3258. Stumbling at the Word

by Charles H. Spurgeon on June 10, 2021

No. 3258-57:325. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, March 6, 1864, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, July 13, 1911.

And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to those who stumble at the word, being disobedient. {1Pe 2:8}


For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1224, “Jesus, the Stumbling Stone of Unbelievers” 1215}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3258, “Stumbling at the Word” 3260}

   Exposition on 1Pe 1:17-2:12 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3258, “Stumbling at the Word” 3260 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on 1Pe 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2765, “Marvellous Light” 2766 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on 1Pe 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2790, “Our Lord’s Substitution” 2791 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on 1Pe 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3014, “Sermon from a Sick Preacher, A” 3015 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on 1Pe 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3112, “Sermon and a Reminiscence, A” 3113 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on 1Pe 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3485, “Disconsolate Lover, The” 3487 @@ "Exposition"}


1. Over there is a wreck; after a terrible tempest, that is all that remains of a once fine vessel, and on the wreck, lashed to the mast, I see clinging a number of mariners, almost frost-bitten with the cold, and drenched through and through with brine. But there goes the life-boat so I trust they will soon all be rescued from their perilous position. I am absolutely certain of one thing with regard to all those who are clinging to that poor wreck of a ship, that there is not a man among them who will raise any objection to being saved. No; whatever may have been their previous position in life, or their habits, or tastes, or anything else, they will all be equally glad to welcome the friendly life-boat, and to be taken on board the vessel of mercy. Yet is it not a strange thing, dear friends, that when poor humanity has become a total wreck, and poor souls are clinging to the sinking ship with hopes that must certainly be disappointed, and when Jesus Christ, appears within hail, willing and able to save to the uttermost, there are multitudes who raise all kinds of objections to being saved by him. He is not the kind of Saviour they would like to have, or his way of saving sinners is not the one that they approve of, and there are all kinds of difficulties which they invent, which they imagine to be evidences of their wisdom, but which are really only proofs of their folly and vanity. They prefer to be lost rather than to be saved by such a Saviour in such a way as he has ordained.

2. Men in a dungeon do not take exception to the man who breaks open their prison, and sets them free; men who are dying do not generally object to the physician who is seeking to save their lives; a man who is condemned to death does not quarrel with the king who gives him a free pardon; and there is nothing which shows the strange infatuation of sin more than this, that a man quarrels with his best Friend, rejects the plan of salvation which God has made with infinite wisdom, and will not come to Christ so that he may have life. I want, as the Holy Spirit shall help me, to plead with all those in this assembly to whom Christ himself has so far been “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence,” those who still “stumble at the Word, being disobedient.”

3. I shall try, first, to plead with you against your objections; then I will endeavour to plead with you for Christ; and after that I will plead with God’s people for you, and ask them to plead with God on your behalf.


5. What is it that makes you think so little of Christ, or that makes you think so badly of Christ? Shall I take the words out of your mouth? It may be that one reason for your quarrel is that, Christ’s commands seem to you to be so strict. He will have you pluck out your right eye and cut off your right arm if they would prevent you from entering into life. He lays the axe to the root of the tree, and not only condemns your overt acts of sin, but tells you that a look or a word is sufficient to condemn you. He would have you turn at once from all those pleasant but seductive things which will ruin your soul unless you forsake them. You do not like such strictness as this; if you could be permitted to keep some of your sins, if now and then you might be allowed some sinful indulgence and yet be saved, you would be quite content; but to give it all up, to be separated at once from the world and from mammon, is more than you can endure. But, my dear hearer, is this objection of yours founded on the belief that Christ denies you anything that is really good and pleasant? Is it a good thing for a man even occasionally to do what his Maker condemns? Does not God desire your happiness, and would he deny you anything which would be for your highest enjoyment? No, sirs, he is too good to do that; his very name is love. Why, if sin were for your eternal welfare, he would not only permit you to indulge in it, but he would command you to commit it; but knowing it to be a deadly poison, he forbids you to touch it. More fatal than an adder’s sting is sin, more terrible than the conflagration which first devours the peasant’s cottage, and then wraps a whole city in its fiery embrace; and God, in commanding you to forsake it, and Christ, in entreating you to leave it, are only thinking about your real welfare and lasting happiness.

6. After all, what is the gratification which you derive from sin that it should make you quarrel with Christ for taking it from you? How much sorrow does it bring you afterwards? What pleasant fruit have you had from sin up until now? Are you a happy man or a happy woman? If you have sought the pleasures of sin for so long, and have been by no means the better for them, why do you still pursue such a profitless course? Can it be worth while to sin yourselves into hell? Can there be any supposable pleasure that can ever compensate you for everlasting pain? If so, then choose the pleasures of sin for a season; but rest assured that, for all these things, God will bring you into judgment. But if, on the other hand, it is a wise decision to think more of eternity than you do of time, please do not be angry with my Master because he is willing to cure you of your fatal diseases, to knock from your hand the poisoned cup, and to kill the venomous reptiles that would destroy you. Surely you can see abundant reasons why you should drop your objection that Christ’s commands are too strict; may the Holy Spirit enable you to drop it for ever!

7. Perhaps, however, you say that you do not so much object to the strictness of Christ’s commands as to the severity of his threatenings. Well, I freely admit that my loving Master did say some of the sternest things that ever fell from mortal lips; none of his servants have ever uttered more terrible warnings than he did concerning the worm that never dies and the fire that cannot be quenched. But why are you angry with him for speaking like this? Is it not the duty of an honest and sincere friend to give warning of impending danger? Are you such fools as to wish to be flattered with falsehoods concerning your immortal souls and their eternal interests? Do you want men to come to you in soft clothing, and to use dulcet notes to charm you to the pit? Your own hearts will flatter you quite enough without my Master doing it. It is his great love that moves him to speak what you call harsh words; he foresees the ruin that awaits you if you continue in your present course of sin, so do not be angry with him because of his faithfulness. It pained him more to say those words than it can ever pain you to hear them; he never uttered a threatening without first feeling its force in his own heart. If you could have looked into his tearful eyes, if you could have gazed at his sympathetic countenance as he pleaded with men, you would have seen and heard ineffable love speaking in every word that he uttered. Oh sinners, do not quarrel with Christ for warning you of a hell from which he would gladly preserve you! Be angry with yourselves, rather, for choosing the path to destruction; be vexed and wrathful with your own sins for dragging you down to ruin; but oh! do not be angry with the loving Saviour for telling you, once and for all, that you cannot escape if you neglect this great salvation. Let your objection to the severity of his threatenings drop for ever; that very severity ought to make you flee to him, and not drive you from him.

8. Possibly there is one here who says, “I do not like the spirituality of Christ’s teaching. If he would tell me to take the sacrament, if he would tell me to go to such and such a church so many times a day I would do it; but he tells me that all these things count for nothing unless I worship God in spirit and in truth; he tells me that I must be born again, and that the Holy Spirit must dwell within me, or else I am not his. Now, sir, all this kind of teaching is too difficult for me to grasp; it is a kind of invisible, impalpable thing, that I can neither see with my eyes nor touch with my hands, and this causes me to stumble at the Word.” But, sinner, such talk as that is utterly unreasonable. If you will only think seriously for even a minute or two, you must see that no drops of water, no priestly incantations, no cups of wine, no loaves of bread, not even your own prayers can take away your sin.


   No outward forms can make you clean,

      The leprosy lies deep within.


You know that it is a spiritual disease from which you are suffering; so why should you be angry because the great Physician prescribes a spiritual remedy for you? Suppose that, in Christ’s teaching, there “are some things hard to be understood,” they are well worth understanding, and it is quite possible for you to understand all that is necessary to make you wise to salvation. Some very simple-minded people have comprehended the meaning of the gospel message, and have been saved; many a man who never went to school has gone to heaven, and he who is willing to understand the gospel can understand it. Besides, the Holy Spirit is waiting and willing to instruct all who desire to be taught. It was he who inspired the apostle James to write, “If any one of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously, and does not upbraid; and it shall be given to him”; and the Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” It is your own fault if you remain in the darkness of ignorance when the Spirit is ready to illuminate you, and to guide you into all truth; may he graciously shine into your hearts now, and then you will welcome the spirituality of Christ’s teaching instead of stumbling over it.

9. I hardly imagine that there is one here who will raise the objection that the gospel is too simple. Yet we do sometimes get people here who seem to think themselves much too important or too learned to listen to our simple story of the crucified Christ of Calvary; they want something more philosophical, something that ordinary people cannot comprehend, something that they can monopolize and keep to themselves. The gospel is too simple for such as these, who regard themselves as the elite of society; and, sometimes, those who have neither rank nor education get similar whims into their heads. They do not like to be told that they must come to Christ as guilty sinners needing to be washed in his blood, and as helpless sinners needing to receive everything from him. No; many of you want to do something, or to be something, you want to learn something mysterious; and that simple message, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved,” — that plain, understandable gospel, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved,” is too easy, too ABC-like, too childish for you. Now, sirs, why do you talk so foolishly? Suppose the gospel had been of such a philosophical character that it could only have been understood by those who had high intellectual powers, what would have been the use of it to nine people out of ten? Suppose it had consisted of some very abstruse revelation, how would any of the poor and the simple-minded have been saved? We thank God that the way of salvation is so plain that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err in it.” The gospel is so simple that many, who have had only feeble intellects, have been able to understand it, and have been saved by it. I bless God that the gospel we have to preach is the gospel for the illiterate, the gospel for the poor, and that we can still say, as our Master did, “the poor have the gospel preached to them”; and that many of them have, through that gospel, become “rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God has promised to those who love him.” Do not quarrel with my Master because of the simplicity of the gospel, lest your pride should hang you on a gallows as high as Haman’s.

10. A more common objection, however, which is raised against Christ is on account of the doctrine that he teaches. Some do not like the doctrine of election, others do not like the doctrine of final perseverance. Some kick at one thing, and some at another, but one doctrine at which many stumble is the doctrine of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They cannot see how it is possible for Christ to be a Substitute for sinners; they cannot understand how God can punish Christ in the place of men, and that men shall be saved because Christ died in their place. Well now, suppose I was in a burning building, and a man brought to the house a fire-escape of a very unusual shape, but one that he assured me had been the means of saving thousands of lives, do you think that I should object to trust myself to it because it was such an odd shape? Of course, I should not be so foolish; then why are sinners so foolish as to object to the shape of the fire-escape which God has designed to rescue them from everlasting burnings? What could be better than the divine plan of substitution? God must punish sin, he could not be God unless he did; it is a necessity of his nature that he should hate sin with an infinite hatred, and he must punish it. Yet, since he had loved his people with an everlasting love, how could he better show his love for them and his hatred of sin than by giving up his well-beloved Son to die instead of them, making him, who knew no sin, to be sin for them, so that they might be made the righteousness of God in him? This seems to me to be the most beautiful thing I ever heard of, and it delights my soul to preach it. There is something so fresh about the gospel that, if I were to preach it every day in the week, I do not think I should grow weary of telling it over and over again. See what wisdom and love are combined here so that we have a just God and yet a Saviour; sin punished, and yet love magnified; mercy free to go about her gracious errands, and yet the faithfulness of God glorified to the highest degree. To my mind, the most glorious work that God ever performed happened when God incarnate died so that sinners might live. You surely cannot object to that doctrine of substitution; if you do, and if you persist in that objection, let me tell you that you will perish, for he who rejects the Saviour who died on the cross brings eternal ruin to his soul.

11. There are many who raise objections to Christ because of the character of his people. They say that, there are so few of them, and that they are such a poor lot, and all of them are not what they should be. So, sirs, you object to go to heaven because you think there are so few going there; but if you go to hell, it will be no relief to you to know that many are sharing the agony with you. It seems to me to be wisdom to be saved even if I were the only one, and eternal folly to be damned even though everyone else should be lost with me. So do not raise any objection because of the number of the saved; and as for their being poor, what of that? Would it not be better to go to heaven side by side with a poor old almshouse woman, or a chimney-sweep, or a pauper from the workhouse, than to go to hell with a lord, a duke, or a millionaire? I can always find the best of company among the Lord’s poor people. I am glad to be associated with all of you in your various works of faith and labours of love, but I have often learned more about Christ from the poor than from the rich. Besides, if Jesus Christ was willing to be counted among the poor, there is no man who needs to be ashamed of his poverty unless it is brought on by his own sin. I will not say more on that point, for I can scarcely imagine that I have any simpletons in this congregation who are foolish enough to raise such an objection as this.

12. Some, however, object to Christ because, if they take up with him, they will have to break off their friendship with others. One of them says, “If I become a Christian, everyone will laugh at me.” Well, who minds being laughed at when he is in the right? “But all my old companions will forsake me.” It will be a good thing for you if they do unless they also will join you in following Christ. “But when I go to the workshop or the market, they will point me out as a Christian.” I hope they will, or I hope you will be such an out-and-out Christian that they will not need to point you out. I trust that your life will be of such a character that, wherever you go, men will be compelled to say, “Yes, that man is a Christian.” Why should you want, as it were, to sneak into heaven by some back-way where no one could see you? There is nothing in Christ of which you have any need to be ashamed; so I hope you will have the grace to say, “I will take my stand with Christ. If he is despised, I will be despised; if he is spit on, I will be spit on; if he bears the cross, I will bear the cross; I am not ashamed of him, and I pray that he may not have reason to be ashamed of me.”

13. Now, though I hope some of your objections have been removed, I feel that the great objection, with which we began, still remains, — that is, you stumble at Christ’s word because he invites you to repent, and turn from your sins. There are some of you of whom I almost begin to despair; you continue to come where the gospel is preached, but sometimes you sing the song of the drunkard, or you join the ranks of the profane, or indulge in other sins that I need not name, yet you would not like to give up the hope that you still cherish that some day you will be converted. Oh sirs, I implore you to delay no longer! Christ and your sins will never agree, so come to Christ, and leave your sins. However stern may be the conflict, draw the sword, and fling away the scabbard; let it be war to the death with sin, for Christ’s sake and your soul’s sake. May the Spirit of God, who alone can separate you from your sin, proclaim the divorce this very hour, so that you may be saved now and saved for ever!

14. II. Having pleaded with you against your objections, I pray now for power from on high that I may PLEAD WITH YOU FOR CHRIST.

15. I have tried to show you that you have no reason to object to Christ; I want now, just for a minute or two, to remind you that you have many reasons for yielding to him. First of all, let me ask, How is it that you are still alive? If stern justice had dealt with you without the intervention of mercy, you would not now have been living on the earth. You remember that long and serious illness from which you scarcely expected to recover, yet here you are in robust health and strength; why were you so amazingly restored? You remember that time when you were in the river, and you gave up all hope of being rescued, yet you were saved as if by a miracle; why was that? You have had many marvellous escapes from accidents in which others have been killed; why were you spared? It may be, soldier, that the bullets whistled close by your ear, yet you came back from the war unscathed. It may be, sailor, that your ship was almost gone, or possibly she was a total wreck, and you only escaped to tell the tale; why was that? Well, let this great mercy that you are still alive move you to repent of your sins, and trust in Christ as your Saviour; since he has been your Preserver, may he also be your Redeemer, your Lord, your All in all!

16. Then let me further ask, How is it that you are in a place where the gospel is being preached? Suppose that tonight, instead of a preacher of the gospel being on this platform, there had come here some stern prophet, like Moses or Elijah, and that he had turned to you who are outside of Christ, and had said to you, “The day of mercy is over, justice now reigns supreme. Hear, you despisers, and wonder and perish; for God will tear you in pieces, and there shall be no one to deliver you”; what could you have said to allay the judgment? But this has not been the case; I have not pronounced a curse on you, I have not spoken a harsh word to you; but I have pleaded with you — oh, that the Lord would teach me how to plead with you more earnestly and more effectively! — to turn to him, and live. “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” The fact that there is a proclamation of mercy still made to you ought to cause you to weep tears of penitence for your sin, and to move you to turn believingly to him who died on the cross, “the Just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God.”

17. Then, again, should you not run to Jesus when you remember that he tells you that he will hear your prayers? What! will he hear your prayers, and yet will you refuse to pray to him? He says to you, “All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men,” so will you not believe that your sin and your blasphemy shall be forgiven for his sake? Oh, that you really knew him! But you do not know how full of love and grace he is. I wish that you could hear his voice saying to you, “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Whenever I repeat my Master’s words, I feel vexed with myself because I cannot utter them as they ought to be uttered. I know that he must have spoken them with a majesty of tone and with a melting melody of earnestness that must have put more force in them than I can ever hope to do. He lived for sinners, he died for sinners, he rose again for sinners, he pleads in heaven for sinners, oh, how can you refuse to trust him, and love him, and serve him for ever?


19. I know that there are, in this assembly, not merely hundreds, but thousands who love the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is with them that I am now going to plead. Brothers and sisters in Christ, while I have been talking to those who stumble at the Word, have you not been reminded of what you used to do? I have been thinking of my own experience, for I also stumbled at the Word, being disobedient; and I feel some comfort in preaching to those to whom Christ is “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence,” by reflecting that he who could save me can also save them; and since Christ has quickened you “who were dead in trespasses and sins,” you cannot doubt his power to quicken others.

20. Probably most of you remember that, when you were dead in sin, there were some who prayed for you. My mother and father and many others prayed for me, and I feel that this is one of the many reasons why I should pray for others. Most of you had someone who cared for you like this, so ought you not to care for others in a similar way? I feel sure they you do care for others, there is in your heart an earnest longing to see them brought to the Saviour; may I therefore urge you to be more earnest than ever in prayer for the salvation of sinners? I rejoice that we are a praying church, but I am always jealous lest we should lose the spirit of prayer which the Lord has so graciously poured out on us. Some of us remember times when we have gripped the Angel of the covenant, and we would not let him go until he blessed us. Many of you were given to us in answer to these effective fervent prayers, and this makes me all the more urgent in pleading with you to pray for others.

21. Nor must you be content with praying for them, for others very earnestly sought to bring you to the Saviour, and this encourages me in pleading with you to grow more completely devoted to the blessed work of winning souls for Christ. We must all be up and doing for our glorious Lord and Master. Members of this church, you will be ungrateful for all that the Lord has done for us in the past if you slacken your efforts in the future. In your homes, in your workshops, in your mission rooms, in your street preaching, in your tract distribution, in your Bible classes, in your Sunday Schools, wherever you are, anywhere and everywhere seek after souls as diligently as the hunter seeks his prey. There are many reasons why you should be earnest in bringing sinners to the Saviour. The terrible doom of the lost is reason enough by itself; but you can find abundant reasons in the back streets and alleys of this great city and in the sin that abounds in the splendour of the West-end as much as in the squalor at the East-end. Do you need arguments for soul winning? Look up to heaven, and ask yourself how sinners can ever reach those harps of gold, and learn that everlasting song unless they have someone to tell them about Jesus who is “mighty to save.” But the best argument of all is to be found in the wounds of Jesus. You want to honour him, you desire to put “many crowns” on his head, and you can do this best by winning souls for him. These are the spoils that he covets, these are the trophies for which he fights, these are the jewels that shall be his best adornment. Oh Christian men and women, if any of you have been negligent recently in your Master’s service, may the Holy Spirit make you more diligent! I would like to make a personal appeal to each one of you to consecrate yourselves and your substance more and more to the advancement of the cause and kingdom of Jesus Christ your Lord, so that you shall live entirely for him. To be a true Christian is something higher and nobler than simply sitting in our pews twice on the Sabbath, or even teaching in a Sunday School or giving away tracts. It is the laying of one’s whole self on the altar, offering your body, soul, and spirit as a living sacrifice to God, which is our reasonable service; so that, whether we live or whether we die, we shall be the Lord’s, and live or die for him. I plead with you, Christians, — and I wish I had more power to do it effectively, — for the sake of sinners, to stir yourselves up to pray for them, and to labour for them so that, through the mighty working of the Spirit of God, they may no longer stumble at the Word, but may yield themselves to Christ, and be saved.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {1Pe 1:17-2:12}

1:17. And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Not in unbelieving fear, but in that holy carefulness which watches against sin of every kind lest in any way you should spoil your holy work for God.

18, 19. Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conduct received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 621, “The Precious Blood of Christ” 612}

Since your redemption cost so much, prize it highly, and do not go back to the sin from which you have been so dearly redeemed. Fear lest you should do so. Remember that heredity has a great power over you; the traditions of your forefathers will imperceptibly draw you back unless you watch against them. But you have been so gloriously redeemed with the very blood of Christ’s heart that you must not draw back.

20, 21. Who truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for you, who by him believe in God, who raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.

Whenever you think of the glory of your risen Lord, remember what your redemption cost him, and abandon all dead works, lay aside the grave-clothes of care and anxiety, and live in newness of life as those who have been redeemed by the risen Saviour.

22, 23. Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love for the brethren, see that you love each other with a pure heart fervently: being born again, —  {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 398, “The New Nature” 389}

See how this love for the brethren is linked onto regeneration. The first time we are born, we are born in sin, and that tends to hate; but when we are born again, born to God, our life tends to love. “Being born again,” — 

23. Not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and endures for ever.

Peter reminds us, in the eighteenth verse, that we were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with incorruptible; and he reminds us here that we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible.” Everything about a Christian means his deliverance from corruption, and the bringing of him into a state of immortality and incorruption.

24, 25. For all flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away: but the word of the Lord endures for ever.

Everything earthly is corruptible; what is merely natural has its time of decay, but the children of God have the Word of the Lord remaining in them, and that never dies; it has no autumn or winter.

25. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached to you.

2:1. Therefore laying aside all malice,

This is one of the old corruptible things, so put it away from you

1. And all guile,

All crafty tricks, all falsehood, exaggeration, double meanings to your words, and the like, — 

1. And hypocrisies, and envies,

All hatred of those who are either better or better off than you are, — 

1. And all evil speaking,

So the tongue expresses what the heart feels. Laying all these evil things aside, you will prove that you have been born again, born of the incorruptible seed which lives and endures for ever.

2. As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, so that you may grow by it:

You are in the family of God, but you are only babes in it yet; you have to grow to the stature of men in Christ Jesus, so “desire the sincere (unadulterated) milk of the word, so that you may grow by it.” There is no other way of growing.

3, 4. If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as to a living stone, — 

So that “the Lord” here meant is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is truly “a living stone,” — 

4. Disallowed indeed by men, but chosen by God, and precious, — 

When men disallow Christ, it is a matter of little account to us; as for what they have to say, it is less than nothing and vanity. Like the wild bluster of the winds, let it bluster until it has blown itself out. Christ is “disallowed indeed by men, but chosen by God, and precious,” — 

5. You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1376, “The True Priesthood, Temple and Sacrifice” 1367}

See what Jesus Christ has made of you who believe in him; by the incorruptible blood and the incorruptible seed, he has brought you into a heavenly priesthood, and you are today to stand at the spiritual altar, and “to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Will you not pray, will you not praise, will you not love? These are sacrifices with which God is well pleased.

6, 7. Therefore also it is contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he who believes in him shall not be confounded.” To you therefore who believe he is precious. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 242, “Christ Precious to Believers” 235} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2137, “Christ Precious to Believers” 2138}

Is he not? Then, enjoy his preciousness all of you who truly believe in him. Precious Christ, precious to all his people, precious to me!

7, 8. But to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to those who stumble at the word, being disobedient: to which they also were appointed.

When Peter wrote these verses, he must have thought of his own name. He was called a stone or a rock; and once he was to his Master “a rock of offence” when he stumbled at Christ’s word, and began even to rebuke his Lord; but he was forgiven and saved, so now he gives a warning to others lest they should even more grievously sin by making Christ himself to be to them “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.”

9. But you are a chosen generation, — 

Hear this, you believers, drink in this precious truth. See God’s election, making you to be a people born by the Holy Spirit: “a chosen generation,” — 

9. A royal priesthood, — 

This is a wonderful combination, kings and priests at the same time; all honours meet on you through divine grace: “a royal priesthood,” — 

9. A holy nation, a special people; — 

You have national privileges. God does not consider you as a mob or a herd of men, but as a nation, and a nation with this special hall-mark on you, that you are “a holy nation.” This is the true sign of your nationality that you are “holiness to the Lord,” “a special people” belonging to God only, marked off from the rest of mankind as especially his. You are not, and you are not to be as other men are, you are “a special people.” Your road is not the broad one where the many go, it is the narrow one which the few find, your happiness is not worldly pleasure, but pleasures at the right hand of God which are for evermore. You are “a special people”; — 

9. That you should proclaim the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: —  {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2765, “Marvellous Light” 2766}

You are to be advertisers of the praises or virtues of Christ, not only to know them, and to be glad to know them, but to make them known to others. Beloved, how far are you doing this? I ask the question personally of each one of you, for you were chosen by God on purpose so that you “should proclaim the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”: — 

10. Who in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: — 

In time long past, who ever heard of the Britons, or of the Anglo-Saxons? We were not a people, but we “are now the people of God”: — 

10. Who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

We may well leap for joy, we who once had not obtained mercy. We sinned against the Lord, but he was longsuffering, and now we have obtained mercy.

11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, — 

For you do not belong to the corruptible world, you are of an incorruptible race: “I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,” — 

11, 12. Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conduct honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, — 

Which they are sure to do. The better you are, the more they will censure you. This is the only homage that evil can pay to good, to fall foul of it, and misrepresent it: “that whereas they speak against you as evildoers,” — 

12. They may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

May God bless to us this reading of his Word.

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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