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The Man Christ Jesus
Delivered on Lord's Day Morning, April 12th, 1885, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Now consider how great this man was. " Hebrews 7:4 .
CONSIDER how great Melchizedek was. There is something majestic about every movement of that dimly-revealed figure. His one and only appearance is thus fitly described in the Book of Genesis, "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all." We see but little of him, yet we see nothing little in him. He is here and gone, as far as the historic page is concerned, yet is he "a priest for ever," and "it is witnessed that he liveth." Everything about him is on a scale majestic and sublime. "Consider how great this man was" in the power of his benedictions. Abraham had already been greatly blessed so much so that he is described as "he that received the promises." Yet a receiver of promises so great, a man with whom God had entered into solemn covenant, was yet blessed by Melchizedek, and without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. This great man yet further blessed the blessed Abraham, and the father of the faithful was glad to receive benediction at his hands. No small man this: no priest of second rank; but one who overtops the sons of men by more than head and shoulders, and acts a superior's part among the greatest of them. "Consider how great this man was" as to the singularity of his person, "without father, without mother, without descent": that is to say, we know nothing as to his birth, his origin, or his history. Even this explanation hardly answers to the words, especially when it is added, "Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life." So mysterious is Melchizedek that many deeply-taught expositors think that he was veritably an appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are inclined to believe that he was not a king of some city in Canaan, as the most of us suppose, but that he was a manifestation of the Son of God, such as were the angels that appeared to Abraham on the plains of Mamre, and that divine being who appeared to Joshua by Jericho, and to the three holy ones in the furnace. At any rate, you may well consider how great this man was when you observe how veiled in cloud is everything about his coming and going veiled because intended to impress us with the depth of the sacred meanings which were shadowed forth in him. How much more shall this be said of him of whom we ask
"Thy generation who can tell, Or count the number of thy years?"
"Consider how great this man was" in his being altogether unique. There is another "after the order of Melchizedek," the glorious Antitype in whom Melchizedek himself is absorbed; but apart from him Melchizedek is unique. Who can equal this strange, mysterious priest, prophet, king, sent of the Most High God to bless the father of the faithful? He is altogether alone: he receives no commission from the hands of men, nor from God by men; and he does not transmit to a successor what he had not received from a predecessor. Melchizedek stands alone: one mighty crag, rising out of the plain; a long Alp, whose brow is swathed in cloud sublime. "Consider how great this man was" but think not to measure that greatness. And first, this morning, let me exhort you to consider how great this man is: then let me assist you to consider how great this man is: and then let us practically improve our consideration of how great this man is, trying to turn it to holy account as the Holy Ghost may enable us. This subject claims your consideration. I do not think it should be a matter of option with you whether you will now consider the greatness of your Lord or not; it is his due and right that you should consider his greatness. For he of whom we speak, "this man," is one well known among us. If you be true to your profession he is one most dear to you, to whom you owe all things, aye, owe your very selves. He is one between whom and you there is a troth plighted: you are espoused unto him, your hearts are his, even as his heart is yours. If you do not consider him, who will? He has loved you, and given himself for you. Strangers may listen to our teaching at this time, and in vain we may cry,
"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Is it nothing to you that Jesus should die?"
But you are no stranger, you are not even a guest in his house, but you are a child living at home with him. He is your brother, and much more; for he is bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh. All your interests are wrapped up in him. You are one with him: by an endless union, one. I claim, therefore, and I am sure you assent at once to the claim, that you should often consider your Lord, and the greatness of his nature, person, office, and work. His greatness should be your perpetual theme. I would urge that all other thoughts should now be banished, for this is your Lord's own day, and therefore to him it should be dedicated with glad consent. If you are in the Spirit on the Lord's day, you will, like John in Patmos, give all your thoughts to the Son of Man who walketh among the golden candlesticks. I urge it on you that you do now consider with your whole heart and mind, how great this man is. Do you not consent to the claim? I go a little further, and say that not only does my subject claim your consideration and need your consideration, but it solemnly commands it. The text is not a mere piece of advice; it is by inspiration that the apostle bids you today out of this sacred page, "Consider how great this man was." He charges you to think of Melchizedek but much more would he have you remember Melchizedek's Antitype. Oh, do not, my brethren, do not need to be pressed to this divine study: love it, never cease from it. Count every minute wasted in which you are not learning more about Jesus. Reckon all other knowledge to be as mere chaff and dog's meat as compared with the knowledge of Christ crucified. In these days of science, falsely so called, determine with the apostle to know nothing among men save Jesus Christ and him crucified. It is imperative upon you that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind; and that God in Christ Jesus should call into exercise every faculty of your inner man, while, with blended intellect and emotion, you consider how great he was. Consider his greatness, and I again remind you that the blessing comes only by consideration. I may speak to you this morning about the greatness of my Master, but I shall not succeed in fully declaring it. I am never more vexed with myself than when I have done my very best to extol his dear name! What is it but holding a candle to the sun? What are my lispings compared with the loud acclamations which such an one as he is might well expect from those who love him? You must carefully consider, or you will miss the blessing. It will not be enough for you to hear, or read; you must do your own thinking, and consider your Lord for yourselves. You may even read the Bible itself without profit, if you do not consider as well as read. The wine is not made by gathering the clusters, but by treading the grapes in the wine-vat: under pressure the red juice leaps forth. Not the truth as you read it, but the truth as you meditate upon it, will be a blessing to you. "Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest." "Consider how great this man was." Shut yourselves up with Jesus, if you would know him. "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast." In Christ there is shelter, and the more you consider him the greater your peace will be. Come and lay your finger into the prints of the nails, and thrust your hand into his side. Commune with the personal Christ, who ever liveth; and evermore "consider how great this man was." II. LET ME NEXT ASSIST YOU TO CONSIDER HOW GREAT THIS MAN WAS. You, my brethren, are not in doubt upon this vital matter; let me, therefore, ask you to consider "how great this man was" as to his relationship to men. Christ Jesus is the second man, the Lord from heaven. Adam, our first father, was the head of the race, and all men were in him as their representative: in him they stood in the garden; in him, alas, they fell when he broke the divine command, and the Lord took up the quarrel of his covenant, and cast him out of Paradise. "Oh, what a fall was there, my brethren: then you and I and all of us fell down." We inherit because of Adam's failure a nature whose tendencies are towards evil. Adam was a very great personage in relation to the race: he was the summary of all the generations, the fountain of the stream of humanity. To him we might apply the language of the prophet, "Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God. . . . Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." As Adam came forth from God he was as a covering cherub, under whose wings the race nestled down. But now comes in the Lord Jesus Christ as the greater man, the representative man, in whom none are made to fall, but multitudes arise. In this man the Lord is again well pleased with men. Time was when God looked on rebellious man, and it repented him that he had made him; but now that he turns his eye to this perfect man he feels no such repentance; but, on the contrary, we read that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." For the sake of the man Christ Jesus he deals with the innumerable race of sinners in a way of long-suffering and pity, and does not destroy them. Long ago had the flood-gates been pulled up again, and man been swept away by a deluge, not of water but of fire, if it had not been that the long-suffering Lord looks on the Well-Beloved Christ and therefore spares mankind. Yea, more; for his sake he sends the gospel of peace to men, and in the name of Jesus glad tidings are sent to every creature. It has sometimes happened that the illustrious deed of one man has served to elevate a class, or even a nation into honour. A grand, heroic deed has welded you not only to that one person but to all his kith and kin. Consider, then, how great this man was, that the divine mind which cannot look upon sin without indignation, nevertheless was so charmed to look upon the person and character of this glorious Man, that an amnesty was proclaimed to the race, and a message was sent to the sons of men bidding them repent and turn to him and live. "Consider," then, "how great this man was." Let me help you a little further, dear friends, to "consider how great this man was," by reminding you of the surroundings of his first advent. Thousands of years before his birth holy men had been speaking of him. Prophets and seers all pointed to him as The Coming One. "How great this man was," since the wisest and best of mankind all looked forward to his day with gladness. Think of that wonderful system of types, and emblems, and symbols which God ordained by his servant Moses; for the whole of this system was meant to set forth the Messiah, who would yet appear in the fulness of time. To him witnessed each bleeding sacrifice, each censer of sweet incense, each golden vessel, each curtain and wall of tabernacle or temple: all spoke concerning him. Ay, and more than that, all the histories of all the empires were all but concentric rings of which he was the center; for the Lord Jesus is the center of history, the sum total of all God's doings and manifestations among the sons of men. That was an august Person towards whom all the past had been labouring, and for whom all the present was agonizing. "How great this man was," that when he came the saints were watching for him: Simeon and Anna could not depart till he appeared. Angels stood on tip-toe ready to descend and sing, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Humble shepherds, as they watched their flocks, did but wait for the signal to hasten to adore him; and wise men from the east forgot the fatigues of a long journey that they might lay their gold and incense at his feet. How great this man was, when being born and laid in a manger, the whole earth was moved by his appearing. Now, let us look at his life. After he emerged from the obscurity of his childhood, what a life was that of our Lord! His greatest adversaries, unless they have been mad, have never dared to speak against his character. If the Christian religion were supposed to be an invention, the existence of the narrative of the life of Jesus would be more wonderful than the facts themselves. The conception of a perfect character requires a perfect mind, and a perfect mind would never have prepared a fiction and imposed it upon men as a veritable history. If the life of Jesus be a fable, then a perfect being has deceived us; and this it is not possible for us to imagine. The life of Jesus Christ is great throughout. It is so tender and so gentle that it is never little and mean: it is so unselfish that it never ceases to be majestic; it is so condescending that it is pre-eminently sublime. Above all, it is full of truth, transparent, artless, natural. No one ever thought of Jesus as acting a part yet; he is reality itself. He is so simple, so unaffected, so truly the holy child Jesus, that in this he is great above all. Never was a man so wholly seen as the Christ; and yet never was man so little understood. You have read memoirs of departed worthies, and you have felt, The biographer did well to say no more upon this point; but you never felt that anything need be reserved as to the character of Jesus. If his chronicles had kept on writing till the world itself had been made a library of the lives of Christ they would never have recorded an unworthy act or a regrettable word. It is not only that his pursuits were majestic, for he came to save men; that his motives were divine, for he revealed the Father; but it is himself that is so great I mean his soul, his spirit, the man himself. Look at Alexander, he is a great conqueror, but what a pitiful creature he appears when the drunkard's bowl has maddened him. What a poor thing is Napoleon as seen in privacy! In his captivity he was as petulant as a spoiled child. Consider the Lord Jesus, and it does not matter where you view him: in the wilderness he is grandly victorious over temptation, in the crowd he is greatly wise in answering those who would entrap him. Behold him in his agony in the Garden; was there ever such an Agoniser? Behold him as the crucified; did ever cross hold such a sufferer? When Jesus is least he is greatest, and when he is in the direst darkness his brightness is best revealed. In death he destroys death; in the grave he bursts the sepulcher. "Consider how great this man was": the field of his life is ample; do not be slow to investigate it. Now, beloved, consider for a minute "how great this man was" when he rose again; for he could not be holden with the bonds of death, and his body could not see corruption. It was a great thing in itself for Christ to rise, but what I want you to remember is, that we all rose in him. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive;" and especially his covenanted people were raised up together with him. There was for his redeemed a death in his death and a rising again in his rising again; for we have been made partakers of his resurrection, and we live in newness of life by his rising from the dead. This is his cry as he rises from the tomb, "Because I live ye shall live also." "Consider how great this man was" whose life imparts life to all who are in him. Beloved, I would we had time this morning to introduce you to this man as he now sits at the right hand of God, even the Father. There is no need for me to depict him; if there were it were impossible to me. What said the man who loved him best, and knew him best? "When I saw him I fell at his feet as dead." "Consider how great this man is" now, when every angel pays him homage, and at the name of Jesus every knee doth bow, of things in heaven; as by-and-by every knee shall bow of things on earth, and things that are under the earth, for Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. "Consider how great this man is," and then remember that he shall shortly come to be our Judge! Possibly, while I am yet speaking to you, he may appear; no man knoweth the day nor the hour; but "how great this man is" will be clearly seen when, in flaming fire, he shall take vengeance upon those that will not obey him. How "great" will he be when in the manifestation of his glory all believers shall be glorified. I think I hear, even now, sounding out of my theme, shouts of "hallelujah, hallelujah," from assembled worlds. Yes, the music peals forth loud and long, "King of kings, and Lord of lords. HALLELUJAH. For he shall reign for ever and ever. HALLELUJAH!" Break forth with your loud hosannas, oh, ye waiting spirits of believing men, for the time is at hand when he shall be admired in all them that believe! Consider how great this man is. I have but reached the fringe of my subject. We see but the skirts of our Lord's garments; his actual glory is unspeakable, unsearchable. Oh, the depths! Oh, the depths! And then let us ascribe to our Lord Jesus Christ all the honour that our thoughts can compass. Let us give to him this day our very selves over again. Consider how great this man was, and go away feeling how greatly you are indebted to him, what great things you ought to do for him, and how little your greatest thing is when you have done it as compared with the greatness of his deservings.
"Let him be crowned with majesty That bowed his head to death; And be his honour sounded high By all things that have breath."
Do not you feel that question pressing upon your heart?
"Oh what shall I do My Saviour to praise!"
Do something; and having done it do more, and yet more. Give up your whole being to the showing forth of how great this Man is! A pamphlet is being widely advertised as prefaced by "Mr. Spurgeon." I have written no such preface. My views on all subjects are as they were. It is disgraceful that an attempt should be made to propagate doctrines which I loathe, by leading the public to suppose that I have espoused them.
"C. H. Spurgeon
April 15, 1885.
Salvation to the Uttermost A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, June, 8, 1856, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon At Exeter Hall, Strand.
"Where he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25 .
SALVATION is a doctrine peculiar to revelation. Revelation affords us a complete history of it, but nowhere else can we find any trace thereof. God has written many books, but only one book has had for its aim the teaching of the ways of mercy. He has written the great book of creation, which is our duty and our pleasure to read. It is a volume embellished on its surface with starry gems and rainbow colours, and containing in its inner leaves marvels at which the wise may wonder for age, and yet find a fresh theme for their conjectures. Nature is the spelling-book of man, in which he may learn his Maker's name, he hath studded it with embroidery, with gold, with gems. There are doctrines of truth in the mighty stars, and there are lessons written on the green earth and in the flowers upspringing from the sod. We read the books of God when we see the storm and tempest, for all things speak as God would have them; and if our ears are open we may hear the voice of God in the rippling of every rill, in the roll of every thunder, in the brightness of every lightning, in the twinkling of every star, in the budding of every flower. God has written the great book of creation, to teach us what he is how great, how mighty. But I read nothing of salvation in creation. The rocks tell me, "Salvation is not in us;" the winds howl, but they howl not salvation: the waves rush upon the shore, but among the wrecks which they wash up, the reveal no trace of salvation; the fathomless caves of ocean bear pearls, but they bear no pearls of grace; the starry heavens have their flashing meteors, but they have no voices of salvation. I find salvation written nowhere, till in this volume of my Father's grace I find his blessed love unfolded towards the great human family, teaching them that they are lost, but that he can save them, and that in saving them he can be "just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly." Salvation, then, is to be found in the Scriptures, and in the Scriptures only; for we can read nothing of it elsewhere. And while it is to be found only in Scripture, I hold that the peculiar doctrine of revelation is salvation. I believe that the Bible was sent not to teach me history, but to teach me grace not to give me a system of philosophy, but to give me a system of divinity not to teach worldly wisdom, but spiritual wisdom. Hence I hold all preaching of philosophy and science in the pulpit to be altogether out of place. I would check no man's liberty in this matter, for God only is the Judge of man's conscience; but it is my firm opinion that if we profess to be Christians, we are bound to keep to Christianity; if we profess to be Christian ministers, we drivel away the Sabbath-day, we mock our hearers, we insult God, if we deliver lectures upon botany, or geology, instead of delivering sermons salvation. He who does not always preach the gospel, ought not to be accounted a true-called minister of God. I. First, we are told THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TO BE SAVED. And the people who are to be saved are "those who come unto God by Jesus Christ." There is no limitation here of sect or denomination: it does not say, the Baptist, the Independent, or the Episcopalian that come unto God by Jesus Christ, but it simply says, " them ," by which I understand men of all creeds, men of all ranks, men of all classes, who do but come to Jesus Christ. They shall be saved, whatever their apparent position before men, or whatever may be the denomination to which they have linked themselves. And let me tell you, again, that coming to God is not what some of you suppose now and then sincerely performing an act of devotion, but giving to the world the greater part of your life . You think that if sometimes you are sincere, if now and then you put up an earnest cry to heaven, God will accept you; and though your life may be still worldly, and your desires still carnal, you suppose that for the sake of this occasional devotion God will be pleased, in his infinite mercy, to blot out your sins. I tell you, sinners, there is no such thing as bringing half of yourselves to God, and leaving the other half away. If a man has come here, I suppose he has brought his whole self with him; and so if a man comes to God, he cannot come, half of him, and half of him stay away. Our whole being must be surrendered to the service of our Maker. We must come to him with an entire dedication of ourselves, giving up all we are, and all we ever shall be, to be thoroughly devoted to his service, otherwise we have never come to God aright. I am astonished to see how people in these days try to love the world and love Christ too; according to the old proverb, they "hold with the hare and run with the hounds." They are real good Christians sometimes, when they think they ought to be religious; but they are right bad fellows at other seasons, when they think that religion would be a little loss to them. Let me warn you all. It is of no earthly use for you to pretend to be on two sides of the question. "If God be God, serve him; If Baal be God, serve him." I like an out-and-out man of any sort. Give me a man that is a sinner: I have some hope for him when I see him sincere in his vices, and open to acknowledging his own character; but if you give me a man who is half-hearted, who is not quite bold enough to be all for the devil, nor quite sincere enough to be all for Christ, I tell you, I despair of such a man as that. The man who wants to link the two together is in an extremely hopeless case. Do you think, sinners, you will be able to serve two masters, when Christ has said you cannot? Do you fancy you can walk with God and walk with mammon too? Will you take God on one arm, and the devil on the other? Do you suppose you can be allowed to drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of Satan at the same time? I tell you, ye shall depart, as cursed and miserable hypocrites, if so you come to God. God will have the whole of you come, or else you shall not come at all. The whole man must seek after the Lord; the whole soul must be poured out before him; otherwise it is no acceptable coming to God at all. Oh, halters between two opinions, remember this and tremble. Again, coming to God implies, there is no aversion towards him ; for a man will not come to God while he hates God; he will be sure to keep away. Coming to God signifies having some love to God . Again: coming to God signifies desiring God , desiring to be near to him. And, above all, it signifies praying to God and putting faith in him . This is coming to God; and those that have come to God in that fashion are among the saved. The come to God : that is the place to which their eager spirits hasten. 3. But when these people come, what do they come for ? There are some who think they come to God, who do not come for the right thing. Many a young student cries to God to help him in his studies; many a merchant comes to God that he may be guided through a dilemma in his business. They are accustomed, in any difficulty, to put up some kind of prayer which, if they knew its value, they might cease from offering, for "the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord." But the poor sinner, in coming to Christ, has only one object. If all the world were offered to him, he would not think it worth his acceptance if he could not have Jesus Christ. There is a poor man, condemned to die, locked up in the condemned cell: the bell is tolling: he will soon be taken off to die on the gallows. There, man, I have brought you a fine robe. What! not smile at it? Look! it is stiff with silver! Mark you not how it is bedizened with jewels? Such a robe as that cost many and many a pound, and much fine workmanship was expended on it. Contemptuously he smile at it! See here, man, I present thee something else: here is a glorious estate for thee, with broad acres, fine mansions, parks and lawns; take that title deed, 'tis thine. What! not smile, sir? Had I given that estate to any man who walked the street, less poor than thou art, he would have danced for very joy. And wilt not thou afford a smile, when I make thee rich and clothe thee with gold? Then let me try once more. There is Caesar's purple for thee; put it on thy shoulders there is his crown; it shall sit on no other head but thine. It is the crown of empires that know no limit. I'll make thee a king; thou shalt have a kingdom upon which the sun shall never set; thou shalt reign from pole to pole. Stand up; call thyself Caesar. Thou art emperor. What! no smile? What dost thou want? "Take away that bauble," says he of the crown; "rend up that worthless parchment; take away that robe; ay, cast it to the winds. Give it to the kings of the earth who live; but I have to die, and of what use are these to me? Give me a pardon, and I will not care to be a Caesar. Let me live a beggar, rather than die a prince." So is it with the sinner when he comes to God: he comes for salvation. He says
"Wealth and honor I disdain; Earthly comforts, Lord, are vain, These will never satisfy, Give me Christ, or else I die."
Mercy is his sole request. O my friends, if you have ever come to God, crying out for salvation, and for salvation only, then you have come unto God aright. It were useless then to mock you. You cry for bread: should I give you stones? You would but hurl them at me. Should I offer you wealth? It would be little. We must preach to the sinner who comes to Christ, the gift for which he asks the gift of salvation by Jesus Christ the Lord as being his own by faith. II. Thus we have disposed of the first point, the coming to God; and now, secondly, WHAT IS THE MEASURE OF THE SAVIOUR'S ABILITY? This is a question as important as if it were for life or death a question as to the ability of Jesus Christ. How far can salvation go? What are its limits and its boundaries? Christ is a Saviour: how far is he able to save? He is a Physician: to what extent will his skill reach to heal diseases? What a noble answer the text gives! "He is able to save to the uttermost." Now, I will certainly affirm, and no one can deny it, that no one here knows how far the uttermost is. David said, if he took the wings of the morning, to fly to the uttermost parts of the sea, even there should God reach him. But who knoweth where the uttermost is? Borrow the angel's wing, and fly far, far beyond the most remote star: go where wing has never flapped before, and where the undisturbed ether is as serene and quiet as the breast of Deity itself; you still, beyond the bounds of creation, where space itself falls, and where chaos takes up its reign: you will not come to the uttermost. It is too far for mortal intellect to conceive of; it is beyond the range of reason or of thought. Now, our text tells us that Christ is "able to save to the uttermost." 2. Yet again: not only to the uttermost of crime, but to the uttermost of rejection . I must explain what I mean by this. There are many of you here who have heard the gospel from your youth up. I see some here, who like myself are children of pious parents. There are some of you upon whose infant forehead the pure heavenly drops of a mother's tears continually fell; there are many of you here who were trained up by one whose knee, whenever it was bent, was ever bent for you, her first-born son. Your mother has gone to heaven, it may be, and all the prayers she ever prayed for you are as yet unanswered. Sometimes you wept. You remember well how she grasped your hand, and said to you, "Ah! John, you will break my heart by this your sin, if you continue running on in those ways of iniquity: oh! if you did but melt, and you would fly to Christ." Do you not remember that time? The hot sweat stood upon your brow, and you said for you could not break her heart "Mother, I will think of it;" and you did think of it; but you met your companion outside, and it was all gone: your mother's expostulation was brushed away; like the thin cobwebs of the gossamer, blown by the swift north wind, not a trace of it was left. Since then you have often stepped in to hear the minister. Not long ago you heard a powerful sermon; the minister spoke as though he were a man just started from his grave, with as much earnestness as if he had been a sheeted ghost come back from the realms of despair, to tell you his own awful fate, and warn you of it. You remember how the tears rolled down your cheeks. while he told you of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come; you remember how he preached to you Jesus and salvation by the cross, and you rose up from your seat in that chapel, and you said, "Please God I am spared another day, I will turn to him with full purpose of heart." And there you are, still unchanged perhaps worse than you were; and you have spent your Sunday afternoon the angel knows where: and your mother's spirit knows where you have spent it too, and could she weep, she would weep over you who have this day despised God's Sabbath, and trampled on his Holy Word. But doest thou feel in thine heart to-night the tender motions of the Holy Spirit? Dost thou feel something say, "Sinner! come to Christ now?" Dost thou hear conscience whispering to thee, telling thee of thy past transgression? And is there some sweet angel voice, saying, "Come to Jesus, come to Jesus; he will save you yet?" I tell you, sinner, you may have rejected Christ to the very uttermost; but he is still able to save you. There are a thousand prayers on which you have trampled, there are a hundred sermons all wasted on you, there are thousands of Sabbaths which you have thrown away; you have rejected Christ, you have despised his Spirit; but still he ceases not to cry, "Return, return!" He is "able to save thee to the uttermost," if thou comest unto God by him. 4. And now a word to the saint, to comfort him: for this text is his also. Beloved brother in the gospel! Christ is able to save thee to the uttermost. Art thou brought very low by distress ? hast thou lost house and home, friend and property? Remember, thou hast not come "to the uttermost" yet, Badly off as thou art, thou mightest be worse. He is able to save thee; and suppose it should come to this, that thou hadst not a rag left, nor a crust, nor a drop of water, still he would be able to save thee, for "he is able to save to the uttermost." So with temptation. If thou shouldst have the sharpest temptation with which mortal was ever tried, he is able to save thee. If thou shouldst be brought into such a predicament that the foot of the devil should be upon thy neck, and the fiend should say, "Now I will make an end of thee," God would be able to save thee then. Ay, and in the uttermost infirmity shouldst thou live for many a year, till thou art leaning on thy staff, and tottering along thy weary life, if thou shouldst outlive Methusaleh, thou couldst not live beyond the uttermost, and he would save thee then. Yes, and when thy little bark is launched by death upon the unknown sea of eternity, he will be with thee; and though thick vapours of gloomy darkness gather round thee, and thou canst not see into the dim future, though thy thoughts tell thee that thou wilt be destroyed, yet God will be "able to save thee to the uttermost." III. Now, in the last place, WHY IS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS "ABLE TO SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST?" The answer is, that he "ever liveth to make intercession for them." This implies that he died , which is indeed the great source of his saving power. Oh! how sweet it is to reflect upon the great and wonderous works which Christ hath done, whereby he hath become "the high priest of our profession," able to save us! It is pleasant to look back to Calvary's hill, and to behold that bleeding form expiring on the tree; it is sweet, amazingly sweet, to pry with eyes of love between those thick olives, and hear the groanings of the Man who sweat great drops of blood. Sinner, if thou askest me how Christ can save thee, I tell thee this he can save thee, because he did not save himself; he can save thee, because he took thy guilt and endured thy punishment. There is no way of salvation apart from the satisfaction of divine justice. Either the sinner must die, or else some one must die for him. Sinner, Christ can save thee, because, if thou comest to God by him, then he died for thee. God has a debt against us, and he never remits that debt; he will have it paid. Christ pays it, and then the poor sinner goes free. A warning and a question, and I have done. First, a warning. Remember, there is a limit to God's mercy . I have told you from the Scriptures, that "he is able to save to the uttermost;" but there is a limit to his purpose to save. If I read the Bible rightly, there is one sin which can never be forgiven. It is the sin against the Holy Ghost. Tremble, unpardoned sinners, lest ye should commit that. If I may tell you what I think the sin against the Holy Ghost is, I must say that I believe it to be different in different people; but in many persons, the sin against the Holy Ghost consists in stifling their convictions. Tremble, my hearers, lest to-night's sermon should be the last you hear. Go away and scorn the preacher, if you like; but do not neglect his warning. Perhaps the very next time thou laughest over a sermon, or mockest at a prayer, or despisest a text, the very next oath thou swearest, God may say, "He is given to idols, let him alone; my Spirit shall no more strive with that man; I will never speak to him again." That is the warning. Oh! beloved, hear again the text, "He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him." I am no orator, I have no eloquence; but if I were the one, and had the other, I would preach to you with all my soul. As it is, I only talk right on, and tell you what I do know; I can only say again,
"He is able; He is willing: doubt no more.
Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome, God's free bounty glorify: True belief and true repentance, Every grace that brings us nigh Without money, Come to Jesus Christ, and buy."
For he is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him." O Lord! make sinners come! Spirit of God! make them come! Compel them to come to Christ by sweet constraint, and let not our words be in vain, or our labour lost; for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
Priest and Victim
Intended for Reading on Lord's-Day, September 23rd, 1900,
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
On a Lord's-day Evening, August 28th, 1881.
"He offered up himself." Hebrews 7:27 .
I DO NOT KNOW when I have ever felt a more decided conflict of emotions in my own heart than I do just now. Happy is the man who has such a message as that in my text to deliver to his fellow-men; but burdened is the man who feels that the message is far too great for his lips, or, indeed, for any human tongue to convey. To be allowed to announce to men that our Lord Jesus Christ "offered up himself" on their behalf is, indeed, an errand which angels might envy, but the theme is too great for any human being to compass. I comfort myself with the reflection that it does not require any excellence of speech to tell it, the excellence lies in the truth itself; and if men's minds are in a right condition, if they are conscious of their lost state, and they really desire to know what Christ has done to save them from it, they will want no garnishing or tawdry fripperies of human eloquence; all they will want will be to hear, as plainly and as earnestly as it can be spoken, the message of reconciliation which God has sent through Jesus Christ his Son. Yet I cannot help feeling that the meaning of my text is so weighty that it may break the backs of the words that attempt to bring it to us. The axles of my human medium of conveyance are ready to snap when freighted with such a load of infinite love and wisdom as comes to us in my short, full text: "He offered up himself." Brothers and sisters, did you never know this truth in your own souls? Has not the conviction come to you, under a sense of sin, as an absolute certainty, that sin must be punished? I will not say that you have thought so when you have imagined yourself to be all right; or, at least, to be pretty nearly clear of anything wrong. No; but when conscience has been awakened, and has begun to speak; in the quiet night watches, in times of sickness, or when you have seemed to be on the brink of eternity. I ask you, has there not come the thought that sin would surely be visited with punishment? That
"Dread of something after death,"
of which the world's poet speaks, is an indication of belief in the truth which is most sure, that the Judge of all the earth will not suffer his laws to be trampled on with impunity, but that he will certainly punish iniquity, transgression, and sin. Now, that is a truth, a great truth, a terrible truth; and hence it is that the mind of the convinced sinner is driven to the hope of an atonement, If God is to pardon sin, there must be something done by which his law can be honoured, his justice can be vindicated, and his truthfulness can be established; in fact, there must be an atonement. That is what it all comes to; or else pardon is impossible, and you and I must be lost for ever. I would to God that we all not only believed this truth, as I suspect that the most of us do; but that we felt it to be the case in our own personal experience, that we realized our need of an atoning sacrifice, in order that God might be just, and yet be the Justifier of the ungodly, that the honour of his law might shine out in unsullied purity like the terrible crystal, and yet that "a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald," might be seen by the sons of men, reminding them of the covenant made between the Father and the Son concerning all who believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. I. Here is, first, THE PRIEST: "HE offered up himself." Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world, and "offered up himself" as a sacrifice for sin. The great High Priest, who officiated on the occasion of that wondrous and unique sacrifice, was Jesus Christ, himself. "He offered up himself;" that is to say, he voluntarily agreed to be the Victim for this wondrous sacrifice. Did you not notice this truth in the chapter we read just now? "Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me), to do thy will, O God." Christ was not compelled to come to earth except by the sweet compulsion of his own love; but with that as his master-motive,
"Down from the shining seats above With joyful haste he fled."
Voluntarily he took upon himself our nature, and was born at Bethlehem, and voluntarily did he tarry here for three and thirty years. He might have gone back when "he came unto his own, and his own received him not." But he had come in order that he might be a sacrifice for sin, so he remained until the hour appointed for his death; and, even then, he was not forced to die: "He offered up himself." Pilate's servants and Herod's soldiers could not have slain him unless he had been willing to die. He had but to breathe the wish, and the legions of heaven would have burned up the legions of Herod as chaff is consumed in the furnace. Neither the Romans nor the Jews could have nailed him to the tree, nor could all their priests, nor all the ribald mob have put him to death without his own consent. When he did but speak to them in the Garden of Gethsemane, they went backward, and fell to the ground. He that made the earth to quake and open when he died could have shaken them off the earth, or buried them in it, while he lived, if he had so pleased. But he voluntarily delivered himself up to death. To the very last, there was no compulsion upon him to die, except that compulsion of love of which I have spoken. You and I must die; the infirmities of nature will compel us to give up the ghost; but he was strong and vigorous even at the moment of his death. That glorious shout, "Consummatum est," "It is finished," came from One who was still in the vigour of his strength, and just entering on his eternal victory. When he bowed his head, it was because he would do it, and willingly yielded up his soul, committing his spirit to the Father, not under constraint, but "he offered up himself." Oh, this makes the sacrifice of Christ so blessed and glorious! They dragged the bullocks and they drove the sheep to the altar; they bound the calves with cords, even with cords to the altar's horn; but not so was it with the Christ of God. None did compel him to die; he laid down his life voluntarily, for he had power to lay it down, and to take it again. "For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame." "He offered up himself." But there is a lesson for us also to learn; and that is, the folly of our attempting to offer any sacrifice whatever to God in and of ourselves; for, brethren, there never was such a sacrifice as Christ on earth. It was the best sacrifice that ever could be, yet nobody offered that but Christ himself. What are your sacrifices and mine? They are very poor things, so shall we dare to offer them to God? Nay, let us ask Christ to offer all our sacrifices for us. If the best sacrifice needed Christ to present it to his Father, then our imperfect sacrifices can only be offered by Jesus Christ our great High Priest; and though we, who trust him, and love his name, are all priests, for he "hath made us kings and priests unto God," yet we are only priests in him, and our sacrifices are only presented in and through him. It must be so; for, if the chief sacrifice is offered by him, all the minor ones must also be presented by him if they are to be accepted by God. II. Now, in the second place, I shall ask you carefully to look at THE SACRIFICE: "He offered up himself." That is to say, Jesus Christ did not offer lamb or ram, bird or bullock; but "himself." His body was given for you and for me; and, then, his spiritual nature his mind, his intellect, his heart, his imagination, every pure unspotted faculty of that blessed soul of his, he gave up all for us. The alabaster box, his body, was broken; and the precious nard, his soul, was poured out like a divine perfume upon the head of our poor humanity. It was all given for us: "He offered up himself." Not his garments only, though he was stripped naked; not his glory only, though he emptied himself; not his life only, though he laid down his life for us; but "he offered up himself." Oh, it is a great word, but it describes a great sacrifice; and it needed all that to make an atonement for our sins, and all that he gave. I always think, with regard to that offering up of himself, that it was a very mysterious transaction, in to which you and I must not pry with any sinful curiosity. Yet, as I meditated upon this subject, it appeared to me that the cross, which seemed so small a thing out yonder on that little rising ground of Golgotha, that one cross, standing in the centre of the three, appeared to me to be the centre of the entire universe, and so it is. If the inhabitants in all the stars did not see Christ die, if from all worlds they could not behold the dreadful sight, yet they must have heard of it in many a star by this time. Swift spirits have told, in those bright orbs where myriads of unfallen creatures dwell, the story that, on this little dusky planet, sin struggled against incarnate love, and love, to conquer it, did die, and in the dying won the victory. I cannot tell you how many races of intelligent beings there are beside the hierarchy of angels, but it is not at all improbable that there are as many worlds as there are grains of sand upon the seashore, and perhaps every one of these teems with inhabitants more than our earth does; and they have heard, and they keep on hearing, and the news keeps spreading everywhere, that the God, who made them all, took human form, and died to put away human sin. You say, perhaps, that I am dreaming while talking to you thus. But dear friends, we sometimes learn more truth in dreams than when we are awake. At any rate, this I know. I would sooner be mistaken in enlarging too much upon the wondrous fact and efficacy of the cross than I would ever become one of those who shrivel up the atonement till there is little or nothing of it left. I believe that there was such a necessity for Christ to die as you and I have never yet imagined; that he did not die merely because his death was necessary upon this planet, but that it was necessary through every province of the infinite dominions of God, and that it was necessary to the very nature of God himself, which is saying still more. There was a supreme necessity that Christ should die; I am sure of it, for else he would not have died. The Father would never have given up his Son to the death of the cross unless it had been imperative that this sacrifice should be offered, or else that men should suffer for ever. Oh, wonder of wonders! Tell it everywhere, and never cease to tell it. "He offered up himself." The first is this. "He offered up himself;" but he did not offer up himself for himself. That is an offering which cannot be imagined. So far as Christ was himself alone concerned, there was no necessity that he should die. He was infinitely glorious and blessed. "He offered up himself," but not for himself; then, for whom did he die? For men. We are told that he took not up angels, but he took up the seed of Abraham, he took up sinful men. O poor sinner, I want you to think of this! Let your soul see Jesus on the cross, bleeding, writhing, suffering, tortured, dying, dead; and then recollect that there was not one pang, or groan, or sigh for himself; it was all for others, for his enemies. I wish we could all say, one by one, "It was for me. He loved me, and gave himself for me. He endured the cross for me, his blood was shed for me, those agonies and cries and griefs were all for me. For me the death-pang and the expiring groan; all for me, for me." If thou believest in Jesus, it is even so. There must have been something great done for thee there. Thy great sin must have been buried there. The great hell, which thou oughtest to have endured, must have been extinguished there So far as thou art concerned. The great heaven, which thou couldst never else have entered, must have been opened there, if he died there for thee. Untold blessings are insured to thee in that matchless death. Dwell on that thought, beloved. "He offered up himself;" but not for himself. It must have been, then, for the guilty. O my soul, it must have been, it was, for thee if thou believest in him! And he so completely did this that it will never be done again. If you will not accept this Christ, there will never be another; and if you will not be saved by his redemption, you will never be redeemed at all. And there is this comfort about it, that he only died once because there is no need that he should ever die again. His one death has slain death for all who trust him. His one bearing of sin has put their sin away for ever. God now can justly forgive the believing sinner; and he may well blot out the debt when it has been paid by his Son. Well may he remit the sentence against us now that his Son has stood in our place, and borne the penalty due to our sin. God is therefore just when he justifies those for whom Christ died; where would his justice be if he did not so? Did Christ pay my debts, and am I arrested for them? Did he die for me, and shall I perish? Where then is the atonement? Beloved, if thou believest in Jesus, be glad that he died once, and be gladder still that he cannot die again, and that there is no need that he should. The atonement is completed; thou art saved; and thou shalt never come into condemnation. How I wish that I could preach on such a theme as this as it deserves! But I do not know how it is to be done; it does not seem to me as if any human words could ever fittingly set forth such a wondrous mystery. Nay, though they were written across the face of the sky, unless God himself wrote them with a finger of lightning, I know of no way in which this truth could be fitly set out: "He offered up himself" I must sum up, in a few words, much more that I might have said. And, first, this truth quiets the conscience. "He offered up himself." Conscience never murmurs after the blood of Jesus has been applied to it. I say to myself, "Jesus died for me; Jesus suffered in my stead; Jesus took my guilt; Jesus bore my punishment;" and my conscience says, "That is enough; that is all I want." And, oh! how this truth also wins the affections of men! Can you help loving the Christ who offered up himself for you? And loving him, do you not desire to honour and glorify him? Do you not feel that you hate the sin that made him die? Do you not wish to be like him, and in everything to give him pleasure by a life of holiness, and self-denial, and self-sacrifice? I know you do; it must be so. Because Jesus sacrificed himself for you, you feel that you must love him with all your heart. And, finally, this truth that Christ offered up himself, leads us who accept it to be ready for self-sacrifice. It makes the believing man say, "As he offered himself for me, I must give myself for him." It teaches the doctrine of the self-sacrifice of men for God, and of men for men. This is the nursery of brave spirits, and the school in which true heroes are trained. None have been bolder for the truth. and for the right, and for the advancement of the ages, and for the glory of God, than those who have enshrined the blood-red cross within their hearts, and who have been prepared for love of it even to die. O Christ of God, thou who hast offered thyself for us, we offer ourselves to thee; accept us now! Amen.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Hebrews 7". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29