2868. “Ready, Aye, Ready!”

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“Ready, Aye, Ready!”

No. 2868-50:49. A Sermon Delivered On A Thursday Evening, During The Winter Of 1861-2, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, January 28, 1904

 Ready to perish. {Isa 27:13}
 Ready to forgive. {Ps 86:5}
 The graves are ready for me. {Job 17:1}

1. When attempting to prepare for this service, I found it impossible to fix my mind on any one subject. This afternoon, I had to take a rather long journey to visit a friend who is fatally ill, and at his bedside I trust I have learned some lessons of encouragement, and have been animated by witnessing the joy and peace which God grants to his children in their declining hours. Finding that I could not fix on any one subject, I thought that I would have three. It may be that, out of the three, there will be one intended by divine grace for a third of the audience, the second for another third, and the other for the rest, so that there will be a portion of food in due season for all. You know, dear friends, that the motto of our navy is, “Ready, aye, ready!” That is something like my present subject, for I have three texts in which the word “Ready” occurs, each time in a different connection.

2. I. The first text will be especially addressed to those who are under concern of soul, having been led, by the enlightening influence of the Divine Spirit, to see their state by nature, and to tremble in the prospect of their deserved doom. The text which will suit their case is in Isa 27:13: “READY TO PERISH,” “They shall come who were ready to perish.”

3. By nature, all men, whether they know it or not, are ready to perish. Human nature is, like a blind man, always in danger; no worse than that, it is like a blind man on the verge of a tremendous cliff, ready to take the fatal step which will lead to his destruction. The most callous and proud, the most careless and profane, cannot, by their indifference or their boasting, altogether evade the apprehension that their state, by nature, is alarming and defenceless. They may try to laugh it away from their minds, but they cannot laugh away the fact. They may shut their eyes to it; but they shall no more escape, by shutting their eyes, than does the silly ostrich escape from the hunter by thrusting its head into the sand. Whether you will have it so, or not, fast young man in the dawn of your days; — whether you will have it so, or not, blustering merchant in the prime of your age; — whether you will have it so, or not, hardened old man in the petrified state of your moral conscience; — it is so: you are ready to perish. Your jeers cannot deliver you; your sarcasms about eternal wrath cannot quench it; and all your contemptuous scorn and your arrogant pride cannot evade your doom, they only hasten it. There are some people, however, who are aware of their danger; to them I speak. They are fitly described by the Spirit of God in these words of the prophet: “The great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come who were ready to perish.” Having passed through this anguish myself, I think I can describe, from experience, what some of you are now suffering.

4. You are ready to perish, in the first place, because you feel sure that you will perish. You did not think so once, but you do now. Once, you could afford to put away the thought, with a laugh, as a matter which might, or might not, be true; but, anyway, it did not concern you very much. But, now, you feel that you will be lost as surely as if it could be demonstrated to you by logic. In fact, the divine logic of the law has thundered it into your soul, and you know it. You feel it to be certain that you shall, before long, be driven from the presence of God with that terrible sentence, “Depart, you cursed.” If any unbeliever should tell you that there is no wrath to come, you would reply, “There is, for I feel it is due to me. My conscience tells me that I am already condemned, and before long I am quite certain to drink of the wormwood and the gall of the wrath of God.” You have signed your own death-warrant, you have put on the black cap, and condemned yourself; or, rather, you have pleaded guilty before your Judge, you have said, “Guilty, my Lord”; and now you think you see before your eye the scaffold, and yourself ready to be executed. You feel it to be so sure that you even anticipate the judgment day; you dreamed of it, the other night, and you thought you heard the trumpet of the archangel opening all the graves, and awakening all the dead. You have already, in imagination, stood before the judgment bar of God; you feel your sentence to be so certain that conscience has read it over in your hearing, and anticipated its terrors. You are among those who are ready to perish, so permit me to say that I am glad you have come here, for this is the very place where God delights to display his pardoning grace. He is ready to save those who are ready to perish. Those who write themselves down as lost are the special objects of our Saviour’s mission of mercy, for “the Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.”

5. You are ready to perish, in another sense, for you feel as if your perishing was very near. You are like the dying man who gasps for breath, and thinks that each gasp must be his last; his pulse is feeble, his tongue is dry with feverish heat, the clammy sweat is on his brow. The valley of the shadow of death casts its gloomy shade on his pale cheeks, and he feels that he must soon die. Is it not so, that some of you feel like this just now? You feel that you are coming near to the wrath of God. I have known the day when, as I lay down to rest, I dreaded the thought that, perhaps, I should never wake up in this world; or, at midday, I have walked in the fields, and wondered that the earth did not open, and swallow me up. A terrible noise was in my ears; my soul was tossed to and fro; I longed to find a refuge, but there seemed to be none; while ever ringing in my ears were the words, “The wrath to come!” “The wrath to come!” “The wrath to come!” Oh, how vividly is the wrath to come pictured before the eyes of the awakened sinner! He does not look on it as a thing that is to come in ten, twelve, or twenty years, but as a thing that may be before long, yes, even today. He looks at himself as ready to perish because his final overthrow appears to be so close. I am glad if any of you are in this plight, for God does not alarm men like this unless he has purposes of mercy concerning them, and intentions for their good. He has made you fear you are perishing so that you may have no perishing to fear. He has brought it home to you in this life so that he may remove it for ever from you in the life that is to come. He has made you tremble now so that you may not tremble then. He has put before you these dreadful things that, as with a fiery finger, they may point you to Christ, the only refuge, and, as with a thundering voice, they may cry to you, as the angels cried to Lot, “Escape for your life, do not look behind you, neither stay in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest you are consumed.”

6. It may be that I am also addressing some, who not only believe the sureness and the nearness of their destruction, but they have begun to feel it. “Begun to feel it,” says someone; “is that possible?” Yes, that it is; when God’s hand is heavy on us day and night, and our moisture is turned into the drought of summer, we begin to know something of what a sinner feels when justice and the law are let loose on him. Did you ever read John Bunyan’s “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners?” There was a man who had, even here, foretastes of the miseries of the lost; and there are some of us who can, even now, hardly look back to the time of our conviction without a shudder. I hope there is not a creature alive who has had deeper convictions than I had, or five years of more intolerable agony than those who crushed the very life out of my youthful spirit. But this I can say, that terror of conscience, that alarm about the wrath of God, that intense hatred of past sin, and yet consciousness of my inability to avoid it in the future, were such combinations of thought that I can only describe them in George Herbert’s words, —

    My thoughts are all a case of knives
       Breaking my poor heart.

Oh, the tortures of the man who feels his guilt, but does not know the remedy for it! To look leprosy in the face, but not to know that it may be healed! To walk the leper house, and hear that there is no physician there! To see the flame, but not to know that it can be quenched! To be in the dungeon, but never to know the rescue and deliverance! Oh you who are ready to perish, I sympathize with you in your present sufferings, but I do not lament them! This is the way in which God begins with those whom he intends to bless; — not to the same degree in all, but yet in a similar manner. He destroys our confidence in our own works, and then gives us confidence in Christ’s work. You know how Bunyan describes Christian as being much tumbled up and down in his mind; and when his wife and children came all around him, he could only tell them that the city in which they lived was to be destroyed; and though his easy-going neighbours told him not to believe it, and not to make such a fuss about it, the truth had come home to him with too much power to be ignored. Atheist might say it was all a lie, and Pliable might give slight heed to it, and pretend to believe it for a while; but Christian knew it to be true, so he ran to the wicket-gate, and the cross, so that he might escape from the wrath to come. To the careless, these words, “Ready to perish,” should sound an alarm. May God the Holy Spirit, while I preach on the second text, enable me to blow the great trumpet of the jubilee! May the glad sound reach the heart of him who is ready to perish! May he know that divine mercy brought him here so that he might find a God ready to pardon!

7. II. My second text is in Ps 86:5: “READY TO FORGIVE.” Does that not ring like a silver bell? The other was a doleful note, like that of St. Sepulchre’s bell when it tolls the death knell of a criminal about to be executed: “Ready to perish.” But this rings like a marriage peal: “Ready to forgive. Ready to forgive.” What does it mean when it says that God is ready to forgive?

8. “Ready” means, as you all know, prepared. A man is not ready to go by railway until his suitcase is packed, and he is about to start. A man cannot be said to be ready to emigrate until he has the means to pay his passage, and the different things needed for his transit, and for his settling down when he gets to his destination. No road is ready until it is cleared; nothing is ready, in fact, until it is prepared. Sinner, God is ready to forgive; that is, everything is prepared by which you may be forgiven. The road used to be blocked up; but Jesus Christ has, with his cross, tunnelled through every mountain, filled every valley, and bridged every chasm, so that the way of pardon is now fully prepared. There is no need for God to say, “I would pardon this sinner, but how shall my justice be honoured?” Sinner, God’s justice has been satisfied; the sin of all who believe, or who ever will believe, was laid on Christ when he died on the tree. If you believe in him, your sin was punished on him, and it was put away for ever by the great atonement which he offered; so that, now, the righteous God can come out of the ivory palace of his mercy, stretch out his hands of love, and say, “Sinner, I am reconciled to you; be reconciled to me.”

    Sprinkled now with blood the throne,
       Why beneath thy burdens groan?
    All the wrath on him was laid
       Justice owns the ransom paid.

9. In the case of the ancient Israelites, it was necessary that the sacrifice should be slain, and be burned on the altar. So, the Divine Victim has been slain on Calvary. Once and for all, the sacrifice for sin has been offered by Jesus, accepted by the Father, and witnessed by the Holy Spirit. God is ready — that is to say, he is prepared — to forgive all who will believe in Jesus Christ. You think that much preparation is needed on your part, but you are greatly mistaken. All things are ready; the oxen and the fatlings are killed, the feast is spread, the servants are sent with the invitations to the banquet; all you have to do, poor penitent, is to come, and sit down, and eat with thankfulness to the great Giver of the feast. The bath is filled, oh black sinner, so come and wash! The garment is woven from the top throughout, oh you naked, so come and put it on! The price is paid, oh you ransomed ones, so take your blood-bought liberty! All is done. “It is finished,” rings from Calvary’s summit; God is ready to forgive.

10. But the word “ready” means something more than prepared; we sometimes use the term to indicate that a thing can be easily done. We ask, “Can you do such and such a thing?” “Oh, yes!” you reply, “readily.” Or perhaps we remind you of a promise you have given, and ask if you can carry it out; and you say, “Oh, yes! I am quite ready to fulfil my engagement.” Sinner, it is an easy thing for God to forgive you. “Indeed,” you say; “but you do not know where I was last night.” No, and I do not want to know; but it is easy for God to pardon anyone who is not in hell. But you ask, “How can he do it?” He speaks, and it is done. He only has to say to you, “Your sins, which are many, are all forgiven”; and it is done. Pardon is an instantaneous work; justification is rapid as a lightning flash. You may be black one moment, and as white as alabaster the next; guilty, — absolved; condemned, — acquitted; lost, — found; dead, — made alive. It takes the Lord no time to do this, he does it easily. Oh brethren, if he could make a world with a word; if he could say, “Let there be light,” and there was light; — surely, now that Christ has offered up himself as a bleeding sacrifice for sin, God only has to speak, and the pardon is given! As soon as he says, “I will; be clean”; the most leprous sinner is perfectly cleansed. Oh sinner, will you not offer the prayer, “Save, Lord, or I perish?” Will you not ask the Lord to forgive you? Since he can so readily forgive, will you not cry, “Jesus, save me, or I die?” Stretch out your hand, poor trembling woman up there, and touch the hem of his garment, and you shall be made whole, for he is ready to forgive; that is, he can do it with ease.

11. Again, the word “ready” frequently means promptly or quickly. In this sense also, God is ready to forgive. I know that some of you imagine that you must endure months of sorrow before you can be forgiven. It is not necessary that you should wait even another hour for this great blessing. After what I have been saying concerning the experience through which others have passed, some of you may imagine that you must be floundering around for four or five years in the Slough of Despond; but there is no need for you to do that. The plan of salvation is this: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” Let me give you a picture; Paul and Silas have been thrust into the inner prison at Philippi, and their feet firmly fastened in the stocks. Though they have been brutally beaten, they are singing at midnight, singing of pardon bought with blood, singing of the dying and risen Lamb of God; and, as they sing, suddenly there is an earthquake. The foundations of the prison shake, the doors fly open, and the jailer, fearing that his prisoners have escaped, leaps out, draws his sword, and is about to kill himself when he hears a voice crying, “Do yourself no harm; we are all here.” He calls for a light, springs in, and falls tremblingly at his prisoners’ feet, and says, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” What would some of you have said in reply to that question? “Well, you must first believe the guilt of your sin more than you do at present; you had better go home, and pray about the matter.” That was not Paul’s answer; he said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your household.” And, to prove that he was saved, the apostle baptized him, and all his household, immediately, and we are expressly told that they all believed. What do you say to that, you old deacons, who say, as many country deacons still do, that the young converts ought to be “summered and wintered” before they are baptized? I have known scores of good old souls, in the country, who have said, “We must not take Mrs. So-and-so into the church; we have not had enough time to prove her.” But the apostle knew that, since they had believed, they were fit to be baptized because they were pardoned.

    The moment a sinner believes,
    And trusts in his crucified God,
    His pardon at once he receives,
    Redemption in full through his blood.

12. If the Lord wills, you may be pardoned this very moment. Jehovah does not need months and years in which to write out the charter of your forgiveness, and put the great seal of heaven to it. He can speak the word, and swifter than the lightning flash the message shall come to you, “Your sins, which are many, are all forgiven”; and you shall say, “I am forgiven, —

    A monument of grace
       A sinner saved by blood;
    The streams of love I trace
       Up to the Fountain, God;
    And in his sacred bosom see
       Eternal thoughts of love to me.”

13. The word “ready” is also frequently used to indicate cheerfulness. When a person says to you, “Will you give me your help?” you say, “Oh, certainly, with readiness!” That means with cheerfulness. The Lord loves a cheerful giver, and I am sure that he is himself a cheerful Giver. You do not know, poor soul, how glad God is when he forgives a soul. The angels sang when God made the world, but we do not read that he sang then; yet, in the last chapter of the prophecy of Zephaniah, we read: “The Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Only think of it, — the Triune God singing! What a thought, — the Deity bursting out into song! And what is this about? It is over his pardoned people, his blood-bought chosen ones. Oh soul, you think, perhaps, that God will be hard to be entreated, and that he will give his mercy begrudgingly! But the mercy of the Lord is as free as the air we breathe. When the sun shines, it shines freely, otherwise it would not be the sun; and when God forgives, he forgives freely otherwise he would not be God. Never did water leap from the crystal fount with half such freeness and generous liberality as grace flows from the heart of God. He gives out love, joy, peace, and pardon, and he gives them as a king gives to a king. You cannot empty his treasury, for it is inexhaustible. He is not enriched by withholding, nor is he impoverished by bestowing.

14. Soul, you libel him when you think that he is unwilling to forgive you. I once had, as you now have, that harsh thought of my loving Lord, that he would not forgive me. I thought he might, perhaps, do so one day, yet I could hardly think so well of him as to believe that he would. I came to his feet very timidly, and said, “Surely, he will spurn me from here.” I supposed that he would say to me, “Be gone, you dog of a sinner, for you have doubted my love.” But it was not so. Ah! you should see with what a smile he received the prodigal, with what fond tenderness he clasped him to his breast, with what glad eyes he led him to his house, and with what a radiant countenance he set him by his side, at the head of the table, and said, “Let us eat, and be merry: for my son was dead, and is alive again: he was lost, and is found.”

15. I wish that I could write on every heart here, and inscribe on every memory, those sweet words, “Ready to forgive.” Are there any of you who do not want to be forgiven? The day will come when you will want this blessing. Sailor, are you in this building? Within a little while, you may be out on the lonely sea, the waves may have swallowed up your vessel, and you may be just clinging to an oar. When the waters surge around you, how gladly you will remember that God is ready to forgive; but how much better it would be to trust your soul to him now! Some, whom I am now addressing, will probably die this week; I am not making a rash assertion, my statement is based on the statistics of mortality. Oh soul, you say that it is nothing to you now; but when you are in the article of death, — and that may be before another Sabbath’s sun shall rise, — how might this note ring like music in your dying ears, “Ready to forgive!” Am I speaking to some abandoned woman who thinks that she will commit suicide? See that you do not do it, for God is ready to forgive. Am I addressing some man who is cast out of society, as a reprobate for whom no one cares? Soul, do not give up hope, for God is ready to forgive. Though your father has shut the door against you, and your mother and sister shun you because of your vices and sins, yet God is ready to forgive you if you will repent, and turn from your iniquity. Turn, turn, it is a brother’s voice that entreats you to turn. By the love with which he pardoned me; by the mercy which made him pass by my innumerable transgressions, I beg you to turn; indeed more, linking my arm in yours, I say to you, “Come, and let us return to the Lord, and let us say to him, ‘Receive us graciously, and love us freely, so we will offer to you the sacrifices of our lips’ ” You are ready to perish but he is ready to forgive, blessed be his holy name!

16. III. My third text is intended as a hammer to drive home the last nail. This sentence, in Job 17:1, is most solemnly true for each one of us: THE GRAVES ARE READY FOR ME.

17. About three years ago, I gazed into the eternal world. It then pleased God to stretch me on a bed of the most agonizing pain, and my life hung in jeopardy, not merely every hour, but every moment. Eternal realities were vivid enough before my eyes; but it pleased God, for some purpose which is known to him, to spare my life, and I went to spend a little time, so that I might fully recover, with a beloved friend who seemed then far more likely to live than I was. Today, it is his turn to lie on the borders of the grave, and mine to stand by his bedside. The grave then seemed ready for me; it now seems ready for him. As I stood talking to him, this afternoon, he said, with greater force than Addison, “See how a Christian can die.” When I asked him about his worldly goods and possessions, he said that he had been content to leave them all, some time ago. “And what about your wife and your little ones?” I asked; and he replied, “I have left them all with God.” “And how about eternal things?” I enquired. “Oh!” he said, “you know that God’s love is everlasting and his grace is unchanging, so why should we fear?” He had no doubt about his acceptance in the Beloved, or about the power of Christ to carry him through his dying moments. When I said, “The battle’s fought, the victory’s won for ever,” I saw his eyes sparkle as though he heard the melodious voice of the great Captain of our salvation saying to him, “Well done; enter into your rest.” I never saw a bride, at her marriage, look more happy than this man on the eve of death. I never saw a saint more peaceful, when retiring in the evening, than he was when about to undress himself so that he might stand before his God. “Ah!” he exclaimed, “remember what you said to me, ‘Sudden death, sudden glory!’ ” and his eyes sparkled again at the prospect of soon beholding his Lord.

    “One gentle sigh, the fetter breaks,” —

and you are gone, oh earth, and my soul is in heaven! One gasp, and you have melted, oh shadowy Time, and I have come to you, you welcome substance of Eternity! Blessed be God that the graves are ready for us. Christian men, does the idea of a long life charm you? Do you want to remain for a long time in this prison? Would you cling to these rags of mortality, to this vile body, whose breath is corrupt, whose face is so often marred with weeping, and on whose eyelids hang the shadow of death? Would you long to creep up and down this dunghill world, like some poor worm that always leaves a slimy track behind it? Or would you not rather —

    Stretch thy wings, oh soul, and fly
    Straight to yonder world of joy?

If we were wise, we should —

    Long for evening, to undress,
    That we might rest with God.

“The graves are ready for me.” Young men and young women, and all of you who are here, can you look at the grave which is ready for you with as much complacency as my friend did this afternoon? Oh Death, you do not need to furbish your arrows, or sharpen your scythe! You are always ready to slaughter the sons of men. Oh Eternity, your gates need not to be unlocked, and thrown back on their hinges with long and tedious toil, for they are always ajar! Oh world to come, you do not need long intervals to make yourself ready to receive the pilgrims who have finished their journey! You are an inn whose doors are always open; you are a harbour whose gates are never closed. Our grave is ready for us. The tree is grown that shall make our coffin; perhaps the fabric that shall make our grave-clothes is already woven, and they, who shall carry us to our last home, are ready and waiting for us.

18. “The graves are ready for us”; are we ready for the graves? Are we prepared to die, — prepared to rise again, — prepared to be judged, — prepared to plead the blood and righteousness of Christ as our basis of acceptance before the eternal throne? What is your answer, my hearer? Do you reply, in the words I quoted at the beginning of my discourse, “Ready, aye, ready?” Did you say Death, that I was wanted? Here I am, for you called me. Did you say, oh Heaven, that you need to receive another blood-bought one? “Ready, aye, ready!” Oh Christian men, always keep your houses in such good order that you will always be “Ready, aye, ready!” Always keep your heart in such a state, your soul so near to Christ, and your faith so fully fixed on him, that, if you should drop dead in the street, or some accident should take away your life, you would be able to cheerfully say, “Ready, aye, ready! Ready for you, oh Death; ready to triumph over you, and to snatch away your sting! Ready for you, oh Grave, for where now is your victory? Ready for you, oh Heaven, for, with your wedding garment on, we are ready, aye, ready!” May the Lord make us ready, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Mt 8:1-27}

1, 2. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper —

You see that particular mention is made of this one special case; and, in any congregation, while it may be recorded that so many people came together, the special case that will be noted by the recording angel will be that of anyone who comes to Christ with his own personal distresses, and who obtains relief from them by coming: “Behold, there came a leper” —

2, 3. And worshipped him, saying, “Lord if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus put out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

His faith was not as strong as it might have been. There was an “if” in it; but, still, it was genuine faith, and our loving Lord fixed his eye on the faith rather than on the flaw that was in it, and if he sees in you, dear friend, even a trembling faith, he will rejoice in it, and bless you because of it. He will not withhold his blessing because you are not as strong in faith as you should be. Probably, you will have a greater blessing if you have greater faith; but even little faith gets great blessings from Christ. The leper said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean”; so Christ answered to the faith that he did possess, “and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

4-7. And Jesus says to him, “See that you tell no man; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.” And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, “Lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.” And Jesus says to him, “I will come and heal him.”

He had not asked Christ to “come and heal him.” He wished his servant to be healed, but he considered that it was too great an honour for Christ to come to him. I am not sure, but I think that this man’s judgment is correct, — that, for Christ to come to a man is better than for healing to come to him. Indeed, brothers and sisters, all the gifts of Christ fall far short of himself. If he will only come, and stay with us, that means more than everything else that he can bestow on us.

8, 9. The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but only speak the word and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

From his own power over his soldiers and servants, he argued that Christ must have at least equal power over all the forces of nature; and, just as a centurion did not need to go and do everything himself, but gave his orders to his servant, and he did it, so, surely, there would be no need for the great Commander, to whom he was speaking, to honour the sick man with his own personal presence. He simply had to utter the command and it would be obeyed, and the centurion’s servant would be healed.

Do you think this is an ingenious argument? It is so, certainly, but it is also a very plain and very forcible one. I have read or heard many ingenious arguments for unbelief, and I have often wished that half the ingenuity vainly spent like this could be exercised in discovering reasons for believing. So, I am pleased to notice that this commander of a hundred Roman soldiers only argued from his own position, and so created in his mind even greater confidence in Christ’s power to heal his sick servant. Is there not something about yourself, dear friend, from which, if you would look at it in the right light, you might gather arguments concerning the power of the Lord Jesus Christ?

10. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to those who followed, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no not in Israel.

“Not in Israel,” — where the light and the knowledge were, there was not such faith as this centurion possessed. This Roman soldier, rough by training and experience, who was more familiar with stern fighting men than with those who could instruct him concerning Christ, had more faith than Jesus had so far found “in Israel.”

11, 12. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

This is a strange thing, yet it is still continually happening, despite its strangeness, that the people, who are placed in such positions of privilege, that you naturally expect that they would become believers, remain unbelievers, while others, who are placed at a terrible disadvantage, nevertheless often come right out from sin, and right away from ignorance, and become believers in Christ. Oh, that none of us, who sit under the sound of the gospel from Sabbath to Sabbath, might be sad illustrations of this truth, while others, unaccustomed to listen to the Word, may be happy examples of the way in which the Lord still takes strangers, and adopts them into his family.

13. And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done to you.” And his servant was healed in the very same hour.

Jesus will treat everyone equally according to this rule: “As you have believed, so be it done to you.” If you can believe great things of him, you shall receive great things from him. If you do think him good, and great, and mighty, you shall find him to be so. If you can conceive greater things of him than anyone else has ever done, you shall find him equal to all your conceptions, and your greatest faith shall be surpassed. It is a law of his kingdom, from which Christ never swerves: “According to your faith, be it to you.”

14, 15. And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick with a fever, and he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose and ministered to them.

That was, perhaps, the most remarkable thing of all; for, when a fever is cured, it usually leaves great weakness behind it. People who have recovered from fever cannot immediately leave their bed, and begin at once to attend to household matters; but Peter’s mother-in-law did this. Learn from this that the Lord Jesus cannot only take away from us the disease of sin, but all its effects as well. He can make the man, who has been worn out in the service of Satan, to become young again in the service of the Lord; and when it seems as if we never, even if converted, could be of any use to him, he can take away the consequences of evil habits, and make us into bright and sanctified believers. What is there that is impossible for him? In the olden times, kings claimed to have the power of healing with a touch. That was a superstition; but this King can do it, all glory to his blessed name! May he lay his gracious hand on many of you; for, if it could heal before it was pierced, how much more can it now heal every sin-stricken soul it touches.

16-18. When the evening was come, they brought to him many who were possessed with demons: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all who were sick: so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “He himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses.” Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave a command to depart to the other side.

For he neither loved nor courted popularity, but did his utmost to shun it. It followed him like his shadow, but he always went before it, he never followed it, or sought after it: “When Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave a command to depart to the other side.”

19. And a certain scribe came, and said to him, “Master, I will follow you wherever you go.”

How bold he is with his boasting! But Jesus knows that the fastest professors are often just as fast deserters, so he tests him before he takes him into the band of his followers.

20. And Jesus says to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Christ means, — “Can you follow the Son of man when there is no reward except himself, — not even a place for your head to rest on, or a home where you may find comfort? Can you cleave to him when the lone mountain side shall be the place where he spends whole nights in prayer while the dew falls heavily on him? Can you follow him then?” This is a test of love which makes many to be “found wanting.”

21, 22. And another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”

It must be Christ first, and father afterwards. We pay no disrespect to our dearest relatives and friends when we put them after Christ, that is their proper place. To put them before Christ, to prefer the creature to the Creator, is to be traitors to the King of kings. Whoever may come next, Christ must be first.

23-26. And when he was entered into a boat, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the boat was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, “Lord, save us: we perish.” And he says to them, “Why are you fearful, oh you of little faith?” Then he arose, and rebuked the winds; and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Probably no calm is so profound as what follows the tempest of the soul which Jesus stills by his peace-speaking word. The calm of nature, the calm of long-continued prosperity, the calm of an easy temperament, — these are all deceitful, and are apt to be broken by sudden and furious tempests. But, after the soul has been razed to its foundations, — after the awful ground-swell, and the Atlantic billows of deep temptation, — when Jesus gives peace, there is “a great calm.”

27. But the men marvelled, saying, “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

We have often marvelled in the same way, but we know that it is not any “kind of man” alone, but that he, who was truly man, who was also “very God of very God,” the God-man, the man Christ Jesus, the Mediator between God and men.

The February number of “The Sword and the Trowel” contains the second chapter of C. H. Spurgeon’s Lecture on Bells and Bell-Ringing; the second of Pastor Thomas Spurgeon’s “Chats with the Children,” and also the outline of his Address at the Watch-Night Service, and his verses on the Tabernacle Motto for 1904; another of Pastor J. W. Ewing’s “Talks with our Young People on Free Church Principles”; the first portion of a Lecture, by Pastor F. A. Jackson, to the Students of the Pastors’ College, on Robert Louis Stevenson; Pastor H. T. Spufford’s “Green Pastures”; an account of the Tabernacle Thanksgiving and Annual Church Meeting, and much other interesting matter.

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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