2669. Comfort From Christ’s Omniscience

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Comfort From Christ’s Omniscience

No. 2669-46:157. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, October 15, 1882, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, April 8, 1900.

Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. {Joh 21:17}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 117, “Do You Love Me?” 112}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2669, “Comfort from Christ’s Omniscience” 2670}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3524, “Do I Love the Lord or Not?” 3526}
   Exposition on Joh 21 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3057, “Following Christ” 3058 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 21 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3146, “Power of Christ’s Presence, The” 3147 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 21 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3378, “God’s Prison, Warden, and Prisoner” 3380 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 21 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3524, “Do I Love the Lord or Not?” 3526 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Peter was somewhat hard-pressed. He felt that he was pushed into a corner, and compelled to look into his own heart, and divulge its innermost secret. To be asked once, in the presence of his brethren, whether he loved his Lord more than they did, had a tendency to humiliate him, for he had boastfully declared that, though all men should be offended because of Christ, he would not. But to be asked, next, whether he really loved Christ at all, sank him to the ground with holy shame; and when his Master asked him, the third time, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me?” Peter was grieved, — not angry; — that could not be his condition under such circumstances, nor was he rebellious; but, at last, his heart was effectively touched by his Master’s skilful hand, and he was grieved, just as true love is always grieved when it is questioned, but most of all grieved when it is questioned again, and again, and again. Now, the enormity of his guilt in denying his Lord has come home to him, and the grief which he had caused his gracious Master is now reflected in his own deep and contrite sorrow: “Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ ”

2. Our Saviour’s pressing him so closely was no doubt necessary as a healthy discipline for Peter. It was not unkindness, but the highest form of honest tenderness which led our Lord to act in this way. I suppose that, if such a thing had occurred in any one of our churches as for some leading member to deny that he knew Christ, and to go the length of denying it with oaths and curses, and to commit that great sin three times, in the presence of many witnesses, so that the fact could not possibly be doubted, it would have been absolutely necessary, according to the teaching of the New Testament, to exercise discipline on such a man, and I think that he must have been excluded from church fellowship. The apostle Paul, writing concerning one who had been guilty of gross sin, says that, with such a man, we can have no fellowship, — no, not so much as to eat with him; and he would have said the same about Peter. He had denied Christ with oaths and curses; it was a most heinous sin, and surely the purity of the Church would be put in jeopardy — the very existence of the Church as a testimony for Christ would be at risk — by the retaining of such a man in its fellowship. According to such a rule as that, I suppose we must always judge. But the Lord Jesus Christ possessed attributes which we do not have; he was omniscient, and therefore he could read Peter’s heart. It was not necessary for him to do what it might be lawful and even necessary for us to do. He knew that Peter’s heart was right notwithstanding all the evil of which he had been guilty. So, instead of refusing to have fellowship with him, the Saviour first eats with him, — Christ literally invites him to come to breakfast; and then he exercises what I may call a kind of church discipline on him, though I mean that expression in no harsh or unkind sense. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Then rebuke that sin before everyone, so that others also may fear”; and our Lord acted in that way on this occasion. The six other brethren, who might fitly be regarded as representing the entire church, were present; and the Saviour began gently, but firmly, to probe Peter’s heart, and to probe it again, and yet again, until he perceived that he had touched him in the tenderest possible place, and had drawn from him this last and most solemn declaration of the sincerity of his love: “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Three times he had denied his Lord; it was fitting, therefore, that he should confess his love three times, and so his Master constrained him to do by his thrice-repeated question, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me?”

3. Let us, dear friends, as we think over this sad incident of Peter’s sin, and of our Lord’s gracious way of restoring him to his former office by a gentle act of discipline, put ourselves through a little heart-searching. It may be that, thanks to the restraining grace of God, we have not sinned as Peter did; but we have sinned in some other way. All of us have sinned quite enough to make us say, “Lord, do we love you?” Instead of waiting for him to ask the question of us, we will ask it of ourselves, — Do we really and truly love the Lord? Let us also believe that our Lord, as he stands at this moment among us, and walks from pew to pew, bows his head over each one of us, and says, “Do you love me?”

4. As he does so, let us not evade the question, or play any tricks with it. Do not let any one of us say, “I hope I do,” or, “I am afraid I do not.” We either do or we do not; and the only answer that will be satisfactory will be “Yes,” or “No.” If we say, “No,” it will be so far satisfactory that we are speaking the truth; and, possibly, we may be helped to recoil from so terrible a truth as that we do not love the Lord Jesus Christ, and that will be good for us, especially if it shall lead us to yield to him. A man should always know the consequences of what he is doing, so that he may do it with his eyes open; and, then, perhaps, he will see the folly and the sin of it, and take a better course. But if, dear friend, you can answer, “Yes,” to Christ’s question, then say it. Slowly, thoughtfully, as in the presence of the Eternal God, say, “Lord, I ask you to bear witness on my account, for your word is faithful and true. ‘You know all things; you know that I love you.’ ” If you can say that, it will be a happy thing for yourself, and it will be a blessed thing for those who are all around you; for, now, being assured of your own love for Christ, you will endeavour to win others to share that love, so that many of you together may be able to say to Christ, —

    Yes, we love thee, and adore;
    Oh, for grace to love thee more!

5. Now, coming to the text, I am going to try to do two things; — first, to examine Peter’s reply; and then, secondly, to invite you to examine yourselves to see whether you can each give the same reply.

6. I. First, let us EXAMINE PETER’S REPLY: “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

7. I begin with the observation that it is quite clear, from his reply, that Peter was no Unitarian. {a} He had no doubts about the divinity of Christ, for he said to him, “Lord, you know all things.” Now, there is no being conceivable of knowing all things except God; and if it is true that Jesus Christ knows all things, then he possesses that omniscience which is one of the essential attributes of Deity. I find that, nowadays, there is a sad increase of that pestilent heresy which is practically a return to the old Arianism {b} which sought to rob Christ of his true glory, and reduce him to the level of a mere man. We, at any rate, are not tainted with that fatal error; may God grant that we never may be! No; he who, as man, is our brother, is also God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, whom we worship and adore; and we think and speak of him as possessing every attribute that is essential to the Deity, and, therefore, as possessing this one, — that he knows all things. He searches the hearts and tries the reins of the children of men, for he is, assuredly, “very God of very God”; or, as Paul says, in his Epistle to the Romans, he “is over all, God blessed for ever.”

8. My next remark on our text is, that Peter’s mention of omniscience in connection with Christ, and in connection with our declaration of love for him, may be regarded as a fact very full of awe, because the Christ with whom we have to deal knows everything we are thinking, he reads all that is in the very core and centre of our soul; we are in the presence of One whose infinite knowledge takes in, at one glance, our entire lives, past, present, and future.

9. My dear friends, if we remember that fact, it becomes a very solemn thing for us to make an appeal to him to bear witness that we do really love him. Peter said to Christ, “Lord, you know all things,” which in his case meant, “Lord you know that, when the damsel said to me, ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ I denied it, and said, ‘I do not know what you are saying’; and when another maiden said, ‘This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth,’ I denied with an oath, and said, ‘I do not know the man,’ and then, as if to settle the matter once and for all, and make my accusers believe that I could not be one of Christ’s followers, I took to profanity, and with oaths and curses, like any son of Belial or lewd fellow of the streets, I blasphemed and swore.” Yes, the Master had read the inner thoughts of Peter, as well as heard his words. Jesus knew all about how base and cowardly he was to be afraid of a couple of silly maids, and of those who stood with the throng in the high priest’s palace; yet Peter says, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” As we think of poor Peter, and his answer to Christ’s question, let us remember that Jesus also knows everything that we have done since we were converted as well as before, — all those times in which our thoughts have been impure and unclean, or our desires have wandered beyond the bounds of what is right and proper, or our temper has been hasty and hot, or our spirit has been angry and proud. He sees our entire life in a single instant; God’s mind does not need a certain amount of time to think of one wrong thing which we have done, and then, afterwards, to think of another; but it is all present before his eye at the same moment. Just as when a man rises in a balloon, above London, and sees it all at once spread before him, so God, from his throne on high, sees our whole life at one glance. Just think of his pure and holy eyes seeing every portion of all your lives, — your life at the table, your life in the parlour, your life in the kitchen, your life in the work-room, your life in the bedroom, your life everywhere, — and, as you think of all that being under his immediate gaze, I think it must become a very solemn thing for you to say to him, “Lord, you know all this; and yet I dare call you to witness that I do love you notwithstanding all that you have seen.” Brothers and sisters, it is not by any means a trifling matter if our Lord only knows the sin of last week. Will you just think for a minute what it has been? Perhaps some of you may have grievously wronged the Saviour during the week. If so, and remembering that he knows it all, can you still creep up to him, and say, “Lord, though I am fully conscious that you know all that has happened, yet, for all that, I say, you also know that I love you.” That is a fact full of awe.

10. It is, in the next place, a fact which suggests to us that we should be very sincere; for, if the Lord knows all things, then anything like an attempt to profess a love which we do not possess is utterly foolish, for God will search it through and through, and discover its falseness. Then, in addition to being very foolish, it must be very wicked and insulting to the Lord. To tell another human being, whom you do not love, that you love him, would be a most cruel thing to do, and a most impudent and impertinent thing also; but voluntarily to express to God an affection which you do not feel, is a very near approach to blasphemy. If it is not blasphemy in words, it certainly is in thought and intent. God knows, friend, whether, when you joined the church, you were indeed a follower of Christ. That night, when you were baptized, he saw all that was done; and he knew exactly whether it was for you only an outward form, or whether you were really, in a spiritual sense, dead and buried with Christ. And when this service is over, it will be vain and futile for you to come to the communion table, and eat the bread, and drink from the cup, unless in your very soul you are trusting Christ, and believing in him for salvation. If you are determined to deceive someone, deceive your equal, play tricks with your fellow creatures; but never think to deceive the Most High, who sees through you as if you were made of crystal, and at this moment is watching each beat of your heart, and reading not only what is on your tongue, but what is in your mind, and will eventually come out of your lips. Oh, let us never, in our testimony, talk beyond our own experience, or boast of virtues which we never possessed; and in our prayers, let us never pray as if we had an experience which we have never felt; but let us say to Jesus, “Lord, you know all things”; and let us be intensely sincere before him; and it shall be a blessed thing if, being so, we then dare to say, “yet you know that I love you.”

11. Further, dear friends, this is a fact which not only fills us with awe and suggests to us sincerity, but it is a fact which inspires us with hope. At times, the grace that is really in us is scarcely visible to ourselves. I have often rejoiced that God’s omniscience has enabled him to find grace in me which I could not see, and I feel sure that there must be some of you who sometimes are led to question whether there is any grace in you or not. You ask, “Where is that grain of mustard seed?” Shame on you! Shame on you! You ought to have watered it until it grew into a tree. But remember that, even when you cannot see the grace that is in you, God can. When you are brought into such a state of diffidence and despondency that you are half-afraid there is not any real love for Christ in your soul at all, yet, if it is there, he can see it, for he put it there, and he values it very highly, and has a keen eye to find it.

12. “Lord, you know all things; therefore, I bless you that you know every place where I have been, and you know, my secret love passages with you.” That is a blessed thought. I have no doubt that, when Peter said to Christ, “You know all things,” he not only remembered his sin, but he remembered his going out, and weeping bitterly; and he also remembered that look that Jesus gave him, — such a look as you and I could not give to anyone. I do not know what Peter said to the Lord while he was weeping bitterly, but there must have been many a sigh, and many a groan, and many a tear, in that time of anguish. Peter no doubt got away into a corner, all alone, and he was ready to cover himself with sackcloth and ashes, as he groaned, and wrestled, and cried there. He did not know what to do with himself; and while he was praying like this, perhaps his Lord let in the light of the gospel, and made him remember some such promise as this, “He who covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy”; and Peter had some comforting gleams of hope even amid the darkness, and, after a while, he even dared to speak to his Lord, and tell him how he loved him. And now Peter says, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you, for between you and me there have been some love passages which no one knows but you and me. My eyes all full of tears have met your eyes all full of love; and my heart all breaking has touched your heart which was pierced on the tree. Your wounded hand has been laid to my sore, and your weeping eyes have looked my tears away. You know, Lord; you know all things; you know that I love you.” So, dear friends, you see that there is something extremely sweet about that omniscience which has read the secret motions of our spirit towards the Lord. Even when they have been so feeble that we could scarcely see them ourselves, God has seen them.

13. And do you not think, dear friends, that there is something very blessed in Peter’s plan of bringing in Christ’s omniscience to answer his Lord’s question about his love, inasmuch as it meets our inability to speak? Some of us can speak fast enough, but others have the holy gift of silence, which is a great blessing. They cannot say much, but they can look up to their Saviour, and say, “Lord, you know all things; you know that we love you.” I have heard of a young Christian woman, who was asked to tell before the church the story of her experience; but she could not utter a word, until, just as she was going out of the room, she turned around, and said, “I cannot speak for Jesus Christ, but I could die for him.” Then the one, who was in charge of the meeting, said to her, “Come back, dear sister, you have said quite enough for us to know that you love the Lord.” No doubt there are many who find it easier to live for Christ than to speak for him; they do not have that gift. Let me remind you who must always be the silent members of the church, that you may be blessed in your silence by reflecting on this fact, that God knows all about what you cannot explain to your fellow Christians. His omniscience sets aside the necessity of your being able to express your love fluently, and you also can say, “Lord, you know all things; you know that we love you.”

14. And is this fact not a sweet encouragement for any of you who are persecuted for Christ’s sake? Our enemies do not burn us now, or stretch us on racks, but they still have many methods of showing their malice. They know how to torture us, and some of them are very ingenious in the art of tormenting. I have known some to say, — ungodly parents will say it to their daughters, — sometimes, wicked men will say it to their gracious wives, — “You know very well that all your idea about being religious is that you want to be different. You go to your place of worship because you like to be different from everyone else; that is the only reason you have.” Possibly, you do not know what to say to them; but you can always say this to your Saviour, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

15. Then, again, if there is some little fault to be found with you in the family, down they come on you, crying, “Ah! that is your Christianity, is it? You are one of those who have professed to be religious, and joined the church!” Notice that, friends, they will do a hundred times worse things themselves, and think nothing of it; but if they can catch you tripping up in the slightest degree, they magnify your little slip into a grievous fall. Now, it would be quite fair for them to do so if you claimed to be perfect; but as you never did that, it is an unfair thing to charge you with insincerity because of imperfection. Do not let them have the opportunity of saying even that, if you can help it; yet, sometimes, when you have given them no occasion for finding fault with you, they will make one, and invent an accusation for which there is no foundation. Well, if they do so, never mind; let them say what they wish, but lift up your eyes to heaven, and say, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” A man of God, — as upright a Christian man as I know, — came to me, not long ago, in great trouble because someone had said that he had been drunk. He was dreadfully grieved about it, for he had been a teetotaller for many years, and nothing of the kind had occurred. “Well,” I said, “you are only tarred with the same brush as others of us”; and then I added, “As for me, I have had all kinds of false and cruel things said about me! I remember that an influential daily paper said of me, at the time of the Surrey Gardens accident, {c} ‘We would place, in the hand of every right-thinking man, a whip to scourge from society such a ranting charlatan.’ Yet I am still here, notwithstanding all that was said. Moreover, when most abused, I used to go to bed at the same hour as I would have done if they had not slandered me; and I believe that I ate my dinner with as hearty an appetite as if everyone had been praising me.” One gets by degrees into such a condition that it does not matter what people say. And, after all, does it ever really matter what they say? Let them throw mud at you until you are covered with it from head to foot; the kind of mud they fling has a tendency to come off when it is dry, and to make the garment that it once sullied look even brighter than it was before. Do not fret yourselves about these slanderers and persecutors, but just get alone, and say to the Lord, “ ‘You know all things.’ They do not; and it is a good thing for us that they do not. If they did, then they might find plenty of fault with us, and find some real faults in us; but they do not know everything, and they generally hit on the very thing of which we are quite innocent; but, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that we love you.’ ”

16. This seems to me to be a blessed text for you to take home, and to carry with you wherever you go in the midst of a ribald world, for it will often remind you of a precious truth: “You know all things; you know that I love you.” Of course he does, if you do really love him, for it is his own love in you returning from where it came, and he knows that it is there. If you do love him, it was he who made you love him. This plant of paradise never grows of its own accord in the dunghill of our nature; neither does it grow anywhere unless it is planted by the hand of God. He who gave you that love watches over it to bring it to perfection. Being a plant of his own right-hand planting, he will water it every moment; and lest anyone harms it, he will keep it night and day. Having loved the Lord here on earth, you shall love him eventually in heaven, where, with all the blood-washed company, you shall find it the very heaven of your heaven to live for ever adoring him whose eternal love, and sovereign grace, and almighty power have at last made you perfect, and brought you home, to love him even as he loves you, according to your capacity.

17. II. There I must leave the text, so far as it especially concerns Peter, and come now to speak briefly on the second part of the subject, which is, TO INVITE YOU TO EXAMINE YOURSELVES TO SEE WHETHER EACH OF YOU CAN GIVE THE SAME REPLY; “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.”

18. First, some say the same as Peter did, though they ought not to do so. They say that they love Christ. “Yes, oh, yes; we love him!” Let us talk to one of these glib speakers for a few moments. When did you begin to love the Lord? “Oh! I — I — I always did love him.” When were you converted, and renewed in heart? “Oh! I do not know that I ever was.” Stop, then, friend, before you say again that you love the Lord. Do you truly trust the Saviour? Are you resting the whole weight of your soul on him? If you say, “No,” then you do not love him, for the only love which Christ will accept is born by faith. Love is the flower which grows out of the root of faith.

19. Perhaps you think that you are very good, and that you will probably get to heaven by your goodness. If that is your notion, then I am sure you do not really love Christ. You admire your beautiful self; you have been so good, and so excellent, that you do not want to be saved by the sinners’ Saviour. You want a special, particular Saviour for you, — a saint-Saviour, not a sinner’s Saviour. Then I know you do not love the Christ of the Bible, — the Christ of Calvary. You may love a kind of antichrist of your own inventing, but you do not love the Christ of God. Let me ask you another question. You say that you love Christ; well, then, for what do you thank Christ? “Well, I believe that there are some imperfections in me, and that Christ makes up for them.” Do you? Then, in your esteem, he is only a makeweight, {d} just to compensate for your deficiencies. His seamless robe of righteousness is to be torn to patch up your old rags! How many of you want to make Christ a kind of extra horse to drag the load up the hill! That is all you think of him; but do you imagine that Christ and your poor team are to be joined together like that? Is it to be partly self-salvation, and partly salvation by Christ? If that is your idea, you so insult the Saviour — it may be unwittingly, — that I am sure you cannot really love him.

20. I have heard of a very excellent man, — one of the holiest and best of men, — who, when he lay dying, said, “Lord, when I estimate my works, I have to remember that your estimate is so very different from mine that I think it best to leave this business altogether, and trust my Saviour only.” I have heard of another who said, when he was dying, that he began to sort out his works, and some he thought were good, and some were bad; but after he had sorted them a little, he felt that the good ones were so very like the bad ones when he came really to look closely into them, that he pitched the whole lot overboard, and just trusted himself to Christ. That was a very wise and sensible thing to do, and I am sure that no man among you loves Christ unless he is trusting only and entirely in him.

21. What is your view of Christ, dear friend? Is he your Master as well as your Saviour? This is a question which I want to ask very pointedly, for I heard a person ask, the other day, “Is baptism essential for salvation?” Listen. This man intends to do only just what is essential for his own salvation; that is all. To get into heaven, is all that he cares about, so he asks concerning one thing or another, “Is it essential for salvation?” A soldier in her Majesty’s army says, when an order is given to him, “Is this essential? Shall I be shot I do not obey it?” Drum him out of the regiment, for what good is he? I look at Christ as my Lord and Master; and if he tells me to do something, though there may be in it nothing whatever for my profit, I am bound to do it because he is my Master and Lord. “Is it essential for salvation?” is a sneak’s question; I dare not use a milder term. I am often ashamed to answer those who make such an enquiry. The message to you is, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” Did you come into the world merely so that you might get saved? Is that all? Oh, poor, base wretch! May the Lord save you from being so selfish! How can you even get to heaven when your sole ambition is, somehow or other, to save your own skin? To get inside the pearly gates, and enjoy yourself, — that is your notion of heaven; but that is the very thing from which you have to be saved. I hope you will come to have quite another idea. I live, not to save myself, but to glorify him who has saved me. I work, not because I hope to escape from hell by what I do, or to get to heaven by what I do, but because Christ has saved me; and now, out of gratitude to him, if there is anything he wishes me to do, I do it without a question, saying to him, —

    Hast thou a lamb in all thy flock
       I would disdain to feed?
    Hast thou a foe, before whose face
       I fear thy cause to plead?

Get rid of selfishness, or else you cannot truthfully say that you love Christ; you are only loving yourself, and baptizing selfishness with the name of Christianity.

22. But, next, I think that there are some people who ought to say what Peter did, and yet they are afraid to do so. Some of the most beautiful, tender, loving, genuine, true-hearted people in the world are, nevertheless, so timid, and so jealous of themselves, and they have such brokenness of spirit, that they dare not say that they love Christ, though I am sure that, if any people in the world do love him, it is just these poor people. There are many who are so hard and harsh towards these dear tender, broken-hearted ones, that I like to cheer them all I can. I wish that they would grow stronger; I wish that they would become bolder; I wish they were braver; but, then, I know that, among these who dare not say publicly that they love Christ, are many who love him vastly better than some who can talk very glibly about it. I have told you before about the two friends who were shut up in prison, and one said to the other, “Oh, I do dread tomorrow morning! I am afraid that, when I come to feel the fire, I shall recant. I know that I never was good at bearing pain, and I have heard that the pain of being burned to death is very dreadful.” So the other turned around to him, and said, “I am ashamed of you talking like that; you know very well it is for Christ’s cause that we are going to die. I am sure that I shall not have any such fear; I could bear a thousand deaths for Christ. I feel such courage in my spirit that I do not dread the pain, and I am ashamed that you do.” They both came to be chained to the stake, and the boastful man recanted, and saved his skin; but the poor timid man stood bravely in the midst of the fire, and burned to death, and only kept saying, “Lord, help me! Lord, help me!” I believe that it often happens that those who are so trembling in themselves, are, nevertheless, sound to the core, while many of your high-flying gentlemen, who get perfect in about three minutes, and then begin to preach to those of us who have been, perhaps, thirty years in Christ, and tell us that we ought to be as perfect as they are, — which we were before they were born, — will be blown away like thistle-down by the first wind that comes, and that the solid, weighty lumps of gold — these humble broken-hearted saints, — will endure even to the end. Still, dear brother, where are you? Mr. Despondency, I mean. I want you to say, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Where are you, Mrs. Much-Afraid? I think I have read about you in The Pilgrim’s Progress. Mrs. Much-Afraid, and Mr. Despondency, and Mr. Feeble-Mind, and Mr. Ready-to-Halt, who had the crutches, and went limping all his life; yet when Mr. Great-Heart cut off Giant Despair’s head, and brought it to the pilgrims, they said that they would all dance, and Ready-to-Halt danced on his crutches, and said that he hoped, eventually, to be where he should not be encumbered with them. Come along, all you poor tried souls, let this be a time of rejoicing with you. Say in your spirit, if not in words, “Yes, Lord, we cannot hold back any longer, we must say it; ‘You know all things; you know that we love you.’ ” And when you have once said it, keep on saying it, my dear brother or sister; and may the Lord keep you up to that blessed mark until, when the trumpet sounds in the morning, and you wake up in the endless day, you shall say, “Yes, Lord, I did love you, and I love you now, and I will love you for ever.” May God grant that we may all say that, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

23. Before we go, let us sing this one verse, —

    I will love thee in life, I will love thee in death,
    And praise thee as long as thou lendest me breath;
    And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
    If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

{a} Unitarian: One who affirms the unipersonality of the Godhead, especially as opposed to an orthodox Trinitarian. OED. {b} Arian: Of, pertaining to, or adhering to the doctrine of, Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria in the 4th c., who denied that Jesus Christ was consubstantial, or of the same essence or substance with God. His opinions were embraced by large sections of Christendom, and the dissensions by which the church was rent lasted for nearly a century. OED. {c} Surrey Hall Disaster: On Sunday morning, October 19, 1856, Spurgeon was to preach for the first time at Surrey Gardens Music Hall. The building had seating for over ten thousand people and was one of the largest auditoriums in England at that time. The young preacher arrived early at the Hall and was amazed to see the streets and garden area thronged with people. When the doors were opened, the people entered quickly and soon the place was full. Wisely, Spurgeon started the service earlier than the time announced. He led in prayer and then announced a hymn, which the large congregation sang reverently. He then read Scripture and commented on it, and this was followed by a pastoral prayer. As he was praying, voices began to shout “Fire! Fire! The galleries are giving way! The place is falling!” Spurgeon stopped praying and did his best to calm the people, but the damage had been done. In the stampede that followed, seven people were killed and twenty-eight injured. Spurgeon tried to preach, hoping that that would arrest the crowd, but the tumult and the shouting were even too much for the prince of preachers. He then asked the people to sing a hymn as they exited in an orderly manner, and he himself left in a state of shock. He spent the next week in a broken condition, wondering if he would ever preach again. {d} Makeweight: A comparatively small quantity added to make up a certain weight. OED.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Joy and Peace — God’s Presence Is Light In Darkness” 711}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — ‘We Love Him Because He First Loved Us’ ” 788}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Holy Anxiety — ‘Lovest Thou Me?’ ” 639}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — My Jesus, I Love Thee” 804}

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 26:1-14}

1. In that day —

Or, rather, as we may read it now, “In this day” —

1-3. This song shall be sung in the land of Judah; “We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, so that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on you: because he trusts in you.

Here is the song which we are to sing in this gospel day. The theme of it is God, and the city which he has built, and which he has given to us to be our inheritance for ever. “We have a strong city”; yes, beloved, a very strong one, for, although the devil has exercised all his ingenuity for these thousands of years, he has not been able to destroy it. He has thrown in the bomb-shell of persecution; he has tried to undermine it with his subtlety and cunning of false doctrine; but he has not been able to do anything effectively against the strong city yet. “We have a strong city”; and she is just as strong now, after all the desperate attacks that have been made on her walls, as she ever was. Against her, the gates of hell cannot prevail. The Church of Christ is never in danger. “We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.”

After noticing the security of the city, the prophet invites us to “open the gates, so that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.” It is the gospel minister’s business to seek to open the gates; it is the Christian’s business, in some sense, to open the gates; yes, all of us should be endeavouring, if possible, to “open the gates, so that the righteous nation” — that is, the righteous people “may enter” into the Church. But, after all, the Lord Jesus Christ is the great Opener of the gates; he opens the gates to let his people in. And, notice that, they do not all come in at one gate. The command is, “Open the gates.” Some come in by means of one doctrine, and some by means of another. We are not all converted by the same agency. Some come in at the Sunday School gate; others come in at the gate which is kept by pious parents; many come in at the gate of the preached Word; but all the gates should be open: “Open the gates, so that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.”

The prophet next describes the peaceableness of this city. The gates are open, but no enemy ever enters in: for he says to the Lord, “You will keep him in peace, — peace,” as the original has it, in double peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on you.” There is nothing like fixing the mind on God. If you fix the mind on anything else, you cannot have perfect peace, for that something else may fail you. If you trust in horses and in chariots, horses may tire, and the wheels of the chariots may break; but he who trusts in the Lord shall dwell “in perfect peace.” Let the earth be all up in arms abroad, the believer dwells “in perfect peace,” “because he trusts in you.”

4, 5. Trust in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: for he brings down those who dwell on high;

Some of you dwell so much “on high” that you do not believe the doctrine of original depravity; you are very good by nature, according to your own ideas. Well, remember this declaration of the prophet: “He brings down those who dwell on high.” Others of you boast of your free-will capacity, and you think you have power to do anything without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Ah! but “He brings down those who dwell on high.” Others of you do not know what a doubt or a fear is, but you wrap yourselves up complacently in your self-sufficiency, and say, “We are secure,” Ah! but “He brings down those who dwell on high.”

5. The lofty city, he lays it low;

No one can lay God’s city low, but God can lay the lofty city low.

5-7. He lays it low, even to the ground; he brings it even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.” The way of the just is uprightness: you, most upright, weigh the path of the just.

God “weighs the path of the just” in scales. We read elsewhere that God weighs the spirits, and weighs our actions; here we are told that he “weighs the path of the just.” Those words, which were used by the prophet when he went to Hezekiah and said, “What have they seen in your house?” would serve for a very striking text. But it is still more important to consider what God has seen in our house and in our hearts, for God weighs our actions; he weighs our private thoughts and our public deeds; he “weighs the path of the just.”

But, according to the prophet, “the way of the just is uprightness,” even after it is weighed. Notwithstanding all the sin that is mixed with it, in the main it is “up-rightness” ascending towards God.

8, 9. Yes, in the way of your judgments, oh LORD, we have waited for you; the desire of our soul is to your name, and to the remembrance of you. With my soul I have desired you in the night; yes, with my spirit within me I will seek you early: for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

Alas! it is often the case that, when God’s “judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” for a little while, and then forget it. All too often, they are like the child who merely learns his lesson by rote, and repeats it under the fear of the rod, and then forgets all about it the next morning. They “learn righteousness,” but, soon, the effect of the warning is all gone, and then God sends new judgments on the earth to teach the inhabitants further lessons.

10-12. Let favour be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. LORD, when your hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yes, the fire of your enemies shall devour them. LORD, you will ordain peace for us: for you also have done all our works in us.

Troubled saint, what a precious passage this is for you! Poor, tempest-tossed soul, what a glorious utterance! “Lord, you will ordain peace for us.” There shall come an ordinance from God, that his people shall have peace: “You will ordain peace for us: for you also have done all our works in us”; so they must be good works, but those works which God did not work in us are bad ones.

13, 14. Oh LORD our God, other lords besides you have had dominion over us: but only by you we will make mention of your name. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise:

Many of us can look back to the time when we made idols of business and of worldly things; but now these lords are dead, and they shall not live again; they are buried out of our sight, and they shall not rise from their graves.

14. Therefore you have visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.

And a blessed thing it is when the memory of our sins does perish, and we have no desire to be enslaved by them again.

The Christian, Joy and Peace
711 — God’s Presence Is Light In Darkness
1 My God, the spring of all my joys,
      The life of my delights,
   The glory of my brightest days,
      And comfort of my nights.
2 In darkest shades if he appear,
      My dawning is begun;
   He is my soul’s sweet morning star,
      And he my rising sun.
3 The opening heavens around me shine
      With beams of sacred bliss,
   While Jesus shows his heart is mine,
      And whispers, I am his.
4 My soul would leave this heavy clay
      At that transporting word,
   Run up with joy the shining way
      T’ embrace my dearest Lord.
5 Fearless of hell and ghastly death,
      I’d break through every foe;
   The wings of love, and arms of faith,
      Should bear me conqueror through.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
788 — “We Love Him Because He First Loved Us”
1 My God, I love thee; not because
      I hope for heaven thereby,
   Nor yet because who love thee not
      Must burn eternally.
2 Thou, oh my Jesus, thou didst me
      Upon the cross embrace;
   For me didst bear the nails, and spear,
      And manifold disgrace.
3 And griefs, and torments numberless,
      And sweat of agony;
   Yea, death itself; and all for me
      Who was thine enemy.
4 Then why, oh blessed Jesu Christ,
      Should I not love thee well?
   Not for the hope of winning heaven,
      Nor of escaping hell;
5 Not with the hope of gaining aught,
      Not seeking a reward;
   But as thyself hast loved me,
      Oh ever-loving Lord.
6 So would I love thee, dearest Lord,
      And in thy praise will sing;
   Solely because thou art my God,
      And my Eternal King.
               Francis Xavier, 1552.
               tr. by Edward Caswall, 1849.

The Christian, Holy Anxiety
639 — “Lovest Thou Me?”
1 Do not I love thee, oh my Lord?
      Behold my heart and see;
   And turn each odious idol out
      That dares to rival thee.
2 Do not I love thee from my soul?
      Then let me nothing love:
   Dead be my heart to every joy,
      when Jesus cannot move.
3 Is not thy name melodious still
      To mine attentive ear?
   Doth not each pulse with pleasure bound,
      My Saviour’s voice to hear?
4 Hast thou a lamb in all thy flock
      I would disdain to feed?
   Hast thou a foe, before whose face
      I fear thy cause to plead?
5 Would not my ardent spirit vie
      With angels round the throne,
   To execute thy sacred will,
      And make thy glory known?
6 Would not my heart pour forth its blood
      In honour of thy name,
   And challenge the cold hand of death
      To damp the immortal flame?
7 Thou know’st I love thee, dearest Lord;
      But oh, I long to soar
   Far from the sphere of mortal joys,
      And learn to love thee more.
                     Philip Doddridge, 1755.

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
804 — My Jesus, I Love Thee <11s.>
1 My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine,
   For thee all the follies of sin I resign;
   My gracious Redeemer, amy Saviour art thou,
   If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
2 I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
   And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
   I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow,
   If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
3 I will love thee in life, I will love thee in death,
   And praise thee as long as thou lendest me breath;
   And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
   If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
4 In mansions of glory and endless delight,
   I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
   I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
   If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
                  London Hymn Book, 1864.

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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