2528. Eating The Sacrifice

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No. 2528-43:361. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, March 30, 1884, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, August 1, 1897.

And they shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat them, because they are holy. {Ex 29:33}

1. On the two previous Sabbath mornings, I have spoken concerning the sacrifices under the law. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1771, “Putting The Hand On The Head Of The Sacrifice” 1772} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No 1772, “Slaying The Sacrifice” 1773} Now we are to make an advance, and to speak about the eating of the sacrifice, for in certain cases the offerer ate a portion of what had been presented to God. It has been said by some people, who are very particular in drawing fine distinctions, that there was no eating of a sacrifice in which there was any connection with sin. I beg to differ from that opinion, and I have shown you that every sacrifice had something to do with sin, since no sacrifice would have been needed if the man bringing it had not been a sinner; and here, in this case, I might have selected many texts to teach the truth I want to bring out just now, but I have especially chosen this one because it says, “They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made.” You all know that a covering is only needed for those who are naked, or who have something that requires to be hidden; so, the atonement, or the covering, is evidently intended for the guilty, and has something to do with sin; yet of the things with which the atonement was made Aaron’s sons were to eat, so that there is to be an eating, a joyful reception into ourselves even of those things which have a connection with the putting away of sin.

2. The first thing that an offerer did with his victim when he brought it, was to appropriate it to himself by laying his hands on it. So, when a sinner comes to Christ, his first act is to lay his hands on Christ, so that Christ may be shown to belong to the sinner, and that the sinner’s guilt may be transferred to Christ, and borne by him as the sinner’s Substitute. In later life, we are continually to look to Christ, and by faith to lay our hand on him; but we are to advance to an even more living and more intensely spiritual way of appropriating him for ourselves. This is indicated in the text by eating.

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

but, after you have begun to live, the substance of that life comes through feeding on the sacrifice. The first appropriation — the laying on of the hands, — is an outward act; but the subsequent appropriation — feeding on the sacrifice, taking it into yourself, — is altogether an inward matter. You who are not yet saved do not presently have anything to do with this eating of the sacrifice; your first business is to look to Jesus, — not so much spiritually to enjoy him as, by faith, to look to him as outside of you, to be regarded by the eye of faith while you, a poor guilty sinner, simply look to him, and find salvation in him. It is afterwards, when you shall have made some advance in the divine life, when you shall have clearly seen the Victim sacrificed, and his blood making an atonement for your sins, that you shall come and feed on Jesus Christ. At the time of the passover, the Jew must first take the lamb, and kill it, and sprinkle the blood on the lintel and the two side-posts of his house; and after that he must go inside, and when the door is shut, feed on that lamb whose blood is sprinkled outside. He must eat the passover supper so that he may be refreshed before starting on his journey through the wilderness. Do not let this distinction be forgotten; the eating of the sacrifice is not intended to give life, for no dead man can eat, but to sustain the life which is already there. A believing look at Christ makes you live, but spiritual life must be fed and sustained, and the feeding of that life is explained by our Saviour in the words I read to you just now, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed,” spiritual food and spiritual drink to support the spiritual life which God has given. Hence it was ordained, even under the law, that after the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify the priests, they were to come, and sit down, and “eat those things with which the atonement was made.”

3. I. The first thing about which I have to speak to you at this time is, THE PARTICIPATION, — the eating of the sacrifice.

4. So, first, I will describe it. We are to “eat those things with which the atonement was made,” to participate in Christ, to take him into ourselves. The act of eating is a very common but a very expressive method of demonstrating participation, for it is entirely personal. No one can eat for you, or drink for you; it is personally for yourself that you partake of bread, and the bread goes into yourself, to build yourself up, to be assimilated by yourself into yourself so as to become part of yourself; and, dear friend, the Lord Jesus Christ must be received into your heart and soul by yourself, for yourself, and must remain within you, you exercising on him continually a blessed act of faith by which you have communion and fellowship with him. This cannot be done by any sponsor, or any proxy, or through any means; it must be done personally, directly, and distinctly, by yourself. May God help you to receive Christ into yourself! That point, surely, is plain enough; just as a man himself receives food into himself, to become part of himself, so must you and I receive the Lord Jesus into ourselves, for ourselves, to be interwoven with ourselves, so that we two shall be one.

5. This participation is not only personal, but it is distinctly inward. There is no receiving Christ by any exercise of the flesh, by anything that we can do externally; it is within that we are to receive Christ, with our heart, with our spirit. We are not to regard him only on the cross, but as formed in us the hope of glory, as coming into us to sit as King on his throne, and to reign within us; for it is into our innermost nature that we are to receive the blessed truth concerning Christ and his atonement.

6. And it is an active reception, too. A man can receive some things into himself passively. Oil may penetrate into his flesh; certain drugs may be injected beneath the skin, and so may permeate the blood; but eating is an active exercise, a thing done by a man, not in his sleep, but with the full intent that he may receive into himself what he eats. So must you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, feeding on him willingly, actively taking him into yourself with the full consent and power of your whole being.

7. You know, also, that eating arises from a sense of need, and it leads to a sense of satisfaction. Most people eat because they are hungry, though I suppose there are some who eat simply because the time has come, whether they need food or not. I have heard that the best time for a poor man to have his dinner occurs when he can get it, and that the best time for a rich man to have his dinner occurs when he wants it; and I think there is something in the saying. In this spiritual feeding, if you will feed on Christ when you can get him, you may begin at once. What is needed in most cases is an appetite; but when a man has an appetite for Christ, when he says, “I must have pardon, for I am a sinner; I must have a renewed heart, for I have an evil one; I must have spiritual life, for I am in a state of spiritual death,” then he has the appetite which only Christ can satisfy. Then, when he receives Christ into his heart, there follows a sense of satisfaction, as you have sometimes seen in the case of a person who has enjoyed a good meal. He wants no more; he lies down, and is perfectly content. Oh, but what a satisfaction Christ brings to the soul that feeds on him! When you have fed on him, dear friends, how full you have become, — not to excess, for the more you receive of him the more he will enlarge your capacity, — but you have received him to the fulness of satisfaction. Do you remember that Psalm where David says, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips?” Oh, yes! and it is so with us when we receive Christ into our hearts then we are filled to the full; and this is the kind of participation which is meant in our text. We are to “eat those things with which the atonement was made,” we are to receive Christ personally, inwardly, actively, because of our soul’s hunger, and that our feeding on him may lead to an intense satisfaction with him. Do you want another Saviour, you who have received Christ Jesus into your souls? I know that you do not. Is there something, after all, that you desire to add to the blessed Lord and his divine work? I know that there is not, for, “you are complete in him,” — perfectly satisfied with Christ Jesus, filled up to the brim with all spiritual blessings.

8. So I have tried to describe this participation, now I want you to practise it. Notice that the text says, “They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made.” Among “those things” there was flesh, there was bread in the basket, and so forth; and they were to eat of all those things. I gather from this injunction that you and I must endeavour to feed on all that makes up the atonement, and all that is connected with the atonement. For example, let us feed on the Father’s love that gave the Lord Jesus Christ to bleed and die. Then let us feed on the fact of the divine person of the Lord Jesus. Oh, what a blessed loaf that is! What is the use of a Saviour to me if he is not divine? I am sure that nothing short of Deity can ever save such a soul as mine from the sin in which it is found; but Christ is “very God of very God,” so I feed on that glorious truth. Will you not do the same, dear friends? Then feed on the fact of his perfect humanity, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, of a human mother born, as certainly man as we are. Oh, there is many a satisfying meal in the blessed doctrine of the true and indisputable humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ!

9. Then, when you have fed on Christ’s deity and humanity, feed on the willingness with which he came to save us. Long before he was born into this world, his delights were with the sons of men, and he looked forward with joy to the time of his appearing. “Lo I come”: he said, “in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do your will, oh my God.” In the fulness of time he came, leaping over the mountains, skipping over the hills, so that he might save his people. It is no unwilling Saviour who has come to save you and me, beloved. Feed on that sweet truth. Think of the love that lay behind it all, the love he had for his Church and people, which moved him to lay aside all his glory, and take on himself all our shame, to surrender the ineffable splendour of his throne to be nailed up to the shameful cross. Oh brethren, there is a great feast for the soul in the love of Christ! This is “butter in a lordly dish.” There was never such wine, even at a king’s marriage, as what Christ himself made, and we can truly say to him, “You have kept the best wine until now.”

10. Indeed, but I believe that there is food for us at every stage of the Redeemer’s passion. There are sweet fruits to be gathered even in dark Gethsemane; there are precious clusters of the vine to be found at Gabbatha, the pavement where the cruel scourges made the sacred drops to roll. What food there is for our souls on Calvary! Every item of our Lord’s death is sacred; we would not omit any of the details of his suffering, for some strike one mind, and some strike another; but if we could go through the whole history of our Saviour, from the agony in Gethsemane until he said, “It is finished,” we should find all the way full of food for our souls. Where are there such pastures as those which grow on Calvary? Sharon, you are altogether outdone! Oh plains that fed the flocks of old, you are barren compared with this little hill on which the Saviour poured out his soul to death! Try, dear Christian friends, to feed on all these things. I cannot detain you to do it now, but at such times as you can get an hour, or even a few minutes, say to yourself, “This is all spiritual food for me. I am to feed on ‘those things with which the atonement was made.’ ”

11. Before I pass on to the second division, I want to tell you one thing more about this participation which, I think, ennobles it, and lifts it altogether out of the commonplace, namely, that this feeding of the priests — or, if you turn to the peace offering, the feeding of the offerer himself — on the sacrifice, was in fellowship with God. When the sacrifice was offered, a part of it was burned on the altar; that was God’s portion. The altar represented God, and the Lord received the portion that was consumed by the fire. In the text before us, we see that the priest was also to take his share; it was a part of the same sacrifice, so both God and the priest fed on it. You and I, beloved, are to feed with God on Christ. That is a blessed sentence in the parable of the prodigal son where the father said, “Let us eat, and be merry.” The father feeds, and the family feed with him: “Let us eat, and be merry.” Oh, it is indeed joyful for us to remember that the Father finds satisfaction in the work and merit, the life and death of the Only-Begotten! God is well pleased with Jesus, for he has magnified the law, and made it honourable; and what satisfies the heart of God is passed on to satisfy you and me. Oh, to think of our being entertained in such a way as this! You remember that it is said of the elders, who went up with Moses and Aaron into the mount, that “they saw God, and ate and drank”; and surely, we are as favoured as they were, for now in Christ Jesus we behold the reconciled God, and we eat and drink with him; and while the Father smiles because the work of atonement is finished, we sit down, and we rejoice, too. Even we poor weeping sinners wipe our tears away, and sing, —

    Bless’d be the Father, and his love,
       To whose celestial source we owe
    Rivers of endless joy above,
       And rills of comfort here below.

If God is content, so are we. If the Judge of all the earth says, “It is enough,” we also say, “It is enough.” Our conscience echoes to the verdict of the Eternal. Christ has finished the transgression, and made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and therefore we enjoy the sweetest imaginable rest in him. The Father’s delight is in him, and so is ours. Oh, who among us who knows the Lord Jesus, will stand back for a moment from this blessed eating with God? “They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them.”

12. II. This brings me to my second point, which is an advance on the former one, namely, THE OFFICIAL CHARACTER OF THIS PARTICIPATION. In this particular form, the participation was only for the priests.

13. Now, notice this. The child of God, when he is first converted, does not know much about being a priest, he does not know much about doing anything for Christ. I heard of a good Scottish woman, whose style of speech I cannot imitate, but I like the sense of it. Someone said to her, “How long have you been a servant of the Lord?” She said, “Nay, nay, but he has been a servant to me, for does he not say, ‘I am among you as he who serves?’ ” “Ah!” replied the other, “that is true; but, still, you have served the Lord.” “Yes,” she answered, “but it is such poor work I have ever done that I do not like to think of having done anything at all for him; and I would rather talk about how long he has been doing something for me, than how long I have been doing anything for him.” That is quite true; yet, inasmuch as the Lord Jesus Christ died for us, we consider that we all died, and that he died for us so that we henceforth should live, not for ourselves, but for him; and so we do. If the Lord has really blessed us with his love, we have begun to be priests, and we have begun to serve him.

14. Now the priest, because he is a priest, is the man who must take care that he feeds on the sacrifice. But how are we priests? I am not now talking about ministers, I am talking about all of you who love the Lord. Christ has made all of us, who believe in him, to be kings and priests to God; there is no priesthood in the world that is of God except the high priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and, next to that, the priesthood which is common to all believers; and the idea of there being any priesthood on earth above and beyond the priesthood of all believers, is a false one, and there is no Scripture whatever to vindicate it, to justify it, or even to apologize for it, it is one of the lies of old Rome. All believers are priests, but they do not all fully recognise that great truth. It is a pity they do not believe that glorious fact, and so join in the apostle John’s doxology, “To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

15. Being priests, they are, first of all, to offer themselves. What does the apostle say? “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Now, you will never do this unless you feed on Christ. I shall never be myself a sacrifice to God unless my soul is nourished on the true and living sacrifice, Christ Jesus my Lord. To attempt sanctification apart from justification, is to attempt an impossibility; and to endeavour to lead a holy life apart from the work of Christ, is an idle dream. You priests who offer yourselves to God must take care that it is all done through Christ who is in you.

16. Next, as priests, we are to intercede for others. A priest was chosen to offer prayer for others, and every Christian ought to pray for those who are all around him; but you will never be men of prayer unless you feed on Christ, I am sure of that. If Christ is not in your heart, intercessory prayer will not be in your mouths. You will never be true pleaders with God for men unless you are yourselves true feeders on the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

17. A true priest is, next, to be a teacher. The prophet Micah said, “The priest’s lips should keep knowledge”; and so it should be with all Christians. They are to teach others. But you cannot teach others what you do not know yourselves; and unless you are first partakers of the fruits, you will never be able to sow the seed. You must feed on Christ in your innermost soul, or else you will never speak of him with any power to others.

18. Priests, again, were chosen from among men to have compassion on the ignorant, and on such as were out of the way. That is your duty, too, as Christians, to look after the weak ones and the wandering ones, and to have compassion on them; but, unless you live by faith on the compassionate Saviour, you will never keep up the life of compassion in your own soul. If Christ is not in you, neither will you be in the spirit of Christ, full of love for such as need your help; but, coming fresh from communion with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, your words of consolation will sweetly drop into afflicted hearts, and will comfort them. You will have the tongue of an instructed one, and be able to speak words seasonable and sweet to those who are weary. Take care, then, that you feed on Christ.

19. I believe, also, that a Christian man is to act as a priest for a dumb world, and to express the worship of creation. It is he who is to chant creation’s hymn; it is his voice that must lift up the hallelujahs of the universe. The world lacks a tongue. That sea, with all its rolling billows, still does not speak a word articulately; and those stars, with all their brilliance, cannot proclaim the glory of God in human language, or, indeed, in any language at all. “There is no speech, nor language; their voice is not heard.” Nor can the sweet flowers, nor even the birds, in actual language tell of him who made them, and express their gratitude to him; but you and I have a tongue, which is the glory of our being, and with that tongue we are to open our mouths for the dumb, and speak the praises of God for all creation. Take care that you do it; before you lies the world, like a great organ, all ready to sound out the sweetest music, but it cannot play itself. Those little hands of yours, if they are instinct with heavenly life, are to be laid among the keys, and you are to draw out strains of mighty hallelujahs to him who has made all things, and sustains all things by the power of his hand. Feed on Christ, and you will be able to do this, for he speaks to reveal God, and he becomes the tongue of men for the Father. Live on him, and you shall learn the art of speaking for creation for the Creator.

20. III. Now I am finished when I have very solemnly noticed, in the third place, THE ABSOLUTE PROHIBITION: “They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made; … but” — “ but a stranger shall not eat them, because they are holy.”

21. Who was “a stranger” in such a case as this? Everyone was a stranger, in the matter of the priests, except those who belonged to the priests; and strangers might not partake of the sacrifices with the priests. The prohibition is clearly given in the twenty-second chapter of Leviticus: “No stranger shall eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest,” — that is, a mere guest, — “or a hired servant, shall not eat from the holy thing.” {Le 22:10} Listen: you who only come into the house of God just to look on, you who do not belong to the family, but are only sojourners, — welcome as sojourners, — you may not eat from the holy thing. You cannot enjoy Christ, you cannot feed on the precious truth connected with him, for you are only a sojourner. I am very sorry, on the first Sabbath night in the month, and I think that some of you must feel very sorry and sad, too. There is to be the communion, the Lord’s supper; you have been hearing the sermon, but you have to go away from the table, or else to take your place among the spectators. You are only sojourners, you do not belong to the family, and dare not profess that you do; you are only a sojourner, or a stranger.

22. And it was the same in the case of a hired servant, he might not eat from the holy thing; and he who only follows Christ for what he can get out of him, he who works for Christ with the idea of meriting salvation, hoping that he may earn enough to save himself by his works, is only like a priest’s hired servant. He says, “I do my best, and I believe that I shall go to heaven.” Yes, just so; you are a hired servant, even though heaven seems to be the wage you are expecting; and you may not eat from the holy thing.

23. Now notice what is written in Leviticus: “But if the priest buys any person with his money, he shall eat it.” {Le 22:11} Is that not a blessing? If the Lord Jesus Christ has bought you with his precious blood, and you by faith recognise yourself as not your own, but bought with a price, then you may eat from the sacrifice. “If the priest buys any person with his money,” — it may be a very insignificant person, someone for whom you and I would not give twopence, — but if the great High Priest has bought any soul with his money, “he shall eat from it.”

24. “And he who is born in his house, shall eat from his food.” There is the doctrine of regeneration, as the former part of the verse spoke of redemption. If you have been born again, and are no more in the house of Satan, but in the house of the great High Priest, you may come and eat from this spiritual food. If you have the blood-mark, having been bought by Christ, and if you have the life-mark, having been quickened by the Spirit, and born into the family of Christ, then come along with you. Though least and weakest of them all, come and welcome.

25. Listen to this next verse: “If the priest’s daughter also is married to a stranger, she may not eat from an offering of the holy things.” She is the priest’s daughter, notice that; no one denies that, and shall not the child partake with the father? No, not if she is married to a stranger; she bears her husband’s characteristics now, she has given herself up to him; she is no longer her father’s, she belongs to her husband. Oh, is there anyone here who once made a profession of religion, but who has gone aside? Have you gotten married to the world? Have you gotten married to amusements and Sabbath breaking? Have you gotten married right away from the Priest, your Father, — right away from the Church of Christ, — right away from the people of God? Then you cannot eat from the holy thing.

26. Yet listen to one other verse: “But if the priest’s daughter is a widow, or divorced, and has no child, and is returned to her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat from her father’s food; but no stranger shall eat from it.” Perhaps there is someone here who says, “I am a widow.” I do not mean that your natural husband is dead, but that the world has become dead to you. You went and married into the world for wealth, and you have lost it; you are poor now, riches are dead to you. You used to be such a fine woman, but now your face has lost its appeal, your beauty is dead. Everyone used to admire your talent; but you do not have any talent now, and they all give you the cold shoulder. Ah, well, I am not sorry that the world has cast you out, and cast you off! Perhaps the men of the world have said concerning you, “We will have no more to do with him.” You are divorced, you see. Long ago, I was divorced from the world; I got a bill of divorcement pretty quickly when I began to preach the gospel in London. If it were worth while, I could relate some of the cruel and false things that men said; according to them, I was the biggest charlatan and the greatest hypocrite and deceiver who ever lived. That was my bill of divorcement; the world said, “We are finished with you”; and I replied, “I am finished with you”; and so we parted. There were not many words on my part, but there were a great many on theirs. Well, if it is so with you, if you feel that the world is finished with you, and you are finished with the world, and you are willing to come back to your Father’s house, just as in the days of your youth, come along with you; come in, and eat from his dainties, feed on Christ on earth by faith, and then go up and feed on him even to the full in everlasting glory. But you must get away from your stranger-husband, for if you cleave to him, you will have to be counted with what your heart lusts after. What you love shall label you. Where your delight is, where your treasure is, there your heart is, and there your portion is; but if the Lord will help you now to escape right away from the clutches of error and sin, then it shall be with you as it was with the priest’s daughter: “If she is returned to her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat from her father’s food.”

27. “But there shall no stranger eat from it.” If you will not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel; and there is no way of your being made near but by the blood of the cross. If you believe in him, you are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” But if you are not bought with his money, or born in his house, then you must remain strangers, and there is no blessing for you, no comfort for you. The other day, one who had been attending a religious service, and mocking and jesting at everything sacred, said, when he was talked to about it, “Oh, but I am a Christian! Jesus died for me.” It was a lie; he had neither part nor lot in the matter, or else he could not have acted as profanely as he did; and there are others who talk like he did, but I tell you, sirs, whatever you say, this is what God says, “A stranger shall not eat from it.” If you have not been born again, you cannot feed on Christ; but, oh, if you will look to him who died for the sinner, then you shall feed on him who lives for the saint. May God bless you in both these respects, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 6:41-71}

41. The Jews then murmured at him, —

That is, at our blessed Lord: “The Jews then murmured at him,” —

41, 42. Because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he says, ‘I came down from heaven?’ ”

There are always some who complain that the gospel is “too commonplace, too well known.” They already know all that is to be known about it, just as these people knew the mother and father of our Lord Jesus. How could he, who was the son of the carpenter, have come down from heaven? But this ought to have commended him to them that though he was divine, he became so truly human, and so perfectly took on himself our nature as to be the son of Joseph, — one whose father and mother they knew; and ought we not to be glad for a gospel plain enough for a child to grasp, simple enough for the most ignorant to be saved by it? Let us not seek after signs and mysteries, but graciously accept the gospel which the Lord himself gives us.

43, 44. Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No man can come to me, unless the Father who has sent me draws him: and will raise him up at the last day.

This was high ground for Christ to take; it was as much as to say, “You need not murmur; I did not expect that you would believe in me. I know that human nature is such that, without a divine work on the heart, man cannot come to me, and will not believe in me. I am not disappointed, or deceived, when you murmur among yourselves, ‘No man can come to me, unless the Father who has sent me draws him.’ ”;

45. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be all taught by God.’ Every man therefore who has heard, and has learned from the Father, comes to me.

No one else will come to Christ; every real Christian in the world is of God’s making. A Christian is a sacred thing, the Holy Spirit has made him so. It takes as much of God’s omnipotence to make a believer as to make a world; and only he who created the heavens and the earth can create even as much as a grain of true faith in the heart of man.

46. Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is from God, he has seen the Father.

The Divine Son has seen the Father; you and I are to believe, we cannot see as yet.

47. Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘He who believes in me has everlasting life.’

He possesses it even now; a life that can never die out is in the heart of every man who believes in Christ. Oh, what a joy this is!

48. I am that bread of life.

Jesus is that bread which feeds the spiritual life, and sustains everlasting life.

49, 50. Your forefathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat it, and not die.

The bread that feeds the undying life is Christ Jesus himself, whom we spiritually feed on, and who is the nourishment of our souls.

51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eats this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Christ — God incarnate — is the nourishment of faith, the spiritual food of the everlasting life. The new life which God puts into us is not natural, so as to be fed on natural food, like bread and meat; but it is spiritual, and it must live on spiritual food. That food is nothing less than Christ Jesus himself.

52-56. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.”

These Jews would not understand Christ when he spoke very plainly. He did not therefore retract a single word that he had said, but since the first light had dazzled them, — and they were willingly dazzled by it, — he turned the lantern full on their faces, and made them blind, for the excessive light of the explanation was too much for them. It was not Christ’s intention to save them; he was making the light itself to be blindness to them, because they had already refused him, and now the time was come when the heart of these people must be made even more gross, so that they should not see with their eyes, or hear with their ears. May the Lord never give us up to such a fate as that! It is a dreadful thing when the light of the gospel becomes the instrument of blinding men, and it still does so. After a certain degree of wilful rejection of it, what would have been a savour of life to life can be turned into a savour of death to death by men’s closing their hearts against it. Yet I wonder and am astonished at our Lord and Master’s course of proceeding, that here, when the men do not and will not see, he only speaks the truth all the more boldly. Let no man think that Jesus was here alluding to the eating of the bread and drinking of the wine in the Lord’s supper; that ordinance was not instituted at that time, and there could be no allusion to what did not then exist. It is quite in another sense, in a high spiritual sense, that our mind feeds on the flesh and blood of Christ. That is to say, the fact that God was made flesh, — the fact that Christ died for sin, — these are the food of our souls, and on it our faith grows, and our spirit is strengthened.

57, 58. Just as the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he who eats me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your forefathers ate manna, and are dead: he who eats this bread shall live for ever.”

This is spiritual feeding on spiritual truth.

59-62. He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said to them, “Does this offend you? What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

Let our Master teach us what he pleases, nothing ought to offend a disciple of Christ. It is ours to sit at his feet, and receive all his words without quibbling. But if we do not believe what he tells us on some elementary points, what should we do if he were to reveal something more to us, and lead us into the higher and deeper doctrines of his Word?

63. It is the Spirit who quickens; the flesh profits nothing:

That is to say, it is the meaning of Christ’s words that gives life, not the words themselves; and if we stumble over the letter, and begin to ask, “How can we eat the flesh of Christ?” taking that expression literally, it will kill us. We need to get into the spirit of what he says, the true spiritual meaning of it, for that is the place where the life lies.

63, 64. The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Could that be truly said of any here? “There are some of you who do not believe.” If so, you know what becomes of unbelievers; you certainly cannot attain the blessings promised to faith. May God grant that, before today is quite over, there may not be left one among you who does not believe!

64-66. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray him. And he said, “Therefore I said to you, that no man can come to me, unless it were given to him from my Father.” From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

So it seems that a man may be recognised as a disciple of Christ, and yet he may go back, and walk no more with him. Oh, that we may be real disciples — disciples indeed! Oh, that we may be part and parcel of Christ, true branches of the true Vine, living members of the living body of Christ!

67. Then said Jesus to the twelve, —

The choice and pick of all his followers: “Then said Jesus to the twelve,” —

67, 68. “Will you also go away?” Then Simon Peter —

Who was the ready tongue of the disciples: “Then Simon Peter” —

68. Answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

That was a very conclusive way of answering one question by another: “Will you also go away?” “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Brother, sister, if we wandered from Christ, where could we go? And how can we leave him when he has the words of eternal life?

69-71. And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered them, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for it was he who should betray him, being one of the twelve.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — For Me” 296}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — ‘Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth’ ” 786}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Ascension — Resurrection And Ascension” 313}

Special Notice — The August number of The Sword and the Trowel contains a full report of the services in connection with the stone-laying at Beulah Baptist Chapel, Bexhill-on-Sea, together with an article by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon on the same subject, and reproductions of two photographs taken during the proceedings. There are also the usual items of interest, — “The Question Oak,” The Pastor’s Page, “Our Own Men” and their Work, Indian Incidents and Illustrations, The By-ways and By-gones of Life, etc. etc., Dr. McCaig’s Conference Paper, and an illustrated letter from Pastor J. G. Potter on Famine Relief in India. Extra copies should be ordered at once, price 3d., post free 4d., from Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster, or through any bookseller.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
296 — For Me
1 The Son of God, in mighty love,
   Came down to Bethlehem for me,
   Forsook his throne of light above,
   An infant upon earth to be.
2 In love, the Father’s sinless child
   Sojourn’d at Nazareth for me;
   With sinners dwelt the Undefiled,
   The Holy One in Galilee.
3 Jesus whom angel hosts adore,
   Became a man of griefs for me:
   In love, though rich, becoming poor,
   That I, through him, enrich’d might be.
4 Though Lord of all, above, below,
   He went to Olivet for me;
   He drank my cup of wrath and woe,
   And bled in dark Gethsemane.
5 The ever blessed Son of God
   Went up to Calvary for me:
   There paid my debt, there bore may load
   In his own body on the tree.
6 Jesus, whose dwelling is the skies,
   Went down into the grave for me;
   There overcame my enemies,
   There won the glorious victory.
7 ‘Tis Finish’d all: the veil is rent,
   The welcome sure, the access free;
   Now then, we leave our banishment,
   Oh Father, to return to thee!
                        Horatius Bonar 1856.

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.

Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Ascension
313 — Resurrection And Ascension
1 Hosanna to the Prince of light,
   Who clothes himself in clay,
   Enter’d the iron gates of death,
   And tore the bars away!
2 Death is no more the king of dread,
   Since our Immanuel rose;
   He took the tyrant’s sting away,
   And spoil’d our hellish foes.
3 See how the Conqueror mounts aloft,
   And to his Father flies,
   With scars of honour in his flesh,
   And triumph in his eyes.
4 There our exalted Saviour reigns,
   And scatters blessings down;
   His Father well rewards his pains,
   And bids him wear the crown.
5 Bright angels, strike your loudest strings,
   Your sweetest voices raise:
   Let heaven and all created things
   Sound our Immanuel’s praise.
                     Isaac Watts, 1709, a.

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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