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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’s Death’

The gospel is to the true believer a thing of power

The gospel is to the true believer a thing of power. It is Christ the power of God. Ay, there is a power in God’s gospel beyond all description. Once, I, like Mazeppa, bound on the wild horse of my lust, bound hand and foot, in capable of resistance, was galloping on with hell’s wolves behind me, howling for my body and my soul, as their just and lawful prey. There came a mighty band which stopped that wild horse, cut my bands, set me down, and brought me into liberty. Is there power, sir? Ay, there is power, and he who has felt it must acknowledge it. There was a time when I lived in the strong old castle of my sins, and rested in my works. There came a trumpeter to the door, and bade me open it. I with anger chid him from the porch, and said he never should enter. There came a goodly personage, with loving countenance; his hands were marked with scars, where nails were driven, and his feet had nailprints too; he rifted up his cross, using it as a hammer; at the first blow the gate of my prejudice shook; at the second it trembled more; at the third down it fell, and in he came; and he said, “Arise, and stand upon thy feet, for I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” A thing of power! Ah! it is a thing of power. I have felt it here, in this heart; I have the witness of the Spirit within, and know it is a thing of might, because it has conquered me; it has bowed me down.

His free grace alone, from the first to the last,

Hath won my affection, and held my soul fast.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

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If a man never in his life knew himself to be a Christian, he never was a Christian

But if a man never in his life knew himself to be a Christian, he never was a Christian. If he never had a moment of confidence, when he could say, “Now I know in whom I have believed,” I think I do not utter a harsh thing when I say, that that man could not have been born again; for I do not understand how a man can be born again, and not know it; I do not understand how a man can be killed and then made alive again, and not know it; how a man can pass from death unto life, and not know it; how a man can be brought out of darkness into marvellous light without knowing it. I am sure I know it, when I shout out my old verse,

Now free from sin, I walk at large,

My Savior’s blood’s my full discharge;

At his dear feet content I lay,

A sinner saved, and homage pay.”

There are moments when the eyes glisten with joy; and we can say, “We are persuaded, confident, certain.” I do not wish to distress anyone who is under doubt. Often gloomy doubts will prevail; there are seasons when you fear you have not been called; when you doubt your interest in Christ. Ah! what a mercy it is that it is not your hold of Christ that saves you, but his hold of you! What a sweet fact that it is not how you grasp his hand, but his grasp of yours, that saves you. Yet I think you ought to know sometime or other, whether you are called of God. If so, you will follow me in the next part of my discourse which is a matter of pure experience; unto us who are saved, it is “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

Unto us who are called of God, it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God

III. Now we come to our third point, A GOSPEL ADMIRED; unto us who are called of God, it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Now, beloved, this must be a matter of pure experience between your souls and God. If you are called of God this morning, you will know it. I know there are times when a Christian has to say,

Tis a point I long to know,

Oft it causes anxious thought;

Do I love the Lord or no?

Am I his, or am I not?”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

Unto us who are called

Unto us who are called” I received a note this week asking me to explain that word “called;” because in one passage it says, “Many are called but few are chosen,” while in another it appears that all who are called must be chosen. Now, let me observe that there are two calls. As my old friend John Bunyan says, “The hen has two calls, the common cluck, which she gives daily and hourly, and the special one which she means for her little chickens.” So there is a general call, a call made to every man; every man hears it. Many are called by it; you are all called this morning in that sense; but very few are chosen. The other is a special call, the children’s call. You know how the bell sounds over the workshop to call the men to work-that is a general call. A father goes to the door and calls out. “John, it is dinnertime?”- that is the special call. Many are called with the general call, but they are not chosen; the special call is for the children only, and that is what is meant in the text, “Unto us who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” That call is always a special one. While I stand here and call men, nobody comes; while I preach to sinners universally, no good is done; it is like the sheet lightning you sometimes see on the summer’s evening, beautiful, grand, but who have ever heard of anything being struck by it? But the special call is the forked flash from heaven; it strikes somewhere, it is the arrow sent in between the joints of the harness. The call which saves, is like that of Jesus, when he said, “Mary,” and she said unto him, “Rabboni.” Do you know anything about that special call my beloved? Did Jesus ever call you by name? Canst thou recollect the hour when he whispered thy name in thine ear, when he said, “Come to me?” If so, you will grant the truth of what I am going to say next about it,-that it is an effectual call. There is no resisting it. When God calls with his special call, there is no standing out. Ah! I know I laughed at religion; I despised, I abhorred it; but that call! Oh! I would not come. But God said, “Thou shalt come. All that the Father giveth to me shall come.” “Lord, I will not.” “But thou shalt,” said God. And I have gone up to God’s house sometimes almost with a resolution that I would not listen, but listen I must. Oh! how the word came into my soul! Was there a power of resistance? No; I was thrown down; each bone seemed to be broken; I was saved by effectual grace. I appeal to your experience, my friends. When God took you in hand, could you withstand him? You stood against your minister times enough. Sickness did not break you down; disease did not bring you to God’s feet; eloquence did not convince you; but when God put his hand to the work, ah! then what a change; like Saul, with his horses going to Damascus, that voice from heaven said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?” There was no going further then. That was an effectual call Like that, again, which Jesus gave to Zaccheus, when he was up in the tree: stepping under the tree, he said, “Zaccheus, come down, to-day I must abide at thy house.” Zaccheus, was taken in the net, he heard his own name; the call sank into his soul; he could not stop up in the tree, for an Almighty impulse drew him down. And I could tell you some singular instances of persons going to the house of God and having their characters described, limned out to perfection, so that they have said, “He is painting me, he is painting me.” Just as I might say to that young man here who stole his master’s gloves yesterday, that Jesus calls him to repentance. It may be that there is such a person here; and when the call comes to a peculiar character, it generally comes with a special power. God gives his ministers a brush, and shows them how to use it in painting life-like portraits, and thus the sinner hears the special call. I cannot give the special call; God alone can give it, and I leave it with him. Some must be called. Jew and Greek may laugh, but still there are some who are called, both Jews and Greeks.

Then to close up this second point, it is a great mercy that many a Jew has been made to drop his self righteousness; many a legalist has been made to drop his legalism and come to Christ, many a Greek has bowed his genius at the throne of God’s gospel. We have a few such. As Cowper says:

We boast some rich ones whom the gospel sways,

And one who wears a coronet and prays;

Like gleamings of an olive tree they show,

Here and there one upon the topmost bough.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

I shall now briefly speak upon the GOSPEL TRIUMPHANT

II. Having spoken thus far upon the gospel rejected, I shall now briefly speak upon the GOSPEL TRIUMPHANT. “Unto us who are called, both Jews and Greeks, it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Yonder man rejects the gospel, despises grace, and laughs at it as a delusion. Here is another man who laughed at it too; but God will fetch him down upon his knees. Christ shall not die for nothing. The Holy Ghost shall not strive in vain. God hath said, “My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be abundantly satisfied.” If one sinner is not saved, another shall be. The Jew and the Greek shall never depopulate heaven. The choirs of glory shall not lose a single songster by all the opposition of Jews and Greeks; for God hath said it; some shall be called; some shall be saved; some shall be rescued.

“Perish the virtue, as it ought, abhorred, 

And the fool with it, who insults his Lord.

The atonement a Redeemer’s love has wrought

Is not for you-the righteous need it not.

Seest thou yon harlot wooing all she meets,

The worn-out nuisance of the public streets,

Herself from morn to night, from night to morn,

Her own abhorrence, and as much your scorn:

The gracious shower, unlimited and free,

Shall fall on her when heaven denies it thee.

Of all that wisdom dictates, this the drift,

That man is dead in sin, and life a gift.”

If the righteous and good are not saved, if they reject the gospel, there are others who are to be called, others who shall be rescued, for Christ will not lose the merits of his agonies, or the purchase of his blood.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

I have found out the Jew, and I have now to discover the Greek

I have found out the Jew, and I have now to discover the Greek. He is a person of quite a different exterior to the Jew. As to the phylactery, to him it is all rubbish; and as to the broad-hemmed garment, he despises it. He does not care for the forms of religion; he has an intense aversion, in fact, to broadbrimmed hats, or to everything which looks like outward show. He appreciates eloquence; he admires a smart saying; he loves a quaint expression; he likes to read the last new book; he is a Greek, and to him the gospel is foolishness. The Greek is a gentleman found in most places now-a-days: manufactured sometimes in colleges, constantly made in schools, produced everywhere. He is on the exchange; in the market; he keeps a shop; rides in a carriage; he is a noble, a gentleman; he is everywhere; even in court. He is thoroughly wise. Ask him anything, and he knows it. Ask for a quotation from any of the old poets, or any one else, and he can give it you. If you are a Mahommedan, and plead the claims of your religion, he will hear you very patiently. But if you are a Christian, and talk to him of Jesus Christ, “Stop your cant,” he says, “I don’t want to hear anything about that.” This Grecian gentleman believes all philosophy except the true one; he studies all wisdom except the wisdom of God; he seeks all learning except spiritual learning; he loves everything except that which God approves; he likes everything which man makes, and nothing which comes from God; it is foolishness to him, confounded foolishness. You have only to discourse about one doctrine in the Bible, and he shuts his ears; he wishes no longer for your company; it is foolishness. I have met this gentleman a great many times. Once when I saw him, he told me he did not believe in any religion at all; and when I said I did, and had a hope that when I died I should go to heaven, he said he dared say it was very comfortable, but he did not believe in religion, and that he was sure it was best to live as nature dictated. Another time he spoke well of all religions, and believed they were very good in their place, and all true; and he had no doubt that if a man were sincere in any kind of religion, he would be all right at last. I told him I did not think so, and that I believed there was but one religion revealed of God-the religion of God’s elect, the religion which is the gift of Jesus.

He then said I was a bigot, and wished me good morning. It was to him foolishness. He had nothing to do with me at all. He either liked no religion, or every religion. Another time I held him by the coat button, and I discussed with him a little about faith. He said, “It is all very well, I believe that is true Protestant doctrine.” But presently I said something about election, and he said, “I don’t like that; many people have preached that and turned it to bad account.” I then hinted something about free grace, but that he could not endure, it was to him foolishness. He was a polished Greek, and thought that if he were not chosen, he ought to be. He never liked that passage- “God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, and the things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” He thought it was very discreditable to the Bible; and when the book was revised, he had no doubt it would be cut out. To such a man-for he is here this morning, very likely come to hear this reed shaken of the wind-I have to say this: Ah! thou wise man, full of worldly wisdom; thy wisdom will stand thee here, but what wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan? Philosophy may do well for thee to lean upon whilst thou walkest through this world; but the river is deep, and thou wilt want something more than that. If thou hast not the arm of the Most High to hold thee up in the flood and cheer thee with promises, thou wilt sink, man; with all thy philosophy, thou wilt sink; with all thy learning, thou shalt sink, and be washed into that awful ocean of eternal torment, where thou shalt be for ever. Ah! Greeks, it may be foolishness to you, but ye shall see the Man your Judge, and then ye shall rue the day that e’er ye said that God’s gospel was foolishness.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

Another specimen of this Jew to be found who is thoroughly orthodox in his sentiments

But there is another specimen of this Jew to be found. He is thoroughly orthodox in his sentiments. As for forms and ceremonies, he thinks nothing about them. He goes to a place of worship where he learns sound doctrine. He will hear nothing but what is true. He likes that we should have good works and morality. He is a good man, and no man can find fault with him. Here he is, regular in his Sunday pew. In the market he walks before men in all honesty-so you would imagine. Ask him about any doctrine, and he can give you a disquisition upon it. In fact, he could write a treatise upon anything in the Bible, and a great many things besides. He knows almost everything; and here, up in this dark attic of the head, his religion has taken up its abode; he has a best parlour down in his heart, but his religion never goes there-that is shut against it. He has money in there-mammon, worldliness; or he has something else-self-love, pride. Perhaps he loves to hear experimental preaching; he admires it all; in fact, he loves anything that is sound. But then he has not any sound in himself: or rather, it is all sound and there is no substance. He likes to hear true doctrine; but it never penetrates his inner man. You never see him weep. Preach to him about Christ crucified, a glorious subject, and you never see a tear roll down his cheek; tell him of the mighty influence of the Holy Ghost-he admires you for it, but he never had the hand of the Holy Spirit on his soul; tell him about communion with God, plunging into Godhead’s deepest sea, and being lost in its immensity-the man loves to hear, but he never experiences, he has never communed with Christ and accordingly when once you begin to strike home, when you lay him on the table, take out your dissecting knife, begin to cut him up, and show him his own heart, let him see what it is by nature, and what it must become by grace -the man starts, he cannot stand that; he wants none of that-Christ received in the heart and accepted. Albeit, that he loves it enough in the head, ‘tis to him a stumblingblock, and he casts it away. Do you see yourselves here my friends? See yourselves as others see you? See yourselves as God sees you? For so it is, here be many to whom Christ is as much a stumblingblock now as ever he was. O ye formalists! I speak to you; O ye who have the nutshell, but abhor the kernel; O ye who like the trappings and the dress; but care not for that fair virgin who is clothed therewith: O ye who admire the paint and the tinsel, but abhor the solid gold, I speak to you; I ask you, does your religion give you solid comfort? Can you stare death in the face with it, and say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth?” Can you close your eyes at night singing as your vesper song-

I to the end must endure,

As sure as the earnest is given?”

Can you bless God for affliction; Can you plunge in accoutred as ye are, and swim through all the floods of trial? Can you march triumphant through the lion’s den, laugh at affliction, and bid defiance to hell? Can you? No! Your gospel is an effeminate thing; a thing of words and sounds, and not of power. Cast it from you, I beseech you: it is not worth your keeping; and when you come before the throne of God, you will find it will fail you, and fail you so that you shall never find another; for lost, ruined, destroyed, ye shall find that Christ who is now skandalon, “a stumblingblock,” will be your Judge.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855