2630. What Jesus Would Do

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No. 2630-45:325. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, April 16, 1882, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. 1/18/2018*1/18/2016

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, July 9, 1899.

How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not! {Mt 23:37}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2381, “I Would; But You Would Not” 2382}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2630, “What Jesus Would Do” 2631}
   Exposition on Mt 23:29-24:21 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2381, “I Would; But You Would Not” 2382 @@ "Exposition"}

1. The theologians have met each other around this text as on a field of battle. They have contended, and controverted, and dragged the text around as if it were a wild beast which they would tear limb from limb. And yet, if you will look through the letter of it, and come to its inner spirit, you will see that it is not unusual that Jesus should have uttered it. It would have been much more amazing if he had not spoken like this, and it would have been a terrible crux in all theology if we had read here, “I never would have gathered your children together even if they had been willing to be gathered.” That would have been a thing hard to be understood, indeed; and it would have presented a far greater difficulty than any which can be found in our text.

2. I have long been content to take God’s Word just as I find it; and when, at any time, I have been accused of contradicting myself through keeping to my text, I have always felt perfectly safe about that matter. The last thing I care about is being consistent with myself. Why should I be anxious about that? I would rather be consistent with Christ fifty times over, or be consistent with the Word of God; but as for being for ever consistent with oneself, it might turn out that one was consistently wrong, consistently narrow-minded, and consistently unwilling to believe what God would teach. So we will just take the text as we find it; and it seems to say to me that, if Jerusalem was not saved, — if her children were not gathered together in safety as a brood of chicks is gathered beneath the hen, — if Christ did not gather them, and protect them, it was not because there was any unwillingness on his part. There was always a willingness in his heart to bless Jerusalem, and, therefore he could truly say, “How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings!” From this utterance of our Lord, I learn that, if any man is not saved, the cause of his damnation does not lie in any lack of graciousness or lack of willingness on the part of God. Those who dare to say that it does, venture very far, and are very audacious in their assertions. This text says the very opposite; and so far as it is applicable to the sons of men in general, it declares that God does not wish the death of any, but desires that they should turn to him and live.

3. The next truth that I learn from this passage is that, if Jerusalem perished, as it did perish in a most awful manner, it was because it would not be saved. It was often invited, persuaded, exhorted, warned, and threatened. Prophet succeeded prophet; tribulation followed tribulation. The rod of God came as well as the Word of God; but Jerusalem was extremely wicked, and its people were stiff-necked, and they would not have the blessing with which prophetic hands were laden. And even when Christ himself came, the loveliest and the lowliest, the tenderest and the truest, bringing to them love and mercy without stint, and when he spoke as never a man spoke, in notes of warning, yet wooing love, still they would not receive his rebukes, But they took him, and with wicked hands they crucified and killed him. It was their own rebellious will that ruined them; they would not come to him so that they might have life. That is the place where the guilt lies; and, when sinners go to hell, it is because they wilfully go there. When they are condemned by the Judge who must do right, it is because they wilfully pursued the sin which entailed condemnation. If they have not obtained mercy, their ruin shall lie at the door of their own wicked will. This shall be the thunder which shall pursue them through all the caverns of hell, “You would not! You would not! You would not! On your own head must the guilt of your condemnation fall. You would not have eternal life; you wilfully put it from you, and refused it.”

4. Now, there, or somewhere around there, — I do not quite know where, — there is a great doctrinal difficulty; but I do not think you or I need to go fishing for it. If there is a bone in the meat, I do not ask to have it put on my plate; and if there is a bone in this text, let any dog that likes have it. As for us, there is the meat on which our soul may feed, the truth that God lays at man’s own door the guilt of his destruction; and Christ puts it like this, “I would, but you would not.” I have, at this time, the pleasant task laid on me of pointing out to you what Christ would have done for the Jews, but which they would not accept, I am sure he would have done for us; indeed, I will go further, and say that I am sure he is willing to do it for us now. And so, remembering the past a little, I want you still more to dwell on the present, and to notice that, at this moment, Jesus is willing to gather us — to gather the children of this city together, — as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Oh! I trust I may not have to say, “And you would not”; but may the sweet Spirit of God be here to move the untoward and wicked wills of men, until it shall be said, “Christ is willing to gather you, and you are willing to be gathered.” When those two things come together, great blessing must result. I have read what astronomers have said about what would happen if two planets were in conjunction; I know nothing about that matter; but this I do know, when these two things come into conjunction, — when Christ would, and we would, — there will be blessed times for us, halcyon days of which we have never dreamed. May the Spirit of God make it to be so even now!

5. Now coming to the text, let us consider, first, what Jesus would do; secondly, how he would do it; and thirdly, when he would do it.

6. I. First, WHAT JESUS WOULD DO: “How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings!”

7. What does this mean? It is a very simple, homely, beautiful, touching simile, — the hen gathering her chicks under her wings, and it means, first, that Jesus would make you feel quite safe. Look, there is the shadow of a hawk; the bird of prey is poised up there, and the shadow is seen on the ground; or the mother hen, looking up, notices the destroyer; and, in a moment, she gives a cluck of alarm, and so calls together her little family, and in a few seconds they are all safe beneath her sheltering feathers, her wings become their efficient shield. Now, our Lord Jesus Christ would do just that with us; he would make us quite safe, — take us out of the broad road of danger, and then surround us with the wings of his power, so that we might not only be, but also feel quite safe. I suppose nothing feels safer than a little chick beneath the hen. That tiny creature has no gauge and measure of strength beyond its own weakness, so it considers its mother to be incalculably strong, and feels perfectly safe when it can hide its head within her breast-feathers. Ah! but there are some of you who do not feel safe; you never have felt secure. Death is truly the king of terrors to you. You do not like to hear people talk about it; and if you are ill, how quickly you send for the doctor, — not because you have the symptoms of any very serious illness, but because you are afraid to die! Why, there are some of you so fearful that you hardly like to be left in a room in the dark, and you would scarcely dare to go upstairs without a light; you are so afraid, not from mere natural timidity, but because you know that there is something that follows after death for which you are not prepared. Things are out of order between you and God, and you know it; so the fall of a leaf, or the scratching of a mouse, would disturb your mind, for you know that you are not in a state of safety. You could not bear to be at sea in a storm. The thought of shipwreck would have about it, not only the natural terror which is inseparable from such an alarming event, but also the dread that the waves of fire might succeed the waves of the ocean. You are not safe; even in your highest joys, a skeleton sits at the feast, for your pleasures are transient, and you know it. When, easygoing man as you are, you have your greatest delight in earthly things, you are still conscious that there is a worm in the very centre of the sweetest fruit, and you are afraid of the consequences of eating it. Oh, but Jesus would have saved you from all this anxiety! He would, have covered you so completely that you would not have known a fear; he would have brought you into the enjoyment of that “perfect love” which “casts out fear: because fear has torment.” He would have made you to be among the blessed ones of whom it is written, “He shall cover you with his feathers, and you shall trust under his wings: his truth shall be your shield and buckler.” And he is willing that this should be the case, — that you, poor trembler, should come to him now, and feel no longer in jeopardy, but be safe for ever. That hymn with which we began the service, —

    “Jesus, lover of my soul,” —

is an exact reflex of what Christ is willing to bestow on all who come to him. He is willing to clasp to his bosom all who flee to him for refuge; he is willing to take into the haven of perfect security the tempest-tossed vessel; he is willing to hide, as in the cleft of the rock, the sin-and-Satan-haunted spirit. It is so, dear friends; I know it is so, for I have proved it. Look into the eyes, into the heart, and into the wounds of Jesus, and you will know that there is no unwillingness in him to give perfect safety to the souls that trust him; he would make them to be in safety, “even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”

8. But now I will go a step further, and say that Jesus would also make them feel perfectly happy. Chicks under a hen are not only the picture of safety, but they are the very emblem of happiness. Did you ever disturb them a little? If so, did you not notice the sweet little noise they made, — the very sound of perfect contentment? If you have ever watched them as they stand there huddled up together, you must have seen that it is their little paradise. They could not have been happier in the Garden of Eden than they are there, they are so blest. Beneath their mother’s wings, they have all that they can desire; and, during the livelong night, let it be what it may, — let it blow cold, or warm, they are perfectly safe and happy there. Her heart is beating above them, and her breast is yielding the warmth of life to keep them glad.

9. I feel sure that I am addressing people who are not happy. The common idea of happiness that many people have, is a very strange one. When our London friends have a day’s holiday, their notion of enjoying a rest often amuses me. They pack themselves away, as tightly as they ever can, inside and outside a van, or a coach, or a carriage, and then they go as far as they can until the weary horse can scarcely move to bring them home. And, all the while, to give rest to their ears and to their hearts, someone blows a trumpet in a way that evokes very little music, and they riot all the day as if they were mad, and amuse themselves as if London consisted of one huge Bethlehem Hospital; and that is what they call happiness. My view of happiness would be to get as far as ever I could away from them, and to do the very opposite of what they are doing. These people talk about “the place to spend a happy day,” “the way to be happy,” and so on; but was ever a poor word so trailed in the dust as that word “happy” is in such a context as that? But, oh! a peaceful, contented mind that rests in God, a soul whose wishes are all fulfilled, and whose very life-breath is jubilant praise or else submissive prayer, — that is what I call happiness. The man who knows that all is right with him for eternity, one who drinks from the eternal fount the joys which do not belong to the brute beast, nor even to the man who is without a God, — I call him the happy man. And, oh, how happy some of you would be if you came to Christ as the chicks come to the hen! Oh, how happy Christ would make you! Wretched woman over there, this very night you may be happy. Giant Despair has marked you for his own, you say. Then I challenge Giant Despair, and call him a liar. If you believe in Christ, you shall find that he has redeemed you with his blood. Trust him, and he will set you free at once, and in him you shall be as happy as the days are long at the longest, and, you shall know what true joy means, — emphatic joy, — “the joy of the Lord,” “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.” I remind you of that other hymn we sang just now, —

       Take salvation,
    Take it now, and happy be; —

not only safe, but happy; and safe and happy for ever. I remember how I was enticed to Christ when I heard the doctrine of the final perseverance of saints preached. I had heard a great deal about that kind of salvation which consists of being saved today and lost tomorrow, and I never cared a button for it, neither would I go across the street to listen to it now. But I heard a salvation preached which really does save a man, and does save him eternally; and I felt that, if I could get a grip on that salvation, I should be the happiest individual in the world; and I did grip it, and I found it verity and fact, for Christ does save — save effectively and eternally — all those who put their trust in him. And even now, for the unsafe and for the unhappy, Christ is waiting and willing that they may be both safe and happy in him.

10. But there is more bliss even than that, for Christ makes them part of a blessed company. He says, in our text, “How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings!” It is not a hen with one chick to which our Saviour alludes to here. I suppose that the one chick might be happy, but the best happiness in the world is always enjoyed in holy company. Christ gives the idea of a church as his notion of happiness; not one member only, but a body; not one lone sheep, but a flock. So here he says, “How often would I have gathered your children together!” Am I addressing some lone person? You have been in London for a long time; and you have found out that there is no place so lonely as this great London is. I suppose that, in the desert of Sahara, you might find a friend, although in Cheapside you could not. No one seems to know anyone here, — that is to say, unless he has something to give away, and then the number of cousins that a man has is something amazing; but if you want anything, no one knows you, and even your so-called friends forsake you. Perhaps someone has come to the Tabernacle for a good while, and yet has been quite lonely. I am very sorry that it should ever be so; and I know that there are some earnest people here who try to speak to strangers. But, oh! dear friends, my Master would not have you lonely. He would gather you with the rest of his children, “even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” He would bring you to know a few burdened spirits like yourself, he would bring you to know some others who have been set free, as he will set you free; and he would lead you to have fellowship here with one, and there with another, until you would say, with good Dr. Watts, —

    In such society as this
       My weary soul would rest:
    The man that dwells where Jesus is,
       Must be for ever bless’d.

You would find that your joys would be multiplied by being shared with your kindred in Christ who, on the other hand, would make you partakers of their joy, and would delight to do so. Oh, that you would come to Christ, for then you would have the happiness of Christian fellowship!

11. It seems to me that there is also another thought in the text, that is, Jesus would make us know his love. When the hen gathers her chicks under her wings, there is not only safety, and happiness, and congenial society, but there is also a consciousness of great love. The poor little chicks do not understand much about it, they do not know what relationship the hen bears to them, but she does. Yet they feel that she loves them by the way she picks up every little grain for them, and by the way she calls them together so anxiously, and covers them so carefully. It is a truly blessed experience to know a great love; the love that is equal to our own — that blessed marriage love — renders life supremely happy where it is purely enjoyed; but how much more blessed it is to have a love infinitely superior to your own, and yet to know that it is all yours, and that whatever there is in that loving One is all for you! Every chick may feel sure that, whatever the great bird can do, it will all be done for the little bird that cowers beneath its wings. In fact, the chicks are lost in the hen; see how she covers them. That is what Jesus does for me and for you, if we are truly in him; he just covers us up, and hides us from all our enemies. They cannot see us, for we are lost in our Lord, and yet we are most sweetly found, and put beyond the possibility of being lost. All that Jesus is, belongs to me, and to you, dear sister, and to you, dear brother; all Christ is mine, and all Christ is yours; and as the hen gives herself up to her chick, and takes the chick, as it were, entirely to herself so that they become one, so the blessed Christ gives himself completely to his people, and takes his people entirely up into himself, so that they are truly one. Oh, that you all had this great blessing! And if you are waiting and anxious and desirous to have it, he is willing to give it, for he says so in the text, “How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings!”

12. That is what Jesus would do.

13. II. Now, very briefly, let us consider HOW HE WOULD DO IT.

14. He would do it, first, by calling you to come to him. That is how the hen gathers her chicks around her, by calling them to her. Christ’s call is often given by the preaching of the gospel, and I am truly glad when I can be his call-boy, and pass on the message from him. How I wish these lips had language, conformable to the blessed call which he allows me to deliver in his name! He asks me tell you, who labour and are heavy laden, to come to him, to come to him now, and he will give you rest. He says, “Ho, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters, and he who has no money; come, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” He tells me expressly to say that he who comes to him he will in no wise cast out; and I am glad that, before he closed the Book of the Revelation, he put in this gracious message, “Whoever wills, let him take the water of life freely.” That is how he would gather you by his call; is it not a sweet and gracious one? If you are his child, you will know it, and come to him, even as the chick knows the mother’s call, and runs to her. There is a pigeon not far from the hen, but it does not come at her call. There is a duck in the farm-yard, but it does not come to her. Ah! but the chicks do; and this is how the Lord discerns his elect and redeemed people; that gracious call of his is understood by those who secretly belong to him, and who therefore respond to his call. He himself said, “All whom the Father gives me shall come to me; and whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.”

15. How would Jesus gather you to him? Well, he would gather you, next, by your coming at his call. The hen gives a call, and, then the chicks run to her. What do they bring with them when they come? Do they pick up gold and silver, or bring diamonds in their mouths, to pay their way into their mother’s bosom? No, not they; all they do is to run to her, just as they are; do you not see them? The mother hen has called them, and away they go; they bring her nothing, and she asks nothing from them. It is for the hen to give to the chick, and not for the chick to give to the hen. And so, poor sinner, all you have to do is to come and just trust Jesus. Run to him. What shall you bring him? Bring him nothing but your need of everything that he can give you. Shall you bring him a broken heart? Yes, if you have one; but if you do not have one, come to him, and ask him to give you a broken heart. Remember that verse of Hart’s, —

    Come, ye needy, come and welcome,
       God’s free bounty glorify;
    True belief, and true repentance,
       Every grace that brings us nigh,
          Without money,
       Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

16. So, then, this is Christ’s way of gathering sinners to himself. First, he gives the call, and then they come to him in obedience to it.

17. The next part of the gathering is the enclosure of his wing by which he intervenes between us and harm. The hen gathers her chicks to her by brooding over them, making herself like a wall all around them, her feathers being their soft nestling place. So Jesus gathers us to him by brooding over us; he puts himself between us and justice. You know when he did it, and how he suffered in doing it. He puts himself between us and God, for he is the Mediator, the Intervener, the Daysman acting on our behalf. Oh, how sweet it is when, conscious of guilt and sin, we, nevertheless, can experience the sweetness of that promise which I have already quoted to you, “He shall cover you with his feathers, and you shall trust under his wings.” He shall himself be your pavilion, he shall hide you from the righteous wrath of God, and put your sin away by taking it on himself. That is the way we are gathered under the intervening Mediator.

18. How does he gather us? You have it all before you now; he calls us, and we come to him; and we hide beneath him and cry, —

    Cover my defenceless head
    With the shadow of thy wing.

That is how we are gathered to him; so may the Lord graciously gather us all!

19. III. Our last remark, concerning our being gathered to Christ, is to be, WHEN HE WOULD DO IT. The text says, “How often would I have gathered your children together!” I will not go into an account of the many times in which Jesus, in his infinite love, would have gathered the children of Jerusalem to himself; but I should like to mention some times when, I think, he would have gathered some of you.

20. He would have gathered you, first, when you were literally children; I mean especially those of you who had early advantages. When you went to bed, after mother had spoken to you about —

    “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” —

and given you the “good-night” kiss, you would often lie awake, and turn the subject over in your mind until the tears coursed down your little cheeks, and you sobbed yourself to sleep; I think Jesus would have gathered you then. Do not some of us recall, when we were boys, when we spoke to an older brother, or, may be, to a younger brother, and we two reasoned with each other about these things, and prayed in our boyish fashion, and yet in a few days had forgotten it all? I think Jesus would have gathered us to him then. In looking back over my own life, there seem to me to have been times when the Lord came very near my childish spirit, and touched me, if not with divine life, yet with something very near akin to it, for there were many earnest desires after holiness, and bitter feelings of repentance, and mighty yearnings after the Christ, of whom I knew so little, but for whom I longed so much. Ah, my aged friend! am I describing your case? It is a long while since you were a boy, but you might almost wish you could be a child again to feel as you once felt. Ah, good woman! it is many a day since mother threaded her fingers through your curls, and said that she hoped you would love her Saviour; and you do not feel now as you felt then. Those were certainly times when Jesus would have gathered you to himself.

21. Since then, I daresay many of you have had times of serious impression and quiet thoughtfulness. You do not know why it was, but you suddenly felt unusually thoughtful. It may be that you have been in the midst of gaiety, and you have felt that it was all hollow. You could not bear it, so you got away, and went upstairs, or into the garden, or you have even walked the street as if no one else were there but yourself; and you have thought, and thought, and thought again, and you have been almost persuaded, but you have said to the heavenly message, “Go your way for this time, it is not yet quite convenient for me to receive you.” Will it ever be convenient, do you think? Or is God to wait on your convenience, and play the lackey at your door, until your supreme will shall condescend to listen to his merciful requests? Ah, how often! — how often would Jesus, by these solemn impressions, have gathered to himself some who are present here!

22. It may be that I am coming a little more closely home to some when I remind them that they have had periods of severe illness. At such times, you have lain in bed, and listened to the tick of the clock at the head of the bed, and you have looked into eternity, and it has appeared very grim and dark to you; and you have then sought the prayers of good men, and you have vowed that, if you ever recovered, there should be no more wasted years, Ah! then Christ would have gathered you to himself, and the shadow of his sheltering wing darkened your sick-room; but you would not yield, and you escaped from him again, and yet again.

23. I think I may truthfully add that, in this Tabernacle, sometimes, when God has helped the preacher, there have been moments when you have been brought to the very brink of salvation, and you have almost gone in. You have had to put a pressure on your conscience to keep out of the pool of mercy; you have had to resist the Holy Spirit. Oh, but it is a dreadful thing when a man has done despite to the Spirit of God, and made himself an antagonist of that blessed Spirit, whom to resist is perilous, for it is of him that we read that there is a sin which is to death, and there is a sin against the Holy Spirit which shall never be forgiven! I trust that none of you have yet committed that sin; but watch what you are doing, — watch what you are doing, for you are in a most dangerous position. Somewhere in that region where you now are, lies the sin which ensures damnation. I charge you, sirs, whatever sin you commit, do not resist the Holy Spirit, for, if you do, it may be that it shall be said, “My Spirit shall no longer strive with man”; and then, ah, then! — I drop the curtain, and say no more, for it is too terrible to think about.

24. Oh, how I wish that this might be the time when Jesus would securely cover you as the hen covers her chicks! Do you really desire this blessing? I know you would not desire it if he did not desire it. If there is a spark of desire towards Christ in your heart, there is a whole flaming furnace of desire in Christ’s heart towards you. You never get a head start on him; long before you have gone half a boat’s length, you shall find Jesus Christ infinitely faster than you are. No sinner can ever say that he stopped for Christ, and waited for Jesus. I more willing than Christ? Never! A sinner more anxious for pardon than Christ is willing to pardon him? Never! There was never seen, and there never shall be seen, beneath the canopy of heaven, a soul more hungry after Christ than Christ is hungry after that soul. Long before the woman of Samaria said to Christ, “Give me a drink,” Christ had said to her, “Give me a drink.” He was the more thirsty of the two, even when he had made her thirsty; and he was thirsty after her soul long before she was thirsty after the water of life. Oh poor, guilty sinner, do not doubt your welcome to Jesus! The gate of salvation is flung wide open. The door is taken off the hinges. “All things are ready, come.” Your Saviour waits for you. The Father tarries for you; indeed, he does more; he comes to meet you. I see him running. Is it true that I see you coming? Then what a spectacle is now before me! I see you coming with feeble footsteps, and I see him running faster than the angels fly. I see the father falling on the neck of the prodigal, I see him kiss him, and delight in him, and cover him as if it were the hen that covered her chick. I see him delighting in deeds and tokens of infinite love. “Bring out the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and bring here the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” “Ring the bells of heaven!” There is joy tonight, for a sinner has found his Saviour, and God has found his child.

25. May God bless you, dear friends, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Lu 13:18-34}

18. Then he said, “To what is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it to?

For men learn much by comparisons, and the things which are seen are frequently helpful to us in seeking to describe the things which are not seen. Knowing that God is one in all that he has done, we are often able to learn from one part of his works to understand another. What, then, is God’s kingdom like? Is it like a mighty army marching with banners and trumpets? No. Is it like the raging sea, rolling onwards and sweeping everything before it? Not so; in any case, it is not so visibly.

19. It is like a grain of mustard seed,

You can hardly see it; you can, however, taste it. Try it, and you shall find it pungent enough; but it is so small that you may easily pass it by: “It is like a grain of mustard seed,”

19. Which a man took, and put into his garden;

It must be sown in prepared soil; and there is “a man” who knows how to put it so that it shall fall where it will live, and where it will grow.

19. And it grew, and became a great tree; and the birds of the air lodged in its branches.”

“The birds of the air,” that might once have eaten it, “lodged in its branches.” See, in this comparison, an illustration of the growth of the kingdom of God, the vitality of the truth of God, the energy with which, from a small beginning, God’s kingdom advances to a great ending. Do you have this mustard seed in your heart? It may seem a very little thing even to yourself; others may scarcely perceive it yet; but leave it alone, and it will grow. Yet it will not grow without watering. Seeds may lie long in the ground, but they will not sprout until the rain has fallen to moisten the earth. Pray God to send showers of blessing on your soul tonight, so that, even if you have no more than a grain of mustard seed in your heart, it may begin to grow. Is the grain of mustard seed sending up its shoot above the ground? Then pray God that it may grow even more until it shall not only be just visible, but shall be so prominent that it must be seen, so that those who once hated it will be compelled to see it, and to wonder at it as they behold the birds of the air coming and lodging in its branches. I pray that, in many hearts here, the grace of God may not long continue to be a little thing, but that it may advance to tree-like stature, until you shall yield comfort to fifties and hundreds, and many of you shall be like some of the trees in this great city and its suburbs. Did you ever notice them, at nightfall, when all the sparrows of the street come and lodge in the branches, and merrily twitter before they go to their rest? There are some Christians like those trees; they have hearts so big, and they do for Christ’s service so much, that they harbour hundreds of poor little birds of the air that otherwise would hardly know where to go for shelter. May God make us such Christians that we shall be a blessing to multitudes all around us!

20, 21. And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal flour, until all of it was leavened.”

Some expositors think that this is a picture of the kingdom of the devil, but it does not say so. If our Lord had meant to represent the power of evil, he would have given us some intimation of that kind, but he has not given us any. He intends to describe exactly what he had described before, for he says, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?” The leaven is buried, as it were: “hidden in three measures of meal flour”; it is lost, covered up. Leave it alone; by the force that is within itself it begins to work its way in the meal flour, and it leavens all around it until, at last, the whole three measures of meal flour are permeated by it, and made to feel and yield to its power. So it is with the grace of God where it is placed within a human heart, and so it is with the kingdom of God wherever its influence is exerted among the sons of men.

22, 23. And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying towards Jerusalem. Then one said to him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

Oh, that question! Have you never asked it yourself? Have you never heard it asked? And there are some people who are very pleased when the answer is, “Yes, very few indeed will be saved; and they all go to Salem, or Zoar, or Rehoboth, or little Bethel.” There are some who are not quite certain whether all who go even there will be saved; they seem to delight to cut and pare down to the very lowest the number of those who will be saved. With such a spirit as that, I trust we do not sympathize for a moment. Certainly, our Lord does not; listen to his reply to the question, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

23; 24. And he said to them, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

For your own part, take it for granted that there will be so few that ever will enter at all that you will have to push for it to get through the gate: “Strive to enter in at the narrow gate.” If you are not narrow in your own mind, — and it is a pity that you should be, — yet still remember that the gate into heaven is narrow, and make up your mind that there is no getting through it except with many a push and many a squeeze.

25, 26. When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us’; and he shall answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where are you from?’ Then you shall begin to say, ‘We have eaten and drunk in your presence, and you have taught in our streets.’

See; there are some men who will not think of going to heaven until it is too late; and then, when they get to heaven’s gate, and find it shut, they will begin to plead for admittance though they did not plead for it before. When they might have had the blessing, they would not have it; and when they cannot have it, then they grow earnest in crying for it.

27, 28. But he shall say, ‘I tell you, I do not know you, where are you from? Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Ejected, violently driven away, as those who are abhorrent in God’s sight because you despised his mercy.

29-34. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last.” The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying to him, “Get out, and depart from here: for Herod will kill you.” And he said to them, “Go, and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ Nevertheless I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perishes outside of Jerusalem. Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”

What a terrible contrast! “I would, …… and you would not.” May the Lord Jesus never have to say that to any of us!

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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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