A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, December 15, 1867, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
The Master says, “Where is the guest room, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?” (Mark 14:14)
1. As far as we know, out of the many thousands who had come to Jerusalem from the utmost ends of the earth to keep the passover, none were left unaccommodated with a guest room except our Lord Jesus Christ. Jerusalem at the time of the passover was one great inn; all of the houses were occupied not only by the regular tenants, but by their friends from the country side of Judea. Each one had invited his own friend, and all the houses were filled; but there was found no one to invite the Saviour, and he had no home of his own. He who received sinners, was excluded by all. The friend of man was homeless, and at the national festival he was no man’s guest. He would have been left in the streets, if by his own supernatural power he had not found for himself an upper room in which to keep the feast. It is so even to this day; Jesus is not received among the sons of men except only where by his supernatural power and grace he makes the heart anew. Every pursuit has its eager followers, every art its votaries, every object its devotees, but Jesus is uncared for and neglected. Art, science, poetry, literature, mechanics, politics, wealth—all these obtain a willing homage; men need no renewal of their minds to follow after these; but to the natural man the Lord Jesus has no form nor comeliness, and therefore he is despised and rejected. “He came to his own, and his own did not receive him.” Like the Levite in the days of the Judges, “There was no man who took him into his house to lodge.” All doors are open enough to the prince of darkness, but Jesus must clear a way for himself or lodge in the streets. I think I hear him crying even to his own church, “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” Doubtless one reason for this may be found in the fact that it was dangerous to receive Christ at that time. The rulers, thirsty for his blood, were hunting after him, and they had issued the command, that if any man knew where he was, he should tell them, so that they might take him. To harbour Christ was to run the risk of being put out of the synagogue in the first place, to become the object of public contempt in the second, and perhaps in conclusion to meet with a sudden and violent death; therefore, prudent, careful men, closed their doors against him, and argued that they could not expose their families to so much peril. They might in their hearts admire him, in their souls they might lament that he was so harshly dealt with, but they could not run the risk of declaring themselves to be on his side by entertaining him at that moment of excitement. So it is at this hour, men always have a good reason, as they think, for that most unreasonable of all unkindnesses, the rejection of Jesus, their best friend. The farm, the merchandise, the newly married wife, all these are the transparently weak excuses for not coming to the gospel supper. Preoccupation of mind with some other pursuit, or the self-denials which Christianity would involve, or the difficulties which are supposed to beset a consistent Christian profession, any, or all of these, and worse than these, serve to satisfy the human conscience with the shadow of an excuse. Jesus Christ is kept on the cold side of the door, and our worst enemies are welcomed. Although it is the highest honour that man can have to entertain him, yet a cruel refusal is given to him, and any excuse in the world is thought to be sufficient.
2. Yet there was one who was willing to entertain the Saviour, and the Lord knew him and where to find him, according to that ancient saying, “The Lord knows those who are his.” There shall never be a time in the world’s history so dark but surely the Lord will have his chosen stars shining brightly amid the gloom. Christ shall never be so much despised that there will not be found here and there elect souls, hearts that the Lord has touched, who will say, “Come in and welcome, most sweet Lord: we are happy to render you the hospitality of our loving hearts.” Be of good courage, my brethren; piety may be at a low ebb, but it shall never run dry: the lamp may flicker, but it cannot be extinguished; our ranks may be thinned, but the host shall hold the battlefield. There are a few names even in Sardis; there is one Lot at least, even in Sodom; and in the raging Sanhedrin a Nicodemus holds a seat. In the worst times of superstition God raises up witnesses for his truth. We need never fear for the church—an imperishable seed is in her, and nothing shall destroy her. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her; although her ministers may fall, and many of her professed members may apostatize, yet the Lord will keep up the succession of the saints, and Jesus shall not lack a man to bear up the standard of the cross; as long as the earth remains, the everlasting kingdom of the Son of David shall stand.
3. I shall now call your attention to the whole incident of our Lord’s finding a guest room in which to keep the passover, and I shall regard the question which I have selected for a text, first, as the mighty word of the Master’s effectual grace; and next, as the affectionate enquiry of the servant’s obedient solicitude.
4. I. First, the Master says, “Where is the guest room?” This question may be regarded as THE MIGHTY WORD OF THE MASTER’S EFFECTUAL GRACE.
5. Our Lord intended to celebrate the passover in the large upper room belonging to the person to whom he sent Peter and John; the message which he sent by their lips was all powerful, the man at once yielded up his furnished parlour without difficulty or demur, because there went a power with the word which the man was unwilling and unable to resist. Viewing this as a symbolic representation of the way in which hearts are won for Jesus, we observe, in the first place, that the time and the circumstances were all appointed. Two apostles were commanded to go to the city; when they should come to the city, providence would be there working before them—they were to meet a man just at the entrance of the city; he was to be there at the very moment of their arrival; he and no one except him. This man must bear a pitcher—the pitcher must be filled with water; the water carrier must proceed to a certain house, and to no other. This house must contain an upper room, large enough to receive Christ and twelve others; this room must be in the possession of a person who would be perfectly willing to receive the Master and his disciples, and the good man of the house must be at home to show the room, and give the messengers admittance at once. Here were several very unlikely things to happen together at one particular juncture, and yet they did happen. Providence arranges that when the apostles are at the city gates, the water bearer is there too, with his pitcher full of water; he goes to the house, the house is the right habitation, the man who possesses it shall be the right man, and Christ shall be entertained. Beloved, there are quite as many notable circumstances to be observed in the conversion of each one of God’s people. I do not doubt that the Lord has settled, concerning every one of his elect, the exact time when they shall pass from death to life, the precise instrumentality by which they shall be converted, the exact word that shall strike with power upon their mind, the period of conviction which they shall undergo, and the instant when they shall burst into the joyful liberty of a simple faith in Christ. It is all settled, all arranged and predetermined in the divine purpose. If the very hairs of our head are all numbered, how much more the circumstances of the most important of all events which can occur to us.
6. This may not seem to be a very practical truth, and yet I think it is so. I may go, for instance, a journey by rail; it is left to my option at what time to start, and in what carriage I shall ride; yet I select a particular hour, and carriage, and soon a person crosses my path whom I have never seen before; the conversation is directed towards holy things; that person is already anxious, and my conversation is so consoling that it seems to him that I am sent for the very purpose of relieving his anxiety. As we converse upon divine things, he is led to see what he never saw before, the way of salvation by the substitutionary sacrifice is opened up to him, and he throws himself into the hands of the Saviour. Now, who shall say that there was not an arrangement there which God himself, in his infinite wisdom, saw fit to make for the intended end? You have two ways today of going home from the Tabernacle: you do not know why, but you select one of the two, and in that street, if you are on the alert, as you should be, and anxious to deliver souls from going down to the pit, you may meet an individual whom you would not have seen if you had taken the other route, and it may be that you by a few words concerning eternal salvation, shall direct that person into the way of peace, and lead him to lay hold on eternal life. He who observes providence shall never lack a providence to observe, and he who watches providence with the view of discovering occasions for usefulness, will find himself surrounded with golden opportunities for soul winning. I would have you, therefore, respect the workings of divine providence, by being upon your watchtower to avail yourselves of them. You know nothing of the secret decree of God, but you can see what the decree brings forth, and then if you are wise, you can benefit your neighbours by it. Believe firmly that God has a purpose to serve by everything that occurs, and that he would have you, his servants, watchful for all opportunities so that you may bring men to a knowledge of the truth. I hope, this morning, that there are some in this house who scarcely know why they are in the Tabernacle, but the secret is that eternal purposes of grace towards them are now ripe for fulfilment. Remarkable circumstances may have worked together to bring them here; possibly had it been finer weather, the crowd would have filled the place earlier, and they would have been excluded for lack of room—this wet weather gave them a chance for admission where the gospel is preached, and so the very drops of rain may have been God’s messengers of mercy to them, indirectly working for their salvation. There may be circumstances, which I cannot pretend to guess, which revolve around some of you, concerning which God has said, “Thus and thus it shall be, so that I may bring this man to the place where I intend to arrest him by divine grace, and make him a saved soul.” I do trust this may be the case, and that miracles of mercy may be performed by our Redeemer according to the counsel of his will.
7. Note further a second thing, albeit the circumstances were all foreordained, yet Christ’s entrance into this man’s house was done by instrumentality. Had our Lord pleased to do so, he could have remained where he was, he could have secretly sent out his Spirit into the householder’s mind to constrain him to lend his upper room. Certainly there was no need why Peter and John should go as pioneers, for, if the Lord had gone himself in person, at once, he would of course have obtained quite as ready admission as his servants. But he chose to work by means. So it is in conversion; the Lord could save souls if he wished without ministers, without teachers, without prayerful parents, without even the written word, but he does not choose to do so. There are a few instances in which men have been suddenly impressed where no cause for the impression was apparent beyond the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit. Apart from instrumentality, men have been awakened and aroused in the midst of their sins, like Saul of Tarsus, who was struck down while on the road to persecute the saints in Damascus; the most obstinate have been suddenly subdued; but the general rule is, that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” and men do not hear without a preacher, but God sends the preacher and the hearing ear, and then gives the willing heart by his effectual grace. So, beloved, we must never fall into the delusion that the purposes of God set aside the use of means. I have heard thoughtless or capricious talkers say, “If God works out his purposes, then there is no need for preaching or any other means.” Ah, simpleton that you are, if we teach you that God works out his purposes by means, how mad must you be to charge us with thinking lightly of the means! If God accomplishes his eternal purposes by preaching, then the more need for preaching, and the more encouragement in doing it, for what would be the use of preaching if God had not purposed to bless it? What would be the use of ploughing and sowing, if God had not predestinated a harvest by such means? We do not believe in a decree which ordains effects without causes: the ordinance of God is comprehensive, and takes in all things; instrumentality is as much in the decree as is the result of such instrumentality. God, who determined to save, determined also to save by means: he determined to save no man without faith, and to give no man faith except through the knowledge of the truth. The means are as much in the decree as in the result, and in using the means we hope to see the result following according to the will of God.
8. The apostles who were sent to the householder, afford us a few instructive lessons. Notice carefully, that all the disciples were quite willing to go. You observe it is said, “His disciples said to him, ‘Where do you wish for us to go and prepare so that you may eat the passover?’” So every Christian should be anxious and willing to win souls for God—as well the sisters as the brothers, as well the weak as the strong, as well the babes as the fully grown men—we should all stand prepared to evangelize the world, and all be anxious to have our Master’s blessing upon our work. Let every one here this morning, who knows Christ in his heart, be saying, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” Let us each be in the spirit of Isaiah when he cried “Here I am; send me.” At the same time, the Master did not use all the twelve in this case, but preferred to send Peter and John. So in the conversion of his people, he more frequently blesses his chosen servants, his ministers of truth: these turn many to righteousness, and bring many captives to the Captain. He chooses his Peters and his Johns who have had the most familiar acquaintance with himself, and are best adapted to deliver his gracious message, and upon these he puts a special honour, thus revealing his sovereignty in the distribution of both gifts and graces. Let every man who seeks to preach the gospel learn to do his Lord’s work in the manner of Peter and John, who did not go without being sent and commissioned. No man has any right to aspire to the Christian pastorate without a call from the Most High. There must come to us a setting apart, an ordination not by man, but by the Eternal Spirit making us to be vessels of mercy to the nations. When we obtain this anointing and appointment, we must take care that we go about our work in our Master’s way. These men were not to go blundering into the city, hurrying to knock at the first door they might see; they must watch for the man with the water pot, and follow him. I think I see them. How anxiously they look around! And when they see the man, they ask no questions from him—that was not in the command, they follow blindly where he leads. I see the holy joy in their faces as they see the water carrier halt at the door, and put down his load! How confidently they enter the house, and enquire for the landlord! The Master has given them the sign, they see the countersign, and feel that all is well.
9. The story reminds you of Eleazar, the servant of Abraham, when seeking a wife for Isaac. He too had an appointed sign—the damsel shall say, “Drink, and I will give your camels drink also”; and lo, Rebekah came, and just what he had asked she might do, she did do, and then the man lifted up his heart to God, and blessed the God of his Master Abraham for giving him good speed on his errand.
10. If we wish to seek souls, we must follow the indications of God’s will, we must be like the handmaidens whose eyes watch their mistresses; we must be anxious to detect the first sign of grace, to observe the kindling of the newborn life in the awakened soul, to discover the first incomings of the divine light into the thick darkness of the natural heart; and then we must follow our Master’s will—not inventing this clap trap and that excitement as new methods of revival, not fashioning new gospels of our own, but keeping close to the all perfect gospel of our blessed God, preaching the truth simply after the apostolic precedent, believing that in this way, and in this way only, we may expect to see the revival which we seek.
11. The Master’s word of power comes to men, then, by instrumentality. Dear hearers, you who are not converted, never neglect the means of grace, because it is through the means that God’s blessing will be most likely to come to you. “Being in the way, the Lord met with me.” I have heard of a young lad who was observed to be especially attentive to the sermon, and when he was asked the reason, he said, “Because I believe that if there is anything likely to do me good, Satan is sure to prevent my hearing it if possible, and therefore I listen with all my heart, in the hope that I may hear to my soul’s profit.” You will not listen long in vain, if you listen like that. In the pools of the gospel, men mostly catch what they fish for, and if you come to hear the word desiring salvation, you will, I trust, soon obtain it. If you resort to the place of worship merely to pass the time away, or to hear a popular preacher, you cannot expect a blessing from God; but if you come here breathing the prayer, “Lord, meet with me—Jesus, save me today,” I do not doubt that, whoever the preacher may be, God will visit you through him, and hear your prayer.
12. In the third place, although we are now speaking of Christ’s effectual power, yet the man’s will was consulted. Peter and John said to him, “The Master says, ‘Where is the guest room?’” They did not push themselves into the guest room, and say to the owner, “We take possession of this parlour in the Master’s name, whether you like it or not; we have come here, and we mean to stop here; our Master sent us, and we shall not go away.” Nothing of the kind. The man’s room was his own, and the Lord Jesus Christ honours the man’s household rights by calling him “the good man of the house”—the master, the proprietor, the landlord of it. So it is in conversion. Men are brought to God by the effectual power of grace, but grace never violates, although it subdues the human will. They make a great mistake who think that God treats men as if they were logs: God knows they are not logs, and never treats them so. He has made them in his own image, to be free, intelligent agents, and he acts upon them as free agents. It is difficult for some men to understand how grace can be effectual and almighty, and yet man can still be a free agent. Now, if people cannot see this, we are not bound to give them understandings, but the two things are consistent enough: prejudice creates the difficulty, there is none really. A man may be free enough, and yet he may be so overwhelmingly persuaded to a certain course, that he cannot do otherwise; such moral power does not at all interfere with true liberty. If we taught that men were saved against their wills, and that physical force was put upon them to make them Christians, we should deserve to be denounced as talking nonsense, or worse; but the power which we speak of is moral, spiritual, persuasive, and operates in strict accordance with the usual laws of the mind. The grace of God does no violence to the will, but sweetly overcomes its obstinacy, making it a willing captive. The force that we speak of at any time when we speak of the power of grace, must be understood by all of you to be a force consistent with the original constitution of manhood; and always, although our Lord works upon men according to his own will, yet he always so works upon them as thinking, judging, willing men, and not as substances which are to be hammered, broken, or twisted by brute force.
13. My hearers, you must not expect that you will be dragged into heaven by the ears, or whirled into salvation by the hair of your heads; if you are ever saved, the heart must be changed, and your whole being must freely consent to the rule of grace. If you are ever born again, you will be made willing in the day of God’s power. His grace will come to you to remove your prejudices, to overcome your obstinacy, and to make you willingly obedient to the divine sway. How anxiously I wish that you had such a will this morning! May the Lord bow your will by the divine power of his love, and may you say today, “Lord, I wish to be saved; I am willing to renounce sin and lay hold on eternal life.” You shall never find God’s will behind yours. Where he gives a willing mind, think it to be the indication of his own merciful willingness. When grace has brought you to be willing to accept Christ, then do not be afraid, but believe at once.
14. But now, in the next place, although his will was consulted, yet, through a mysterious power exerted by our Lord, the householder raised no question, but at once cheerfully and joyfully opened his guest room. He was not compelled to give up his upper room, but yet he did it as surely as if force had been used. We do not observe the slightest hesitation. He acted as if he had said, “Come in, and welcome; I owe too much to your Master to refuse.” Perhaps this man had seen his child raised to life; perhaps he had been a leper, and been healed; perhaps he had been lame, and been restored; at any rate, he was a friend of Christ. Who he was, and what he was, we do not know, but he joyfully accepted the honour which the Redeemer proposed to confer upon him. By this shall we know today, who are the Lord’s chosen and who are not; for when the gospel comes to some, they fight against it, and will not have it, but where men receive it, welcoming it, and blessing God that it has come to them, this is a sure indication that there is a secret work going on in the soul, and that God has chosen them for eternal life. Are you willing, dear hearer, to receive Christ? Are you today content to take him and hold him to be your all in all? then there is no difficulty in the way; you may have him; his own power is working with you, making you willing, and the invitation is, “Whoever will, let him partake of the water of life freely.”
15. As for this man, I may say, in conclusion, that he had the unspeakable honour of entertaining Christ in his upper room at the last supper at which our Saviour sat before his death; and, oh brethren, if you and I receive Christ into our hearts, what an honour to entertain the Son of God this side of the stars! The heaven of heavens cannot contain him, all the glories of paradise are too little for the splendour of his person and the dignity of his merits, and yet he condescends to find a house within our narrow hearts! We are not worthy that he should come under our roof, but what an unutterable privilege when he condescends to enter, for then he makes a feast, and causes our souls to feast with him upon such royal dainties as Solomon in all his glory could not spread! we sit at a banquet where the delicacies are immortal, and give immortality to those who feed on them. If you have ever feasted with the Well Beloved, I am sure you will wish the festival would never end; you will long for the time when you may eat the food of heaven in heaven, and drink the new wine of the kingdom in glory, and go out no more, but remain with the Father world without end. Happy, thrice happy is the man who entertains the angels’ Lord.
So I have outlined the story of effectual grace. Christ’s grace
comes to us while we are still dead in sin: we are called by it;
instrumentality is used; yet the secret power of God does it all, and
as a result of it, we by entertaining the Saviour, are greatly
honoured and eminently blessed. Now, is there not here, for
believers, a theme for earnest praise? Brethren, if Christ has
entered into your hearts and mine, and that entrance was effected
wholly through his grace, let us magnify him exceedingly!
’Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly forced us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perish’d in our sin.
Let us extol the amazing love which has worked in us so mightily to redeem us from our natural hardness of heart. Let those refuse to sing who have never known their obligations to sovereign grace; but those of us who feel our debt, must praise the lavish hand which has dealt so bountifully with us.
17. And ought not this, moreover, to encourage every worker for God? Brethren, if the Master can thus find a banqueting house when he seems to be altogether destitute, and find it with only a word, let us never despair of the salvation of any man; let us go forth to our labour for souls, believing that the Lord will still find for himself a lodging within men’s hearts. What if nine out of ten of the unconverted here should say, “We will not admit the Saviour”; yet there is a remnant according to the election of grace who will welcome him! We may be content to be rebuffed with a hundred negatives, if only one soul is obedient to our message. If we had to preach to thousands year after year, and only rescued one soul, that one soul would be a full reward for all our labour, for a soul is beyond price. Let us be of good courage, the Master may give us all our hearers as our hire if he wills to do so; he can subdue the most obdurate heart with a word, and make our ministry, which has been barren up to this moment, suddenly to become fruitful for his glory. May God grant that many today may learn what effectual grace is, and Christ shall have all the praise.
18. II. During the second part of our discourse, we shall regard the question of the text as the AFFECTIONATE ENQUIRY OF THE LORD’S SERVANTS.
19. We do not have, this morning, any verbal direction concerning any special person in this house. I am not told to speak especially to that young man, or to that young woman; I am not directed to address the appeals of the gospel to those who may be sitting in the area, or to those in the galleries; I am not at all directed, as were Peter and John; still the directions to the gospel preacher are very sufficient and plain; here they are, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” I am not called to preach to the elect alone—I do not know them. I know that my message will be of no service to any except the chosen, still, in order that it may come to these, it is our work to address it to all; we cast the net into the sea, and the Lord sends us whatever fish he wishes. To one and all, therefore, of you who have not known Christ, I have this question to ask, “The Master says, ‘Where is the guest room?’”
20. First, I will explain the question. Christ Jesus wishes to have lodging in the human heart, he says, “Where is the heart in which I may dwell? Where is the soul that is ready, this morning, to open its gates so that I may enter in and dwell there?” Now, observe that I am not asking you this question, “Where is Christ?” for your answer would be a very distressing one—you have not found him. There are, I hope, many scores and hundreds here who have admitted him into the inner chamber of their spirits, and are now enjoying fellowship with him, but to you unconverted ones I ask no question concerning that matter, for you are strangers to communion with Jesus. Nor am I asking, “Where is there a feast for the Master, where will he find a festival of virtue and good works?” No; but “Where is there room for him?” He will bring the feast: the room is all he asks for. Christ asks for nothing good from you: he only asks for the empty room in which he may spread the good things which he will bring along with himself. The Master does not ask you to prepare the feast, for you are penniless in your natural estate; you have nothing upon which he can feed, for you do not have even food for your own soul; and you have spent your money for what is not food, and your labour for what does not satisfy. He asks for an empty room—this is all. Room for the Saviour! Room for the Saviour! Room for the Saviour to enter and dwell! It is not your virtues, your excellencies, nor anything good from you that he asks for, but simply the empty room in which you are willing to entertain him. The question is, simply and alone, “Where is the guest room?” Not, “Where is the guest room that is sumptuously decorated, and made fit for the great King?” Not, “Where is the room that is glittering with gilded panels and mosaic pavements?” Jesus seeks no lofty room in which to lodge; indeed, if there is one of you who has a lofty and proud heart, Christ will not come to you, for all the splendours of your pretended goodness are faded and stained in his sight. He does not dwell with the proud, nor with the great; but if you have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, “‘To this man I will look, and with this man I will dwell,’ says the Lord.” Are you guilty? Well, that need not keep the sin atoning Priest away. Is the guest room of your heart all soiled and filthy? Is it full of evils? Jesus Christ does not enquire concerning that; he only asks you if you are willing that he should come in and dwell there, and if you say “Yes,” it will be his business to cleanse the room and furnish it for himself. Only, “Where is a guest room?” Is there a heart here, this morning, that is open to Jesus? Is there a man or woman who has room for the Lord of glory?
21. Still further explaining the question, let me remark that some offer Christ a room which he cannot accept as a guest room. Yes, they will receive Christ into their heads, they have no objection to believe the truths taught in the Bible concerning him with a notional faith. My Lord will not eat the passover there. No, you may be very orthodox indeed, and exceedingly sound in doctrine, but where Jesus comes into the house, he will have the best parlour, namely, the heart. Not here in the cold attic of the brain, but there in the warm parlour of the heart, there must Jesus dwell. Are you willing today to have Christ to be your Saviour? Soul, soul, are you willing to trust Christ with your eternal interests? Are you willing now to hang upon him as the vessel hangs upon the nail, having no other dependence? Are you willing to become his servant, to do what he asks you? Are you willing to be his friend, to find your best solace in fellowship with himself? Are you willing now, all guilty and defiled as you are, to accept his righteousness as your righteousness, and his blood as your cleansing? Does your mind bring out the keys of the heart’s castle and offer them to the King, and do you say, “Come in, my Lord, come in! For too long I have stood out against you and resisted all the invitations of your grace, but now lift up your heads, oh you gates, and be lifted up, you doors of my spirit, so that the King of glory may come in?” That is all I ask of you. I am not sent to seek after any merits, I am not asked to seek any good in you; only if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of this land; if you are willing to trust him, then I have found the man with whom Christ is predestinated to dwell. God has given the will—he will surely work the way. He has made you cheerfully to be his host, he is equally willing to be your guest. Where is the guest room? I cannot very well come around to all of you and take you by the hand and say, “Is there a guest room, my friend, in your heart?”—it might take too long a time to pass from pew to pew to ask you the question, but I do desire to ask it (and to press it very earnestly) to each one, “The Master says, ‘Where is the guest room?’”
22. Did you notice, when I read the passage in Luke just now, that it read a little differently from what it does in Mark?—“The Master says to you, ‘Where is the guest room?’” I trust he says that to some of you in the singular, and with singular power. The Master says to you, this morning, this day of grace, this hour of love which you have been spared to see, although you might well have been cut down in your sins, the Master says to you, “Mary, John, ‘Where is the guest room?’” Take advice, and give a speedy affirmative answer to that question, and may this be the day when Jesus shall enter in triumph into your soul.
23. I will tell you, in a minute or two, why it is that I feel so earnest to press this question, “The Master says, ‘Where is the guest room?’” I press it first for his sake: yes, all his true servants long to obtain lodging for him in human hearts. Sometimes I have thought upon my own ministry, and I have said, “Yes, during the time in which I have been pastor of the church, we have carried out many great works; we have built a vast house for prayer, erected houses for alms women, orphanages for the young, and carried on the college, but what would it all be if these would be the only result of gathering this people together, and preaching to them from Sunday to Sunday?” The only success that is worth having is the winning of souls. If we do not see souls brought to Christ to bow at his feet, and acknowledge him as King, we go back to our prayer closet, crying, “Who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” Christ must be crowned in men’s hearts or we pine with grief. We cannot be satisfied to see him stand in the street, his head wet with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night: we must have the Son of God entertained, for oh! it grieves us even to brokenness of heart; it troubles us exceedingly that he should be used so badly who loved us so well; that he should be rejected who gave up heaven and all its glories so that he might redeem us from going down to hell. By the wounds of Christ, and by the bloody sweat that covered him when he redeemed us from our sins, we do beseech you to listen to this voice, “Where is the guest room?” and reply, “Lord, that guest room is in my soul today.”
24. We press this upon you also for our own sake. We are afraid lest we shall be found to be unprofitable servants. If you can be won to Christ, so much the more joy and rejoicing for us, for what is our crown of rejoicing? Is it not you, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ?
25. But most of all, we press this upon you for your own soul’s sake. Oh beloved, if you only entertain Christ, you will have entertained heaven. You will be no losers by loving Christ, but unspeakable gainers. Trust in Jesus, and your sins are forgiven you, a bright future is secured, and the black past is blotted out. Get Christ, and if you are ever so poor, or ever so full of pain, yet you are to be envied; but oh! if you live and die without Christ, we scarcely dare to picture the scene around your deathbed—imagination refuses to lift the curtain, and to view your soul in a disembodied state driven from hope for ever; but we remember that dreadful text, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment”: we cannot bear it that you should know the eternity of God’s wrath, that you should have to feel the perpetual flame of the divine anger. Oh, for your own sake, if you have any true self-love, and would be delivered from eternal misery, open your heart wide, so that Jesus Christ may enter in.
Do you still ask, “But what do you mean by ‘Where is the guest
room?’” I will answer it yet again. Jesus Christ deserves from you a
simple, personal, immediate, undivided faith in himself. Wherever
Christ comes, he comes to be trusted; you must trust him entirely,
rejecting all confidences of your own; trust him at this moment, and
do not postpone or put off faith for a more convenient time. If Jesus
Christ is to be the guest in the guest room of your heart, you must
now give yourself up completely to him, for,
Know, nor of the terms complain,
Where Jesus comes, he comes to reign,
To reign, and with no partial sway—
Lusts must be slain that disobey.
If you trust Christ, you must then obey Christ. In the power of the Spirit sin will have to be cast out, for Christ will not eat the passover with sin reigning in the room. All the lusts of the flesh must be renounced: he will make you to renounce them, for Christ will not feast with you while you enjoy the dainties of sin. Christ will have no fellowship with Belial: he will not sit at the same table as the devil. Are you willing now? It is all I ask. Has his Spirit made you willing by his power to give up favourite sins, to renounce secret lusts, to be moulded and fashioned by the divine hand, and made to be vessels fit for the divine use? Are you willing to have Christ for your Saviour and your Master? Where, where is the guest room? My Master, you know. Oh that some voice would say, “Here it is.”
For, remember (and then I am finished), if you do not entertain
Christ now, the day will come when you will wish you had, but wish in
vain, in the day when you shall see him upon his throne, and he shall
say to you, “You rejected me, and now I reject you. You heard the
gospel—you were invited, you were pleaded with; but you had no ear
for all my invitations.” In that day, when he has no ear for you, but
when he deals out the thunderbolts of his just anger, you will wish
that you had listened to him. Oh, I wish I could make men look upon
their Sabbaths and the sermons they hear as they will look upon them
another day. How many there are today wringing their hands in
torment, and crying, “Oh that we could hear the gospel again! Oh for
another invitation to come to Christ! but it is past now; the hour of
mercy is struck, and we have come into the eternity of vengeance,
where there are no acts of pardon passed, and no hopes held out for
souls to escape from their everlasting misery.” Oh be wise, now!
“Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts”;
today, while his spirit still pleads with men, make your souls guest
rooms for himself, and, if you admit him now, you will now rejoice
exceedingly in that day when he comes in his glory. It will be no
little joy for the believer to say, when he sees his Lord in the
clouds of heaven, “I have known him before; I received him into my
heart when men spoke evil of him; when he was rejected, I accepted
him; when he walked through the streets, and they were miry, and he
was clothed in rags, I took him in; he was hungry and I fed him, he
was sick and in prison, and I visited him, and ministered to him.”
Oh, it will be an unspeakable joy for the soul to hear him say,
“Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you
did it to me; you have been with me in my temptations, you shall be
with me in my glory; you shared my tribulations and humiliations, and
now you shall partake in all my triumphs; you shall sit on my right
hand for ever and ever.” May this be the portion of every person
within these walls, and may God be glorified in each one of us, not
in his justice, but in his mercy, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Portion of Scripture Read Before Sermon—Luke 22:1-30]