2892. The Free Agency Of Christ

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The Free Agency Of Christ

No. 2892-50:337. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, June 18, 1876, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, July 14, 1904.

And he comes to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man to him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town, and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up, and said, “I see men as trees walking.” After that be put his hands again on his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. And he sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell it to anyone in the town.” {Mr 8:22-26}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 701, “Seeing and Not Seeing, or Men as Trees Walking” 692}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2761, “Free Agency of Christ, The” 2762}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2892, “Free Agency of Christ, The” 2893}
   Exposition on Mr 8:1-30 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2761, “Free Agency of Christ, The” 2762 @@ "Exposition"}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Mr 8:23"}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Mr 8:24"}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Mr 8:25"}

1. There are several points in which these people, who brought the blind man to Christ, deserve our commendation and our imitation. They believed that Christ could open that blind man’s eyes. In the same way, may we all believe that Jesus can save our relatives, and friends, and acquaintances. If we ourselves are saved, let us always be firmly convinced that he is also able to save any whom we bring before him in prayer. Let us never give way to despair concerning any person, however far he may have gone into sin. Who but the Divine Saviour could open the eyes of this blind man? No one; yet he could do it. So, if your friend is very sinful and hardened, no one but the Lord can save him; but he can do it, so believe that he can do it, and in prayer bring your friend to the Saviour as these people of Bethsaida brought this blind man to Christ.

2. Their faith was of a practical kind. They were not content simply to believe that Christ could heal this man, and then to remain sitting still. True faith is active faith, so these people brought the blind man to the Saviour in whom they believed. If you are praying for any man’s salvation, be sure that you use the means that will best help to bring about that result. If there is any instrumentality which God particularly blesses to the conversion of souls, take care that you bring your friend under that instrumentality, in the hope that God will bless it to him.

3. Further, notice that the blind man was willing to be brought to Jesus. Evidently, he had at least as much faith as his friends had in the power of Jesus to open his eyes. It was a very hopeful case when the man and his friends believed in Christ’s power to heal him; it was not likely to be long, then, before the miracle of mercy would be performed.

4. Observe, also, that the faith of these friends of the blind man was further proved by their earnest prayers on his behalf. They brought him to Jesus, “and besought him to touch him.” It was prayer of a very forceful kind, as the word “besought” clearly implies. It was also a very plain prayer; they did not make use of fine language, or beat around the bush, so as to leave anyone in doubt concerning what they wanted for their friend; but they brought him to Jesus, “and besought him to touch him.” They desired that the blind man should be made to see, and they thought that result would follow from Christ’s touch, so they asked for that blessing; and, dear friends, whenever you pray for the conversion of anyone, be sure that you pray clearly for it. There are prayers, that one has heard in prayer meetings, which seem to go all around the world, and never to come to the case in hand. Do not let it be so with you, especially in your private prayers; but pray for Jane, pray for Thomas, pray for your children or friends by name. Believingly, earnestly, in a business-like way, put their case before the Lord Jesus Christ, just as, if they were ill, you would state their symptoms to the best physician you could find, and ask him to prescribe for them.

5. In all these points that I have mentioned, these people are to be commended and imitated, — they believed in Christ’s power to heal the blind man, they brought their friend to him, and they besought Christ’s favour for him. In doing so, however, they made the mistake of prescribing to Christ the way in which they thought their friend should to healed: they “besought him to touch him.” It was quite the usual thing; indeed, it was almost universally the Saviour’s rule, to heal sick folk by laying his hands on them; and having seen him do this, perhaps, on several occasions, these people had imbibed the notion that Christ healed the sick by his touch, — that this was the special or the only way in which his power was revealed. They did not appear to know that it operated in any other way, so they “besought him to touch him.” Possibly, they had more confidence in the touch than they had in the Christ who gave it; in any event, they thought that the touch was essential to the cure, and did not realize that Christ could cure the sick in any way that he pleased; not only by his touch, but by his word; or, if he willed it, even without a word. So, they did, as it were, tie the Saviour down to one particular method; and their faith, though it was real, was weak; though it was acceptable as far as it went, it was imperfect, there was a measure of ignorance mixed with it. I am going to deal only with that point, since I expect that some of us are making the same mistake that these people made.

6. I. My first observation will be, that IT IS A COMMON WEAKNESS OF FAITH TO EXPECT GRACE TO COME IN A CERTAIN FIXED WAY.

7. Just as these people expected the healing of the bind man to come by the touch of Christ’s hand, so many expect deliverance from trouble to come in a certain specified way. You know it is so with many of you to whom I am speaking. You have taken your troubles to the Lord, — you have told him all about your case, and you have entrusted it to him, but you have laid down the plan by which God is to work on your behalf. You remember how he delivered you on a former occasion, and you expect him to deliver you in exactly the same way again. Or you have been reading the biography of some worthy man, who cast his care on the Lord, and he was helped in a certain way, so you think you will be helped in the same way. But, very likely, God will do nothing of the kind; he is not bound to give you any blessing in the particular way which you choose to select. He has his own method of giving a blessing, and his own plan of warding off evil, so you must leave the “how” and the “when” entirely with him. It is useless for you to think of mapping out the route for him to whom the psalmist said, “Your way is in the sea, and your path in the great waters, and your footsteps are not known.”

8. The same error also occurs, with many, in seeking sanctification and growth in grace. They are moved to ask, “Lord, is this how we are to grow in grace?” Then the great Vinedresser says, “Yes, it is even so; good vines must feel the pruning-knife; that is the way to make them more fruitful.” A perplexed soul enquires, “Dear Master, is this the way that I am to be made like you?” And he replies, “Yes; I was made perfect through suffering, and you must have fellowship with me, in this respect, if you are to become like me.” We had marked out quite another mode of procedure; our Lord’s hands were to be laid on us, and so we were to be blessed. Yet, he knows best; therefore, let us say, “Even so, Father; for so it seems good in your sight.”

9. The same mistake is often made with regard to conversion, — the conversion of others, or our own conversion. I hope I am addressing many people, who are earnestly seeking faith in Christ, or who already have a measure of faith in him; yet they have never obtained the full assurance of peace and rest, because they have looked for it to come to them in a certain way. You expected to receive the blessing of forgiveness while you were listening to the preaching of the gospel; or having heard that many people have been converted under such and such a preacher, you have gone to hear him, earnestly praying all the while that the Lord would save you through that man’s preaching; yet he has not done so. It may be that he has ordained to bless you through some other means; well, do not be cast down on that account, but be thankful if he blesses you anyway. Possibly, you went with the great crowd that gathered to hear some notable evangelist; and, after the public service, you went into the enquiry room, since you heard that many had been led to Christ in that way, and you thought it would be so with you, but it was not. Well, do not be surprised or sad if that is the case; it was not your place to dictate the way in which the Lord should reveal himself to you. It may be that you heard of a certain book being very useful to enquirers and seekers, and you said, “I will read that book, and ask the Lord to bless it to me.” You did so, yet you were none the better, and you blamed yourself for not getting any good out of the book which had been blessed to others. Yet you must remember that God has his own ways and times of revealing himself to his people. It is quite possible that you thought too much of that preacher, or that enquiry room, or that good book, and that you did not think enough of Jesus himself; and, probably, if you had looked to him rather than to the instrumentality, you would have had your eyes opened long before this, and have seen everything clearly. You laid down certain conditions for Christ, but he would not comply with those conditions, but acted according to the good pleasure of his own will. It is the same when we try to lay down conditions with regard to the conversion of our friends. I remember well the story of two Christian gentlemen, who had a young companion who was about to start out on a long voyage; — I think, to China; — and they persuaded him to spend a week with them, and they made it a matter of earnest prayer that, during that week, their young friend might be converted to God. They had real faith, and they very properly used the means which they thought likely to be blessed to him. They induced him to attend various places of worship during the week, taking him to hear a different preacher each night; but apparently in vain. At last, there remained only the Friday night, and only one man whom they had not taken their young friend to hear; that was good old Rowland Hill, and they had left him to the last because he was said to be so eccentric, and so likely to say strange things, which they were afraid might disgust the young man. They prayed very earnestly that God would keep Mr. Hill from saying anything amusing, lest their friend should be made to laugh; but, that night, the preacher was more humorous than usual, and Surrey Chapel was made to ring again and again as peals of laughter followed the telling of some extraordinary story in his inimitable way, and the very proper gentlemen were quite shocked and saddened. Among other things, Mr. Hill said that, during the day, he had seen some pigs follow a butcher into the slaughter-house, and he could not figure out why they did so until he noticed that the butcher had his pocket full of peas, which he threw out to the swine, and so induced them to follow him to their death. “Then,” added Mr. Hill, “I understood why people follow the devil though he leads them to death; it is because he draws them after him with the pleasures of the world, just as the butcher drew the pigs after him with the peas.” Those gentlemen thought it was a pity that the preacher spoke like that; and when they came out, they felt sorry they had taken their young friend to hear him. But he walked along very quietly for a time, and then said, “That was a very striking story about the pigs and the peas, and most appropriate to my own case. I have gone after sin for the sake of the pleasure of it, without thinking of the consequences, and now I see what a fool I have been.” That rather rough illustration was the means of leading the young man to lay hold on Christ as his Saviour before he went on his way. Those two gentlemen brought their friend to Christ, as these people brought the blind man to him, “and besought him to touch him”; but the Lord Jesus chose to work by the very instrumentality of which his followers were afraid. He often uses very strange means; — means we do not like, perhaps; — means which would never occur to us as helpful; and he does this to teach us that the power to cure is not in the man, or in the means, or in the place, or in the excitement of the hour; but it is in himself alone, and he works just how he wills and when he wills; and when it is his set time to save a sinner, he uses his own instrument, whether it is Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, — the learned, or the eloquent, or the impulsive.

10. II. Secondly, THE LORD TAKES CARE TO PREVENT THE DISHONOUR WHICH WOULD COME TO HIM.

11. Observe how he did it in this case. They brought this blind man to him, and besought him to touch him; so, first, Christ did touch him, yet did not heal him:“ He took the blind man by the hand.” That was certainly touching him; yet his eyes were not opened. Jesus kept his hand on the blind man, “and led him out of the town”; but he was still a blind man. How very surprised the poor man himself must have been! His own faith led him to expect that, if Christ would only touch him, his eyes would be opened. He must have had a feeling of astonishment and despondency when he felt that touch, — a prolonged touch, — a touch that gripped his hand, and led him through the town, right away past the last of the houses, and out into the fields, — yet a touch that did not enable him to see. But did not that very disappointment make the man realize, once and for all, that it was not merely Christ’s touch that opened blind eyes, but Christ himself who performed the miracle? It was evident that he could, if he pleased, give a touch that did not open the eyes of the blind. Obviously, there was no magic about the mere touch of Christ’s fingers, for his fingers were touching the blind man’s fingers all the while, yet he did not even begin to see anything.

12. This is the lesson which the Lord is still teaching us. The preaching of the gospel is the great means of the salvation of sinners; for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” But if you look merely to the preaching, and especially if you look simply to the preacher, instead of looking to Christ himself, it is more than likely that the preaching will be in vain as far as you are concerned. You may listen to it attentively, and even ask God to bless you by means of it; yet it may be to you only like Christ’s hand was to the blind man. It is even possible for the gospel to be a savour of death to death, as well as of life to life; and even to those whom Christ intends to bless, it may be without power as long as they look to it instead of looking to Christ.

13. The next thing that Christ did for the blind man was this. His friends expected that Christ would heal the man before the crowd, but he did not. They probably thought, “Now, if the Saviour will only put his fingers on our friend’s eyes, and make him see, all the onlookers will know about it, their faith will be strengthened, and Christ will be glorified.” But Christ will not do anything to the blind man before the crowd. He takes him by the hand, and leads him right away from the throng. He will not begin to operate on him while anyone else is near, but leads him away where he will be quite alone. Now, in the preaching of the gospel, it is a very usual thing for our Lord Jesus Christ to save men in the crowd then and there; many thousands of souls have heard of Jesus, and believed in him, and found salvation, in the midst of a throng of their fellows. But we read nowhere in his Word that he intends always to save people in throngs and crowds. On the contrary, there are some, to whom he seems to say, “I shall not save you here; come away from the public assembly, and get into the quiet of your own home.” Do not object, and say, “But, Lord, I thought I could believe in you, here and now, and so find peace.” That is not his will, for your believing is to be exercised out in the fields where you can be quite alone, or upstairs in that little room of yours, where, in the dead of night, you shall sit up in your bed, with no one near you, and think over in your mind the truths you have been hearing, and put your trust in Jesus then and there. It is dishonouring to Christ for us to say, “If we can only get large crowds of people together, and arouse them with stirring appeals and sweet singing, we are sure to get them converted.” The crowd has really nothing to do with the matter of conversion; and while Christ, blessed be his name, does save many in the crowd, yet, if we get to regard the presence of the crowd as essential to the conversion of anyone, he will very likely take that individual aside, as he did with this blind man when he took him by the hand, and led him out of the town.

14. The next point is this. Our Lord usually performed his miracles instantaneously, yet he would not be tied down always to work in the same way. So this blind man is gradually enabled to see; first, only partial sight is granted to him, then the obscuring film is removed, and he sees clearly. There is a deep spiritual lesson for us in this action of our Lord. Perhaps someone has said, “I know that So-and-so found peace with God in a moment; and I cannot believe until I get the blessing in the same way.” My dear friend, let me tell you very solemnly that you must not presume to make any stipulation with Christ concerning how you are to believe, and when you are to believe. If you intend to be his follower, you will have to get rid of that proud spirit, and leave the Lord to save you in his own way. Some find joy and peace in an instant; but there are others, who first receive a little light, and then a little more, and a little more, until gradually they see as clearly as this man did. In the tropics, the sun seems, in the morning, to leap up above the horizon, and to turn darkness into light in a very short period; but, in this country, the sun gives us longer notice of its coming; it shoots many arrows of light before it rises, with rosy steps, advances in the full glory of the dawning day. It is just so in the spiritual realm; there are some tropical Christians, who pass from darkness to light in a moment; others are of the temperate zone, — slower in their growth, yet they receive the light just as surely as the others. When you read the story of anyone’s conversion, do not say, “That is the way I am going to be saved.” Of course, there is only one way of salvation; that is, by faith in Christ; but there are many ways in which Christ gives this great blessing to the sons of men, and you must leave him to work in his own way. The Spirit, like the wind, blows where he wishes, and when he wishes; and, if you try to dictate to him, you will grieve him, and miss the blessing you desire to obtain.

15. Further, the Saviour employed means which these people had not suggested, and which probably appeared to them to be quite unsuitable. In a similar way, my friend, I hope that you are going to be saved, and I urge you to look to Christ so that you may obtain salvation through him; yet it is quite possible that you are not going to be saved in the way you think. You are very fond of your minister, and he is very helpful to you in many ways; yet, probably, God intends to bless you by some other servant of his, perhaps, by some godly woman. The Lord has, many a time, brought “her ladyship” into the light by means of the cook or the housemaid; and “my lord” has been brought to the Saviour by a man whom he would hardly have employed to polish his boots. The Lord can use whatever means he likes, and sometimes he uses means which we would never have thought of using.

16. I have heard of a father, who used to pray much for the conversion of his sons and daughters, yet he did not see one of them saved. When he came to die, his family had all grown up, and they had themselves become the heads of other households. He sent for them to come to his bedside, and he prayed very earnestly that he might die so joyful and triumphant a death that they might be convinced of the beauty and power of vital godliness, and seek the Saviour for themselves. That was his plan of bringing his family to Jesus, but it pleased the Lord to allow him to be in great pain of body and much distress of mind; indeed, he was in such anguish of heart that his testimony to the power of grace was of a very negative character. He had no songs of triumph, but he had many moans of pain and many questions about his spiritual state. God puts many of his children to bed in the dark, but they are his children all the same. It is concerning the wicked that it is written, “There are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.” God’s best servants often pass away under a cloud, and it was so with the friend of whom I am speaking. One of his last utterances was the expression of his intense regret that his sons would be confirmed in their unbelief by his experience in his dying hour; yet notice what really happened. They all knew of his genuine piety. They had not a doubt about that matter, for they considered him to be one of the best of men; and, as they gathered in the house after the funeral, the oldest son said to them, “Brothers and sisters, our father died a very sad death, yet we know that his soul was saved. We all know that he trusted Christ as his Saviour, and that he lived a most godly life. Now,” he said, “if such a man as our father found it hard to die, think how much harder it will be for us if we have to die without a Saviour.” The same thought had occurred to the rest of the family, and it was not long before they all sought and found their father’s God and Saviour. You see, the Lord really heard his prayer, and granted him the desire of his heart, though not in the way he expected; and he will hear you, my brother, and he will hear you, my sister, but the answer may not come in your way. The Lord has his own way of doing his own work; and, sometimes, he adopts very exceptional methods to teach us that there is no power in the method he uses, but that all the power lies in himself.

17. III. The third thing to be noted in this narrative is that OUR BLESSED LORD TAKES CARE TO HONOUR FAITH EVEN WHEN HE REBUKES ITS WEAKNESS. He did not open this blind man’s eyes in the way his friends asked him to do it; but he did open his eyes, and he did a great deal more than that for him; and I want you to notice how the Lord Jesus honoured the imperfect faith of this man and his friends, though he also rebuked its imperfections.

18. First, our Lord condescended to guide this blind man. This is one of the most beautiful incidents in Scripture; I should like to meet an artist who could worthily depict Christ leading that blind man out of the town. It is not everyone who would undertake such a task as that, but our Lord condescended to take by the hand this poor fellow who could not see anything, and lead him right away from the crowd that had gathered. It was something to be that blind man; I think I would be willing to lose the sight of my eyes if I might be led by Christ, as he was. Oh blessed blindness, that brings Christ into such close contact with this poor man! Was he not greatly honoured? Surely, he was the most highly honoured blind man who ever lived, to have Christ to guide him like this. Sometimes, you see a blind man led by a dog; and, sometimes, by a child; but Christ himself undertakes the task in this case. The blind man believed in Jesus sufficiently to be led by him, and Jesus led him further than he expected.

19. Notice, next, that Christ left all the rest of the crowd for the sake of this one blind man. I do not know how many there were to whom Christ was preaching, but he said “Good-bye” to them all that he might take this poor blind man by the hand, and lead him out of the town. Have not you, dear friend, found the Lord Jesus Christ to deal with you, sometimes, as if you were the only person in the world? Has not his love been so graciously revealed that you have said, “Why, if I were the most important person in the world, he could not do more for me than he has done.” So, on this occasion, Christ left everyone else, for the time being, so that he might devote all his attention to this one blind man. He seemed to say to him, “My friend, I am going to take you into my surgery, so that I may perform an operation on you, and I want you to be alone with me so that I may give all my thoughts to your case.”

20. So, putting all others aside, Christ begins to cure this blind man. For ointment, he uses the spittle from his mouth; then he lays his hands on the man, and asks him whether he can see anything. After his answer, telling that the cure is working, Christ puts his hands again on the blind man’s eyes, and makes him look up. Christ does not give his system a shock by revealing the full light to him all at once, but he works the miracle as gently as the wisest nurse or the most loving mother might have done. So it happens that, although the man does not get what his friends asked for him, he gets something a great deal better, for Christ gave him a complete cure, so that “he saw every man clearly.” Christ did not send him away with one eye opened and the other still remaining closed, or revealing just a little light in one corner of it. Christ did not leave him cross-eyed or short-sighted, but he “saw every man clearly.”

21. It seems to me that Christ must have cured this man entirely out of love for him. He may have cured some others partly with the view of their proclaiming his name and fame so as to attract other sufferers to him; but he did not cure this man for that reason; for, when he had opened his eyes, he said to him, “Do not go into the town, and do not talk about this miracle to anyone who comes from the town. You can go home to your own village, and tell the people there all about what I have done; but, otherwise, this is a matter between you and me alone.”

22. Now, dear friends, you who are seeking the Lord, but cannot find him, is there not a lesson for you in this narrative? Please give up dictating to the Lord concerning how he is to save you, for he has a far better way of working than you have even dreamed of at present; and, possibly, his way will be to get you quite alone, and gradually to lead you into the light. He intends to have some private talk with you, not meant for any other ear. He intends to make himself known to you in a particularly special way; — not in your way, but in his own far superior way. Then, why do you object to his plan? Your one business is to believe in him, to rely entirely on him, and to praise him for his great goodness to you. Please, do not quibble about ways and methods, but fully trust the Lord. If you do so, it shall not be long before you will get the light, and the joy, and the peace for which you are praying.

23. How long was I myself dictating to God instead of trusting him! I thought I must have a certain amount of conviction of sin before I could be saved. I really had it all the while, though I did not know that I had it. I thought I must feel a certain weight of guilt. I was feeling it; and, for that very reason, I thought I was not. I might have been spared much needless suffering if I had only believed what the Lord had taught me in his Word, that I had nothing to do with feeling burdens or anything else by way of preparation for coming to Christ, but that I had to come to him just as I was. If I could not come to him with a broken heart, I was to come to him to break it. If I did not feel any true conviction of sin, or a single bit of repentance in my soul, that was all the more reason why I should come to him, and, without money, buy all that I needed. So, poor blind ones, come to my Master, blind as you are; but do not lay down any rules or regulations concerning how he is to save you, for he will do it in his own way, which is, after all, the best possible way.

24. IV. Now I close with a fourth remark. WHEN THE LORD HAS TAKEN PAINS TO PREVENT US FROM ATTACHING TOO GREAT AN IMPORTANCE TO THE MEANS THEMSELVES, HE PUTS HONOUR ON THE MEANS.

25. I have already called your attention to this fact. The blind man’s friends trusted too much in Christ’s touch, and too little in Christ himself. He wanted to cure them of that evil, so he touched the man, yet left him unhealed. But after he had taken him out of the town, and away from the people, he did, after all, heal him by a touch, or something more than a touch, for he put his hands on him twice; so that, though there was a touch that did not heal, there were afterwards two touches that did. It was as though Christ would say to them, “How foolish you are to trust in the touch instead of in me! But, when I have cured you of that folly, then I will put honour on my touch, which is the method by which I usually heal the sick.”

26. It is so, too, with you who hear the gospel, yet who seem to hear it in vain, for the Lord does not intend for you to trust in your hearing, but to trust in him. After he has cured you of that evil, I should not wonder if you hear the gospel twice as well as anyone else does, and I expect that it will come with double power into your soul. It is so in this narrative, and it is often so as a matter of spiritual experience. When the Lord has taken us away from trusting in ordinances, then he shows us what great blessings come from the ordinances when they are rightly observed. When we trust in the preacher, or the preaching, we get nothing; but when we trust in Christ alone, then he makes the preacher, and the preaching, and other means of grace to be the channels of blessing for our souls.

27. Then, lastly, the Lord sent that man home without letting anyone in that neighbourhood know of the cure he had performed. By it Christ seems to say, “There are many, whom I heal, of whom no one knows.” There is a message to us preachers in this incident; Christ seems to say to us, “This is often my way of saving souls. I give the healing touch, but you do not know anything about it.” Certainly, none of us can calculate the amount of power which pours out of Christ through the preaching of the Word. The last great day alone will reveal the myriads of men and women, who have been brought to Jesus through the preaching of the gospel, but, who, nevertheless, were never known to the preacher himself, although they were converted through his instrumentality. Oh brothers and sisters, keep on telling poor sinners about the Saviour! Try to bring them into contact with Christ. You may not actually see him open their eyes, for he may take them out of the town, and work the great miracle privately. You bring them into contact with Christ; and, although that may not save them, it will lead up to their salvation; and, therefore, you will be doing good service to them and to your Master, too. Preach away, my brother, and preach nothing but Jesus. Teach your classes, my brothers and sisters, nothing but Jesus, and seek to get his hand into contact with the children of men. But, when you work, and when you pray, do not stipulate how God must bless souls by you, or by anyone else; but say to him that, if he will only save them some how, you will be content and thankful. And as for you, poor sinners, seek salvation by simply trusting in Jesus; and if you do not have any clear vision of him at this moment, get down on your knees, and do not rise until you have found him as your Saviour. He has his own ways and methods of working; so you must trust him, and not the method, and he will bless you with eternal life. May he do so, for his own name’s sake! Amen.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Lu 4:33-41 5:12-17}

We are going to read some verses in the fourth and fifth chapters of Luke’s Gospel; — hospital chapters, I may call them, for they record many marvellous cures which were performed by the great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall begin in the fourth chapter.

33, 34. And in the synagogue there was a man, who had a spirit of an unclean demon, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Leave us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth?

There are many people, at the present day, who have this evil spirit in them; and they also say, “Leave us alone.” They do not want to have their consciences disturbed; they would rather sleep on until they wake up in another world where their awaking will be too late to avail for their repentance.

34. Are you come to destroy us? I know you who you are, the Holy One of God.”

That is an old trick of the devil, to acknowledge the excellency of the Preacher so that he may avoid the personal application of the sermon; and there are many people, who are quite satisfied when they have said concerning the Word which they have heard, “Yes, it was all true, and it was very well put.” But that is not the purpose of a true minister of the gospel, — simply to win the compliment of your approbation; he wants to see the devil cast out of you, and to stir up your hearts so that you will no longer leave religion alone, but will flee to Christ to save you.

35, 36. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Hold your peace, and come out of him.” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, and did not harm him. And they were all amazed, and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word is this! For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

Ah, dear friends! when we see what the gospel can do, — how it can reclaim the thief, how it can make chaste the prostitute, how it can lift up the very vilest of men from the lowest depths of degradation, — we may well say, “What a Word is this!” The power of the gospel does not lie in the preacher, but in the truth which he proclaims. What a Word is this, which not only knocks at the door of the human heart, but which carries on its belt the key with which it can open that door! It does not simply invite the sinner to trust the Saviour, but there is a power, which goes with it, which sweetly woos the heart until the unwilling become willing, and those who have so far despised God and his great salvation, cheerfully yield themselves to him. Christ not only comes to those who seek him; but, in the splendour of his grace, he is often found by those who did not look for him; yes, those who cried “Leave us alone,” are not left alone, for grace brings them beneath her blessed sway.

37 — 39. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country all around. And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered to them.

Here is a type of another form of the disease of sin. This time it is a hot and burning fever, and there are many men who have the fever of pride, or the fever of ambition, and some who have the fever of impetuous lust. Yet we have never read of such a cure as this in the lives of the doctors of ancient or modern times. They have performed remarkable cures by long dosing the patient with various drugs, but Christ just stood over Peter’s wife’s mother, and rebuked the fever, and instantly it fled.

40. Now when the sun was setting,

Ah, it is setting with some of you! Those grey hairs are like the streaks of light on the horizon as the sun goes down; but blessed be God, he who heals the spiritually sick in the early morning, by bringing children to himself, does not cease to work until the sun goes down.

40. All those who had any sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

Oh, that he would do that just now! He is still mighty to save; oh, that he would now display his ancient power, and lay his healing hands on every one of you! What fame he would get if he would do so! What joy there would be if all of you should now be turned to God! And why should it not be? Christ is able to do this; then, let us ask him for it in earnest believing prayer

41. And demons also came out of many, crying out, and, saying, “You are Christ, the Son of God.” And he rebuking them did not allow them to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.

Perhaps they thought that their testimony would tend to blacken his character. We are, in a sense, pleased when bad men find fault with us, for that is really the best commendation that they can give us; but when they begin to praise us, we feel suspicious that there is something wrong. We think of how Christ acted when the demons said to him, “You are Christ, the Son of God,” and we would gladly have them hold their tongues. What a vile thing sin is, for it makes even good words to be evil when they come out of sinful lips!

Now reading from chapter five: —

12. And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

There was not much faith there, but faith even as a grain of mustard seed will serve; and therefore Christ did not refuse the poor leper’s plea.

13-15. And he reached out his hand, and touched him, saying, “I will: be clean.” And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: “But go, and show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.” But his fame spread abroad all the more: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

Oh, that sinners would come to Christ in this spirit now, — “to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities!” Some of you have come to hear, but have you come to Christ to be healed? Have you really come for that purpose? Alas! Some come even to God’s house only to see, or to be seen; how can such people expect to receive a blessing? Yet my Master is so gracious that, often, he is found by those who did not look for him. So may it be with any careless ones who are with us now!

16, 17. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

These were the least hopeful patients that the great Physician ever had; for to heal these doctors of divinity, and to bring these proud learned Pharisees down to accept the gospel, needed an omnipotent display of divine power. Penitent sinners are readily brought to Christ; but, often, the self-righteous, who think they are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, are not to be persuaded to accept the fine gold which Christ presents to all who ask him for it. May the Lord grant that, if any such people are here, the power of the Lord may be here to heal them!

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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