2768. Debtors And Debtors

by on
Debtors And Debtors

No. 2768-48:97. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, September 13, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, March 2, 1902.

There was a certain creditor who had two debtors: the one owed five hundred ence, and the other fifty. {Lu 7:41}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2768, “Debtors and Debtors” 2769}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2873, “Who Loves Christ Most?” 2874}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3015, “Two Debtors, The” 3016}
   Exposition on Lu 7:18-50 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2876, “Christ’s Crowning Glory” 2877 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 7:24-50 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2484, “Very Friend You Need, The” 2485 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 7:36-48 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3550, “Earnest Entreaty, An” 3552 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 7:36-50 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3015, “Two Debtors, The” 3016 @@ "Exposition"}

1. I trust that the Lord has “something to say” on this subject to some who are like Simon the Pharisee; and if he has, I trust that those people will be led by the grace of God to say, as Simon did, “Master, say on.” Be ready to hear what the Lord Jesus Christ will speak to you. There are some who cover up the windows of their hearts with the shutters of prejudice; they are only prepared to hear what will please them; but they cannot endure to listen to what will grieve them, and humble them. How many there are who want the preacher to prophesy smooth things! If he will say what they can agree with, they will go away, and sing his praises, which is a poor result in any case. But let us be of a nobler kind than that; let us be like the Bereans, who, after they had heard Paul and Silas preach, “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed.” Let us say, as Eli told young Samuel to do, “Speak, Lord; for your servant hears.” Let us say to him, “Even if you speak what will lay me in the dust, I will hear it. If you say what will condemn me to hell, I will give heed to it; for it is best for me to know the truth, so that, by knowing it, I may be stirred up to flee from the wrath to come. Let me know the worst of my case, oh Lord God of truth! ‘Search me, oh God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ ”

2. So far, I think, Simon the Pharisee may be an example to us. The Master said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you,” and his answer was, “Master, say on.”

3. I am not going to expound the whole parable at this time; we may, perhaps, go on with it on another occasion. I intend now to take only this one verse: “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.” There are two lessons for us to learn from this text; the first is, that all sinners are debtors to God; and the second is, that some sinners are greater debtors to God than others are:“ The one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.”

4. I. First, ALL MEN ARE DEBTORS TO GOD. He is that “certain creditor” mentioned in our text, of whom, I fear many debtors think very little.

5. We are all indebted to God, first, in the matter of obedience to him, as his creatures. He is our Creator, our Preserver, our Provider, our Benefactor. “It is he who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” He is “the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” We owe to him our continued existence; every breath of our nostrils is his gift. Therefore, by our very creation, we are bound to serve him, according to the righteous demands of his holy law, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall only serve him”; and that other “first and great commandment,” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This law is not exacting; it does not go a hair’s breadth beyond the righteous claims of divine justice.

6. But, since we have not rendered to God the obedience which is due to him, we have become further indebted because of the penalty incurred by us as sinners. All the Ten Commandments stand up in the court as witnesses against us, for we have broken them all. We have been guilty of sins of omission altogether innumerable, and of sins of commission more than the hairs of our head. We are under obligation to obey God’s command even though we are unable to obey it; though we do not have the power to keep God’s law perfectly, that inability by no means removes from us the liability to do so. If a man is in debt, and cannot pay, the fact that he is unable to pay does not exonerate him from the duty of paying. He is still in debt. Debts are not discharged by pleading that you cannot pay them; that is no valid excuse; and all of us are bound to obey God perfectly, notwithstanding all that has happened in the past. What a debt, then, we must owe to him, — a debt that is increasing every day, — a debt that is already past all reckoning, — a debt that will go on swelling as long as we live unless it can be removed by some power higher than our own.

7. That debt of penalty involves tremendous results for the body and the soul of man. “Do not fear those who kill the body,” said Christ, “but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” You know that, among all the terrible words spoken concerning the penalty of sin, the most terrible are those which were uttered by our Lord Jesus Christ, the most loving and tender of all teachers. Do not measure a man’s true tenderness of heart by his avoidance of the subject of “the wrath to come.” It may be only tenderness for himself, or a willingness to pander to the evil desires of sinful men, that prompts him to such action as that. But the Christ, who weeps over Jerusalem, does not hesitate to predict its dreadful doom; and he, who loved men so much as to lay down his life for them, was the one who spoke again and again of the place “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” Many such words fell from those loving lips that never would have invented an unnecessary terror, so we may be sure that the penalty of sin is a very terrible one. Every one of us, who is outside of Christ, is under the death-penalty: “He who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God”; “the soul that sins, it shall die”; and what that death involves, — what that existence must be which is only life in the midst of death, the life of an immortal being that is stripped of all possibility of well-being for ever, — I will not attempt to describe. But that is the penalty of sin, and that is due to God, to whom we are such debtors indeed.

8. And, my dear friends, it gives me great joy to add that, if we are pardoned sinners, we owe to God a deep debt of gratitude. If, through the blessed processes of grace, through the atoning sacrifice and mediation of our Divine Redeemer, we are delivered from the debt of sin, and the handwriting that was against us is taken away, and nailed to his cross; if, through the death of Christ, we are delivered from the death-penalty of sin, — as we certainly are, for Christ has for ever cleared all believers by bearing their punishment in his own body on the tree, then we are debtors to the infinite love and boundless compassion of our covenant-keeping God, his well-beloved Son, and the ever-blessed Spirit. In this debt, let us be willing continually to sink deeper and deeper. I wish that, in this respect, my own soul were like a ship that had foundered at sea, — and the sea should be the love of God; — and I would go down into it over the masthead until I was completely submerged in the abyss of infinite love. And, in truth, that is just where we are if we are in Christ Jesus; and each one of us, slightly altering the poet’s words, can say, —

    Oh love! thou bottomless abyss!
    My soul is swallowed up in thee.

9. Which of us can ever fully tell what we owe to God for our election, our redemption, our effectual calling, our justification, our sanctification, and our promised glorification? Who can tell how much we owe for being preserved from sin, for being restored after we have fallen into sin, and for being enabled by grace to rise above sin? Who can tell how great is our debt for all the blessings laid up in store for us, which we shall enjoy eventually, but which are just as surely ours before we receive them, — that grace we have not tasted yet, and that glory which we have scarcely dreamed of yet, — that infinite felicity which is hidden in the closed hand of God until the day shall come when he shall reveal it to our wondering eyes? “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh”; — but debtors to the covenant love of God; and, therefore, debtors to our fellow men, realizing our obligation to show to them, according to our ability, the great love of God, and to testify to them concerning the way of eternal life.

10. So, you see, in some form or other, we are all debtors. I am not about to speak of that last kind of debt now, for it is not included in our Saviour’s parable; but I want to speak of the debt of obedience which has not been rendered, and the debt of penalty which has been incurred as a result of our disobedience. I intend, as God shall help me, to say something about debtors; and if, in the use of the illustration, I should seem to utter harsh words about people who are in debt, I am not intending to do that, and I hope they will not take it like that. I am simply intending to use the illustration. If it happens to hit anyone, I cannot help that. If the shoe fits anyone, let him wear it.

11. Now, first, a sinner is very much like a debtor in this respect, — he is very apt to get more deeply into debt. If you owe a pound today, there is a great tendency to owe two pounds tomorrow. Getting into debt is a slippery process; and when your feet begin to slide, you are very apt to go deeper and deeper into the mire. And I am sure that this is the case with the Lord’s two debtors, — with the Lord’s unnumbered millions of debtors, — with all the Lord’s debtors. People say, “Money makes money,” and I suppose it does; but, certainly, sin makes sin. There is a cumulative force in evil, so that a sinner finds that it gets easier to sin, instead of becoming more difficult. While the man grows old, his sin does not; rather, it seems to grow younger, and to become more vigorous. Often, a sinner will be greater adept in guilt and more inclined to evil, the further he advances in years. Certain sins may decline through the weakening of the flesh, but the sins of the heart do not; the power to sin may grow less, but the will to sin continues to increase, as the sinner grows older. This is one of the terrible things about iniquity, — that it breeds so fast. A man can never say to sin, “So far you shall come, but no farther: and here your proud waves shall be stopped.” When the great flood-tide of evil comes rolling in, there is no telling where it will be stopped. Just as debt leads to more debt, so sin leads to more sin, and hence it is that there is a parallel between the sinner and the debtor.

12. Further, sin, like debt, causes uneasiness in a man if there is a spark of honesty in him. Some men, who have no sense of honour, are quite happy while in debt. You may have read of a sale, that was to be held, in Rome, on one occasion, when there were to be sold the goods of a man who had been for many years greatly embarrassed by debt, and the emperor said to one of his chamberlains, “Go to the sale, and buy that man’s bed, for I cannot sleep at night; and, surely, I should be able to sleep on his bed, if he, being in debt, has been able to sleep so comfortably as I hear he has.” Debtors ought not to have good sleep if they have deliberately plunged themselves into debt. Honest men are troubled, vexed, perturbed, if they feel that they cannot meet their obligations. Now, when a sinner is thoroughly awakened to his true position, this is just his case; he says, “I am in debt to God, and I cannot pay even a farthing on the pound. If he comes to call me to account, and asks me, ‘How much do you owe to your Lord?’ what can I answer him? I am full of confusion, and full of fear.” So, you see, a sinner is like a debtor, because he has no rest.

13. And, further, debtors and sinners shun their creditors; they do not want to meet them, they try to get out of their way. Some of us know what it is to have ridded ourselves of rather troublesome friends by lending them money. We have never seen them since, so we consider that it was a good investment, perhaps. A man, who is in debt, does not want to see the person to whom he owes the money; he would rather go down another street than meet him. If there is a knock at the door, and the person who wants to come in is one who has called for a debt which the debtor cannot discharge, he would sooner jump out of the back window, and make his escape, than he would meet him. And this is precisely the case with the sinner, he is in debt to God, and he does not like to meet his great Creditor. He will not regard the call of the church-bell, and he will not keep holy the Sabbath day; he would rather forget about all such things. To read his Bible, to attend a service where he shall be reminded of his obligations, is most objectionable to him; he does not want to be reminded of them. If there should come one, in the dead of night, and cry out in his bedroom, “Prepare to meet your God!” it would be more terrifying to him than an earthquake or the most terrific thunderstorm. He does not want to meet his God; he says, in his heart, if not in so many words, “No God! No God for me! I do not want a God”; and if it could be satisfactorily proved to him that God was dead, it would be one of the most joyful pieces of news that he had ever heard. He is so deeply in debt to God that he cries, “Where shall I flee from his presence?” He would take the wings of the morning, if he could, and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, if he thought that he could find some lonely place where he would not be troubled by the fear of the presence of God. That is every sinner’s condition; that is the condition of every unconverted person here; that was once my condition, and the condition of everyone who is now a child of God.

14. The sinner, too, like the debtor, is in great danger. I do not know what the laws of England are, just now, concerning debt. Putting them into very simple English, I think they mean that no one needs pay anyone unless he likes to, and we have plenty of people who are getting rich by paying no one at all. When they fail altogether, they go bankrupt, and so just start over again. But I shall talk about the laws of England as they used to be. When a man was in debt, in the olden times, he was always in fear of arrest. He could not tell when the sheriff’s officer would lay his hand on him. That is just your case, if you are an unforgiven, unpardoned sinner. You cannot tell when God will arrest you; but it is certain that, sooner or later, — and even the later will not be long, — you will have to stand before his judgment seat, and answer at the bar of inflexible justice for all your sins against him. I would not like to have been a debtor who, wherever he went, was likely to be arrested. I have heard of one, who was so often in debt, and so frequently in prison as a result, but who so regularly ran into debt after he was let out of jail, that, on one occasion, when his coat sleeve caught on an area railing, he supposed it was the touch of the sheriff’s officer, and thinking that he was again arrested, he exclaimed, “At whose suit?” It was only an iron bar that held him, but he imagined that one of his many creditors had claimed him. That must be a wretched kind of life for anyone to live, — to be always afraid of arrest. You smile at the idea; but, if you were really in that condition, I do not suppose that you would smile then; and if you realized, that at any moment, you might be arrested by the cold hand of death, smiles would be far enough from your countenance. A man may be sitting in one of these pews, and, before the clock ticks again, he may be in the world of spirits before his God. I am often hearing of people, whom I have recently met, apparently in robust health, who have been suddenly called away. They are gone, but we are still spared. In thought, I saw a procession passing before me; at first, I imagined that it was flesh and blood marching down the street; but, as the procession passed me, I discovered that all who composed it were only shadows. I, who was looking on, am also a shadow, and I, too, shall pass away. Oh debtor to a righteous God, this thought should cause turmoil within your careless spirit, — that, at any moment, you may be arrested at the suit of your great Creditor!

15. And then, notice that, according to the law of God, when arrested by death, you are cast into prison. You remember how our Saviour put it: “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary delivers you to the judge, and the judge delivers you to the officer, and you are cast into prison. Truly I say to you, you shall by no means come out of there, until you have paid the uttermost farthing.” Oh, what a dreadful prison that is into which souls will be cast, who die in debt to God! And, since they can never pay even a farthing off their debt, there can be no release for them. How long shall they lie there? Until they have paid the uttermost farthing? Why, that can never be! So, be careful what you doing, you who are indebted to God, lest you are cast into that dreadful dungeon. Please do not trifle away your time, but flee to Jesus, who alone can deliver you from this weight of debt, for your danger is imminent at this very moment.

16. There is this about our debt to God, — that it will never be forgotten by him. I once knew a man, who was much troubled by a debt, but his creditor was not; for many years had passed, and he had never mentioned it; in fact, it had entirely slipped from his memory. I do not think such a case as that often happens, but I remember that one; but it will never happen with God. Nothing will ever slip from his memory. Sin is irrevocable and eternal. There is one process that can blot it out, or cast it into the depths of the sea, and make it cease to be; there is only one such process, and the Christ of God can tell you what that is. But, apart from his atoning sacrifice, there is no hope that the debt will ever be forgotten or forgiven.

17. And there is no protection for those who are in debt to the great Creditor. Protection is sometimes given to an insolvent debtor; and, in the olden times, there used to be places of sanctuary to which men fled, and so were free from liability to be arrested. Even now, men flee across the seas to avoid arrest; they cross the narrow channel that parts us from the Continent, and there they are secure. But there is no such way of escape for those who are in debt to God. If you are one of his debtors through sin, there is no protection for you unless you flee to Christ. There is no distance of space or lapse of time, no repentance or tears, that can blot out your transgressions. There they stand, indelible; neither can you escape from the righteous hand of God in the day when he shall visit you for them.

18. This makes our indebtedness to God assume a very terrible form; and if we have not been delivered from it by Christ, what can we do? For, no settlement can be taken in part payment of our enormous debt. Even if it could be, we could not offer it; and there is no friend who can give to God a ransom for us, or stand in our place. No, let me correct myself. There is one Friend, and never let us forget him, — One who became Surety for his people, and who was made to smart for it in that day when he paid their debts, to the uttermost farthing, by laying down his life for them. But, dear friends, if there is anyone among us here, who is still in debt to God on the matter of obedience, and who cannot present to him the righteousness of Christ on his own behalf; and who, in the matter of penalty, cannot bring to God the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, and plead that it was offered for him, his case is a very sad and wretched one indeed. May the Lord deliver all such in his great mercy.

19. I have been speaking metaphorically, but there is truth behind it all. It is no metaphor, no emblem, no dream, but a dread and terrible reality, that all sinners are in debt to God.

20. II. Now comes the second thought, which will have much soul-searching power about it if God the Holy Spirit blesses it; and that is, that SOME SINNERS ARE GREATER DEBTORS TO GOD THAN OTHERS ARE: “The one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.”

21. We have all sinned, so we are all debtors to God; but we have not all sinned to the same degree, therefore we are not all debtors to the same extent. There are some sins that are greater than other sins; and, both in this world and in the next, punishments are to be measured out proportionately. There are some to whom it will be more tolerable in the Day of Judgment than it will be for others. Our Lord said even to Pontius Pilate “He who delivered me to you has the greater sin”; so, clearly, one sin is greater than another. Every sin is great enough to ruin a soul for ever, but there are some sins that have a particular crimson about them, — a special venom and heinousness of offence against the majesty of God. What constitutes, then, the five-hundred-pence debtor? Who are the people who are greater sinners than others?

22. I answer, first, that there are some who have greater capacity than others. There are some men and women who have only very little intellectual power. Their minds are narrow, their power of thought is limited; they cannot, under any circumstances, commit the transgressions which are easy enough for men of great thought imperious, masterly minds, with much inventive power and strong passions. Judge concerning your own condition in this respect. Some of you may know that you are very differently constituted from some of your neighbours. You may even have been tempted, in a moment of pride, to look on them as very commonplace people; and you are quite aware, without any pride, that you are a person of far greater ability than they are. Very well, then it is possible for you to be a far greater sinner than they can be; you can throw more force and energy, more devilry, into your life than they can. I have no doubt that there are many people, who slip through life with little mind, little mental force, and with comparatively little sin. They know very little, and think very little, and their condemnation will be little compared with that of greater sinners. But people of great intellect, and vast powers of mind, and thought, and understanding, cannot sin like those feebler ones do.

23. Some also are great sinners because they are placed in positions of great trust. He who has only one talent can only sin with regard to that one talent; but he who has ten talents, is ten times as unrighteous in the sight of his Master. A man, who is only a house-servant, or a day-labourer, may be unfaithful to his worldly master; and, so far, he will be wrong. But think of the position of a minister of the gospel, the man to whom the souls of men are committed. If he is unfaithful to his Master, what terrible consequences are involved! And, just as his reward is higher than the wages of the man who tills the soil, so shall his punishment be greater. Note the difference of the sacrifice for a priest compared with the offering for a woman’s purification. She might come with a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons, but not so the sons of Aaron. Their office was higher; and, if they sinned, their iniquity was, as a result, all the greater; and there must be presented, in the type, a costlier sacrifice, in recognition of the greater guilt in their case. You, fathers and mothers, can sin more than your children can. Masters, you can sin more than your servants can. Men of wealth, you can sin against every pound you have, if you use it wrongfully. Men who occupy high places, your sin may be like that of David, who greatly disgraced the name of God before men. Because of your exalted position, you can do so much more mischief; and your sin, therefore, is ranked at a proportionately higher rate.

24. Sin, too, becomes greater in proportion to a man’s light and knowledge. A young man, blessed with godly parents, brought up from his childhood in the midst of prayer and holiness, can sin much more than poor children taken out of the back slums, and who, from their very babyhood, have heard words of blasphemy, and seen deeds of filthiness. Oh, when some of us, whose privilege it was to hear the name of Jesus mingled with the first hush of our lullaby, — when we sinned against God, there was an intensity of blackness about our sin that could not be found in the poor heathen, or in such sinners, in this land, as are left in ignorance. The more you know, — the more you understand of the mind and will of God, — the greater is your transgression when you sin against him.

25. Sin, too, is very largely increased by tenderness of conscience. There are some people who must know that this assertion is true, if they have looked into their own hearts and lives; for they were very tender-spirited in their youth, and, as they grew up, they retained much of that tenderness. There are some coarse, rough, brutal men, who could almost commit murder, and not feel it; but some of us can remember the horror which came over us when, for the first time, we used or heard a bad word. You remember how the breach of the Sabbath cut you to the quick when it was only a small matter about which others thought nothing. You remember also how, when you found out that you had told a lie, perhaps, unintentionally, you could not sleep, you felt so base and miserable. Well, now, if you have forced yourself to sin in spite of such a check as this, — if you have, as it were, gone over hill and dale in order to get to hell, — if you have throttled and strangled your better self with stern resolve that you would do evil, — then you have sinned indeed.

26. There are some such sinners, and there may be some such here, who have suffered through sin, and yet have gone back to it. In the summer and autumn evenings, it is one of the miseries of a man who sits writing to find how the poor gnats and the “daddy long legs” will fly to the lamp, and get burned to death. You try to drive them away; you take the trouble to pick them up after they have burned themselves; but they come back again, and their folly is a true and melancholy picture of the way in which some men return to their vices, again and again, even after they have suffered greatly through indulgence in them. Even delirium tremens {DTs} will not suffice to save some men from continuing to be drunkards; and the rottenness of their bones has not been sufficient to keep others back from the house of ill repute. Oh, how horrible is this; and how it adds to the guilt of sin, and puts on it a certain degree of presumptuousness which provokes God beyond the ordinary transgressions of common sinners.

27. Does this truth come home to the conscience of anyone whom I am now addressing? Then I go back to my preface, and ask such a one to say, with Simon the Pharisee, “Master, say on.” There is always a great intensity about sin when it is practised for a long time. The sinner who is sixty years old, is a greater sinner than a mere youth can well be; and the man, who has spent three-score years and ten without remembering his God, — the man, whose life-lease has run out, and yet who, all the while, has spent his vigour in the service of Satan, — has become one of the greatest of sinners, — one of the five hundred pence debtors.

28. Yes, there are degrees of sin. Sometimes, a man recognises that he has distinctly sinned against God in an especially personal way. David seemed to feel his sin like this when he said to the Lord, “Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight.” Usually, unenlightened men think most of an offence against their fellow men. It is very curious that it should be so, but it is so. If I were to charge any man here with the commission of a crime against his fellows, he would probably knock me down if he could; but if I charged him with a sin against God, he would say, “Oh, yes, yes! we are all sinners,” and think that it was nothing to be a sinner, because it was only against God! So men turn things upside down, and an offence against our fellow worm is considered to be a greater evil than an offence against the Judge of all the earth; but it is not so. It is that sinning distinctly against God that has the most evil about it; and hence it is that there is only one sin that is unpardonable, and that is a wilful sin against the Holy Spirit, one Person of the blessed Trinity. It is because it is so especially and so designedly against him that no repentance ever comes to the man who has committed it; for he has sinned the sin which is to death, and he remains in his death-state, so that he never repents of the iniquity, and finds no forgiveness for it. Please beware of sins distinctly against God, especially such sins as that of blasphemy, of murmuring against God, of infidelity, of a denial of his existence, of Socinianism, {a} which is a robbing of Christ of his Deity, and so of his highest glory; for those sins which are most distinctly against God stand first in the dread catalogue of iniquity. Remember how the prophet Samuel said to Saul, “Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry.” Witchcraft was thought to be one of the worst of sins, and rebellion against God is put side by side with it.

29. And, last, I do believe that the greatest sin of all — what, like a giant, rises head and shoulders above the rest, — is the sin of unbelief, or rejection of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. If any man here shall say, “I am no drunkard; I am no fornicator”; well, sir, suppose you are not; but are you an unbeliever in Christ? Then, you shall have the same portion as they have; for, when God says, “I will give my only-begotten Son to die to save sinners,” and yet men say, “We will not have your Son as our Saviour, but we will reject him. ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours’ ”; — when God takes out of his own bosom the darling of his heart, the very glory of heaven, and sends him here in human flesh and blood to bear shame, and suffering, and death for guilty men, and they say that they will not believe in him; then, this is the sin that turns the key of heaven against them, and dooms them to eternal destruction. Remember the solemn words of our Lord Jesus himself: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe shall be damned.” Hear again these familiar words: “He who does not believe is condemned already.” Why is he condemned already? He is living, he is laughing, he is sporting, he is merry-making; yet he is condemned already, “because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” That is the sin which, above all others, drops the black wax on his death-warrant, and sets the seal of divine wrath there so that he must die.

30. Oh my dear hearers, our text says that one of the debtors owed five hundred pence; and, surely, that is the man who has heard the gospel, and yet has refused it. It is you who have been coming to this place, or to other houses of prayer, and who have been warned, and invited, and entreated, for months and years, I do not know for how long, to believe in Jesus. If such is the case with any one of you, write yourself down, not as a fifty-pence debtor, but as a five-hundred-pence debtor. No, I think I must compare you to him who owed his master ten thousand talents. How can you ever pay it? There is no hope of your ever paying it. You can have it all frankly and freely forgiven. If you go to Christ, and plead perfect poverty, you shall then be set free at once through faith in his dear name. But if not, you must be delivered over to the keeper of the terrible prison-house of which I spoke to you, and you can never come out of there. May God grant that it may not be so with any of you, for his dear Son’s sake! Amen.

{a} Socinianism: A sect founded by Laelius and Faustus Socinus, two Italian theologians of the 16th century, who denied the divinity of Christ. OED.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Friend” 377}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — Hope For Sinners” 543}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — Mercy For The Guilty” 544}

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ro 15:13-33}

13-27. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. And I myself also am persuaded concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish each other. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written all the more boldly to you in some way, as reminding you, because of the grace that is given to me of God. That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. I have therefore something in which I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and all around to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yes, I have so strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation: but as it is written, “To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and those who have not heard shall understand.” For this reason also I have been much hindered from coming to you. But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire for these many years to come to you; whenever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you on my journey, and to be brought on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. But now I go to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it has pleased those of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints who are at Jerusalem. It has truly pleased them; and they are their debtors.

For these Achaians and Macedonians had received the gospel from the saints in Jerusalem. The Gentiles had been made partakers of their spiritual things, so it was their duty to minister to the poor Christian Jews in carnal things.

27, 28. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in carnal things. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, —

That is, “when I have delivered the money, and obtained a receipt in full for it; when I have discharged my duty in this matter,” —

28, 29. I will come by of you into Spain. And I am sure that, when I come to you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

He was sure of that, but in other respects he did not know how he would go. He did not know that he would go to Rome as a prisoner; he could not foresee that he would be sent there as an ambassador in bonds; and little, I think, did he care how he would go, as long as he had the absolute certainty that he should go “in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.”

30, 31. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; so that I may be delivered from those who do not believe in Judea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted by the saints; —

For there were some saints in Jerusalem who were very narrow-minded, and who hardly thought it right to accept anything from Gentiles. They had not gotten free of their Jewish bonds, and Paul was a little afraid lest what he was taking to them might not be acceptable, so he asked the Romans to pray about that matter. Is there anything about which believers may not pray? If there is, then we have no right to have anything to do with it. Bring everything before God in prayer, for all right things may lawfully be prayed about. So Paul asked the Christians in Rome to pray about that matter of his journey to Jerusalem, and also to pray for his return, —

32, 33. So that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. Now may the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Now Ready. Cloth, gilt, Price 1s. 6d.

[Uniform with A Carillon of Bells to Ring Out the Old Truths of “Free Grace and Dying Love,” and “A Cluster of Camphire”; or, Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls.]

A Basket Of Summer Fruit. With In Memoriam. — A Song of Sighs. by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.

Press Notices:

“Those who would read heart-thoughts, as they come from one who has had deep and large experience, will find in this book much to their mind. Many will read again and again, and praise God for the writer and her gracious messages.” — The Christian

“The ‘Summer Fruit,’ given in this work, happens to have the uncommon property of being fruit for all seasons, and is as delicious in winter as in midsummer. So that our readers may test this for themselves, we have thought well to give them a taste of it now, and we hope they will be so satisfied with it that they will send to the publishers, and get the whole basketful.” — The Christian Budget.

“This little book is a gem of purest ray serene from the dark mine of domestic tribulation. The authoress lives in the shadow of bereavement. She now makes it her function to cheer others who are in the dark valley, and her pages are redolent of the balm of consolation. The ‘Song of Sighs,’ of which the latter portion consists, is full of pathos.” — The Christian Commonwealth.

Passmore and Alabaster, 4 Paternoster Buildings, London; and from all Booksellers.

Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
377 — Friend
1 Oh thou, my soul, forget no more
   The Friend who all thy misery bore;
   Let every idol be forgot,
   But, oh my soul, forget him not.
2 Jesus for thee a body takes,
   Thy guilt assumes, thy fetters breaks,
   Discharging all thy dreadful debt:
   And canst thou ere such love forget?
3 Renounce thy works and ways with grief,
   And fly to this most sure relief:
   Nor him forget who left his throne,
   And for thy life gave up his own.
4 Infinite truth and mercy shine
   In him, and he himself is thine;
   And canst thou then, with sin beset,
   Such charms, such matchless charms forget?
5 Ah! no! till life itself depart,
   His name shall cheer and warm my heart;
   And lisping this, from earth I’ll rise,
   And join the chorus of the skies.
6 Ah! no; when all things else expire,
   And perish in the general fire,
   This name all others shall survive,
   And through eternity shall live.
               Krishnoo Pawl;
               tr. by Joshua Marshman, 1801.

Gospel, Stated
543 — Hope For Sinners <8.7.>
1 Sinner, where is room for doubting?
      Has not Jesus died fro sin?
   Did he not in resurrection
      Victory over Satan win?
2 Hear him on the cross exclaiming —
      “It is finish’d,” ere he died;
   See him in his mercy saving
      One there hanging by his side.
3 ‘Twas for sinners that he suffer’d
      Agonies unspeakable;
   Canst thou doubt thou art a sinner?
      If thou canst — then hope farewell.
4 But, believing what is written —
      “All are guilty” — “dead in sin,”
   Looking to the Crucified One
      Hope shall rise thy soul within.
5 Hope and peace, and joy unfailing,
      Through the Saviour’s precious blood,
   All thy crimson sins forgiven,
      And thy soul brought nigh to God.
                        Albert Midlane, 1862.

Gospel, Stated
544 — Mercy For The Guilty
1 Mercy is welcome news indeed
      To those that guilty stand;
   Wretches, that feel what help they need,
      Will bless the helping hand.
2 Who rightly would his alms dispose
      Must give them to the poor;
   None but the wounded patient knows
      The comforts of his cure.
3 We all have sinn’d against our God,
      Exception none can boast;
   But he that feels the heaviest load
      Will prize forgiveness most.
4 No reckoning can we rightly keep,
      For who the sums can know?
   Some souls are fifty pieces deep,
      And some five hundred owe.
5 But let our debts be what thy may,
      However great or small,
   As soon as we have nought to pay,
      Our Lord forgives us all.
6 ‘Tis perfect poverty alone
      That sets the soul at large;
   While we can call one mite our own,
      We have no full discharge.
                        Joseph Hart, 1759.

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).

Terms of Use

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.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390