2500. Number 2500; Or, Entrance And Exclusion

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No. 2500-43:25. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, May 21, 1885, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, January 17, 1897.

And those who were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. {Mt 25:10}

1. During the waiting period, the wise and foolish virgins seemed very much alike, even as at this day one can hardly discern the false professor from the true. Everything turned on the coming of the bridegroom. To the ten virgins, that was the chief event of the night. If it had not been for his coming, they would not have gone out with their lamps. It was because they knew he would surely come that they prepared themselves to join in the marriage procession, and attend him with their songs to the place of his abode. Yet, for a while, he did not come. The sun had gone down, and darkness had stolen over the whole landscape, but the bridegroom did not come. The dews of night were falling fast, yet still he did not come. The hours were long, and slowly passed away one after another, yet he did not come. It was approaching the middle of the night; the stars were visible, but there was no lingering light of the day remaining. It was the time of darkness, and the eyes of the waiting virgins grew heavy with watching. Why was the bridegroom so long in coming? They had been told to look for him, they had fully expected him; yet he had not come. There were whisperings that it was all a delusion, and that he would never come; and then there was that guilty sense of slumber which stole over them. In the case of some of the ten, their spirit was willing, but their flesh was weak; but in the case of the others, both flesh and spirit were perverse, so that their sleep became very deep, as when a man sleeps even to death.

2. But the bridegroom did come, as brethren, in our case, the Heavenly Bridegroom will come. However long we may have waited for him, let us rest assured that he will come. As surely as he came once, so, “to those who look for him he shall appear the second time without sin to salvation.” It seems to me that it needs less faith to believe in the second Advent of Christ than in his first Advent. He has been here before, so he knows the way to come again. He has been here before, and accomplished a wondrous work; surely, he will come back to receive the reward for his service. The Good Shepherd came to earth once to lay down his life for the sheep; he will surely come again as the Chief Shepherd to reward the under-shepherds who have faithfully kept the night-watches for him. Jesus will come again, as surely as the bridegroom came at the midnight hour.

3. Yes, the bridegroom came. Despite the waiting time, he came; and then came the dreadful separation between those who had been waiting for his appearing. Scarcely by any act of his, the foolish and the wise were separated from each other. They were awakened by the sound of his approach; the herald that preceded him cried, “Behold, the bridegroom comes,” and the sleepers were all aroused. Then the true adherents of the bridegroom, the wise virgins, penitent for their guilty sleep, poured the oil into their lamps, which were burning low, and soon they were blazing up clear and bright. As the bridegroom’s procession came near, “those who were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” But the foolish virgins — those who had despised the secret supplies of oil, — those who had never gone to the Divine Spirit for his matchless grace, — were separated from their wiser companions; not, indeed, by any special act of the bridegroom, but as the natural result of their own unprepared condition. They had to go away to buy oil from those who sold it, and when they came back, it was too late for them to go into the marriage. They came up to the gate of the palace, and found the door firmly closed against them, — shut for ever, — and learned that they must remain in the outer darkness, to weep and lament that they were not found worthy to behold the bridegroom’s face, or to enter into his joy.

4. I am going to talk to you, dear friends, as simply as I can, but with deep soul-earnestness, about the two sets of people mentioned in the text. First, I will speak of the ready, and their entrance: “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.” And, secondly, I will say something about the unready, and their exclusion: “And the door was shut.”

5. I. First, then, let us think of THE READY, AND THEIR ENTRANCE: “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.”

6. Let us meditate a little, first, about the entrance itself, and then talk together about the people who enjoyed it.

7. Concerning their entrance, note that it was immediate on the coming of the bridegroom. As soon as he appeared, there seems to have been no interval, but, at once, “those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.” Beloved friends, the appearing of Christ shall be the glorification of his people. We shall only want to behold his face, and then our bliss shall be perfect and complete. So each believer says with Job, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day on the earth: and though after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” Never entertain the slightest fear of any such purgatorial state as some have begun to dream of again. That lie, which the Reformers rightly called, “purgatory pick-purse,” which filled the pope’s treasury, and was a curse to myriads of immortal souls, was exposed in all its naked ugliness by the light which God gave to Luther and Calvin; yet now, amid the abounding scepticism of these evil days, there is coming back this foul night-bird, or rather, this dragon of the dark ages; and sometimes even the children of God feel the influence of its pestilential presence. Dear Christian friends, do not be afraid of any purgatory. If you die, you shall be absent from the body and present with the Lord at once, for this shall be your blessed portion in Christ. If you are alive and remain until Jesus comes again, your body shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and you shall rise to meet your Lord in the air, and so shall be with him for ever; but if you have fallen asleep in Jesus, those who are alive at his coming shall have no preference over you, but you shall be raised incorruptible, and in the moment of that rising, when your spirit, by the divine fiat, shall have been reunited with your perfectly purified and glorified body, you shall go in with him to the marriage, and be for ever with him and like him. Therefore, do not trouble yourself about what is to happen or what is not to happen. Be confident of this, — if you sleep, you shall sleep in Jesus, and when you wake up, you shall wake up in his likeness, and you shall never be separated from him whose company even now is your highest source of joy, and whose companionship shall be your delight for ever and ever.

8. Notice, next, that the entrance of the wise virgins into the marriage feast was not only immediate, it was also intimate. “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.” I like that expression “with him.” I would not go anywhere without him; and if I may go anywhere with him, wherever he shall lead me, it shall be a happy day for me; and so it shall be for all who love his appearing. You know, beloved, that our Lord Jesus left it in his will that we are to be with him in his glory; listen to this clause out of his last will and testament: “Father, I will that they also, whom you have given to me be with me where I am; so that they may behold my glory.” Oh beloved, you who know what it is to be one with Jesus, crucified with him, risen with him, made to sit together with him in the heavenlies, you, I am sure, will find something more heavenly about heaven than otherwise had been there when that sweet sentence is true of you, “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.” Our Lord Jesus himself shall escort us to our place in glory, he shall conduct us to the sources of highest blessedness, for as the elder said to John in the Revelation, “The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters.” This, it seems to me, is the very centre of the bliss of heaven. Heaven is like the Eshcol cluster of grapes; but the essence, the juice, the sweetness of the cluster, consists in this fact, — that we shall be with Jesus, “for ever with the Lord.” Ah, me! my brethren, how else could we ever hope to go into the marriage, if we did not go in with him, — hidden behind him, covered with his righteousness, washed in his blood? John saw a great multitude, whom no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, and it was of those whom the elder also said, “These are those who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he who sits on the throne shall dwell among them.” No one will object to the entrance into glory of those who go in with him. Even the pure and holy God will not raise any question concerning our entrance, if we enter with his Son. All the demands of divine justice will be fully met by the fact that we go in with him. Covered with his righteousness, adorned with his beauties, inseparably united to his person, the beloved of his heart, we shall go in with him to the marriage, and no one will think of wanting to have us excluded.

9. I am tempted to linger over such a delightful theme as this; but I must not, and I need not, for you can meditate on it to your heart’s content when you are at home. To my mind, there is indescribable sweetness in these words: “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.”

10. Then, next, notice how extremely joyful the entrance was: “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.” It was not their portion to stand outside the door, to listen to the music and enjoy the light that might come streaming through when it was opened for a few seconds; but they “went in with him to the marriage.” It was not the intention of our Lord to tell us in this parable in what capacity the saints shall enter heaven. The parable is meant to teach certain lessons, and it explains them very clearly. If it tried to teach us everything, we might miss the most important lesson of all; but from other passages of Scripture we know that we shall go in with Christ to the marriage, not as mere spectators of his joy, as friends of the Bridegroom who greatly rejoice in his gladness; but we shall go in with him to share his bliss. Always remember that, sinners though we are, and utterly unworthy of so distinguished an honour, the Lord Jesus says to every believing soul, “I have espoused you to myself, to be mine for ever and ever.” Oh, matchless word! You, believer, shall go in with him to that heavenly marriage feast, as part of that wonderful bride, the Lamb’s wife, who is then to find her bliss for ever consummated with her glorious Husband. What a mercy it is to have grace enough to be able to believe this, for it needs much faith to believe that such a distinction shall ever be the lot of those who were once heirs of wrath even as others, and who by their sins have deserved to be cast into the deepest hell! Yet, beloved, there are no heights in heaven which we shall not climb, there are no joys before the throne of which we shall not be partakers, we shall not be present at that wedding feast merely as Christ’s servants, or as onlookers, or as favoured guests; but we shall be there to partake to the full of all the bliss and glory, ourselves all the while the object of that innermost love, that most special, most dear and near and intimate communion with our Beloved. We shall for ever be one with Christ by conjugal bands; indeed, more than that, for even conjugal bands are only used as a humble metaphor of the eternal union between our souls and Christ. “This,” said the apostle Paul, when referring to marriage, “is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage,” right up to the banqueting table, to partake of all the rare dainties gathered from all the ages, brought from all the dominions of the great King, to make a high festival for that greatest of all days for which all other days were made, the day of judgment itself included.

11. Even on earth, we always properly associate the highest degree of joy with a marriage, when it is what it ought to be. If ever there is any joy on earth that belongs naturally to us as beings of flesh and blood, it is on our marriage day. The wedding of a loving couple is looked forward to with great expectations, and often looked back on with fond memories, However much of blight and withering blast may in later life fall on that relationship which is begun on the marriage day, yet the day itself is always the figure and emblem of joy. See, then, what heaven is to be to the people of God; it is a marriage, a perpetual festival, a banishment of everything that is dolorous, a gathering together of all that is joyful. A marriage on earth, — well, we know what that is; but a marriage in heaven, — who can describe that? The marriage of men and women, — we are familiar enough with that; but this union of which I am trying to speak is the marriage of the Christ of God with his redeemed people. Earthly marriage is contracted between two sinners; but this heavenly wedding is the marriage of One, who is all pure and holy, to another, whom he has purified from every stain, or spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, and so made ready for this everlasting union.

12. “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.” These words sound to my ear and heart like the pealing of wedding bells. Listen. These people had been in the battle, fighting as good soldiers of Jesus Christ; but, eventually, they “went in with him to the marriage.” They had been in their Lord’s vineyard, toiling amid the burden and heat of the day; the sun had looked on them, and they were bronzed and browned with the burning heat; but in due time they “went in with him to the marriage.” They had sometimes seen their Lord for a time, and then they had missed him for a while, but they “went in with him to the marriage.” They had even wandered from him sometimes, and darkness had surrounded them; indeed! and they had wickedly fallen asleep when they ought to have watched; but they “went in with him to the marriage.” Oh, the blessedness of being where all evil is for ever ended, and all joy is begun, never to end; all sin and imperfection blotted out by Christ’s precious blood, and all holiness and perfection placed on us for ever and ever! All this and more I read in the words, “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.”

13. Then comes this little sentence, which is so terrible to the ungodly, but, oh! so sweet to the gracious: “And the door was shut.” These words show that the entrance of the righteous into heaven is eternal. The door was shut for two reasons, but chiefly, as I understand it, to shut in the godly; and before that door can be opened to let in the wicked, it will have to be opened to let out the righteous. These two declarations of our Lord stand side by side: “These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.” If you deny the eternity of the one, you must deny the eternity of the other, for it is the same word in each case. You must break down the door which is the security of the saints within, before there can be a change for the ungodly who are outside; and that can never be. The joy of this marriage feast is eternal joy; this is implied in our Saviour’s utterance, “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”

14. I want you, next, to notice who these people were who went in with the Bridegroom. According to the text, they were a prepared people, a people who were ready: “Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage.” There are none among the sons of men who are naturally ready to go into that marriage feast; before they can enter, they must undergo a wondrous change, they must, in fact, be born again. Think for a moment what creatures we are by nature, quite unfit to go in with Christ to the heavenly marriage. Then think of what Christ is, so bright, so pure, so holy, — who is she who is fit to go into heaven, to be for ever with this glorious Bridegroom? Oh my soul, you are only dust and ashes; and your Lord is the Sun of righteousness! Oh my soul, you are, through sin, comparable to a dunghill; and your Saviour is infinite perfection. Can you ever be “ready” to go in with him to the marriage? Not unless that same God, who became man so that he might be a fit Husband for you, shall make you holy, that you may be prepared to be wedded to him for ever.

15. A great change has to be done in you, far beyond any power of yours to accomplish, before you can go in with Christ to the marriage. You must, first of all, be renewed in your nature, or you will not be ready. You must be washed from your sins, or you will not be ready. You must be justified in Christ’s righteousness, and you must put on his wedding dress, or else you will not be ready. You must be reconciled to God, you must be made like God, or you will not be ready. Or, to come to the parable before us, you must have a lamp, and that lamp must be fed with heavenly oil, and it must continue to burn brightly, or else you will not be ready. No child of darkness can go into that place of light. You must be brought out of nature’s darkness into God’s marvellous light, or else you will never be ready to go in with Christ to the marriage, and to be for ever with him.

16. Brethren beloved in the Lord, please examine often your readiness to go into the marriage. Are you all ready now? If, at this moment, the archangel’s trumpet voice should sound, or if now, as recently happened to certain dear friends of ours, you should be struck down with paralysis or a stroke, and in a moment pass away, are you ready for the great change? Are you quite ready to go in with Christ to the marriage? I would advise you, not only to be ready in all the great things, but to be ready also in the little things, and in everything that concerns yourself in relationship to your Lord. Perhaps you have not yet publicly put on Christ in baptism. Then, in that respect, you are not ready. Do not delay obedience to Christ’s command, remembering his own words, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” With your mouth confess the Lord Jesus, if with your heart you have believed in him. Disregard no commands of Christ. Perhaps you have never yet been to his table of communion. If that is the case, I do not think you can call yourself “ready” to go in with him to the marriage. Perhaps you call these things little matters, and they are small compared with that greater matter of which I have already spoken. But I would not wish you to die with a single command of Christ’s neglected. You have not prayed with your boys and girls yet, have you? Well, then, you are not ready. You have not made your will, you have not set your house in order; I would have you get all such things quite ready, for a little unreadiness may greatly trouble you in your departing moments. You have not yet fulfilled what has been very nearly a vow towards God; you have not yet done what you ought to do of your work for the present generation; you have not yet been to that ungodly friend, and warned him, as your heart a little while ago prompted you to do. I would like to have you, my brother, or sister, in such a state that, if you fell down dead on your way home tonight, others might regret it, but you would be thankful that for you sudden death was sudden glory. Mr. Whitfield used to say that he did not like to go to sleep at night if he had left his gloves out of his hat where he might find them in the morning. It is delightful to feel, “All is right between God and my soul, between myself and my wife and my children and all my surroundings. Now let death come when it will. Let the sweet chariot swing low, — as the Jubilee Singers’ song quaintly put it, — and let it bear my soul away up to the heavenly country where I shall go in with him to the marriage.”

17. Be ready, dear friends, be ready; especially be ready in the great matter of salvation; but see that you are ready in everything. You know that when you are going to see a very special friend, or some person of importance, you put on your best coat and everything that will make you ready to see him; but, afterwards, when you get near the friend’s door, or the great man’s mansion, I notice that you brush off any little dust from the street that may have been blown on your clothes, and so you get quite ready to meet him when he appears. So, in spiritual affairs, even if you have on your best robe, yet still there may be a little brushing needed, and I would have you do it, so that it may be said of you without anything to qualify it, “those who were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”

18. I read, in an American tract, a little sketch written by a gentleman who, having often to cross the Great Lakes, was in the habit of providing himself with a life-jacket in case of need. One night, while he was asleep, an alarm was raised, and he rushed on deck with his life-jacket on him, but found that there was no cause for fear. He went downstairs again, and as he lay in bed he had something like a dream, though it was really a waking reverie, and it took this form. He thought he was on board the great vessel in which all of us are floating on the broad sea of time, and that a great and terrible storm came up. There were some men on deck, with life-jackets on them; they had been laughed at while the weather was calm and the sea was smooth; but, as they stood there, with the vessel rocking, and the timbers straining, there were none to mock them, but many who greatly envied the quiet peacefulness which rested on their countenances. You know who those men are, and what their protection is. Faith in Jesus is the great life-jacket; let the tempest come whenever it may, faith in Christ will enable us to swim through every flood until we reach the happy shores of heaven.

19. As this gentleman stood on the deck, and looked around him, he heard one man say, “I was going to buy one of those life-jackets; I lived just opposite the shop where they were sold; and I was often told by friends that I had better get one at once, and I meant to; but I put it off, and started out just a little too late to get it, so I was obliged to come without it, though I meant to have one.” The gentleman saw this man washed overboard, as were the others who did not have a life-jacket, and his good intention could not save him. No doubt there are many here who have intended to get the spiritual life-jacket, and they intend to do so now, so they say. Ah! heaven is being filled with people who have believed in Jesus, and hell is being filled with people who intended to believe in Jesus, but did not. That is the difference between the two classes, but what a difference it will make between them when they come to die! These are the people who crowd the corridors of perdition, men and women who intended to trust the Saviour, but who never did it. They lived just opposite the places where these life-jackets were to be had, and they intended to get them, but they did not have them when the last great storm came up, and so they were lost, and lost for ever!

20. There was another man who said, “I have been across this sea so often without a life-jacket that I thought I would run the risk once more.” He, too, was washed away; and there are some of you, my hearers, who say, “I have lived twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years, and I am not dead yet; I will run the risk for another year.” Really, nowadays, no one seems to grow old. You meet a man of seventy-five or eighty, and he thinks that he will be old some day, but he has known someone who lived until he was ninety-nine, and he thinks he shall reach the same age. I have heard of an aged farmer who wanted to buy his neighbour’s field. He was eighty, and his neighbour was five years younger; so, when his neighbour would not sell him the land, he said to him, “All, well! never mind; you are an old man, and I can buy it when you are dead!” That is just the way people talk. “All men think all men mortal but themselves.” Here was a man who was five years older than the other, yet he was going to buy the field after the younger man was dead! It is such people who say, “I have been sailing over this sea so long without a life-jacket, I will risk it just a little longer.” So, they also are lost!

21. There was another man, who ran to his trunk to get his life-jacket out; he pulled up the lid, and took out the life-jacket, but he found it was defective and quite useless. The fact was, it was a bad one when he bought it; and after carrying it around with him for a little while, he became weary of such a useless appendage, so he threw it into his trunk, and now that he really needed preservation from the storm, it was of no use to him. You are here, sir, I know you! You used to make a profession of religion; you had a life-jacket once, so you thought; but it was not a good one, or you would still have it now. It was one that looked just like the real thing, and you wore it for a while. You used to be at the prayer meeting, you even became a member of the church, you carried your religion for a time, but what has become of it now? Where were you last night? I repeat the question, — Where were you last night? If the devil had laid hold on you, and taken you down to his own dominions, there would have been no one who would have cried, “Stop, thief!” when he flew away with you, for they would have known that he was only taking his own property, which he had found on his own premises. Yet you did once make a profession of religion, you used to sit at the communion table, possibly you were even baptized; but where is your life-jacket now? It is gone! May God save you, who have become backsliders, lest you also prove to be apostates! If you have turned back, then return, return, return, while there is still time, while there is still hope for you; and if you never were converted, may God begin the gracious work within you even now!

22. There was another one on board who had a life-jacket, and he seemed very pleased when he put it on, but when the waves washed him off the vessel he floated for a few moments, and then down he sank. The fact was, his life-jacket was a counterfeit; someone had told him that the other kind was so very expensive, and here was one that looked even better. True, there was a whisper that it would not pass the required tests; but the man did not care much about that, for his life-jacket looked as good as the genuine one, and he had the credit of standing with those sensible people who had the real thing, so it served very well until he came into the surging sea. So there may be some of you here who have counterfeit life-jackets. You are members of the church, you come to the communion table, and everyone respects you. Ah! but, with a sham religion, how will you fare in the swelling of Jordan? What will you do when heart and flesh fail? Oh! before it is too late, may God take away from you the sham, and give you genuine godliness, — a new heart and a right spirit!

23. As the gentleman looked around him, he saw yet another of the passengers, — a young man who was clinging to someone else who had a life-jacket on. He was crying to him, “Let me hang onto you; will your life-jacket not be sufficient to sustain both of us?” But the other answered, “It will only suffice for one; it will only keep one afloat.” Then the gentleman thought of our Saviour’s parable of the ten virgins, and of what the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” But the wise answered, “Not so; lest there is not enough for both of us.” So let us remember that nothing but personal piety will avail, the religion of another can be of no value to you. Our Lord’s message to all is, “You must be born again,” and there is no such thing as being born again by proxy. You must flee to Jesus for refuge, and there is no one who can do this for you. You must, by the Holy Spirit’s power, trust in Christ for yourselves; no one can believe for you.

24. I rejoice that there are so many here who have on the genuine gospel life-jacket. Standing in Christ Jesus, they are not afraid.

    No condemnation do they dread.
       For Jesus is their all.

They can without a tremor face floods or flames, and the devouring deep; they can even be —

    “Fearless of hell and ghastly death,”

knowing that they shall be safely landed on heaven’s peaceful shore, to go out no more for ever.

25. II. I am almost thankful that I have only a few minutes to spend on the second part of my subject, — THE UNREADY AND THEIR EXCLUSION. I will try to say much in a few words, and I ask you to let every word stick with you.

26. What, then, was this exclusion? “The door was shut.” It was not ajar, it was shut, and it was closed so tightly that there was a complete severance between the guests inside and the too-late foolish virgins outside.

27. Yet, this severance was perfectly just. The foolish virgins ought to have been there in time, they ought to have gone in with the bridegroom; was it not their very duty to attend him, and accompany him home? The time for entering in had fully come; it was the right and proper time. The bridegroom had given them all that night to get ready, and they had even complained about the length of the delay before he came, so when the door was at last shut, it was very late. They had had all that time in which to get the oil, and to trim their lamps. It was not as though the bridegroom had come in the first watch of the night, and they had said, “We did not have time to trim our lamps.” No, it was not so. So dear friends, you have had all this life, all these years of your Lord’s longsuffering and patient entreaty; and it will be just that the door should be shut when your last hour shall come. Oh, be wise before it is too late!

28. When “the door was shut,” the exclusion was final. In all my searchings of the Word, I have never found any kind of hope that the door, once shut, will ever be opened again. There may be a “larger hope” indulged in by some, but I implore you never to risk your souls on that rotten plank, for there is no scriptural warrant for it whatever. Even if there were, what larger hope do you want than what the gospel itself affords? Why do you not get ready to enter in with Christ to the marriage? Why be left to wait outside? What is there in the cold midnight that should tempt you to delay with the risk of never being able to enter the door? If there were any such larger hope as deludes so many, it still must be a desperate risk to trust in it. They also who talk about annihilation, or reincarnation, at any rate offer you nothing that ought to charm you away from immediate faith in Christ and immediate and everlasting salvation by him. So far as you yourself are concerned, it should cease to be an awful thing that, in the world to come, “There are no acts of pardon passed.” Why should you throw away the certainty of a present salvation and immediate deliverance from the curse, which you may have at this moment, — which you shall have at once if you believe in Jesus, — under some foolish dream that perhaps the door of mercy may open after ages of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth? No, rather, be ready to enter in with Christ to the marriage, for, as the Lord lives, I cannot clear my soul of all responsibility unless I tell you that, as I read the Bible more and more, I am more and more certain that, when that door has once been shut, it will never again be opened to any living soul. Where death meets you, judgment will find you, and you will remain there for all eternity. Please, do not risk your eternal destiny, but “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near: 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.”

29. Who were these people who were shut out when the door was closed? They bore the name of virgins, yet the door was shut against them. They were not rank outsiders, not mere tramps of the street; not infidels, not agnostics, but members of the church. They were called virgins, yet the door was shut against them; they also had lamps, and lamps that once burned as brightly as others. There was, for a while, no difference between the lustre of their lamps and the lustre of the wisest, yet they were shut out. They had at least some oil, they were for a time companions of the wise virgins, they went out with them to meet the bridegroom, and the wise virgins, probably, never suspected that these others were foolish until, in the middle of the night, they found out too late that their lamps were going out. Oh sirs, oh sirs, shall we drink out of the same communion cup, and eat the same bread at the Lord’s table, and be reminded of his broken body and his shed blood, and yet, shall some of us be shut in with God for ever, and shall some of you be shut out for ever because you have not received the Holy Spirit, because you do not have the secret inward supply of the oil of grace? May God prevent it by his grace!

30. Notice that these people acted in much the same way as those acted who went in with the bridegroom. They went out to meet the bridegroom, they went on the same road and at the same rate as the others went; they went to sleep, alas! as the others went to sleep; they awoke as the others awoke; and they began to trim their lamps as the others were trimming theirs. Their mark seemed to be the mark of God’s children, and they appeared to have many of the marks of the election of grace; yet they were not of it, nor in it, for they had no oil in their vessels with their lamps, no grace, no indwelling of the Holy Spirit, no supernatural operation of him who works in the saints to will and to do his own good pleasure. They were so like the real bride of Christ that only the Bridegroom could tell the difference until the midnight came, and then the difference was apparent to all observers.

31. It seems to me also that these people, who were shut out, were people who knew something about prayer. They did not, that night, for the first time pick up the agonized cry, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” They had probably been habitués of prayer meetings, they had been where people called Christ “Lord,” and they used that formula themselves. Perhaps they might have said, “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?” Yet the door was shut against them, and they, outside, knew something of what was going on inside, and therefore would gnash their teeth all the more because they could not enter. The door was shut against those who had seen the light, but whose lamps had gone out. They had been carrying in their hand the very lamps which entitled them to claim a place in the procession, but those lamps had gone out; and therefore they were not entitled to any such place, and the door was shut against them. Oh you who are only professors of religion, will you shut yourselves outside the door of mercy? You will do so if you neglect to obtain that secret oil of grace which can only be supplied by the Holy Spirit.

32. Before another Sabbath comes around, your preacher may be suddenly struck down, as one of our brethren has been; I may never have another opportunity of speaking to you who are professors, and warning you to make sure that you are also possessors, and that you really have the grace of God in your souls. Or, possibly, some of you may be taken away without a moment’s warning, as one of our friends has been. Suppose that then you could turn around on me, in another world, and say, “Preacher, we heard you again and again, we listened to all that came from your lips, we even came out on Thursday nights to listen to you, yet you prophesied smooth things to us, and you said, ‘Peace, peace, when there was no peace.’ ” I pray God that I may have no man’s blood on the skirts of my garments in that last tremendous day, and therefore I warn you now to escape from the wrath to come. Flee to Christ, flee to his dear cross, and look up to his bleeding wounds, for —

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

Flee from your sins, flee from yourselves. Flee from any worldly pursuits which entangle you, and put your trust in Jesus Christ and him crucified, and from your heart say, —

    Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
    My beauty are, my glorious dress,

“I will go in with you to the marriage, and when the door is shut, I shall be on the right side of it, —

    Far from a world of grief and sin,
    With God eternally shut in.”

May the Lord save us all, for his name’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — The Lord Shall Come” 364}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — An Admonition” 365}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “New Year — Watchnight” 1043}

N. B. — This Sermon is No. 2500 in the regular weekly issue, which has been continued without interruption for more than forty-two years. It is especially suitable for wide-spread distribution among the unsaved, and forms a fitting companion to the following discourses previously published in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit.

 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1000 “Bread Enough And To Spare.” 991}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1500 “Lifting Up The Bronze Serpent” 1500}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2000 “Healing By The Stripes of Jesus” 2001}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2400 “Escape For your Life!” 2401}
 All these are admirably adapted for circulation at or before
 evangelistic services, and also for personal presentation to the
 anxious or the careless.

 Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster will be pleased to supply quantities
 at reduced prices, or they can be obtained through all booksellers.


Jesus Christ, Second Advent
364 — The Lord Shall Come
1 The Lord shall come! the earth shall quake;
   The mountains to their centre shake;
   And, withering from the vault of night,
   The stars shall pale their feeble light.
2 The Lord shall come! but not the same
   As once in lowliness he came;
   A silent lamb before his foes,
   A weary man, and full of woes.
3 The Lord shall come! a dreadful form,
   With rainbow wreath and robes of storm;
   On cherub wings, and wings of wind,
   Appointed Judge of all mankind.
4 Can this be he, who wont to stray
   A pilgrim on the world’s highway,
   Oppress’d by power, and mock’d by pride
   The Nazarene — the Crucified?
5 While sinners in despair shall call,
   “Rocks, hide us; mountains, on us fall!”
   The saints, ascending from the tomb,
   Shall joyful sing, “The Lord is come!”
                     Reginald Heber, 1811;
                     Thomas Cotterhill, 1815.


Jesus Christ, Second Advent
365 — An Admonition
1 How will my heart endure
      The terrors of that day;
   When earth and heaven, before his face,
      Astonish’d shrink away?
2 But ere that trumpet shakes
      The mansions of the dead;
   Hark, from the gospel’s gentle voice,
      What joyful tidings spread!
3 Ye sinners, seek his grace,
      Whose wrath ye cannot bear;
   Fly to the shelter of his cross,
      And find salvation there
4 So shall that curse remove,
      By which the Saviour bled;
   And the last awful day shall pour
      His blessings on your head.
                     Philip Doddridge, 1755.


New Year
1043 — Watchnight
1 Ye virgin souls, arise,
      With all the dead awake!
      Unto salvation wise,
      Oil in your vessels take:
   Upstarting at the midnight cry,
   “Behold your heavenly Bridegroom nigh!”
2 He comes, he comes, to call
      The nations to his bar,
      And raise to glory all
      Who fit for glory are:
   Make ready for your full reward;
   Go forth with joy to meet your Lord.
3 Go, meet him in the sky;
      Your everlasting Friend:
      Your Head to glorify,
      With all his saints ascend:
   Ye pure in heart, obtain the grace
   To see, without a veil, his face.
4 The everlasting doors
      Shall soon the saints receive,
      Above yon angel-powers
      In glorious joy to live!
   Far from a world of grief and sin,
   With God eternally shut in.
5 Then let us wait to hear
      The trumpet’s welcome sound;
      To see our Lord appear,
      Let us be watching found,
   When Jesus doth the heavens bow,
   Be found — as, Lord, thou find’st us now!
                     Charles Wesley, 1749.

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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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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