3253. Faith Hand In Hand With Fear

by Charles H. Spurgeon on June 3, 2021
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No. 3253-57:265. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, June 8, 1911.

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. {Ps 56:3}

 

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3253, “Faith Hand in Hand with Fear” 3255}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3362, “Fearing and Trusting — Trusting and Not Fearing” 3364}

   Exposition on Ps 56,57 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3226, “Figs and Olive Berries” 3227 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Ps 56 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3297, “David and His Volunteers” 3299 @@ "Exposition"}

 

1. It must be a very difficult thing to be the first traveller through an unknown country, but it is a much more simple matter to travel where others have preceded us; however difficult may be the road, we discover our path by certain marks which they have left for us, and as we turn to the record of their journey, we say, “Yes, they said that here they came to a forest, and here is the forest; here they spoke of a broad river, and here they forded it; here is so exactly the spot which is marked, we are on the right road, for we are following in the track of those who have gone before.” Now God in his providence has placed us in “the ends of the age” concerning time; a long caravan of pilgrims has preceded us, and they have left us marks on the way, and records of their journey.

2. A notable one among the pilgrims to the skies was David, for his pilgrimage was so exceptionally varied. Some travel to heaven amid sunshine almost all the way there; and some, on the other hand, seem to have storms from beginning to end. But David’s case differed from these, for he had both the storms and the sunshine. No man had fairer weather than the King of Jerusalem, yet no man ever ploughed his way through soil that was more deep with mire, nor through an atmosphere more loaded with tempest than did this man of many tribulations. He has been a kind of pioneer for us. I remember seeing, some years ago, the French army going through Paris, and noticing some of the big, tall fellows, old men that had been in the wars of the first Napoleon. These went in front, and they seemed to be worth all the rest who were behind; they were the pioneers that cleared the way for the others. Now David, and such as he, of whom we read in the Scriptures, are the grand old soldiers who bear the standard and lead the way, and we are the raw recruits who follow on behind them. Let us be thankful that we have some veterans to lead the vanguard.

3. Our text is rather an extraordinary one, yet it represents the experience of many of us, and we are comforted by the thought that our feelings and David’s have very much agreed: “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

4. You notice in the text, first, a complex condition; here is a man afraid, and yet he is trusting. Then we will look at the natural side of this condition: “I am afraid,” and then we will look at the gracious side: “I will trust in you.”

5. I. Notice, first, then, that here is David in A COMPLEX CONDITION.

6. He says, “I am afraid,” yet with the same breath he says, “I will trust in you.” Is this not a contradiction? It looks like a paradox. Paradox it may be, but contradiction it is not. What strange creatures we are! I suppose every man is a trinity, certainly ever Christian man is, — spirit, soul, and body, — and we may be in three states at once, and we may not know which of the three is our real state. All three may be so mixed up that we become a puzzle to ourselves. Though certain mental philosophers would say that I egregiously {grossly} err in asserting that such a thing can be, yet nevertheless I am quite certain that it is a very common experience of the child of God.

7. It is even quite possible for us to find two minds and two wills, — two sets of facilities within ourselves clashing and jarring and warring and contending with each other. In a record of some very notable experiences of doctors who attend to the insane, there is a very exceptional case described of a man who was sane always regularly one day, as clear in the intellect and intelligent in judgment as any man; the next day he was always insane. On the day on which he was sane, he used to talk about how the doctor ought to treat him on the next day, and to express his surprise that he entered into such a state, reasoning in the most practical manner. He seemed to be two men. There is a record of another case, even more remarkable, of a man who would act and speak and think as an intelligent full-grown person, but, after sleeping two or three days he would wake up a child, to learn like a child, to talk like a child, to speak like a child, and to all intents and purposes to lead the life of a child. Then he would fall asleep again, and wake up as an adult person. To us it seems a most marvellous thing that this should happen; but perhaps it is even more marvellous to find ourselves perfectly sane, with no mental malady in us, and you at the same moment the subject of two opposite sets of feelings, — afraid, and yet trusting.

8. I am sure that every Christian here will follow me while, for a moment, I speak on this exceptional duplex condition of Christian experience. You remember how the women returned from the sepulchre. They had seen a vision of angels, they had also seen the Lord, and it is said they departed quickly “with fear and great joy,” — very fearful, trembling at what they had seen, but very joyful, — never so fearful, and yet never so joyful before. And you remember that the disciples, when the Lord Jesus stood in their midst, “did not believe for joy.” Extraordinary thing! They did believe, or they could not have had the joy; and yet the joy seemed, when it grew out of the belief, to cut away its own roots, and “they did not believe for joy,” — strange, marvellous state of mind, yet, common to the Christian.

9. The same thing is true concerning our attitude towards sin. Have you not found yourself, beloved believer in Jesus Christ, drawn towards an evil thing for a moment, fascinated by it, finding a tendency in the carnal corruption of your nature to go after evil, and yet, at the very same time, you hated yourself that you should give way even for as moment to a thought so vile? You have felt the desire to go after sin, but yet another self, as it were, struggled with greater force not to go after it. One faculty seems to say, “How sweet that sin would be,” yet you have said, “It is gall and bitterness itself.” The flesh has loved it, but the spirit has said, “I abominate it, I loathe it,” and had cried out to God to prevent the possibility of our being allowed to indulge ourselves in it. So warring and contending with us, the prince of the power of the air, uniting with our own evil nature, has endeavoured to drag us down, while the Holy Spirit, co-working with the incorruptible seed which he has imparted in us, has sought to draw us upwards towards holiness, purity, and perfection. It is an amazing warfare which only the elect of God can understand.

10. So, too, you have been the subject of another phase of the same phenomenon in reference to faith. You have seen a precious promise or a glorious doctrine, and you have believed it because you have found it in God’s Word. You have believed it so as to grasp it, and feel it to be your own; yet, perhaps, almost at the same time certain rationalistic thoughts have come into your mind, and you have been vexed with doubts concerning whether the promise is true. You remember, perhaps, the insinuations of others, or something rises up out of your own carnal reason that renders it difficult for you to believe, while at the same time you are believing. You battle with yourself; one self seems to say, “Is it so?” and yet your inner self seems to say, “I could die for it, I know it is so.” You are tormented because you cannot answer arguments against it, but yet at the same time you feel that you have answered them, and that they as no arguments at all. Your heart repels all attacks on the truth, and yet, somehow or other, for a while, you are staggered by the assault which Satan has made on you.

11. I might go on to mention many other ways in which these two states of mind will come. I have found it frequently so in prayer when I have tried to draw near to God. An idle worldly spirit will bring ten thousand distracting thoughts to bear on the soul, and the heart will seem to say, “I cannot pray just now, I have other things to do, I must think of them.” What is worse, the mind will persist in thinking of these things, and they will come crowding in; some work that you have to do, perhaps some friend that you have to call on, something you have forgotten, — those things will come pouring in over you as if in your own heart you said, “I do not want to pray.” Yet at that very same time you have felt a holy craving, an insatiable longing, to draw near to God in prayer, and you have said: “I must pray, I cannot live without it; I must now have a time of fellowship with God, cost me what it may.” These two things will be there, the praying and the unpraying, the faithless and the believing struggling with each other, and your poor spirit will be like ground that is trampled on by two armies that are fiercely contending for the mastery. You see that in David’s case, when in the text he says, “I am afraid,” yet adds, “I will trust in you.”

12. II. Now, secondly, let us look at THE NATURAL SIDE OF THIS CONDITION.

13. David says, “I am afraid.” Admire his honesty in making this confession. Some men would never have admitted that they were afraid; they would have blustered, and said they cared for nothing; generally, there is no greater coward in this world than the man who never will admit that he is afraid. But this hero of a thousand conflicts, this brave scion of the sons of men, honestly says, “I am afraid.” Why was he afraid?

14. First, because he was only a man, and we men cannot rule the elements, we cannot overcome those who are mightier than ourselves. “They are many who fight against me, oh you Most High,” he cries; and then he adds, “I am afraid.” We cannot expect, therefore, that we should be free of fear when powers greater than our own are set in array against us. We are afraid because, at the very best, we are only weak and feeble men.

15. He was afraid, again, because he was a sinful man. It is this that makes cowards of us more than anything else. We know that we deserve the rod of our Father; and though, by faith, we feel assured that he will never use the sword of justice against us, yet we are often afraid that the correcting rod will be brought out, and that we shall be severely chastened. Well, then, while we are men, and sinful men, it is no wonder that we should be afraid.

16. Besides, David was something more than that; he was afraid because he was an intelligent man. He knew his position, and could correctly estimate its risks. Now, with some people, bravery arises from utter ignorance; they do not know the danger to which they are exposed, and therefore do not fear it. The unsaved sinner, if he only knew in what peril he is, would not be as relaxed as he is. Unconverted men and women, if they only knew who and what and where they are, if they only remembered that “God is angry with the wicked every day,” would be very ill at ease, they would be full of alarm and terror. But the Christian knows his position; he is not blind, his eyes have been opened, he has been brought to the light, he does not shut his eyes to the strength of his spiritual adversaries, nor to his own internal weakness, nor to the awful guilt of sin. He sees all these, and therefore it is not to be wondered that, with so much knowledge, as a Christian man should have some misgivings. “I am afraid,” he says.

17. And than he is afraid, again, because he is no stoic. The heathen tried as far as they could to turn their flesh into iron, and harden their hearts into steel, but such is never the process through which the Christian passes. The Christian, when his sinews are most braced, and he is most heroic for his Master, is still as tender and as sensitive as a little child. The grace of God does not take away from us feminine tenderness, though it gives us masculine courage; in fact, it blends the two in a perfect man, putting strength and sympathy together, and making us like Christ who, with all the force of the majesty of holy determination and courage, had all the tenderness and gentleness that the fondest love could bring. Therefore we are afraid, because we do not boast of the insensitivity of the Red Indian, but we still strive to be gentle and tender-hearted, and the grace of God keeps us so.

18. But when is it that the saint should expect to be most afraid? Is it not when enemies around him are many? The psalmist, therefore, is afraid because he is surrounded by foes. The Christian man does not like having enemies; if he could help it, he would not have a single one. He never willingly makes an enemy; and if he could destroy his enemies by turning them into friends, he would be delighted to achieve so great a victory. When, therefore, he sees that he has many enemies, and they are very cruel and very determined, then he is afraid.

19. We are afraid, sometimes, when we think of the old enemy, our spiritual enemy, for we know his cunning. He has been so long tempting the saints that he knows his business well. We know what poor, foolish birds we are when he is the fowler, how soon we are taken in his net; and, therefore, at the prospect of being tempted again by him, we bow our knee to our great Father, and we cry, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” We are afraid at the thought of having to fight Satan. Whoever has read John Bunyan’s description of Christian fighting Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation, will he not feel afraid at the prospect of such a fight as that?

20. The man of God may be afraid, too, because he sees poverty surrounding him. The Christian must eat and drink, and though he is not to make this the great question of his life, yet he cannot look at his little ones, and think that he will not have sufficient food to fill their mouths, without being somewhat afraid. The natural side of the question must come up. He is not so hardened that he does not feel it; and when he sees poverty staring him in the face, for his own sake and for the sake of those around him, he is afraid.

21. If, in addition to all this, he remembers past sin, and with special vividness some transgression into which he has recently fallen, he is afraid because of the memory of the past. Though he may look to Jesus, and he will do so, though he may see his sin laid on Christ, yet, even while he is looking, he will often be amazed with a severe amazement, and an agony of soul will come over him, not so much the fear of being finally cast away if indeed he is a child of God, but a fear lest, after all, he should turn out not to be what he hoped he was. If you never are afraid about the condition of your souls, I am afraid for you. If you never had a fear about your state, I think I way remind you of Cowper’s lines, — 

 

   He has no hope who never had a fear;

   And he that never doubted of his state,

   He may perhaps — perhaps he may — too late.

 

22. Under a sense of sin, it is only natural, no, I will add, it is only right, that a trembling should some over the soul, and that we should fall down in the presence of God humbled before him.

23. The same is the case, too, with the man who is afraid because of the thought of approaching death. We have seen some, when they have come actually to die, rejoicing with joy unspeakable, and it has strengthened our faith when we have heard their bold declarations as they have felt the Master’s presence in the final hour. But if, as a rule, you and I can think of death without any kind of fear, if no tremor ever crosses our minds, well, then, we must have marvellously strong faith, and I can only pray we may be retained in that strength of faith. For the most part, there is such a thing as terror in prospect of death; the fear is often greater in prospect than in reality; in fact, it is always so in the case of the Christian. But yet, when we give ourselves up to fear for a time, we are grievously afraid.

24. This, then, is the natural side of the question. A man may be a true believer, he may be a very David, and yet be afraid.

25. III. Now take THE GRACIOUS SIDE OF IT: “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

26. “I will trust in you.” How glorious is this confession of faith! It is not the expression of nature, it is a sign of grace. No man trusts in God unless there has first been a divine work on his soul; at least, no man who is afraid can trust in God unless the Lord has taught his timorous spirit to fly like a dove to the sure dovecot cleft by divine grace in the Rock of ages. Happy soul that has been taught the sacred art and mystery of believing in Jesus! It is the highest and noblest of all the practical sciences; may God grant us grace, whenever we are afraid, to exercise ourselves in it!

27. It is a sure sign of grace when a man can trust in his God, for the natural man, when afraid, falls back on some human trust, or he thinks that he will be able to laugh at the occasion of fear. He gives himself up to jollity and forgetfulness, or perhaps he braces himself up with a natural resolution — 

 

   To take arms against a sea of troubles,

      And by opposing end them.

 

He goes anywhere but to his God. Only the gracious spirit, only the soul renewed by the Holy Spirit, will say, “‘Whenever I am afraid,’ my one and only resort shall be this, ‘I will trust in you.’” The thoughtless, as I have said, try to laugh off their fears; the naturally thoughtful try to invent some scheme by which they may pass through the difficulty; but he who is truly believing leaves schemes and frivolities alike, and goes to his God with the burden of his care, and finds from him an instantaneous and effective relief.

28. And, after all, is it not the most reasonable thing in the world that a soul that is afraid should trust in God? Where can there be a firmer foundation for reliance than in him whose power never can be defeated, whose wisdom is never at a nonplus? If I have God’s promise that he will help me, to whom or where should I go but to the God who has so promised? If, in addition, he has given me his oath, “that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie,” I might have strong consolation, where shall my timid spirit go but to the shadow of the wings of the God of the covenant who, by promise and by oath, has guaranteed my safety? What are my circumstances? Has he not given me a promise suitable for them, a special promise for each special time? So I need never be afraid because of my circumstances. Has he not, indeed, given me one text which covers them all with its broad expanse? “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are the called according to his purpose.” With a God who is almighty and eternally faithful, with a God who promises, and seals the promise with his oath, that he will help me when I call on him, what can be more reasonable than that, when I am afraid, I should come and put my trust in him?

29. Ah! my brethren, and since it is reasonable, it certainly proves itself to be most effective, for he who trembles from head to foot only begins to trust in God, and, behold, he grows calm at once. Have we not seen minds so distracted as to be almost bereft of reason grow quiet and peaceful when they have learned to do the work they could do, and then left the rest to God? Oh! it is sweet waiting at the posts of Jehovah’s door. It is good to wait until his promise becomes mature, and then in all its sweetness drops into our hands. “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” so he has declared. My soul, lay hold on that, and the next time you are afraid, seek a safe shelter beneath that promise. “No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” When I am afraid lest I should be impoverished, I will come and go beneath that promise. If it is a good thing, God has bound himself by his Word to give it to me. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” My God, when at another time I am full of alarm and dismay, I will come to you, for you are bound to strengthen and help and uphold your servants who place their confidence in you.

30. Dear brothers and sisters, let me exhort you — and may God’s Holy Spirit back up the exhortation! — to the exercise of a holy trust in God, not only when you are happy, but when you are afraid. Faith in God is a seasonable thing as well as a reasonable thing. Fruit is always best in its season, and the time for faith is the time of trial. Faith is never so fully flavoured as when it is produced beneath cloudy skies. Other fruits need the sun to ripen them, but this is one of the precious fruits produced by the moon. You shall, when your experience is most trying, honour God the most if you can trust him then. Surely, it needs little faith to believe in providence when the purse is full. What kind of faith is it that believes in the merits of the precious blood of Jesus when it feels its own sanctification to be complete, if such can ever be the case? What kind of faith leans on the Beloved when it can stand alone? But that is true faith which, when it cannot stand by itself, which sees death written over all its own power, which sees almost all its hopes withered and blasted with the east wind, yet cries, “My God, it is enough! My soul waits only on you. My expectation is from you.” This is the way to honour God indeed.

31. Observe the graduation there often is in Christian experience. You will sometimes find believers in so low a state that their heart is full of fear. Eventually they are enabled to exercise the faith that God has given them, but it is mingled fear and trust. But they do not stay there, they get a little further, as David did in this Psalm, as you can see if you will read a verse or two further on; there it gets to be trust and no fear: “In God I have put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do to me.” May you climb the steps of that gracious ladder! May you, if you have fear, also have faith with your fear, and then afterwards have your faith without any fear! When faith gets strong enough, fears are expelled.

32. Let me, however, return to my point that, when you are afraid, then is the time to trust the Lord. When you are very poor, then is the time to believe the doctrine of divine providence. When you feel the guilt of your sins, then is the time to lay hold on Jesus Christ, and to wash in the fountain filled with blood. Who cares to wash when he is clean? The time to wash happens when the filth is felt; then flee to the all-cleansing blood. You say, “I feel so dead and cold, I do not have the spiritual vivacity and warmth and life that I used to possess. I used to come up to the Tabernacle, and feel such joy and rejoicing in worshipping on God’s holy day, but now I feel flat and dull.” Oh! but do not be tempted to abandon Christ because of this. Who runs away from the fire because he is cold? Who, in summer, runs away from the cooling brook because he is hot? Should not my deadness be the reason why I should come to Jesus Christ? Now is the time for him to show his power. Now my Master, if indeed you are a friend who sticks closer than a brother, and, blessed be your name, you are such a friend, behold, here is one of your friends; prove that you can forgive and still stick to him; cause him to trust in you, and let him find you better than all his fears.

33. I am finished when I have made an application of my text to those of you who have not believed in Jesus, and yet desire to do so. I know your fears, your doubts, your tremblings. Let me whisper this word in your ear, — ”Now that you are afraid, put your trust in Jesus. Christ came to save sinners such as you are with all your fear. Now, while your fears toss you to and fro, go to Jesus — 

 

   While the raging billows roll,

   While the tempest still is high.

 

Hang all your weight on the Lover of souls now. Do not wait until you get rid of your fears, and then go to him; go now.”

34. A lady was once walking in a field, and a bird flew right into her bosom. She wondered why the little lark came nestling there; but, looking up, she saw a hawk in the air; it had pursued the little bird, which, though it would have been quite afraid at any other time to find a shelter where it did find it, had by the greater fear of its enemy been driven out of the lesser fear. She to whom it fled for refuge cared for it, cherished it, and set it free. So may it be with you. Let your great fears of hell overcome that fear that you have sometimes had, that perhaps Jesus may reject you. Fly into his bosom. “Oh! but I fear that he will reject me.” Well, then, I trust that your other fears will become so great as to overcome this fear. John Bunyan says that his fear of hell at last became so terrible that if Jesus Christ had stood with a naked sword in his hand, or if he had held a pike {a} to him, he would have run on the point of the pike, and would always rather go to an angry Christ than be cast into hell. But, believe me, Christ is not angry. He holds no pike and no sword in his hand. This is his word of promise, “Whoever comes to me I will by no means cast out.” Aged sinner, you who have been a great transgressor, whoever you may be, if you come and simply cast yourself on the blessed Saviour who on the cross offered himself up for human guilt, you shall be saved.

35. “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.” I dare to say these ancient words tonight from the depths of my soul. I am afraid of my sins; I am afraid of my unworthiness; I never live a day that I do not see a reason to be afraid; if I had to stand all by myself, I should be afraid to stand before God. If I had never done anything in my life but preach this one sermon, there have been so many imperfections and faults in it that I am afraid to place any reliance on it; but, my Lord Jesus, you are my soul’s only hope, I trust entirely in you.

36. Beloved, have this same faith. May God work it in you, and then your fear shall only drive you closer to your Lord, and so the fear and the faith shall go on hand in hand together for a while, until at last perfect love shall come in, and take the place of fear, and then faith and love shall go hand in hand to heaven.

37. May the Lord bless every one of you, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.


{a} Pike: A sharp point, the pointed tip of anything, a spike; as the pointed metal tip of a staff or of an arrow or spear, the spike in the centre of a buckler. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 6:1-21}

1, 2. After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on those who were diseased.

Many of them curiosity-mongers wanting to see more wonders performed, others of them sick themselves, and anxious to be healed. Wherever Jesus went, a throng went with him.

3. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.

That was his frequent posture when his disciples were gathered around him. He sat at his ease, and talked to his hearers. He was not very demonstrative in his oratory, but spoke calmly and quietly, and left the truth to find its own way into the minds and hearts of men.

4, 5. And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come to him, he says to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, so that these may eat?”

They were in a solitary place out in the wilderness, where the people had no means of obtaining food, and Jesus knew that they would soon be faint with hunger, so he consulted with Philip concerning what was to be done. It is great kindness and condescension on our Lord’s part to consult with his followers; he often did it, not that he needed their advice or help, but because they needed to be taught how to think and how to act for the good of others.

6. And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

Observe the complex character of Christ; as man, he consulted with Philip; as God, he knows beforehand what he will do.

7. Philip answered him, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, so that every one of them may take a little.”

Two hundred pennyworth must have seemed an enormous amount to poor Philip, for all Christ’s disciples had made themselves poor by following him. The bag that Judas carried probably scarcely ever had as much as that in it. If it were all spent, it would not go far towards feeding five thousand men, besides the women and children.

8, 9. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, says to him, “There is a lad here, who has five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?”

These small fishes were commonly cured and dried by that lake, little fish very much resembling sardines or anchovies, and they were eaten dry as a relish with bread. This lad had five barley cakes and a couple of these little fish, that was all.

10. And Jesus said, “Make the men sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, — 

Jesus would have everything done decently and in order. The people obeyed Christ’s command, and sat down, we are told by Mark, “in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.”

“There was much grass in the place.” Our Lord has a carpet in his banqueting hall, such a carpet as Solomon in all his glory could not have made. “There was much grass in the place. So the men sat down,” — 

10, 11. In number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2216, “The Lad’s Loaves in the Lord’s Hands” 2217}

Among the Jews, it is always the head of the house who gives thanks. They do not call on a child to say grace, but the father of the family, like a priest in his own house, stands up, and pronounces a blessing on the food. It is a beautiful thought that Christ made himself, as it were the Father of that large family, the Head and Provider for those many thousands of people.

11. He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who had sat down; and likewise from the fishes as much as they wanted.

“As much as they wanted.” That is Christ’s measure for those who gather at his table; it is only your own will that limits the amount of grace that you may have.

12, 13. When they were filled, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above by those who had eaten.

I am sorry today that it is a sign of very poor people that they are often very wasteful people. These beggars, who had come only to be fed, were not satisfied to eat until they were satisfied, but they threw down pieces of bread, just as I frequently see, in the streets of London, large pieces of bread thrown away. It should not be so, for bread is the staff of life. Among the Egyptians, they are always particularly careful that never a portion of bread should be wasted, nor should it ever be as in a city like this where there are so many people who are starving for lack of bread. But while I see the carelessness and wastefulness of the crowd, I also notice the carefulness and economy of Christ. He who could make food enough to feed the thousands at his will yet would not waste a crust. I think a large-hearted liberality should always be consistent with a strict economy. I have heard of one who called at a rich man’s door to ask for a subscription, and he heard him scolding the servant for wasting a match. “Ah!” he thought, “I shall get nothing out of him.” Yet he received from that very man a larger subscription than from anyone else on whom he called during that day. Christ would give anything, but he wasted nothing; let us imitate his example.

14. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, “This is of a truth that prophet who should come into the world.”

But the faith that comes by the way of the stomach is not worth much. If people are converted by loaves and fishes, bigger loaves and bigger fishes will make them go the other way; converts made like this are of little worth.

15-17. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. And when the evening was now come, his disciples went down to the sea, and entered into a boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2945, “Night, and Jesus Not There!” 2946}

Then it was very dark. Ah, my dear friends, perhaps you know what it is to be in trouble, and to mourn an absent Lord. This is a direful description of an especially dark night for the disciples: “It was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.”

18, 19. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the ship: and they were afraid.

Do you wonder that they were filled with fear? It seemed so strange a sight, — a man walking on the waves of the sea.

20. But he says to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

Then they must have felt at ease at once as soon as they knew that it was Jesus who was walking towards them on the water. Lord, if it is you, fear would be foolish on our part; we are only too glad to have your company.

21. Then they willingly received him into the boat: and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

No sooner was Jesus with them than they were where they wanted to be. The presence of Christ works wonders for us, we are soon at our haven when the Lord of heaven comes to us.

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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