they looked, and could not see, yet the promise was not to the seeing, but to the looking; and so, as they looked, they were healed. So look to Jesus, and you shall live.

15. I do trust that many seekers here have come as far as this; if so, I may now conduct them to the next stage of my sermon.

16. II. I want, in the second place, to ASSURE THE SEEKING SOUL THAT THE LORD IS GOOD TO HIM: “The Lord is good to the soul that seeks him.”

17. “Ah!” one says, “my heart is almost ready to break; I have been seeking for so long, I feel so sad, I am so discouraged.” But “the Lord is good to the soul that seeks him.” Let me show you this truth very rapidly.

18. First, it is good of him to have set you seeking at all. He might have left you in your sins as he has left so many thousands of your fellow men. He might have left you to be content with this vain, wicked world. At this moment, you might have been leaning across the counter of the gin palace instead of listening to the Word of the Lord. Indeed, instead of going home to pray, you might have been getting to the harlot’s haunt; and tomorrow, instead of coming to the prayer meeting, you might have been found where the multitude amuse themselves with vice. Thank God that you are a seeker, for there is something good in that fact. On a dark night, you may be grateful for one star shining in the sky, or even for a single match; it is very little, you think, but thank God for that little. “The Lord is good to the soul that seeks him,” in setting him seeking at all.

19. But God is also good to the seeker in giving him some gleams of comfort. Did you say that you had been seeking the Lord for months? Well, how is it that you have kept on seeking? I think it must be because you have sometimes had a few rays of light. I cannot give you any better evidence than my own. I was long in seeking Christ; and for that I blame myself, not Christ. But there were times, before I found him, when I almost met him. I did not see him; but I seemed to see the trees move as he passed along. I did not see him, but I heard his footfalls; and sometimes I went home, and said to myself, “Oh, yes, I shall find him! I shall not cry to him in vain.” I even thought sometimes that I had laid hold on him, and that I had trusted him; and though I went back again into despondency, yet I was not without hope of ultimately finding him. You know what it is sometimes, when you are very hungry, and you cannot get a meal, if you can get just a bite or two of something; it keeps you going until the mealtime comes. Well, it was like that when I was hungering and thirsting for Christ. Many a crumb this poor dog picked up from under the Master’s table, and so I was encouraged to keep on seeking until I found my Saviour. Is it not so with you, dear friend? Yes, the Lord is good to those who seek him by just keeping their courage up, and preventing them from sinking utterly into despair. Is he not good in keeping back the temptation, which might have destroyed you? The foul insinuations of Satan trouble you, but they might be worse than they are. You have been driven almost to despair, but not quite. You have grated against the rock, but you are not shipwrecked yet. “He stays his rough wind in the day of the east wind.” Thank God for that. “The Lord is good to the soul that seeks him.”

20. I think that he is also good in not letting us rest short of himself. You would have liked to have had comfort long ago, would you not? Indeed, but comfort is not the main thing that you require; you need safety. Often, the surgeon, when he has a bad case, will not let the wound heal. “No, not yet,” he says; “if that wound heals too soon, there will be more mischief coming from it.” So he puts in his lancet again, and cuts out a bit of proud flesh; and our Lord will not let us close up the wound that sin has made lest it is only a sorry healing that will end in a worse wound than before. I pray God that no one who is really seeking Christ may ever be able to rest until he gets to him. There is good resting at the foot of the cross, but you want to rest before you get there. I thank God for not letting you rest until you get to Christ, and I hope you will say, —

    I will not be comforted
    Till Jesus comforts me.

Make that your resolve, and may the Spirit of God keep you up to it! If so, you also will prove that “the Lord is good to the soul that seeks him.”

21. But he is much better to those who seek him than you have ever imagined, for he has given such rich promises to seekers. Oh, the blessed invitations of Christ! “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “ ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord: ‘though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ ” “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” This blessed Book is full of such promises as these, — just the kind of promises that seeking souls need; and they all prove that the Lord is, indeed, good to those who seek him.

22. He is also good to seekers because he has made the way of salvation so plain. Brethren, there are certain gentlemen, nowadays, who want us to have what they call an advanced theology, an eclectic religion, which will suit those who are supposed to be “cultured.” Oh God, save me from ever caring for such a thing as that! I want to be the means of saving the poor and needy, the ignorant and the fallen; and God wishes to save such people, and therefore he puts the gospel very plainly, “Believe and live. Trust the great Sacrifice, rely on Jesus crucified, and you are saved, and saved for ever.” A man with an intellect not much above that of an idiot may understand this gospel, and enjoy it, while a man with the greatest mental powers cannot understand it any better; no, he cannot understand it at all, unless the Spirit of God shall reveal it to him. I thank God that it is not a difficult way of salvation that he has laid before us, but that it is simple, or as men say, “as plain as the nose on your face.” May God bring us all to accept this gracious plan of salvation!

23. Then, once more, is it not very good of the Lord in being found by seekers in due time? There is no true seeker who shall die in his sins. If you are sincerely seeking, you shall find; this is promised in our Lord’s own words that we read just now: “For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” If I could take you through the whole dread region of hell, if we could stop at every cell where the finally impenitent are shut up without hope, and if it were possible to interrogate every lost spirit, there would not be found there a single one who sincerely sought the Lord through Jesus Christ. No one shall be able to stand up at the last great day, and say, “I came to Jesus, but he cast me out. I trusted him, but he did not keep his promise.” No, my dear hearer, if ever you shall be lost, it will be because you never came to Christ, because you never trusted him, because you would not have him as your Saviour. But if you come to Christ, — poor, ragged, defiled, loathsome, guilty up to the hilt, — if you come to Christ, remember that he said, “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out”; and that word still stands true. If you seek the Lord with all your heart, you shall surely find him, for he “is good to the soul that seeks him.”

24. I try to speak to you very plainly, as if I were talking to you by your own fireside. I do not feel at any great distance from you in standing here to speak to all of you all around me; yet I half wish that I could get a hold of your hands, you unconverted ones, and say to you, “Believe that my Lord is good to those who seek him. Believe it, and seek him for yourselves.” He is a good Lord. We sang, a few minutes ago, —

    Oh, hope of every contrite heart!
       Oh, joy of all the meek!
    To those who fall, how kind thou art!
       How good to those who seek!

Those are not mere words; they are the very truth of God. He is, indeed, good to those who seek him.

25. III. But, lest I weary any seeker where I want to win him, I shall close by FURTHER CHEERING HIM ON IN HIS SEEKING.

26. Friend, be of good comfort, Christ is seeking you. It is written, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.” If I were at this time seeking a person in London, I might have a long task; it would be like the proverbial “hunting for a needle in a haystack.” But suppose I knew that the person I was seeking was also seeking me; I think then I should say that there was a double probability of our meeting. If I am seeking him, and he is seeking me, and especially if he who seeks me is a man of high intelligence and wide knowledge, we shall meet one of these mornings or evenings, depend on it. So, if you are seeking Christ, that is hopeful; but if Christ is seeking you, and he knows all about you, — all the ins and outs of your poor life, — he and you will come together soon, I am persuaded of it. You are drawing nearer to each other every hour, and it will not be long before your arms are around his neck, and his arms around yours; you will be rejoicing in him, and he will be rejoicing over you.

27. I want to give you another word of good cheer, my seeking friend. It may not be long before you find the Saviour; it may, indeed, be so little a while that, before the clock ticks again, you will have found him. Why not? “Oh!” you say, “I wish it might be so! Oh, that I might find the Lord in that short time!” Well, look at me. For some four or five years I had been seeking Christ under a heavy burden of sin. I remember well that Sabbath morning in the month of January, 1850, for there was a very severe snowstorm. I was going to the Congregational Chapel at Colchester that morning; but it snowed so heavily that I turned into the little Primitive Methodist Chapel, merely because of the heaviness of that snowstorm. I was cold at heart, almost despairing; I thought that I should never find the Saviour, but between half-past ten o’clock, when I entered that place, and half-past twelve o’clock, when I was back again at home, what a change had taken place in me! I had passed from darkness into marvellous light, from death to life. Simply by looking to Jesus, I had been delivered from despair, and I was brought into such a joyful state of mind that, when they saw me at home, they said to me, “Something wonderful has happened to you”; and I was eager to tell them all about it. I was like Bunyan when he wanted to tell the crows on the ploughed field all about his conversion. Yes, I had looked to Jesus as I was, and found in him my Saviour. Well now, this October Sabbath night, you, dear heart, have been seeking the Lord for ever so long. You will not need to seek him any more if you will only look to him; that is all you have to do. Look to him! Look to him! Look to him; and, as you look to him, the great transaction will be done, your burden will be gone, the joy of salvation will be given to you from heaven by God’s own right hand, and you shall have a new song in your mouth, your feet shall be set on the rock, and your goings shall be established.

28. And notice this: when the blessing comes, it will be worth waiting for. When the pardon for your sin comes, you will say, “I do not regret my cries and tears, my weary waitings and anxious seekings. He has come! He has come! HE has come, my Lord and my God!” Why, if I had to wait at the threshold of his door from youth to old age, yet if I found him at last, it would well repay all my waiting. The joy and peace through believing which come from Christ are a wonderful offset against the tears and sorrows that we have endured while we have been seeking him.

29. This is my closing thought: you have no need to go about seeking Christ any longer. You have no need to wait even five minutes before you find him, for it is written, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life.” Do you know what it is to believe in him, to trust him? Do so now. “It would be a great venture,” one says. Then venture on him. “Would he save me?” Try him. You have heard, I dare say, of the African who came over to England. Before he came, the missionary told him that, sometimes, it was so cold in England that the water grew hard, and men could walk on it. Now, the man had heard a great many things that were not true which he had believed: but this, he said, he never would believe. It was “one great big lie; for no one ever could walk on water.” When he woke up, one December morning, and the stream was frozen over, he still said that he would not believe it. Even when his friend went on the ice, and stood there, and said, “Now you can see that what I told you was true; this is water, yet it is hard, and it bears me up,” — the African would not believe it, until his friend said to him, “Come along,” and he gave him a pull, and dragged him on the ice, and then he said, “Yes; it is true, for it bears me up.”

30. I would like to give some of you a bit of a pull like that. I am resting on Christ, on Christ alone; and he bears me up. Come along, and try him for yourselves. May the Lord lead you to do so! There never yet was a heart that truly trusted in Christ that was deceived by him. Remember that verse which we sang at the beginning of the service, and —

    Venture on him, venture wholly,
       Let no other trust intrude;
    None but Jesus
       Can do helpless sinners good.

Then you shall know for a certainty that “the Lord is good to the soul that seeks him.” May God bless and save everyone of you for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Mt 7:7-29}

7. “Ask, and it shall be given to you;

He who will not ask for it deserves to go without it. Have you ever asked for it? If not, whose fault is it that you do not have it?

7. Seek, and you shall find;

How can you hope to find if you do not seek? Have you never found it? Have you never sought it? And if you have never sought it, how do you excuse yourselves for your neglect?

7. Knock, and it shall be opened to you:

Is that all — knock? Is the gate of heaven not opened to you? Have you never knocked? Do you wonder, therefore, that the door is shut? Take care; for the time may come when you will knock, and the door will not be opened to you; for, “when once the Master of the house is risen up, and has shut the door,” then knocking shall be in vain. But at present this verse is still God’s gracious word of command and promise; let me read it to you again: “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.”

8. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.

When you are dealing with men, this is not always true. You may ask, and not receive; you may seek, and not find; you may knock, and not have the door opened to you. But when you deal with God, there are no failures or refusals. Every true asker receives; every true seeker finds; and every true knocker has the door opened to him. Will you not try it, and prove for yourself that it is even so?

9-11. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son asks for bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a snake? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?

You not only give, but you know how to give so as not to disappoint the asker. It is most blessedly so with the great Father in heaven. He will not give you what will mock and disappoint you: he will give you bread, not a stone; fish, not a snake; indeed, more, he will give you the bread of life, and the water of life, so that you may live for ever.

12. Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

This is rightly called “the golden rule.” Christ says of it that it is “the law and the prophets.” It is the essence of them, it is the sum and substance of the highest morality. What you would have others do to you, do that to them. Do not let that golden rule remain merely as a record in this Book, but take it out with you into your daily life. If we did all act towards others as we would have others act towards us, how different would the lives of many men become! Ours would be a happy world if this law of Christ were the law of England, and the law of all nations. May God send us the Spirit by whom alone we shall be able to obey so high a rule!

13. Enter in at the strait gate

The narrow gate: —

13, 14. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in there because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Do not try to go with the majority; truth is usually with the minority. Do not count heads, and say, “I am for what has the most on its side”; but prefer what is least liked among men, choose what is most difficult, most trying to flesh and blood, what gives you least licence, because “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” You will not stumble on it, then, in a “happy-go-lucky” kind of style. Heaven’s gate is not found open by accident; there never was anyone yet who was saved by accident. No: “there are few who find it,” is still true. May God grant that we may be among the few! And why should we not be?

15. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

There are always plenty of them around; there is nothing of the sheep about them but the skin, and there is no connection between that skin and those who wear it.

16-20. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so every good tree produces good fruit; but a corrupt tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.

You may judge men as well as trees that way; and you may judge doctrines that way. What gives a license to sin cannot be true; but what makes for holiness is true; for, somehow, truth of doctrine and holiness of life run together. We cannot expect holiness to grow out of falsehood, but we may expect all manner of evil to come out of false teaching.

21. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven.

Practice is the true test, not words. Not he who says, “Lord, Lord,” but “he who does the will of God”; not he who merely has good words on his tongue, but he who has the will of God laid up in his heart, and worked out in his life, — that is the man who “shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

22, 23. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?’ And then I will profess to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, you who work iniquity.’

If our lives are evil, it does not matter to what denomination we belong; we may be clever preachers, or mighty teachers, we may imagine that we have had dreams and visions, we may set ourselves up to be some great ones; but if we have not done the will of God, we shall hear at the last Christ say to us, “Depart from me, you who work iniquity.”

24, 25. Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will compare him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it did not fall: for it was founded on a rock.

He was a good man, and a practical man; yet he was also a tried man. His house was built on the rock, but that did not prevent the rain descending, and the floods coming, and the winds blowing. The highest type of godliness will not save you from troubles and trials; it will, in some measure, even necessitate them. But, blessed be God, here lies the gem of the parable or narrative: “It did not fall: for it was founded on a rock.” It could stand the strain and endure the test, for it had a good foundation.

26, 27. And everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, shall be compared to a foolish man, who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was its fall.”

He was a great hearer, but he was a bad doer; yet he thought that he was a good doer, for he built a house. Alas, the house was on the sand! There was no real obedience to Christ, no true trusting in him; and so, when the time of trouble came, — and trouble will come even to the hypocrite and to the false professor, — we read about his house, “It fell: and great was its fall,” because it could never be built up again. It fell hopelessly; it fell for ever; therefore, “Great was its fall.”

28, 29. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

There was a force and power about what Jesus said, he spoke from the heart, he spoke with the accent of conviction; whereas the scribes and Pharisees only spoke magisterially and officially, with no heart in their utterance, and there was therefore no power about it. May God give to all of us the grace to know the power of the words of Christ! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — Come And Welcome” 492}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — ‘What Must I Do To Be Saved?’ ” 540}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — ‘Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth’ ” 786}

Just published. Cloth gilt, 3s. 6d.

The Soul-Winner;

or, How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour.

By C. H. Spurgeon.

“The book contains a rich store of useful directions and suggestions. Coming from one so experienced, and so greatly honoured in leading sinners to the Saviour, it must have a fruitful mission before it. Let every young worker for God study it well.” — From Review in “The Christian.”

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

Gospel, Invitations
492 — Come And Welcome <8.7.4.>
1 Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
      Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
   Jesus ready stands to save you,
      Full of pity join’d with power;
         He is able,
      He is willing; doubt no more.
2 Come, ye needy, come and welcome,
      God’s free bounty glorify;
   True belief, and true repentance,
      Every grace that brings us nigh,
         Without money,
      Come to Jesus Christ and buy.
3 Let not conscience make you linger
      Nor of fitness fondly dream:
   All the fitness he requireth,
      Is to feel your need of him:
         This he gives you;
      ‘Tis the Spirits’s rising beam.
4 Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
      Bruised and mangled by the fall;
   If you tarry till you’re better,
      You will never come at all:
         Not the righteous,
      Sinners Jesus came to call.
5 View him prostrate in the garden;
      On the ground your Maker lies!
   On the bloody tree behold him,
      Hear him cry before he dies,
         “It is finish’d!”
      Sinner, will not this suffice?
6 Lo! th’ Incarnate God, ascended,
      Pleads the merit of his blood:
   Venture on him, venture wholly,
      Let no other trust intrude;
         None but Jesus
      Can do helpless sinners good.
7 Saints and angels join’d in concert,
      Sing the praises of the Lamb;
   While the blissful seats of heaven
      Sweetly echo with his name!
      Sinners here may sing the same.
                        Joseph Hart, 1759, a.

Gospel, Stated
540 — “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”
1 Nothing, either great or small,
      Nothing, sinner, no;
   Jesus did it, did it all
      Long, long ago.
2 When he from his lofty throne,
      Stoop’d to do and die,
   Everything was fully done:
      Harken to his cry: —
3 “It is finish’d!” Yes, indeed,
      Finish’d every jot:
   Sinner, this is all you need,
      Tell me, is it not?
4 Weary, working, plodding one,
      Why toil you so?
   Cease your doing; all was done
      Long, long ago.
5 Till to Jesus’ work you cling
      By a simple faith,
   “Doing” is a deadly thing,
      “Doing” ends in death.
6 Cast your deadly “doing” down,
      Down at Jesus’ feet,
   Stand in him, in him alone,
      Gloriously complete!
                        James Procter, 1858.

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
786 — “Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth”
1 Jesus, the very thought of thee
      With sweetness fill my breast;
   But sweeter far thy face to see,
      And in thy presence rest,
2 Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
      Nor can the memory find,
   A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
      Oh Saviour of mankind!
3 Oh, hope of every contrite heart!
      Oh, joy of all the meek!
   To those who fall, how kind thou art!
      How good to those who seek!
4 But what to those who find? Ah! this
      Nor tongue nor pen can show;
   The love of Jesus — what it is,
      None but his loved ones know.
5 Jesus, our only joy be thou,
      As thou our crown wilt be;
   Jesus, be thou our glory now,
      And through eternity.
                  Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153;
                  tr. by Edward Caswall, 1849.

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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