3094. Heart Piercing

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No. 3094-54:253. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, November 12, 1874, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, May 28, 1908.

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” {Ac 2:37}

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2102, “Pricked in Their Heart” 2103}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3094, “Heart Piercing” 3095}

   Exposition on Ac 2:1-24,36-47 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3224, “Repentance and Remission” 3225 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Ac 2:1-42 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2586, “Far-Reaching Promise, A” 2587 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Ac 2:14-43 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3106, “Freedom Through Christ’s Blood” 3107 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Ac 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2712, “Bonds Which Could Not Hold” 2713 @@ "Exposition"}

1. I daresay you have seen collections of famous sermons which have been chosen with more or less discretion. I suppose that the sermon of Peter, on the day of Pentecost, was one of the most famous discourses that was ever delivered, for it was the means of bringing three thousand people to conviction, to conversion, to profession of faith, and to union with the visible church; yet I do not believe that any literary collector would ever have put this sermon by Peter among the most famous. It does not seem to me to be very eloquent; there is no climax in it, nothing of that fashionable thing called a “peroration.” It is all plain speaking and hard hitting, very personal, very much to the point, very full of clear scriptural reasoning; but there is nothing at all oratorical about it, it is just such a simple speech as you might expect from a fisherman as Peter had been. I should think that Peter’s discourse was delivered calmly and deliberately. He was at a white heat of earnestness, and was altogether too earnest to lose his self-possession. His whole being was so thoroughly possessed by what he had to say that he thought little of how he said it.

2. It was a very powerful sermon, but where did the power lie, do you think? Well, instrumentally, and speaking after the manner of men, I think it lay partly in Peter’s vivid realization of what he was saying. He knew that his Lord and Saviour had with wicked hands been crucified and slain, and that he had risen from the grave, and had gone back again to heaven. You could see, by his whole manner, that he was not talking about myths and fables, but about verities and things of which he knew for a certainty. There is always a power about a man’s message when his hearers know that he who delivers it himself believes what he is saying, and has no latent doubts, no concealed scepticisms, but speaks what he knows, and testifies about what he has seen.

3. The next secret of the power of Peter’s discourse was, I think, that it was full of Scripture. There is a quotation, first from one Psalm, and than from another, David said this, and David said that; Peter’s superstructure of argument was built on the solid rock of Holy Scripture. Peter had a great mass before him that day needing to be moved, and I do not wonder that he had such good leverage with such a fulcrum as he had. The more of Scripture, indeed, of the very words of Scripture that we can use in preaching, the better, and, certainly, the more of such teaching as can begin with “Thus says the Lord.” Men will not care about what we say, or “Thus says Mr. Wesley,” or “Thus says John Calvin”; it is “Thus says the Lord” that will have power over them. McCheyne says that you will generally notice that conversions are accomplished rather by the preacher’s text, or by some passage of Scripture quoted by him, than by his sermon, “for,” he adds, “it is God’s Word, not our comment on God’s Word, which is usually blessed be the salvation of souls.” I think it is so, though the rule is not without many exceptions, and our Lord hints at that when he says, “Neither do I pray for these only, but for those also who shall believe in me through their word,” as if the message of God-sent servants was not only God’s Word, but also their word, and men were led to believe in Jesus through hearing it.

4. But the real strength of Peter’s sermon lay in this, that he had been that very day baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Sitting in that upper room with the rest of the disciples, he had heard “the sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,” which “filled all the house where they were sitting”; and the “cloven tongues like fire” had sat on Peter as well as on the rest, and he too had been “filled with the Holy Spirit,” so that the Holy Spirit spoke through him. Therefore it was that, when he delivered that very simple sermon, his hearers were pricked in their heart, and thousands of them cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Oh, that some such power might fall on this congregation this evening, especially on the unconverted part of it, so that they might be “pricked in their heart” as Peter’s hearers were!

5. I. My subject is the pricking in the heart, and my first observation is that A SAVING IMPRESSION IS ALWAYS A PRICK IN THE HEART.

6. A prick in the heart is very painful. To be pricked anywhere is not a thing to be desired; but a prick in the heart would not merely be painful, but, in a natural and literal sense, it would be fatal. There are a great many different kinds of impressions made by preachers on their hearers, but blessed is that preacher who makes a wound right in their hearts.

7. A saving impression must be made in their heart, because all their religion must begin there. A great many attempts have been made to make men religious from the outside. Some have thought that a very long coat, reaching almost to the ground, and a strange kind of hat, — a biretta, I think it is called, — have a great deal of religion in them. It is amazing how much religion is supposed to depend on tailors and hatters; but I fail to see how anyone’s heart can he affected by the cut of his coat, or the shape of his hat. Some try to affect a man by the performance of certain ceremonies. They take him in his childhood, and “regenerate” him after their fashion; and, later, they “confirm” him in something or other; and external ceremonies of various kinds are performed on him. They remind one rather of Babylon than of Jerusalem; but I have never heard of anyone being brought to Jesus Christ in that way, or of any conscience being awakened, or any man finding peace with God in that way.

8. Some have tried what could be done by advising abstinence from foods and drinks. This is a very proper thing in its place, and may lead to useful results; but Christ’s teaching is, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes our of the mouth, that defiles a man.” It is the heart which must be affected; and nothing that comes from man, or that can be manipulated by the human hand, seems able to touch that. “Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God,” is the demand even under the old law; and one of the first laws of pure spiritual religion is this, “God is a Spirit: and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” “The kingdom of God is not food and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit”; and hence, no, impression can be of any saving use to a man unless it reaches his heart.

9. Many of you, dear friends, have made a profession of religion, and you are moral enough to be considered consistent with that profession, and attentive enough to outward religious duties to consider yourselves to be all that you should be; but, oh, I do implore you never to be satisfied with any religion which does not affect your heart, and with no religious exercise which is not true heart-work. You might as well be sitting in your own homes as be here without your hearts. It is no more use to sing a hymn than to sing a song unless you sing it with the heart, and so make melody to God. The heart, the heart, the heart, the heart, — that is the vital place. Out of it are the issues of life, and unless it is savingly affected, the whole life will still be estranged from God.

10. If those who hear the gospel are to be blessed by it, they must be impressed and pricked in their heart because other impressions may even be evil. They may be forcible, yet they may produce no good results. Another of Peter’s discourses made a very exceptional impression on his hearers. If you turn to the fifth chapter of the Acts, you will find these words, “When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to kill them.” {Ac 5:33} That time, you see, the wound went just as far as the heart, but it stopped there: “they were cut to the heart.” It was a deep cut, — to the heart, but not in the heart; and the result was not that they cried out, “Men and brethren, what must we do?” but they “took counsel to kill them.” Often, if the Word is delivered earnestly, and with power, men cannot help feeling the force of it; but what do they do after feeling it? They gnash their teeth for very rage; or they try to besmear and bespatter the preacher, and to ridicule or misrepresent what he has said. If anything has pointedly come home to them, they twist it into quite another form and say, “The preacher said such and such,” when he really said nothing of the kind. That is a way of taking counsel to kill him; they dare not kill his body, but they kill his reputation as far as they can. You may be deeply impressed by a sermon so as to feel under it in a way which you will never forget, and yet, for all that, you may only be cut to the heart.

11. Yet I would rather that people were cut to the heart than not wounded at all, because I hope that the sword of the Spirit will penetrate a little farther, and really enter the heart. I have often been told this kind of story: — “I came to hear you preach, sir, on such an occasion, and I went away very angry. I could not bear the doctrine that was proclaimed, and I went out hating the man who had talked in that way. Yet, I could not forget it; it rankled in my mind until, at last, I began to think there was something in it; eventually, I saw that it was true, and then I said, ‘What a fool I am to struggle against it!’” I do not mind my hearers being angry with me because of my preaching, for it is a good deal like fishing. If you have a good large salmon at the end of the line, it will struggle and pull with all its might, and so it will swallow the hook all the more deeply, and there will be the less likelihood of its getting away; and an obstinate resistance to the gospel is sometimes an indication that the gospel is piercing and pricking the hearer, and making him snap at it as a wounded beast tries to bite the spear which has been thrust into him, and which he cannot pull out. So, when a man is cut to the heart, I hope that he will soon be cut in the heart, but if the sword of the Spirit does not prick him in the heart, no permanent good will be accomplished.

12. And further, supposing the impression made should be good in itself, yet, if the hearer is not pricked in the heart, the impression will be only transient, and we shall have to say to the man, as the Lord said to Judah, “Your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away.” Or if the impression lasts a little longer, it will only need enough of the fervent heat of the rising sun on the blade which has begun to spring up, but under which there is no depth of earth, and in due season its verdure will vanish, and it will perish. If it is not real heart-work, it would not last. The reason why so many backslide is that they built on the sand; there was no deep foundation work. The soul-saving work, the work which lasts, happens when God ploughs deeply into the conscience, and sows the good seed of the kingdom in the heart. It is principle, not passion, full conviction, not merely a profession of faith, that will endure to the end. If the impression made does not prick the heart, it will be only transient; and when it disappears, evil will come from it, for perhaps the people who are most difficult to be moved are those who have been impressed a great many times, yet not saved. The first time you heard God’s faithful servant preach, you felt ready to weep yourself away under the power of the truth which he proclaimed; but now his voice has grown so familiar that, even when it is most passionately earnest you go to sleep under it. I have been in a mill when there has been such a clatter of wheels that I could not hear myself speak, yet the miller has told me that he was so used to the noise that he could go to sleep in it; and there are people, who have sat so long under a faithful minister, that they have gotten used to his message, and do not feel its force as they did when they first heard it. To use a common expression, they have become gospel-hardened; and this is a very serious state for any man to reach. May God save us from that perilous condition by causing us to be pricked in the heart.

13. When the truth pricks its hearers in the heart, the impression becomes operative. In the case before us, if you read the narrative, you will find that these men became earnest enquirers; they said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what must we do?” Being told what to do, namely, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you,” they did repent; there was a change of mind which was followed by a corresponding change of life; and they were baptized, they obeyed the command of Christ, and made a public affirmation of their faith in him in his own appointed way. So they were added to the church, “and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

14. All this followed because they had been “pricked in their heart.” It was a sorrowful beginning, yet it was a good beginning, for it was God’s way of beginning the work of grace in their souls. I wish that all converts began in that way. Some seem to me to jump into religion as if they were going into a bath, and then jump out of it again just as quickly. I do not believe in the faith that is unaccompanied by repentance. Some have spoken in disparagement of repentance by saying “that the original word means nothing more than a change of mind”; and you might imagine that it was a very unimportant change of mind. But their knowledge of Greek is not very deep, and their practical knowledge of true religion would seem to be even more shallow. This change of mind, I believe, was never better pictured than in that verse of the children’s hymn: — 

   Repentance is to leave

      The sin we loved before,

   And show that we in earnest grieve,

      By doing so no more.

A faith that has no tears in its eyes is a blind faith, for where there is sight there will be weeping. Never did a soul look at Christ, whom it had pierced, without weeping and mourning because of its sin. Faith and repentance are twins; they are born together, and they will live together, and as long as a Christian is in this world both will be needed. Rowland Hill used to say that the only thing that he should be sorry to leave when he went to heaven was that sweet, lovely, sorrowful grace of repentance; he supposed he could not repent in heaven, but it was such a sweet experience to keep on repenting that he would wish to repent for ever if such a thing might be possible.

15. II. Now, in the second place, let us notice WHAT TRUTHS GOD USES AS DAGGERS TO PRICK SINNERS IN THE HEART.

16. I have known some pricked in the heart merely by discovering that the gospel, the Bible, was really true. They have been sceptical, they have perhaps been blasphemers; but, suddenly, being honestly convinced that the Bible was true, they have been broken down at once, just as Saul of Tarsus was. He would not have persecuted Christ if he had believed him to be the Messiah, but he thought he was an impostor, and therefore honestly determined to put down his followers. He says concerning himself, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorably in unbelief.” The moment the Lord Jesus called to him out of heaven, and said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? … I am Jesus whom you persecute,” he was pricked in the heart, and soon he became, as many others have become, just as earnest in defence of the truth as he had before, in his ignorance, been in opposition to it.

17. I have known others pierced in the heart by shame through some particular sin. I will give you an example in which that was the case. A young man has been moral from his youth up, he has had much to thank God for with regard to what he has been; he has never mixed with the wanton {rebellious} or wicked world; yet there is always a danger as well as a benefit in this state of things. This young man becomes self-righteous; he thinks himself a great deal better than others. Perhaps he says that he is a sinner, because everyone says that out of a kind of compliment to God, but he does not feel that he has ever done much that was wrong, and he wishes that other people were half as good as he thinks that he is. But, one day, he commits a certain definite sin. I do not know whether the young brother is here, but he told me of a case of just this kind. He said that, when he was in the workshop one day, he upset the oil can, and an enquiry was made concerning who had been so careless. He was asked, and he said that he had not done it, and from his usual character everyone believed his denial. “But,” he said, “as I went home that night, it came to my mind, ‘You are a liar. You are a liar.’ I felt so base,” he said to me, “I never felt like that before. I had always acted like a man, and like a good man, I thought, but now I felt that I had been a liar. When I got up in the morning, I did not like to go among the other men in the workshop. I thought they would all look at me, and say, ‘You are a liar.’ I could not bear to think of it, and a sense that I had lied brought me down on my knees before God.” Now I do not say that I was glad that young man had told a lie; but I did feel thankful that he had discovered what a liar his heart had been all his lifelong, for his heart had always been saying to him, “You are a good fellow,” yet he had not been so in reality. If there had not been lies in his heart, that lie would not have come out of his mouth. If there were rats under that floor, you might not know it was so until one happens to pop his head up through a hole in the boards; yet he only shows you what was there all the while; and so, sometimes, some one sin has crept up into the light to let a man see what always was secretly in his soul, and that one sin has proved to be, in the hand of God, a sharp sword which has cut right into his heart, and convinced him that he is a sinner in the sight of God.

18. In a great many other cases, God has used teaching concerning his law as the means of pricking sinners in the heart. A man reads the ten commandments, and he says, “All these I have keep from my youth up”; but he is told, on Christ’s authority, that every commandment contains within itself a great deal more than appears on the surface; as, for example, “You shall not kill,” is a commandment which is broken by anger. “He who hates his brother” so that he wishes that there were no such person, is, in heart, the perpetrator of the crime of murder. Then take the command, “You shall not commit adultery.” “Oh!” one says, “I never sinned in that way,” and some excellent woman says, “I could not bear even to think of such a thing.” Yet there have been unchaste desires, glances, thoughts, imaginations; and the commandment covers all those. I do not need to go into the details of each command, it will suffice to sum it all up as that “certain lawyer” did. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” Did you ever do that? Has any one among us come anywhere near to doing that? When the law of the Lord, in its wide sweep and amazing scope of all our thoughts and imaginations and devices, comes to be thoroughly understood by us, it is then that God causes us to be pricked by its sharp point.

19. I have known some also pricked in the heart when they have discovered that there is to be a judgment about everything that we have done, — indeed, more than that, about everything that we have said, and everything that we have thought, — and that that judgment will be most solemn, and its sentence most severe. There will be pronounced, from the lips of God, a sentence of condemnation on the ungodly which will rest on them for ever and ever, so that they shall remain in a living death in which there shall be no gleam of light or joy, but all shall be a desolation and a ruin, where misery shall lift up its doleful notes for ever proclaiming the infinite justice of God. Many have been “pricked in their heart” when they have found that, though some preachers make out sin to be only a trifle, God’s Word does not. Man may try to make the penalty of sin seem small, but God’s Word does not. God’s scale of sin and man’s scale of sin differ very widely. God regards sin as a vast evil requiring an infinite atonement, while some, who profess to be his servants, treat it as quite an insignificant thing. I pray that the truth, as revealed in God’s Word, may be applied with power to every unwounded heart here, and that many may be “pricked in their heart,” and caused to cry out, as they did after Peter’s discourse on the day of Pentecost, “Men and brethren, what must we do?”

20. On the other hand, a great many have been “pricked in their heart” by a sense of the great goodness of God. They have said, “Has God been so good, so kind, so tender to us and have we never loved him or sought his glory?” And they have felt ashamed as they have thought of their base ingratitude. There is one thing I often feel; — I do not know whether you feel as I do, and I do not know whether I can quite make you see what I mean; — I often feel a great pity for God, I feel as if I could weep tears of blood because God is so shamefully treated by his own creatures. God himself feels their ingratitude, for he says, “Hear, oh heavens, and give ear, oh earth: for the Lord has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not consider.” He feels that it is a hard case that he should be treated like this, and when men feel that it is a hard case, it is a proof that they have been “pricked in their heart.”

21. But the chief instrument, I think, that God uses for pricking sinners in their heart is the dying love of Jesus Christ. Nothing wounds like the cross of Christ, just as nothing heals like the cross. When we discover that, out of infinite love and compassion, Jesus came to this earth, and took upon himself our sins, our sorrows, and our sicknesses, and died in our place on Calvary’s cross, we say, “How can we oppose One who is so selfless, so condescending, and so kind?” Looking to him whom we have pierced by our sin, we are made to weep on account of it. Are not your hearts, my fellow Christians, always most tender when you get nearest the cross? I am sure you agree with the poet who wrote: — 

   My sins, my sins, my Saviour,

      How sad on thee they fall!

   Seen through thy gentle patience

      I tenfold feel them all.

   I know they are forgiven,

      But still their pain to me

   Is all the grief and anguish

      They laid, my Lord, on thee.

Yes, a bleeding Saviour makes men’s hearts bleed; when he is pieced, they also are pierced. Of one thing I am sure, that nothing ever pierced my heart like the discovery of God’s boundless love in giving his well-beloved Son to die for me. I will say it to any man here, even if he is living an ungodly life today, even if he has plunged into the very worst and most infamous of sins, if tonight he could know that God had loved him from before the foundation of the world, — that, long before the stars began to shine, electing love had selected him to be its particular object, — that Christ died especially for him, — that for him there was appointed pardon and acceptance, and for him a crown already made in heaven, and a white robe which would fit no one but himself, and a harp which no hand but his could ever play, — oh, I think he would loathe himself, and say, “I did not know this, or else I should not have lived as I have lived. I did not know that I was the favourite of heaven, I did not know that I was bought with the precious blood of Jesus, I did not know that God had ordained me to eternal life, otherwise I would have fled into my Father’s arms long ago, and cried, ‘I have sinned against heaven, and before you.’” Oh Spirit of the living God, make such a revelation now to some of God’s elect here! Wound their hearts like this, and then lead them to the wounded Saviour, and let them know that whoever believes in him was loved by God before time began, and shall be loved by God when time shall be no more!

22. III. Now I want to notice very briefly, in the third place, WHOSE HAND USES THESE SHARP DAGGERS SO THAT SINNERS GET “PRICKED IN THEIR HEART.”

23. Not Peter’s, my brethren, nor mine, nor the hand of any gospel minister; it must be a more powerful hand than any of these, even the hand of the Holy Spirit. The fact is, that he who wrote these truths in the Bible must himself write them on men’s hearts, or else they will remain inoperative for ever except to condemn. There is One who knows all about the human heart; the Holy Spirit searches the heart and tries the reins of the children of men, and he knows how to apply the truth so as to make it quick and powerful, and to drive home to the heart that sword which, because he uses it, is called “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” I pray that he may take the truth this very moment, and use it like this. A sword hanging on the wall does not wound anyone. Our daily prayer ought to be, “Oh you almighty Spirit, gird your sword on your thigh, and wield it in your omnipotent might, so that sinners may be ‘pricked in their heart,’ and so be brought to repentance and salvation!”

24. One very comforting thought is that he, who alone can pierce sinners’ hearts, is named “the Comforter.” Grasp that, sinner; grasp that. He who wounds the heart is also the Comforter. He who kills is the Quickener who makes alive. The Spirit who convicts is also the Spirit who consoles. He has come to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, but it is also his office to take from the things of Christ, and reveal them to us. Though one of his hands holds a sharp dagger, the other hand bears the remedy with which to heal the wound, for that saying is still true, “I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal.” Only he who kills can make alive; but blessed be God that the same Divine Spirit, is both Wounder and Healer.

25. Therefore let us, who are the children of God, cry mightily to the Spirit, and entreat him to make the preaching of the gospel, here and everywhere else, to be like a sharp sword piercing the hearts of sinners. How many preachers, nowadays, are using a sword without either edge or point! I remember hearing a sermon, and before it was preached there was a prayer offered that souls might be saved by it; yet I could not see how any soul could have been saved by that sermon unless the hearer had misunderstood what the preacher said, and then perhaps he might have been converted. Yet many people called it “a very fine sermon.” The man had put the sword of the Spirit into a splendid scabbard, decorated all the way up with gold and diamonds, and then he waved it around, and prayed the Lord to kill someone with it; but the Lord could not do it unless he acted directly contrary to his usual method of working. He often uses our weakness and our infirmity to glorify himself, but he cannot do many mighty works with some instrumentality. Brethren, pray to God to send us the Holy Spirit, that is what we need more than anything else. Pray day and night for this, and believe and expect that God will grant your request. If the preacher does not happen to be the man you like best to hear, say to yourself, “God can use that man,” and then pray, “Oh Lord, give him your Holy Spirit!” I remember that Mr. Matthew Wilkes once preached from the text, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, … written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.” He compared the preacher to a pen, and said that some pens needed mending now and then, and that all pens, however good they were, must be dipped in the ink if they were to do any writing at all; and he added, “You ought to pray all the more for your preacher when he does not write well, ‘Lord, dip him in the ink; give him more of the unction of the Holy Spirit, and then his word will have power over the hearts of men!’”

26. IV. Our last enquiry must be, HOW CAN THESE PRICKS IN THE HEART BE HEALED?

27. You had the answer in the first hymn we sang tonight: — 

   When wounded sore the stricken soul,

      Lies bleeding and unbound,

   One only hand, a pierced hand.

      Can salve the sinner’s wound.

   When sorrow swells the laden breast,

      And tears of anguish flow,

   One only heart, a broken heart,

      Can feel the sinner’s woe.

28. Is your heart bleeding? Then bring it to the bleeding heart of Jesus, for that will stanch its wound. Does your brow ache? Then put it near that brow which was crowned with thorns, and its aching will soon be gone. Are you severely wounded? Then lay your wounds close to the wounds of Jesus, and they shall be healed.

29. This is the whole story. You are guilty, and God must punish sin. He cannot be a just God, and yet not exact the penalty for sin. But Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and he has stood as the Substitute for his people, bearing their sins in his own body up to the tree, and on the tree; and there he endured the wrath of God against sin, “being made a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’” You ask, “Did Christ bear my sins?” Let me ask you, do you believe in him? Do you trust him as your Saviour? Will you entrust your everlasting destiny into his dear hands? Will you abandon your self-righteousness, and will you rest in Jesus only? Will you take Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to be your soul’s only confidence? If you can truly say, “Ah, that I will, and I will be glad to have such a Christ to trust in,” then I can assure you that he did die for you, and that your sins are pardoned, and shall never be mentioned against you any more for ever. Go in peace, for you are justified by faith, and you are dear to the heart of God. Remember that glorious declaration, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Go away singing of substitution, — the richest word in all our language, — Christ standing in my place so that I may stand in Christ’s place; Christ on the cross for me, Christ in the grave for me, and now I in heaven where Christ is, for God “has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”; I at the right hand of God, beloved and honoured, because Christ has gone there to prepare a place for me so that where he is I may be there also.

30. Yet, before you go, let me urge you, if you are trusting in Christ, to confess your faith as the converts did on the day of Pentecost.

   Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!

      The trumpet call obey;

   Forth to the mighty conflict,

      In this his glorious day;

   Ye that are men, now serve him,

      Against unnumbered foes;

   Your courage rise with danger;

      And strength to strength oppose.

31. You, who really love the Lord, ought to be ashamed to make any difficulty of confessing your faith in him. I remember, when I was a lad of fifteen, resolving that, as a believer in Christ, I ought to join the church in the place where I was then living. I asked the deacon about it, and he said that I must see the pastor. I remember well going to see him on a Monday, and receiving a reply that he could not see me; calling again on Tuesday, and getting an answer that he was busy and could not see me; calling again on Wednesday, and then being told that he really was so busy that he could not see me. But when I made up my mind to do a thing, even in those days, I meant to do it; so I managed to get to the door of his study, and I said to him, “Since I have come three times to see you, sir, and the church meeting is to be held tomorrow evening, I will go to the church meeting, and propose myself as a member. I intend to be united to the visible Church of Christ; so, if you cannot see me, I will go to the members, and ask them to receive me.” When he saw how determined I was, he found time to see me immediately, and I was very soon admitted into the church. Now, you will not have so much trouble as I had, for you will find many Christians ready to welcome you into our fellowship. It is no trouble at all compared with what Christians found it in the olden time. I think I see, in the early days of Christianity, a good old saint, at one of the meetings down in the catacombs, talking with a young man, who says to him, “I wish to be a follower of Christ.” The old saint says, “I rejoice, brother, to give you the right hand; but do you know what it means to be a follower of Christ?” “Well,” he says, “I think I do.” “Come with me,” he says, “and we will take a walk to the Colosseum”; and in the dead of night, while the moon is shining on that vast amphitheatre, the old man says to him, “Do you see these tens of thousands of seats?” “Yes.” “Well, if you do become a follower of Christ, it is very likely that every one of those seats will be filled with a cruel spectator who will gaze on you one of these days.” “But, father, what would happen to me then?” “Come with me,” he says, “across this great arena. Do you see those bones? They are the bones of some of the soldiers belonging to the army that you wish to join. Now step across to this low arch. Can you hear those growls?” “Yes, father, what animals are those?” “Lions, tigers, and other savage beasts from Africa and Gaul.” “Why are they there, father?” “To tear the Christians limb from limb when they shall be placed in the middle of that amphitheatre. If you are with them, there will be tens of thousands looking down on you, eager for your death, and not one of them will pity you. Are you prepared to follow Christ here?” I think I can hear the young Christian hero, when he thoroughly appreciates the risk, saying, “It will be hard for flesh and blood to die like that, yet, by the grace of God, I will never bow before an idol. My hope is fixed on Jesus Christ, who bled and died for me. Father, put my name down, introduce me to the pastor of the church, and let me be immersed into Christ, for I am his, and if I am called to die here, by his Spirit’s help I will not draw back. I will face the lions, and die the martyr’s death, so that I may wear the martyr’s crown.” You young men and young women, who have recently been converted here, are not called to such a death as that. Will you shrink from the little trials and petty persecutions of the present time? Are you afraid of someone who will point the finger of scorn at you, and say, “There goes a Christian”? Then, what poor stuff you must be made of, and how little of the Spirit of God can be in you! You have grave need to question whether you have been born again; for, if you are indeed the Lord’s own, if he has bought you with his blood, you will come forward, and say, “I am his, and I am not ashamed to admit it; indeed, but, I even glory in it.”

32. May the Lord bless you, dear friends! If you have been wounded in heart, may he heal you; and if you never have been wounded like this, may there be such a wound produced in your heart very quickly that only the pierced hand of Christ shall be able to salve, and to him shall be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — ‘Jesus Only’” 537}

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — ‘Jesus, Master, Have Mercy On Us’” 584}

Gospel, Stated

537 — “Jesus Only”

1 When wounded sore the stricken soul

      Lies bleeding and unbound,

   One only hand, a pierced hand,

      Can salve the sinner’s wound.

2 When sorrow swells the laden breast,

      And tears of anguish flow,

   One only heart, a broken heart,

      Can feel the sinner’s woe.

3 When penitence has wept in vain

      Over some foul dark spot,

   One only stream, a stream of blood,

      Can wash away the blot.

4 ‘Tis Jesus’ blood that washes white,

      His hand that brings relief,

   His heart that’s touch’d with all our jays,

      And feeleth for our grief.

5 Lift up thy bleeding hand, oh Lord;

      Unseal that cleansing tide;

   We have no shelter from our sin,

      But in thy wounded side.

               Cecil Frances Alexander, 1858.

The Christian, Contrite Cries

584 — “Jesus, Master, Have Mercy On Us”

1 Lord, at thy feet we sinners lie,

      And knock at mercy’s door:

   With heavy heart and downcast eye,

      Thy favour we implore.

2 On us, the vast extent display

      Of thy forgiving love;

   Take all our heinous guilt away;

      This heavy load remove.

3 ‘Tis mercy — mercy we implore;

      We would thy pity move;

   Thy grace is an exhaustless store,

      And thou thyself art Love.

4 Oh! for thine own, for Jesus’ sake,

      Our numerous sins forgive;

   Thy grace our rocky hearts can break,

      Our breaking hearts relieve.

5 Thus melt us down, thus make us bend,

      And thy dominion own;

   Nor let a rival dare pretend

      To repossess thy throne.

                        Simon Browne, 1720.

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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