3222. “The Lamb Of God”

by Charles H. Spurgeon on April 19, 2021
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No. 3222-56:529. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, February 20, 1870, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, November 3, 1910.

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. {Joh 1:29}

 

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1987, “Behold the Lamb of God” 1988}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2646, “Baptist’s Message, The” 2647}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3222, “Lamb of God, The” 3223}

   Exposition on Isa 40:1-17,25-31 Joh 1:29-42 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3432, “Zeal of the Lord, The” 3434 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 1:1-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2259, “Simplicity and Sublimity of Salvation” 2260 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 1:1-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3222, “Lamb of God, The” 3223 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 1:1-37 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2329, “Lamb of God in Scripture, The” 2330 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 1:19-33 19:1-16 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3457, “All Are Guilty” 3459 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 1:19-51 Mt 4:12-24 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2646, “Baptist’s Message, The” 2647 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 1:29-51 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2375, “Found by Jesus, and Finding Jesus” 2376 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Mt 3:1-12 Joh 1:15-37 3:22-36 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2818, “Jesus and His Forerunner” 2819 @@ "Exposition"}

 

1. Before we plunge into our main subject, it is necessary to notice what is implied in our text, which is that “the world” was lost through sin, that all mankind had become guilty before God. You, therefore, my dear hearer, are one of those who are guilty. Though you may never have broken the laws of your country, nor even the rules of propriety; though you may be both amiable and admirable in your general deportment, yet, for all this, since “there is none righteous, no, not one,” you also are included among the unrighteous. It does not matter what religious professions you may have made, or what outward forms of godliness you may have observed, unless you have a better righteousness than your own, you are a lost sinner. I believe there is now present a brother who, when he was first convicted of sin, strove hard to make himself a better man, under the mistaken idea that this was the way of salvation; and when, one Sabbath night, he heard me say that all the reforms you could ever make on your old nature would be useless concerning the matter of salvation, but that “you must be born again,” he felt very angry, and made a vow that he would never be found listening to me again; there he is, rejoicing that the Lord has taught him to see himself as a lost, ruined sinner, and to put his heart’s trust in Jesus Christ, the sinner’s Saviour.

2. It is very likely that, if I had time to explain to you, my hearer, the fulness of your sin and the utter ruin of your natural state, you also would grow angry. You would have no reason to be angry, for all that I could say would fall far short of the truth about your real condition in the sight of God; and it is most solemnly important for you to know that, however high you may stand in the ranks of merely moral men, you are a lost soul, and a condemned soul, as long as you remain without living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are angry with the minister of the gospel who tells you his truth, you are as foolish as a certain Brahmin of whom I have heard. His religion consisted chiefly in not eating any animal food or destroying any kind of life. The missionary told him that it was impossible for him to carry out such a “religion” as that, “for,” he said, “in every drop of water that you drink, you swallow thousands of animals, and so destroy vast quantities of animal life.” Then he put a drop of water out of the cup from which the Brahmin had been drinking under his microscope, and so convinced him of the truth of what he had said; and when the Brahmin saw the creatures moving in the water, instead of abandoning his false theory, he grew very angry, and dashed the microscope on the ground. He was not angry, you see, with the fact, but with what revealed the fact; like the lazy housemaid, who said she was quite sure that she always kept the rooms clean, but that it was the nasty sun that would shine in, and make everything look so dusty! The fault is not in the gospel which we preach, so you should not be angry with it, or with us; the fault is in yourselves, in your own hearts and lives; and if you do not like to be told the truth about sin, it is a sure sign that your heart is not right in the sight of God. It is still true that “everyone who does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

3. Well then, with that truth taken for granted,—that, you, whom I am now addressing, have sinned, and are therefore under God’s condemnation unless you are trusting in Christ,—we now come directly to our text. We shall take it, not merely as though John the Baptist were speaking it, but as we may now use it from our point of view. It appears to me to be the whole gospel in a very brief form. You may sometimes write much in a very few words, and here you have an epitome of the whole gospel of God in these few syllables: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” I am going to ask, and try to answer, three questions: first, what is to be beheld? secondly, what is to be done? and, thirdly, why should we do this?

4. I. First, then, WHAT IS TO BE BEHELD?

5. The text mentions a Lamb, by which is meant a sacrifice. Under the Jewish law, those who had offended brought sacrifices, and offered them to God. These sacrifices were representations of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the Lamb of God.” Listen, my dear hearer, and I will tell you the gospel in a few sentences. Since God is just, it is inevitable that sin should be punished. If he would pardon you, how can this be righteously accomplished? Only like this: Jesus Christ, his Son, came to earth and stood in the room, and place, and stead of all those who believe in him; and God accepted him as the substitutionary sacrifice for all those who put their trust in him. Under the Jewish law, the Lamb was put to death so that the man might not be put to death; and, in the same way, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour suffered the pangs of death by crucifixion and the greater agony of the wrath of God so that we might not suffer the pangs of hell and the eternal wrath which is due to sin. There is no other way of salvation under heaven but this. God cannot relax his justice, and he will by no means clear the guilty; but, he laid on Christ the full punishment that was due to sin, and struck him as though he had been the actual offender, and now, turning around to you, he tells you that, if you trust in Jesus, the merits of his great atoning sacrifice shall be imputed to you, and you shall live for ever in glory because Jesus died on the cross of Calvary. If any of you would have your sins forgiven, and so enjoy peace with God, you must look by faith to that sacrifice which was offered on Calvary, and keep your eyes of faith fixed there, and sooner or later you will certainly receive the blessings of peace into your souls.

6. But the text not only mentions a Lamb; it says, “Behold the Lamb of God,” and I draw your special attention to that expression. It is not merely a sacrifice to which you are to look, but the sacrifice that God has appointed and ordained to be the one and only sacrifice for sin. This is an all-important point. “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.…It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” If Christ had not been sent by God to be the Saviour of sinners, our faith would have had no firm foundation to rest on; but since God himself has presented Christ to be the propitiation for human guilt, then he cannot reject the sinner who accepts that propitiation. I need not raise any questions concerning whether Christ’s atonement is sufficient, for God says that it is; and since he is well satisfied with the sacrifice offered by his only-begotten and well-beloved Son, surely the most troubled conscience may be equally well satisfied with it. Your offence, my friend, was committed against God; if, then, God is content with what Christ has done on your behalf, and so is willing to pardon you, surely you need not enquire any further, but with gratitude you should at once accept the reconciliation which Christ has made. It is “the Lamb of God” whom I have to ask you to “behold.” It is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who dies on Calvary, “the Just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God.” It was God who appointed him to die as the Substitute for sinners, it was God who accepted this sacrifice when he died; and now, Jehovah himself, speaking from his throne of glory, says to the sinner, “Believe in my Son, whom I have presented as the propitiation for human sin; trust in him, and you shall be eternally saved.”

7. Still further to bring out the full force of the text, notice the next words, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” When Jesus Christ was put into our place, our sin was laid on him; and sin, like anything else, cannot be in two places at the same time. If, then, I, being a believer in Jesus, know that all my sin was laid on Christ, it follows necessarily that I have no sin left on me. It has become Christ’s burden; he has taken it away from me. “Yes,” you say, “but then the sin is still on Christ.” Ah! but, my hearers, if our Lord Jesus Christ, “himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree,” there he endured all the punishment that was due to us, or an equivalent for it, and those sins were by that means put away; that is to say, they ceased to be; so they do not exist any longer. All my indebtedness to God was transferred to Christ, and he paid all my debts. Then, where are my debts now? Why, there are none, they are all gone for ever. This is what Christ does for everyone who truly trusts in him; he takes that man’s sins, suffers what that man ought to have suffered, and puts that man’s sins absolutely out of existence, so that they cease to be. Christ has accomplished the great work described to Daniel by the angel Gabriel; he has finished the transgression, made an end of sins,—what a strong expression that is!—made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness. How gloriously he has put sin right away for all who believe in him! “As far as the east is from the west, so far he has removed our transgressions from us.” Of all sinners in the whole world who believe in Jesus Christ; it may be truly said that all their sins are gone past all recall; God has cast them into the depths of the Red Sea of the Saviour’s blood, and they shall not be remembered against them any more for ever. It is like this that the Lamb of God takes or bears away sin.

8. But whose sin does he take away? The text says, “the sin of the world.” By this expression, I believe is intended the sin, not of the Jews only, but of Jews and Gentiles alike;—the sin, not of a few sinners only, but of all sinners in the whole world who come to Jesus, and put their trust in him. He has so taken away “the sin of the world” that every sinner in the world who will come to him, and trust in him, shall have all his sins put away for ever. Whether he is Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, Barbarian or Scythian, bond or free, if he truly believes in Jesus, it is certain that Christ took all his sins away. Whether he was born nearly two millennia ago, or whether he shall be born in the ages that are yet to come, does not make any difference to this fact,—Christ has borne his sins if he trusts in Jesus as his own Saviour. This is the sign and token by which he may assuredly know that he has a saving and eternal interest in the precious blood of Jesus: “He who believes in him is not condemned.” The gate of grace is thrown very wide open in our text; if it were not, some poor sinners would be afraid to enter. “Oh!” asks one, “is this mercy for me? Is it for me?” Well, friend, I will ask you a question,—will you trust Christ? Will you come to him this very moment, and take the mercy that he freely presents to all who will accept it? If so, I am sure that it is yours, as sure as I am that it is mine.

9. Possibly, someone has come in here tonight hoping to hear something new; but I have nothing new to tell, nor do I ever wish to have anything more new than this, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”; or this, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When Dr. Judson went home to America from Burma, there was a large congregation gathered together, and they requested the returned missionary, the veteran of so many years of service, to address the assembly. He stood up, and simply told the story that I have again told you tonight, the story of Christ suffering in the place of sinners, and of Christ saving all who trust him. Then he sat down; and one who sat next to him said to him, “I am afraid the friends are rather disappointed; they expected to hear something interesting from you.” He said, “I have spoken to them, to the best of my ability, on the most interesting subject in the whole world; what could I have done better than that?” “Yes,” said the other; “but, after having been abroad for so long, they thought that you would tell them some interesting story; they did not think you would come all the way from Burma just to tell them only that.” The missionary then rose, and said, “I should like to go home feeling that, although I have come all the way from Burma, I do not know anything that I can tell you that I think is half so good for you to hear, or half so interesting, as the story of the love of Christ in dying to save sinners.” The good doctor was right; and I feel, just as he did, that there is nothing so interesting as the story of the cross. You want to hear it, you who are already saved; and you want to hear it, you who are not yet saved. You must hear it, for there is no hope of salvation for you except as faith shall come to you by hearing, and especially hearing that portion of the Word of God which deals most closely with the cross of Christ.

10. One night, a dissolving view {a} lecture on the Holy Land was being given; and, as the audience, sitting in darkness, looked at a picture of Jerusalem, they were startled by a voice asking, “Where is Calvary?” Ah! and that is the question that many of you want to ask, “Where is Calvary?” There you must turn your eye, where, between the two thieves, your Saviour died. If you really do look to him as he dies there for guilty sinners, you are saved; and then, whatever else you do not know, you know enough to save you, for you are wise to eternal life. May the Lord graciously make you wise like this through the effective working of his ever-blessed Spirit! So then, God in human flesh, the divinely-appointed sacrifice for human guilt, “the Lamb of God,” is what you are in our text invited to “behold.”

11. II. But now, secondly, WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

12. How are we to have a part and lot in that great sacrifice which Christ offered on Calvary? The answer of the text is, “Behold”—that is, look to “the Lamb of God.”

 

   “There is life in a look at the Crucified One.”

 

“Behold the Lamb of God” means believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, trust in him as your Saviour, accept God’s revelation concerning him, and rely on him to save you. This is the way of salvation.

13. Notice how opposed this is to the idea that we are critically to understand the doctrines of the gospel before we can be saved. How many people there are who want to know this and to understand that! They come to us, and say, “Here are two texts that do not seem to us to square with each other, and there are those two doctrines of divine sovereignty and human responsibility which do not appear to be consistent with each other. Must we understand all the mysteries before we can be saved?” Oh foolish people! they remind me of one who is shipwrecked, and who, as the life-boat comes up to the sinking ship, or to the spar on which he is floating, says to the captain, “Before I can get on board that life-boat, I want to know the exact number of planks there are in it; and I do not think that knowing that would satisfy me, I should like also know how many rivets and bolts there are in the boat; and I want also to know what is the theory of the operation of the oars on the waves, and how it is that boats are propelled.” If a man ever did talk like this, I am pretty sure that the captain of the life-boat would exclaim, “What a fool that man is! He is in danger of drowning, yet he talks like this! Get into the boat at once, or we must leave you to perish!” And I also feel that you unconverted sinners have no business to set yourselves up as critics of the Word of God. There is something much simpler than that for you to do, and the text tells you to do it. It is this, “Behold the Lamb of God”; do not sit down to manufacture difficulties; “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” There are various ways of using a piece of bread. One man may take it, and use it to rub out the pencil marks which he has made on a sheet of paper. Another man may take it to the analyst, and ask him to see how much alum the baker may have put into it. But the really hungry man, the one who gets the most good out of the piece of bread, eats it; and that is what I recommend you to do with the gospel;—not begin to turn it around this way and that, not ask all kinds of questions concerning it, but feed on it; and the way to feed on it is to accept and believe it, and especially to put your trust in Jesus Christ, who is the very essence of the gospel.

14. “Behold the Lamb of God,” says the text; then that command is opposed to the question that troubles so many,—whether they are elect or not. That is like wanting to read Hebrew before one has learned to speak English. Such people are not content to learn the ABC, the elements, the rudiments of the gospel first, they want to know the gospel’s classics, or mathematics, or metaphysics first, but that cannot be. During the recent hard frosts, I have struck up an acquaintance with a little friend who, I am afraid, may desert me eventually, but our friendship has been extremely pleasant to each of us so far. On the little balcony outside my study windows, I observed a robin frequently coming, so I took an opportunity, one morning, to put some crumbs there, and I have done the same thing every morning since; and my little feathered friend comes close up to the window frame, and picks up the crumbs, and I do not perceive that he has any difficulty about whether the crumbs were laid there for him, or whether I had any electing love towards him in my heart. There were the crumbs, he wanted them, and he picked them up, and ate them; and I can tell you that, in doing so, he exactly fulfilled my purpose in putting the crumbs there. I thought that he acted very wisely; and I think that, if a poor sinner wants mercy, and he sees that there is mercy to be had, he had better not stop to ask, “Did God decree me to have it?” but go and take it, and he will then find that, in doing so, he is fulfilling God’s decrees. My little robin friend is very wise in his way, for he has called a friend of his to join him at the feast on the balcony. How he did it, I do not know; but he managed to tell a blackbird all about the crumbs, and he brought him last Friday morning to see them for himself. The blackbird was rather shy at first, and stood for a while on the iron bar of the balcony; but, after looking in at the study window, he hopped down, and neither he nor the robin asked whether it was my purpose that the blackbird should have any of the crumbs; but there were the crumbs, and they were both hungry, so they came and fed together. So, if any of you find Jesus Christ for yourselves, and you know some poor soul who wants him, do not begin asking whether it is God’s purpose or decree that he also should find the Saviour; you go and invite him to come to Jesus, and then both of you come to the Saviour together; and then, just as the robin and blackbird exactly fulfilled my purpose in throwing out the crumbs, so, when you and your friend too come to Christ, you will rejoice to find that both of you have fulfilled the eternal purpose of the divine decree of the great heart of God. It is not your business to look into the book of God’s secret purposes, but, to look to Christ, or, as our text puts it, to “behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

15. Ah! but this beholding of the Lamb of God is a thing to which men cannot readily be brought. I know many whose consciences are truly awakened, and who see themselves as sinners in the sight of God; but, instead of beholding the Lamb of God, they are continually beholding themselves. I do not think that they have any confidence in their own righteousness, but they are afraid that they do not feel their guilt as much as they ought. They think that they are not yet sufficiently awakened, sufficiently humbled, sufficiently penitent, and so on, and so they fix their eyes on themselves in the hope of getting peace with God. Suppose that, yesterday, or the day before, you had felt very cold, and therefore you had gone outside your house, and fixed your gaze on the ice and the snow, do you think that sight would have warmed you? No; you know you would have been getting colder all the time. Suppose you are very poor, and you studiously fix your mind’s eye on your empty pocket, do you think that will enrich you? Or imagine that you have had an accident, and that one of your bones is broken, if you think very seriously of that broken bone, do you think that your consideration will mend it? Yet some sinners seem to imagine that salvation can come to them through their consideration of their lost and ruined condition. My dear unconverted hearers, you are lost whether you know it or not. Take that fact for granted. If you would be saved, do not look at yourselves, but “behold the Lamb of God.” He has been sent by his Father to be the Saviour of sinners, and it is by trust in him that peace and pardon will come to you. Please do not suppose, for a single moment, that your repentance, your tears, or your softened heart can prepare you for Christ. Do not come to Christ because you have a tender heart, but come to Christ to get a tender heart. Do not come to him because you are fit to come, but because you want to be made fit; and remember that—

 

   All the fitness he requireth

      Is to feel your need of him;

         This he gives you;

      ’Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

 

But give up looking at yourself, and “behold the Lamb of God.”

16. Let me also, dear friend, warn you against the notion that your prayers can save you apart from beholding Christ. I believe that it is both the duty and the privilege of every living soul to pray; but that the first command to a sinner is to pray, I deny. There first command is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”; and when you have done that, you will soon start praying. I think it is stated, in McCheyne’s life, that, after an earnest sermon, he found a man under deep concern of soul; and, after saying a word or two to him, he said, “I cannot stay longer with you myself, but there is one of my elders who will pray with you.” The elder did so, and he prayed in so fervent a fashion that it was remarked that he seemed to be like Jacob wrestling with the angel until he prevailed. The man afterwards came to see Mr. McCheyne, and he said to him, “I am very thankful that I was at your church that night; I feel very happy, and I believe I am saved.” “Well,” said McCheyne, “what makes you feel so happy?” “Oh!” he said, “I have great faith in that good man’s prayers.” McCheyne at once said, “My friend, I am afraid that good man’s prayers will ruin you; if that is the place where you are putting your confidence, you are utterly mistaken.” He was quite right, and your own prayers will be just such an obstacle in your way if you trust in them instead of trusting in Christ. “I know I pray,” one says, “and I am very earnest in prayer.” Well, I am glad of that as far as it goes; but if you do not have something better to trust in than your own prayers, your prayers will ruin you; for the look of faith is not to be given to prayer, but to Christ. Our text says, “Behold the Lamb of God.” I have told you what that means,—look by faith to the sacrifice that Christ made for sinners on the cross at Calvary; and if you look to anything else for salvation, you will not find it. Even your prayers, apart from faith in Christ, will not save you from everlasting destruction. Oh sinner, get away from everything else to Christ!

 

   None but Jesus, none but Jesus,

      Can do helpless sinners good.

 

17. This great truth, that believing is the divinely-appointed means of salvation, may be illustrated by the old story of the children of Israel and the serpent of bronze. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 153, “The Mysteries of the Brazen Serpent” 147} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 285, “Man’s Ruin and God’s Remedy” 277} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1500, “Number 1500, Or Lifting Up the Brazen Serpent” 1500} (This sermon is published in book form, and is especially adapted for wide-spread distribution.) You have heard it scores of times; but please listen to it once more. When the people were bitten by the poisonous serpents in the wilderness, they were commanded to look at the serpent of bronze that was lifted upon a pole; and whoever looked, lived. They had nothing to do but look. Moses lifted up the serpent, and pointed to it, and cried, “Look! Look! Look! and be healed.” Possibly, there were some who said they were bitten too badly to look. Well, if they could not or did not look, they would die. They might think it was a proof of their humility to say, “We are too sick to be cured”; but if they did so, they would die whether they were humble or not. Oh my hearer, do not be lost through a mock humility which is really abominable pride! You are not too great a sinner to be saved. I will venture to say that you will dishonour Christ if you ever think such a thing; so do not let that sinful thought destroy you.

18. There may have been others who said, “We shall not look to the bronze serpent, for we only have a mere scratch; it will soon be gone.” But you know a poisonous scratch means death; and if your sin were only a scratch, (and it is much more than that,) it would mean eternal damnation for you. So look to Jesus, I implore you, just as you are; look now, look and live.

19. Perhaps there was one who said, “My father had a famous recipe for serpent bites, it was given to him by a famous doctor in Egypt; so we will mix up the proper ingredients, and by so doing get cured.” Well, if any who were bitten were to act and speak like that, they would all die; the deadly venom would certainly destroy them, whatever ointments they might use. A look at the bronze serpent gave life; but the refusal to look brought death.

20. There may have been some fine gentlemen there who had imbibed sceptical notions during their life in Egypt. They were so clever that they thought they knew a great deal more than the Lord’s servant to whom God had specifically revealed the only effective remedy, so they turned on their heels, and said, “Such a remedy as this is utterly ridiculous, it is not according to the laws of physics that the mere looking at a piece of bronze can heal people of the bites of snakes,” so they perished. Notwithstanding all their learning and wit, notwithstanding their jeers at the divinely-appointed remedy, they perished; and no one in the whole camp was healed except those who were simple enough and wise enough to take God at his word. Then, though they were terribly bitten, and their blood was set on fire by the poison, and though some of them were in a truly desperate state, when they just looked at the serpent of bronze, in a moment their blood again flowed healthily through their veins, and their strength returned to them in all its former vigour; and, dear friends, there shall be no soul saved in the whole world except by looking to the crucified Christ of Calvary. All trust in christening, (or even in baptism,) in confirmation, in sacrament, in ceremonies, in priests, and popes, and relics, are altogether a lie; but, as long as God’s Word remains true, he who looks by faith to Christ alone must and shall be eternally saved. Oh, how can I utter this truth so as to make it plainer, or how shall I plead with you so as to bring you all to trust in Christ? I cannot do this, but I pray the Holy Spirit to do it, for he can; and then you will believe in Jesus, and so receive everlasting life.

21. III. I must not detain you longer, since our time has fled; otherwise, I was to have answered a third question, WHY SHOULD WE DO THIS?

22. The answer would have been that God has appointed this as the only way of salvation; that those who obey the command of the text will obtain immediate salvation; and that, being saved, they shall have joy and peace in believing; and that you who neglect or refuse to “behold the Lamb of God” must, without a doubt, perish everlastingly. By his infinite mercy, may God graciously grant that no one, whom I am now addressing, may refuse to believe in Jesus, but may everyone look to him, and live, live now, and live for ever.


{a} Dissolving views: Pictures produced on a screen by a magic lantern, one picture being caused gradually to disappear while another gradually appears on the same field. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 1:1-34}

1. In the beginning was the Word,—

Christ the Word has existed from all eternity. He is the eternal Son of the eternal Father; he is really what Melchizedek was metaphorically, “having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” “In the beginning was the Word,”—

1. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word was as truly God as the Father was God, and as the Spirit was God: “these three are one,” and always have been one. “Very God of very God” is that Jesus whom we trust, and love, and adore.

2-5. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him nothing was made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The light of Christ shone many times amid the darkness that enshrouded the world before his coming to live here in the flesh, yet comparatively few recognised that light, and rejoiced in it. Christ’s light shines more brightly now, but the dark, benighted soul of man does not perceive the brightness of our spiritual Lord until the Holy Spirit works the mighty miracle of regeneration, and so gives sight to those who have been blind.

6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

What a descent it is from “The Word of God” to the “man sent from God, whose name was John!” Jesus himself said concerning John, “Among those who are born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist”; yet, from the greatest of the prophets, what a climb it is to get up to Jesus Christ, the Son of God! “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”

7-9. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which gives light to every man who comes into the world.

That John could not do; he could only bear witness to Christ, the true Light, who only is able to give light, in a larger or lesser degree, “to every man who comes into the world.”

10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him and the world did not know him.

Oh, what terrible estrangement sin has caused between God and man! What dreadful ignorance sin has created in the human mind! The world was made by Christ, yet “the world did not know him.”

11. He came to his own, and his own did not receive him.

To those who were chosen as “his own” out of all the nations on the earth, to those to whom he was especially promised of old, to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,—to these Jesus came, yet they “did not receive him.”

12. But—

This is a blessed “But.” Though Christ’s own nation, the Jews, as a whole “did not receive him,” there was “a remnant according to the election of grace,” there were some who received him. “But”—

12. As many as received him, he gave power to them to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in his name:

How did those people come to receive him when others rejected him? There must have been some great change accomplished in them to make them different from the rest of their countrymen; and truly there was, for these were twice-born men,—

13. Who were born, not by blood, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by God. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2259, “Simplicity and Sublimity of Salvation” 2260}

So that those who receive Christ, those who truly believe in Christ, are people who have been born, as others have not been born, by a new birth from heaven, a supernatural birth, so that they are a people set apart by themselves as those who have been twice created, first as human beings just like others, and then as new creatures in Christ Jesus.

14-18. And the Word was made flesh, and lived among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, “This was he of whom I spoke, he who comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.” And of his fulness we have all received, and grace for grace {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 858, “Fulness of Jesus the Treasury of Saints” 849} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1169, “The Fulness of Christ the Treasury of the Saints” 1160} for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

There is no way of knowing God, and being reconciled to God, unless we receive Jesus Christ, his Son, into our hearts, and learn from him, through the Holy Spirit’s teaching, all that he delights to reveal to us concerning his Father.

19-23. And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed, and did not deny but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he says, “I am not.” “Are you that prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice—

Not the Word, but “the voice” by which the Word was to be made known: “I am the voice”—

23-27. Of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” And those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him, “Why do you baptize then, if you are not that Christ, nor Elijah, neither that prophet?” John answered them saying, “I baptize with water: but there stands one among you, whom you do not know, it is he, who coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to loose.”

See the true humility of this faithful servant of Christ. He does not dream of putting his own name side by side with his Master’s. The loosing of shoe-latchets was work for a slave to do; but if we are privileged to perform this work for Christ, it will make us as kings before him. To do anything for Christ, to have even a menial’s place in his palace, is better than being an emperor among men. May we have the portion of those who are not ashamed to loose the latchet of Christ’s shoes!

28-31. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and says, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me: for he was before me.’ And I did not know him:

“When I first saw him,”—

31-34. But that he should be revealed to Israel, therefore I am come baptizing with water.” And John bore record, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him. And I did not know him: but he who sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, ‘On whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I saw, and bore record that this is the Son of God.”

Since John’s time, many others have borne similar testimony. We also have received him, and rejoice to say that he has baptised us with the Holy Spirit. All that John said of him is true, and much more than John said is also true. He is the Lamb of God, who has taken upon himself the sin of all who believe in him, and therefore he is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by him. Oh, that all men would receive the testimony concerning him which we find in this blessed Book, and which we delight to repeat in his name!

C. H. Spurgeon’s Useful Books at Reduced Prices.

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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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