3241. The Painful And Puzzling Question

by Charles H. Spurgeon on May 18, 2021
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No. 3241-57:121. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, March 16, 1911.

How is it that you have no faith? {Mr 4:40}

 

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1964, “Why is Faith So Feeble?” 1965}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3241, “Painful and Puzzling Question, A” 3243}

   Exposition on Mr 4:35-41 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3241, “Painful and Puzzling Question, A” 3243 @@ "Exposition"}

 

1. This question may be very properly asked of those who have no faith at all, and we intend to ask it in the second part of our discourse. But it was originally asked of men who had some faith, men who had faith enough to make them disciples of Christ, faith which brought them to sail in the same vessel with him. Even when they reproached him, and said, “Do you not care that we perish?” they had faith enough to make them call him “Master.” Yet, in comparison with the faith which they ought to have had, Christ calls their faith no faith at all. They were so wavering, so tossed about with unbelief, that, though they were his hearty, honest, and sincere followers, he still speaks to them as if they were unbelievers, and says to them, “How is it that you have no faith?”

2. I shall address this question, then, first of all to God’s people, and, in the next place, to the unconverted.

3. I. First, LET US SPEAK TO GOD’S PEOPLE.

4. Let me say, to begin with, that, this is a question which must have been particularly painful to him who asked it. The faith in which they were lacking was faith in him,—their Master, their Lord, who had loved them from before the foundation of the world, and who intended to shed his precious blood for them, and to make them his companions in glory, world without end. Yet they had no faith in him! Let the Lord Jesus come to you, my brothers and sisters, and I think you will detect much sorrow in the tone of his voice when he says, “How is it that you have no faith, or so little faith in me? I have loved you; I have loved you to the death; remember Gethsemane and Golgotha; remember all that I did, and am still doing for you; how is it that you doubt me?” Beloved, if we doubt our fellow men, it is not strange, for Judas is one of a large family; but to doubt the Saviour, the faithful and true Friend who sticks closer than a brother, this is a cut as unkind as any of the lashes which fell on his shoulders when he was chastised in Pilate’s hall.

5. You will see that the question must have pained him if you notice to whom he addressed it. “‘How is it that you have no faith?’ You chosen twelve, you who have been with me from the beginning, you to whom I have expounded the mysteries which have been left dark sayings to the multitude outside,—how is it that my best friends, the picked ones of my band, have no faith in me?” And the Lord seems sorrowfully to ask this question of some of us, “How is it that you have no faith, you whose names are written in my book of life, indeed, inscribed on my hands, and engraved on my heart, you who have been bought with my precious blood, snatched out of the jaws of the lion by my almighty power, and restored from all your wanderings by my loving care? How is it that you, my favourites, the King’s own chosen companions, how is it that you have no faith?”

6. And the question was painful to him for yet a third reason,—namely, that they had no faith on a matter on which one would have thought they might have believed. They were in the vessel with him, and if the boat went to the bottom, they would go to the bottom in good company, for their Lord was with them; and yet they did not have enough faith in him to believe that he would save their lives. Perhaps they knew his ability; if so, they questioned his willingness. Perhaps they knew his willingness; if so, they questioned his ability; and, in any case, it was very painful that they should think their own dear Friend, their Lord and Master, would let them sink when the glance of his eye could save them, or the will of his heart could deliver them.

7. And now, this question, as Jesus Christ asks it of us, must be very painful to him. “Do not you, oh my children, do not you believe me? Mine is an unchangeable love, a love that is stronger than death, a love which led me down into the grave for you; do you not believe me? If others, who do not know me, doubt me, I can endure their unbelief; but unbelief from you, my close personal acquaintances, my own familiar friends,—oh, this is hard indeed! You have sat under my shadow with great delight, and do you doubt me? You have eaten from my fruit, and it has been sweet to your taste, and do you doubt me? My left hand has been under your head, and my right hand has embraced you; I have brought you into my banqueting house; I have feasted you with food such as angels never tasted; I have filled your mouths with songs such as seraphs never sang; I have promised you an inheritance such as princes on earth might well envy, and do you doubt me? Do you doubt me, and do you doubt me about such a matter as whether you shall have food to eat and clothing to put on? Do the lilies doubt me? Do the ravens doubt me? And will you doubt me about a matter concerning which lilies have no care, and the ravens have no thought? Do your doubts relate to your eternal salvation? But have I not guaranteed to save you? Have I not sworn that I will surely deliver every soul that trusts in me? What have I done to make you doubt me like this? How have I failed you? Show me which promise I have broken, to which of my oaths I have been a traitor, or in what case I have turned my back on my friends? Oh, doubt me no longer!”

 

   “Oh fearful! Oh faithless!” in mercy he cries,

   “My promise, my truth, are they light in thine eyes?

   Still, still I am with thee, my promise shall stand,

   Through tempest and tossing I’ll bring thee to land.”

 

8. I wish I could speak in accents that would give some idea of the tenderness of the way in which my Master would ask these questions of you. I think, if he were here in physical presence, and showed you his wounds, he would then say to you, “Can you doubt me with these signs of love in my hands, my feet, and my side? Can you doubt me now?” And as he asked the question, he would make you feel that it stirred intense anguish in his soul if it did not in yours. So you see that this was a painful question for him who asked it.

9. But, in the second place, it was a necessary question for them to hear, and it is a necessary question for us to hear, too. I should like to individualize a little, to hold the mirror up before some of you so that you may see yourselves.

10. There are some here who are doubting Christ because they are in temporal trial. You never were in such a sad position as you are in just now. Business seems to go all contrary to your plans. Your flood-tide has suddenly ebbed, and your vessel threatens to be high and dry on a shoal. You have a promise from God that it shall not be so, for he has said, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you shall dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.” He has said, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain you: he shall never allow the righteous to be moved.” Yet for all that you are still doubting. There is a trouble happening to you tomorrow, or there is a season of trial coming in a week’s time. You have taken it before God in prayer; and yet, even after you had prayed over it, and ask for God’s help, you said to a friend, “I do not know how I shall ever get through it.” Now, was that right? Was that trusting your heavenly Friend? Has he not helped you previously? Has he not delivered you in six troubles, and in seven, shall any evil touch you? Come, dear sister, come, dear brother, come at once to the mercy seat with your burdens, and may God give you faith enough to express your case before him, and you shall then hear him say, “As your days, so shall your strength be.”

 

   In every condition,—in sickness, in health,

   In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;

   At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,

   As thy days may demand shall thy strength ever be.

 

11. Another person is here whose trouble is not about gold and silver, food and clothing; it is much worse, it is a trouble about his soul. He has recently been overwhelmed with a very terrible temptation, and wherever he goes it haunts him. He tries to run away from it, but he thinks he might as well try to run away from his own shadow. It clings to him; it seems to have fastened on his hand as the viper did on Paul, and he cannot shake it off; he is afraid, indeed, that he will never be able to overcome this strong temptation. Have you never read this inspired verse, “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted more than what you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it?” Then, “how is it that you have no faith?” Did not the Lord Jesus teach you to pray, “Do not lead us into temptation?” You have prayed that, and did he not tell you to add, “but deliver us from evil,” as though, if the first petition were not answered, the second one might come in? You have prayed that, and you believe that God hears prayer; how is it, then, that you have no faith to believe that he will hear you in this particular case? Beloved, Christ is not a Saviour merely for some things, but for all things; and he does not come in to help his people simply on some days under certain assaults; but under all temptations, and under all trials, he comes to their rescue. Weak as you are, he can strengthen you; and fierce though the temptation may be, he can cover you from head to foot with a panoply {b} of proof in which you shall stand very gloriously clad, and be safe for ever.

12. The question of the text might just as properly be asked of some Christians in view of service which they might render to Christ. You do not preach in the street, though you have the ability to do so; you say you never could stand up to face the crowd. “How is it that you have no faith?” You do not teach in the Sunday School, though you sometimes think you ought to try it; but you can hardly get enough courage. “How is it that you have no faith?” You would like to say a word or two to an ungodly companion, but you are afraid that it would be of no use, and that you would be laughed at. “How is it that you have no faith?” Can you not say as Nehemiah did, “Should such a man as I flee?” Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who shall die, and of the son of man who is crushed as easily as a moth? Be of good courage, and do your Master’s will. Has he not most certainly said, “‘Do not fear, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will help you,’ says the Lord, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel”? You know that these are his words; then, “how is it that you have no faith?” If we had more faith, dear friends, we should be doing a great deal more for our Lord, and we should succeed in it; but for lack of faith we do not try, and for lack of trying we do not perform, and we are little nobodies when we might serve the Master, and do much if we only had more faith in him.

13. There is another man here who is afraid to die. He has been a Christian for many years; but whenever the thought of death crosses his mind, he tries to shake it off. He is a believer in Christ, but he is afraid that he shall not be able to endure the last trying hour. I remember a sermon which my grandfather once preached, and which was rather a curious one. His text was, “The God of all grace,” and he said that God would give his people all grace, “but,” he said, at the close of each point, “there is one kind of grace you do not need.” The refrain, came several times over, “There is one kind of grace you do not need.” I think his hearers were all puzzled, but they learned what he meant when he closed by saying, “and the kind of grace that you do not need is dying grace in living moments, for you only need that when dying time comes.” It may be that, as we are at this moment, we could not play the man in death; yet I am persuaded that the most timorous women here, the most desponding brethren, if they are only resting on Jesus, will be able to sing in death’s tremendous hour. Do not be afraid, beloved; there will be extraordinary courage given to you when you come into extraordinary trial. Like Hopeful in the river, you will be able to say to your brother Christian, “I feel the bottom, and it is good.” There is a good foothold through the river of death, since Jesus Christ has died. Do not trouble yourself about dying if you are already dead with Christ, for his word is sure, “He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet he shall live; and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” Be of good courage, or else, the next time you are in bondage through fear of death, I shall venture to ask you the question of the text, “How is it that you have no faith?”

14. So I might run through the whole congregation; but perhaps it would be best to conclude the list by saying that this question might often meet us at our prayer closet doors. I hope all of us, who profess to be believers in Christ, know the power of prayer; for if we do not, we are fearful hypocrites. But, brethren, is it not very possible that, after you have been praying, you come down from your prayer closet doubting whether you have been heard? You have asked for a certain mercy, but you do not really expect to receive it; and the Lord might well say to you, “How is it that you have no faith?” You often do not get the blessing because you do not believe that God will give you what you ask for, but remember that “all things are possible for him who believes.” God denies nothing to a fervent heart when it can plead his promise, and lay hold on him by the hand of faith. I wish that we had in all our churches a growing band of man who could really pray. One of the Caesars had what he called “a thundering legion”; they were men who were Christians, and could pray. It is said truly that the man who is mighty on his knees is mighty everywhere. If you can conquer God in prayer,—and that is to be done, you can certainly conquer your fellow creatures. If, when wrestling with the angel, as Jacob did, you can come off victor, you need not be afraid to wrestle with the very devil himself, for you will be more than a match for him through the Lord Jesus Christ.

15. And now, thirdly, dear friends, I think that this is a very humiliating question for us to answer. I do not wish to answer it for you, but I want to propose it to every Christian so that he may answer it for himself. But I will help you to answer it.

16. Can you make a good excuse for your unbelief? I will stand and frankly confess that I cannot find any excuse for mine. This is my history; I will tell it, because I would not wonder if it is very much like yours. I was a stranger to God and to hope, but Jesus sought me. His Spirit taught me my need for him, and I began to cry to him. No sooner did I cry than he heard me, and at length he said to me, “Look, poor trembler, look to me, and I will give you peace.” I did look, and I had peace, and peace which I bless God I have never entirely lost these many years. I looked to him, and was enlightened, and my face was not ashamed.

17. Since then, he has led me in a very exceptional path in providence. My trials have been not so may as I deserved, but still enough; but as my days my strength has been. There has been in temporals an abundant supply, and in spirituals the fountain has never dried up. In my darkest nights he has been my star; in my brightest days he has been my sun. When my enemies have been too many for me, I have left them with him, and he has put them to rout. When my burdens have been too heavy for me to carry, I have cast them on him, and he never seemed to make much of them, but carried them as some great creature might carry a grain of sand. I have not a word to say against him; but if he acts towards me as he has done, if I could live to be as old as Polycarp, and were asked to curse him, I should have to say with him, as I do say now, “How can I curse him? What have I to say against him? He never broke his promise; he never failed in his Word. He has been to me the best Master that a man ever had, though I have been one of the worst of his servants; he has been true and faithful to every jot and tittle, blessed be his name.” If he were to say to me, “How is it that you have no faith?” I am sure I do not know what I could answer; I could only hide my face, and say, “My Master, I seem to be almost a devil to think that I cannot believe more firmly in such a one as you are,—so good, so true, so kind.” No, I cannot make any excuse for myself, and I do not suppose that you can make any excuse for yourselves.

18. I suppose, however, that the real reason for our lack of faith lies in this, that we have low thoughts of God compared with the thoughts of him we ought to have. We do not think him to be so mighty, and so good, and so tender as he is. Then, again, we have very faulty memories; we forget his mighty arm, we forget what he did in past days. Hermon’s Mount and Mizar’s Hill we pass by, and we let his lovingkindness be forgotten. I am afraid, too, that we rely too much on ourselves. Was it not Dr. Gordon who, when he lay dying, said that the secret of strength in faith in Christ was having no faith in ourselves? I am inclined to think that the secret of weak faith in God is our having a good deal of self-reliance; but when you cannot trust in yourselves, then you hang on Christ, and cling to him as your only hope; then you make the grip of a sinking man, and there is no hold like that. There is no hold like that of one who feels, “If I do not grip this, there is nothing else for me to cling to in all the world.

 

   Other refuge have I none,

   Hangs my helpless soul on thee.”

 

I am afraid it is our self-confidence that comes in to mar our trust in God. And, besides that, there is our “evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” I said, the other day, speaking of some sad, sad temptation into which a brother had fallen, that I wished the devil were dead; but, after a while, I corrected myself, and said I wished that I were myself dead, for if myself were dead and gone, and Christ lived in me, I would not mind the devil; but when the devil and myself get working together, they make a sorry mess of it. He might harmlessly bring the sparks if I had not any tinder about me, but it is the tinder in me that does the mischief. He might try his hardest to break into my house if my house were not such a poor clay tenement. Oh Lord Jesus, come and live in my heart! Fill it with yourself, and then there will be no room for Satan. Hold me firmly even to the end.

 

   May thy rich grace impart

   Strength to my fainting heart,

      My zeal inspire:

   As thou hast died for me,

   Oh may my love to thee

   Pure, warm, and changeless be,

      A living fire!

 

19. So here I leave this point with you Christians, only I shall ask to come around in spirit, and say to all doubting Christians here, “How is it that you have no faith?” I will give you the question of my text for you to answer between now and next Lord’s day. Give an account of your unbelief; and if you can give a good account of it, please let us hear it. I never heard any good excuse made for that wicked sinner, Mr. No-Belief. He cannot be put to death, I fear; but I often wish that he could be blown to pieces from the muzzles of the guns of the promises. Oh, that the last rag of him, and the last remnant of him were completely destroyed! John Bunyan, in his Holy War, pictures the citizens of Mansoul going around to pick up the bones of the traitors, and burying them all, “until,” he says, “there was not the least bone, or piece of a bone of a traitor left.” I wish we could get to that state,—that there might not be the least bone, or piece of a bone of a doubter left, so that we might sing confidently concerning our God.

20. II. Now, solemnly, and most affectionately, I WOULD SPEAK TO THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER BELIEVED IN CHRIST.

21. To some of you, that head that once was crowned with thorns is no object of reverence. You have never looked up to “the Man of sorrows,” and felt that “surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” It is nothing to you that Jesus should die. Up to this moment, you have been a stranger to him, so I ask you the question, “How is it that you have no faith?” The question is not an impertinent one, but a very natural one; allow one who would do you good to press it on your minds.

22. Do you not know that faith makes the Christian happy? There are Christians here with very small incomes,—a very few shillings a week; they are living in the depths of poverty, and yet they would not change places with kings, for they are so happy, because faith makes them rich. There are others of us who have an abundance of this world’s goods, and yet we can truly say that we would give them all up if God so willed it, for they are not our gods. Our well-springs of joy come from Christ. Faith makes men happy. “How is it that you have no faith?” You squander your substance to get a day’s amusement. You spend your money for what is not bread, and your labour for what does not satisfy; but here is something that is really bread, and that would satisfy, how is it that you do not have it? You working-men, you sons of toil, with little here to make you blessed, “how is it that you have no faith?” Faith would make your cottage into a palace, and a scanty loaf to be better than an ox in a stall.

23. You know too that it is faith which enables the Christian to die well. You expect to die soon; then “how is it that you have no faith?” You are like the man who has to cross a river, but has made no provision for it; or like one who is going on a long journey, but takes no money with him, no shoes, no staff, no scrip. How is it that you have nothing to help you to die? It is faith which conducts the Christian into heaven. We sing of “the realms of the blest,” and of Canaan’s “happy land”; but faith is the only passport to the skies, so “how is it that you have no faith?” Do you not desire a blessed future? Have you no wish for immortal joys? Does your heart never leap at the thought of the joys that the saints have before the throne? How is it that you let these things slip by, having no faith? “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” and the faithless will have their portion in the lake that burns with fire. “How is it that you have no faith?” Do you intend to venture into that state of misery? Do you intend to dare the day of judgment without an Advocate and a Friend? You will have to rise again from the grave; though the worms destroy your body, yet in your flesh you will have to see God. The trumpet will be sounding, the angels will be gathering, the judgment seat will be set up, and you will be called to account, and without faith you must be driven from God’s presence into black despair. Then, “how is it that you have no faith?” When I think these things over, it does seem to me to be strange that men should be living in utter indifference to Christ and in neglect of divine things! “How is it”—can any of you tell us, “How is it that you have no faith?”

24. Is it that there are a great many difficult things that you cannot understand? Now, what is it that you are asked to believe? Simply this, that sin was so evil and bitter a thing that God must punish it, and that his own dear Son became a man, and suffered for the sins of all those who trust him, so that those sins may readily be pardoned because Christ suffered their punishment. Really, that does not strike me as being a very difficult thing to believe. To trust my soul with the Son of God, bleeding and dying on Calvary, does not strike me as being in itself a very difficult thing; and if it is difficult, it surely must be the hardness of our hearts that makes it so, for there is not beneath the canopy of heaven a doctrine more reasonable, which more deserves to be received than this, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” even the chief.

25. I do not think that most of you, when you are asked why you have no faith, can reply that it is because you do not know what you have to believe. I know that I have tried to make it plain enough as far as my preaching is concerned. If I knew of any words in the English language that would be plainer than any I have used, though they should be so outrageously vulgar that I should be castigated for using them by all the gentlemen in England, yet I would use them, before I left this platform, if I thought I could win one soul by them. The simple truth is, that whoever trusts Christ is saved, and we have tried to explain this to you in every shape and form and way that we could think of, so that lack of knowledge is not the reason why you have no faith.

26. I am afraid that, in many of you, lack of faith is from a lack of thought. Oh, how many of you are mere butterflies! You think about your work, or about your pleasures, but not about your souls. It is not always a bad sign when a man begins to be sceptical. I would sooner he were that than that he were thoughtless, for even to think about spiritual things is, so far, good. Men are often like some bats which, when they get on the ground, cannot fly; they must get on a stone, and then, when they are a little elevated, they can move their wings. So, thoughtless men are on the ground, and cannot fly; but when God starts them thinking, they seem as if they were moving their wings. Please, think about these matters, for certainly it must commend itself to every reasonable person that the better part of men ought to be the most thought about. This poor, mortal rag, which is to drop into the grave, ought not to command my highest and most continuous thought; but the immortal principle within me, which will outlive the stars, and be a thing of life and vigour when the sun has shut its burning eye from dim old age,—this immortal part of my nature ought certainly to have my most serious and my best regard. If you have been obliged to say that you have no faith because you have not thought, please think, and may God help you that this thinking may lead you to faith!

27. But to close,—for our time is gone,—the question I have asked you is a question which I hope will never need to be asked of you any more. May this be the last time that any man shall have to look you in the face, and say, “How is it that you have no faith?” In order to make this wish true, however, you must believe now. To believe is to trust Christ Jesus. The Son of the everlasting God takes upon himself the form of man, and suffers; and he tells us that, if we rest on him, just as I now lean here on this railing with all my weight, he will be better to us than our faith. There never yet was a man who trusted in Christ and found him a liar. If you trust Christ, you shall be saved; no, you are saved, and the proof of your being saved will be this, that you will not be the same man any longer. All things will become new with you. You will be saved from sinning as well as from the guilt of sin. The drunkard shall become sober, the unchaste shall become pure, the mere moralist shall become spiritual, and the enemy of God shall become his friend as soon as he trusts Christ.

 

   Loved of my God, for him again

      With love intense I burn:

   Chosen of him ere time began,

      I choose him in return.

 

I can only love him who has saved me from my sins.

28. May God bless this question to you; but if it has not yet been of use to you, I hope that it will follow you. I should like to pin it to your backs, but it would be better if we could put it in your hearts. I hope that it will wake you up at night; I trust it may be with you at breakfast tomorrow; and between the intervals of business I hope there will come up a voice from under the counter, or from the back of the workshop, “How is it that you have no faith?” And at night-fall, when you walk alone in the street for a while, may it be almost as though someone had touched you on the shoulder, and said, “How is it that you have no faith?”

29. But, notice that, if this question does not haunt you now, the day will come when, stretched on that lonely bed, when you must bid the world adieu, there may seem, perhaps, to be the form of the preacher who now stands before you,—or the ghastly form of Death, who, with bony finger uplifted, shall preach such a sermon to you as your very heart and the marrow of your bones shall feel, while he says to you, “How is it that you have no faith?”

30. Oh, may you never need to be asked that question again, but may you now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved! Amen.


{a} This sermon is the 1000th issued since the beloved preacher was “called home” at Mentone on January 31, 1892. Regular readers of the Sermons will praise the Lord that the publication of them has been continued through all the intervening years, and they will rejoice to know that sufficient unpublished manuscripts still remain to continue the weekly publication of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit for several years yet.
{b} Panoply: A complete suit of armour, the “whole armour” of a soldier. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Mr 4:35-41}

4:35, 36. And the same day, when the evening was come, he says to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” And when they had sent away the multitude,—

Telling them that Christ would give them no more instruction that day, and that they had better go back to their homes. There are some preachers who have great gifts of dispersion, it does not take them long to scatter a congregation; but I expect that Christ’s disciples found it to be no easy task to send away the crowds that had been listening to their Master’s amazing words. But, “when they had sent away the multitude,”—

36. They took him along in the boat even as he was. And there were also with him other little boats.

Christ was Lord High Admiral of the Galilean lake that night, and he had quite a little fleet of vessels around his flagship.

37. And there arose a great storm of wind,—

Our friend, John Macgregor, “Rob Roy,” tells us that the lake is subject to very sudden and severe storms; it lies in a deep hollow, and down from the surrounding ravines and valleys the wind comes with a tremendous rush seldom experienced even on a real sea; for this was, of course, only a little lake though sometimes called a sea. I have been told that, on some Scottish lochs, the wind will occasionally come from three or four quarters at once, lifting the boat bodily out of the water, and sometimes seeming to lift the water up towards heaven, with the boat and everyone in it; so it was, that night, when “there arose a great storm of wind,—”

37. And the waves beat into the boat, so that it was now full.

No doubt they baled out the boat with all their might, and did their best to prevent it from sinking, yet “it was now full of water.” But where was their Lord and Master, and what was he doing while the storm was raging?

38. And he was in the rear part of the boat, asleep on a pillow: {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1121, “Christ Asleep in the Vessel” 1112}

He was quite at home on the wild waves,—

 

   “Rocked in the cradle of the deep,”—

 

for winds and waves were only his Father’s servants, obeying his commands.

“He was in the rear part of the ship, asleep on a pillow”; doubtless weary and worn with the labours of the day. We do not always think enough of the weariness of Christ’s human body. There was not only the effort of preaching, but his preaching was so full of high thought, and the expressions he used were so pregnant with meaning, that it must have taken much out of him to preach like this from the heart, with intense agony of spirit, and with his brain actively at work all the while. Remember that he was truly man as well as the Son of God, and that what he did was of so high an order, not to be reached by any of us, that it must have exhausted him, and therefore he needed sleep to refresh himself; and there he was wisely taking it, and serving God by sleeping soundly, and so preparing himself for the toil of the following day.

38, 39. And they awaken him, and say to him, “Master, do you not care that we perish?” And he arose, and rebuked the wind,—

It was boisterous and noisy, and he ordered it obey its Master’s will;

39. And said to the sea, “Peace, be still.”

Can you not almost imagine that you can hear that commanding voice addressing the raging, roaring, tumultuous winds and waves?

39. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Not only was the wind quieted, and the sea hushed to slumber, but a deep, dead, mysterious calm transformed the lake into a molten mirror. When Christ stills winds and waves, it is “a great calm.” Did you ever feel “a great calm”? It is much more than ordinary peace of mind; it is to your heart as if there were no further possibilities of fear. Your troubles have so completely gone that you can scarcely remember them. There is no one but the Lord himself who can speak so to produce “a great calm.” Master, we entreat you to speak such a calm as that for those of us who need it.

40. And he said to them,—

When he had calmed the winds and the waves, he had to speak to another fickle set, more fickle than either winds or waves: “and he said to them,”—

40, 41. “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared greatly, {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2852, “Comfort for the Fearful” 2853}

They went from one fear to another, but this time it was the fear of awe,—a hallowed dread of what might happen to a boat which had such a mysterious Person on board. Though there was probably in their minds no fear of death, it seemed to them a fearsome thing to live in the presence of One who had such power over the raging elements. They feared greatly,—

41. And said to each other, “What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1686, “With the Disciples on the Lake of Galilee” 1687}

Blessed God-man, we worship and adore you!

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

The Salt-Cellars. Being a Collection of Proverbs, together with Homely Notes on them. By C. H. Spurgeon. “These three things go to the making of a proverb: Shortness, Sense, and Salt.” In 2 vols., cloth gilt, published at 3s. 6d. each, offered at 2s. 6d. each; Morocco, 7s. 6d. each.

“For many years I have published a Sheet Almanac, intended to be hung up in workshops and kitchens. This has been known as ‘John Ploughman’s Almanac,’ and has had a large sale. It has promoted temperance, thrift, kindness to animals, and a regard for religion, among working people. The placing of a proverb for every day for twenty years has cost me great labour, and I feel that I cannot afford to lose the large collection of sentences which I have brought together; yet lost they would be, if left to die with the ephermeral sheet. Hence these two volumes. They do not profess to be a complete collection of proverbs, but only a few out of many thousands.”—Extract from Preface.

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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