2787. Christ’s Triple Character

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Christ’s Triple Character

No. 2787-48:325. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, June 16, 1878, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, July 13, 1902.

Behold, I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people. {Isa 55:4}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2787, “Christ’s Triple Character” 2788}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3370, “Our Leader Through the Darkness” 3372}
   Exposition on Isa 53; 55:1-7 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2534, “Greatest Gift in Time or Eternity, The” 2535 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 Jer 30:1-11 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3419, “God the Husband of His People” 3421 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55:1-4 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3471, “Three Hours Of Darkness, The” 3473 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2278, “Feeding on the Word” 2279 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2581, “Perfection in Christ” 2582 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2797, “Need and Nature of Conversion, The” 2798 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2954, “Big Gates Wide Open, The” 2955 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3299, “Ho! Ho!” 3301 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 138 Isa 55:1-11 Ro 8:28-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3422, “Call to the Depressed, A” 3424 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 23 Isa 55 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2886, “Restless! Peaceless!” 2887 @@ "Exposition"}

1. There is no gospel apart from our Lord Jesus Christ. He is its essence; he is everything in it; there would be no gospel without him. In this chapter, the Holy Spirit had been speaking, very much, through the prophet, of gospel bounties and privileges. He had invited the thirsty to “come to the waters,” and the penniless to come, and “buy wine and milk without money and without price.” When he had commanded men to listen diligently to him, to eat what was good, and to let their soul delight itself in abundance, you might be quite sure that he would not speak like this without very soon mentioning Christ. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2786, “The Soul’s Best Food” 2787} For if, in his gospel, there are waters for the thirsty, those waters do not exist apart from Christ. Is not the gospel what proceeds out of his lips? Indeed, more, is not Christ himself the Water of life? He still says, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me, and drink.” It is true that wine and milk are provided; but out of what cluster comes that wine, and where shall the unadulterated milk of the Word be found but in him? Christ not only supplies the needs of his people, but he gives them abundant and superabundant joy in the luxuries of his grace. You do not really preach the gospel if you leave Christ out; if he is omitted, it is not the gospel. You may invite men to listen to your message, but you are only inviting them to gaze on an empty table unless Christ is the very centre and substance of all that you set before them.

2. Hence, it is no wonder that, after the glorious gospel invitations, expostulations, and exhortations of the first three verses of this chapter, we should come, in the fourth verse, to these words: “Behold, I have given HIM. I have talked to you about waters, and about wine and milk, and about bread, and about abundance; but, ‘behold, I have given HIM,’ for he is all these, — water, wine, milk, bread, and abundance. I have spoken to you about ‘an everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David’; but I mean HIM, for he is the great Surety of the covenant, and I have given him for a covenant of the people.” Beloved, we cannot do without a personal Christ. The preacher must preach him, and we must trust in him, even in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of God, the one and only Saviour of sinners.

3. The first word in our text, “Behold,” reminds us that this is a theme for wonder; it is a matter that calls for attention and admiration: “Behold, I have given him.” Is this not something that is worth admiring? Is this not the great marvel of time; — indeed, and the miracle of eternity, — that God should so love the world as to give his only-begotten Son? I can understand his giving light to a dark world; I can comprehend his giving life, so that men might live; but that he should give his beloved Son to be light and life to a dark and dead race; — that he should give him to become incarnate, and to take on himself the form of a servant; — that he should give him to be despised and rejected by men, and, at last, should give him up to die; — oh, behold! behold! behold! this is a sight to gaze on for ever, and we do not wonder that the apostle wrote, “Which things the angels desire to look into.”

4. A part of the wonder concerning Christ consists in the fact that his Father has given him to the people: “I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people.” Not to you, oh kings and princes; — not to you, a few aristocrats picked here and there; but, “I have given him as a witness to the people.” “I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” He is the people’s Christ, the people’s Leader, the people’s Friend, the people’s King. And the wonder increases when you remember that the word translated “people” might be just as accurately rendered “nations.” No doubt, the Lord’s intention here is to refer to the Gentiles: “Behold, I have given him as a witness to the Gentiles, a leader and commander for the Gentiles”; — not only to the chosen people, Israel; but even to us, “sinners of the Gentiles,” who were outside the favoured family of the Jews. The Gentiles seemed to have been passed by, and left to perish; but, now, behold this wonder: “more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife.” Christ has been given as “a light to enlighten the Gentiles,” as well as “the glory of his people Israel”; and now to us, in these far-off isles of the sea, where our forefathers worshipped gods that were not gods, even to us is Jehovah-Jesus preached; and he himself has come, from the courts of God, to be to us a witness, a leader, and a commander. All glory be to his blessed name! Well does the text say, “Behold,” concerning the Giver, the Gift, and the people who receive the gift. Take care that you do not pass by, without thought and admiration, what the Holy Spirit commends to your notice by the use of the word “Behold.”

5. I want you, dear friends, to look on Christ’s triple character as it is described in our text; and, first, we may see him here in three characters or relationships, in which we shall next see three excellencies, demanding from us three duties, and ensuring three benefits.

6. I. First, then, let us, with believing eye, SEE OUR LORD IN THREE CHARACTERS OR RELATIONSHIPS. First, he is a witness for the Father; secondly, he is a leader for his saved people; and, thirdly, he is a commander for those who, as yet, are not saved, of whom the next verse says, “You shall call a nation that you do not know, and nations that did not know you shall run to you.”

7. Well, then, first, our blessed Lord, to whom be all honour and reverence, is a witness for the Father, — a witness concerning the Father. We should never have known what God was like if it had not been that “the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared him.” God was pleased to reveal himself, to some extent, in types and emblems under the old law; yet very little of him was known in that way. The request of Thomas, “Lord, show us the Father,” would still be the request of men if Christ had not made him known to us. He came to show us the Father, for he who has seen Christ has seen the Father. If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. Would you know what God thinks? Then, read what Jesus thinks. Would you know how God feels? Behold how Jesus feels. Would you know, in fact, as much of the character of God as can possibly be revealed to men? You need not look at the green fields and swelling flood, in the hope of seeing God in his works; but study the character of Christ, for there you have the fulness of the Godhead revealed so that it can be understood, as far as it is possible, by the finite mind. It is God in human flesh, — Emmanuel, God with us, — whom you must study if you would know God.

8. And, oh! if, indeed, I do see God in Christ, then, what a blessed God he is to me! For who would not love Jesus? Even those who have denied his deity have been fascinated by the beauty of his character. Surely, everyone, who has ever read the Gospels of the four evangelists, must have been enraptured with their biographies of the Christ of God. What a matchless character was his! Just and good, honest and tender, full of mental power and energy, yet all the while like a holy child, — was there ever anything so unique as the life of Christ?

9. Nor is Christ merely the witness concerning God’s character, but he is also a witness concerning God’s attitude towards us. How does God feel with regard to his rebellious creatures? Will he destroy them in his anger, or is he ready to restore them to his favour if they repent? Does he have gracious feelings towards them? This is a question which might well subdue the whole world to a solemn hush until it was answered. But Christ has come to answer it; his very coming answers it. The angels thought so, for they came with him, and they sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” Their song clearly meant that, now, God delights in mercy; he has opened his heart of love to the unthankful and the undeserving. Since Jesus Christ has come to die that sinners might live, and to live again that sinners might not die, it becomes certain that God’s attitude towards man is not that of wrath and indignation, — of stern severity, which refuses to accept the penitent; but that all is mercy, all is grace, and that Christ is the witness that it is so. True, his death, as the Substitute for his people, revealed the justice of God; but it also showed us how even justice could no longer refuse so that mercy should have sway since all its demands had been satisfied by the great sacrifice of Christ. So Christ is the witness to us of how the Father feels towards the sons of men.

10. And he also came to be a witness of another matter, namely, that God has set up a kingdom among the sons of men. That was a faithful and true witness of Christ when he said, “My kingdom is not of this world,” — witnessing a good confession before Pontius Pilate, and, while claiming that he was a King, revealing the true character of his reign. There is a spiritual kingdom set up in the world, and it comprises those who are born again to a spiritual life, enlisted under spiritual laws, to serve God, who is a Spirit, and who must be served in spirit and in truth. Christ came to tell us all this; do we know anything about it? He has told us how to enter that kingdom; have we entered it? “You must be born again,” he said to Nicodemus; for, “unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”; “unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” There is no way of entrance into the kingdom of divine grace except by regeneration; and Jesus Christ is the witness of that great truth.

11. Having many things to say to you, I cannot fully describe the office of Christ as a witness for the Father; that would be a sufficient theme for a whole discourse, and for many discourses. But I may briefly say that, whatever Christ has taught concerning any truth which has to do with our salvation, is his witness on that point; and if we want to know the truth about anything, we must go to Christ to learn it. If we want to know how we may be reconciled to God, and effectively saved, we must sit at the feet of Jesus Christ, and receive his testimony, for he is the witness for the Father in all that affects our relationship to him.

12. The second office of Christ, mentioned in the text, is that of a leader for his own people. The word “leader” might be rendered “the foremost”; and, truly, beloved brothers and sisters, Christ is the foremost of all his people, — the standard-bearer among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely. Christ is in the forefront of the whole army of the faithful; he leads the vanguard. There is no one like him among the sons of men, and no one to be compared with him. We delight to accord to him his rightful preeminence in all things.

13. In the Church of God, Jesus Christ is the leader, because his life is the perfect example of practical holiness. First, he is God’s witness revealing to us the truth; then, next, he is our example, working out the practical part of that revelation in his own life. He who would be saved, then, must follow the lead of Christ. He who is saved does, by the help of the Divine Spirit, follow that lead. Wherever you see his footprint, put your foot down there. Wherever he tells you to go, go there. Though the way may be rough, and treading it may cost you much self-denial, you must go there; for the God who gave you Christ to save you, gave him to you, not merely to enlighten your intellect as a witness, but to affect your life as a leader and example. Have we accepted him in both capacities? I know some who seem willing to take Christ for their leader, but not as a witness to the truth. That will not do. “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” I know others, who are willing to follow Christ doctrinally, but not practically. They would accept him as a witness, but not as a leader. That, also, will not do. A half Christ is no Christ at all. You must have Christ as a whole, and take him in all the characters and relationships in which God gives him to you, or you cannot have him at all.

14. The third character our Lord bears, according to our text, is that of commander. There may be many meanings given to that title, but it seems to me that it must relate mainly to those of his people who are not yet saved. To them, he is a commander; to them he issues laws as a lawgiver, for such is also the sense of the term. What are the laws, which he has given? They are all in this blessed Book; but these are some of them: “Repent, and believe the gospel.” “Come to me.” “Take my yoke on you, and learn from me.” “Go,” he says to his servants, “into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that does not believe shall be damned.” This message is to be delivered to men, not as a request to them to do it if they wish, but as a command from Christ which, if they obey, he has said that they shall be saved; but if they disobey it, he has declared that they shall be damned. I am afraid that, sometimes, we pitch the gospel note in much too low a key; I like to reach the higher key, for I believe it to be the right one. In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we say to you, oh sons and daughters of men, that you are to believe in him, to trust him, to rely on his atoning death, and so to take him to be your Saviour. If you will not do so, you will justly be condemned; but if you will do as he commands you, you shall be saved. The moment you have believed in him; and yielded to his divine authority, you are, in fact, saved; but this royal proclamation must not be despised or neglected, for “how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?”

15. But I think there is more, in this title of Christ, than the mere fact of his making the law, and asking us to proclaim it abroad in his name. He is also a commander because he has power to enforce his proclamations. He calls a nation that did not know him, and then they learn to know him. He invites them, and then they run to him. There is never a sinner, who comes to Christ, until Christ calls him, and makes him come. We are bound to preach the gospel to every creature; but sinners unanimously reject the command until Christ effectively calls them by his grace; but when he calls them, then they come to him. Oh, it is delightful to think that, if the preacher’s voice is powerless, his Master’s voice is not! If he will only speak, and say to the careless soul, “Turn from your wicked way, and begin to think,” you shall see the careless one become thoughtful, and repent of his sin, and trust his Saviour. If he shall find some Zacchaeus, and say to him, “Today I must stay at your house,” he will stay at that house. If, tonight, Christ needs to go through Newington Butts, — as it was written, “He must needs go through Samaria,” — he will find some woman, who little thought that she would ever meet him, and she shall afterwards say, as did that other woman, “Come, see a man, who told me everything that I ever did: is this not the Christ?” If there were no divine power over the will of man, no man would ever be saved. If, the gospel being preached, it were left to men to accept it or reject it, and there were no exercise of divine power to lead them to receive it, we might preach our tongues out, we might weep our eyes out, we might pray until our knees refused any longer to bear us up, but never a soul would come to Christ. But he is presented, first, as a witness to the truth; next, as an example, setting that truth before us in his life; and then, further, clothed with divine authority and girt about with almighty power, making the truth to be effective so that men do come to him, and live. Witness, leader, commander, — you see the range and scope of our great Master’s work. May God grant us grace to accept him in all three relationships!

16. II. Now, secondly, I am to speak briefly on THE THREE EXCELLENCIES OF CHRIST IN CONNECTION WITH THESE THREE OFFICES.

17. First, is Christ a witness? Then, he is a true witness. There are no falsehoods or mistakes in the witness which Christ bears concerning his Father. He is intimately acquainted with the Father, for he came from the Father; and, therefore, his testimony is entirely reliable. What he had seen and heard from the Father, he made even that known to us. There is no possibility of the entrance of any error into the mind of Christ; all his utterances are infallible truth, for the Spirit of God was on him, and in him, without measure. It is a trite saying, but a very comforting one, that, whenever Christ speaks a good word to a sinner, he speaks according to the mind of his Father. Whenever he promises rest, and peace, and pardon, to those who come to him, he promises all this in his Father’s name, and on his Father’s behalf; so, if you have laid hold of Christ, you have not grasped a sham or a counterfeit. It is all true; in fact, he is the truth, as well as the way and the life. He will never deceive you, or mislead you; — be sure of that. We, his poor servants, make many a blunder in speaking of him; but even the Jewish officers had to confess, “Never a man spoke like this Man.” He never makes a mistake in anything that he says; so, if he drops any word that just suits your case, and if you have caught hold of it, and lived on it, let no one rob you of the consolation, for it is true. Jesus Christ is “the Amen, the faithful and true witness.” When he was on the earth, he used to often say, “Truly, truly, I say to you,” because he knew that he was speaking the truth, and you may be quite sure of it, too. We have had many, who have called themselves God’s witnesses, but we have had to question the truth of their testimony. Sometimes, one of these witnesses has contradicted another; and when the witnesses disagree, who is to decide between them? But Jesus Christ’s witness is never self-contradictory. It is true throughout; and he who will sit at his feet, and drink in what Christ has spoken, has learned truth which he will never have to unlearn, he has laid hold of the substance, and not the shadow.

18. Then, next, if our Lord is a leader, he has, in that capacity, the quality of holiness. God has given him to lead his people, and you may safely follow wherever he leads you. Brothers and sisters, be quite sure of this, — Christ will never lead you into any sin, and he will never conduct you into any folly, or error, or mistake. In his highest moods, Christ is never fanatical; and in his lowest, he is never unbelieving. He meets with sinners of all kinds, and even with tax collectors and prostitutes, yet there is no one more pure than he is at all times. He gets away alone, but it is not in order that he may act the part of the cynic and recluse; but that, there, he may commune with his Father, and pray for both saints and sinners. If you will follow him in his silence or in his speech, — if you will follow him in his honour or in his dishonour, — if you will follow him in private or in public, in his thoughts or in his words, you will never go amiss. Perfect holiness is written across the whole biography of the Son of man. So, what a mercy it is that, if we have a witness, it is all truth that he speaks; and if we have a leader, his leadership conducts us to perfect holiness; and, therefore, we may gladly follow him.

19. Then, further, if he is a commander, which is the third character mentioned in our text, you see in him divine power. It is no use having a commander-in-chief who issues proclamations, but who has neither wit nor wisdom in the day of battle. It is no use having for a chieftain one who knows nothing about war, and who, in the hour of conflict, is driven away like chaff before the wind. But, beloved, if Christ is a commander, there is no fear that we shall be defeated if we obey his orders. The strongest battalions are the battalions of God. The greatest force in all the world is the force of truth and righteousness. Men have not usually thought so, for fraud and rapine, cruelty and bloodshed, have been the agents by which earthly monarchs have sought to win their victories. But the Lord has kept his great guns in the rear, and he will bring them to the front some day, and then it shall be seen that the might is with the right; for truth, and love, and grace, and holiness shall be proven to have in them an omnipotence before which all the powers of darkness and of sin shall fall defeated or flee confounded. It is a grand thing, in the time of battle, to have a commander who knows how to lead. When Oliver Cromwell came into the field, the Ironsides felt that his presence was worth more to them than that of ten thousand ordinary soldiers, and every man became a hero then. When Henry of Navarre rode down the French lines before the battle of Ivry, the courage of every warrior rose as he fastened on his white plumed helmet, and said to them, “There is the enemy: here is your king. God is on our side. Should you lose your standards in the battle, rally around my plume; you will always find it on the path of victory and honour.” Alas! his later history proved that this was an empty boast, for he departed from the faith, yet it availed to inspire his followers on that occasion. But our great King, when he comes to the front, as he will soon, — when he comes to the front by his Spirit, as he does even now, — gives courage to the coward, and strength to the weak, and makes each one among us, who treats him, as he should be treated, with implicit confidence, to feel that we shall conquer through his might.

20. So, you see, we have three grand excellencies in our Lord Jesus Christ. As a witness, we have truth; as a leader, we have holiness; and as a commander, we have power. Physical, mental, moral, spiritual power, — all this is in Christ, for he could truly say, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth”; and, therefore; he is a commander whose orders we may delight to obey, for he will certainly lead us to victory.

21. III. Very solemnly, though very briefly, I want to refer to the third division of my subject, which is, that THESE RELATIONSHIPS AND EXCELLENCIES DEMAND FROM US THREE DUTIES.

22. Is Christ a true witness? Then, believe him. Generally, in this house, I speak to people who believe in the Bible; who believe, therefore, in the deity of Christ; and who believe also in the truth of all that Christ spoke. But, my dear hearers, some of you are very inconsistent, for, while you believe all this, you do not believe in Jesus himself. I mean, that you do not trust him as your Saviour, which is the practical way of believing in him. You may believe every word in the Bible, and yet be lost; it is only trusting in Christ that will save you. Now, if all that is in this Bible is true, — and you say that it is, from the time when you were at your mother’s knee, you believed it to be true, — then, why do you believe it with only the brain? Believe it with the heart, “for with the heart man believes to righteousness.” He who wishes to cross a river, and who believes in the stability of the bridge that spans it, crosses by the bridge. Do you believe in Christ’s ability to carry you over the river of death, and to take you to heaven? Then, trust him to do it. He who believes in the genuineness of gold, will take it if it is offered to him. You say that you believe in the truthfulness of Christ, then trust him as your Saviour. The only way to have Christ, is to take him as your own, — to accept him. Some people seem to imagine that faith in Jesus is something very wonderful and mysterious, and they try to go around thousands of miles to find it; but the Scripture says, “The Word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach; that if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” What does a man do, if he is hungry, and there is bread set before him? Does he begin to analyze it, and see how many grains of this and how many of that there are in it? He may do so if he pleases, but that will not feed him. The greatest chemical analyst in the world is not one single inch ahead of the poorest child in the matter of feeding. If he will live by bread, he must eat it, and the poor beggar boy can do the same. He puts it into his mouth, lets it go down into his innermost being, and so form part of himself. Now, this is all you have to do in order to be saved. Dear hearer, you are bothering yourself about feeling this and feeling that, and going around trying to experience this wonderful sensation and the other. All this is folly, or something worse. Will you trust Christ, or not? God presents him to bear witness to the truth; will you believe him who is the truth? That is, will you take Christ to be your Saviour? His Word says that the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all; — the context shows that it is his own people who are meant; — and that he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. Will you believe that it is so? Will you just take Christ as God gives him? That is all you have to do. God says, “I have given him.” What is the proper sequel to that? “Lord, I take him. If you have given him as witness, leader, and commander, Lord, I take him as witness, leader, and commander, and am only too glad to have him in all those capacities. ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’ ”

23. Next, the Lord Jesus is presented as leader. What is the duty arising out of that? If he is a leader, and holiness is the mark of his leadership, then, let us imitate him. Christ will not blot out your sins in the past unless you are willing to be cured of the love of sin in the present, and of the pursuit of sin in the future. Are you willing, you who have been given to drunkenness, to be cured of the desire to drink as well as forgiven for your drunkenness? If your tongue has spoken what is not true, do you wish to be made truthful, in future, as well as to be forgiven the lies of the past? You who have been forgetful of God, and hard-hearted towards him, are you as anxious to have new hearts and right spirits as you are to be saved from going down to hell? You ought to be, for sin is the very essence of hell; the eternal fire is a heart burning with iniquity; the worm that does not die is a conscience that shall torture the immortal spirit for ever on account of its rebellion against God. We must be willing to be like Christ if we wish to be saved by Christ. He has not come to excuse or palliate human sin; he saves his people from their sins. He, who becomes to us our salvation from the punishment of sin, becomes also our salvation from the power of sin. Are you willing, then, to imitate him, — to live, as far as you can, as he lived, — to be led by his Spirit? It should be so. If God gave him for that purpose, let us take him for that purpose.

24. Then, if he is a commander, what does he require of us? Why, obedience, of course. There is an end to military power altogether if there is no discipline; soldiers must obey their officers’ orders. Then, if God gives Christ to be a commander, the question is, are you willing to obey him? Do you know of anything that has been said by Christ? Then, there must be no question about that; it must be obeyed by us. If we have trusted Christ to save us, it is not becoming for us to reason, and argue, and question about it; the only enquiry we have to make is, “Is that the plain message of the Master?” Then, like the six hundred {a} who rode into the valley of death, it is —

    Ours not to reason why,
    Ours not to make reply,
    Ours but to dare and die, —

if it must be so; — not turning to this book or that, but only to God’s Book, — “to the law and to the testimony”; — not looking to this religious leader or that, but always to the King himself, the Captain of our salvation, the Christ of God. So it must be with us if we are his true followers.

25. Now, my dear hearer, very earnestly I ask this question of you, — Are you seeking in all things to obey Christ? There are great numbers of professing Christians who never think about whether a thing has Christ’s sanction or not. If man has ordained it, — if the denomination practices it, — if it has the stamp of the bishop on it; and, especially, if it is fixed by the High Court of Parliament, which is a wonderful authority in matters of religion, then they yield to it. But true Christians care nothing for all the high courts under heaven; they go by the laws of the Highest Court of all, — the Word of the Lord Jesus, — the will of the Most High God; for, in the Church of Christ, there is only one Head, and that is Christ. For us, there is only one Master, and one Lawgiver; and that is the great Son of David, and we will do his will, and we will bow before his sceptre; but to no one else will we yield obedience in this matter; — no, not for an hour.

26. What brings men to Christ’s Church sooner than anything else in the whole world? It is the presence of Christ himself. Today, the only true and worthy attraction which the Church has for the world is Christ’s cross. We may gather people together, if we please, by fine sermons and gorgeous dresses. We may charm their ears with sweet music; but when we have done so, what have we accomplished more than might be done in the theatre or the music hall? And even if we delight their noses with the smell of incense, and their eyes with an abundance of flowers, what have we done more than could have been accomplished by the chemist or the florist? The real attraction of the Church is Christ crucified, according to his own saying, “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me”; and when the charms of everything else shall have faded, and passed away, the charms of Christ will be as fresh as ever. The spouse said of him, in the Song of Solomon, “His locks are bushy, and black as a raven”; but, in the Book of the Revelation, John speaks of him as having his head and his hairs white like wool, as white as snow. The one symbolizes his antiquity; the other, his perennial youth; for he is always young, always strong, always beautiful, always attractive; and, if the Church will only preach Christ, she will always have the best attraction for the ears and for the hearts of men that even God himself could send down here below.

27. So, beloved, I ask you, — Christ being true, do you believe him? Christ being holy, do you imitate him? Christ being clothed with divine authority and power, do you obey him? May those questions sink into your souls, and may you be able to answer every one of them in the affirmative!

28. IV. For, lastly, there are THREE BENEFITS WHICH WILL BE SECURED BY THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE DUTIES.

29. The first is this. If you do believe Christ, “the faithful and true witness,” then you have this benefit, you have certainty concerning what you believe, and that is something that is worth having. The other day, a gentleman uttered to another a sceptical expression, which is very common just now. Many men seem to think it is a sign of great wisdom not to believe anything at all. When he had made his sceptical remark, the other pretty sharply rebuked him by saying, “Now, look here, I must believe something; and I would sooner believe in Jupiter and Juno than be as you are, and believe nothing at all.” So would I; but, blessed be God, we have no need to believe in fabled deities, for we have the God of truth, and the truth of God, in which we may always safely believe. Whenever you can say, concerning any matter, “Jesus says such and such,” do not stir an inch from that; stand there, for you are safe enough on such a rock as that. I do not wonder that Roman Catholics wanted infallibility, but I do wonder that they ever believed the Pope had it; especially the last one, who made more blunders than almost anyone else who ever lived. Poor soul, how could he ever imagine himself to be infallible? If he had only been married, he would have known better, I am quite sure; but, perhaps, living all alone, and quietly, in his big palace, he may have thought himself so, but it was a grave mistake. Still, we must have infallibility somewhere. The Roman Catholic has his infallibility in the Pope; where do I have mine? In Christ; for, whatever he said, is infallibly true; and I also have infallibility in this Book. If anything is only in the Bible, I never for a single moment think of questioning it. Miracles? Strong historical statements? I believe them all; I can almost go as far as the old woman, who said that she not only believed that the great fish swallowed Jonah, but that, if the Bible had said that Jonah swallowed the great fish, she would have believed it. It says nothing of the kind, but I would go even to that length if it were a clear, positive statement of the Scriptures. This is my Master’s Book, and I accept it all. I say, sometimes, that there are things in it that I do not understand, but then I do not want to understand everything. I do not see what good it does to have such a wonderful understanding. I would sooner not understand some things, because it gives me all the more reason to show reverence to my God by believing what I cannot comprehend. If I could comprehend God, he would not be a God to me. If I could understand all that he tells me, I should feel sure that he had either left something out of his revelation, or that there must be some mistake somewhere, for the infinite things of God cannot be grasped by finite beings.

30. There, then, is our infallibility. Some have gone off to bold blatant infidelity in order to get something certain; and others have turned to Popery in the attempt to get something certain; but, as for us we cast our anchor down where the cross stands above the surging billows, and there we rest. Christ says, “I am the truth.” We believe that, and we take every word he says as being infallibly true, and so we secure absolute certainty. That is a great thing to have in these unsettled times, and a comforting thing to have in these disturbed times. It is a very practical benefit, too; for, when we have once made up our mind thoroughly on any point, we can say, “That is so; now we do not need to keep on bothering and questioning about that matter, and we can go on with our work, and also seek to make advances in the divine life.” So, the first benefit we secure is that of certainty.

31. Then, secondly, if Jesus Christ is our example, and we imitate him, the next benefit that we obtain is safety. The way of holiness is always the path of safety. When a man is in the wrong, he is in danger; when he is doing wrong, his conscience generally tells him that he is in some kind of peril. If you and I were perfectly holy, we must, necessarily, be perfectly happy unless we voluntarily put aside that happiness for the good of others; and even the putting of it aside would not involve our altogether losing it, for I do not doubt that Christ was perfectly happy even when he was himself “a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” and that he found an intense undercurrent of delight in laying aside his own joy for our sakes. Brother, if you are right all around, you are safe all around. There cannot be any power that can harm the man who has become right in his relationships with God, with time, with eternity, with all things. Not even evil can injure the man who is perfectly holy, for it finds nothing in him on which it can operate. It strikes its sparks, but there is no tinder to ignite. It hurls its spears, and shoots its arrows, but the man is cased in triple steel, and the points of the barbed shafts cannot pierce his armour. Happy, then, is the man who follows the leadership of Christ. Following the Lamb wherever he goes, he may go to his bed, and rest, for he dwells under the wings of the Eternal. He may go out into the midst of the world without fear, for neither the arrow that flies by day, nor the snare which is placed in secret, shall be able to harm him, for the Lord covers him all the day long.

32. The last blessing that comes to us is victory; for, if Christ is our commander, and he has all power, and we obey him, then victory is certain, and every human heart loves to get the victory. The dying General Wolfe, when he heard those around him say, “They run,” anxiously asked who they were who ran, and when they said, “The enemy,” he could close his eyes in peace. I have no doubt that the dying Admiral, Lord Nelson, rejoiced when he knew that Trafalgar was won. Only let a man know that, in the low and carnal sense, he is to be a victor, and his spirit is revived; but what will it be to hear the exultant shouts when we shall be passing into the next world, “Victory! Victory! Victory through the blood of the Lamb”? How awful would it be to hear that dreadful dirge, “The last fight has been fought, and the campaign is lost for ever.” Will that happen to any of you? Not if Christ is the Captain of your salvation, and you are one of the rank and file of his army. But, dying, and by faith even now living, you may hear the triumphant shout, “The battle is fought, and the victory is won for ever; henceforth, enter into the joy of your Lord, and rest in him world without end.” May the Lord bring us all there, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Joy and Peace — Heavenly Joys On Earth” 720}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Captain and Conqueror” 372}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — Salvation By Grace In Christ” 236}

{a} Battle of Balaklava: The Charge of the Light Brigade was a disastrous charge of British cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaklava on October 25, 1854 in the Crimean War. It is best remembered as the subject of a famous poem entitled The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, whose lines have made the charge a symbol of warfare at both its most courageous and its most tragic. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_of_the_Light_Brigade"



The Christian, Joy and Peace
720 — Heavenly Joys On Earth
1 Come, we that love the Lord,
      And let our joys be known;
   Join in a song with sweet accord,
      And thus surround the throne.
2 The sorrows of the mind,
      Be banish’d from the place;
   Religion never was design’d
      To make our pleasures less.
3 Let those refuse to sing
      That never knew our God;
   But favourites of the heavenly King
      May speak their joys abroad.
4 The God that rules on high,
      And thunders when he please,
   That rides upon the stormy sky,
      And manages the seas:
5 This awful God is ours,
      Our Father and our love;
   He shall send down his heavenly powers
      To carry us above.
6 There shall we see his face,
      And never, never sin;
   There from the rivers of his grace,
      Drink endless pleasures in.
7 Yes! and before we rise
      To that immortal state,
   The thoughts of such amazing bliss
      Should constant joys create.
8 The men of grace have found
      Glory begun below;
   Celestial fruits on earthly ground
      From faith and hope may grow.
9 The hill of Zion yields
      A thousand sacred sweets,
   Before we reach the heavenly fields,
      Or walk the golden streets.
10 Then let our songs abound,
      And every tear be dry:
   We’re marching though Immanuel’s ground
      To fairer worlds on high.
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.


Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
372 — Captain and Conqueror
1 My dear Almighty Lord,
      My Conqueror and my King!
      Thy sceptre and thy sword,
      Thy reigning grace I sing:
   Thine is the power; behold I sit,
   In willing bonds beneath thy feet.
2 Now let my soul arise,
      And tread the tempter down;
      My Captain leads me forth
      To conquest and a crown:
   A feeble saint shall win the day,
   Though death and hell obstruct the way.
3 Should all the hosts of death,
      And powers of hell unknown,
      Put their most dreadful forms
      Of rage and mischief on,
   I shall be safe; for Christ displays
   Superior power, and guardian grace.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.


The Work of Grace as a Whole
236 — Salvation By Grace In Christ
1 Now to the power of God supreme
   Be everlasting honours given;
   He saves from hell (we bless his name),
   He calls our wand’ring feet to heaven.
2 Not for our duties or deserts,
   But of his own abounding grace,
   He works salvation in our hearts,
   And forms a people for his praise.
3 ‘Twas his own purpose that begun
   To rescue rebels doom’d to die;
   He gave us grace in Christ his Son
   Before he spread the starry sky.
4 Jesus the Lord appears at last,
   And makes his Father’s counsels known;
   Declares the great transactions past,
   And brings immortal blessings down.
5 He dies; and in that dreadful night
   Did all the powers of hell destroy;
   Rising, he brought our heaven to light,
   And took possession of the joy.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

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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