2765. Marvellous Light

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Marvellous Light

No. 2765-48:61. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, October 26, 1879, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 9, 1902.

His marvellous light. {1Pe 2:9}

1. Everything about a true Christian is marvellous. He is a marvel to himself, and a marvel to all who are around him. Mere professors — man-made Christians — people who have made themselves Christians by their own free will apart from the Spirit of God, have nothing marvellous about them. You can make professors of that kind by the score, and you can see them dissolve by the score, for what man made, man can unmake, and what is merely natural has its season, like the leaves on the trees; and, eventually, it withers away because its time to fade has come. But a true Christian is a God-made man, a twice-born man; and he is a partaker of the divine nature. He is a mass of marvels, for he is dead, and yet he is alive; he is one who lives here, and yet his life has gone away up there; he is one who is a citizen of earth, and yet his citizenship is in heaven. He is a true man, but he is more than a man, for God has lifted him up above the level of other men, given him a life which other men do not possess, revealed to him secrets which others do not know, and prepared for him a place into which the ungodly can never enter. The longer he looks at himself, the more he wonders about God’s grace, and at what God’s grace has done, is doing, and will yet do for him. He is a riddle to himself, — an enigma made up of a thousand enigmas. Probably, he does not fully understand all that has happened in any single day of his life, and there are certain days in which God’s dealings with him quite stagger him; and though faith sees all things to be plain, yet, to mere human reason, things often appear to be in a snarl, and intertwined, and he does not know what to make of them.

2. Everything about a true Christian is marvellous, as angels know, who often desire to look into the things which concern them, and since he knows who is our Leader and Commander, — who was a Man wondered about, and whose faithful followers are all wondered about still he himself is the greatest marvel of all; and among the many marvels that surround him is the marvellous light in which he dwells. Those of us, who are now in Christ, lived at one time in the gross darkness of ignorance. I mean even those of us who were brought up in Christian families, and knew the letter of the gospel well. We did not know its inner meaning, and we never felt its power. We were in darkness; though, indeed, there was a certain measure of light which had come to us, which made us responsible for our wrong-doing; yet, still, our heart remained in gross darkness.

3. And, eventually, this darkness was attended with much misery. There came to us a little light, just sufficient to make our darkness visible; so that we perceived the darkness in which we live, and we began to sigh and cry, like prisoners confined in an underground dungeon, to whom light and fresh air cannot come. Then everything about us seemed to blacken, and the gloom around us deepened. We were in the dark concerning our apprehensions of the future. We knew that we must die, yet we feared to die. We clung to life; yet, sometimes, we did not desire even life itself, but said, with Job, “My soul chooses strangling, and death rather than my life.” The prospect of annihilation would have seemed almost like heaven to us, if we could, by it, have gotten rid of our sinful, sorrowful being, clouded with apprehensions of the wrath of God, and of judgments yet to come on us. I know that I am talking about something which many of you understand. It was a thick Egyptian night in which you were then enveloped, a darkness that might be felt; and you tried your utmost to escape from it, but you could not, for it was in you. Your soul was in darkness, the light within your spirit was quenched, and all around you seemed to darken, and darken, and darken, as though an eternal midnight were surely descending on you.

4. Well, at that time, it happened to me, and I know that it also happened to some of you, as it did to Peter, that the angel of the Lord suddenly struck us on our side, and a light shone into our prison-house, and we arose, scarcely knowing what we were doing, but we girded our garments around us, and followed our angelic leader, while the prison gates, which had formerly shut us in, opened before us of their own accord, and we found ourselves to be free, and in broad daylight, too; although, for a time, we could scarcely believe those blessed facts. We saw what we had never seen before; we enjoyed what we had never even hoped to enjoy. Indeed, as in an instant, we possessed what we thought must for ever be denied to us, and we scarcely knew how to contain our joy; but we made our way, as fast as we could, to the house of Christ’s disciples who had prayed for us previously. And how we gladdened them as we told them the story of God’s delivering and enlightening grace, and so proclaimed the praises of him who had called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Truly, it was marvellous light to us at that time. Many days have passed since then with some of us, but it is still marvellous light; and as we look at it now, it is not any less marvellous than it was at the very first. It is of that marvellous light that I am going to speak; and as I relate my own experience of it, I pray God to grant that some of you, who have never known its power in your own souls, may be made to rejoice in it.

5. I. I have already touched on the first point, of which I want now to speak somewhat more fully; that is, THIS LIGHT APPEARS MARVELLOUS BECAUSE OF OUR FORMER DARKNESS.

6. Out of darkness, light does not come. Out of our dark nature no marvellous light ever shone. This light came from above; but how marvellous it was! Imagine, if you can, the condition of a man who has lived all his lifetime in a coal mine. Suppose him never to have had a brighter light than his flickering candle; and then, after a while, to be brought up the shaft, and to see the brightness of the sun at midday. I can scarcely picture his amazement; you may imagine what it would be like, but you can hardly comprehend it. Or suppose a worse case still, that of one born blind, who had heard of a thing called light, but who could never imagine what it was like until a skilful oculist took away the film that was blinding him, and his eye was opened so that he could perceive the light. It would be very difficult to describe all the emotions of one who had never enjoyed the light before; but, certainly, such a person would be full of wonder and amazement. It would be, indeed, marvellous light to him.

7. You who have never been converted, who never were regenerated, do not know any more about the light of God than the man in the coal mine knows about the sun, or that man born blind knows about the light of day. Perhaps you talk a good deal about it, and, possibly, you write about it; and you form judgments about it; and they are just as wise, and just as accurate, as the verdict of blind men would be concerning the gospel, “It is all nonsense; there is no such thing as the light of truth,” — just because you never saw any, which is a very poor method of argument. I once heard a man say, “I have lived in the world sixty years, and I never had the apprehension of anything spiritual.” When I looked at his face, and especially at his red nose, I thought that what he said was very likely to be true; but I did not, therefore, conclude that there was nothing spiritual because he had not seen it. Any blind man might say, “I have lived so many years, and I have never seen the sun, so there is not any”; but you would not accept negative evidence of that kind. So, my dear friend, whenever you are going to speak about something which you do not know anything about, just keep silence, and let someone else talk who does know. If you never knew what it was to be converted, — if you never felt the divine life go coursing through your soul, — if you never had the divine light flashing in the midst of the darkness of your spirit, please speak with bated breath if you speak at all; and when you are going to write one of those famous articles of yours, just say to yourself, “Perhaps I had better take some subject that I do understand, for this I do not know anything about, since I never had the light.” If you ever had received it, then you might comprehend something of the wondrous change which conversion makes in a man, and you would agree with us that the light of the gospel is indeed marvellous light.

8. II. Secondly, we perceive that it is marvellous light WHEN WE CONSIDER ITS ORIGIN.

9. Our text tells us that it is God’s light: “who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” What is God’s light? Can you imagine how that light existed before he made the sun or the moon? Light shone on this world before the sun and the moon were created, for light does not come from them except as God has stored it up in them, or continually supplies it to them. But there is always light in God. He is the great Light-Creator; yet I never read that the light which God created in the world was called his marvellous light. God made the light, but it was not his light even then. There is another light which is natural to him, — a light of brightness and knowledge, clear and heavenly, — a light such as mortal man does not attain to unless the supreme gift of the grace of God shall visit him. It is this light which rests on the people of God. There is a light which enlightens every man who comes into the world, but God’s marvellous light comes only to his chosen, and gladdens only those whose eyes have learned to look to Jesus, and who find their soul’s confidence and salvation in him who is the very Light of God.

10. “Oh!” asks someone, “can a man have this light? I do not believe it.” Again I tell you, my friend, that I did not expect you would believe it. He who has never had any experience of it may well doubt its existence; but he who has ever had the light of God shining into his soul is as conscious of becoming a new man, — as conscious of seeing in another way than he ever saw before, — as a blind man would be if his eyes were suddenly opened. I know that this world is not to me now the world that it once was. All things were then seen, if seen at all, as in a mist so thick that I took the transient to be the eternal, and I highly prized trifles while I despised what was most precious. I put light for darkness, and darkness for light; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; for my foolish heart was darkened, and I did not know it. But, now, such a change has come to me that all things have become new; and in speaking of my own experience, I am also telling of the experience, not merely of some of you, but of hundreds of you on whose hearts the divine light has come, changing all things around you. They are not what they seem to others to be, for they are all now seen in the clear white light of God himself, and you know even as you are known.

11. III. Thirdly, this is marvellous light, BECAUSE OF ITS EXCELLENCE OVER ALL OTHER LIGHT, this light, which God gives to his people, is far superior to the light which comes from education, or from meditation, or which can be produced by any human effort.

12. When you have gone through a street lit with the electric light, I have no doubt you have smiled to see, side by side with it, the gas lamp with its little yellow attempt at showing that it could not shine. But how bright was the electric light beside it! Yet, if it is left to burn at midday, how dim it seems compared with the sun; and how the sun must smile at all our attempts to light up this world without it! Well, now, the best light that a man ever gets by his own unaided effort is no better than that of a candle, or, if you will, than flickering gas-light; but the light — the marvellous light, is the illumination caused by the Holy Spirit shining into the innermost recesses of the soul in full meridian splendour. It is the light of God, and there is no other light that is like that. He who has only a spark of that light may not know so much about some things as the worldly-wise man knows, but he is well acquainted with many things to which the other man is an utter stranger. Cowper said, as some of you may remember, when contrasting the infidel Voltaire with the poor, godly lace-maker, she —

    Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true,
    A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew.

Perhaps you smile, and think within yourself, — “That is not knowing much.” Ah! but, to know the Bible to be true, to live in that Bible truth, and to have it all around you, filling the air, filling your own soul, filling earth and heaven with wondrous things that the spirit’s eye can see, — this is truly marvellous. He who sees even the most of this world has only the same kind of eyes that birds and beasts have; but he who knows his Bible to be true, and who believes the truth of it in his soul, has another set of eyes that can peer into another realm altogether. He sees spiritual things, and around him there shines a light which is indeed marvellous.

13. IV. Fourthly, this is marvellous light BECAUSE OF WHAT IT REVEALS, for that man, who has the light of God shining in his soul sees what is invisible.

14. “Oh utterer of paradoxes!” cries someone. Yes, but I cannot otherwise express the truth. This illuminated man sees God, whom ordinary human eyes can never see. He looks back into the ages past and gone, and he sees God making all the worlds that ever existed; while those, who are considered as wise men, but who are without that light, spin ingenious but worthless theories about how those worlds grew. These men have such wonderful theories that it really seems surprising that they do not themselves make a few worlds, since they profess to have found out so many ways of making them. But the opened eye sees “that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” and it sees God’s hand in all the histories of all the centuries, — and it even sees God’s hand in the things recorded in the newspaper that most startle us. The man, who has his eyes opened, sees heaven and hell, eternity and everlasting life. He sees them, — not with dull optics, like these eyes of ours which, after all, do not really see, for it is the soul behind the eye that really looks out through that window, and perceives what is to be seen; but, in this marvellous light of God, the soul sees without any optics and without any glass; it has flung away its telescope, for it has come so near the object on which it is gazing that there is no need of any intervening medium. It walks and talks with the angels; and, what is far better, it speaks with God himself. This is indeed marvellous light which has made us to see the things that, to ordinary mortal eyes, are invisible.

15. And it is such marvellous light because it enables us to see them so clearly. To the man who has this light, God does not appear to be sitting like the heathen Jove is represented, on a distant Olympus, and sleeping while the world is troubled. He who lives in this marvellous light sees God here, there, everywhere; within him, and around him, he feels the presence of God, he has an immediate consciousness that God is with him. And, better still, such a man as that sees God to be reconciled by the death of his Son, he sees God to be his Father, for he is made a partaker of the divine nature, “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” It is indeed marvellous light to see God that enables us like this.

16. A further characteristic of this light is that it enables us to see right into the heart of things. By this world’s light, you only see that such and such a thing is, you see the appearance it presents; but this light lets you see into the innermost heart of truth; and, what is even better, it brings the truth right into your soul. By this light, you not only see the doctrine of election, but you also know yourself to be elect. You see the great truth of redemption, and you know yourself to be redeemed. By this light, you see regeneration, and you feel the pulsings of the life of God within your spirit; and, though mortal eye has not seen heaven, neither has the ear of man heard its rapturous harmonies, nor has the true conception of heaven entered into the heart of man, yet the Spirit of God brings heaven down to us, and raises us up to heaven, so that we sit among the heavenlies in Christ Jesus; and “our citizenship is in heaven; from where also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” All this proves that it is a glorious light, does it not?

17. The man, who does not have this light, may believe there is a God. Yes; and he believes that there is a Cham of Tartary, {a} but he does not care about him. He believes that there is a heaven, but it never enters as a factor into his life to operate on him. He believes that there is such a thing as sin, and he says, “Oh, yes, yes, yes! we are all sinners, no doubt.” But he, who has this marvellous light, sees sin so as to tremble at it, and to hate it. It is a present thing with him which he abhors; he also sees the atoning blood of Jesus, and knows that, by it, he is cleansed from sin, and he rejoices in this as a blessed matter of fact.

18. “Oh!” says someone, “that is all imagination.” Of course it is only a matter of imagination to you; did I not tell you so when I began my discourse? To a blind man, a picture by Raphael or Titian is all imagination. You say to him, “How splendidly the colours are laid on there! Do you see that wonderful effect of light and shade?” but your wise blind man says, “I do not believe a word of it.” Of course he does not; we cannot hope that he will do so all the while that he is blind; and, in the same way, he who knows nothing about God’s marvellous light, will ask, “Who is he who bears witness concerning this strange thing?” “Well, sir, he is one among a great number who have as much right to be believed as you have, for he is as honest a man as you are” Hundreds of us, thousands of us, can bear witness concerning the phenomena of grace, — the mysteries of the new creation, — the putting into a man of a new life, — and we have as much right to be believed as gentlemen who bear witness about the backbone of a fish, and who would feel insulted if we said that they told us lies. We have never examined their fish, but we believe their testimony, because we know they have studied the question of which they speak. They have never looked into our inner life, but they have as good reason to believe our testimony as we have to believe theirs; and this is our witness, — that there is such a thing as God’s marvellous light, that the light of divine grace has broken in on our souls, and brought us to see a new heaven and a new earth, and to live in a new creation altogether, waiting for the time when Christ shall come to take our body, as he has already taken our soul, into that new world, and make us perfect with himself for ever.

19. V. Fifthly, this light is marvellous, BECAUSE OF WHAT IT PRODUCES.

20. I have already shown you its marvellous character in that it reveals a new world to a man, a world he once despised, — and it makes him value it, and live worthy of it. So it produces a great change in that man, for it makes him love the things he once hated, and hate the things he once loved. I heard someone say, “Take care of Number One, is a capital rule. Selfishness is the first law of nature.” But, when this marvellous light breaks in on a man, that law of nature ceases to operate, and he says, “No; the first law of my new nature is that I should honour my God, that I should do what is right, what is just, what is true, what is loving, what will be like the life of Jesus Christ my Lord.” If you carefully watch that man, you will see him beginning to give up many of the pursuits that once delighted him. Perhaps you will say, “Poor man, he is denying himself”; but he will answer, “No, I am not. I could not enjoy those things now; in fact, I hate them. They were very pleasurable to me once; but, then, I was a blind man. Now that I can see, they give me no pleasure.” Such a man, before his conversion, may have enjoyed a spicy song which had just a little touch of what should not have been in it; but, now, if he hears its sound in the street, he is ready to plug his ears, for he cannot bear it. “Sing us one of the songs of Zion,” he says now; — the very songs that he used to call “Methodistic pious platitudes, Presbyterian hypocrisy,” and all kinds of evil names. There are new tastes developed now that he has the new life within him.

21. If this were the proper time, I could tell some remarkable stories of marvellous changes that have been accomplished in so many people whom I know. I am sure they would not recognise themselves if they were to meet their old selves as they were five years ago; or, if they did, they would cross the road, and get on the other side of the street, so as not to come into contact with their old selves. They would say, “Thank you, no; I would rather not walk with you. You are not good company for me. I hoped you were dead and buried, and I never wanted to see you again. I am dead with Christ, I have been buried with Christ, I have risen from the dead in him, and I am a new creature in him,” This marvellous light makes a wonderful change in a man’s character; that is to say, if it really comes to him; because, you know, there are some who go into the enquiry room, and kneel down, and cry a good deal, and all the good that that can possibly do is to take away some of the superfluous fluid from the brain, for there is no heart in their repentance; it is mere excitement, and nothing else. But it is a very different thing to have the light of God, — to have the Holy Spirit really shed abroad in the heart. May none of you be ever satisfied with saying, “I am converted. Happy day!” Take care that you are converted; be sure that it is heart-work, soul-work, and that the Spirit of God has accomplished it, — not the preacher, — not an excited evangelist, — not a book you read; — but that God himself has come to you, and made you a new creature in Christ Jesus; for, unless this is the case, I shall not be able to speak of the change as I have spoken of, and which, to my intense joy, I have seen in hundreds, and in thousands, who have passed from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan into the kingdom of Christ.

22. One change that always takes place, as the result of receiving this light, is great joy. The joy is not always as great in all to whom the light comes; but, still, it does bring great joy wherever it shines. Talk of true happiness; it is nowhere to be discovered until the eternal light breaks in on the mind and heart; and, then, heaven has begun below. Some of us have our full share of pain of body and depression of spirit; yet, in our worst moments, we would not change places with the happiest worldling who lives. Not even when most depressed and weary, would we exchange our position, even for a minute, for that of the greatest emperor in the world who does not know that inner light. I can truly say, and so can many of you, —

    I would not change my blest estate
    For all that earth calls good or great;
    And while my faith can keep her hold,
    I envy not the sinner’s gold.

23. VI. Lastly, it is marvellous light, BECAUSE IT WILL NEVER GO OUT.

24. Since it is the light of God, the devil cannot blow it out. If all the demons in hell were to try to blow out one single spark that is in a true believer’s heart, they might puff until they died of puffing, but they would never put that spark out. God has lit it, and they cannot quench it. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” “Whoever drinks the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” If you do not keep this everlasting life, it is quite clear that you never had it. If you really have eternal life, it must be eternal life, and it shall remain with you for ever.

25. But, what is better, not only shall you never lose it, but it will continually increase. If you have God’s marvellous light, though it seems only like starlight now, it will be like moonlight soon; then it will be daylight, and soon it will be noontide; for, to whomever God has given a little of this divine light, more is sure to follow, for the light of God, which is given to us by the Holy Spirit here, is the very light of heaven; it has only to be fully developed. You have all the elements of eternal happiness within your own spirit now, if the Holy Spirit has truly enlightened you, and made your character like that of the Lord Jesus Christ. As for death, — well, at the moment of death, you will leave your body behind, and you will leave with it all tendency to sin. The root of eternal blessedness is in you now, if the Lord has really looked on you in love, and you have looked to Christ by faith. You have the germinating plant of grace; some of you have leaves and buds; so, all that will happen to you in heaven is that the buds will open, and the flower will be perfected, but it is all there now. Christ said, “I give” — not, “I will give,” but “I give to my sheep eternal life.” You have eternal life if you believe in him; the same life that will develop in glory is in you now.

26. “I did not know that,” someone says. Well, did you think that you were going to be born again a second time? That can never be. To be born again, is mentioned in Scripture; but to be born again, and again, — I never did read of that in the Word of God; though I have heard certain people talk about falling from grace and being restored; as if they could be born again, and again, and again, and again, countless times; but there is nothing like that in the Bible. The great change takes place once, and that change is final. If you are born again, you receive the life that you will live in heaven. Just think of this; Christ has gone to heaven to prepare a place for you, but he has left within your hearts now the life that is to be in heaven. Pray God to develop that life; entreat the Lord to increase it. Think a great deal of it; value it highly; do not allow your body, which is its temple, to be dishonoured by sin. God dwells in you; the divine life is within you; so, I beseech you, live as those should live who are not only heirs of heaven, but who have the life of heaven already residing in their hearts. Come, my brothers and sisters, let us rejoice and be glad as we think of this marvellous light which is to be our light for ever and ever; for, up there, the Lord God gives them light, and he gives light to us even now; and it is his light, and there cannot be any light better than his; so let us rejoice in it, and magnify his name.

27. I wish that some here, who do not have this light, could be made to long for it. Mr. Bunyan says that, even if we do not invite the sinner to come to Christ, if we spread a good table before him, it makes his mouth water, and that is the next best thing to an invitation. Does any poor soul begin to say, “I do not know anything about that light; I am not going to deny that it may exist, but I would be a fool if I were to go on negative evidence; I wish I did know it?” Well, you may know, it. Do your soul this piece of justice, — go and pray to God to make you know it. Go and bow before him, and say, “Lord, if you do indeed reveal yourself to men by your Spirit in Christ Jesus, reveal yourself to me.” He will hear you; I am sure of that. Even if he did not, there would be this reflection on your mind, that, having listened to the testimony of one who has no motive for deceiving you, you have at least given enough credence to it to try it, and test it; and you will feel all the easier in your mind even if the experiment should fail. But it will not fail; for never did a soul, in honest, guileless, heartiness, seek the light and love of God, and seek in vain; nor will you do so. Go, then, to God through Jesus Christ, and this marvellous light shall break in on you. May God grant it, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

{a} Cham of Tartary: The sovereign prince of Tartary or China, now written, “khan.” See Explorer "http://www.infoplease.com/dictionary/brewers/cham.html"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {1Pe 2}

1-3. Therefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow by it: if it is so that you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

When the apostle describes us under the character of “new-born babes,” he would have us lay aside all that is inconsistent with that character. New-born children have no malice; they have no guile or craftiness; they have no hypocrisies, nor envies, nor evil speakings. They are clear from all these evils; oh that we were as clear as they are! It would be better to be infants, not speaking at all, than to be among those who speak evil. It would be better to begin life over again than to live long enough to have gained a treasure of malice, and a hoard of cunning, and to have learned the tricks of hypocrisy. Let us be as simple as little children, as guileless, as harmless, as free from anything like unkindness as new-born babes are. And inasmuch as we are to follow them in what they do not have, let us also imitate them in what they have. Let us desire ardently, as for our very life, the unadulterated milk of the Word. Let us cultivate that combination of hunger and thirst which is found in a little child, so that we may hunger and thirst after God’s Word like this. We have done more than taste the Word; we have tasted that the Lord himself is gracious. Let us long to feast more and more on this divine food, so that we may grow by it.

4. To whom coming, —

That is, to the Lord. We are always to be coming to him. We began our spiritual life by coming to Jesus, and we are to continue coming to him: “To whom coming,” —

4. As to a living stone, —

We are to settle down on him as the stones of a building settle down on the foundation: “To whom coming, as to a living stone,” —

4. Rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, and precious,

Christ always was rejected by men, and he always will be, until the great consummation of all things. Some reject him in one way, some in another. Some boldly blaspheme him with something like honesty; others pretend to be his ministers, yet all the while are undermining the gospel which he lived and died to preach. It little matters that Christ is “rejected indeed by men,” for he is “chosen by God, and precious.”

5. You also, as living stones, —

Or, living stones

5. Are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

You must have noticed, in reading the New Testament, that you never find the officers of a church called priests. Whenever that term is used by way of illustration, it is applied to all the people of God. They are all priests but, under the Christian age, there is no set of men who have any right to take that title more than their fellow believers. All those who believe in Jesus Christ are priests, every one of them as much as all the others; and the assumption of priesthood under the Christian age is most truly the repetition of the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, though the men who commit it usually try to lay the guilt of that sin at the doors of other people. We ministers are no more priests than all of you who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are; we shake our skirts at the very thought of such wickedness; and cry, “God forbid that we should, with unhallowed hands, try to steal away from God’s people what is the right and prerogative of them all!” “You also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

6. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he who believes in him shall not be confounded.”

Put all your trust in Jesus, for you will never have any reason to regret doing so. The text, in the Old Testament, from which Peter quoted, says, “He who believes shall not make haste”; he shall not need to be in a hurry, he shall enjoy the holy leisure which springs from a quiet confidence where confidence ought to be placed. Oh beloved, sustain yourselves on Christ! Rest your whole weight on him, for then, “you shall not be confounded.”

7. To you therefore who believe he is precious.

“He is an honour, — he is your honour, your glory, your boast.” It is an honourable thing to be a believer in a Lord so glorious as he is, in a gospel so reasonable as his gospel is, in promises so certain of fulfilment as his promises are, in an atonement so effective as his atonement is, and in a Master so omnipotent as he is: “To you therefore who believe he is an honour”:

7, 8. But to those who are disobedient, “the stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner” and “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence,” even to those who stumble at the word, being disobedient: to which also they were appointed.

This is the distinguishing mark between God’s chosen people and the rest of mankind. His elect receive Christ, and rejoice in him; but as for the ungodly, they wilfully reject the Saviour, and so he becomes to them “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.” Christ is the great touchstone of humanity; by contact with him, the precious are revealed, and the vile are discerned,

9, 10. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a special people; that you should proclaim the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, —

Who were you, and what were your ancestors when the apostle wrote these words? Our forefathers were, in Peter’s day, uncivilized and barbarous tribes at the utmost end of Rome’s dominions. We “were not a people,” —

10, 11. But are now the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; —

If you are priests, — as you are if you are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, — take care that you are clean before God. Let no impurity stain your body, for sin committed by the body grievously befouls the spirit, and defiles the heart: “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”; —

12. Having your conduct honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, —

As they are sure to do, for none are so certain to be slandered as the pure; and the more clean you are in God’s sight, the more will you arouse the animosity of ungodly men, and they will show it by slandering you: “that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers,” —

12-14. They may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it is to the king, as supreme; or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of those who do well.

True Christians give no trouble in the State; they are not law-breakers, but they strive to do what is honest and upright. Where the laws are not righteous, they may cause trouble to bad lawgivers and law-makers; but when rulers ordain what is just and righteous, they find that Christians are their best subjects.

15, 16. For so is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, —

What a grand word that is, “as free!” Byron wrote, —

    He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
    And all are slaves besides.

But we may alter that, and say, “He is the true freeman whom his Lord makes free.” “As free,” —

16, 17. And not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood: Fear God. Honour the king.

A great deal of stress is sometimes laid on that last precept, and I would lay just as much emphasis on it as the Scripture does; but remember the earlier command also: “Honour all men.”

    “A man’s a man for a’that.”

Whatever his condition may be, honour the manhood that is in him. Do not despise him because he is poor, or because his coat is not so fashionably cut as yours is; for, perhaps, he may be a better man than you are: “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”

18-25. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience towards God endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when you are buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? But if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For you were called even to this: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, did not revile again; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but committed himself to him who judges righteously: who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, so that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed, For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Adorable Trinity in Unity, Doxology to the Trinity — Let There Be Light” 170}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Holy Spirit — His Operations Sought” 465}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Deity and Incarnation — The Advent” 257}


The Adorable Trinity in Unity, Doxologies to the Trinity
170 — “Let There Be Light” <6.6.4>
1 Thou, whose almighty word,
   Chaos and darkness heard,
   And took their flight,
   Hear us, we humbly pray,
   And where the gospel’d day
   Sheds not its glorious ray,
   Let there be light.
2 Thou, who didst come to bring
   On thy protecting wing,
   Healing and sight,
   Sight to the inly {a} blind,
   Health to the sick in mind,
   Oh! now, to all mankind,
   Let there be light.
3 Spirit of truth and love,
   Life giving, holy Dove,
   Speed forth thy flight;
   Move o’er the water’s face
   By thine almighty grace,
   And in earth’s darkest place,
   Let there be light.
4 Blessed and holy three,
   Glorious Trinity,
   Wisdom, Love, Might,
   Boundless as ocean’s tide,
   Rolling in fullest pride,
   O’er the world, far and wide,
   Let there be light.
                     John Marriott, 1813
{a} Inly: inwardly


Holy Spirit
465 — His Operations Sought
1 Spirit of Truth, thy grace impart,
      To guide our doubtful way;
   Thy beams shall scatter every cloud,
      And make a glorious day.
2 Light in thy light, oh may we see,
      Thy grace and mercy prove,
   Revived, and cheer’d, and bless’d by thee,
      Spirit of peace and love!
3 ‘Tis thine to soothe the sorrowing mind,
      With guilt and fear oppress’d;
   ‘Tis thine to bid the dying live,
      And give the weary rest.
4 Subdue the power of every sin,
      Whate’er that sin may be,
   That we, in singleness of heart,
      May worship only thee.
                     Thomas Cotterill, 1812, a.


Jesus Christ, Deity and Incarnation
257 — The Advent
1 Hark, the glad sound, the Saviour comes,
   The Saviour promised long!
   Let every heart prepare a throne,
   And every voice a song.
2 On him the Spirit, largely pour’d
   Exerts its sacred fire;
   Wisdom and might, and zeal and love,
   His holy breast inspire.
3 He comes, the prisoners to release,
   In Satan’s bondage held;
   The gates of brass before him burst,
   The iron fetters yield.
4 He comes, from thickest films of vice,
   To clear the mental ray;
   And on the eye balls of the blind
   To pour celestial day.
5 He comes, the broken heart to bind,
   The bleeding soul to cure;
   And, with the treasures of his grace
   To enrich the humble poor.
6 Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
   Thy welcome shall proclaim;
   And heaven’s eternal arches ring
   With thy beloved name.
                  Philip Doddridge, 1755.

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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