2807. Spared!

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No. 2807-48:565. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, During The Winter Of 1860-1, By C. H. Spurgeon, At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, November 30, 1902.

I was left. {Eze 9:8}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2807, “Spared!” 2808}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3377, “Greatest Wonder of Grace, The” 3379}

1. The vision of Ezekiel which is recorded in the previous chapter, brought to light the abominations of the house of Judah. The vision which follows in this chapter shows the terrible retribution that the Lord God brought on the guilty nation, beginning at Jerusalem.

2. He beheld the slaughtermen come out with their weapons, he saw them begin the destroying work at the gate of the temple, he saw them proceed through the main streets, and not omit a single lane; they utterly killed all those who were not marked with the mark of the writer’s ink-horn on their brow. He stood alone, — that prophet of the Lord, — himself spared in the midst of universal carnage; and as the carcasses fell at his feet, and the bodies stained with gore lay all around him, he said, “I was left.” He stood alive among the dead, because he was found faithful among the faithless; he survived in the midst of universal destruction, because he had served his God in the midst of universal depravity.

3. We shall now take the sentence, not in the context of Ezekiel’s vision, but appropriating it to ourselves and, I think, when we read it over, and repeat it, “I was left,” it very naturally invites us to take a retrospect of the past, very readily also it suggests a prospect of the future, and, I think, it permits also a terrible contrast in reserve for the impenitent.

4. I. First of all, then, my brethren, we have here a sobering reflection, which seems to invite us to take A SOLEMN RETROSPECT: “I was left.”

5. Many of you remember times of sickness, when cholera was in your streets. You may forget that season of pestilence, but I never can; when the duties of my pastorate called me continually to walk among your terror-struck households, and to see the dying and the dead. It must always remain impressed on my young heart some of those sad scenes I witnessed when I first came to this metropolis, and was rather employed at that time to bury the dead than to bless the living. Some of you have passed through not only one season of cholera, but many, and you have been present, too, perhaps, in climates where fever has prostrated its hundreds, and where the plague and other dire diseases have emptied out their quivers, and every arrow has found its mark in the heart at least one of your companions. Yet you have been left. You walked among the graves, but you did not stumble into them. Fierce and fatal maladies lurked in your path, but they were not allowed to devour you. The bullets of death whistled by your ears, and yet you stood alive, for his bullet had no billet for your heart. Some of you can look back through fifty, sixty, seventy years. Your bald and grey heads tell the story that you are no longer raw recruits in the warfare of life. You have become veterans, if not invalids in the army. You are ready to retire, to take off your armour, and yield your place to others. Look back, brethren, I say, you who have come into the sere and yellow leaf; remember the many seasons in which you have seen death hailing multitudes around you; and think, “I was left.” And we, too, who are younger, in whose veins our blood still leaps in vigour, can remember times of peril, when thousands fell around us, yet we can say, in God’s house, with great emphasis, “I was left,” — reserved, great God, when many others perished; sustained, standing on the rock of life when the waves of death dashed around me, the spray fell heavily on me, and my body was saturated with disease and pain, yet I am still alive, — permitted still to mix with the busy tribes of men.

6. Now, then, what does such a retrospect as this suggest? Ought not each one of us to ask the question, “What was I spared for? Why was I left?” Many of you were, at that time, and some of you even now are, dead in trespasses and sins! You were not spared because of your fruitfulness, for you produced nothing but the grapes of Gomorrah. Certainly God did not withhold his sword because of anything good in you. A multitude of clamorous evils in your disposition, if not in your conduct, might well have demanded your summary execution. You were spared. Let me ask you why? Was it that mercy might still visit you, — that grace might yet renew your soul? Have you found it so? Has sovereign grace overcome you, beaten down your prejudices, thawed your icy heart, broken your stony will into pieces? Say, sinner, in looking back on the times when you have been left, were you spared in order that you might be saved with a great salvation?

7. And if you cannot say, “Yes,” to that question, let me ask you whether it may not be so yet? Soul, why has God spared you for so long, while you are still his enemy, a stranger to him, and far off from him by wicked works? Or, on the contrary, has he spared you — I tremble at the mere mention of the possibility, — has he prolonged your days to develop your propensities, that you may grow riper for damnation, — that you may fill up your measure of crying iniquity, and then go down to the pit a sinner seared and dry, like wood that is ready for the fire? Can it be so? Shall these spared moments be spoiled by more misdemeanours, or shall they be given up to repentance and to prayer? Will you now, before the last of your sins shall set in everlasting darkness, will you now look to him? If so, you will have reason to bless God, through all eternity, that you were left, because you were left so that you might still seek and find him who is the Saviour of sinners.

8. Do I speak to many of you who are Christians, who have also been left? When better saints than you were snatched away from earthly ties and creature kindred, — when brighter stars than you were clouded in night, were you still permitted to shine with your poor flickering ray? Why was it, great God? Why am I now left? Let me ask myself that question. In sparing me for so long, my Lord, have you not something more for me to do? Is there not some purpose, as yet unconceived in my soul, which you will yet suggest to me, and to carry out which you will yet give me grace and strength, and spare me for a little while longer? Am I still immortal or shielded at least from every arrow of death, because my work is incomplete? Is the quota of my years prolonged because the full quota of the bricks has not yet been made up? Then please show me what you would have me do. Since I have been left like this, help me to feel myself an especially consecrated man, left for a purpose, reserved for some reason, otherwise I would have been worms’ meat many years ago, and my body would have crumbled back to its mother earth. Christian, I say, always be asking yourself this question; but especially be asking it when you are preserved in times of more than ordinary sickness and mortality. If I am left, why am I left? Why am I not taken home to heaven? Why do I not enter into my rest? Great Lord and Master, show me what you would have me do, and give me grace and strength to do it.

9. Let us change the retrospect for a moment, and look at the sparing mercy of God in another light. “I was left.” Some of you now present, whose history I well know, can say, “I was left,” and say it with special emphasis. You were born to ungodly parents; the earliest words you can remember were base and blasphemous, too bad to repeat. You can remember how the first breath your infant lungs received was tainted air, — the air of vice, of sin, and iniquity. You grew up, you and your brothers and your sisters, side by side; you filled the home with sin, you went on together in your youthful crimes, and encouraged each other in evil habits. So you grew up to manhood, and then you were banded together in ties of delinquency as well as in ties of blood. You added to your number; you took in new associates. As your family circle increased, so did the flagrancy of your conduct. You all conspired to break the Sabbath; you devised the same scheme, and perpetrated the same improprieties. Perhaps you can remember the time when Sabbath invitations used always to be sent, a sneer at godliness was couched in the invitations. You remember how one after another of your old comrades died; you followed them to their graves, and your merriment was checked for a little while, but it soon broke out again. Then a sister died, steeped to the mouth in infidelity; after that, a brother was taken; he had no hope in his death, all was darkness and despair before him. And so, sinner, you have outlived all your comrades. If you are inclined to go to hell, you must go there along a beaten track: a path which, as you look back on the way you have trodden, is stained with blood; for you can remember how all who have been before you have gone to the long home in dismal gloom, without a glimpse or ray of joy.

10. And now you are left, sinner; and, blessed be God, it may be you can say, “Yes, and I am not only left, but I am here in the house of prayer; and if I know my own heart, there is nothing I should hate so much as to live my old life over again. Here I am, and I never believed I should ever be here. I look back with mournfulness indeed on those who have departed; but, though mourning them, I express my gratitude to God that I am not in torments, — not in hell, — but still here; yes, not only here, but having a hope that I shall one day see the face of Christ, and stand amid blazing worlds robed in his righteousness and preserved by his love.” You have been left, then; and what should you say? Should you boast? Oh, no; be doubly humble! Should you take the glory for yourself? No; put the crown on the head of free, rich, undeserved grace. And what should you do more than all other men? Why, you should be doubly pledged to serve Christ. Just as you have served the devil through thick and thin, until you came to serve only him, and your company had all departed, so, by divine grace, may you be pledged to Christ, — to follow him, though all the world should despise him, and to hold on to the end, until, if every professor should be an apostate, it might still be said of you at the last, “He was left; he stood alone in sin while his comrades died; and then he stood alone in Christ when his companions deserted him.” So it should always be said of you, “He was left.”

11. This suggests also one more form of the same retrospect. What a special providence has watched over some of us, and guarded our feeble frames! There are some of you, in particular, who have been left to such an age that, as you look back on your youthful days, you recall far more of relatives in the tomb than remain in the world, more under the earth than above it. In your dreams you are the associates of the dead. Still you are left. Preserved amid a thousand dangers of infancy, then kept in youth, steered safely over the shoals and quicksands of an immature age, and over the rocks and reefs of manhood, you have been brought past the ordinary period of mortal life, and yet you are still here. Seventy years exposed to perpetual death, and yet preserved until you have come almost, perhaps, to your fourscore years. You have been left, my dear brother, and why are you left? Why is it that brothers and sisters are all gone? Why is it that the ranks of your old schoolmates have gradually thinned? You cannot remember one, now alive, who was your companion in youth. How is it that now, you, who have lived in a certain quarter for so long, see new names there on all the shop doors, new faces in the street, and everything new to what you once saw in your young days? Why are you spared? Are you an unconverted man? Are you an unconverted woman? Why are you spared? Is it that you may at the eleventh hour be saved? May God grant it may be so! Or are you spared until you shall have sinned yourself into the lowest depths of hell, that you may go there the most aggravated sinner because of frequently repeated warnings just as often ignored; — are you spared for this, or is it that you may still be saved?

12. But are you a Christian? Then it is not hard for you to answer the question, “Why are you spared?” I do not believe there is an old woman on earth, living in the most obscure cot in England, and sitting this very night in the dark attic, with her candle gone out, without means to buy another, — I do not believe that old woman would be kept out of heaven five minutes unless God had something for her to do on earth; and I do not think that that grey-headed man would still be preserved here unless there was something for him to do. Proclaim it, proclaim it, you aged man; tell the story of that preserving grace which has kept you up until now. Tell to your children and to your children’s children what a God he is whom you have trusted. Stand up as a hoary patriarch, and tell how he delivered you in six troubles, and in seven allowed no evil to touch you, and bear to coming generations your faithful witness that his word is true, and that his promise cannot fail. Lean on your staff, and say, before you die in the midst of your family, “Not one good thing has failed of all that the Lord God has promised.” Let your mature days proclaim a mellow testimony to his love; and just as you have more and more advanced in years, so be more and more advanced in knowledge and in confirmed assurance of the immutability of his counsel, the truthfulness of his oath, the preciousness of his blood, and the certainty of the salvation of all those who put their trust in him. Then we shall know that you are spared for a high and noble purpose indeed. You shall say it with tears of gratitude, and we will listen with smiles of joy, — “I was left.”

13. II. I must rather suggest these retrospects than follow them up, though, if time permitted, we might well enlarge abundantly, and therefore I must hurry on to invite you to A PROSPECT.

14. You and I shall soon pass out of this world into another. This life is, as it were, only the ferry-boat; we are being carried across, and we shall soon come to the true shore, the real terra firma, for here there is nothing that is substantial. When we shall come into that next world, we have to expect, eventually, a resurrection both of the just and of the unjust; and in that solemn day we are to expect who all who dwell on the face of the earth shall be gathered together in one place. And he shall come, who came once to suffer, he shall come to judge the world in righteousness, and the people in equity. He who came as an infant shall come as the Infinite. He who lay wrapped in swaddling-bands shall come girt around the chest with a golden sash, with a rainbow wreath, and robes of storm. There we shall all stand, a vast, innumerable company; earth shall be crowned from her valley’s deepest base to the mountains summit, and the sea’s waves shall become the solid standing-place of men and women who have slept beneath its torrents. Then every eye shall be fixed on him, and every ear shall be open to him, and every heart shall watch with solemn awe and dread suspense for the transactions of that greatest of all days, that day of days, that sealing up of the ages, that completing of this age.

15. In solemn pomp the Saviour comes, and his angels with him. You hear his voice as he cries, “Gather together the tares in bundles to burn them.” Behold the reapers, how they come with wings of fire! See how they grasp their sharp sickles, which have long been grinding on the millstone of God’s longsuffering, but have become sharpened at last. Do you see them as they approach? There they are mowing down a nation with their sickles. The vile idolaters have just now fallen, and over there a family of blasphemers has been crushed beneath the feet of the reapers. See there a bundle of drunkards being carried away on the reapers’ shoulders to the great blazing fire. See again, in another place, the fornicator, the adulterer, the unchaste, and such-like, tied up in vast bundles, — bundles the cords of which shall never be broken, — and see them cast into the fire, and see how they blaze in the unutterable torments of that pit: and shall I be left? Great God, shall I stand there wrapped in his righteousness alone, the righteousness of him who sits as my Judge erect on the judgment seat? Shall I, when the wicked shall cry, “Rocks, hide us; mountains, fall on us”; gaze on him; shall this eye look up, shall this face dare to turn itself to the face of him who sits on the throne? Shall I stand calm and unmoved amid universal terror and dismay? Shall I be numbered with the godly company, who, clothed with the white linen which is the righteousness of the saints, shall await the final outcome, shall see the wicked hurled to destruction, and feel and know themselves secure?

16. Shall it be so or shall I be bound up in a bundle to burn, and swept away for ever by the breath of God’s nostrils, like the chaff driven before the wind? It must be one or the other; which shall it be? Can I answer that question? Can I tell? I can tell it, — tell it now, — for I have in this very chapter what teaches me how to examine myself. Those who are preserved have the mark on their foreheads, and they have a character as well as a mark, and their character is, that they sigh and cry for all the abominations of the wicked. Then, if I hate sin, and if I sigh because others love it, — if I cry because I myself through infirmity fall into it, — if the sin of myself and the sin of others is a constant source of grief and vexation of spirit to me, then I possess that mark and evidence of those who shall neither sigh nor cry in the world to come, for sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Do I have the blood-mark on my brow today? Say, my soul, have you put your trust in Jesus Christ alone, and as the fruit of that faith, has your faith learned how to love, not only him who saved you, but others, too, who as yet are unsaved? And do I sigh and cry within while I bear the blood-mark without! Come brother, sister, answer this for yourself, I charge you; I charge you to do so, by the tottering earth, and by the ruined pillars of heaven, that shall surely shake; please, by the cherubim and seraphim that shall be before the throne of the great Judge; by the blazing lightnings, that shall then illumine the thick darkness, and make the sun amazed, and turn the moon into blood; by him whose tongue is like a flame, like a sword of fire; by him who shall judge you, and try you, and read your heart, and declare your ways, and assign to you your eternal portion; I implore you, by the certainties of death, by the certainty of judgment, by the glories of heaven, by the solemnities of hell, — I beseech, implore, command, entreat you, — ask yourself now, “Shall I be left? Do I believe in Christ? Have I been born again? Do I have a new heart and a right spirit? Or, am I still what I always was, — God’s enemy, Christ’s despiser, cursed by the law, cast out from the gospel, without God and without hope, a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel?”

17. I cannot speak to you as earnestly as I wish that I could. I want to thrust this question into your innermost being, and stir up your heart’s deepest thoughts with it. Sinner, what will become of you when God shall winnow the chaff from the wheat, what will be your portion then? You who stand in the aisle over there, what will be your portion, you who are crowded there, what will your portion be, when he shall come, and nothing shall escape his eye? Say, shall you hear him? Say, and shall your heart-strings crack while he utters the thundering sound, “Depart, you cursed”; or shall it be your happy lot — your soul transported all the while with unutterable bliss — to hear him say, “Come, you blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”? Our text reveals a prospect, please look at it, gaze across the narrow stream of death, and say. “Shall I be left?”

    When thou, my righteous Judge, shalt come,
    To fetch thy ransom’d people home,
       Shall I among them stand?
    Shall such a worthless worm as I,
    Who sometimes am afraid to die,
       Be found at thy right hand?
    I love to meet among them now,
    Before thy gracious feet to bow,
       Though vilest of them all:
    But can I bear the piercing thought, —
    What if my name should be left out,
       When thou for them shalt call?
    Prevent, prevent it by thy grace;
    Be thou, dear Lord, my hiding-place,
       In this the accepted day:
    Thy pardoning voice, oh let me hear!
    To still my unbelieving fear;
       Nor let me fall, I pray.

18. III. But now we come to A TERRIBLE CONTRAST, which I think is suggested in the text: “I was left.”

19. Then there will be some who will not be left in the sense we have been speaking of, and yet who will be left in another and more dreadful manner. They will be left by mercy, forsaken by hope, given up by friends, and become a prey to the implacable fury, to the sudden, infinite, and unmitigated severity and justice of an angry God. But they will not be left or exempted from judgment, for the sword shall find them, the vials of Jehovah shall reach even to their heart. And that flame, the pile of which is wood, and much smoke, shall suddenly devour them, and that without remedy. Sinner, you shall be left. I say, you shall be left by all those fond joys that you hug now, — left by that pride which now steels your heart; you will be low enough then. You will be left by that iron constitution which now seems to repel the arrows of death. You shall be left by those companions of yours who entice you on to sin, and harden you in iniquity. You shall be left by those who promise to be your helpers at the last. They shall need helpers themselves, and the strong man shall fail. You shall be left, then, by that pleasing imagination of yours and by that merry wit which can make sport of Bible truths, and mock at divine solemnities. You shall be left, then, by all your buoyant hopes, and by all your imaginary delights. You shall be left by that sweet angel, Hope, who never forsakes any except those who are condemned to hell. You shall be left by God’s Spirit, who sometimes pleads with you now. You shall be left by Jesus Christ, whose gospel has been so often preached in your ear. You shall be left by God the Father; he shall shut his eyes of pity against you, his heart of compassion shall no more yearn over you; nor shall his heart regard your cries. You shall be left; but, oh! again I tell you, you shall not be left as one who has escaped; for, when the earth shall open to swallow up the wicked, it shall open at your feet, and swallow you up too. When the fiery thunderbolt shall pursue the spirit that falls into the pit that is bottomless, it shall pursue you, and reach you, and find you. When God tears the wicked in pieces, and there shall be no one to deliver, he shall tear you in pieces; he shall be to you as a consuming fire, your conscience shall be full of gall, your heart shall be drunk with bitterness, your teeth shall be broken even as with gravel stones, your hopes shredded with his hot thunderbolts, and all your joys withered and blasted by his breath.

20. Oh careless sinner, mad sinner, you who are dashing yourself now downward to destruction, why will you play the fool at this rate? There are cheaper ways of making sport for yourself than this. Dash your head against the wall; go scrabble there, and, like David, let your spittle fall on your beard, but do not let your sin fall on your conscience, and do not let your spite of Christ be like a millstone hung around your neck, with which you shall be cast into the sea for ever. Please be wise. Oh Lord, make the sinner wise; hush his madness for a while; let him be sober, and hear the voice of reason; let him be still, and hear the voice of conscience; let him be obedient, and hear the voice of Scripture! “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because I will do this, consider your ways.’ ” “Prepare to meet your God, oh Israel.” “Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.” “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”

21. I feel that I have a message for someone tonight. Though there may be some who think the sermon is not appropriate for a congregation where there is so large a proportion of converted men and women, yet what a large proportion of ungodly ones there is here, too! I know that you come here, many of you, to hear some funny tale, or to catch at some strange, extravagant speech of one whom you repute to be an eccentric man. Ah, well, he is eccentric, and hopes to be so until he dies; but it is simply eccentric in being in earnest, and wanting to win souls! Oh poor sinners, there is no odd tale I would not tell if I thought it would be blessed to you! There is no grotesque language which I would not use, however it might be thrown back at me again, if I thought it might only be useful to you. I do not consider myself to be a fine speaker; those who use fine language may dwell in the king’s palaces. I speak to you as one who knows he is accountable to no man, but only to his God, as one who shall have to turn in his account at the last great day. And, please, do not go away to talk about this and what you have noticed in my language. Think of this one thing, “Shall I be left? Shall I be saved? Shall I be caught up and dwell with Christ in heaven, or shall I be cast down to hell for ever and ever?” Think over these things. Think seriously about them. Hear that voice which says, “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” Give heed to the voice which expostulates, “ ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord: ‘though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ ” How else shall your life be spared when the wicked are judged? How else shall you find shelter when the tempest of divine wrath rages? How else shall you stand in the lot of the righteous at the end of the days?

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Eph 1}

1, 2. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints, who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostle desires just the same blessing for us, who are “the faithful in Christ Jesus,” as he did for the saints at Ephesus. He longs that we also may be filled with grace and peace “from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” And the wish of the apostle is according to the will of God, who would have us abound in grace and in peace. Some of you Christian people are troubled in mind, yet your Lord said to his disciples, and through them to you, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. … Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus knew that, in the world, you should have tribulation; but he willed that, in him, you should have peace; and the way to get that peace is by getting grace. “Grace be to you, and peace.” The more gracious you are, the more easily you will bear the trying circumstances which surround you. Do not look for peace apart from grace; but when you have grace, you have a right to peace.

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

I notice how often, in the Epistles, benedictions are followed by doxologies; this is because the true heart loves to bless the Lord. What a rich treasure we have who are blessed “with all spiritual blessings!” There is nothing we can need but what is provided for us by our gracious God. Why are you poor, then, when God “has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ?” Is it not because you often forget to go to the heavenlies in Christ, and begin looking to the earthlies in yourselves? There is only starvation there, but all true riches are found in the heavenlies in Christ.

4. According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

The apostle did not ignore the glorious and blessed doctrine of divine election; he delighted to meditate on it, and to speak of it. I wish that some Christians, nowadays, were not so much afraid of it. All spiritual blessings come to us in this way, this is the fountain-head of all favour and grace: “According as he has chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world.” The object of our election, why God has chosen us in Christ is, “that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love.” Unless you are holy, how can you talk about being chosen by God, for the elect are chosen to holiness, chosen to be delivered from all blame through the love and grace of God.

5, 6. Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he has made us accepted in the Beloved.

It is well said, by an old writer, that there is no book which is written with such brevity as the Bible; it seems to give us the condensed essence of truth in the smallest possible space. What a mass of thought there is in those few lines which I have just read to you! We see here that we become the children of God by adoption, whatever the universal Fatherhood people may say: “Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself”; and that this adoption is the result of predestination, and is not because of our own merits, but “according to the good pleasure of his will.” Some systems of theology have much of logic, but little of God; but in Paul’s teaching, it is God first, and last, and midst, and over all.

“To the praise of the glory of his grace.” What a wonderful expression this is, — not only “the glory of his grace,” but the praise of that glory! God has done all things with a view to magnifying his grace in the hearts of the sons and daughters of men: “By which he has made us accepted in the Beloved.” There seems to me to be a sacred poem in these words, “accepted in the Beloved.” To my heart, there is more heavenly music in those four words than in any oratorio I ever heard. “Accepted in the Beloved.” Oh, what honey this is in the mouth, what cheer this is in the heart! Are all of you, dear friends, “accepted in the Beloved?”

7, 8. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; in which he has abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence;

Wisdom and prudence are two of the handmaids of grace. Grace reigns through righteousness, and the wisdom and prudence of God are set to work so to conduct the entire arrangements that “the glory of his grace” may be all the more conspicuous.

9. Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself:

Even our knowledge of God’s will is the result of “his good pleasure.” If your eyes have been divinely opened, you see the will of God coming in everywhere, and ordering all things according to his gracious and unerring purpose.

10. That in the administration of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.

All the things that are in Christ shall be gathered together; none of them shall be left out. His great covenant work shall be, in all respects, fully accomplished; there shall be no failure in any point. Whether in heaven, or on earth, the things which are in Christ shall be gathered together in One, “even in him”:

11. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his own will.

How the apostle delights to harp on this theme! The Holy Spirit knew that a time would come when men would put a slur on this glorious truth, so he inspired his servant to present it as the very brightness of the sun in the spiritual firmament: “being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his own will.”

12-14. That we, who first trusted in Christ, should be to the praise of his glory. In whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also afterwards you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.

Twice more, in these three verses you have this expression, “to the praise of his glory,” making a third time with what he said before, “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” The true gospel glorifies God. False gospels may have what is called “the enthusiasm of humanity” about them, but the true gospel has an enthusiasm for the living God, and it magnifies and glorifies him. Note, oh believers, that you first trust in Christ, and after that you have the seal of the Spirit. There are some who look for the sealing of the Spirit before believing in Jesus; but neither God nor man will put a seal on a blank paper; there must be the writing of faith on the heart, and then the Spirit of God comes in, with his blessed seal, and sets it at the bottom as his divine and gracious sign of acceptance. The Holy Spirit is “the earnest of our inheritance.” Now, an earnest is a part of the possession itself; it is not simply a pledge, it is more than that; so the Holy Spirit in our heart is heaven begun below, it is the young dawn of the everlasting day. Blessed be God, we have his Spirit within us, and we rejoice in his indwelling.

15-17. Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

You know him, for he has saved you; now go on to know a great deal more of him. You can scarcely have a better gift than this, “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” The knowledge of Christ crucified is the most excellent of all the sciences. It is better to be well acquainted with Christ than to be a very Solomon concerning all other things, yet not to know him.

15. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;

You have eyes; God’s grace has given them to you; but they are capable of additional power and force; and there is the telescope of faith, which you are allowed to use, which will enable you to see much more than you have ever seen as yet.

18. That you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, —

First, you are to know what your inheritance is; that is “the hope of his calling”; and, next, you are to know what Christ’s inheritance in you is, which is another thing. It is a most blessed subject for meditation that you are Christ’s, altogether Christ’s, and that all you are to be, will be Christ’s, and that in you, poor creatures though you are, he will yet have a rich inheritance. Paul would have you know what are “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” —

19. And what is the very greatness of his power to us who believe,

It takes a great deal of grace to make a believer, and to keep a believer; nothing but the almighty power of God can do it.

19, 20. According to the working of his mighty power, which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, —

Not only raising him from the dead, but lifting him up to his own right hand, and setting him there, “in the heavenly places,” —

21. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in what is to come:

The power of God, which works in a believer, is the same power with which he raised Christ from the dead, and set him in this preeminent place.

22. And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

This power is also to be seen working in you who believe in Jesus. What wonders of grace we shall be when God has exerted that stupendous and amazing energy, in each one of us, even as in his own Son! What an inheritance Christ will have in us then!

23. Which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.

Did I not truly say to you that this blessed Book is full of truth put into as few words as possible? Truly, there is nothing like it. Other books, at the best, are like gold hammered out very thin; but here you have ingots of solid spiritual wealth, priceless in value. May God help us all to make them our own treasure, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Extracts from “Notices of Books” in “The Sword and the Trowel,” November, 1902: —

Messers. Passmore and Alabaster have ready for publication John Ploughman’s Almanac for 1903 and Spurgeon’s Illustrated Almanac for 1903, price one penny each. It is believed that both will prove to be fully equal to former issues. The pictures on the broadsheet are just the kind that “John Ploughman” used to select, the four short articles are extracts from his writings, and the proverbs still continue to be largely those that were composed or chosen by him. In the little book, five of the articles bear the familiar initials, C. H. S.; Mrs C. H. Spurgeon has selected the daily texts, and written the letter concerning them; the other contents of the booklet will help to keep it well up to the mark attained in previous years.

Messers. Passmore and Alabaster have added three more volumes to their Twelve Sermons Series, — Twelve Sermons on Humility, Twelve Sermons on Precious Promises, and Twelve Sermons on the Doctrines of Grace, — making 51 volumes in this handy form, any one of which can be obtained from the publishers for a shilling, or post free for 1s. 2d.

London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings, and from all Booksellers.

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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