2652. Seeing Christ’s Day

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No. 2652-45:589. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, July 23, 1882, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. 2/7/2016*2/7/2016

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, December 10, 1899.

Your forefather Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. {Joh 8:56}

1. These Jews had claimed to be of the seed of Abraham, and the Lord Jesus Christ admitted their claim as far as it was a valid one. It is always best, in argument, to concede as much as you can fairly grant to your opponent. Sometimes, we take a few steps backward, in order to get a firmer footing, so that we may leap forward with greater certainty. In the case of these Jews, since they said Abraham was their forefather, the Lord Jesus admitted that they were his seed according to the flesh, and therefore he said, “Your forefather Abraham.”

2. Very much might be spoken in honour and commendation of Abraham. He was a princely man, well worthy to be called “the father of the faithful”; for, though all believers have a certain beauty about them because of their faith, yet Abraham stands head and shoulders above the rest of them; at least, above those who lived before the incarnation of Christ. Much, therefore, might be said in his favour, but: there is no word of commendation which could possibly exceed this utterance of Jesus our Lord to the critical Jews in Jerusalem, “Your forefather Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” Let this stand as the very crown-jewel among all the gems that make up Abraham’s crown, that he saw the day of Christ through the mist of two thousand years or thereabouts, and so saw it that his heart was gladdened at the sight. There may be many good things that might be truly said of you, dear friends; but the best thing that ever can be said of you is, “They saw Christ’s day, and were glad.” Whatever else you do not see, if you see this, all is well with you. Blessed indeed are your eyes if you can, by faith, behold the Lamb for sinners slain, and so behold him as to be saved by his death. I do not think that anything better than this could be said of Abraham, and nothing better will be said of any of you than this testimony from the lips of Christ himself, “He saw my day, and was glad.”

3. Yet we must learn, from our text, a sad lesson before we go fully into its teaching concerning Abraham. It reminds us that, however good a man may be personally, he cannot possibly ensure that his descendants will be like him. It was to the carping, unbelieving Jews that our Lord said, “Your forefather Abraham.” What a contrast there was between the princely father and those who boasted that they were his children! There they stood, howling like so many wolves around the Lamb of God, all eager to devour him. Their fingers were itching to pick up stones with which they might put to death the Lord of life and glory; yet they were the descendants of Abraham! The children of “the friend of God” were seeking to kill God’s only-begotten and well-beloved Son! And, a little later, those who were descended lineally from the loins of the great patriarch gathered in the street around Pilate’s palace, and cried, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” — that “him” being the Son of the Highest, who was one with the ever-blessed Father and Spirit, and who had come to earth on an errand of mercy and love. Yet the men who were the first and loudest to clamour for his death were those who said, “Abraham is our forefather.”

4. It is almost enough to make some good men turn over in their graves to see what their children or their grandchildren are doing. It is a sad thing that grace seems to leave some families. It never does run in the blood; that cannot be, for all God’s children are born, “not by blood, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by God”; and by God alone. Yet it is a very blessed fact that, often, if grace does not run in the blood, it runs side by side with it, and godly fathers joyfully live to see their children walking in their footsteps. In some families, they have this highest of all honours, that they are a household of saints. Generation after generation, this is the testimony concerning them, that they are a company of people whom God has blessed. But, alas! it is not always so; and since it was not so with Abraham’s seed in Christ’s day, since the Jews had, to a very large extent, apostatized so far that they even sought to kill the Christ of God, you and I must not be staggered when we see the same thing occurring in other families, the heads of which were renowned for grace. With holy diligence, we should seek to bring up our children in the fear of the Lord, so that, if they do wander, it may not be through our fault, for if we have to blame our guilty neglect, or our bad example, for their going astray, it will be indeed sad for us; but if we are satisfied, in the sight of God, that we have done all that we could to bring them to Jesus, then, if they should dishonour our name, yet at least there will not be this wormwood mingled with the gall, that we helped them to tread the downward road. Oh brothers and sisters, with all your hearts cry mightily to God that your household, to as many generations as yet shall come, shall never lack a man to stand before the Lord God of Israel, and to be a faithful witness for him, and for his truth, in the midst of the wicked and perverse people by whom they may be surrounded!

5. This truth is revealed on the very surface of our text. Abraham was a great saint, a mighty saint, a clear-eyed saint, whose gaze pierced through those twenty centuries, and beheld his Lord; yet, after the flesh, he was the father of a bleary-eyed generation, that could not see the eternal light, even when it flashed directly into their eyes. I think there is nothing that is more full of warning than this to those of you who are descended from godly parents. I charge you, before the living God, put no confidence in your descent. “You must be born again”; even if you are the best of all who have ever been born of woman, “you must be born again.” Wisely did Job speak when he said, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.” No mother can bring into this world a perfect being, for the whole human race is fallen, we are the degenerate children of a father who himself was unfaithful to the allegiance which he owed to his God. The stain from that first sin of Adam is on us all, so let us not say, “We are Abraham’s seed”; let us not talk about being descended from a line of saints; but, rather, let us apply to ourselves what Christ said to the Jews on another occasion, “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” However gracious our genealogy may be, unless our family tree begins in Christ, and we ourselves are personally grafted into him, we shall die in our sins, and perish for ever. May God help us, who have been so highly privileged as to be born of godly parents, to lay that truth to heart, and to seek the Lord now, so that we also may be numbered among those who are saved!

6. With these observations by way of preface, let us now come distinctly to the text; and we shall notice, first, in what respects Abraham saw Christ’s day; secondly, the effect it had on him; that will lead us, in the third place, to think of the respects in which we also may see Christ’s day; and to notice, in closing, the effect which such a sight will have on us. If we see his day, we also shall rejoice, and be glad.

7. I. First, then, let us enquire, IN WHAT RESPECTS DID ABRAHAM SEE CHRIST’S DAY?

8. I understand the term “Christ’s day” to mean, first, his day of humiliation here on earth. Christ had a certain “day” when he lived here in this world; what if I were to call his whole natural life on earth one long Lord’s day? Had the Jews known the things which would have made for their peace, our Lord’s sojourn here would have been to that nation one long Sabbath; had they understood the rest which Christ brings to believing, obedient souls, it would have been the true Jubilee for them. But there is another “day” yet to come, which, in the highest sense, our Lord will call, “My day.” Do you not know that he is to come a second time, without a sin offering to salvation? This was foretold by the angels who said to his disciples, after his ascension, “This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in the same way as you have seen him go into heaven.” Arrayed in the vesture of his humanity, — for he still wears it at the right hand of the Father, — he will come again, but not as he came the first time.

    The Lord shall come! a dreadful form,
    With rainbow wreath and robes of storm;
    On cherub wings, and wings of wind,
    Appointed Judge of all mankind.

He shall come, to reign on earth among his ancients gloriously. He shall come, to gather to himself his own, those who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. He shall come, to set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on the left; and to make a severance between those who fear the Lord and those who do not fear him. This will be his second day, the great day of his appearing, the day for which all other days were made, after which there shall be no day that can be ended with a night, but the Ancient of days shall reign for ever and ever, King of kings, and Lord of lords. This also is his day; and, without drawing fine distinctions, I have no doubt that Abraham saw Christ’s day in this double sense, and that he knew him both as the Lamb slain, and as the King who is to reign for ever and ever.

9. How did he see Christ’s day? I answer, first, by a far-seeing, clear-sighted faith. I do not know what revelation, which is not recorded, God may have made to Abraham; whether he did, in the night visions, as Daniel did, behold the King sitting on his throne; but, whatever he did know, he turned to practical account by believing it. He believed that the Lord would come in the fulness of time; he believed that there would be a seed of the woman who would bruise the serpent’s head, according to the promise at the gates of Paradise; he believed, most assuredly, that a man would come who would give rest to his flock, that man being his own seed, in connection with whom God had expressly said that he would bless Abraham, and make him a blessing. “Your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.” So Abraham’s faith often comprehended what it saw. We have no record of the subject of his morning meditations when he rose early, that he might spend some time alone with the Lord before the world with smoke became dim, or the business or ordinary occupation of the day had begun. At such times I have no doubt that Abraham was in his chosen place of prayer, waiting and watching, and looking into the far-distant future, and seeing with gladdened heart that day of the Lord which now has come, and that other day of the Lord which is yet to arrive. He believed it, and therefore he saw it. Brothers and sisters, there is no seeing unless there is believing. I have heard that seeing is believing, but it is not so; it is the very opposite. Seeing and believing do not run that way, — to see first, and then to believe; but they run the other way, — believe, and then see; and that is just what Abraham did. He believed God, and then he saw Christ’s day afar off, and was glad. See as much as you like after you have believed; but remember our Lord’s words to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed”; — that is, those who did not want to see first, but believed first, and then their eyes were so opened that they saw the salvation of God.

10. When once you get faith, there are many windows through which that faith can look; and no doubt Abraham saw Christ’s day through the windows of special promises. There were not so many made to him as we have now with our larger revelation in the entire Bible; but, still, there were sufficient promises to be used by his faith, and especially that one which I quoted to you just now, “In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” That promise alone was enough to make him know that God would, in due time, give him a seed through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. If you want to see Christ, dear friends, borrow the telescope of promise. Faith is very fond of that instrument, and it is amazing what she can see when she puts it to her eye. Ten thousand blessings, not seen by our natural vision, become visible to the eye of faith when we look at them through the medium of the promises of God.

11. Next, Abraham saw Christ, with the eye of faith, in the types that came before him. There were at least two very remarkable ones, or I might call them three. The first was Melchizedek. I cannot help believing that, when Abraham met Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God, first king of righteousness, and then king of peace, and when he gave him tithes of all, and received his blessing, he recognised in Melchizedek one who was greater than himself; neither can I help believing that, after he had partaken of the bread and wine which Melchizedek brought to him, and had gone back to his own quiet place of prayer once more, he must — or at least he may have had some clear intimation, in his own mind, that this was one of the grandest types of that seed which was to bless all nations of the earth. And, beloved, have we not seen Jesus as our Melchizedek? When we have been battling with the kings, when we have come back weary from the conflict, has not Jesus met us, and refreshed us with his bread and wine? Has he not blessed us, and have we not then adored him, and felt that we must say to him, concerning all that we have, “Do not take merely a tithe, but take it all?” Blessed are the men and women who, with an Abrahamic eye, have seen our Christ beneath the robes of Melchizedek! And I cannot help thinking that if we, the children, can do so, he, the father of the faithful, must have done so also. Paul could clearly see Christ in Melchizedek; and surely Abraham also must have seen Christ in him.

12. But Abraham especially saw Christ’s day in the type that was given to him in Isaac. I cannot help thinking that, when Isaac was born, not after the flesh, but according to the promise, — for the seed according to the flesh was sent about his business, and his mother with him, — and when Abraham made a great feast at the weaning of that child whose very name was laughter, and the promise of whose birth had made the venerable patriarch, close to his hundredth year, fall down on his face, and laugh at the very thought; and whenever, afterwards, he looked on that son of joy, given to him, not by the strength of nature, but by the visitation of God, he saw there a picture of him who is not born to us after the energy of manhood, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, and who has come among us to bless and cheer us until our very heart laughs again as we think of Jesus, the Son of the promise. He is our true Isaac. Now our mouth is filled with laughter, and our tongue is full of praises as we think of him.

13. But, chiefly, Abraham saw Christ in type and figure on that memorable day when he took Isaac up to the top of Mount Moriah, and, at the command of God, unsheathed his knife to slay his son. Abraham must then have seen the everlasting Father about to act in the same way towards his only-begotten Son. He saw, in Isaac, the victim bound and laid on the altar, and then, in the ram caught in the thicket, he saw the very symbol of the Lamb of God, who, in the fulness of time, should be offered on the altar of Calvary for our sakes, so that he might die as our Substitute and Representative. There never could have been, I think, a more plain parallel than in this case, and in all these types Abraham saw Jesus Christ’s day, and was glad.

14. Once more, Abraham actually saw Christ’s day, not by faith only, but in the disembodied state, after he was dead and buried. There he slept, with Sarah, in the cave of Machpelah; but his spirit was neither dead nor buried, but it was in the place of souls separated from their bodies, and it is remarkable that, in the account of the death of Lazarus, our Lord says that he was taken to Abraham’s bosom, as if the patriarch had given a name to that very world in which the gracious dwell when they leave this house of clay. From that place of bliss, he looked down on all the wondrous life that began at Bethlehem, and closed at Calvary. He was seeing Christ’s day even while Jesus was speaking to these Jews, and from the celestial seats he must have gazed with wonder that God should assume the nature of man like this.

15. II. That is enough concerning Abraham, except that we have to dwell, in the second place, for just a minute or two, on THE EFFECT OF THIS VISION ON ABRAHAM.

16. It made him glad; he rejoiced at the very thought of seeing Christ’s day. It is a very strong word which is used there for rejoicing; “he leaped forward” — that would be the correct expression — at the thought of seeing Christ’s day; and when he did see it, he was glad. It is a curious thing that the second word should be a softer one than the other. There is no idea of leaping or jumping about the second, but in the first, there is. Master Trapp renders it, “His good old heart danced levaltos within him, as children used to dance around a bonfire, with an exuberance of joy,” at the very thought that Jesus Christ would come in the flesh, and that he would see him; but when he did see him, that kind of rejoicing seemed to subside, and he appeared to rise into a calm state of intense gladness.

17. You know that, when Christ first makes us glad in him, we do not know how to contain ourselves; but, afterwards, our capacity increases, and we are able to hold more; there may be far less excitement, but there is more real joy after all. You remember how it is stated in Isaiah: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles”; — that is, when they are young and light; — “they shall run, and not be weary”; — that is, when they are getting a little stronger; they do not take to flying now, they know better, so they are content to run. But what comes next? “They shall walk, and not faint.” {Isa 40:31} The pace gradually gets less, — from flying to running, and from running to walking. Is that real growth? Certainly; it is always better to walk than to run. Some young folk, when they are first converted, are very eager to fly. Fly away, brothers, while you can; and you who can run, run as fast as you are able; but, notice that, it is the steady pace that does not kill, which enables us to live down death itself. I do not read that Enoch flew with God, or ran with God, but he “walked with God”; and he kept that pace up for three hundred years, and he could have kept it up even longer. Let a man fly while he may, let him run when he can; but walking is the best pace, after all. So, from our text, we learn that Abraham rejoiced and leaped forward to see Christ’s day; and when he saw it, he sobered down, and was glad; and that is the best condition in which the spirit can remain. I cannot help thinking that it was this inward joy — this intense but calm gladness — that made Abraham such a noble man all through his life. Isaac is a very little man compared with his father Abraham. Where there is a high mountain, there generally is a low valley, so it was with Abraham and Isaac; and, as for Jacob, though he was a great man in some respects, and especially great at driving bargains, yet, somehow, he had none of the nobility of Abraham, who walked along in the dignity of a true prince among men. What a grand reply he gave to the king of Sodom who had said to him, “Give me the people, and take the goods for yourself.” Though all the spoil was his by the laws of war, yet he answered, “I have lifted up my hand to the Lord, the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ ” No, no; Abraham was too great a man to stoop at the foot of the king of Sodom, even to take what was his by right. He had fought for him, and brought him back the spoil, and he handed it over to him without any diminution except what had been eaten by the young men, or taken by the others who had gone with him, — his neighbours and friends who had a right to their share, although Abraham refused to take his portion of the plunder. The patriarch had many troubles; but, before his history is closed, it was recorded that “the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.” He had believed God in all things, and God had blessed him in all things. His was a happy, calm, noble, dignified life, almost throughout its entirety. Oh! that you and I might drink in deep draughts of Abraham’s faith, and that our eyes might see Christ’s day even more clearly than Abraham saw it, so that we might have rejoicing and gladness like his! Nothing can so surely bring this joy to our souls as faith like what he possessed.

18. III. So much for Abraham; now we come to ourselves, and enquire, IN WHAT RESPECTS DO WE SEE CHRIST’S DAY?

19. We stand, as it were, on a narrow neck of land between two seas of glory. Look back, — there is Christ’s day of mercy, — salvation, reconciliation, death, conflict, victory. Now look forward, and see, by faith, that sight which the apostle describes, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God”; — in splendour such as never was seen before, and which shall make the sun itself to be ashamed because of the greater glory of Christ, the Sun of righteousness.

20. Now let us ask ourselves, have we really seen Christ in his first day? Search your hearts, dear friends, and see. Have you looked to Christ as living, and working out a robe of spotless righteousness; and then, as dying, so that he might dye that robe crimson, and make it fit for his chosen princes to wear? Have you seen Jesus on the cross bearing your sins? This is a sight that is indeed worth living for; heaven itself cannot match that sight, and there is nothing that can excel it. When we are in sin’s densest darkness, that sight brings more light than the rising sun; and when we are cast out, like the dry bones of the valley of vision, it is this sight that makes us live again, and stand on our feet, a part of the very great army of God. Say, dear friend, have you looked to Christ by faith? Are you looking to him? Are you seeing his first day every day?

21. And then, have you learned to look forward to his second coming? It is not a subject for curiosity, as some make it; it is not a subject for speculation, as others make it; but it is a subject for reverent expectation. I do not know when he will come, but I know that he will come; he may come at any moment, and the sooner the better for me, for let him come whenever he may, he will be welcome; and if I am dead before he comes, I shall see his day all the same, “for I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day on the earth: and though after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God: whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins are consumed within me.” Fix your eyes on the coming King, for it will make you strong; you are not fighting for a vanquished leader. He has won the victory, and he will come back to wear the crown before long. There is no question about who is to win the great fight; Christ has already won it, and he shall come back to divide the spoil with the strong. God has given it to him, and he shall have it. Listen to the trumpets that proclaim his appearing! Your faith may almost hear them sound, “Lo, he comes! Lo, he comes!” It is getting towards midnight in the history of the world. Both the wise and the foolish virgins are all too apt to go to sleep; but the cry may be heard even now by the ears of faith, and it will awaken us into supreme energy of action for our Lord, “Behold the Bridegroom comes; go out to meet him.” How little there is of that going out to meet him! Let us have something of it tonight as we go out, in imagination, and in faith, to meet him who comes quickly. What countless trumpets then shall sound to awaken the sleeping dead! Glory, glory, glory, to him who once was despised and rejected by men! Welcome, welcome, Son of God! All your saints delight in you; come quickly, come quickly; make no delay, oh our God!

22. IV. Now, lastly, we are to consider THE EFFECT OF THESE SIGHTS ON US.

23. If we really see them, they will do for us what they did for Abraham, they will make us glad.

    Art thou weary? Art thou languid?
       Art thou sore distressed?

Come, then, get a sight of the weary and languid One who died for you on the tree. There is no gladness so easy to obtain as this. Is it not strange that, when the mourner’s heart is heavy, we never hear that he looks to the place where the star of Bethlehem burns, though there is joy there; but he looks where human woe culminated in the death of the Well-Beloved. To the cross the mourner turns his eyes, for there is no light that can come into the darkened heart except from the pierced side and broken heart of him whom we call Master and Lord. Do you want true joy? Then learn that joy was born where Christ died, and that joy lives because Jesus lives, it flourishes because he is risen. Keep your eyes on him, and they shall know no tears except those which shall bless both eyes and hearts.

24. Then, when you have found joy through looking on Christ’s first coming, look forward to his second coming, and get joy out of it also. I cannot speak fully of that glorious event tonight; but, certainly, it is a well of joy. If you have seen Christ in his shame, it is a fountain of delight to expect to see him in his honour and glory. You are a nobody now; the world does not know you, for it did not know him; but when he shall appear, then will be the time of your unveiling also. “Then the righteous shall shine out like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Now it is often heart-ache and headache, weariness and toilsome pilgrimage; but when he comes, it will be the marriage feast, and all the merriment of which human hearts are capable. Oh, what a thrill of joy will go through this poor groaning world when he comes! Creation is in bondage, and continually groans, and “we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body”; but when he comes, creation itself shall shake off its heavy weights, and shall get rid of its night dreams. Swathed in mist today, our poor planet scarcely gives out a ray of light; but then, unswayed, with all mists removed, when Jesus comes, surely it shall shine more brightly than the morning star. And if every believer is to be like the sun, what will this world be, filled with believers, each one shining like the sun in its strength? Oh, clap your hands, beloved, clap your hands, for he comes, who is your Lord and Saviour! “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and its fulness. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it: then all the trees of the wood shall rejoice before the Lord: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” Children of the morning, the morning comes; what a day shall yours be then, when your sun shall go down no more for ever, for your Lord’s coming shall be as a morning without clouds! Blessed and happy are those who, by faith, can see it. They can say good-bye to sin, and good-bye to sorrow; they can say to all discouragements, to all bafflings, to all defeats, “Farewell, for he comes, our Champion, who will lead us forward to the everlasting victory, in whose name we set up our banners, and in whose name, even now, our spirit rejoices with very great gladness that shall never end.”

25. May God give a portion in these glorious things to each of you to have, by a simple faith in Jesus, for his name’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 8:31-59}

31. Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed in him, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;

For there were many, in Christ’s day, coming to him for a while, and then going away from him; professing to believe, and then stumbling when Christ proclaimed some doctrine which struck them as being strange and hard to receive. Our Lord Jesus tells them that constancy is necessary for true discipleship. It is of no use to start running in the race unless we continue in the course until the prize is won. We are not true pilgrims to heaven merely because we cross the threshold of our door; we must keep on, and on, and on, until we reach the golden streets of the New Jerusalem.

32. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

That is the result of being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. With Christ, who is the truth, to be our Teacher, and the Holy Spirit to bless his words, we come to know the truth; and the operation of the truth on the heart is to deliver us from the bondage of sin and of error.

33. They answered him, “We are Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how can you say, ‘You shall be made free?’ ”

What a falsehood this was of theirs! They were at that very time in bondage to the Romans; they had been subdued and conquered: and, a little while later, they themselves confessed that they had no king but Caesar. Men are not very careful about telling falsehoods when they wish to resist Christ: they will do anything rather than believe in him.

34. Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin.

The man who habitually lives in sin is not a free man, for he is still a slave to sin. If he finds pleasure and delight in disobeying God, he has no right to talk about being a free man. His chains are rattling on his wrists; what can he know about freedom?

35. And the servant does not remain in the house for ever; but the son remains for ever.

A servant may be dismissed from the household, but a son may not. If we were only servants of God, we might fall from grace, and perish; but if we are the sons of God, we never shall. If we ever did, in truth, call God “Father,” we shall always be able to use that blessed title, for the relationship of fatherhood is not a temporary one, and cannot come to an end.

36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

If you have the freedom of sonship, you are free indeed. There are none so free in our Father’s house as his children are.

37-39. I know that you are Abraham’s seed; but you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with my Father: and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus says to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.

The real descendants of “the father of the faithful” are themselves faithful; that is, believers. The father of believers has believers for his children: “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.” Our Lord had admitted that these Jews were Abraham’s seed according to the flesh; but he proved that they were not Abraham’s seed in the high and spiritual sense, since they were not like him whom they claimed for a forefather.

40, 41. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I have heard from God: Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.”

He had not told them who that father was; but as it is a standing rule that men do the deeds of their father, the genuineness of the descent which they claimed could be tested by their likeness to their father.

41, 42. Then they said to him, “We are not born by fornication; we have one Father, even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me:

Any man who is born by God must love Jesus Christ. The purity of his motives, the loveliness of his character, the charms of his person, would all be sure to win the heart of a man who was truly born by God.

42, 43. For I proceeded from and came from God; neither did I come by my own authority, but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech? even because you cannot hear my word.

“You are dull of comprehension, you are hardened in heart, you are proud in spirit, you are just the opposite of everything that is good, and therefore you cannot hear my word,” says Christ; “and this is proof positive that you do not love God, and that you are not the children of God.”

44. You are of your father the devil, and you will do the lusts of your father.

Remember from whose lips these words fell, even from the lips of the gentle Jesus. Honest speech is the best sign of a loving heart; but, nowadays, if a man preaches the truth plainly and faithfully, men say that he is harsh and unkind; but if a man glosses over the truth, and alters it according to his own idea of what will please men, then they say, “He is a kindly-disposed and large-hearted man.” I should be disposed to doubt whether he has any heart at all, if he will sooner see sinners damned than offend them by proclaiming the truth. I thank God that some of us care little about offending those who offend God. If men will not yield themselves to the Lord, we do not want their friendship, but we will strive to make them uneasy in their rebellion, and if they resolve to be lost, we will at least be clear of their blood.

44. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not continue in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Falsehood is his natural element. When Satan deceives, he only acts according to his nature, which is blackened with falsehood through and through.

45, 46. And because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin?

What a grand challenge! None of us can speak like that, except in a very modified sense; but Christ, standing before his enemies, who gnashed their teeth at him, and would have given their eye-teeth to be able to find some fault in him, yet boldly says to them, “Which of you convicts me of sin?”

46-51. And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears God’s words: you therefore do not hear them, because you are not of God.” Then the Jews answered, and said to him, “Do we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan, and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honour my Father, and you dishonour me. And I do not seek my own glory: there is one who seeks and judges. Truly, truly, I say to you that, ‘If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death.’ ”

This statement quite staggered them; yet it is true. For believers, —

    “It is not death to die”;

they simply pass out of this world into a larger and yet more glorious life. They do not descend to death, but they rise to immortality.

52, 53. Then the Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and you say, ‘If a man keeps my saying, he shall never taste of death.’ Are you greater than our forefather Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead: whom do you make yourself out to be?”

“Who do you pretend to be? Someone greater than Abraham and the prophets?”

54-56. Jesus answered, “If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father who honours me; of whom you say, that he is our God: yet you have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, ‘I do not know him,’ I shall be a liar like you are: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your forefather Abraham

“As you call him” —

56, 57. Rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”

They allowed a wide margin in speaking of our Saviour’s age, for he was only about thirty-six years old. It may be true that the sorrows of his life had so marred his countenance that he looked more like a man of fifty than one of thirty-six. I cannot tell, nor do I know whether that is what they meant; but it is exceptional that they should have said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old.”

58. Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘Before Abraham was, I AM.’ ”

They had asked him, “Whom do you make yourself out to be?” and now they have his answer: “Before Abraham was, I am,” says Christ. It is the very name by which God revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush, “I AM.” Yet Jesus takes this title for himself: “Before Abraham was,” — not, “I was”; notice that; but, “I am”; as if his life was one continued present existence, as indeed it is, for with God there is no past or future, but all things are ever-present to his infinite mind. When Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” he claimed the Godhead, he declared that he was certainly God, self-existent from all eternity.

59. Then they took up stones to throw at him:

They considered him a blasphemer, and so he was if he was not all he claimed to be. I have heard of some who reverence Christ, but do not believe him to be God; but how can that be? He evidently made himself out to be God, and this was the great charge the Jews brought against him. For this, indeed, they put him to death, because he made himself equal with God. If he was not equal with God, — if he was not really God, — he led men to think that he was; and if this was false, it was a great sin not consistent with the holy character of Christ. If he was not God, he was the grossest impostor who ever visited this world. But he was God, and nothing less; yet because he claimed this, the Jews took up stones to throw at him.

59. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

May glory be to his holy name for ever and ever!

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Its Excellencies — Blessedness Of Gospel Times” 485}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — I Am Pardoned” 566}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — The Voice Of Jesus” 560}


Gospel, Its Excellencies
485 — Blessedness Of Gospel Times
1 How beauteous are their feet
      Who stand on Zion’s hill!
   Who bring salvation on their tongues,
      And words of peace reveal!
2 How charming is their voice!
      How sweet their tidings are!
   “Zion, behold thy Saviour King;
      He reigns and triumphs here.”
3 How happy are our ears,
      That hear this joyful sounds,
   Which kings and prophets waited for,
      And sought, but never found.
4 How blessed are our eyes,
      That see this heavenly light!
   Prophets and kings desired it long,
      But died without the sight.
5 The watchmen join their voice,
      And tuneful notes employ;
   Jerusalem breaks forth in songs,
      And deserts learn the joy.
6 The Lord makes bare his arm
      Through all the earth abroad;
   Let every nation now behold
      Their Saviour and their God.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.


Gospel, Received by Faith
566 — I Am Pardoned <8.7.>
1 Now, oh joy! my sins are pardon’d,
      Now I can, and do believe;
   All I have, and am, and shall be,
      To my precious Lord I give;
   He aroused my deathly slumbers,
      He dispersed my soul’s dark night;
   Whisper’d peace, and drew me to him —
      Made himself my chief delight.
2 Let the babe forget its mother,
      Let the bridegroom slight his bride;
   True to him, I’ll love none other,
      Cleaving closely to his side.
   Jesus, hear my soul’s confession,
      Weak am I, but strength is thine,
   On thine arms for strength and succour
      Calmly may my soul recline.
                     Albert Midlane, 1865.


Gospel, Received by Faith
560 — The Voice Of Jesus
1 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
      “Come unto me and rest;
   Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
      Thy head upon my breast.”
   I came to Jesus as I was,
      Weary, and worn, and sad:
   I found in him a resting place,
      And he has made me glad.
2 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
      “Behold, I freely give
   The living water — thirsty one,
      Stoop down, and drink, and live.”
   I came to Jesus, and I drank
      Of that life giving stream;
   My thirst was quench’d, my soul revived,
      And now I live in him.
3 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
      “I am this dark world’s light:
   Look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
      And all thy day be bright.”
   I look’d to Jesus, and I found
      In him my star, my sun;
   And in that light of life I’ll walk
      Till travelling days are done.
                        Horatius Bonar, 1857.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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