2575. A Sermon Of Personal Testimony

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No. 2575-44:289. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, March 11, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, June 19, 1898.

One of the nights when the regular hearers left their seats to be occupied by strangers.

For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life. {De 32:47}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 457, “Religion — A Reality!” 448}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2575, “Sermon of Personal Testimony, A” 2576}

1. These are among the last words of Moses before his death. He addressed the people in a most tender and affectionate manner before he went from them. “The old man eloquent” seemed as if he would never stop; he kept on reminding the children of Israel of the goodness of God to them, and telling them what they might expect from him if they would only serve him. He pleaded with all earnestness again and again, and at last used this master-argument why he would have them keep the ways of God, “for,” he said, “it is not a vain thing for you”; — it is a most essential thing; — “because it is your life.”

2. It is very clear, from this passage, that there were some people, in the days of Moses, who thought that it was a vain thing to serve the Lord; yet those were very exceptional times, for, if men rebelled against God, they were struck with a severe sickness, and sometimes with sudden death. God was then so obviously in the midst of the camp that great miracles were often performed, and men were compelled to stand still and say, “This is the finger of God.” Besides, whenever men in those days kept God’s ways, they prospered. That was the age of temporal rewards and immediate punishments; yet, though it was so, though the very bush in the desert glowed with the glory of the Godhead, though the mountains smoked and trembled beneath the touch of Deity, though the uplifted rod of Moses had caused the Red Sea to be divided, and had brought water out of the flinty rock, — yet even when Jehovah was so conspicuously with his people, there were some among them who said, “It is a vain thing to serve the Lord.” This proves that miracles will not convince men if the gospel of Jesus Christ does not; and it also proves that, if God were to make his religion a thing of eyes and hands, to be looked at and to be handled, it would still be rejected by ungodly men, for their hearts are set against it, and they are determined not to have God or Christ to rule over them.

3. Since men thought it a vain thing to serve God in those olden times, I do not wonder that men should think the same now, for, in these days, there are not such obvious judgments on wicked men, neither are there always such apparent rewards for the godly as there were under the Mosaic age. Nowadays, the righteous man is often severely tried and troubled; sometimes, he has more tribulation than his ungodly neighbours have; and his trials come even as the result of his serving God. On the other hand, does the wicked man not often prosper? Have we not seen him “spreading himself like a green bay tree,” and covering the earth with his branches? This is the age of faith, in which God does not show himself as he did in the olden time; it is the age of spiritual things, in which only spiritual men are cognizant of God’s presence and working; and, therefore, it is no marvel that many turn on their heel, and say, “There is nothing in religion; it is a vain thing to serve the Lord.”

4. Now, dear friends, I am not going to argue with you about this question, but I am going to bear my testimony concerning it. In a court of law, argument goes for much; but testimony is the thing which carries weight with the jury. They hear the evidence, and if they believe that the witnesses are honest and truthful men, they accept their testimony, and give a verdict accordingly. If they have reason to think that the witnesses are only acting a part, and speaking falsehood, they attach no importance to their evidence. I am going to give my testimony concerning the reality and blessedness of the religion of Jesus Christ our Lord, in the hope that it will convince some of you of the truth of my text, “It is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life.”

5. I begin by admitting that there is a great deal of so-called religion that is a vain thing, and that is no one’s life. The religion of ceremonies is a vain thing. If any man shall tell me that, by any act of his whatever, he can convey grace to me, I shall not believe him. If he says that, by the application of water, he creates within an infant membership with Christ, and makes that child to be an heir of the kingdom of heaven, I shall not believe him. I shall attach no more importance to what he does, if he pretends to convey grace by it, than I should to the hocus-pocus of a gipsy, or the abracadabra of a magician. God does not convey his grace in that way; but by the working of his Spirit on the mind, and will, and heart. True religion is not a thing that can be conveyed by water, or by bread and wine, apart from the state of mind and heart of the person receiving it. If my religion consists in putting on a certain dress, and showing myself as a mere performer, or thinking that some good thing can come to the people by the sweetness of music, or the beauty of architecture, my religion is vain. It was not so with Christ and his apostles; they went everywhere preaching the Word, and proclaiming that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

6. Then, again, a religion that consists in merely subscribing to a certain creed is a vain thing. Even if that creed were perfect, yet if your religion depended on simply believing it as a creed, it would not affect you to any real extent. Religion is a life based on belief; but salvation does not come to a man simply because he is orthodox; if that is merely a matter of the head, and all the while the heart remains unaffected, and the actions are unchanged, such a religion is a vain thing.

7. I also have to admit, with very great pain, that there is no doubt that a large portion of the religion of the present day — the religion that consists in a mere profession — is vain. If any man comes to this place, and subscribes to the creed that I teach, if he is baptized with the baptism of Scripture itself, and if he is a most diligent man in all his devotions, — yet, if he does not truly trust in Christ, if his heart is not renewed by the Spirit of God, if his life is not a life of temperance, chastity, holiness, and godliness, his religion is vain. It does not matter that you are called Christians; the name to live is nothing, you must be spiritually alive. As our Lord told Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” A man must be godly through and through; and when he is so, his religion is not vain.

8. It is to that religion I want now to bear my testimony as faithfully as I can: “for it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life.” I wish to give evidence in support of these four assertions; first, it is no fiction; secondly, it is no trifle; thirdly, it is no folly; fourthly, it is no speculation. May the Holy Spirit help me to speak and you to hear!

9. I. First, then, concerning the religion that is our life, we declare that IT IS NO FICTION.

10. I speak on behalf of many who are present, and of an almost innumerable company who are not present, and who could not be present, when I bear witness that, having tried and tested the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have not found it to be a fiction. We were told that there was God the Father, and we were told to address him in prayer as our Father, and we have found that, “just as a father pities his children,” so the Lord has pitied us, and loved us, and cared for us. We must always speak as we find; and we testify that, since the day we sought his face, all the love of the best earthly father has been eclipsed by the love of God which he has revealed towards us. God the Father a fiction? Why, in the lives of some of us, he is the greatest and most potent of all factors! We could do without anyone or anything else except our Father who is in heaven. We have often spoken with him in prayer; and in his Word he has spoken back to us. In the time of trouble, it is our joy to run to him, and cry, “Father”; and in our hours of need, he has supplied all our needs “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” It is no use for any man to say that there is no such being as God, if he has never tried him. There is no power in that kind of negative evidence. The Irish prisoner said to the judge, “There are three men who swear that they saw me kill the man; but I can bring fifty men to swear that they did not see me kill him.” The judge soon exposed that fallacy, for there was no argument in it. If you say, “I do not know God, for I have never sought him”; we believe you, friend, and we believe you with the deepest grief; and we wish that you thought us as honest as you are yourself when we reply that we have sought God’s face, and we are conscious, not by the sight of the eyes, or by the hearing of the ears, but by a new inward sense which God has given us, that in him we live, and move, and have our being, and it is our joy to know that it is so.

11. Again, in the blessed Godhead, there is a second Person namely, Jesus Christ. Have we ever found him to be real? It seems to be a current notion, even in the Christian Church, that Jesus Christ is dead; but some of us believe in a living Christ, and well we may, for we went to him all burdened with a sense of sin, and at the sight of him on the cross, our burden disappeared. And many other times we have gone to him whenever that sense of sin has returned, and he has comforted us greatly with the abundance of his mercy. No Christ Jesus? Why, we have in secret had such fellowship with him as a man has with his dearest friend, until we could doubt our own existence sooner than we could doubt the supernatural presence of Christ with true believers! It does not matter if others say that it is not so with them; their sad experience does not prove how it is with us; and we bear our witness that, of all friends, the most real is Jesus of Nazareth, of all helpers and comforters, the truest and best we have ever found is Jesus Christ our Lord.

12. There still remains another adorable Person in the Sacred Trinity, — the Holy Spirit. Is there such a Person? Does he work on the hearts of men? I speak now, not for dozens or hundreds, but for thousands, and for tens and hundreds of thousands, when I say that he has made us anew; he has illuminated us; he has comforted us; he has strengthened us; he has guided us; he has sanctified us. He is with us, and we are conscious of his presence and his power. There are times when we are carried completely out of ourselves. We speak, you say, like men in a frenzy, though we are no more frenzied than you are. There are many of us who are no more fools than you are, and who could prove to you, in any matter of business or of science, that we are your equals in intellect, and we most certainly affirm that there is a power beyond ourselves which has caused us to sing in the depths of sorrow, which has enabled us to rejoice when we have been racked with pain, which has made us sublimely calm when we have seemed to stand between the open jaws of death, and has carried us out of ourselves, so that we have freely forgiven those who did us wrong, and loved them all the better for their wrong-doing, and sought their good all the more, inasmuch as they have sought our harm. Such action as this proves the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. He is no fiction to us; and to know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is to some of us the most real thing that ever was on the face of the earth.

13. I could wish that some, who speak of godliness being all a fiction, had known what I once knew when I felt conviction of sin. I think that I am usually as cheerful as most men, but there was a time when no poor wretch on earth was more sunken in despair than I was. I knew that, though only young, I had broken God’s righteous law, and had grievously sinned against him; and, under a sense of my guilt, I went about burdened day after day. If I slept, I dreamed of an angry God, and thought that he would cast me for ever into hell. When I attended to my daily calling, the dreadful thought of my sin haunted and followed me wherever I went. If anyone had said to me then, “Sin is a fiction,” I could not have laughed him to scorn, for I was in no laughing humour, but I could have sat down and wept to think that anyone should imagine that this grim reality was, after all, only a matter of foolish fear or cowardly dread.

14. Conviction of sin was real enough to me; and so was the joy of pardon, for, one day, I heard it said, “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth”; and it was explained to me that Christ the Son of God took my sin, and suffered for it, and that, if I trusted him, I might know that he had made a full atonement for me, and that I was clear of all guilt. I believed that message, it seemed to come to me straight from heaven; I looked to Jesus, and in a moment I leaped from the depths of despair to the heights of joyful confidence. I wanted to tell the assembled congregation that the witness of that humble preacher was true, — that there was life in a look at the crucified One, and life at that moment for all who looked to him. If anyone had said to me then, “That deliverance of yours is not real,” I should have answered, “Let those who knew me only a week or two ago bear witness to the change it has accomplished in me.” Just as the sorrow was real, so the joy was real, too; and the change in me was so great that I hope it helped to make others see its reality by my life and conduct in endeavouring to serve God.

15. And since then, — I am still bearing my own personal testimony, — what reality there has been in all spiritual things, by way of consoling, and comforting, and strengthening, and guiding, and delivering! Religion not real? Well, some of us would willingly let everything else go as long as we may keep our faith. You may ridicule all we know, if you please; but you can never laugh us out of what we believe. If you had been in prison for six months, no one would ever convince you that imprisonment was not a real thing; and if, suddenly, you had been set at liberty, no one would make you believe that there was no difference between liberty and captivity, and that neither of those conditions existed. And, in the same way, we believe, and are sure, that there is such a thing as conviction of sin and pardon for sin, for both these things are matters of fact for us.

16. Note, even further, that religion is no fiction to us, for, since our conversion, we have received certain privileges which formerly we did not possess. I will mention only one, that is, the privilege of speaking with God in prayer, with the assurance that he will answer us. Does God answer prayer? He who has never tried it is not able to tell; and it is most unphilosophical for any man to say that such a thing cannot be when he has never tested it himself, but those who have tried and proved it are the ones who do know. I have sometimes wished that certain people could have seen some of the answers to prayer which I have received; I am sure they would have been surprised. Not long ago, a woman came to see me about joining the church. She was in great trouble, for her husband had gone away, under rather sad circumstances, to Australia, or somewhere in that part of the globe, and she could not hear any news of him. I said to her, “Well, let us pray for him.” When I had prayed for his conversion, I prayed that he might come back to his wife; and I said to her, “Your husband will come back to you. I am persuaded that God has heard my prayer; so, when he returns, bring him to see me in this room.” As she went out, she said to the friend who had come with her, “How very positively Mr. Spurgeon speaks about the Lord answering his prayer! He says that my husband will certainly come back to me.” In a little over twelve months, that woman was in my vestry with her husband. I had forgotten the circumstances until she reminded me. About the time of our prayer, God had met with him on the sea, while he was reading one of my sermons; as a penitent sinner, he was brought to the feet of Jesus, and he came back, and joined this church, and he is with us at this day in answer to that prayer. “Oh!” someone says, “that is merely a coincidence.” Well, that woman did not think so, nor did her husband, nor did I at the time; and I do not think so now. You may call it a coincidence, if you like; but I call it an answer to prayer, and as long as I get such coincidences, I shall be perfectly satisfied to go on praying. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I do not believe I should have had such coincidences if I had not asked for them; and since I get them daily, I shall stand by it, nor shall anything stop me from this glorying, that there is a God who hears prayer; and I challenge all men to try for themselves whether it is not so. If they come humbly to God, by Christ Jesus, and seek his face, they shall not seek in vain; and, eventually, if they continue to wait on him in prayer, he will gird them with power, so that they shall ask and receive both for themselves and for others.

17. Another thing I would like to mention, that makes us feel that the religion of Christ is no fiction, and that is, the many cases of conversion that are constantly witnessed among us. If this were the time and place, — and I do not think that it is, for I do not care about such an exhibition of trophies of God’s grace, and bringing men out one by one in such a way, — I could tell, not only about the drunkard made sober; but about the man, passionate and violent in temper, becoming as meek and gentle as a child. I could bring him out from the congregation if you wanted to see him; and I could point out to you the swearer, who at one time found it impossible to speak without an oath, but who, from the moment of his conversion, was never again tried by that temptation. I could bring the thief who now knows what is his own, and what is his neighbour’s, and who is honest as the day is long; and the unchaste, who were given up as if they never could be saved, who are now our sisters in Christ, and serving him with modest, pure, simple hearts. Show us something else that makes such changes as these, if you can; show us something else, if you can, that will meet the needs of the hardened and abandoned people in the back slums. We do not know where to find it; but we do know that, wherever Christ is faithfully preached, such conversions are continually seen, and that morality and social order and everything that is pure and lovely are sustained and promoted by the gospel of Jesus Christ wherever it is believed. These things are matters of fact; let those who care to do so resist the natural inference.

18. One of the strongest things which are no fiction is, the joy of believers when they die. We have recently lost some of our dearest and best friends from the Tabernacle; some of our most earnest helpers have passed away; but, oh, they have died gloriously! It has been a pleasure and a privilege to see them rejoicing while everyone else was weeping, — to hear them triumphant when all around them were sorrowful, — to see them casting gleams of sunlight from their eyes even when those eyes were being glazed in death. Give me a religion by which I can live, for that is the religion on which I can die. Give me that faith, which will change me into the image of Christ, for then I need not be afraid to bear the image of death. May God grant that you and I, dear friends, may know, as a matter of personal experience, that there is a solid truth in our religion, that it is indeed our life!

19. I know that there are some people who profess to not believe religion altogether; yet, every now and then, they show that they do not doubt as much as they say they do. There was a traveller, in the backwoods of America, who stayed one night at a log cabin. The man who lived in the house was a very rough-looking customer, and the traveller felt rather afraid of him; he had some money on him, and he was half inclined to go walking on instead of staying there. The master invited him to come in, and eat with him; he did so, and after he had eaten, the man said, “Stranger, it is my custom always to read a chapter in the Bible, and to pray, before I turn in.” The traveller said that, in a moment, he felt perfectly safe. He professed to be an infidel, but he showed that his infidelity was not very deep, for he believed in the man who worshipped his God, and was not afraid to sleep under his roof. William Hone, who wrote the Every Day Book, was an unbeliever once; but he was travelling through Wales, and he saw a little Welsh girl at the door reading her Bible. He said to her, “Ah, my lassie, you are getting your task, I see!” “What did you say, sir?” she asked. “I said that you are learning your task.” “What do you mean, sir? I am reading my Bible; you do not call that a task, do you?” Well, he did think it was a task; it would have been one to him. She said, “Why, it is this reading my Bible that makes me happy all the day long! I am trying to learn some of it by heart; but that is no task for me, it is one of my greatest pleasures.” And William Hone afterwards confessed his own faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom he had been guided by the joy that he saw in that girl’s face. He could not help believing that there must be something real in religion after all; it was life for her, and very soon it became life for him also.

20. II. I have taken so much time for the first part of my subject that I must be very brief with the rest. My second remark about true religion is, that IT IS NO TRIFLE: “It is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life.”

21. Godliness is no trifle, dear friends, because it concerns the soul. If a thing only concerns the body, I do not call it a trifle; cleanliness, temperance, obedience to the laws of health, — these are very proper things to be urged on men. I wish that people in general were more careful with their bodies; but the soul is immortal, it will live when the body shall have rotted into dust and ashes; therefore, do not trifle with your souls. If you must play the fool, let it be with your money-bags. If you must speculate, let it be with your gold; but, please do not take any risk with your immortal spirit; make sure work for eternity: “for what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

22. True religion also concerns God, and therefore it is not a trifling matter. If you must trifle with someone, trifle with your equal, even with your monarch, if you will; but never trifle with your God. He who made the heavens and the earth, and who holds all things in the hollow of his hand, is to be worshipped and reverenced, but never to be trifled with. Beware, you who insult God, for trifling with him will bring nothing but woe to you.

23. True religion also concerns heaven and hell, and these are not to be trifled with. True godliness is such a thing as no saint ever dares to trifle with. He strives to enter in at the strait gate; he throws his whole energy into the running of the Christian race. No true minister ever trifles with the truth he proclaims. I have preached the gospel for more than thirty years, and some of you will scarcely believe it, but in my vestry behind that door, before I come to address the congregation in this Tabernacle, I tremble like an aspen leaf; and often, in coming down to this pulpit, I have felt my knees knock together, — not that I am afraid of any one of my hearers, but I am thinking of that account which I must render to God, whether I speak his Word faithfully or not. On this service may hang the eternal destinies of many; oh God, grant that we may all believe that this is a matter of the most solemn concern! May we all come to God by Christ Jesus, so that everything may be right with us now, and right for eternity! May God grant that it may be!

24. These are things which must not be trifled with, because their weight is incalculable; if we do trifle with them, there will be such damage as can never be remedied. A man who becomes a bankrupt once, may start in business again, and yet grow rich. The commander who loses a battle, may gather together his troops again, and yet lead them on to victory. But if the battle of this life is lost, rue the day! It is lost for ever; there is no hope of any change for all eternity. It is not, therefore, a matter to be trifled with, but a thing to be attended to with all our might. I love to see Christian men in downright earnest. The other day, we lost a merchant from the City of London, — a man of wealth and standing, and, at the same time, a deacon of a Baptist church. Just a night or two before he died, he was at a church meeting. He was unwell, and they could have done without him; but, since he was a deacon, he felt that he ought to be there. When his pastor said to him, “My dear sir, I think you should not be out,” he answered, “If I had not been out today, in Gresham Street, about my own business, I would not have been out tonight about my Master’s business; but if I am well enough to look after my own affairs, I am surely well enough to attend to his.” Let there always be with you, dear Christian people, this thought, that the Master’s business must never be pushed behind your own, but that it must always be first and foremost with you: “It is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life.” The highest point, the crown, the flower, the glory of your life, is your religion.

25. III. Now notice the next point: “It is not a vain thing”; that is to say, IT IS NO FOLLY.

26. First, it is no folly to serve God. Suppose, my brethren, it should turn out, after all, that there is no God. Suppose that we should all die like dogs, then there would be no one left to laugh at me for having served my God; that is quite clear. I am of the same mind as Cicero, when he spoke about the soul being immortal, and someone said to him, “Philosophers will laugh at you for saying that.” He replied, “They may laugh while I live; I am used to that kind of treatment. And if I am dead, and they also are dead, it is quite clear that no dead philosopher will be able to laugh at me.” We who believe in Christ have two strings on our bow. If we live again in another world, all will be well with us. If we do not, we shall be as well off as you will be. We are as happy as you are, anyway; we feel that we are far happier; so we are quite content to go on as we are. If it is folly to serve God, I am willing to be guilty of such folly as that. Since I am his creature, I would serve my Creator; and since I am his child, I would serve my Father. I think it is the chief end of my being to glorify him here, and then to enjoy him for ever in glory.

27. Further, is it folly to be reconciled to God? Is it folly to believe that there is eternal justice, and that, if there is eternal justice, there will be a judgment; and that, if there is a judgment, there will be punishment for sin? Is that folly? And is it folly to believe that Jesus Christ came and bore the punishment for those who trust him; and that, if he bore that punishment, then those for whom he bore it may go clear; and that, if he bore it for those who believe in him, then I, believing in him, am clearly saved? Is that folly? It seems to me to be the most rational form of reasoning that I have ever come across yet, and I will stand by it. “God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

28. Next, is it folly to be prepared to do your duty? I venture to say that a man who is a true Christian is the most ready of any men who live to do his duty. I do not know whether it is ever a Christian’s duty to kill people; but if a man is a soldier, it is amazing how often religion makes him a better soldier. Read a bit of verifiable history. An officer wanted to call out some troops in India for a certain duty, and he said, “At this time of night it is no use, for all the men are drunk, unless you send for Havelock’s saints; they will be all right.” And so they were. Some time after, it was rumoured that one of the “saints” was drunk, and Havelock immediately made enquiry, and found that it was not one of his men, but another who bore the same name. The general said, “I do not know what Baptists are, but if Havelock’s men are Baptists, I wish the whole army were Baptists, for there are no other soldiers like them.” There was a commander who found his army better prepared for conflict because they feared the Lord, and lifted up their hearts in prayer to him, and never turned aside to drunkenness and other evil ways. May God grant that you, dear friends, may have a religion that will make you ready to do your duty, whatever it may be!

29. Besides, is it not true wisdom to be prepared for your eternal destiny? It is wise, some say, to look to present things; so it is, to a certain extent; but it is wise to look at present things in the light of the future. A man was dying, — dying without hope, and without much concern, either; and his lawyer was called in to make his will. He was willing away all his property, and his wife and his little girl stood by his bed, and heard him giving his instructions. He said, “As for the home, you know, dear, I leave that to you”; so the lawyer put it down. His little girl said, “Then, pa, you do not have a home of your own where you are going.” That sentence touched him; he had forgotten that matter; but, by God’s grace, he was led to seek and to find the eternal home. It must be a wise thing, not only to have a home of your own here, but; to have another and a better home to go to when you die. A person said, one day, “I know an infidel who recently died in perfect happiness and peace.” “But,” asked a workman who stood by, “was he in his right senses?” “Yes,” replied the speaker, “and he died in perfect peace.” “Then,” said the workman, “he must have had a very miserable time while he was alive.” The other asked, “What do you mean?” he answered, “I will tell you what I mean. I have a very good, kind wife, — the best woman who ever lived; and I have some dear children, too, and they are my comfort and joy; and if I had to leave them, and go away, I did not know where, and did not know whether I should live again or not, I should feel it to be the most awful thing in all the world to die; and I am sure that my wife would break her heart over it; but,” he said, “now I can die in perfect peace because I feel that I am going home to my Father and to my Saviour; and my wife can part with me in peace because she knows that I am going where I shall receive even greater love than she can give me. But I think that infidel must have had a scolding wife, and that was why he was glad to die; I cannot understand it for any other reason.” No more can I; it looks to me to be a most unreasonable kind of composure for a man to lie down to die, and say, “I do not know where I am going; I expect I shall be annihilated.” I shudder at the thought, I could not die like that. But when I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him, then I can with reason as well as with faith surrender myself into my Heavenly Father’s hands.

30. IV. Now, lastly, let me say to you, concerning true religion, that IT IS NO SPECULATION.

31. There are a great many speculations nowadays. If any of you want to lose your money, or are particularly anxious never to see it again, or want to have a very limited view of it, I advise you to put it into a company. It will soon disappear; depend on that. There are many speculations, and there are many people who become speculators; but there are some things that are certainties, and here is one. If any man will trust himself with Jesus Christ, he shall be saved. He may for some time be in darkness; but if he will fully trust himself with Christ, unless God can lie, and unless Christ can be defeated, such a man must and shall be saved, and he shall know it, too. There is not a single man in hell who can say that he trusted Christ, and yet that Christ did not save him; and I hardly think that there is anywhere on earth a man so base as to say that. At any rate, if he did say it, I should take leave not to believe what he said.

32. The process of salvation is very different in different cases. About two weeks ago, there stood in Cheapside a young man reading one of my sermons which had attracted his attention. As he was reading it, he came across this passage: — “If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are saved now. But I want you to project your faith further, and to believe in Jesus Christ for your entire life; for if you do so, you shall not only be saved now, but you shall infallibly be saved for ever.” Then followed the text, “I give to them eternal life,” and this comment on it: — “Now, eternal life cannot come to an end. ‘He who believes in the Son has everlasting life.’ Everlasting life cannot come to an end; it is a thing that lasts for ever. Believe for everlasting life, and you have it, you are saved for ever.” The young man said, “Standing there, I did believe just as I was told. I trusted Christ, and I believed then that in him I had everlasting life. The next minute, I felt, ‘Oh, what a glorious thing this is! How I love Christ who has done this great thing for me! What is there that I can do to serve him? What sin is there that I would not give up?’ Then,” he said, “I said to myself, as I walked on, ‘Why, I am saved! I am sure I am, because now I love Christ; now I want to give up sin, and now I want to serve him.’ ” And was not that a sure proof of his being saved, because he saw the greatness of divine love for him, and this made him grateful, and that gratitude turned him right around, and made a new man of him? This is how Christ can save you also. Suppose you have been addicted to drunkenness, and that you are convinced of the evil of it. You go to Christ, and he forgives you; then you say, “Now I am forgiven, oh, how I love my Saviour! I will never go back to my cups again; I have finished with my old companions, I will go and seek out other people who love Christ, and I will join with them if they will have me; and I will see what Christ expects me to do, and I will do it, for I will do everything for him who has done so much for me.” That is salvation, — a change of character, — a deliverance from what held you in bondage, an entrance into the blessed liberty of loving God and wanting to be holy. Oh, that each one of us might know that blessedness! It is no speculation; you do not believe in Christ haphazardly. If you believe in Christ, heaven and earth shall pass away, but his Word shall never pass away; you are saved, as surely as God is God. He who believes in Christ shall be saved now, and in the hour of death, and at the day of judgment, and for ever and ever.

33. Now, dear friends, in closing, I should like to say that this salvation is suitable for all whom I am addressing. Many of you know this, and you have been praying that others may know it, too. This salvation is suitable for poor men. If you are very poor, is it not time that you were rich in God? And if you have the hard side of the hill in this world, why should you not have eternal life, and joy and bliss in the world to come? It is also equally suitable for the rich man, for if you do not have somewhere to go when you die, I pity you. To leave your parks and gardens and mansions and estates, to go from the rich man’s table to the rich man’s hell, will be a horrible thing for you, my lord, and for your ladyship, if that should happen to be your case. You need a Saviour, most certainly, rich as well as poor. This salvation exactly suits you, my aged friend over there. “Oh!” you say, “I am too fixed in my habits; I am afraid I never shall be saved; I am getting quite grey and very old.” Well, then, this is the very thing to make you young. “You must be born again.” “Can a man be born again when he is old?” That is what Nicodemus asked, and Christ told him that he could be. He can put new life into you, so that you shall be a child even if you are a hundred years old; and you shall be glad and rejoice in God that, in your latter days, you have come to him as a child, and received a Father’s love. “Ah! but it will not suit me,” says a young man; “I should like to see a little life.” That is exactly what I want you to see; and you will never see life until you see Christ. “Oh, but I want to be happy!” you say. I know you do, and so do I; and I should like you to be happy. “I never believe in cats being cats before they are kittens; I like to see young people full of joy and full of merriment.” I agree with you; but I tell you that there is more joy experienced by a Christian in five minutes than by a worldling in five hundred years. When a saint lives near to God, —

       His joys divinely grow,
    Unspeakable like those above,
       And heaven begins below.

Talk about life and happiness, we have it who sought the Saviour in our youth, and have never turned aside from him since. This salvation suits everyone; it suits you, if you are a most moral person, and it will be your life. You are like a statue of marble now, very beautiful and fair to look at but you have no warm life of love for God within you. Oh, if we could only make that marble live!

    “Oh, that those lips had language!”

But the grace of God can put life into your dead morality. Perhaps I am speaking to some who are immoral; if that is your case, this salvation is just the thing for you. The religion of Jesus suits tax collectors and prostitutes; it is just the thing for the felon and the depraved. Someone here, perhaps, is half-ashamed to be in this congregation; you are the very one I am sent after tonight, — the lost sheep. It is you the Shepherd is seeking; he can afford to leave the ninety-and-nine that did not go astray; but you lost sheep, — you, lost woman, lost man, — you are the very one whom Jesus loves, for “the Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.” Come and cast yourself into his arms by simple trust, for that is faith. Trust Jesus, just as I lean my whole weight on this railing; lean your whole weight on him, fall flat down on his promise of pardon, lie right down on the rock; trust in nothing of your own; but trust Christ for everything, and you are saved. May God grant that this may be the happy lot of us all, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 136” 136 @@ "(Song 1)"}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — The Brazen Serpent” 539}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — Just As I Am” 546}


Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 136 (Song 1) <7s.>
1 Let us, with a gladsome mind,
   Praise the Lord, for he is kind:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
2 Let us sound his name abroad,
   For of gods he is the God:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
3 He, with all commanding might,
   Fill’d the new made world with light;
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
4 All things living he doth feed;
   His full hand supplies their need:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
5 He his chosen race did bless
   In the wasteful wilderness:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
6 He hath, with a piteous eye,
   Look’d upon our misery:
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
7 Let us then, with gladsome mind,
   Praise the Lord, for he is kind,
   For his mercies shall endure,
   Ever faithful, ever sure.
                           John Milton, 1645


Psalm 136 (Song 2) L.M.
1 Give to our God immortal praise;
   Mercy and truth are all his ways:
   Wonders of grace to God belong,
   Repeat his mercies in your song.
2 Give to the Lord of lords renown,
   The King of kings with glory crown;
   His mercies ever shall endure,
   When lords and kings are known no more.
3 He built the earth, he spread the sky,
   And fix’d the starry lights on high:
   Wonders of grace to God belong,
   Repeat his mercies in your song.
4 He fills the sun with morning light,
   He bids the moon direct the night:
   His mercies ever shall endure,
   When suns and moons shall shine no more.
5 The Jews he freed from Pharaoh’s hand,
   And brought them to the promised land:
   Wonders of grace to God belong,
   Repeat his mercies in your song.
6 He saw the Gentiles dead in sin,
   And felt his pity work within:
   His mercies ever shall endure,
   When death and sin shall reign no more.
7 He sent his Son with power to save
   From guilt, and darkness, and the grave
   Wonders of grace to God belong,
   Repeat his mercies in your song.
8 Through this vain world he guides our feet,
   And leads us to his heavenly seat;
   His mercies ever shall endure,
   When this vain world shall be no more.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.


Gospel, Stated
539 — The Brazen Serpent
1 So did the Hebrew prophet raise
      The brazen serpent high;
   The wounded felt immediate ease,
      The camp forbore to die.
2 “Look upward in the dying hour,
      And live,” the prophet cries:
   But Christ performs a nobler cure
      When faith lifts up her eyes.
3 High on the cross the Saviour hung,
      High in the heavens he reigns;
   Here sinners, by th’ old serpent stung,
      Look, and forget their pains.
4 When God’s own Son is lifted up,
      A dying world revives:
   The Jew beholds the glorious hope,
      The expiring Gentile lives.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.


Gospel, Received by Faith
546 — Just As I Am <8.8.8.6., or L.M.>
1 Just as I am — without one plea
   But that thy blood was shed for me,
   And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
      Oh Lamb of God, I come.
2 Just as I am — and waiting not
   To rid my soul of one dark blot,
   To thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
      Oh Lamb of God, I come.
3 Just as I am — though toss’d about
   With many a conflict, many a doubt,
   Fightings within, and fears without,
      Oh Lamb of God, I come.
4 Just as I am — poor, wretched, blind,
   Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
   Yea, all I need, in thee to find,
      Oh Lamb of God, I come.
5 Just as I am — thou wilt receive,
   Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
   Because thy promise, I believe,
      Oh Lamb of God, I come.
6 Just as I am — thy love unknown
   Has broken every barrier down,
   Now, to be thine, yea, thine alone,
      Oh Lamb of God, I come.
7 Just as I am — of that free love
   The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
   Here for a season, then above,
      Oh Lamb of God, I come.
                     Charlotte Elliott, 1836.

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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