3182. Boldness At The Throne

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No. 3182-56:49. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, September 14, 1873, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, January 27, 1910.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace. {Heb 4:16}

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1024, “Throne of Grace, The” 1015}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3182, “Boldness at the Throne” 3183}

   Exposition on Heb 4:14-5:14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2529, “Compassion on the Ignorant” 2530 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Heb 4 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3182, “Boldness at the Throne” 3183 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Prayer occupies a most important place in the life of the Christian. “Behold, he prays,” was one of the first and also one of the best indications of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. No one begins to live the life of faith who has not also begun to pray, and just as prayer is necessary at the beginning of the Christian career, so it is necessary all through. A Christian’s vigour, happiness, growth, and usefulness all depend on prayer. It is—

   His watchword at the gates of death,

      He enters heaven with prayer.

I suppose that, even there, we shall continue to pray. In any case, we read of the souls under the altar crying with a loud voice, and saying, “How long, oh Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” I imagine that, in heaven, we shall still lift up our hearts in prayer for the spread of Christ’s kingdom, though our principal occupation there will be that of praise. But prayer is always needed here; every day, every hour, every moment we have a reason for crying to the Most High.

   “Long as they live should Christians pray,”

for only while they pray do they truly live.

2. It is because of the supreme importance of prayer that we find so much about it in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit continually encourages us to pray, by precept, and promise, and example; and one conspicuous example of that encouragement is the exhortation we are now to consider: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

3. So, coming at once to the text, notice that we have here, first, a description of our great resort for prayer: “the throne of grace.” Secondly, we have a loving exhortation: “let us come to the throne of grace.” Thirdly, we have a qualifying adverb, telling us how we are to come: “let us come boldly.” Fourthly, we have a reason given for boldness. The reason is in the context; we shall also think of other reasons, and then shall close with the reason on which Paul laid the stress of the argument in writing to the Hebrews: “let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

4. I. First, then, dear friends, we have A DESCRIPTION OF OUR GREAT RESORT FOR PRAYER: “the throne of grace.”

5. Under the law, there was to be an ark overlaid within and without with pure gold, and above the ark was to be the mercy seat of pure gold, with the golden cherubim covering the mercy seat with their wings. No one ever saw this mysterious emblem except the high priest, and he only saw it once a year, and then very dimly, for he saw it through the smoke of the incense which he presented before the Lord. It was a secret thing, but now it is revealed to us, for the veil has been torn, and the symbol taken away, so that we may now come boldly right up to the throne of heavenly grace.

6. I was conversing, some time ago, with a member of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, who took great pains to instruct me concerning the meaning of the various offices and ordinances of the body with which he was connected. After he had explained a great many mysteries, to his own satisfaction, if not to my edification, he pointed out the position of the saints at the present day, and then I felt that it was time to answer him, so I said, “I do not believe that Christians are intended to go crawling around the outer court, and keeping far off from the holy place, for the apostle Paul says, ‘Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,’ right into the holy of holies, for there is no longer any separating veil to keep us away from the mercy seat. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, my place is not in the outer court, nor even in the court of the priests; I have advanced beyond them, and come right up to the throne of grace, so that I may there obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” That is the position of all true Christians, not only on one day of the year, but every day.

7. I wish that all believers could realize the privileges to which they were born when they were created anew in Christ Jesus. You may have heard a whole congregation saying, “Lord, have mercy on us, and incline our hearts to keep this law,” and you may have seen them all shivering there at the foot of Sinai, with the lightning flashing above them, and the thunder pealing around them. Yet it is possible that at least some of them may have had the right to come before the Lord as his own dear children through faith in Jesus Christ; and if so, they might have said to him, “Lord, you have had mercy on us, you have blotted out all our transgressions; and now we are not under the law, but under grace, and are completely delivered from the thraldom of the old covenant of works, and are put under the new covenant of grace, so that we may serve you in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Blessed are those who are enjoying the liberty with which Christ makes his people free, and who therefore come boldly right up to the throne of grace.

8. The mercy seat, then, is the place where the high priest typically came once in the year, and our great High Priest, “by his own blood entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” As he died, he tore down the separating veil, and threw the holiest of all open to all who believe in him, and he has made them kings and priests to God, so that where the high priest stood is the place where they stand in Christ Jesus. That place is so solemn and awe-inspiring that we might fear and quake at the very thought of coming to it were it not for this and other similar exhortations, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

9. Our mercy seat is called “a throne” because we come there to God as a King, and we, by faith, behold him in his excellent glory and majesty. He is our Father, and our Friend, but he is also “the King eternal, immortal, invisible,” so we approach even the throne of grace with the deepest awe and reverence. We come to this throne with the utmost confidence, for God gives as a King, and therefore we ask largely and expectantly. John Newton caught the very spirit of this verse when he wrote,—

   Thou art coming to a King,

   Large petitions with thee bring;

   For his grace and power are such,

   None can ever ask too much.

It is a throne of grace, where no ordinary monarch presides, but where One is sitting who is infinite and all-sufficient, One who can bestow on us more than we ask, or ever think of asking, and yet not impoverish himself in the slightest degree. Do you always remember, beloved, in coming to the mercy seat, that you are coming to a King, and to One who gives like a King? Do you always open your mouth wide, and ask great things of the King who is so ready to bestow them on you?

10. In drawing near to God in prayer, we come to a King who sits on a throne of grace. That word “grace” is one of the choicest in the whole description of our great resort for prayer. We might well have trembled if we had been summoned to come to a throne of justice; we might have been afraid to come to a throne of power alone; but we need not hesitate to come to the throne of grace, where God sits on purpose to dispense grace. It would be terrible if we had to pray to a just God if he was not also a Saviour; if we could only see the awful glare of Sinai without the blessed attractions of the atonement made on Calvary. If we can see the “rainbow all around the throne, looking like an emerald,” the sign of God’s covenant love and grace, then we can pray very differently from the way in which we should pray if we could only see the naked sword of divine justice brandished to and fro to keep us back from the holy God who would not have his peerless majesty polluted by our sinful presence. Let us always remember that, when we pray properly, we deal with God on terms of grace, and answers to our petitions come to us, not according to our deservings, but according to his infinite mercy and grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.

11. It is also very comforting to us to observe that the God who hears prayer is enthroned and glorified. The God of grace sits on the throne of grace, and so grace reigns supreme at the place where God meets with us in prayer. The hand of grace is full of blessings through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and that hand is happily employed in dispensing royal largesse among the poverty-stricken sons and daughters of men. Come here then, all you who feel your need of grace; do not be afraid to approach the throne of grace. Since Jesus Christ has taken upon himself our nature, and suffered in our place, the throne to which the sinner is told to draw near is a throne of superlative, unlimited, reigning grace;—grace that pardons, grace that regenerates, grace that adopts, grace that preserves, grace that sanctifies, grace that perfects, and prepares us for glory. Happy is the preacher whose privilege it is to invite sinners to come to such a blessed meeting-place with God, but happier by far will be the sinners who shall have the grace to come to that meeting-place! May many here be among them!

12. II. Now, secondly, we have A LOVING EXHORTATION: “let us come to the throne of grace.”

13. Who is it who gives this exhortation? Why did he put it in this form? We might have expected the exhortation to be simply, “Come boldly to the throne of grace”; or even “Go boldly to the throne of grace”; but it is put in the form of an invitation from someone who urges us to go with him; who is this?

14. Well, first, it is from Paul, who had himself proved the power of prayer. “Paul? Have I not heard his name before?” Oh, yes! “But had he not once another name?” Yes, his name was Saul. “Then, surely, that must have been the man who persecuted the saints of God, who was very mad against them, and against the Christ whom they loved more than they loved their own lives.” Yes, that is the man, only he has been so changed by grace that he is a new man in Christ Jesus; and now he confesses that he was the chief of the sinners whom Jesus came to save. It is this saved sinner who is now a saint of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, who writes to his fellow believers, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.” I think that I can summon up courage to go to the mercy seat in such company as this. If the chief of sinners is going to the throne of grace, I also may go. I may be the chief of sinners too under another aspect; and if so, there will be a pair of us, and we will go together.

15. Yes, it was Paul who gave this exhortation, a man with a nature like ours, who was once as great a sinner as any of us have ever been; he puts out his hand to us, and he says, “Come along, brothers and sisters; let us come boldly to the throne of grace.” When he gave this exhortation, Paul had become an experienced believer who had often gone to the throne of grace, and there proved the power of prayer. He was no stranger at the mercy seat, he had done much heavenly business with his Master there; so now, having proved the power of prayer, he does not speak as a mere theorist, but as a practical man, who had put the matter to the test, and therefore knew that God answered prayer. So he wrote to those who did not have such a wonderful experience as his had been, to those whose knowledge of divine things was far inferior to his own, and linking himself with them he said, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.”

16. It always does me good to hear an aged Christian talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember, at this moment, a venerable minister who has long gone to glory. I heard him make almost his dying speech. He had been blind for many years; and when he rose at the communion table, and told us of the lovingkindness of the Lord towards him, and of how he had tried and tested his God in the deep waters of affliction, and had always found him faithful; and when he told us young people, be sure to put our trust in the Lord, for he was well worth trusting, he did us all good. I think it is in some such way as this that the apostle Paul, a man of deep and varied experience, writes to the Hebrews, and through them to us also, and says, as one who has tried and proved the power of prayer, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

17. It is, however, not only Paul who speaks in this exhortation; but it seems to me that this exhortation comes, through Paul, from the whole Church of Christ. Paul was a representative man, and as he penned these lines it seems as though the entire Church of God was speaking through his words. Even the saints in glory appear to cry out to us, “Come boldly to the throne of grace; we can urge you to do so from the memory of our own experience, for we long ago tried and proved the efficacy of prayer in every emergency that we had to face.” It is certain that all the saints on earth unite in this exhortation, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.” From many a sick-bed, where aged Christians have been for years pining away,—no, I correct myself, and say, where they have been melting into glory as the morning star melts into the sunlight,—from many such a bed, whose faith has triumphed over physical weakness and pain, I hear the cry, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.” From many a night-watcher, compelled by terrible pain to lie awake, and guard the night with prayer, as the sentinels of the Church of God, I hear the cry, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.” From many another child of God, who, in the midst of activities and trials combined, has daily and hourly to draw his strength from the Most High by fervent supplication, I hear the cry, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.” And from many who, through prayer, have been enabled to do great exploits in the name of Jesus, having cast themselves by faith on a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God, and who are today the living evidences of what divine grace can accomplish through human instrumentality,—from these also I hear the cry, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.” The church militant, with its blood-red banner floating in the breeze, marches bravely on to the conflict, crying, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

18. But I hear also, in this exhortation, a voice much more powerful than that of the apostle Paul, or even of the whole Church of Christ, for it seems to me to come from the Holy Spirit himself, for Paul wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. I think I am not going too far when I say that the Divine Spirit, who dwells in all the saints, is now speaking through the inspired page, and saying to us, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.” Paul wrote to the Romans, “We do not know what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” It appears to me that, in our text, the Spirit, speaking in the soft and gentle accents that the Comforter delights to use, is not so much inviting us to go to the throne of grace, as promising that he will go there with us; and, surely, we will go if he will accompany us. Since it is his divine voice that says, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace,” let us obey the gracious exhortation. This is not the only time that the Spirit and the Church of Christ say the same thing, for we read in the Revelation, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’”; so, here, the Spirit and the bride both seem to me to say, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.” Therefore, all you who form part of the mystical bride of Christ, hear the Spirit’s gentle call, comply with his exhortation, and come boldly to the throne of grace.

19. III. Now, thirdly, we have A QUALIFYING ADVERB: “let us come boldly to the throne of grace.”

20. We must not mistaken the meaning of this word “boldly.” Paul does not say, “Let us come proudly to the throne of grace.” God forbid that we should do that. Abraham’s prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah is an admirable model of how we are to come boldly to the throne of grace; for, although he pleaded again and again for the guilty cities of the plain, he said, “Behold now, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, who am only dust and ashes.” The greatest boldness in prayer is perfectly consistent with the lowest self-humiliation.

21. Neither must we ever think of coming before the Lord arrogantly or presumptuously, for it is to a “throne” that we are invited to come, although that throne is “the throne of grace.” I have heard prayers that have seemed to me like dictating to God, rather than the humble, reverent petitions which should be presented by the creature to the Creator, or by the children of God to their loving Father in heaven. We are to come boldly to the throne of grace, yet always with submission in our hearts, even as our Lord himself prayed, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

22. I think that, by this adverb “boldly” is meant that we may come constantly, at all times. Eastern potentates would only admit petitioners to their presence only when it pleased them. Though Esther was made queen by Ahasuerus, she was not allowed to go near him unless she was specially called; but it is not so with us. The path to the throne of grace is always open, there are no guards to bar the way of those who come in the right spirit. There are no set times for prayer; one hour is as good as any other for coming to the throne of grace. Whenever the Spirit of God inclines the heart to pray, the ear of God is open to hear our supplications, and the mouth of God is open to grant us gracious answers of peace.

23. “Boldly” also means that we may come unreservedly, with all kinds of petitions. Whatever it is that lies as a burden on your heart, come with it to the throne of grace. Do you really need some great thing? Then, come and ask for it. Or do you need some little thing? Then, come and ask for it. Do you have some care that is crushing you into the very dust? Come and leave it at the mercy seat. Do you have some little care that worries you, some thorn in the flesh, some messenger from Satan to buffet you? Come and tell your God all about it; cast all your care on him, for he cares for you. Do not think that God will be angry with you for asking too much from him, and do not imagine that you will insult him by asking him for little things. If you are a believer in Jesus, God is your Father, so speak to him as you would to your earthly father, only have far more confidence in coming to him than you would have in approaching the most affectionate earthly parent.

24. Further, “boldly” also means that we may come freely, with simple words. Do not say, “My words are not good enough to present to God; I must get a book of prayers, and try to find suitable words with which to approach the Most High.” Oh, do not do so! It is true that, in private prayer, in family prayer, and even in public prayer it is better to use a form than not to pray at all. I have often said that it is better to walk with crutches than not to walk at all, but what need do you have for crutches, for that is what forms of prayer really are? Your Father in heaven does not want you to come to him in a stiff, formal way, but just to express, as simply and naturally as possible, the desires of your heart. If one of my boys wanted a new suit of clothes, or anything else that it was proper for him to have, I should not like him to come with a written request, as if he were presenting a petition to parliament; I should not feel that he loved me very much if he did come in such a way as that; but when he asks me for what he wants in a bold, familiar and yet respectful manner, I am only too pleased to supply his needs.

25. You who are parents know that you do not make your children offenders for a word. When they first learn to talk to you, they pronounce their words very imperfectly, and make many blunders. They break all the rules of grammar, and their prattle is often so indistinct that strangers who come to your house do not know what they are saying; but you know, mother; you know, father. You understand them all right, and you like to hear them talk like that, it is the natural speech for little children, and there is the accent of love in it that endears it to you. Well, now, go to your God as your little child comes to you. Tell him all that is in your heart. Never mind about your words; use such language as your heart dictates, and when you find that you cannot pray as you wish, tell him so. Say to him, “Oh Lord, I cannot put my words together properly; but I pray you to take my meaning, oh my Father; do not judge my prayer by my broken, faulty speech, but read the desires of my heart, and grant them if they are in accordance with your gracious will!” Perhaps the best prayers of all are those that have no words at all, those who are too deep down in the heart to get expressed in words. We hardly know how they came there, except that we believe God put them there by his Holy Spirit; so he accepts them, even if they are never formed into words.

26. “Boldly” means, too, that we may come hopefully, with full confidence of being heard. It is not a matter of doubt concerning whether God hears and answers prayer; if there is any fact in the world that is proved by the testimony of honest men, this is that fact. You know that, at a trial before an earthly judge, there are often many witnesses who give their testimony concerning the facts of the case so far as they are known to them, and the weight of their evidence is very largely determined by their personal character. Now, if this was the right time, and I was the counsel in charge of the case, I could bring forward hundreds, and even thousands, of the best men and women who have ever lived,—I mean those who are admitted to be so by all who know them,—honest, straightforward witnesses whose evidence would carry weight in any court of law, who would calmly and deliberately declare that, over and over and over again, God has answered their prayers, so that it has now become with them a matter of course, when they really need anything, to go to God and get it. “Oh!” someone says, “that is only a delusion, there is no such thing as answers to prayer.” No, sir, you have no right to say that, for the witnesses have as much right to be believed as you have; possibly, even more, for you may not have the character to support your infidel assertion that these witnesses have to back up their Christian testimony. We can bring forward men who are the equals in learning of any unbeliever, men who are eminent in the ranks of literature, men who are masters of scientific knowledge, yet these very men have been simple as little children in the matter of prayer, and they all testify that God has heard them again and again, and granted their requests. That is a strange “delusion” which, is a daily fact in the history of millions, and which has been proved to be true in the lives of millions who are now before the throne of God on high. So let us still pray knowing that God will hear us, and be fully persuaded that he will give us whatever is for his own glory, and our own and others’ good. The apostle James reminds us that we must “ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he who wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For do not let that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord.”

27. Once more, this word “boldly” means that we should come perseveringly, with a fervent persistence that will not be denied. If, at our first coming to the throne of grace, we do not get what we want, let us come again, and keep on coming until we do get it. God sometimes makes us wait for a blessing in order that we may value it all the more when we do receive it. He would have us ask, and seek, and knock again and again, and not be content until we obtain the blessing we crave. If we are sure that what we are asking is in accordance with the will of God, let us keep on coming, like the persistent widow came to the unjust judge, until the desire of our heart is granted to us.

28. I think this is what is meant by coming “boldly to the throne of grace.”

29. IV. Now, lastly, we have A REASON GIVEN FOR BOLDNESS: “let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.” There are a great many other reasons besides the one to which Paul alludes to here; I will give them to you in brief.

30. First, we are invited to pray. God would never have invited us to pray if he had not intended to hear and answer us. No right-minded man would invite his fellows to a feast, and then send them away empty. So, the very invitation to us to pray implies that there are blessings waiting for us at the mercy seat: “let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

31. Let us remember, too, that grace is for sinners, and we are invited to come to the throne of grace. It is only on terms of grace that we can expect to obtain the blessings that we need, but it is to the throne of grace that we are invited to come. So let the sinner come, for it is the throne of grace. Let the needy saint come, and at the throne of grace “find grace to help in time of need.” Let us all come, good or bad, prepared or unprepared, whoever or whatever we may be, let us come boldly because it is the throne of grace, and grace is what we all need.

32. Let us also remember the character of the King who sits on the throne of grace. He is infinite in mercy and love, and he delights to bless his creatures. He is infinite in power, and is therefore “able to do very abundantly above all that we ask or think.” He is infinite in wisdom, and is therefore able to give us whatever is best for us in the best possible way. He is altogether unlimited in his nature, and therefore we cannot exceed his power or his willingness to help us, let our requests be as large as they may. Oh, when I think of what God is as he is revealed in Christ Jesus, and remember that it is he who sits on the throne of grace, I feel that I may well repeat Paul’s exhortation, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

33. Remember also, oh Christian, your relationship to the King who sits on the throne of grace! You are not merely his servant, you are his child; an heir of God, and joint-heir with Jesus Christ. All that you ask for is already yours by right of inheritance, and shall be in your possession in due time. Shall a child tremble in his loving father’s presence? Shall a son act as if he were a slave? Shall I, with tremulous hand, present a petition to my own Father whom I love? If I have perfect love for him, it casts out all fear. So, because we are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, “let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

34. I have already reminded you that the Holy Spirit has been given to teach us how to pray. Now the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, and therefore he never moves us to pray for anything which God does not intend to give us. Prayer is often the shadow of God’s coming blessing. Before the divine decrees are fulfilled, they often cast their blessed shadow across the believer’s heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that, when the believer prays in the Spirit, he is only asking God to do what he has from all eternity determined to do. If we came to the throne of grace with petitions which we ourselves had prepared, we might well tremble, but when we come with a Spirit-written petition, we may well “come boldly to the throne of grace.”

35. Then, beloved, there is one sweet thought which should always encourage you to “come boldly to the throne of grace,” and that is, the many “very great and precious promises” in the Scriptures. If we had to ask for unpromised blessings, we might come tremblingly; but there are promises in God’s Word to handle every emergency. “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” “As your days, so shall your strength be.” “Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” I might go on quoting promises for hours on end, but it will be more profitable for you to search them out for yourselves, especially if you remember what Paul writes concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, “for all the promises of God in him are Yea, and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us.” These promises are all the more precious to us because they are free promises, not made to us because of our merits, but solely because of God’s grace; and all the promises are made by that faithful God who cannot lie, and by that almighty God who is as able to fulfil the promises as he was to make them; “let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

36. If we want any more reasons to encourage us to come boldly to the throne, let us remember that God has already given us his dear Son, and let us ask again the question that Paul asked so long ago, “He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” You and I, if we are believers in Christ, are already saved with an everlasting salvation; then, after God has given us this greatest of all blessings, will he refuse to bestow on us the lesser mercies? Brothers and sisters in Christ, since the Lord has already done such great things for us, he cannot turn a deaf ear to our petitions, especially when they are inspired by his own gracious Spirit; “let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

37. Besides, some of us have had many years’ experience of the power of prayer. Some of you have had fifty years of soul-enriching commerce with God at the mercy seat. Do you not remember many times, when you were in deep trouble, and prayer brought you deliverance from it? Do you not remember some times of terrible depression of spirit when prayer brought the sunlight back again to you? Do you not recall that time when you were bereaved, and when, as you stood weeping by the open grave, prayer brought you sweet relief, and dried up your tears? Do you not remember, when you were in poverty, and prayer obtained food for you? The ravens did not bring it, nor did a widow woman sustain you, yet you were fed by the God of Elijah in answer to your earnest supplication. What is there that prayer has not done for us? Oh, the multitude of examples when prayer has unlocked mercy’s door which come to our memory, and they all say, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

38. Now I will close by briefly referring to the reason which the apostle gives why we should come boldly to the throne of grace. I have given you many good reasons, but this is the best reason of all: “We do not have a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” That is to say, we are to come with boldness to the throne because there is pleading for us there a man who is also God, to whom every petition raised by those who trust in him is a very precious thing, which he, as the great representative man before the throne, presents to his Father, for he is God’s own dear Son, yes, he is one with the Eternal, and his will is the will of the infinite Jehovah to whom we address our prayers in Christ’s name. This glorious God-man Mediator continually presents before his Father his one great sacrifice for sin. There will never be a repetition of it, and it will never need to be offered again, “for by one offering he has perfected for ever those who are sanctified,” that is, those who are set apart for himself. He perpetually pleads this one sacrifice before the throne, and our prayers therefore ascend to God with the merit of Christ’s atoning blood giving them acceptance with his Father. So they must have power with God, for they come before him signed, as it were, with the name of his well-beloved Son. He lays his hand on each petition, and so leaves the print of the nails on it, and therefore it must prevail with God.

39. Remember, too, that this same Jesus Christ was once a man on earth like ourselves, except that he was “without sin.” When your prayer is broken through grief, remember that he also knew what a broken-hearted prayer meant. The sighs and tears of Gethsemane taught him that. He was made perfect through suffering that he might perfectly sympathize with all his suffering saints. Do not imagine that you can ever get into any condition in which Jesus Christ cannot comprehend you, and consequently cannot sympathize with you. If you are in the depths, as Jonah was, remember that Jonah was only a type of Christ, who therefore knows all about your present experience, and also knows how to deliver you out of it. If you seem to be altogether deserted by God, and do not know why it is so that you have to cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” that is an experience through which Jesus himself passed. Yes,—

   In every pang that rends the heart

   The Man of sorrows had a part;—

so that we have, before the throne of God, a High Priest who is as sympathetic as he is powerful; “let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

40. Remember, too, that every blessing which you have a right to ask for though Christ is yours already, “for all things are yours;…things present, or things to come; all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” Every right prayer that you offer is only putting in a claim for what is rightly yours through your union to Christ, therefore come boldly to the throne of grace because you have such a Pleader to appear there for you, and such a plea to urge with God through him.

41. Dear brothers and sisters, let us begin to pray more boldly for sinners; let us pray more boldly for London; let us pray more boldly for our country; let us never cease praying to the Lord to send a great revival throughout the whole world. And oh you sinners, you may come too, for it is “the throne of grace” to which we are invited, and it is before that throne that Jesus stands interceding for the transgressors. Come and welcome to Jesus Christ. This is your “time of need.” You are full of sin, and need mercy to forgive it, and cleanse you from it. You are full of weakness, and need the help of God. Come to the throne of grace, and ask for his grace to help you in your time of need, and you shall surely have it. God has not stopped being a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God, so come to him; yes, let us all “come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

42. What I have been saying to you I have said far more to myself than to anyone else here; for, if there is one who needs more prayer than all the rest, I am that one, burdened as I am with incessant service and overwhelming responsibilities. Yet, after applying to myself more of the sermon than I pass on to any of you, I venture to say that there is not one person in this building whose condition does not make prayer necessary for him. I do not know what the special need of each one of you may be, but I think everyone here, who seriously thinks about the matter, must say, “Well, if there is anyone in this place who can do without prayer, I am not the one; I must pray, there is something about my case that drives me to the mercy seat.” Thank God that it is so, but be sure that you go to the throne of grace so that you may obtain the help you need. It is a blessed trouble that drives us to the mercy seat, yet one would scarcely wish to have the kind of trouble that Mr. Fraser, a good old Scottish minister, had. He had a wife who tormented him dreadfully; yet, when someone jestingly said to him that he would not drink to her health, he replied, “I hope she will live long, for she has driven me to my knees ten times a day when, otherwise, I might not have prayed.” One would not wish to be driven to prayer in such a way as that, yet I venture to assert that Mr. Fraser was a gainer by it. Real prayer must make us more like our Master. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Heb 4}

1. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left to us of entering into his rest any of you should seem to come short of it.

Not only dread coming short, but dread the very appearance of it. Oh, that we might now enter into that rest, and so clearly enjoy it that there should not even be a seeming to come short of it.

2. For the gospel was preached to us, as well as to them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2089, “Profitable Mixture” 2090}

They were not united to it by faith; consequently, since they did not receive the Word, it was taken away from them.

3. For we who have believed do enter into rest. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 866, “Rest” 857} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2090, “A Delightful Experience” 2091}

Faith brings us into this rest, even as unbelief shut them out.

3. As he said, “As I have sworn in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter into my rest’”: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

That is God’s rest, the rest of a finished work, and into that rest many never enter. The work by which they might live for ever, the finished work by which they might be saved, they refuse, and so they never enter into God’s rest.

4, 5. For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day in this way, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And in this place again, “They shall not enter into my rest”;

There are many professing Christians who do not understand what it is to rest because the work of salvation is done; they do not even seem to know that the work is done. They do not understand that the dying words of the Lord Jesus, “It is finished.” They think there is still something to be added to his work to make it effective; but it is not so.

6-8. Since therefore it remains that some must enter into it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter in because of unbelief; again, he limits a certain day saying in David, “Today,” after so long a time; as it is said, “Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Jesus had given them rest, then he would not afterwards have spoken of another day.

We read of this in the ninety-fifth Psalm, where David was urging those to whom he was writing to hear God’s voice, and not be like the unbelievers in the wilderness, so that the rest still remained to be entered into by someone. Joshua had not given them rest, or else David would not have spoken of entering into rest.

9, 10. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

He says, “It is finished. I am no longer going to do my own works, I am finished with them; I now trust the finished work of Christ, and that gives me rest. But as for all that wearied me before, and made life a continual task and toil, it is now ended.” God is not a cruel taskmaster to his people; he gives rest to those who trust in him, and some of us have entered into that rest.

11. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man falls after the same example of unbelief.

Let us not repeat the story of unbelieving Israel in our own lives; let us not live and die in the wilderness, but let us go in and take possession of the promised land, the promised rest, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

12. For the word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

This verse may be interpreted with reference to the incarnate Word or to the inspired Word, and they are so closely united and related to each other that we need not attempt to separate them, but see Christ in the Word, and the Word in Christ, and learn that both Christ and the Word do for us all that the apostle here declares.

13. Neither is there any creature that is not revealed in his sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom we have to deal.

However great a revealer the Word may be, however clear a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, the God who gave the Word is even more so.

14. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, who is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firm our profession.

Shall we desert him now that he has gone into heaven to represent us, now that he has fought the fight, and won the victory on our behalf, and gone up to heaven as our Representative? God forbid!

15, 16. For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2148, “The Tenderness of Jesus” 2149}

(This Exposition was originally published in sermon No. 3184, “Maroth; or, the Disappointed” because there was no space available to publish it with this sermon. Editor.)

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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