2867. The Life-Look

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The Life-Look

No. 2867-50:37. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, January 9, 1876, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, January 21, 1904.

Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no one else. {Isa 45:22}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 60, “Sovereignty and Salvation” 58}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2805, “Life for a Look” 2806}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2867, “Life Look, The” 2868}
   Exposition on Isa 44; 45; 2Sa 33:1-5 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2450, “Joy of Redemption, The” 2451 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 45 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2815, “Good Cheer for Many that Fear” 2816 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 45 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2867, “Life Look, The” 2868 @@ "Exposition"}

1. I have preached a good many times from this text. The following Sermons by Mr. Spurgeon on this passage, have been previously published. {a} I hope to do so, if life is spared, many more times. It was about twenty-six years ago, — twenty-six years exactly last Thursday, — that I looked to the Lord, and found salvation, through this text. You have often heard me tell how I had been wandering around, seeking rest, and finding none, until a plain, unlettered, lay preacher among the Primitive Methodists stood up in the pulpit, and gave out this passage as his text: “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” He had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed — by me, at any rate, — except his text. I remember how he said, “It is Christ who speaks. ‘I am in the garden in an agony, pouring out my soul to death; I am on the tree, dying for sinners; look to me! Look to me!’ That is all you have to do. A child can look. One who is almost an idiot can look. However weak, or however poor, a man may be, he can look; and if he looks, the promise is that he shall live.” Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery, and he said, “That young man there looks very miserable.” I expect I did, for that is how I felt. Then he said, “There is no hope for you, young man, or any chance of getting rid of your sin, but by looking to Jesus”; and he shouted, as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, “Look! Look, young man! Look now!” And I did look; and when they sang a hallelujah before they went home, in their own earnest way, I am sure I joined in it. It happened to be a day when the snow was lying deep and more was falling; so, as I went home, those words of David kept ringing through my heart, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow”; and it seemed as if all nature was in accord with that blessed deliverance from sin which I had found in a single moment by looking to Jesus Christ.

2. I have always felt inclined, when this time of the year comes around, to preach from this text. I have sometimes thought, — “They will suppose I must go over the same ground again, and give them the same sermon; and so, perhaps, I shall not have so attentive an audience.” I cannot help it if it is so, for I must preach from this text. Just as it was blessed to me, I hope it will be blessed to someone else. I wanted to preach from it last Thursday night, on the exact anniversary of my spiritual birthday; but I was led to take another text, and I am glad I was; for, when I entered my vestry tonight, I found on the table this note: — “Mr. Spurgeon I want to tell you that your ‘good news,’ last Thursday, was the means of reclaiming a wanderer. How good of Jesus to take such a one as I am back, and give me the joy I had when I first knew him!” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2866, “Good News” 2867} The writer encloses a thanksgiving offering, and blesses the name of the Lord. So, this text has been reserved for tonight, and who knows if there has come here someone who was not here on Thursday night, and whom the Lord intends to bless? I only hope it may be so; indeed, I know it will be so.

3. Let us read the text again: “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no one else.” This message is addressed, as you perceive, not to the Israelites, but to the Gentiles, — to the nations at the very ends of the earth. Alas! many of these nations have long been looking to their idols. They do not feel at rest, they know that they lack something; and very earnestly devout heathens are looking to their false gods for what they need. They make great sacrifices, and spend vast sums of money on their idol temples; but salvation does not come, and cannot come, through these false gods. Jehovah invites them to look to him, so that they may be saved. Some among the nations are throwing off the yoke of superstition; but, sad to say, they seem to be falling into scepticism instead. The Hindu, when educated, turns from his idols only to make an idol of his own judgment. Many men worship their own wisdom. They hope by searching to find out the Almighty to perfection; and they promulgate this theory and that, and say, “This form of thought and the other will emancipate the human mind.” Ah, it is not so! “The world by wisdom,” in the old Socratic and philosophical days worked out that problem, and the result was that they “did not know God,” but, “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”; and that is the place where man, with his great thought and wisdom, always drifts to, — to some absurdity or another. Only Jehovah can save mankind. Philosophy is powerless in this matter.

4. The nations have been looking long, first to this thing, and then to that, to save them. Sometimes, they have looked for some great conqueror, who will break the yoke of oppression, and set the people free. But how often have they been deceived, and the idols of the democracy have turned out to be the grossest tyrants that ever lived. Then there are various international and other societies formed, by which men are to lift themselves up by confederation. They will look there, too, in vain; though all men should join hand in hand, they cannot do it. If they looked to God, there would be accomplished what all of mankind would not be able to perform. One man advises this policy; another pleads for that form of government. One has this idea, and the other has another. And, every now and then, there seems to be a craze for something or other. Just now, we are told that civilization will do away with war, and I do not know what else besides. All evil is to be extinguished by the growth of commerce. But the Lord of hosts has willed it that nothing shall save the nations but himself; and this poor, bleeding earth needs to be told, again and again, that, for her wounds, — and she has many of them, — there is no healing liniment but what flows from the hands, and feet, and side of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. From the crown of her head to the sole of her foot, she is full of “wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores,” and for all these there is no cure but the blessed balm that flowed from Jesus’ heart on Calvary, — no remedy but the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Look to me,” he says, “and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no one else.” Oh Lord, turn the eyes of the nations to yourself, and to your Son! When this happens, then the day of the world’s salvation shall have fully come.

5. The general principle holds good in each particular case. Just as it is with the nations at the ends of the earth, so it must be with me, so must it be, dear friends, with you. There is no salvation except by looking to God in Christ. Let us try to think that thought over, not merely with the view of thinking of it, but that we may carry it into effect, — that, if there is salvation to be had, we may have it, and have it at once. Oh God, grant that it may be so!

6. First, we shall ask, What does the word “Look” mean in reference to God? Secondly, for what part of salvation are we to look to God? Thirdly, what is our encouragement to look? And, fourthly, when is the best time to look?

7. I. First, Jehovah says, “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” WHAT DOES THIS WORD LOOK MEAN? It means a great deal more than I can tell you; and, among other things, it means this.

8. First, consider that there is a God, and enthrone him in your mind as a real Person, the one living and true God. You have been trying to cure yourself of your spiritual maladies; now think of God as the great Physician of your soul. Let your mind turn towards him. You are like that young man who left his father’s house, and whose circumstances became so bad, through his own fault, that he was obliged to take up very low and base employment; and yet, with all that he could do, he did not earn enough to fill his belly. The best thing that he could do was to remember that he had a father; and the happiest day for him happened when he came back to his father, and received a loving welcome from him.

9. You say that you are not happy, you are not at rest, your conscience is disturbed, and you have tried ever so many things in order to get peace. Now, think about your God. Think about the loving Father who receives his wandering prodigal children; and as you think of him, you will have begun to look to him. While you are thinking about him, I wish you would remember this concerning him, — that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them.” Think of that wonderful truth that God came, here in human flesh and blood, and, for us men and for our salvation, died a cruel death on the tree. Think that over and over again, for it is there that your only hope for salvation lies. Think of that; read often —

    The old, old story
    Of Jesus and his love.

Think over all the details of it; accustom yourself to look towards God in Christ Jesus in your thoughts and contemplations. By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, this will create faith in you. Set your face that way, — look at God as he has revealed himself in the person of the great Propitiation, Jesus Christ his Son.

10. Looking to God means, however, more than that. When you have considered him, and taken him into your calculations, then address yourself to him. Speak to him. Tell him where you are, and what you are. Tell him what you feel, and what you do not feel, and what you ought to feel, and what you wish to feel. Tell him what you want which you have not yet received. If you cannot pray, tell him so; if you cannot repent, and cannot believe, tell him so. Only speak to him, for that speaking will be a turning to look, and I find that the Hebrew word used here is not so well expressed by the word “look” as by the phrase “turning to look.” If I want to look at the clock above my head, I must turn to look at it. In that way, I want you to turn towards God, to consider him, and then to speak to him. Tell him that you are a wretch undone without his sovereign grace. Tell him whatever you know to be the truth; do not mock him with mere words that do not come from your heart, but let your heart speak to him. Address him, for that is looking to him.

11. Only, be sure that you do get to God. The mischief is, dear friends, that we often stop somewhere short of God when we are seeking salvation. A Roman Catholic, for example, erects a crucifix, and bows down before it. The original intention of the crucifix, no doubt, was to help the person who used it to remember the death of Christ; but frequently, the thought rests on the crucifix, instead of on the Christ. If the Roman Catholic says that he does not worship the image, it is not true, because there is a certain “Our Lady of Lourdes,” and another “Notre Dame de la Garde,” and other “Our Ladies.” Why is it that the Virgin Mary in a certain church, or a certain town, works great cures, and gets more worship, than “Our Lady” in a certain other place? The fact is, it is the image that is worshipped, and so it is with the crucifix; that gets the Roman Catholics’ worship, and not the Christ. They stop there; but why do I talk about this to you Protestants? Why, because many of you do just the same in other respects. You say, “Now, if I am to be converted, I ought to read the Bible.” Yes, that is quite right. Read the Bible; but, if you stop at the Bible, you will no more get to God than if you stop at the crucifix. What you need is to get to God through what you read, and not merely to come to the Book. The Bible, or the most gracious words, or the most appropriate collects, {b} or the most pious prayers cannot save you; you must pass through these things, which ought to be helps, and not make them into barriers, for, if you make them into barriers by stopping there, you never will be saved. You have to get to God, dear heart, — to God in Jesus Christ; and please, do not stop until you feel, “I have spoken to God in Jesus Christ; I have confessed to him my sins; I have sought his forgiveness; I have asked him for mercy.” You are sure to get it if you have done so. But if you stop at this point, — “I have prayed so often, I have read so much,” these very readings and prayings will get to be idols, and they will keep you away from God. When seeking the Lord, I used to read Doddridge’s “Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul” very much, and it is an admirable book; and Baxter’s “Call to the Unconverted.” I would wake up as soon as the sun was up in the morning so that I might read these books; but I must confess that, for many a day I stopped at Doddridge’s “Rise and Progress” and Baxter’s “Call.” When I had read so much, and tried to feel what those good men said, there I stopped. Oh, that I had gone to Christ before! Oh, that I had gone away from Doddridge’s “Rise and Progress” and Baxter’s “Call,” and gone to Jesus Christ himself! I am not finding fault with those books; I commend them, but I find fault with myself for making so bad a use of the books. In the same way, I do not find fault with prayer or the reading of the Scriptures; God forbid! But I do complain of putting prayer and the reading of the Scriptures into the place of getting to God; for it is looking to him as he is revealed in Jesus Christ that will save the soul, and nothing short of that, no matter what it may be, will do. Therefore, looking to God means that we are to consider God, and then to address ourselves to him.

12. In the next place, to look to him means that we must know that, if we are ever to be saved salvation must come from God alone. Learn this oh man, that you are helpless and hopeless apart from God; — that you are shut up, and cannot come out, bound with fetters of iron, and laid like the dead in their graves, numbered among the slain like those who go down into the pit; and no arm can help you but the arm of the Omnipotent; nothing can save you but the blood of Jesus Christ.

13. Then, next, to look to him means expect that he will save you. Oh, what a step that is for anyone to take! I wish that, by God’s grace, you might take it, saying, “No one but God can save me. Salvation comes from him, but he is gracious; he has given his dear Son to die for sinners. I, a sinner, — the most unworthy, perhaps, who ever lived, — will, nevertheless, dare to hope that I shall be saved. Indeed, more, —

    He has promised to receive
    All who on his Son believe; —

so I will now trust his Son, and look to him to give me full and free salvation because I trust him.” Joseph Hart’s hymn puts it, —

    Venture on him, venture wholly,
       Let no other trust intrude;
          None but Jesus
       Can do helpless sinners good.

Some have objected to the verse, because they say it is not a venture. It is very easy to be too critical. It is a venture to the sinner’s thought; it appears to him to be a venture, and you must not expect him to talk as you wise men talk. Do not put into a sinner’s mouth words that would be above his range of thought. I know it seemed a wonderful venture to me. I thought, “Can it be true that this is all I have to do? Do I have to believe God’s grace in Christ, and trust myself only on that?” Why, if the minister had said, “You must go home, and take a whip, and flog yourself; — twenty lashes will do”; — I tell you I would have laid them on as heavily as I could, for I should have felt, “I will make sure work of it”; and they would have been twenty of the sweetest welts that a man ever endured. If they made me smart, I would have blessed God for them, as long as I received mercy through them. But there was nothing in the gospel about lashing myself, — nothing even about lashing my conscience; I was told simply to look to God as he revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and I did so, and so I was saved.

14. Possibly, someone asks, “Does that faith make any difference to a man?” It makes all the difference in the world. Suppose you have a bad servant, who is always doing wrong things; and you find out that the main reason why he so provokes you is that he does not believe in you, and has no respect for you. But, one day, you convince him of your kind feeling towards him, and prove to him that all you wish for is his good, and that you have been seeking his good all the while you have had him. Now that man is saved from his ugly temper by believing you to be good and kind; and from the moment when this change takes place, there is nothing too much for him to do for you. That is just the effect that faith in God has on a sinner’s moral character. Before you believe in God, you do not care much about him. It is true that you may do a few good works, with the hope of getting salvation by it, just as your servant does as much or as little as he dares to do, for the sake of his wages. But, oh! when once you believe in God, and serve him out of love, then you become like those old-fashioned servants that our grandmothers used to have; we cannot get them now. They used to serve their masters and mistresses from motives of affection, — those old personal servants that the squires and dames used to have, who would cleave to them, wages or no wages, because they loved them so. What a grand thing it is to have faith in the heart! It will save a man entirely from his old ways, and his old lusts, and his old sins, by making him love God, and serve God out of love, which is the mightiest transforming motive that was ever implanted in the heart of a lost soul. This is how God saves men, — by leading them to trust in him in Jesus Christ.

15. II. Secondly, FOR WHAT PART OF SALVATION ARE WE TO LOOK TO GOD?

16. For every part of it, from beginning to end; and, first, for the pardon of sin, you must look to God in Christ; for who can pardon an offence except the person who was offended? If someone has offended a brother over there, it would be no use for me to say to that person, “I forgive you the offence.” The other brother might say, “The wrong was not done to you, it was done to me. Only I, who have been offended, can forgive the offence.” So, if you want the pardon of your sin, it is evident that it can only come from God. But you tell me that you feel as if you were not fit to be forgiven. Very well then, if there is such a fitness, — I know there is none, — but if there is any truth in what you mean, that fitness must be given to you by God, and you must look to him for it.

    True belief and true repentance, —
    Every grace that brings you nigh, —
       Without money,
    Come to Jesus Christ, and buy.

17. Possibly you say to me, “It is not merely that I want to have my sins forgiven; I want to become a new man.” You must also look to God for that. I think that the best man to clean a watch is the watchmaker, and the best person to renew the heart is the God who made the heart. Only he who made you can remake you. There is no power under heaven, except the power that created you, which can create you anew in Christ Jesus; so you must look to God for that.

18. But you say, “Well, if I were made a new man, I fear that I should go back to my old sins. Must I not trust in something to keep me?” No, in nothing but God; for all the bonds and all the devices that men make, to keep themselves from sin, are of no more strength than a spider’s web. God must keep you alive as well as make you live; “for I am God,” he says “and there is no one else.” Rest in the almighty power of God to keep you from going back to sin after he has rescued you from it.

19. You know, also, that you must be perfect, or you can never enter heaven. How are you to become perfect? Well, you must look to God for that, too, for he, the perfectly Holy One, can sanctify you entirely, spirit, soul, and body. May your faith embrace all of salvation, and see it to be all in God in Christ, and look to God in Christ Jesus for it all!

20. III. Our third question is, WHAT IS OUR ENCOURAGEMENT TO LOOK TO GOD?

21. I tried to show you what it was to look — to consider God, to speak with him, to trust in him as he is revealed in Christ Jesus, and to rest entirely on him. You say, “What is my encouragement to do that, and to expect that I shall be saved like this? May I do it? I know that trusting in Christ saves men, but may I trust him?”

22. Your encouragement to do this is, first of all, God’s command: “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” We, certainly, almost beyond the inhabitants of any other country, might have been called “the ends of the earth.” There was a time when England was thought to be the Ultima Thule ,{c} — the far-off land; it was supposed that there could be nothing beyond the British Isles. When the prophet spoke, these were the very ends of the earth; so, surely, God commands you, my dear hearer, to look to him, inasmuch as you belong to the ends of the earth. If you tell me that you come from America, well, you also come from the ends of the earth. Do you say that you come from Australia? That is another of the ends of the earth. Some of you sail around the world; well, sometime or other, you have been at the ends of the earth; and you know that, when God sends his command to the ends of the earth it always includes everything within its bounds. He certainly commands the middle as well as the ends. Those who are farthest off from him are invited to look to him; and since he commands you to do it, what better warrant can you desire than his command? The gospel command is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” You never ought to say, “May I believe?” for God commands you to do so, and threatens you with punishment if you do not, for he says, “He who does not believe shall be damned.” The only warrant for a sinner’s believing is the command of the gospel. Oh, that you might be encouraged by that!

23. The next encouragement for you is God’s promise:“ Look to me, and be saved,” — as much as to say, “As surely as you look, you are saved. When you look, you are saved.” Does it not mean that? If anyone said to you, “Sit down, and eat, and be filled,” you would not say, “He only means that I am to sit down at a bare table”; but you would feel certain that he meant that there should be something on the table of which you might freely eat. So, sinner, only look to the Lord; turn your eye in confidence to God in Christ Jesus, for there is no other God and no other Saviour; and when you have done this, you shall be saved at once.

24. Still further to encourage you, you have the fact of his Godhead: “for I am God.” You need a God to save you. You have a great load of sin resting on you, but the Omnipotent can lift it off your shoulders. Then, there are the bonds of iniquity, the old habits of forty years, perhaps of fifty years; but Christ can tear away the iron net, and break the chains, and set the captive free in a moment, for he is God. Were the Saviour any less than divine, I should not dare to encourage sinners to believe in him; but there is a Divine Saviour, infinitely strong, and infinitely gracious, so, you blackest, foulest, vilest sinner, why should you not obey the command of my text, and look to him, expecting mercy and favour from him?

25. Another encouragement for you comes from God’s character. He knew that you sinners would be afraid that his justice would stand in your way, and that, though able to save you, he might not do it because you have been such great sinners, and he must punish you; so kindly read what he says in the latter part of the twenty-first verse: “There is no other God besides me: a just God and a Saviour: there is no one besides me.” God can justly save you by his wonderful plan of substitution; if you look to him, he will not mar the integrity of his government or the severity of his justice in order to save you; for, by the blood of his dear Son, his law has been so magnified, and made so honourable, that he can be as just in pardoning as he would have been just in punishing. This doctrine of the atoning sacrifice of Christ is the marvellous mystery of the gospel, the greatest of all revealed truths; and this ought to take away from the guilty conscience everything that makes it fear to trust God. God’s justice is satisfied by Jesus’ death; therefore, trust him; I implore you, trust him. Did you know the joy that faith brings, — if you could only understand the peace, the liberty, the transport, the bliss, which simple confidence in Christ will bring to you, — you would not need my pleadings, but you would say, “Blessed Jesus, I rush into your arms, accepting you as my Saviour, and rejoicing in your great salvation.”

26. IV. Our last question was to be, WHAT IS THE BEST TIME IN WHICH TO LOOK TO THE LORD?

27. I answer, — the best time is God’s time. And when is God’s time? What does the Holy Spirit say is the best time? “Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” This is God’s time, — today. I do not remember, nor do I think there is in the whole Bible, a single precept addressed to the sinner, requiring him to repent and believe tomorrow, or next week. The gospel promise runs, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved”; but it does not say, “Believe next February,” or “Believe next March,” or “next year.” It is understood that every gospel precept or command is for this present moment. God himself, my hearer, — not I, poor, feeble man, but God himself — says to you, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”; and he says this to you at this very moment. What is your answer? What reply shall I give to him who sent me to you with this message? Will you have him to be the Saviour, or will you not? Say one or the other, whichever you wish. If I may plead with you, I urge you to say “Yes” from your very heart. But I shall be almost satisfied if you will say one or the other, for that will bring you to the point; and if you say “no,” it may be that, having taken up that position, you may begin to think where you are, and you will go home saying, “I have refused to look to Christ. I have refused the great salvation, and deliberately said, ‘I will not look for salvation in God through Jesus Christ.’ ” I wish, sinner, that you would even do that rather than act as so many do, who say, “Go your way for this time; when we have a more convenient time we will send for you”; for that tends to quiet conscience, although the convenient time never comes, and Felix is most infelix. There is nothing felicitous in what he says. Happy by name, he is most unhappy in his fatal procrastination concerning this all-important matter. I must have an answer to give to him who sent me. Will you now be saved or not? God sets the time; the time is now; so, say “Yes” or “No.”

28. Let me, however, remind you that the present is the only time you have. The past is gone; the future may never come. Should it come, it will be present when it does come. On this winged hour all eternity hangs. Possibly, you are thinking of what you will do when you get home; but you do not know that you will get there. Do not many fall in the street never to rise again? You are thinking about what you will do tomorrow. The image of death will be on your face when you are asleep; are you quite sure that you will ever awaken from that form of death into real life again? May not that bed become your sepulchre? You have planned what you intend to do on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday; yet you do not know what a day may bring. There is a seat, just there, that may speak to some of you. There used to sit, in that pew, one who was well known to you. He came home from business feeling slightly unwell; the doctor was sent for, but our friend was dead before he arrived. Why should not what has happened to many others, who have attended here, happen also to you, or to me? “Be also ready, for in such an hour as you do not think, the Son of man comes.”

29. If I knew how to preach to you, so that I might win men to believe in Jesus Christ, God knows that there is nothing that I would not say, or leave unsaid, that might be conducive to that end. I know that there is no power in mere rhetoric or oratory, so I have chosen to speak to you very plainly and simply, without any ornament of speech, and almost without an illustration, so that he who runs may read. It is not one half so much my business, dear hearer, that you should be saved as it is yours. When I have faithfully delivered the word of salvation, I wash my hands of you. If you refuse it, I cannot help it. At your own door must your doom lie, and at your own door alone. Yet I would tug you on the sleeve, and say, “Dear friend, you do need to be saved. Salvation must come from God, and he invites you look to him for it. Trust his Son for it. God in Christ must be your hope. Will you trust him? Do you understand me? Simply relying on the atoning sacrifice, trusting in it, resting in it, believing God to be God, and henceforth yielding yourself up to be ruled by his goodness; — believing Christ to be able to save you, and yielding yourself up to be saved by him, and guided in the way of holiness and peace; — believing that the blood of Jesus can take away your sin, and trusting in it to do so; — if it is so, it is done, and you are saved.” The salvation has begun which will never end, for, in the simple act of faith, there lies a living seed which the devil himself cannot crush, — which, though it is small as the mustard seed, will begin to swell, and germinate, and send out its shoots, until it shall be such a tree that many a happy bird of the air shall come, and sit and sing among its branches; and your life, made happy and shaded by this blessed faith in Jesus, shall then produce fruit to God, and the end shall be everlasting life. May God grant that it may be so, for his dear Son’s sake! Amen.

{a} See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 60, “Sovereignty and Salvation” 58 See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2805, “Life for a Look” 2806 The fullest account of his conversion is in his Autobiography, published by Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster. {b} Collect: Liturgical. A name given to “a comparatively short prayer, more or less condensed in form, and aiming at a single point, or at two points closely connected with each other,” one or more of which, according to the occasion and season, have been used in the public worship of the Western Church from an early date. OED. {c} Ultima Thule :The ancient Greek and Latin name (first found in Polybius’s account of the voyage of Pytheas) for a land six days’ sail north of Britain, which he supposed to be the most northerly region in the world. OED. Editor.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 45}

The first paragraph concerns Cyrus, and the great work for which God raised him up.

1-4. “Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loosen the armour of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; ‘I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut asunder the bars of iron: and I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, so that you may know that I, the LORD, who calls you by your name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel my elect, I have even called you by your name: I have surnamed you, though you have not known me.

A remarkable prophecy, issued long before the time of Cyrus, foretelling that he should conquer Babylon, and destroy it; and, though for many a day Cyrus knew nothing about the Most High God, yet he was used, in the Lord’s hand, for wonderful purposes. Sometimes, a man may have been used by God for great ends without his own knowledge. When, however, he discovered that fact, as he may if he will only think it over, should he not reverently bow before the Most High, and worship him who, though unknown to him, had been his Helper and his Friend?

5, 6. I am the LORD, and there is no one else, there is no God besides me: I girded you, though you have not known me: so that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is no one besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no one else.

Those who believe in idols think that there may be many lords and many gods, but he who is a true follower of Jehovah knows that there can be no other god besides him. He fills all space, and there is no room for another. There is only one Creator, one Preserver, and one God, who alone is to be worshipped.

7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create calamity. I the LORD do all these things.’

Cyrus was a believer in two gods, — one the god of light, and the other the god of darkness. Hence this declaration from God’s servant, the prophet, that there was no prince of darkness who was a god, but that all things were made by the one Most High God.

8-11. Drop down, you heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring out salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or your handywork, ‘He has no hands?’ Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ” Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, “Ask me about things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands you command me.

Notice the tone which God uses. He speaks like a God, and claims to be above the questioning of his creatures. These verses remind us of what the apostle Paul wrote: “No but, oh man, who are you who replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel for honour, and another for dishonour?” God is the great Sovereign over all, and he claims a sovereign’s place. He does as he wills, but he always wills to do what is just and right.

12-17. I have made the earth, and created man on it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and I have commanded all their host. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall free my captives, not for price nor reward,” says the LORD of hosts. Thus says the LORD, “The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you, and they shall be yours: they shall come after you; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down to you, they shall make supplication to you, saying, ‘Surely God is in you; and there is no one else, there is no God.’ ” Truly you are a God who hides yourself, oh God of Israel, the Saviour. They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together who are makers of idols. But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: you shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

If you are God’s people, you have a God of whom you need never be ashamed, and one who will not leave you to be ashamed of your confidence and hope. Those who trust in false gods will be ashamed; those who rest on themselves will be confounded; but rest yourself on God, oh man, and you shall never be ashamed, world without end!

18, 19. For thus says the Lord who created the heavens; and God himself who formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he did not create it in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD; and there is no one else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain’; I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Here is the glory of our God, — that his every word is true, and that he has never said, in any place, what contradicts what he has spoken in public to his people. You may safely rest on the God who is always the same, who never plays fast and loose with his promises, or speaks anything in secret contrary to his pledged word. He is as true as he is sovereign; therefore, rest yourselves on him.

20, 21. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you who are escaped from the nations: they have no knowledge who set up the wood of their carved image, and pray to a god that cannot save. Tell, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together: who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD?

He challenges all the idols to prove that they had uttered any true prophecy, — that they had spoken about Cyrus, or anyone else, from ancient times, so that the prophecy was literally fulfilled. There were dark double-meaning oracles, with which the false priests mocked their votaries, but the true words of God — his ancient prophecies — proved him to be the only real and true God.

21-23. And there is no other God besides me, a just God and a Saviour; there is no one besides me. Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no one else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Glory be to God, it will be so in the latter days. It shall come to pass that the truth shall be universally triumphant, and the one God, who made the heavens and the earth, shall be worshipped both by heaven and by earth, without any discordant note.

24, 25. Surely, one shall say, ‘In the LORD I have righteousness and strength: men shall come to him; and all who are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD all the seed of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.’ ”

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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