3102. The Forerunner

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No. 3102-54:349. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, July 16, 1874, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, July 23, 1908.

Where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus. {Heb 6:20}

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1294, “Anchor, The” 1285}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3102, “Forerunner, The” 3103}

   Exposition on Heb 6 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2492, “Paul’s Persuasion” 2493 @@ "Exposition"}

1. The Jewish high priest went within the veil once a year, and represented the people there, but he was never their forerunner, for no one followed him into the most holy place. His entrance within the veil did not allow another human being; and when he came out, the veil again concealed even from him for another year, and from all others at all times, the secret glories of the most holy place, so that neither Aaron, nor any other high priest of his line, could ever be called a forerunner within the veil. This is one of the many examples in which our Lord Jesus Christ, as the great Antitype, far excels all the types. They do, as it were, represent the hem of his garment, but the glorious majesty and fulness of his high priestly office, they are not able to represent.

2. Moreover, this title of Forerunner is unique to the passage before us. The fact that Christ is the Forerunner of his people may be found, in other words, in the Scriptures, and again and again in this Epistle; but it is only here that we have the exact expression that Jesus Christ within the veil has gone to be the Forerunner of his people.

3. Now, what is special and unique usually arouses curiosity and attention; and if it is something special and unique with regard to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is himself special and unique, we should look at it as closely as we can, and apply our whole minds and hearts to its consideration.

4. I. I am going to speak, first, on THE NAME WHICH IS USED CONCERNING JESUS CHRIST AS THE FORERUNNER. Our Lord is sometimes spoken of as the Master, the Messiah, the Son of man, and so on; but here he is simply called Jesus. “Where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus.”

5. I do not pretend to know why this title was selected, but at least it may be suggested that Jesus is the name which his enemies despise; — Jesus of Nazareth, “the Nazarene,” as his fiercest foes cry to this day. About the name Christ there is always a measure of respect, for even those who do not believe him to be the Christ, yet look for a Christ, a divinely anointed One, a Messiah sent from God. But “Jesus” is the personal name of him who was born at Bethlehem, the Son of Mary, to whom the angel said before his birth, “You shall call his name JESUS.” It is “the Nazarene” who is “the Forerunner, even Jesus,” and it is that name of Jesus that has caused his enemies to gnash their teeth, and speak and act against him, even as Paul confessed to King Agrippa, “I truly thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” It is by that name which his enemies abhor that he is known within the veil. They speak of him there as the Saviour, the Joshua, the Jehovah-Jesus of his people; and by that name we know him as our Forerunner.

6. Moreover, Jesus is not only the name which is hated by his foes, but it is the name which is dearest to his friends. How charming is its very sound! You know how our hymn writers have delighted to dwell on it. Dr. Doddridge wrote, — 

   Jesus, I love thy charming name,

      ’Tis music to mine ear;

   Fain would I sound it out so loud

      That earth and heaven should hear.

7. And Charles Wesley sang, — 

   Jesus, the name that charms our fears,

      That bids our sorrows cease;

   ’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,

      ’Tis life, and health, and peace.

   Jesus, the name high over all,

      In hell, or earth, or sky,

   Angels and men before it fall;

      And devils fear, and fly.

8. Out of all our Saviour’s names, — and they are all precious to us, and at certain times each one has its own particular charm, — there is not one which rings with such sweet music as this blessed name “Jesus.” I suppose the reason for this is that it answers to our own name, the name of sinner. That name needs to cover it, the names of him who saves his people from their sins. The sound of this confession, “I have sinned,” is like that of a funeral knell; but the music of the sentence, “Jesus saves me,” is like that of a marriage peal; and, as long as I am a sinner, the name of Jesus will always be full of melody for my soul. To the Old Testament saints, it was comforting to read of him who was to be born, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” and we still delight to repeat those majestic sounds; but in our quiet and calm moments, and especially in times of despondency and depression of spirit, the music of the harp sounds most sweetly when this is the note which the minstrel evokes from it, “Jesus, Jesus, JESUS”; and it is very pleasant for me to think that this is the name that we shall remember best even in heaven. He has gone there, as Jesus to be our Forerunner, so Dr. Watts was right when he sang, — 

   Jesus, the Lord, their harps employs; — 

      Jesus, my Love, they sing!

   Jesus, the life of both our joys,

      Sounds sweet from every string.


10. The word used here means a person running before, an out-runner, a herald, a guide, one who precedes. Such terms would correctly interpret the Greek word used here; so it means, first, one who goes before to proclaim, or to declare. A battle has been fought, and the victory won. A swift young man, out of the ranks of the victors, runs with all speed to the city, rushes through the gate, into the market-place, and proclaims to the assembled people the welcome news, “Our country is victorious; our commander is crowned with laurels.” That young man is the forerunner of the victorious host; the whole army will be back eventually, the conquering legions will come marching through the streets, and all eyes will gaze with admiration on the returning heroes; but this is the first man to arrive from the field of conflict, to report the victory. In that sense, Jesus Christ was the Forerunner to report in heaven his own great victory. He did much more than that, as you well know, for he fought the fight alone, and of the people there were none with him; but he was the first to report in heaven his own victory. On the cross he had met Satan and all the powers of darkness, and there he had fought and overcome them, and shouted the victor’s cry, “It is finished.” Who shall report the victory in heaven? Shall some swift-winged angel, one of the many who had hovered around the cross, and wondered what it all could mean, fly like a flame of fire, and pass through the gates of pearl, and say, “He has done it?” No, Jesus himself must be the first to proclaim his own victory, and the eternal safety of all for whom he died. They proclaim this good news through the streets of heaven to this day, but it was he who first certified it. When he ascended up on high leading captives captive, when he entered within the veil, and stood before his Father, the First-Begotten from the dead, when he declared by his majestic presence that all was finished, when he proclaimed the justification of all his elect, in that proclamation, he was our Forerunner, the first to proclaim that glorious truth, “It is finished.”

11. A second meaning of the word forerunner will be found in this sense of possessing, for Christ has gone to heaven not merely to proclaim that his people are saved, but to possess heaven on their behalf. Representatively, he has taken possession of the heavenly places in the name of those for whom he died. Christ had paid the purchase price of our eternal inheritance; we as yet have not entered into possession of it, but he has, and he has taken possession of it in our names. All the elect are summed up in him who is their Covenant Head; and he being there, they are all there in him. Just as the burgesses {a} of a town sit in the House of Commons represented by their member, so we sit in the heavenly places represented by our Leader, who sits there in our name. He as taken seisin, {b} as they used to say of old, taken possession of all the glory of heaven in the name of his people. Why is heaven mine tonight? Because it is his, and all that is his is mine. Why is eternal life yours, beloved? Why, because “your life is hidden with Christ in God,” and he has in heaven for you eternal life, and all its accompaniments of joy and blessedness, and he is sitting there enjoying them because they are his and yours. You are one with him, so he is your Forerunner in that sense.

12. Christ is also our Forerunner in the sense of preceding us. The Forerunner goes first, and others must come afterwards; he is not a forerunner if there are not some to run behind him. When John the Baptist came, he was the forerunner of Christ; if Christ had not come after him, John the Baptist would have come for nothing. Since Jesus is the Forerunner to heaven, rest assured that those for whom he is the Forerunner will in due time follow him there. The best pledge of the glories of the saints in heaven is the glory of Christ there. The best proof that they shall be there is that HE is there, for where he is his people must also be there too. I delight to think of Jesus Christ as our Forerunner, because I feel sure that the mighty grace, which worked so effectively in him, and made him run before, will also work in all his people, and make them run behind until they enter into the very same rest that he now enjoys.

13. And once again, Christ is our Forerunner within the veil in the sense that he has gone there to prepare a place for us. I do not know what was needed to make heaven ready for us; but whatever was needed once is not needed now, for heaven has been ready for us ever since Christ went to prepare it. We have sometimes arrived at a house when we were not expected; our friends have been glad to see us, but we could hear the bustle of preparations, and we almost wished that we had not gone to put them into such a flutter in getting ready for us. But no unexpected guest shall ever arrive at heaven’s gate. They are watching and waiting for us; they know just when we shall get there, and Christ has gone to make everything ready for his long-expected and greatly-loved ones. “I go to prepare a place for you,” said Christ to his disciples; and he has prepared that place. We do not have to go into an undiscovered country; for, however glorious the new world might be, the first man to enter it would tread its soil with trembling feet, for he would not know what he might find there. It was a brave thing to be a Columbus to discover a new world, but it is a happier thing to go to a country that has been discovered many hundreds of years, where civilization has provided for the supply of all our needs. Christ was the Columbus of heaven, and he has made it ready for us who are to follow him there when our turn shall come to emigrate to the better land.

14. III. Now I want to answer this question, — INTO WHAT IS CHRIST OUR FORERUNNER? He is our forerunner within the veil; where is that?

15. Well, first, it is the place where all our hope is fixed. Our hope is fixed on things invisible, mysterious, spiritual, sublime, immutable, divine, which are in the same place where Christ is. Paul tells us that the anchor of our soul is “within the veil; where the Forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus.”

16. Within the veil is, also, the place of the greatest possible nearness to God. Under the old covenant, it was an awfully solemn thing for a man to be allowed to enter within the veil; anyone who ventured in there uncalled would have been instantly killed. To stand within the veil was a joyful, blissful privilege, yet it involved enormous responsibility; but you and I, beloved, stand there in the closest possible nearness to God because Christ has gone there as our Forerunner; he is not merely our Forerunner so that we may enter there in twenty or thirty years’ time, or whenever we die, but that we may now boldly enter into the heavenlies where he has gone. Where he is, we are bound to go. Well then, since Christ is there, at his Father’s side, — 

   “The Man of love, the Crucified,” — 

let us not fear to enter where we have the right to go. It is very sad that, when some of us pray, we do not dare to enter within the veil; even the outer court seems to be too holy a place for us; if we do venture into the court of the priest, we are trembling very much. But, brethren, we are permitted to enter into what is within the veil, for Jesus is there, and he invites us come to him; therefore let us come boldly. There is a measure of holy familiarity which the devout man may enjoy in the presence of God. It is a blessed privilege to know God as your Father, and to be as bold with him as a child is with a father, with the boldness of a love which does not dare because it deserves but dares because God loves; and which, while it humbles itself into the very dust, yet grasps the feet of God even there, and clings to him, and delights in its nearness to him. Is it not a reason for untold joy for us that Jesus Christ is within the veil now as our Forerunner, so that we may daily go where he always is? This is the right position for a child of God in prayer; he must not stand at the foot of Sinai, he must not stand in any unclean place, but he must go where the blood has been sprinkled on the mercy seat, — brought near by the precious blood of Jesus.

17. Let us also remember that this place of nearness to God, into which Christ has gone, will mean nearness to God in a higher sense eventually. You cannot conceive of anyone being nearer to God than Christ is “within the veil.” In that nearness he is our Forerunner if we are truly in him by faith; is that not a wonderful thought? We might have thought that, in that wonderful nearness to God which the Mediator enjoys, he would be alone, for he is so very near, but it is not so. He himself has said, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am seated with my Father on his throne.” It is not only true that we are to behold Christ’s glory, but even while on earth he said, “Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; so that they may behold my glory”; — as if they would never fully see that glory until they were with him where he is. To whatever heights of glory he has gone, to whatever raptures of joy he has ascended, he has gone there as the Forerunner of his people.

18. I may seem to be uttering truisms, but I cannot help it; these are the kind of truths on which one cannot give allegories, illustrations, or fine sentences. The truths themselves are so glorious that it would be like painting the lily, and gilding pure gold, to try to adorn them. We must not attempt it, but just leave the truths as they are for the Spirit of God to apply them to your souls; and so I intend to do after I have mentioned a few practical inferences from the truth which I have been trying to set before you.

19. The first is, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, this, — let each one of us endeavour by faith to understand our nearness with Christ. He has entered within the veil, but he has entered as our Forerunner. Remember that, although you are imperfect, feeble, sorrowing, yet you are one with Jesus Christ. You believe that as a doctrine, but I want you to realize it now as a fact. If you had a rich friend who had given you an equal share with himself of all that he possessed, even if you had not entered into the possession of it, you would think, “I do not have to depend on charity for my daily bread, for my rich friend has made me as rich as he is.” Now, whatever joy that might give you, it ought to give you far more to think that you are one with Christ, and that Christ is one with you. When you suffer, Christ is suffering in one of the members of his mystical body; and when he rejoices, it is his desire that his joy may be in you, that your joy may be full. He has married you, and he intends for you to take his riches as well as himself, and to consider that all he is and all he has is yours. If the Holy Spirit would cause you to realize this, it would make your soul leap within you, and bless the Lord, and magnify his holy name. “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine”; indeed, more, I am a member of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Our interests are one, for we are one; and Christ up there, in the heavenlies, is only myself there, for I am in him, and I shall soon be actually and literally where he is, as I now am in the person of him who is there as my Representative and Forerunner.

20. That is the first practical thought, and the second is this, — is he your Forerunner, beloved? Then, run after him. There can be no forerunner, as I have said before, unless someone follows. Jesus is our Forerunner, so let us be his after-runners. “Ah!” one says, “but he is so different from us.” The beauty of it is that he is not different from us, for he was a man just like ourselves. “Forasmuch then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he himself also likewise took part of the same.” Though in him was no sin, yet in all other respects he was just such as we are; and it cost him as much to run as it will cost us to run; yes, more, for his race was more arduous than ours is. “You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin”; therefore “consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.” Your road may be full of crosses, but they are not such crosses as the one he carried. You have suffered bereavements; yes, and “Jesus wept.” You have to endure poverty; and he had nowhere to lay his head. You are often despised, and he is still “despised and rejected by men.” You are slandered; but since they called the Master of the house Beelzebub, what wonder is it that they speak badly of those who are the members of his household? Jesus Christ ran the very race that you have to run, and he ran it perfectly; and that same power which worked in him to run until he entered within the veil, and so passed the goal, will help you to run until you reach the same place. If he is your Forerunner, and he has run the race, it is essential that you should run it too, and should also win the prize. Courage, brethren; nothing is too hard for our poor manhood to accomplish through the power of the ever-blessed Spirit. Just as Christ has conquered, so can we. Sin’s assaults can be repelled, for Christ repelled them. The Holy Spirit can lift up “poor human nature” — as we call it, — into something nobler and better, transforming it into the likeness of the human nature of the Christ of God, until in that human nature purity and holiness even to perfection shall dwell. Follow, brothers and sisters, the mighty Runner who has gone before you within the veil, and the best way to follow him is to put your feet into his footprints. It may seem as if you might get to the goal either this way or that, but the best Christian is he who does not wish for any other path than what his Master trod. I would like — oh, that I might experience it! — to “follow the Lamb wherever he goes”; not to say, “This is not essential, and that might be dispensed with,” but, like the Master himself, to say, “So it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness.” Good writing, I think, depends very much on the little letters. If you want to read a man’s letter easily at the first glance, he must write legibly, and mind his Ps and Qs, and all the other letters of the alphabet, especially those who are nearly alike, such as c and e, or i and l. Oh Christian, there may be very little difference, to the eye of man, between this letter and that of the believer’s alphabet, but you will do best if you follow your Master exactly in all points! No harm comes from doing that, but great harm comes of even the least laxity. Follow closely your great Forerunner; follow at his heels, as a dog follows his master. Just as Christ ran, so may the Holy Spirit help you to run with endurance the race set before you, “looking to Jesus.”

21. The next thing I have to say is this, let us love our Lord intensely. He has gone to heaven, but he has not gone there for himself alone. He has gotten so into the habit of sharing with his people all that he has that he has not abandoned that habit now that he has gotten into glory; he says, “I am here for my people; I was on the cross for them, and I am on the throne for them.” It is marvellous that even the reward that is given to him he shares with his own beloved ones, for there is nothing that he has that he keeps for himself. It was a blessed marriage day for us, his people, when he took us to be his; for he endowed us with all his heavenly gifts, and now he has nothing but what he holds in common with his people. We are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” Then, must we not love much him who has loved us so much that he has given us himself and all he has? Come, my cold heart, if there is anything that can warm you, surely it is the thought of such true, fond, constant, faithful love as this. Indulge a moment’s thought now; indulge it quietly; let your soul picture him. Come to his feet, and kiss them; and if you have an alabaster box of precious ointment, break it open, and anoint him, and fill the house with the perfume of your offering of love and gratitude.

22. Last of all, since Christ has gone to heaven to be our Forerunner, let us trust him. We could have trusted him, I hope, while he was running his race; so, surely, we can trust him now that he has won it. The saints of God, who lived before Christ came to dwell on the earth, trusted him before he started to run; his apostles and other disciples in their poor feeble way trusted him while he was running; so shall we not trust him now that the race is finished, and he has gone into glory on our behalf? If a man says, “I will do a thing,” if he is a truthful man, and he can do what he says, we depend on him; but when he has done it, it would be a shame not to depend on him. If Christ came here tonight, never having died, and he said to us, “You poor lost ones, I intend to save you,” ought we not to believe him? If he said, “Dear children of mine, I intend to come and run a race, and win it for you,” would we not say, “Lord Jesus, we trust you?” Well, he is not here in physical presence; he is up there. Do you not see him with the crown on his head? There he sits in glory; innumerable angels are bowing before him, and cherubim and seraphim are praising him day without night, and the redeemed from among men are singing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain for us.” Can you not trust him, sinner? “He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him, since he lives for ever to make intercession for them,” can you not trust him? He is within the veil, pleading for us, and pleading for all who come to God by him, and setting the example for his people of coming there to plead too. Since he is there, can we not all trust him? The dying thief trusted him when his hands were nailed to the cross; can we not trust him now that his hand grasps the sceptre of sovereignty? The dying thief trusted him when men ridiculed him, and thrust out their tongues, and railed at him, can we not trust him now that heaven and earth are full of the majesty of his glory? Surely we must. Jesus, Master, if we never have relied on you before, grant us the grace to do so now; and as for those of us who have depended on you, these many years, you dear, tried, precious, faithful Lover of our souls, surely we are finished with doubting. We are in your bosom; no, more, we are inside your very heart, and therefore we must be safe. Who can harm us there? You said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish.” With this assurance let us go our way, resolving to follow our Forerunner until we get where he is, “within the veil,” and then for ever to follow him “wherever he goes.” Amen.

{a} Burgess: An inhabitant of a borough; strictly, one possessing full municipal rights; a citizen, freeman of a borough. OED.
{b} Seisin: Scots Law. The act of giving possession of feudal property by the delivery of symbols; infeftment. Also, the instrument by which the possession of feudal property is proved. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Heb 9:24-10:39}

24. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

He has gone within the veil; — not the veil of “blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of artistic design”; but within the veil that hides “heaven itself” from our eyes, and there he is “in the presence of God for us.”

25, 26. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of another; for then he must often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

The high priest brought the blood of the animals that were slain for a sin offering, and hence he came often. He could not bring his own blood, or he would only have come once, but our Saviour has come only once, “to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 759, “Jesus Putting Away Sin” 750} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 911, “The Putting Away of Sin” 902} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2283, “Christ’s One Sacrifice for Sin” 2284}

27, 28. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, that after this the judgment: so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and to those who look for him he shall appear the second time without sin to salvation.

He had to suffer because of sin once, but he will never again have to do that; his sacrifice will never need to be repeated, and never can be repeated.

10:1, 2. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered?

If the sacrifice had really put away sin, surely it would never have needed to be offered again. If one sacrifice had put away the guilt of Israel, there would have been no need to bring another.

2. For the worshippers once purged should have had no more consciousness of sins.

Once cleansed from sin, we are cleansed from sin; the great deed is done once and for all.

3-5. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Therefore when he comes into the world,

You know who that is, there is only one great “HE” for us, — our blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the true High Priest.

5. He says, “You did not desire sacrifice and offering, but you have prepared a body for me:

By the work of the Holy Spirit within the Virgin Mary, the blessed body of Christ was “prepared” so that he ought be God and man in one person, and so might bring an offering acceptable to God.

6-9. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Lo, I come — in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do your will, oh God.’” Previously when he said, “Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you did not desire, neither had pleasure in them”; which are offered by the law; then he said, “Lo, I come to do your will, oh God.” He takes away the first, so that he may establish the second. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2698, “The First and the Second” 2699}

That he may bring in the real sacrifice of which the others were only types and prefigurations.

10. By that will — 

The will which Christ fulfilled in life and in death: “By that will” — 

10. We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1527, “Perfect Sanctification” 1527}

Only one sacrifice was required. The key-word here is that little word “once.” Let it not only sound in your ears, but be written in your hearts. Jesus Christ died once, he brought his sacrifice once, he put away our sins once.

11, 12. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God;

Christ no longer stands to minister as a sacrificing priest, he is sitting down at the right hand of God. That is the posture of one whose work is done, and who is taking his rest: “He sat down at the right hand of God”; {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 91, “Christ Exalted” 86}

13-18. From henceforth waiting until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected for ever those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, “‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,’ says the Lord, ‘I will put my laws into their hearts, and I will write them in the minds; and their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.’” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Sin itself being no longer imputed to any believer in Christ, there is neither the occasion nor the need for the offering of another sacrifice for sin. Christ’s one sacrifice has put away for ever the sins of all who believe in him.

19-22. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood by Jesus, by a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

The Jew could not personally go up to the mercy seat; he had to go there through his representative, the high priest, and we have Christ as our “high priest over the house of God,” so we come to God through him. The Israelite could not pass through the veil which hid from public gaze the glory of the Shekinah, and Jesus Christ’s humanity was a veil which somewhat concealed the glory of his Deity; but the flesh of Christ having been crucified, the veil has been torn, and now we may come right up to the throne of God without trembling; indeed, we may come even with holy boldness and familiarity, and speak to God without alarm. Having such a privilege as this, let us not neglect it. It was denied to prophets and kings in the olden times; but now that it is bestowed on us, let us avail ourselves of it, and constantly “let us draw near” to God “with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”

23. Let us hold firmly the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful who promised;) {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1897, “Holding Fast Our Profession” 1898}

Since he is faithful, let us also be faithful, and hold, as with a death-grip, the faith which has been revealed to us and created within us by the Holy Spirit; indeed, and the profession of that faith too, never being ashamed to admit that we are followers of the Nazarene. And let us while we are faithful ourselves, endeavour to strengthen others.

24. And let us consider each other to stir up love and good works:

The Greek is, to stir each other up to a paroxysm of love. There is no fear that we shall ever go too far in our love for God; though it should cast us into a state of blessed excitement, yet it would be healthy for us to live and work like this.

25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the way of some is;

For Christian fellowship is helpful for us, and we are helpful to others by it. A Christian is not meant to be a solitary being. Sheep are gregarious, and so are the sheep of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us not be solitary pilgrims along the road to heaven, but join that glorious host of God’s elect who march beneath the guidance of our great Master.

25. But exhorting each other: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.

Does not every day bring us nearer to the coming of the Lord? Are there not many signs that these are the last days? Well then, so much the more let us stir each other up to love and to good works.

26, 27. For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Here the truth taught is that, if a Christian apostatizes, if he renounces his faith, and goes back to the world, it is impossible to reclaim him. A backslider may be restored, but anyone who should wilfully, after receiving the truth, reject it, has rejected the only Saviour; he has rejected the only regeneration; and, consequently, he is without the pale of the possibilities of restoration. The question is, “Will any true child of God apostatize like this?” That question is answered in this very chapter; but the truth taught here is that, if he does, he goes into a state of absolute hopelessness.

28, 29. He who despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much severer punishment, — 

Can there be any severer punishment than to die without mercy? Yes, there is, for there is eternal punishment: “of how much severer punishment,” — 

29-31. Do you suppose, will he be thought worthy, who has trodden underfoot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, by which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? For we know him who has said, “‘Vengeance belongs to me, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” And again, “The Lord shall judge his people.” “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 682, “Future Punishment a Fearful Thing” 673}

With what terrible sentences does Paul hedge up the way of the believer! Leave that way, and there is nothing for you but destruction. Reject your Saviour, give up your hope in him, and there cannot be another name by which you can be saved, or another sacrifice by which you can be cleansed from sin.

32, 33. But recall the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions; partly, while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and afflictions; — 

Made a spectacle to be mocked at in the theatre of the world; — 

33-35. And partly, while you became companions of those who were so used. For you had compassion on me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring possession. Do not cast away therefore your confidence, which has great reward. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1263, “Hold Fast Your Shield” 1254}

You must push on; you have already defied the foe, to turn back is certain destruction, for you have no armour for your back.

36. For you have need of patience, — 

Or, endurance, — 

36. That, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.

To hold on, to continue to do God’s will, — this is the task. To start, and to make a spurt now and then, is easy enough; but to keep on, is trying for every spiritual muscle; and only God can enable you to do so.

37, 38. “For yet a little while, and he who shall come will come, and will not delay. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

If there is a drawing back from faith, God can have no pleasure in us; but shall we draw back? That is the question, and here is the answer: — 

39. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition; — 

We who have believed in Jesus, we who have sincerely committed ourselves to his care, we who have been born again by the Holy Spirit, we in whom there is the real work of grace which God has pledged to carry on, — “we are not of those who draw back to perdition”: — 

39. But of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

What a blessed truth this is! Oh Christian, as you see the danger that lies before you if you did prove to be an apostate, bless that sovereign grace which will not allow you to do so, even as Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

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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