3237a. Our Lord’s Preaching

by Charles H. Spurgeon on May 11, 2021
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No. 3237a-57:73. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, February 16, 1911

The Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted. {Isa 61:1}

 

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1604, “Heart Disease Curable” 1604}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2371, “Freedom at Once and For Ever” 2372}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3104, “Binding Up Broken Hearts” 3105}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3237, “Our Lord’s Preaching” 3238}

   Exposition on 2Sa 15:13-23 Isa 61; Mr 14:22-41 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3431, “King Crossing Over Kidron, The” 3433 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 61 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2478, “Christ’s Perfection and Precedence” 2479 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 61 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2543, “Good Reasons for a Good Resolution” 2544 @@ "Exposition"}

 

1. Our Lord’s anointing was with a special view to his preaching. Such honour does the Lord of heaven and earth put on the ministry of the Word that, as one of the old Puritans said, “God had only one Son, and he made a preacher of him.” It should greatly encourage the weakest among us, who are preachers of righteousness, to think that the Son of God, the blessed and eternal Word, came into this world so that he might preach the same good news which we are called to proclaim.

2. I. We may profitably note, first, HOW EARNESTLY OUR LORD KEPT TO HIS WORD.

3. It was his business to preach, and he did preach, he was always preaching. “What,” you say, “did he not perform miracles?” Yes, but his miracles were sermons; they were acted discourses, full of instruction. He preached when he was on the mountain, he equally preached when he sat eating in the Pharisee’s house. All his actions were significant; he preached by every movement. He preached when he did not speak; his silence was as eloquent as his words. He preached when he gave, and he preached when he received; he was preaching a sermon when he lent his feet to the woman so that she might wash them with her tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head, quite as much as when he was breaking the loaves and the fishes, and feeding the multitude. He preached by his patience before Pilate, for there he witnessed a good confession. He preached from the bloody tree; with hands and feet fastened there, he delivered the most wonderful discourse on justice and of love, on vengeance and of grace, on death and of life, that was ever preached in this poor world. Oh, yes, he preached wonderfully, he was always preaching; with all his heart and soul he preached! He prayed so that he might obtain strength to preach. He wept in secret so that he might all the more compassionately speak the word which wipes men’s tears away. Always a preacher, he was always ready, in season and out of season, with a good word. As he walked the streets he preached as he went along; and if he sought retirement, and the people thronged him, he did not send them away without a gracious word.

4. This was his one calling, and this one calling he pursued in the power of the eternal Spirit; and he liked it so well, and thought so much of it, that he trained his eleven friends to do the same work, and sent them out to preach as he had done; and then he chose seventy more disciples to go on the same errand. Did he shave the head of one of them to make him a priest? Did he decorate one of them with a gown, or a chasuble, {b} or a biretta? {c} Did he teach one of them to say the mass, to swing a censer, or to elevate the host? Did he instruct one of them to regenerate children by baptism? Did he bring them up to chant in surplices {d} and march in processions? No; he never thought of those things, and neither will we. If he had thought of them, it would only have been with utter contempt, for what is there in such childish things? The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who perish, but to us who are saved it is the wisdom of God, and the power of God; for it still pleases God “by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.” Nor, at the close of his career, had our Lord lowered his estimate of preaching, for, just before he ascended, he said, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” His last charge in brief was, “Preach; preach even as I have done before you.” He lived the Prince of preachers, he died and became the theme of preachers, he lives again and is the Lord of preachers. What an honourable work is that to which his servants are called!

5. II. Secondly, since you have seen that our Saviour came to preach, NOW NOTICE HIS SUBJECT: “The Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the meek.”

6. And what good news did he preach? Pardon, pardon given to the chief of sinners, pardon for prodigal sons pressed to their Father’s bosom; restoration from their lost state, as the piece of money was restored to the treasury, and the lost sheep was brought back to the fold. How encouragingly he preached of a life given to men dead in sin, life through the living water which becomes a fountain within the soul! You know how sweetly he would say, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life”;—“He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet he shall live”;—“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” He preached the absolute necessity of a change of heart, and the need of a new creation. He said, “You must be born again”; and he taught the truths by which the Holy Spirit works in us, and make all things new.

7. He preached good news concerning resurrection, and told men to look for endless bliss by faith in him. He cried, “I am the resurrection and the life;…and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” He gave out precepts, too, and threatenings in their place,—some of them very searching and terrible; but they were only used as accessories to the good news. He made men feel that they were poor, so that they might be willing to be made rich by his grace. He made them feel weary and burdened, so that they might come to him for rest; but the sum and substance of what he preached was the gospel,—the good spell,—the glad news.

8. Brethren, our divine Lord always preached on that subject, and did not stoop to secular themes. If you notice, though he would sometimes debate with Pharisees, Herodians, and others, as needs must be, yet he was soon away from them, and back to his one theme. He baffled them with his wisdom, and then returned to the work he loved, namely, preaching where the tax collectors and sinners drew near together “for to hear him.” Our business, since the Spirit of God is on us, is not to teach politics, except only in so far as these immediately touch the kingdom of Christ, and there the gospel is the best weapon. Nor is it our business to be preaching mere morals, and rules of duty; our ethics must be drawn from the cross, and begin and end there. We have not so much to declare what men ought to do as to preach the good news of what God has done for them. Nor must we always be preaching certain doctrines, as doctrines, apart from Christ. We are only theologians as far as theology enshrines the gospel. We have one thing to do, and we must stick to that one thing. The old proverb says, “Cobbler, stick to your last”; {e} and, depend on it, it is good advice to the Christian minister to stick to the gospel, and not leave it.

9. I hope I have always kept to my theme; but I take no credit for it, for I know nothing else; and, like the apostle Paul, I have determined not to know anything among men, except Jesus Christ and him crucified. Indeed, “necessity is laid on me, yes, woe is me, if I do not preach the gospel.” I would gladly have only one eye, and that eye capable of seeing nothing from the pulpit but lost men and the gospel of their salvation; to all else one may well be blind, so that the entire force of the mind may centre on the great essential subject. There is, certainly, enough in the gospel for any one man, enough to fill any one life, to absorb all our thought, emotion, desire, and energy, yes, infinitely more than the most experienced Christian and the most intelligent teacher will ever be able to bring out. If our Master stayed with his one topic, we may wisely do the same; and if any say that we are narrow, let us delight in that blessed narrowness which brings men into the narrow way. If any denounce us as cramped in our ideas, and confined to one set of truths, let us rejoice to be constricted with Christ, and consider it the best enlargement of our minds. It would be good to be bound with cords to his altar, to lose all hearing but for his voice, all seeing but for his light, all life but in his life, all glorying except in his cross. If he who knew all things taught only the one necessary thing, his servants may rightly enough do the same. “The Lord has anointed me,” he says, “to preach good news”; in this anointing let us remain.

10. III. But NOW NOTICE THE PEOPLE TO WHOM HE ESPECIALLY ADDRESSED THE GOOD NEWS.

11. They were “the meek.” Just turn to the fourth chapter of Luke where our Lord was reading this passage in the synagogue at Nazareth, and you will read there, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.” {Lu 4:18} The poor, then, are among the people intended by the term “the meek.” I noticed, when I was looking through various comments on this passage, that the Syriac renders it “the humble,” and I think the Vulgate renders it “the gentle.” Calvin translates it “the afflicted.” It all comes to the same thing. “The meek”—a people who are not lofty in their thoughts, for they have been broken down; a people who are not proud and lifted up, but low in their own esteem; a people who are often much troubled and tossed about in their thoughts; a people who have lost proud hopes and self-conceited joys; a people who seek no high things, crave for no honours, desire no praises, but bow before the Lord in humility; they would gladly creep into any hole to hide themselves, because they have such a sense of insignificance, and worthlessness, and sin. They are a people who are often desponding, and are apt to be driven to despair. The meek, the poor,—meek because they are poor; they would be as bold as others if they had as much as others, or as others think they have; but God has emptied them, and so they have nothing to boast about. They feel the iniquity of their nature, the plague of their hearts; they mourn that in them there dwells no good thing, and often they think themselves to be the offscouring of all things. They imagine themselves to be more brutish than any man, and quite beneath the Lord’s regard; sin weighs them down, and yet they accuse themselves of insensitivity and impenitence.

12. Now, God the Father has anointed the Lord Jesus on purpose to preach the gospel to such as these. If any of you are good and deserving, the gospel is not for you. If any of you imagine that you are keeping God’s laws perfectly, and hope to be saved by your works, I have to tell you that the healthy have no need of a physician, and that the Lord Jesus did not come on so needless an errand as that of healing men who have no wounds or diseases. But the sick need a doctor, and Jesus has come in great compassion to remove their sickness. The more diseased you are, the more sure you may be that the Saviour came to heal such as you are. The more poor you are, the more certain you may be that Christ came to enrich you; the more sad and sorrowful you are, the more sure you may be that Christ came to comfort you. You nobodies, you who have been turned upside down, and emptied right out, you who are bankrupts and beggars, you who feel yourselves to be clothed with rags, and covered with wounds and bruises and putrefying sores, you who are utterly bad through and through, and know it, and mourn it, and are humbled about it, you may know that God has poured the holy oil without measure on Christ on purpose so that he might give mercy to such poor creatures as you are. What a blessing this is! How we ought to rejoice in the anointing of Jesus, since it benefits such despicable objects! We who feel that we are such objects ought to cry, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

13. IV. We must now CONSIDER OUR LORD’S INTENTION AND OBJECT IN PREACHING THE GOSPEL LIKE THIS TO THE POOR AND THE MEEK.

14. It was, you observe, that he might bind up the broken-hearted. “He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted.”

15. Carefully give heed to the text, so that you may see whether this message applies to you. Are you broken-hearted because of sin; because you have sinned often, foully, and grievously? Are you broken-hearted because your heart will not break as you would desire that it should break; broken-hearted because you repent that you cannot repent as you wish, and grieved because you cannot grieve enough? Are you broken-hearted because you do not have such a sense of sin as you ought to have, and such a deep loathing of it as you perceive that others have? Are you broken-hearted with despair concerning self-salvation; broken-hearted because you cannot keep God’s law; broken-hearted because you cannot find comfort in ceremonies; broken-hearted because the things which looked best have turned out to be deceptions; broken-hearted because, all the world over, you have found nothing but broken cisterns which can hold no water, which have mocked your thirst when you have gone to them; broken-hearted with longing after peace with God; broken-hearted because prayer does not seem to be answered; broken-hearted because, when you come to hear the gospel, you fear that it is not applied to you with power; broken-hearted because you had a little light, and yet slipped back into darkness; broken-hearted because you are afraid you have committed the unpardonable sin; broken-hearted because of blasphemous thoughts which horrify your mind, and yet will not leave it? I do not care why or for what reason you are broken-hearted; Jesus Christ came into the world, sent by God with this object,—“to bind up the broken-hearted.”

16. It is a beautiful metaphor, this binding up,—as though the Crucified One took the liniment and the strapping, and put it around the broken heart, and with his own dear gentle hand proceeded to close up the wound, and make it cease to bleed. Luke does not tell us that Jesus came to bind up the broken-hearted; if you examine his version of the text, you will read that he came to heal them. That is going even further, because you may bind a wound up, and yet fail to cure it, but Jesus never fails in his surgery. He whose own heart was broken knows how to cure broken hearts. I have heard of people dying of a broken heart, but I always bless God when I meet those who live with a broken heart because it is written, “A broken and a contrite heart, oh God, you will not despise.” If you have that broken heart within you, beloved, Christ came to cure you; and he will do it, for he never came in vain: “he shall not fail nor be discouraged.” With sovereign power, anointed from on high, he watches for the worst of cases. Heart disease, incurable by man, is his speciality! His gospel touches the root of the soul’s illness, the mischief which dwells in that place from where the issues of life are. With pity, wisdom, power, and condescension he bends over our broken bones; and before he is finished with them, he makes them all to rejoice and sing glory to his holy name. Come then, you troubled ones, and rely on your Saviour’s healing power. Give yourselves up to his care, confide in his skill, rest in his love. What joy you shall have if you will do this at once! What joy shall I have in knowing that you do so! Above all, what joy will fill the heart of Jesus, the beloved Physician, as he sees you healed by his stripes!


{a} Another Sermon by C. H. Spurgeon, on the latter part of the text, is No. 1604 in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, “Heart Disease Curable”; (a double number, with “Jesus Knew What He Would Do”;) and Expositions of the chapter from which the text is taken are published in Nos. 2478 and 2543. Since this sermon is so short, there is included with it and Address, given by Mr. Spurgeon, at a prayer meeting for Sunday Schools, which is just as timely and as much needed now as when it was delivered in 1877.
{b} Chasuble: An ecclesiastical vestment, a kind of sleeveless mantle covering the body and shoulders, worn over the alb and stole by the celebrant at Mass or the Eucharist. OED.
{c} Biretta: The square cap worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church; that of priests being black, of bishops purple, of cardinals red. OED.
{d} Surplice: A loose vestment of white linen having wide sleeves and, in its amplest form, reaching to the feet, worn (usually over a cassock) by clerics, choristers, and others taking part in church services. OED.
{e} Last: A wooden model of the foot, on which shoemakers shape boots and shoes. OED.

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