2586. A Far-Reaching Promise

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No. 2586-44:421. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, April 15, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, September 4, 1898.

For the promise is for you, and for your children, and for all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. {Ac 2:39}

1. We learn from the text a fact worth remembering, namely, that in the first stage of the Christian ministry, the thing to be striven for is that men should be pricked in the heart. Then, in the second stage, the thing to be desired is that they should gladly receive the Word. Notice what is said in the 37th verse: “When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart”; then in the 41st verse: “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized.” Hence, in the beginning, the preacher’s business is not to convert men, but the very opposite. It is idle to attempt to heal those who are not wounded, to attempt to clothe those who have never been stripped, and to make those rich who have never understood their poverty. As long as the world stands, we shall need the Holy Spirit, not only as the Comforter, but also as the Convincer, who will “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

2. I am inclined to think that the large number of backsliders who, after they have professed to be converted, turn back to the world, may be accounted for by the fact that they never seriously felt their guilt, and were never brought low by the work of the Holy Spirit convicting them of sin. Give me the old-fashioned form of conversion in which our forefathers rejoice. I have lived long enough to see people jump into what they call salvation, and jump out of it, as men plunge into a cold bath when they get up in the morning. Here is a person with a diseased leg; the doctor has looked at the limb, but he has not used his knife, he has not cut out the proud flesh; but he has applied a liniment and an ointment, and he has made a wonderful cure! Marvellous are the healing powers of the clever man, according to common report; he is in high repute everywhere. Indeed, so he may be; but that limb will never be right again; the surgeon has done a permanent injury to it under the pretence of having rendered its owner a great service. I believe that some men, who are said to have been converted many times, need to be converted now; and that multitudes of those who are trumpeted as having found the Saviour do not yet know why they need a Saviour, and have not really found him, but have exercised presumption in the place of faith, and a belief in their own aroused feelings instead of in the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. It must be so, I am sure, because we constantly see, on all sides, men who have been washed into deeper stains, and who are worse after their so-called conversion than they were before. There must be, dear friends, a probing of men’s hearts with the law before we can rightly bring to them the healing of the gospel. Old Robbie Flockhart’s simile was a good one; he said, “You may take a piece of silk thread, and try to sew with it as long as you like, but you will do nothing with it alone. You need a sharp, piercing needle to go first, and that will draw the silken thread after it. The needle of the law prepares the way for the thread of the gospel.” There must be birth-pangs, or there will be no child born. The old-fashioned grace of repentance is not to be dispensed with; there must be sorrow for sin; there must be “a broken and a contrite heart.” This, God will not despise; but a “conversion” which does not produce this result, God will not accept as genuine. So we shall still continue to preach the law; we shall thunder out the terrors of the Lord; we shall not be fashionable and popular, and prophesy smooth things, lest our labour should be declared to have been in vain when the Lord shall come. I charge all brethren, who are anxious for the true conversion of sinners, to be sometimes a little tardy in dealing out comfort to them. Wait until you see that it is really needed; wait until you perceive that there is a wound before you apply the healing balm. Until people are willing to confess their sins, you have no basis on which you can comfort them. It is the man who “confesses and forsakes them” who “shall have mercy.” Christ is a sinner’s Saviour; and if a man is not a sinner, Christ has no salvation for him. Until he will take the sinner’s place, and frankly admit his guilt, what is the use of preaching to him? Remember Christ’s own words: “Those who are healthy do not need a physician; but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

4. Now I am going to try to preach as wide, plain, and open a gospel as I can, but I have no hope of its being accepted by anyone unless, first of all, he has been pricked in the heart. I am persuaded that even the wondrous illimitable liberality of God is a thing which is despised by men until they have a sense of their need of his bounty. When that sense of need is created within them by the Holy Spirit, then they leap at the very sound of the gospel; but until then, their heart is gross, their ears are dull of hearing, and they do not care for the free grace of God.

5. Now let us come to our text: “For the promise is for you, and for your children, and for all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

6. I. First, notice that the promise which God has made to man in Christ Jesus is A PROMISE WHICH EXACTLY MEETS THE NEED OF MANKIND. What is that promise?

7. First, it is the promise of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Peter quoted from the prophet Joel the promise which God had made that, in the latter days, he would pour out his Spirit on all flesh. That Holy Spirit is one of man’s most urgent needs. We are fallen, brethren, — fallen through the agency of the evil spirit; and we need the help of the good Spirit so that we may be raised again. Our nature is polluted to its very centre; the old serpent has poured poison into the innermost fount of our being; and, therefore, we need the Holy Spirit to come, and pour life into us, renewing us in the spirit of our mind. We need the Holy Spirit to illuminate us, for we are both blind and in the dark. We need the Holy Spirit to instruct us, for, by nature, we are ignorance itself, and it is his office to teach men. We need the Holy Spirit to soften our heart. Naturally, it is harder than the nether millstone, which is always the harder of the two, because it has to bear the grinding of the upper stone. We need the Holy Spirit to quicken us; for, by nature, we are dead in trespasses and sins, and to all good things callous and indifferent. Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit so that we should be regenerated, for it is written, “You must be born again,” and we can only be born again, born from above, through the operation of the Spirit of God. When we are born again, we still need the Holy Spirit that he may sanctify us, that he may preserve us, that he may perfect us, and make us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

8. Therefore, sinner, if you say, “I feel myself to be powerless, incapable, like one who is dead,” do not let that stand in your way, for God gives the Holy Spirit on purpose to meet just such a need as yours. Everything that is necessary to be done, which you cannot do, the Spirit of God will help you to do; and what you can do, in a measure, but which you do very badly and inefficiently, the Spirit of God is given to help you to do, for he helps our infirmity. There is no strength required from you, sinner; he will be your strength. There is no good operation required on your part; the Holy Spirit has come to work all your works in you. He works in us to will and to do, according to his own good pleasure; and then we, as a result of it, work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. If you will only believe in Christ, you need not come to him with a new heart; here is the Spirit of God to give you that new heart. You need not strive to make yourself tender and humble in spirit; here is the Spirit of God to make you tender and humble. There is nothing that you need endeavour to produce in yourself, for this Divine Being, who brooded over chaos, and brought order out of primeval confusion, is ready to come and brood over you, — over your dark, disordered, chaotic soul. He can spread his dove-like wings over it, until you shall come to light, and love, and life, and liberty, and joy. Oh, is this not a mercy that, inasmuch as we are so weak and helpless, the promise of God is that he will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?

9. But this is not all that a man needs in order that he may be saved. He needs, secondly, the remission of his sin, and there is a promise that God will give to the penitent the remission of their sins. Hence Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Listen, guilty one, there is remission of sin even for you! You who have lain soaking in sin until you are crimsoned with it, until your sin is ingrained into your very nature, there is power with God to make that crimson white as snow, for “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men.” Whenever I repeat those gracious words of our Lord, I feel as if I had said something far more sweet than the choicest poetry, something infinitely more deserving to be written in letters of gold than all the sayings of the wisest philosophers of old. Tell the guilty man that God has mercy reserved for him, and is prepared to forgive him, — what better news can he ever hear? Tell him that it is not true, as some say, that everything we have ever done must necessarily remain with us, to injure — and to harm us in this life and in the next, as long as we have any being; it is not so, there is a remedy provided by God for the disease of sin. Indeed, God can remove the very scars which that disease has left behind when it is healed. Sin can be perfectly forgiven, and put away for ever. Remember the Lord’s declaration: “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins.” Now, when a cloud is gone, the sky is none the darker, it is just as blue as it was before that cloud was formed. Another emblem of God’s grace is that, when he has washed us, we shall be whiter than snow. Snow, when it first falls, bears no trace of ever having been stained, it is so perfectly white; and God can wash you, poor sinner, though you are guiltiest of the guilty, until not a speck of sin remains. “You are clean every bit,” said Christ to his disciples. Oh, what a word that was, and it is true of all who trust Jesus! Being cleansed in his blood, no trace of sin remains.

10. Now put those two things together, the Holy Spirit working in us a change of heart, and Jesus Christ working for us, and preparing pardon for sin, and in those two things you have the supply of man’s great need, which, put in a word, is salvation. In verse 21, you can see the promise about that matter: “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” He shall be saved; that is, perfectly and completely saved both from the guilt of sin and from the power of sin. He shall not be half-saved, or saved in one particular form of salvation, but he shall be saved. Whoever, then, repenting, trusts in Christ, and confesses his faith according to Christ’s own rule, shall be saved: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” This is the glorious promise which, in its wide sweep, comprises all that a sinner needs, — the Holy Spirit, the remission of sin, and salvation.

11. II. Now, secondly, let us enquire, — TO WHOM IS THIS PROMISE MADE? According to my text, “the promise is for you, and for your children, and for all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

12. I never like to accuse my brethren of being tricky; but have you never heard this text quoted as far as this, “For the promise is for you, and for your children?” And then a full stop is put in, to prove, not that an infant ought to be baptized, but that an infant ought to be sprinkled? The argument used by many ministers is that the blessings of the covenant are for believers and their children; and some of you may sometimes have thought that the argument is rather difficult to answer. I do not like to think that there has been any dishonesty in such a matter; still, one cannot approve of a brother chopping a text in the middle like that, and trying to make it say exactly the opposite of what it really does say. Instead of this passage teaching that there is some special blessing for Christian people and their children, it teaches nothing of the kind; Peter declares that there is no limit of that kind to the range of this promise. Listen: “The promise is for you, and for your children, and for all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Suppose that I were to try and argue like this: “The promise is for you, and for your children, therefore your children ought to be baptized.” Go on with the text: “and for all who are afar off,” therefore all who are afar off ought to be baptized. That would be the same kind of reasoning; but it would be the drivelling of an idiot, with no reasoning in it. But the passage, instead of speaking of anything being a privilege for certain people and their children, expressly declares that, while it is their privilege, and their children’s privilege, it is equally the privilege of all who are afar off, “as many as the Lord our God shall call.” That is to say, that great covenant promise, “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” is meant for you, is meant for your children, is meant for Hottentots, is meant for Hindus, is meant for Greenlanders, is meant for everyone to whom the Lord’s call is addressed. Our commission is, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe shall be damned.” Every man in this place comes within the sweep of my text. The promise is for you if you are a Jew, it is for you if you are the child of a Jew, or if you are the child of a godly man, but it is also for you if you are afar off. If any are afar off, because of sin, having gone into the far country away from God, or if they are afar off, literally, living in distant foreign lands, the word of this salvation is sent to them.

13. The promise is for all to whom the message comes; and, in its innermost and special sense, it is for all whom God shall effectually call by his Spirit, whether they are Jews or Gentiles, bond or free. That is the very glory of the text, and on that I want to reflect while I pass on to the next point.

14. III. That next point is this; inasmuch as everything that a sinner needs for his salvation is made a matter of promise, and that promise is made to all who hear the gospel, then, brethren, THIS IS A REASON FOR VERY GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT.

15. I hope that I am addressing some who are pierced in the heart, and who therefore want to find Christ. Well, see what a promise you have to come with, and many have come to the Lord with far less encouragement. When Jonah went to Nineveh, to utter his mournful and monotonous message, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” the king believed it, and his people believed it, and they humbled themselves before God; yet what did they have to go on? Only this, “Who can tell?” They said, “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish?” So they came to God with no other encouragement but “Who can tell?” Take heed, you who hear the gospel, that the men of Nineveh do not rise up in judgment against you to condemn you. Take another case. There was the prodigal who came back to his father. Did he have any promise from his father that he would receive him? No, nothing of the kind; it was only the prodigal’s belief in his father’s goodness that brought him back, and his father did receive him. Take another case, that of the persistent widow who went to the judge, crying, “Avenge me of my adversary.” Did she have a promise that the judge would relieve her? Not at all; he was one who did not fear God, nor regarded man; yet she kept on pleading with him, and, though he even said no her, perhaps scores of times, yet she pressed on with her suit until, at last, her persistence won the case.

16. Now see what vantage-ground you stand on compared with these people. You do not go to God with the question, “Who can tell?” You do not come to God merely with an inference drawn from the kindness of his nature. You do not come to God merely persuaded that he will hear persistent prayer; but if you come to him, you come with a promise, for “the promise is for you, and for your children, and for all who are afar off”; and this is the promise: “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Oh! I think you ought to come to God with joy in your face, for with such a sweet promise as this, you must, you shall prevail.

17. The second encouragement is, that God is always true. It would be a dreadful supposition to imagine that God could lie; in fact, that would be sheer blasphemy. If a man is a righteous man, and he makes a promise, he will keep it if he can. A good man “swears to his own harm and does not change”; how much more is the good God faithful to every promise he has ever made. “Has he said, and shall he not do it?” Then, if God has promised that whoever believes in his Son shall be saved, you may be sure that he will be; and whoever you may be, if you believe in Christ, you must be saved. “Lord, I know that you cannot lie.” You may plead in that way with him. Take his promise in your hand, and say to him, “Do as you have said.”

    Thou hast promised to forgive
    All who on thy Son believe.

Plead that promise, and you shall find it certainly fulfilled, for God never yet reneged on a promise which he had made, and he never will. Oh, how that ought to encourage you in prayer! “But,” one says, “may I grasp that promise, ‘Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’?” Of course you may; and if the devil says that you must not claim that promise, tell him that Peter said, “The promise is for you, and for your children, and for all who are afar off”; and since you are one of those who are a long way off from Jerusalem, — and, certainly, the British isles must have been esteemed very far off in Peter’s day, — then you are one of those to whom that promise has come. Plead it, and you shall find that it will be fulfilled for you.

18. Further, take encouragement from the next point, which is, that if God has made a promise, he certainly must be prepared to fulfil it. I have known a great many very promising young men who never were performing young men. They promise to do this, and that, and the other; but they never do anything of the kind. I heard of one, the other day, who owed a great deal of money, and he got the bill for the debt renewed, and after that was done, he said to a friend, “Now that is all settled; how comfortable a fellow feels when he has no debts to trouble him!” He had not paid anything, he did not have anything with which he could pay, he had only renewed his promise to pay; yet he felt perfectly content. Some people are willing to enter into any kind of promise or bond, but it never seems to occur to them that they must fulfil the obligation into which they have entered. We put them down as bad men, and we do not want to do business with them, or associate with them. But God never made a promise unless he was quite prepared to fulfil it. Men sometimes make promises because it is not convenient, or in their power, to perform the promise at once, so they postpone its fulfilment; but when God makes a promise, he can fulfil it at once, and he will always be ready to fulfil it whenever he is called on to do so. Friends, if God has promised to give the Holy Spirit, he can do it; the Holy Spirit waits to descend into men’s hearts. If God has promised to give the pardon for sin, he can do it. The ransom price is paid; the atonement has been presented and accepted.

    There is a fountain fill’d with blood,
       Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.

It does not have to be filled. The sacrifice is not to be found, or to be offered when found. “It is finished.” Everything that is required for your salvation is ready, and I am sent to you to say, “Hungry souls that need a feast of mercy, the oxen and fatlings are killed; all things are ready, come to the supper.” So the Lord’s promise ought to cheer you very much, since God is ready at once to fulfil it.

19. Yet again, here is another word of good cheer for you. God has put salvation on the basis of promise; not on the basis of merit, — not on the basis of purchase, — not on the basis of anything you can do, but on the basis of “he has promised it.” That is how the covenant of grace runs: “I will,” and “you shall” It is not, “You are to do this, to feel that, and to be the other”; but it is, “I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.” It is all promise, promise, promise, promise. When you call on a man for money, and he says to you, “On what basis do you ask for this sum?” and you say, “Why, sir, because you promised it,” that is a good reason to go on, with one who is both able and willing to pay. If he said to you, “But I want to know whether you deserve this,” — you are such an undeserving person that you would feel that you were out of court with him; but when your answer is simply this, “Whatever I may be, is not the question; I come because you promised,” — that makes grand pleading. That is the way to be enriched with heavenly mercy, simply to say, “Oh Lord, you have promised grace for all who trust your Son, and here I am, empty, naked, poor, and undeserving; but I plead your promise. For your truth’s sake, and for your mercy’s sake, fulfil that promise for me.”

20. Now is this not all encouraging? I do not say to you, “The law is for you, and for your children, and for all who are afar off”; but I do say, with Peter, “The promise is for you, and for your children, and for all who are afar off.” The word of promise is preached to you: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved”; “he who believes in him is not condemned”; “he who believes in the Son has everlasting life”; or putting it in Peter’s words: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

21. Now observe, in conclusion, that no exception is possible in this case. Let me repeat that expression; no exception is possible in this case. Addressing all the Jews who were gathered around him, Peter said, “The promise is for you.” Looking forward to all the future generations of Jews that were to be born, he added, “and for your children.” And then, lifting up his eyes to the far-off Gentile world, looking in vision as far as “The Pillars of Hercules,” and across “the silver streak” that separates these isles from the mainland, looking even further to Ireland as well, and then to the great continent which Columbus afterwards discovered, he seemed to see red men, and black men, and white men, and brown men, — men of every nation and clime and age, and he included them all by saying, “and for all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Comprehending the vast population of the whole globe, throughout all time, Peter says, “This promise is for you all, ‘Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ” Therefore, that is a promise for me. Well do I remember the time when I first laid hold on that truth. I was in great sorrow of soul, for I thought that there was no gospel for me; but I caught a ray of hope from that blessed word “whoever” — oh, how I love that word “whoever” — “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And there was another cheering message: “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” I read what John Bunyan said about that text: — “What ‘him’ is this? Why, it is any ‘him who comes.’ Any him, in all the world, who comes to Christ, he will in no wise cast out.” Perhaps you know how the blessed dreamer goes on about the rest of that verse: “He will in no wise cast out.” “Lord, I am a big sinner! ‘I will in no wise cast out.’ Lord, I have been a blasphemer! ‘I will in no wise cast out.’ Lord, I am an old sinner; I am fourscore years old! ‘I will in no wise cast out.’ Lord, I have been an adulterer; I have been a fornicator; I have been a thief; I have been a murderer. ‘I will in no wise cast out.’ ” So he goes over, and over, and over, and over with it to show that, whoever comes to Christ, he cannot possibly cast him out, for if he did, it would make Christ a liar, and it would make a lie of hundreds of texts. “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.”

22. Look, sirs; look! It is not for God’s honour to cast out a soul that comes to him. Suppose that there should be cast out one soul that came to Christ; suppose that one sinner who trusted in Christ should perish. I know what men would do. They would immediately proclaim all around the world, “God has broken his Word; the gospel has failed; for here is a soul lost that trusted in Christ.” You do not suppose God will permit that, do you? In imagination, I see that poor soul going down to hell. He is no sooner there than the devil says to him, “Did you trust Christ?” “Yes, I did.” “Did he refuse to save you?” “Yes, he did.” “Do you mean to say that you fulfilled the Word, ‘He who believes and is baptized’?” “Yes, I did.” “And yet you are not saved!” Oh, what a roar of laughter would go all around the pit! How every fallen spirit, rising from his dungeon, would begin with unhallowed glee to shout and yell! How through the deep profound of pandemonium, where evil reigns supreme, there would go up their hisses and their hootings against a defeated Saviour, — against a conquered Christ, — against a lying God, — against one who said, and did not do, and who spoke, and was not true. “Aha, aha, Emmanuel, Diabolos has defeated you! Aha, aha, Jehovah, your Word is forfeited!” Shall such a thing ever be? You shudder as I picture it. It never shall be. Heaven and earth shall pass away; and, as a moment’s foam dissolves into the wave that bears it, and is lost for ever, so shall the universe pass away, but never shall a sinner come and cast himself on Christ, and yet be allowed to perish. Try it on, sinner! Try it on! Try it now! May God help you to try it, and to prove that, still, Christ receives sinners, and casts out no one who trusts him! May the Lord bless you, for his name’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ac 2:1-42}

We cannot read too often the story of that wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; and let us never read it without asking the Lord to reveal in our midst the fulness of the Spirit’s power. We may not have a repetition of the miraculous gifts which were then bestowed on the apostles and those who were with them; but we may have that gracious influence which shall convince and convert those who gather to hear the Word. Our success in preaching the Word is entirely dependent on the presence and working of the Holy Spirit; therefore, let our prayer be, —

    Lord God, the Holy Ghost,
       In this accepted hour,
    As on the day of Pentecost,
       Descend in all thy power.
    The young, the old inspire
       With wisdom from above;
    And give us hearts and tongues of fire,
       To pray, and praise, and love.

1-13. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them cloven tongues like fire, and it sat on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. Now when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying to each other, “Behold, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear every man in our own language, in which we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya around Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we hear them speak in our languages the wonderful works of God.” And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying to each other, “What does this mean?” Others mocking said, “These men are full of new wine.”

The people who came together were greatly astonished to find the disciples of Christ speaking to them in their own languages. Though all the speakers were Jews, and naturally knew no language but their own, yet they were able to speak in various languages. Therefore some of their hearers, mocking, said, “These men are fall of new wine.”

14-21. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, ‘‘You men of Judea, and all you who live at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words: for these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel; ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord comes: and it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

I did not detain you to speak about the moon turned into blood, or the sun darkened into midnight; those matters are of little importance to you and to me compared with this sentence: “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” What a blessed door of hope this is! What a window, letting the light of heaven shine into the darkest despondency! Whoever shall address himself to God by repentance, by faith, by prayer, shall be saved.

22, 23. You men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as you yourselves also know: him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

This was bold talking, for Peter was doubtless addressing many of the very people who had put the Lord to death, and he charges them with it. Observe how he declares that Christ’s death was in accordance with “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” yet he expressly says that “by wicked hands” they had crucified and slain him. It never occurred to Peter that the counsel of God deprived men of the responsibility and guilt of their actions. No neither need it ever occur to you. If anyone shall say to you, “When anything is according to the foreknowledge and counsel of God, how can God blame the doer of it?” you may tell him that he first has to explain to you what he means; and if he says there is a difficulty in it, ask him to tell you what the difficulty is. Those who knew better than the objector, could see none. The inspired apostle Peter could see none; but when he was most vehement in charging these men with guilt, yet, at the same time, he said that it was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.

Surely, he was a bad pleader to introduce into his argument anything that could be readily construed into an excuse for those he was accusing. But there is no real excuse in it; the free-agency of man is as true as the predestination of God; the two truths stand firm for ever. It is the folly of man to imagine that they disagree. If you do wrong, you are accountable for the wrong; and if there is a providence which ordains everything, — as certainly there is, — yet that providence does not take away from any man the full responsibility for anything that he does. So, truly Peter said to these Jews concerning Christ, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”

24-32. Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held by it. For David speaks concerning him, ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, so that I should not be moved: therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because you will not leave my soul in the abode of the dead, neither will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you shall make me full of joy with your countenance.’ Men and brethren, let me freely speak to you about the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us to this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that from the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in the abode of the dead, neither did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus, God has raised up, of which we all are witnesses.

Here Peter appealed to the eleven, and to all the disciples then present who had seen Jesus after he had risen from the dead. It must have been a very impressive sight as they all stood up bearing witness that they had seen the Christ, who was crucified, alive after his death. It was a wonderful public attestation to that grandest of all facts, the raising again from the dead of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.

33. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear.

Was that not enough to convince them? They saw and they heard the proofs of the working of the Spirit among them, and Peter told them that “this” was the gift of Christ, who had ascended up on high. It must have been a very striking thing, to have been there, and to have heard and seen these signs of God setting his seal to the work of Jesus.

34-36. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he says himself, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit on my right hand, until I make your foes your footstool."’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made that same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

What a climax to Peter’s sermon! How simple and yet how triumphant is the argument! We do not wonder that men were convinced by it.

37. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, —

There is a great distinction between being cut to the heart and being pricked in the heart. Those who were cut to the heart stoned the preacher; but those who are pricked in the heart yield a sweet obedience to the will of God: “They were pricked in their heart,” —

37-40. And said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted, saying, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

Not, “save yourselves”; but “save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Come out from among them. They are guilty of the death of Christ; you will be found guilty of it, too, unless you now disown the people who committed that awful crime. Come right out from among them, and be altogether separated from them.

41, 42. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — Mercy’s Invitation” 488}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — Seeking Souls Encouraged” 498}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — ‘Seek, And Ye Shall Find’ ” 499}
 The Sword and the Trowel.
 Table of Contents, September, 1898.
 The Young Pastor’s “Posy.” Meditations by C. H. Spurgeon before he left Waterbeach. (Continued.)
 Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon’s Work-room. — Notice of New Book by Mrs. Spurgeon, — “ A Cluster of Camphire.” Testimonies to the beloved Pastor’s influence. “Personal Notes” on a Text.
 “Our Own Men” and their Work. LVII. — Pastor W. D. McKinney, Asonia, Connecticut, U. S. A., (With portrait.) By J. V. Charlesworth.
 The Pastor’s Page. “Clocks to mend!” A Friday Afternoon Address to the Students. By Pastor Thomas Spurgeon.
 Afternoons with a Naturalist. By H. T. S. IX. — A Summer’s Sunrise.
 The Palace Beautiful. I. — Terms of Entrance. By Pastor Charles Welton, Morley, Yorkshire.
 C. H. Spurgeon’s most Striking Sermons. IX. — By Pastor T. W. Medhurst, Cardiff.
 Opening of Beulah Baptist Chapel, Bexhill-on-Sea.
 At the House of the Five Brothers. (Illustrated.) By D. L. Donald, Chittagong, Bengal.
 Notices of Books.
 Notes. — Conference Present for Brethren abroad. C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Vols. I. and II. In Memoriam, Mr. J. T. Garlick, and Notes re Tabernacle Rebuilding, by T. S. The Pastor’s Holiday and Birthday. College. Pastors’ College Missionary Association. Orphanage. Colportage. Baptisms at Haddon Hall.
 Lists of Contributions.

 48 Pages. Price, 3d.; post free, 4d.
 London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.

Gospel, Invitations
488 — Mercy’s Invitation
1 Let every mortal ear attend,
      And every heart rejoice;
   The trumpet of the gospel sounds
      With an inviting voice.
2 Ho, all ye hungry, starving souls,
      That feed upon the wind,
   And vainly strive with earthly toys
      To fill an empty mind;
3 Eternal Wisdom has prepared
      A soul reviving feast,
   And bids your longing appetites
      The rich provision taste.
4 Ho, ye that pant for living streams,
      And pine away and die,
   Here you may quench your raging thirst
      With springs that never dry.
5 Rivers of love and mercy here
      In a rich ocean join;
   Salvation in abundance flows,
      Like floods of milk and wine.
6 Come, naked, and adorn your souls
      In robes prepared by God,
   Wrought by the labours of his Son,
      And dyed in his own blood.
7 Great God, the treasures of thy love
      Are everlasting mines,
   Deep as our helpless miseries are,
      And boundless as our sins.
8 The happy gates of gospel grace
      Stand open night and day,
   Lord, we are come to seek supplies,
      And drive our wants away.
                           Isaac Watts, 1706.

Gospel, Invitations
498 — Seeking Souls Encouraged <7.6.>
1 Sinner, hear the Saviour’s call,
      He now is passing by;
   He has seen thy grievous thrall,
      And heard thy mournful cry.
   He has pardons to impart,
      And grace to save from fears:
   See the love that fills his heart,
      And wipe away thy tears.
2 Why art thou afraid to come,
      And tell him all thy case?
   He will not pronounce thy doom,
      Nor frown thee from his face.
   Wilt thou fear Immanuel?
      Or dread the Lamb of God,
   Who, to save thy soul from hell,
      Has shed his precious blood?
3 Raise thy downcast eyes and see
      What throngs his throne surround!
   These, though sinners once like thee,
      Have full salvation found,
   Yield not then to unbelief;
      He says, “There yet is room”:
   Though of sinners thou art chief,
      Since Jesus calls thee, come.
                        John Newton, 1779.

Gospel, Invitations
499 — “Seek, And Ye Shall Find” <7s.>
1 Come, poor sinner, come and see,
   All thy strength is found in me;
   I am waiting to be kind,
   To relieve thy troubled mind.
2 Dost thou feel thy sins a pain?
   Look to me and ease obtain:
   All my fulness thou mayest share,
   And be always welcome there.
3 Boldly come; why dost thou fear?
   I possess a gracious ear;
   I will never tell thee nay,
   While thou hast a heart to pray.
4 Try the freeness of my grace,
   Sure, ‘twill suit thy trying case;
   Mourning souls will ne’er complain,
   Having sought my face in vain.
5 Knock, and cast all doubt behind,
   Seek, and thou shalt surely find;
   Ask, and I will give thee peace,
   And thy confidence increase.
6 Will not this encourage thee,
   Vile and poor, to come to me?
   Sure thou canst not doubt my will!
   Come and welcome, sinner, still.
                           Hewett, 1850.

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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