2470. Jacob And Doubting Souls — A Parallel

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No. 2470-24:289. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, June 20, 1886, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, June 21, 1896.

And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive: I will go and see him before I die.” {Ge 45:28}

1. I think that the patriarch Jacob may well serve as the type and emblem of a doubting soul, one who has been told the good news of salvation, the gospel of God’s grace, but who cannot bring his mind to believe it.

2. Let us think for a few minutes of old Jacob. First of all, he was a man who was very ready to believe bad news. When his sons held up before him a coat dipped in the blood of a kid, and asked him if it was not the coat he had given to Joseph, the patriarch answered, “It is my son’s coat; a wild beast has devoured him; Joseph is without a doubt torn in pieces.” He had no doubt about it, yet it was not true; and we have many hearers who will believe anything that is very terrible, even though it may not be true. If there is something in the sermon which seems to condemn them, even though it may not be meant to condemn them, they are sure to take home that part of the discourse. If they see any passage of Scripture that appears to frown on them, they retain that in their memory, and they keep on stinging themselves with it, often making themselves unhappy with what was never intended to apply to them. I wish that readiness to believe the dark sayings could be turned to an equal readiness to receive the consolations of the Word of God. Surely, we ought not to be so prejudiced against ourselves as to accept every bad thing and to reject every good thing. No, let us fairly weigh the evidence for either form of teaching, and believe, or reject either, according as the evidence for it may be strong or weak.

3. Jacob would, all the while, have willingly believed what was good, if he could have believed it. If you could have asked him if he had any objection to believe that Joseph was alive, the old man would have answered, “Oh, no! it would be the joy of my heart if I could only think it to be true.” There are some whom I am now addressing who are in a similar case. Ask them whether they have any objection to believe that Jesus Christ is their Saviour, that he loved them, and gave himself for them, and every one of them would reply, “Object to believe this? Why, I would give my eye-teeth, — I would give my life, — if I could only think it to be true.” Such an unbeliever as that is a very hopeful one, because it is evident that he is not a wilful unbeliever; he does not desire to be so. His heart longs to grasp the truth which, for the moment, his mind dares not accept. Jacob in this respect is the type of very many who hear the gospel, but dare not receive it; and yet oh, how they wish they could! Their very soul hungers and thirsts after it, but they are afraid to take it lest they should be taking what is not truly theirs.

4. So far, the parallel between Jacob and the doubting soul runs very properly. Next notice that, to the patriarch, the truth about his son Joseph seemed altogether incredible. Joseph was alive, and governor over all the land of Egypt; but the old man had so long believed the contrary, that he could not readily get out of the rut. He had sorrowfully said, “Joseph is without a doubt torn in pieces”; and this idea, though it was most painful to him, had, nevertheless, eaten its way into his belief, and he could not get it out of him. So I know some who have written bitter things against themselves. “I shall be lost, I know I shall; it is not possible that Christ will save me. He will certainly reject me.” And, although that is quite untrue, — as untrue as Jacob’s belief that Joseph was dead, — yet they have hugged their despair so long that they cannot give it up. They are like the man who refused to be comforted, or those afflicted ones of whom we read, “Their soul abhors all kinds of food; and they draw near to the gates of death.” Oh, that the Holy Spirit would come over these poor unwilling doubters, and help them to know that a falsehood, however long it is believed, is not the truth! Though we may be in despondency of spirit for years, yet, if there is no real reason for that despondency, it is a pity that we should continue in it. Oh, that the Holy Spirit would enable us to break those bands asunder, and joyfully to believe what is true, — that there is a Saviour, an all-sufficient Saviour, that all power is committed into his hands, and that he will rejoice this very hour to save and bless our souls!

5. The news appeared incredible to Jacob because it seemed “too good to be true.” His eyes flashed for the moment with a joyful light. “Joseph alive? Joseph — my Joseph — ruler over all the land of Egypt?” And then the very brightness of the thought seemed to blind the eye of his faith. “It cannot be true,” he said; “it is too good to be true.” Suppose that one of you had lost a son many years ago, and that a person met you outside the Tabernacle, and said to you, “That boy of yours, who was reported dead twenty years ago, is not dead; he is in Australia, alive and well,” you would be staggered, would you not? And I have no doubt you would say to yourself, “It must be someone like him, or someone else with the same name; it cannot be my son; it is impossible, do I not know that he is dead?” You would hardly believe it; therefore, do not blame poor old Jacob for his doubts. There are many who are, spiritually, just in that state. They say, “What! you say that Jesus died for me, that I have been redeemed with his most precious blood, that I can have my sins forgiven? It cannot be. What! that I can be taken up to dwell with Christ in heaven? Oh, that it were true! It cannot be true. I did sing, just now, —

          Even me, even me,
    Let thy mercy light on me;

but oh, surely, it cannot come to me! I must be left out; when the showers of blessing are falling, I cannot hope that there will be even a drop for me.” Well, then, you and old Jacob are very much alike; I think you must be first cousins. Yet Jacob was wrong, and so are you; the news is not “too good to be true.”

6. Through not believing his sons, Jacob began to faint in spirit. When they told him that Joseph was still alive we read that “Jacob’s heart fainted, for he did not believe them.” There is nothing that so stops the action of the heart, and brings on faintness of the spirit, as unbelief. As soon as the old man began to believe the good news that his sons brought, “the spirit of Jacob their father revived.” Faith makes our spirits revive, but unbelief seems to strike us dead. I do not wonder that some of you are sad, and dull, and unhappy; as long as you cherish your unbelief, you must be so. Oh Holy Spirit, deliver them from this unbelief! Revive them by enabling them to believe what is true, that there is a Saviour, a Saviour still alive, a Saviour who is Lord of all, able and willing to save them.

7. There, then, is the parallel between Jacob and a doubting soul.

8. But, at last, Jacob rose out of his despondency and doubt; according to our text, “Israel said, ‘It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive: I will go and see him before I die.’ ” I think the time has come for some others to say, “It is enough.” After having been attendants on the means of grace, perhaps for thirty years or more, they ought to be able to say, “It is enough.” There came in here, last Lord’s day, from a distant part of the country, an aged man, a farmer. He came up on Saturday for no other reason but to find the Saviour. He heard me say that I would see enquirers on Tuesday, so he was here then. He said, “I left my farm, though it is a large one,” and then he told me something about himself, and he added, “I want to find the Saviour. I thought, sir, I would come and see if I could find Christ on the Sabbath day, and I waited until I might go to the prayer meeting on Monday night, and then come and speak to you about my soul.” I thought, “Yes, and it is worth while to leave your farm to find a Saviour, it is worth while to come from a distant county of England, it would be worth while to come from the ends of the earth if one might only find the Saviour.” Before I left him, I think he could say, “It is enough; Jesus is still alive, I will trust him even now”; and he went on his way rejoicing. Oh, that some others might be able to say with him, “It is enough!”

9. There are two points on which I think Jacob could say, “It is enough.” First, the evidence was enough to convince him: “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive.” Secondly, the conviction was enough to move him: “I will go and see him before I die.” The second point is quite as important as the first; indeed, it is that to which the first ought practically to lead us.

10. I. The first point is, that Jacob had ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CONVINCE HIM: “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive.”

11. The question for us to consider concerns, not Joseph, but Jesus. He is still alive. He died on the cross, but he has risen from the dead, and gone into glory; “therefore he is able also to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him, since he lives for ever to make intercession for them.”

12. The evidence that good old Jacob had received was personal testimony. His sons said concerning Joseph, “We have been to Egypt, and we have seen him.” There have been many witnesses to testify that Christ is still alive. Not only did the eleven apostles see him many times, but over five hundred brethren at once saw the Son of God after he had risen from the dead. There is no fact in history that is better attested to than the fact that he was crucified, and that he rose again. The resurrection is as true after two millennia as it was the day it happened; the distance of time does not alter the fact. Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died on Calvary, and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, the third day rose from the dead, no more to die, and ascended into heaven, where he sits at the right hand of God. To this fact, his disciples bore unfaltering witness; they were honest, simple-minded men, without enough imagination to make up the story. They were so sure of this truth that they died rather than deny it; most of them died by the most painful forms of death, yet nothing could ever make one of them speak a word to the contrary. They declared that they had seen him, that they had eaten with him, some of them could say that they had touched him, and one had put his finger into the print of the nails. Yes, brethren, Jesus Christ is still alive, and I pray that each one here may say, “The testimony of these many witnesses is true, I believe it. It is enough; Jesus is still alive.”

13. Moreover, the Holy Spirit bore witness to this fact, for after the ascension of the Saviour, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and their companions, and they began to speak with other tongues. They went into all the countries of the world, and wherever they went, they were able to speak the language without having to learn it. At the same time, the Holy Spirit enabled them to work miracles by which the sick were healed; and these two things together were the witness of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ the Son of God still lived, and that in his name salvation was to be preached to the sons of men. To me, this is evidence enough, — the witness of faithful men, and the works of the Holy Spirit.

14. Besides that, there are many of us who are witnesses that, in answer to prayer, we have received pardon through the living Christ. We have also received, through that living Christ, a new life into our soul; we have passed from death to life, and those who knew us before our conversion must notice a very remarkable change in us. They may not all admire it, but they must all admit it, and bear witness that we are now other than what we used to be. The Lord Jesus, in whom we have trusted, has given us new motives, new desires, in fact, a new nature, and a new life, and we are witnesses to this truth that he is a living Saviour, still mighty to save. I wish you could all say, with regard to these witnesses, “It is enough.” I do not know what more witnesses we can give you, and I may say of the apostles, and of all those who bear witness by the Holy Spirit, “If you do not receive their witness, neither will you believe though men should rise from the dead and bear testimony to the fact that Jesus lives to save the sons of men.”

15. But then, Jacob had, in addition to this personal testimony of witnesses, the testimony of accurate reports, for we find that Jacob’s sons told their father “all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them.” Those words of Joseph were remarkable words, for he traced God’s providence in all that had happened. He said to his brethren, “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God, and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” Jacob knew that those words were according to the way of Joseph, for Joseph always lived in the fear and love of God. As for our Lord Jesus Christ, he has come to teach us about the Father. He reveals God to us; what he speaks to us, he does not speak concerning himself, but in the power and in the name of God, and we know that his word is true, because it is a word which glorifies God and not man.

16. Joseph also spoke somewhat about his own position and power. “Tell my father,” he said, “thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt.’ ” So, the Lord Jesus Christ has told us that all power is given to him in heaven and in earth, and therefore we are to go and teach all nations, and bring them as disciples to his feet. The words he speaks concerning himself are not boastful or false; but they are the utterance of a humble, meek, and lowly Saviour who never said a word more or less than the truth.

17. Joseph had also spoken to them very tenderly and kindly about their father. He would do everything for his father and his brothers, giving them the best of the land; and our Lord Jesus has spoken very tenderly to us. “Come to me,” he says, “all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The words of the Lord Jesus Christ, if you hear them or read them, are their own witness. There is a certain distinct unique majesty about the language of Jesus Christ which somehow penetrates to the hearts of men, and carries its own convincing witness into the mind. Please then, — you who have for years heard his words, — say, “It is enough; we have heard quite sufficient from him to compel us to believe that he lives, and that he is able to save.” How long must he continue to speak to you who are now getting old hearers of the gospel, and yet have not believed it? How much longer must we persuade, entreat, exhort in the name of the Lord Jesus? How much longer must his words be read and quoted in your hearing? May God the Holy Spirit speedily end your indecision, and bring each one of you to say, “It is enough; Jesus is alive, there is a living Saviour, I will take him to be my Saviour!”

18. There were also abundant signs which greatly helped to convince old Jacob: “When he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him,” he said, “It is enough.” To what shall I compare these wagons? It seems to me that some of you, who are doubting whether Christ will save you, ought to think to yourselves, “Well, there is the Sabbath day, which is a special sign of God’s love.” As I came here this evening, I thought to myself, “Why has God appointed a Sabbath day if he does not intend to give rest to men?” What a mockery it is to have one day in seven set apart for you to think of God if God does not intend to think of you! The very institution of the Sabbath seems to me to be a “wagon” in which to bring you to Christ. And why does God send ministers to preach his gospel? I said to myself, as I came here this evening, “I am going on the silliest errand that ever moved the foot of man, unless God intends to save men by the message he has given me to deliver.” What is the use of my talking, and talking, and talking, unless there is a living Christ, and unless that living Christ is really able to save? He has sent you a minister who, with all his faults, loves your souls, and who would do anything within the power of a human mind to bring you to Christ if he only knew how to do it. Surely, God did not send us to speak in his name, and move us to an agony about your souls, if he did not intend to bless you. So, the Christian ministry itself is like a “wagon” in which to bring men to Christ. I have often thought to myself, when I have been going home after preaching, “I have put the truth before my hearers so plainly that, if they want to be saved, I have very clearly shown them the way to Christ.” I used to attend the means of grace very, very often when I was under concern of soul, and to the best of my knowledge and belief I never heard the gospel simply and plainly put to me while I was listening for it. This is the pity, that so often our brethren preach very fine sermons, but they are no good for seeking souls, and they do not lead them to Christ. But as soon as I heard that poor Primitive Methodist preach Christ, — and he preached Christ alone, because he did not know anything else, and I myself am very much in that condition, — why, as soon as I ever heard that, I laid hold on it. When fish are hungry, they bite at the bait; and if you really want Christ, you will at once lay hold on him. If you do not accept him, at any rate he has been plainly set before you; and if you refuse him, you shall deliberately and wilfully reject and refuse him. I pray that you may not do that. Oh sinner, do not play the fool with your own soul! If you must play, go home to your children, pick up their toys, throw their balls and twist their skipping ropes; but do not trifle with your souls, and with God, and heaven, and hell! If I have lied to you about these matters, condemn me, for I deserve it; but if I have spoken the truth to you, hear me, or if you do not hear me, hear the still small voice of your own conscience, or rather, hear the voice of God which has been speaking through me. Believe in Jesus now that you are under the influence of a ministry which may be to you what Joseph’s wagons were to old Jacob.

19. Think also, why is it that you are instructed in the truths revealed in the Word of God? Why is it that there are so many expostulations and warnings in it? Why is it that this precious Book is put into all your homes? Why is it so full of invitations and promises, but that all this is intended to be a “wagon” to bring you to your Joseph, even to Jesus? When you see God, as it were, moving heaven and earth to help you to salvation, bending providence in the direction of aiding you to hear and to believe the gospel, surely you ought to say, “It is enough; Jesus is still alive; God intends to show mercy to me; Christ Jesus can save me, and he will save me.”

       Jesus sits on Zion’s hill,
    And receives poor sinners still.

20. The evidence brought before Jacob was sufficient to convince him; he said “It is enough.” Oh, that you also may say the same concerning the evidence brought before you!

21. II. But now comes the tug of war: THE CONVICTION WAS ENOUGH TO MOVE HIM. “Israel said, ‘It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive; I will go and see him before I die.’ ”

22. Oh! how many people there are in the world who say, “Yes, there is a Saviour”; and yet they are not saved! Some of you have often sung, —

    There is a fountain fill’d with blood,
       Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
    And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
       Lose all their guilty stains.

23. Is it so? Do you believe that? Then, why have you not lost all your guilty stains? “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life.” You never doubted the truth of that text, and yet you have not believed in the only-begotten Son of God, and you have not received everlasting life. I can understand those who reject the Scriptures altogether, and who deny that there is any Saviour for sinners; I see where they are, and feel that there is some kind of consistency in their conduct, deeply as I grieve over it; but I cannot comprehend what you mean when you admit the truth of what we preach, yet do not practically obey it. If the gospel is true, why do you not believe it? If you believe it, why do you not act on it? It is not sufficient merely to say that you trust Christ for salvation, and then to imagine there is nothing further to be done. I have often tried to expose that delusion by representing a pilot as being brought on board a vessel, and the captain and sailors saying that they all had confidence in him, that he would take the ship safely into the port. They said they trusted him, but having declared their faith in him, they all went below, and lay down to sleep. Now, of course, the pilot wanted to have the sails attended to, and the ship put in good trim, and he needed the helmsman to manage the rudder, so he called out, “What are you all doing down there? Why have you all run away from me?” And one of them answered, “Because we trust in you; you are the pilot, and you said you would bring us safely into port. We trust in you; so the captain has gone to his cabin, and all the sailors have gone to the forecastle. {a} You see, it is a wet night, a strong nor’-wester is blowing, it is very cold, and we would rather be comfortable and snug in our berths than up there on deck. You said that you would bring us to the port, and we trust in you to do it.” The pilot would of course reply, “You do not really trust in me, for if you did, you would do as I tell you. You are mocking me, you are insulting me; you have brought me on board your ship to make a fool of me; if you really trusted me, every man would take his proper place, and do his duty, and then, as I gave the word of command, it would be obeyed, and so you would be brought safely into port.” It is just so with Christ and ourselves; we trust him entirely to save us, but we have no right to say that we are saved if we do not practically obey him. It is beyond all excuse that men should know that they need a Saviour, and that there is a Saviour, and yet that they should not trust that Saviour. It is as if Jacob had said, “Joseph is still alive; but I shall not trouble my head about him.” Oh, no, no, no! The patriarch does not talk like that, but he says, “Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” And, immediately, the poor old man and his household started to go down into Egypt; for the very next verse reads, “And Israel took his journey with all that he had.”

24. One reason why Jacob wanted to go to Egypt was because he wished to see his son. Some of us know the delight of seeing again a dear son who has been absent from us for years, and of seeing him return again well. It is not so much a matter for us to talk about, it is rather a thing for our own hearts to rejoice over and to remember; and we often breathe the prayer, “May God grant that we may see our beloved son again!” Yet, after all, to see a son is only the gratification of a natural affection; there is a great deal more reason why we should, by faith, see our Saviour, for he who truly sees the Son of God shall live for ever. Oh dear hearts, —

    “There is life for a look at the Crucified One!”

A faith-look to God in human flesh, a believing sight of him who bore our sins in his own body on the tree, will bring you life for evermore. I think that every sinner who knows that there is a living Christ ought to say, “I will go and see him, whatever else I do not go to see.” There are some sights in the world of which we say, “I should like to go and see that.” Well, you may forego all the things of beauty that ever charmed the eyes of men; but, I charge you, do not forego this sight of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the heaven of angels; he is the delight of God himself; there is no true life for you other than what will come through your looking to him who says, “Look to me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth.” Since you believe that there is a Saviour, I pray that you may be moved at once to say, “I will go and see him.” May you be preserved from putting it off even until the daylight breaks again! This very hour, through your tears, look immediately away to the cross; and may the Lord Jesus Christ reveal himself to you, so that in his light you may see light!

25. Further, this old man, who said, “I will go and see my son,” yet felt that it was only for a little while. He says, “I will go and see him before I die.” He had seventeen more years to live, but he did not know that; he felt so old a man at one hundred and thirty that he thought he should only just manage to see his son, and perhaps die on his neck. He said, “But I will go and see him, even though it is only with my dying eyes. I will die with the sight of Joseph before me, and that will be enough to make me happy.” And, dear souls, if you only get to Jesus, you might be happy if you could only say, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” But it need not be death to you any more than it was to Jacob. Indeed, when you have seen him, you shall live, and never die; but your eyes shall be opened to see even more and more of him, and the light of Christ shall so shine into your soul that you shall behold him after an even more glorious fashion until he shall be the joy of your heart, and the heaven of your soul for ever. Therefore, since there is such a living Saviour, please go to him, and you shall not merely see him for a little while, and then die, but you shall see him and live for ever. Therefore, hurry by faith to see him this very moment.

26. Old Jacob also felt that age should not hinder, but rather hasten him. He believed that he was soon going to die, but he said, “I will go and see him before I die.” I think that Jacob’s age really made him go more quickly. “Ah!” he said to himself, “I shall be dead soon; therefore, let me hurry down to Joseph, so that I may see him before I die.” So, dear friends, do not let anyone say, “I am too old to be saved.” Who is too old to trust Christ? Who is too old to seek and find the Saviour? I have often heard stories told about people not being converted after they are forty-five, or thereabouts; but that is all untrue, and I do not believe a word of it. I have seen just as many people in proportion converted at one age as at another. There are more young people in the world than there are aged people, and therefore there are more people converted, by God’s grace, while they are young. There are fewer old people than young ones; but I do thank God that, even in this building, I could point out a great many who I know were baptized after their hair had grown grey. Some of them put their trust in Jesus when they were seventy, and others even later than that. There was a dear old brother, who came in here when he was past eighty years of age, and he found the Saviour. He was such a Little-Faith or Feeble-Mind that he hardly dared to speak to any of us as he came in and out among us, but at last he said to himself, “I must join the church.” I imagine that he was eighty-eight when he was baptized, and he was so happy with us for about six months, and then he gently slipped away and went home. I am sure I never saw a more childlike person, or a more genuine conversion than that of this dear old man. However old you are, friend, come along. If Methuselah were here, I would preach to him the same gospel that I would teach to one of these dear girls; for, however old a sinner is, there is nothing in the gospel about limiting it to people of a certain age. “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”; does not mean, go and begin picking out the creatures, and saying, “I only preach the gospel to people who are under a specified age.” Go home, and go to bed, sir, if that is how you talk; Christ never sent you on such an errand as that. He sent us to preach the gospel to every creature; and to you who are almost worn out, if there is only life in you, I cry, “Come along, trust in Jesus, and he will save even you.”

    While the lamp holds out to burn,
       The vilest sinner may return;

and, returning, he shall find Christ.

27. Be quick about it, however, you who are getting on in life, you who are far advanced in years, and may God bless you! Yesterday, I had many kind letters congratulating me on completing my fifty-second year, but there was one that did a little surprise and amuse me. One brother writes that he has read my sermons for many years, and that, at my advanced age, he cannot pray that I may have many returns of the day; but he does trust that God may spare me at least two or three years longer for the good of the church. Well, as I read the letter, I could not help smiling, as you do, for I do not feel that I am quite as advanced in age as that; but still, I thought that, perhaps, this brother’s letter might be prophetic. We may be older than we think we are, and two or three years may be all the time we are to have here. At any rate, I will try to work for Christ as earnestly as if I had only two or three years to live, and then it may be that he will add to us even more; and, if not, what does it matter? We shall go home to him who sent us, and be gathered to our Father in peace.

28. Once more, old Jacob was not kept back from going to see his son because it was a long journey into Egypt. Journeys appear longer to old men than they do to young folk, and it was a very great undertaking to go so far with those seventy and more people around him. There would be a great deal of packing up to be done, and there were no Pantechnicon {furniture-moving} vans in those days to carry everything for the whole company. It was the transplanting of a grand old tree, and it was a difficult task to move so venerable an oak, with such wide-spreading roots and branches. Yet Jacob said, “I will go and see Joseph before I die.” Now, dear friend, if it does seem a long way to Jesus, yet undertake the journey; and if you can persuade your wife and all your children also to go, so much the better. Christ will receive them all in Goshen, and they shall dwell with him for ever. I wish that there might be a blessed migration of many who have been rooted to the soil of the old Canaan, the sinful place, who will now go, not down to Egypt, but up to Jesus in the land of plenty and of purity, to dwell with him for ever. What ruins so many is that hesitancy, that delaying, that halting between two opinions, which I find in the original is hopping on two twigs, and never resting on either; do not let that be the case with you. Procrastination is the devil’s net in which myriads are entangled to their utter destruction; may the Lord deliver any of you who have been caught in it! Decide for Christ now, I beseech you; may the Holy Spirit constrain you to decide at once, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — The Messenger Of Grace” 241}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — Come And Welcome” 508}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — ‘Bless Me, Even Me Also, Oh My Father!’ ” 607}

{a} Forecastle: In merchant vessels, the forward part of the vessel, under the deck, where the sailors live. OED.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Ge 45:9-28 Joh 5:24-44}

9. “Hurry, and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, "God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay:

Joseph, having made himself known to his brothers, tells them to return to their father, and bring him down to Egypt to see his long-lost son.

10-11. And you shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you, and your children, and your children’s children, and your flocks and your herds, and all that you have. And I will nourish you there; for there are still five years of famine; lest you, and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty."’

It is just like Joseph to speak so kindly, and to put the invitation so attractively to his father: “You shall be near me.” That would be the greatest joy of all for old Jacob; and this is the greatest joy to a sinner when he comes to Christ, our great Joseph, “You shall be near me.” It is not merely that he gives us the land of Goshen to live in, but he promises that we shall be near him, and that is best of all.

12-22. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaks to you. And you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry and bring my father down here.” And he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brothers, and wept on them: and after that his brothers talked with him. And the report of it was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, “Joseph’s brothers are come.” So it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your beasts, and so go to the land of Canaan, and take your father and your households, and come to me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the best of the land. Now you are commanded — do this: Take wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father and come. Also do not regard your goods; for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’ ” And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the way. To all of them he gave each man changes of clothes; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of clothes.

Benjamin was his full brother, so he loved him best, and gave him the most.

23, 24. And to his father he sent these things: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten she-donkeys loaded with grain and bread and food for his father by the way. So he sent his brothers away, and they departed: and he said to them, “See that you do not fall out on the way.”

This was a sure sign that Joseph knew his brothers, and they might well recognise him even by that precept, for their consciences must have told them that it had been their common habit to fall out either with or without occasion, so he tells them not to do so.

20-28. And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan to Jacob their father, and told him, saying, “Joseph is still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.” And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he did not believe them. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: and Israel said,

See how quickly the patriarch changes from Jacob into Israel; when his spirit is revived, he becomes Israel.

28. “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive: I will go and see him before I die.”

Now we are going to read in the Gospel according to John, the fifth chapter, beginning at the twenty-fourth verse.

24. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word, and believes in him who sent me, has everlasting life, —

If we truly believe the word of Christ, and trust in him who sent his Son into the world, we have at this moment everlasting life.

24. And shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.

What a grand verse this is! It is worthy to be written in letters of gold on every street corner; oh that we all knew the fulness of its meaning by heart-felt experience!

25-30. Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and those who hear shall live.’ For just as the Father has life in himself; so he has given to the Son to have life in himself; and has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this: for the hour is coming, when all who are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation. I can do nothing by myself: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me.

Christ as Mediator did the will of the Father, and yet also did his own will, for his will was always the same as his Father’s.

31. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

He bore witness to himself by his miracles, but that was not the witness on which he relied, nor was it the only witness to the truth of his mission.

32-40. There is another who bears witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesses of me is true. You sent to John, and he bore witness to the truth. But I do not receive testimony from man: but these things I say, so that you might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works those I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me. And the Father himself, who has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. And you do not have his word abiding in you: for whom he has sent, him you do not believe. Search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and these are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, so that you might have life.

They were great Bible-readers, great students of the letter; but they would not come to Christ; and hence the Scriptures themselves became a sepulchre in which they were entombed.

41-44. I do not receive honour from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me: if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, who receive honour from each other, and do not seek the honour that comes only from God?”

Some men find it difficult to believe in Christ because they are always seeking honour for themselves; desire for the praise of men often blinds the mind and prejudices the spirit. How boldly our great Master speaks! There is no flattery on his lips. He is the faithful and true Witness, the very Word of God. Oh, that all men would give heed to his message!

The Work of Grace as a Whole
241 — The Messenger Of Grace
1 Raise your triumphant songs
   To an immortal tune:
   Let the wide earth resound the deeds
   Celestial grace has done.
2 Sing how eternal love
   Its chief Beloved chose,
   And bid him raise our wretched race
   From their abyss of woes.
3 His hand no thunder bears,
   Nor terror clothes his brow:
   No bolts to drive our guilty souls
   To fiercer flames below.
4 ‘Twas mercy fill’d the throne,
   And wrath stood silent by,
   When Christ was sent with pardons down
   To rebels doom’d to die.
5 Now, sinners, dry your tears,
   Let hopeless sorrows cease;
   Bow to the sceptre of his love,
   And take the offer’d peace.
6 Lord, we obey thy call:
   We lay an humble claim
   To the salvation thou hast brought,
   And love and praise thy name.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

Gospel, Invitations
508 — Come And Welcome <7s., 6 lines.>
1 From the cross uplifted high,
   Where the Saviour deigns to die,
   What melodious sounds I hear,
   Bursting on my ravish’d ear!
   Love’s redeeming work is done;
   Come and welcome, sinner, come.
2 Sprinkled now with blood the throne,
   Why beneath thy burdens groan?
   On my pierced body laid,
   Justice owns the ransom paid.
   Bow the knee, and kiss the Son;
   Come and welcome, sinner, come.
3 Spread for thee the festal board
   See with richest dainties stored;
   To thy Father’s bosom press’d,
   Yet again a child confess’d,
   Never from his house to roam,
   Come and welcome, sinner, come.
                  Thomas Haweis, 1792.

The Christian, Contrite Cries
607 — “Bless Me, Even Me Also, Oh My Father!”
1 Lord, I hear of showers of blessing
      Thou art scattering, full and free;
   Showers, the thirsty land refreshing;
      Let some droppings fall on me,
                                 Even me.
2 Pass me not, oh gracious Father!
      Sinful though my heart may be;
   Thou might’st curse me, but the rather
      Let thy mercy light on me,
                                 Even me.
 3 Pass me not, oh tender Saviour!
      Let me love and cling to thee;
   I am longing for thy favour;
      When thou comest, call for me,
                                 Even me.
 4 Pass me not, oh mighty Spirit!
      Thou canst make the blind to see;
   Witnesser of Jesus’ merit,
      Speak the word of power to me,
                                 Even me.
 5 Have I long in sin been sleeping,
      Long been slighting, grieving thee?
   Has the world my heart been keeping?
      Oh forgive and rescue me,
                                 Even me.
 6 Love of God, so pure and changeless,
      Blood of God, so rich and free,
   Grace of God, so strong and boundless,
      Magnify them all in me,
                                 Even me.
 7 Pass me not, this lost one bringing,
      Satan’s slave thy child shall be,
   All my heart to thee is springing;
      Blessing other, oh bless me,
                                 Even me.
                        Elizabeth Codner, 1860.

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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