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Prayer Guaranteed To Succeed
by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
January 19, 1873
© Copyright 2007 by Tony Capoccia. This updated file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold. All rights reserved.
Verses quoted, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONALVERSION, ©1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
This sermon, preached by Tony Capoccia, is now available on Audio CD and MP3:
"I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” [Luke 11:9-10 ]
To seek aid in the time of distress from a supernatural being is an instinct of human nature. We are not saying that unredeemed men and women ever offer truly spiritual prayer, or ever exercise saving faith in the living God; but still, they are like children crying in the dark, with a painful longing for help from somewhere or someone. Or like the soul in deep sorrow almost invariably cries to some supernatural being for help. No one has been more ready to pray in time of trouble than those who have ridiculed prayer in their days of peace and prosperity; and probably no prayers have been more true to the needs of the hour than those which atheists have offered under the pressure of the fear of death. In one of his papers, Addison describes a man, who, on board ship, loudly boasted of his atheism. Then a strong storm came up and he fell to his knees and confessed to the chaplain that he had been an atheist. The average sailor, who had never heard the Word before, thought it was strange, but were more surprised when they heard the atheist say, “that he never believed until that day that there was a God.” One of the old sailors whispered to one of the officers, that it would be a good idea to throw him overboard, but this was a cruel suggestion, for the poor creature was already in enough misery his atheism had evaporated, and in mortal terror he cried to God to have mercy on him.
Similar incidents have occurred, more than once or twice. Indeed, so frequently does boastful skepticism fail in the end that we always expect it that it will. Take away unnatural restraint from the mind, and it may be said of all men and women that, like the sailors with Jonah, every person cries out to his or her God in their time of trouble. As birds fly to their nests, so men and women in agony fly to a superior being for help and comfort in the hour of need.
God has given to all the animals he created some special form of strength one has the ability to run very fast when being chased by a predator; another with a great horn pushes down its enemy, and a third with tooth and claw tears its adversary to pieces. To man he gave only a little strength compared with the animals among which he placed in Eden, and yet man was king over everything, because the Lord was his strength. So long as he knew where to look for the source of his power, man remained the unbeatable and unchallenged king of all those around him. That image of God which was evident in his life sustained his sovereignty over the birds of the air, and the animals of the field, and the fish of the sea. By instinct man turned to his God in Paradise; and now, though he is to a sad degree a dethroned monarch, there lingers in his memory shadows of what he was, and remembrances of where his strength must still be found. Therefore, no matter where you find a man or a woman, when you meet one who is in distress, they will ask for supernatural help. I believe in the truthfulness of this instinct, and that men and women pray because there is something in prayer. When the Creator gives his creature the power of thirst, it is because water exists to meet its thirst; and just as he creates hunger there is food to correspond to the appetite; so when God prompts men and women to pray it is because prayer has a corresponding blessing connected with it.
We find a powerful reason for expecting prayer to be effective in the fact that it is an institution of God.
In God’s Word we are, over and over again, commanded to pray. God’s commands and means of fulfillment are not foolishness. Can I believe that the infinitely wise God has ordained for me an exercise which is ineffective, and is no more than child’s play? Does he command me to pray, and yet has prayer produce no more result than if I whistled in the wind, or sang to a bunch of trees? If there is no answer to prayer, then prayer is a monstrous absurdity and God is the author of it; which is blasphemy to assert. No one, unless they are a fool will continue to pray when you have once proved to them that prayer has no effect with God, and never receives an answer. If prayer yields no results then it is an exercise for idiots and madmen, and not for sane persons!
I will not this morning enter into any arguments on the matter; rather, I am coming to my text, which to me, at least, and to you who are followers of Christ, is the end of all controversy. Our Savior knew very well that many difficulties would arise in connection with prayer which might tend to stagger his disciples, and therefore he has balanced every opposition by an overwhelming assurance. Read those words in our text, “ I say to you ,” I your Teacher, your Master, your Lord, your Savior, your God: “…say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” [Luke 11:9-10 ]
In the text our Lord meets all difficulties first by giving us the weight of his own authority , “I say to you “; next by presenting us with a promise , “Ask, and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”; and then by reminding us of an indisputable fact , “everyone who asks receives.” Here are three mortal wounds for a Christian’s doubts as to prayer.
I. First, then, OUR SAVIOR GIVES TO US THE WEIGHT OF HIS OWN AUTHORITY, “ I say to you .”
The first mark of a follower of Christ is that they believe their Lord. We do not follow the Lord at all if we raise any questions on points upon which he speaks positively. Even though a doctrine may be surrounded with ten thousand difficulties, the fact is that “Jesus said it’ even though it cannot be proved at the moment, sweeps away every doubt, so far as true Christians are concerned.
Our Master’s declaration is all the argument we need, “I say to you,” is our logic. We read in the scriptures that Jesus, “…has become for us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30 ). He cannot be wrong, he cannot lie, and if he says, “I say to you,” then that is the end of all debate.
But, brothers and sisters, there are certain reasons that should lead us all the more confidently to rest in our Master’s word upon this point. There is power in every word of the Lord Jesus, but there is special force in his words before us today.
Some have argued against prayer, saying that it is not possible that prayers could be answered, because the laws of nature are unalterable, and they must and will go on whether men and women pray or not.
They say that not a drop of water will change its position in a single wave, or a particle of infectious matter be altered from its course, though all the saints in the universe should plead against storms and disease.
Now, concerning that matter, we are in no hurry to give an answer; our adversaries have more to prove than we have, and they seem to prefer to prove a negative. To us it does not seem needful to prove that the laws of nature are disturbed. God can work miracles, and he may work them yet again as he has done in the past, but it is not a part of the Christian faith that God must work miracles in order to answer the prayers of his servants. When a man in order to fulfill a promise has to rearrange all his affairs, and, so to speak, to stop all his processes, it proves that he is only a man, and that his wisdom and power are limited; but God is able, without reversing any power, or removing a single step in his plans, to fulfill the desires of his people as they come up before him. The Lord is so omnipotent that he can work results, similar to miracles, without in the slightest degree suspending any one of his laws. He did, as it were, in the past, stop the mechanism of the universe to answer prayer, but now, with equally godlike glory, he orders events so as to answer believer’s prayers, and yet does not suspend any natural law.
We hear the voice of the One who is competent to speak on the matter, and he says, “I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you.” Whether the laws of nature are reversible or irreversible, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find.” Now, who is he that says this? It is he who made all things, without whom “…nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3 ). He is certainly able to speak the way he does. O eternal Word, you who were with God in the beginning, balancing the clouds and fastening the foundations of the earth, you know what the laws and the unalterable constitutions of nature are, and if you say, “Ask and it will be given to you,” then surely it will be so, no matter what the laws of nature may be. Besides, our Lord is adored by us as the sustainer of all things; and, seeing that all the laws of nature are only operative through his power, and are sustained in their motion by his might, he therefore must be aware of the motion of all the forces in the world; and if he says, “Ask and it will be given to you,” he does not speak in ignorance, but knows what he affirms. We may be assured that there are no forces which can prevent the declarations of the Lord’s own word. From the Creator and the Sustainer, the word “I say to you,” settles all controversy forever.
But another objection has been raised which is a very old argument, and has a great appearance of force. It is raised not so much by skeptics, as by those who hold a part of the truth; it is this
That prayer can never produce any results, because the decrees of God have settled everything, and those decrees are unchangeable.
Now we have no desire to deny the assertion that the decrees of God have settled all events. It is our full belief that God has foreknown and predestined everything that happens in heaven above or in the earth beneath, and that the foreknown position of a reed by the river is as fixed as the place of the throne of a king, and “the blown dust of the earth is steered just as the stars in their courses.” Predestination embraces the great and the small, and reaches to all things; thus the question is, why do we pray? Ok, let us ask this wouldn’t it be just as logical to ask why breathe, eat, move, or do anything? We have an answer which satisfies us, namely, that our prayers are in the predestination, and that God has ordained his people’s prayers as anything else, and when we pray we are producing links in the chain of ordained facts. Destiny declares that I must pray I pray; destiny decrees that I will be answered, and the answer comes to me. Moreover, in other matters we never regulate our actions by the unknown decrees of God; as for instance, a man never questions whether he will eat or drink, because it may or may not be decreed that he will eat or drink, a man never questions whether he will work or not on the ground that it is decreed how much he will do or how little, as it is inconsistent with common sense to make the secret decrees of God a guide to us in our general conduct, likewise we feel it would be the same in reference to prayer, and therefore we still pray. But we have even a better answer than all this. Our Lord Jesus Christ comes forward, and he says to us this morning, “My dear children, the decrees of God needn’t trouble you, there is nothing in them inconsistent with your prayers being heard. ‘I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you.’” Now, who is he that says this? Why it is he who was with God the Father from the beginning (John 1:2 ) and he knows what the purposes of the Father are and what the heart of God is, for he has told us in another place, “the Father himself loves you.” Now since Jesus knows the decrees of the Father, and the heart of the Father, he can tell us with the absolute certainty of an eyewitness that there is nothing in the eternal purposes in conflict with this truth, that he who asks receives, and he who seeks finds. He has read the decrees from beginning to end: has he not taken the book, and opened the seven seals, and declared the ordinances of heaven? He tells you there is nothing there inconsistent with your intense prayers mixed with tears, and with the Father’s opening the windows of heaven to shower upon you the blessings which you seek. Moreover, Christ is God himself: the purposes of heaven are his own purposes, and he who ordained the purpose here gives the assurance that there is nothing in it to prevent the effectiveness of prayer. “I say to you.” O you that believe in Jesus, your doubts are scattered to the winds, for you know that he hears your prayers.
But sometimes there arises in our mind a third difficulty, which is associated with our own judgment of ourselves and our estimate of God. We feel that God is very great, and we tremble in the presence of his majesty. We feel that we are very little, and that, in addition, we are also vile; and it does seem an incredible thing that such guilty nothings should have power to move the arm which moves the world.
I believe that fear often hampers us in prayer. But Jesus answers it so sweetly: he says “I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you.” And I ask again, who is it that says, “I say to you?” Why, it is he who knows both the greatness of God and the weakness of all men and women. He is God, and out of his excellent Majesty I hear him say, “I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you.” But Jesus is also man like ourselves, and he says, “Don’t fear your littleness, for I am, bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh, and I assure you that God hears the prayers of men and women.” The words come to us with the harmony of blended notes; the God Jesus, the man Jesus, both speak to us “Don’t fear my majesty, your prayer is heard. Don’t fear your own weakness; I as a man have been heard by God.”
And yet, again, if the fear of sin should haunt us, and our own sorrow should depress us, I would remind you that Jesus Christ, when he says, “I say to you,” gives us the authority, not only of his person, but of his experience. Jesus needed to pray. No one ever prayed like he did. He spent whole nights and days in prayer and in earnest intercession; and he says to us, “I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you.” I think I see him coming fresh from the dense shrubs of the hills, where he had knelt all night in prayer, and he says, “My disciples, Ask, and it will be given to you, for I have prayed, and it has been given to me.” I think I hear him say it, with his face and his clothes all bloody red, as he rises from Gethsemane, with his soul overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He was heard in that he feared, and therefore he says to us, “I say to you, knock and the door will be opened to you.” Yes, and I think I hear him speak to us from the cross, with his face bright with the first beam of sunlight after he had borne our sins in his own body, and had suffered all our griefs to the very last bit of shooting pain. He had cried, “My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me,” and now, having received an answer, he cries in triumph, “It is finished,” and, in so doing, commands us also “to ask, and it will be given to us.” Jesus has proved the power of prayer.
Oh but, one says, “ he has not proved what it is to pray about the troubles I am facing.” How foolish you are, for the Savior’s troubles were worse than yours could ever be. There are no depths so deep that he has not dived to the bottom of them. Christ has prayed out of the lowest dungeon and out of the most horrible pit. “Yes but he has not cried under the burden of sin.” How can you speak so thoughtlessly! Was there ever such a burden of sin borne by any man as was laid on him?” True, the sins were not his own, but they were sins, and sins with all their crushing weight in them too; yet was he heard, and he was helped to the end. Christ gives you, in his own experience, the divine proof that the asking will be followed by the receiving, even when sin lies at the door.
This much is certain, if you, who are believers, cannot believe in the effectiveness of prayer based on the very words of Christ, then it has come to a strange pass; for, O beloved, you are leaning all your soul’s weight on Jesus. If he is not true, then are you trusting in a false Savior. If he does not speak truth, then you are deceived. If you can trust him with your soul, you must of necessity trust him with your prayers.
Remember, too, that if Jesus our Lord could speak so positively here, there is a yet greater reason for believing him now, for he has gone back into heaven, where he sits at the right hand of God the Father, and the voice does not come to us from the man of poverty, wearing earthly clothes, but from the enthroned priest with the golden sash around his chest, for it is he who now says, from the right hand of God: “I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you.” Don’t you believe in his name? How then can a prayer that is sincerely offered in that name fall on deaf ears? When you present your petition in Jesus’ name, a part of his authority clothes your prayers. If your prayer is rejected, Christ is dishonored: you cannot believe that. You have trusted him, then believe that prayer offered through him must and will win the day.
We cannot talk longer on this point, but we trust the Holy Spirit will impress it upon all our hearts.
II. We will now remember that OUR LORD PRESENTS US WITH A PROMISE.
Note that the promise is given to several types of prayer, “I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” The text clearly asserts that all forms of true prayer will be heard, provided they are presented through Jesus Christ, and are for promised blessings.
Some are vocal prayers, men and women ask ; never should we fail to offer up every day and continually the prayer which is uttered by the tongue, for the promise is that the asker will be heard.
But there are others who, not neglecting vocal prayer, are far more abundant in active prayer, for by humble and diligent use of the means they seek for the blessings which they need. Their heart speaks to God by its longings, strivings, emotions, and labors. Let them not cease seeking, for they will surely find.
There are others who, in their earnestness, combine the most eager forms, both seeking and speaking, with knocking, for knocking is a loud kind of asking, and a vehement form of seeking. If our prayer is vocal speech with God, or if it is the practical use of ordained means, which is real prayer, or if it should, best of all, be the continued use of both, or if it is expressed only by a tear or a sigh, or even if it remain quite unexpressed in a trembling desire, it will be heard. All varieties of true prayer will meet with responses from heaven.
Now observe that these varieties of prayer are put on an ascending scale. It is said first that we ask: I suppose that refers to the prayer which is a mere statement of our needs, in which we tell the Lord that we want this and that, and ask him to grant it. But as we learn the art of prayer we go on further to seek: which signifies that we marshal our arguments, and plead reasons for the granting of our desires, and we begin to wrestle with God for the mercies needed. And if the blessing does not come soon in time, we then rise to the third degree, which is knocking: we become demanding, we are not content with asking and giving reasons, but we express a deep sincerity and seriousness into our requests, and demonstrate the scripture which says, “…the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men [and women] lay hold of it” [Matthew 11:12 ].
So the prayers grow from asking which is the statement, to seeking which is the pleading; and to knocking which is the urgent persistence in the request. Now to each of these stages of prayer there is a distinct promise. Those who asks will receive what they ask for, but those who go further and seek will find, will enjoy, will take hold of, will know that they have obtained what they wanted; and those who knock will go even further, for they will understand, and to them will the precious thing be opened they will not merely have the blessing and enjoy it, but they will comprehend it, will “understand with all saints, what are the heights and depths.”
I want; however, you to notice this fact, which covers everything whatever form your prayer may assume it will succeed. If you only ask you will receive, if you seek you will find, if you knock, the door will be opened to you, but in each case, according to your faith, it will be done to you.
The clauses of the promises in our text today are not to be viewed jointly, that is together: he that asks and seeks and knocks will receive, but they are to be viewed separately, distinct from each other: those who ask will receive, those who seek will find, and those who knock will have the door opened. It is not when we combine all three that we get the blessing, though doubtless if we did combine them, we would get the combined reply; but if we exercise only one of these three forms of prayer, we will still get that which our souls seek after .
These three methods of prayer exercise a variety of our graces. Some have said this passage tells us that faith asks, hope seeks, and love knocks. Faith asks because she believes God will give; hope having asked expects, and therefore seeks for the blessing; love comes nearer still, and will not take a denial from God, but desires to enter into his house, and to sup with him to eat and drink with him, and, therefore, knocks at his door until he opens it.
But, again, let us come back to the main point; it does not matter which grace is exercised; a blessing comes to each one, if faith asks it will receive; if hope seeks it will find; and if love knocks, the door will be opened to her.
These three modes of prayer suit us in different stages of distress. There I am, a poor beggar at mercy’s door, I ask for help and I receive it: but in time I lose my way, I get confused, and can’t remember how to find the one who helped me before, so I seek him with a certainty that I find him again; then I am in the last stage of all, not merely poor and bewildered, but so defiled as to feel shut out from God, like a leper shut out of the camp, then I may knock and knock, and the door will open to me.
Each of these different descriptions of prayer is very simple. If anybody said “I cannot ask,” our reply would be, you do not understand the word. Surely everybody can ask. A little child can ask. Long before an infant can speak it can ask it does not need to use words in order to ask for what it wants, and there is not one among us who is incapacitated from asking, for our prayers do not need to be fancy with elegant sentences. I believe God abhors those kinds of prayers. If a person asks for charity with elegant sentences he is not likely to get it. Finery in dress or language is out of place in habitats of the poor and needy. I heard a man in the street one day begging out loud by means of a magnificent speech. He used grand language in very pompous style, and I dare say he thought he was surely going to receive an abundant amount of money by his fine speech, but I, for one, gave him nothing, but felt more inclined to laugh at his pretense. Is it not likely that many great prayers are about as useless? Many prayers during our Prayer Meetings are a great deal too fine. Keep your figures of speech and metaphors for others, use them for those who want to be instructed, but do not parade them before God. When we pray, the simpler our prayers are the better; the plainest, humblest language which expresses our meaning is the best.
The next word is seek , and surely there is no difficulty about seeking? In finding there might be, but in seeking there is none. When the woman in the parable lost her money, she lit a candle and looked for it. I don’t suppose she had ever been to the university, or qualified as a lady physician, or that she could have sat on the School Board as a woman of superior intelligence but she could seek. Anybody who desires to do so can seek, whether they are a man, a woman, or a child; and for their encouragement the promise is not given to some particular philosophical form of seeking, but simply that “he who seeks finds.”
Then there is knocking : well, that is something that is not difficult. We used to do it when we were boys, sometimes too much for the neighbors’ comfort. If the knocker on the door was a little too high, we had ways and means of knocking at the door even then; a stone would do it, or the heel of a boot, anything would make a knocking: it was not beyond our capacity by any means. Therefore, it is put in this fashion by Christ himself, as much as to tell us, “You don’t need any scholarship, any training, any talent, and any intelligence for prayer; ask, seek, knock, that is all, and the promise is to everyone who uses these means of praying.
Will you believe the promise? It is Christ who gives it. No lie ever came from his lips. O don’t doubt him. Keep on praying if you have prayed, and if you have never prayed before, God help you to begin today!
III. Our third point is that JESUS TESTIFIES TO THE FACT THAT PRAYER IS HEARD.
Having given a promise he then adds, in effect “You may be quite sure that this promise will be fulfilled, not only because I say it, but because it is and always has been true.” When a man says the sun will rise tomorrow morning, we believe it because it has always risen. Our Lord tells us that, as a matter of indisputable fact, all through the ages true asking has been followed by receiving. Remember that he who stated this fact knew it.
Now, as a finite human, if we state a fact then we must also state, “Yes, as far as my observation goes, it is true,” but the observations of Christ have no limits. He has heard every true prayer ever offered to him. Prayers acceptable to the Most High God the Father Himself, come up to him through the very wounds of Christ. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ can speak by personal knowledge, and his declaration is that prayer has succeeded: “Everyone that asked received and he that sought found.”
Now here we must, of course, understand the limitations which would be made by ordinary common sense, and which are made by Scripture. Not everyone that flippantly or wickedly asks or pretends to ask of God gets what he asks for. It is not every silly, idle, unconsidered request of unregenerate hearts that God will answer. In addition, Scripture limits it again, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. Or, when you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” [James 4:2-3 ]. If we ask that we may consume the good things on our lust we will not have them, or if we ask for that which would not be for our good then we will not receive what we asked for. But except for these things, the statement of our Lord has no other qualification “every one that asks receives.”
Let it also be remembered that frequently even when the ungodly and the wicked have asked of God they have received! Often in the time of their distress they have called on God, and he has answered them. Now, some say this is simply not true God does not answer the prayers of unbelievers, but Scripture says he does! Ahab’s prayer was answered, and the Lord said, “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son” [1 Kings 21:29 ]. Likewise, the Lord also heard the prayer of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, who did evil in the sight of the Lord [2 Kings 13:1-4 ]. The Israelites also, because of their sins they were given over to their enemies, cried to God for deliverance, and they were answered, yet the Lord himself testified concerning them that they only flattered him with their mouth. Does this stagger you; Does he not hear the young ravens when they cry? Do you think he will not hear man that is formed in his own image? Do you doubt it? Remember Nineveh. The prayers offered at Nineveh, were they spiritual prayers? Did you ever hear of a church of God in Nineveh? I have not, neither do I believe the Ninevites were ever visited by converting grace; but they were by the preaching of Jonah convinced that they were in danger from the great Jehovah, and they proclaimed a fast, and humbled themselves, and God heard their prayer, and Nineveh for a while was preserved.
Many a time in the hour of sickness, and in the time of woe, God has heard the prayers of the unthankful and the evil. Do you think God gives nothing except to the righteous? What were you when you first began to pray? Were you good and righteous? Has not God commanded you to do good to those who are evil? Will he command you to do what he will not do himself? Has he not said that he “sends rain on the just and on the unjust,” and is it not true? Is he not daily blessing those who curse him, and doing good to those who despitefully use him? This is one of the glories of God’s grace; and when there is nothing else good in the man, yet if there is a cry lifted up from his heart the Lord often agrees to send relief from trouble. Now, if God has heard the prayers even of men who have not sought him in the highest manner, and has given them temporary deliverances in answer to their cries will he not much more hear you when you are humbling yourself in his sight, and desiring to be reconciled to him. Surely there is an argument here.
But to come more fully to the point with regard to real and spiritual prayers , everyone that asks receives without any limit whatever. There has never been an instance yet of a man really seeking spiritual blessings of God without his receiving them. The tax collector stood far off, and was so broken in his heart that he dared not look up to heaven, yet God looked down on him. Manasseh laid in the dungeon, he had been a cruel persecutor of the saints; there was nothing in him that could commend him to God; but God heard him out of the dungeon, and brought him forth to liberty of soul. Jonah had by his own sin brought himself into the whale’s belly, and he was a bad-tempered servant of God at the best, but out of the belly of hell he cried and God heard him. “Every one that asks receives, and he that seeks finds, and to him that knocks, the door will be opened” e very one .
If I wanted evidence I would be able to find it in this church. I would ask anyone here who has found Christ, to bear witness that God heard his prayer. I do not believe that among the damned in hell there is one who dare say “I sought the Lord and he rejected me.” There will not be found at the last Day of Judgment, one single soul that can say. “I knocked at mercy’s door, but God refused to open it.” There will not stand before the great white throne, a single soul that can plead, “O Christ, I would have been saved by you, but you would not save me. I gave myself up into your hands, but you rejected me. I repentantly asked for your mercy, but I did not receive it.” Every one that asks receives. It has been this way until this day it will be so until Christ himself will come again. If you doubt it, try it, and if you have tried it, try it again. Are you in rags? that does not matter, every one that asks receives. Are you foul with sin? that is not significant, “ every one that seeks finds.” Do you feel yourself as if you were completely shut out from God? that doesn’t matter either; “knock, and the door will be opened to you, for every one that asks receives.” “Is there no election there?” Yes, yes, doubtless there is, but that does not alter this truth which has no limit to it whatsoever “ every one .” What a rich text it is!” Every one that asks receives.”
When our Lord spoke this, he could have pointed to his own life as evidence; at any rate, we can refer to it now and show that no one asked of Christ who did not receive. The Canaanite woman at first had her request rejected when the Lord referred to her as a dog [Matthew 15:26 ], but when she had the courage to say, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table,” she soon discovered that everyone that asks receives. Likewise, the woman who came behind Jesus in the crowd and touched the hem of his garment, she was no asker, but she was a seeker, and she found.
I think I hear, in answer to all this, the sad wail of one who says, “I have been crying to God a long time for salvation; I have asked, I have sought, and I have knocked, but it has not come yet.” Well, dear friend, if I am asked which is true, God or you, I know whom I will stand by, and I would advise you to believe God before you believe yourself. God will hear prayer, but do you know there is one thing before the prayer of salvation? What is it? Why, it’s the gospel! The gospel does not say he who prays will be saved, that is not the gospel; I believe he will be saved, but that is not the gospel I am told to preach to you. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; he “ what? ” he that believes and is baptized will be saved.”
Now, you have been asking God to save you do you expect him to save you without you believing and being baptized? Surely you have not had the nerve to ask God to ignore his own word! He would say to you, “Do as I command you, believe my Son, he that believes [in Me] has everlasting life.” Let me ask you; do you believe Jesus Christ? Will you trust him? “Oh, I trust him,” one says, “I trust him completely.” Soul, do not ask for salvation any more you have it already you are saved. If you trust Jesus with all your soul, your sins are forgiven you, and you are saved; and the next time you approach the Lord, go with praise as well as with prayer, and sing and bless his name. “But how do I to know that I am really saved?” One says. God says, “He that believes and is baptized, will be saved.” Have you believed, have you been baptized? If so, you are saved. How do I know that? On the best evidence in all the world: God says you are do you want any evidence but that? “I want to feel this.” Feel! Are your feelings better than God’s witness? Will you make God a liar by asking more signs than his sure word of testimony? I have no evidence this day that I dare trust in concerning my salvation but this, that I rest on Christ alone with all my heart, and soul, and strength. “I have no other refuge,” and if you have that evidence it is all the evidence that you need seek for this day. Other witnesses of grace in your heart will come in time, and cluster around you, and adorn the doctrine you profess, but now your first business is to believe in Jesus.
“I have asked for faith,” one says, “Well, what do you mean by that? To believe in Jesus Christ is the gift of God, but it must be your own act as well. Do you think God will believe for you, or that the Holy Spirit believes instead of us? What has the Holy Spirit to believe? You must believe for yourself, or be lost. He cannot lie, will you not believe in him? He deserves to be believed, trust in him, and then you are saved, and your prayer is answered.
I think I hear another say, “I trust and believe that I am already saved; but I have been seeking for the salvation of others in answer to my prayers;” Dear friend, you will get it. “He that asks receives, and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks, the door will be opened.” “But I have sought the conversion of one person for years with many prayers.” You will have it, or you will know one day why you don’t have it, and you will be made content not to have it. Continue to pray on in hope. Many a person has had his prayer for others answered after they had had died. I think I have reminded you before of the father who had prayed for many years for his sons and daughters, and yet they were not converted, but all became very worldly. His time came to die. He gathered his children around his bed, hoping to bear such a witness for Christ at the end that it might be blessed to their conversion; but unhappily for him he was in deep distress of soul, he had doubts about his own salvation in Christ. He was one of God’s children who are put to bed in the dark; this being above all the worst fear of his mind, that he feared his dear children would see his distress and be prejudiced against religion. The good man was buried and his sons came to the funeral, and God heard the man’s prayer that very day, for as they went away from the grave one of them said to the other, “Brother, our father died a most unhappy death.” “He did, brother; I was very much astonished at it, for I never knew a better man than our father.” “Ah,” said the first brother, “if a holy man such as our father found it a hard thing to die, it will be a dreadful thing for us who have no faith when our time comes.” That same thought had struck them all, and drove them to the cross, and so the good man’s prayer was heard in a mysterious manner. Heaven and earth will pass away, but while God lives, prayer must be heard. While God remains true to his word, supplication is not in vain. The Lord give you grace to exercise it continually. Amen.
A Greater Than Solomon
February 6, 1881
C. H. SPURGEON
"Behold a greater than Solomon is here"- Luke 11:31 .
Our first thought is that no mere man would have said this concerning himself
unless he had been altogether eaten up with vanity; for Solomon was among the
Jews the very ideal of greatness and wisdom. It would be an instance of the
utmost self-conceit if any mere man were to say of himself-"A greater than
Solomon is here." Any person who was really greater and wiser than Solomon
would be the last man to claim such preeminence. A wise man would never think
of it; a prudent man would never say it. The Lord Jesus Christ, if we regard
Him as a mere man, would have never uttered such an expression, for a more
modest, self-forgetting man was never found in all our race. View it on the
supposition that the Christ of Nazareth was a mere man, and I say that His
whole conduct was totally different from the spirit which would have
suggested an utterance like this-"A greater Solomon is here." For men to
compare themselves with one another is not wise, and Christ was wise; it is
not humble, and Christ was humble. He would not have thus spoken if there had
not been cause and reason in His infinitely glorious nature. It was because
the divinity within Him must speak out. For God to say that He is greater
than all His creatures is no boasting; for what are they in His sight? All
worlds are but sparks from the anvil of His omnipotence. Space, time,
eternity, all these are as nothing before Him; and for Him to compare or even
to contrast Himself with one of His own creatures is supreme condescension,
let Him word the comparison how He may. It was the divine within our Lord
which made Him say-and not even then with a view to exalt Himself, but with a
view to point the moral that He was trying to bring before the people-"A
greater than Solomon is here." He did as good as say, "'The queen of the
south came from a distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but you refuse to
hear me. She gave attention to a man, but you will not regard your God. You
will not listen to me incarnate Deity who tells you words of infinite,
infallible wisdom." Our Lord Jesus is aiming at His hearers' good, and where
the motive is so disinterested there remains no room for criticism. He tells
them that He is greater than Solomon, to convince them of the greatness of
their crime in refusing to listen to the messages of love with which His lips
were loaded. Foreigners came from afar to Solomon; but 1, says He, have come
to your door, and brought infinite wisdom into your very gates, and yet you
refuse me. Therefore the queen of the south shall rise up in judgment against
you, for, in rejecting me, you reject a greater than Solomon.
The second thought that comes to one's mind is this: notice the self-
consciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He knows who He is, and what He is, and He is not lowly in spirit because He
is ignorant of His own greatness. He was meek and lowly in heart-"Servus
servorum," as the Latins were wont to call Him, "Servant of servants," but
all the while He knew that He was Rex regum, or King of kings. He takes a
towel and He washes His disciples' feet; but all the while He knows that He
is their Master and their Lord. He associates with publicans and harlots, and
dwells with the common people; but all the while He knows that He is the only
begotten of the Father. He sits as a child, in the temple hearing and asking
questions of the rabbis; He stands among His disciples as though He were one
of themselves, conversing with the ignorant and foolish of the day, seeking
their good; but He knows that He is not one of them; He knows that He has
nothing to learn from them: He knows that he is able to teach senates and to
instruct kings and philosophers, for he is greater than Solomon. He wears a
peasant's garb, and has not where to lay His head; but He knows that,
whatever the lowliness of His condition, He is greater than Solomon; He lets
us perceive that he knows it, that all may understand the love which brought
Him down so low. It is grand humility on Christ's part that He condescends to
be our servant, our Savior, when He is so great that the greatest of men are
as nothing before Him. "He counted it not robbery to be equal with God": mark
that; and yet "He made himself of no reputation." Some people do not know
their own worth, and so, when they stoop to a lowly office it is no stoop to
their minds, for they do not know their own abilities. They do not know to
what they are equal; but Christ did know: He knew all about His own Deity,
and His own wisdom and greatness as man. I admire, therefore, the clear
understanding which sparkles in His deep humiliation, like a gem in a dark
mine. He is not one who stoops down according to the old rhyme-
As needs he must who cannot sit upright;
but He is One who comes down wittingly from His throne of glory, marking each
step and fully estimating the descent which He is making. The cost of our
redemption was known to Him, and He endured the cross, despising the shame.
Watts well sings-
This was compassion like a God,
That when the Savior knew
The price of pardon was his blood,
His pity ne'er withdrew.
Brethren, if our Savior Himself said that He was greater than Solomon, you
and I must fully believe it, enthusiastically own it, and prepare to proclaim
it. If others will not own it, let us be the more prompt to confess it. If He
Himself had to say, before they would own it, "A greater than Solomon is
here," let it not be necessary that the encomium should be repeated, but let
us all confess that He is indeed greater than Solomon. Let us go home with
this resolve in our minds, that we will speak greater things of Christ than
we have done, that we will try to love Him more and serve Him better, and
make Him in our own estimation and in the world's greater than He has ever
been. Oh for a glorious high throne to set Him on, and a crown of stars to
place upon His head! Oh to bring nations to His feet! I know my words cannot
honor Him according to His merits: I wish they could. I am quite sure to fail
in my own judgment when telling out His excellence; indeed, I grow less and
less satisfied with my thoughts and language concerning Him. He is too
glorious for my feeble language to describe Him. If I could speak with the
tongues of men and of angels, I could not speak worthily of Him. If I could
borrow all the harmonies of heaven, and enlist every harp and song of the
glorified, yet were not the music sweet enough for His praises. Our glorious
Redeemer is ever blessed: let us bless Him. He is to be extolled above the
highest heavens; let us sound forth His praises. Oh for a well-tuned harp!
May the Spirit of God help both heart and lip to extol Him at this hour.
First, then, we shall try to draw a parallel between Jesus and Solomon; and,
secondly, we will break away front all comparisons, and show where there
cannot be any parallel between Christ and Solomon at all.
I. First, then, BETWEEN CHRIST AND SOLOMON there are some points of likeness.
When the Savior Himself gives us a comparison it is a clear proof that a
likeness was originally intended by the Holy Spirit, and therefore we may say
without hesitation that Solomon was meant to be a type of Christ. I am not
going into detail, nor am I about to refine upon small matters; but I shall
give you five points in which Solomon was conspicuously like to Christ, and
in which our Lord was greater than Solomon. O for help in the great task
And, first, in wisdom. Whenever you talked about Solomon to a Jew his eyes
began to flash with exultation; his blood leaped in his veins with national
pride. Solomon-that name brought to mind the proudest time of David's
dynasty, the age of gold. Solomon, the magnificent, why, surely, his name
crowns Jewish history with glory, and the brightest beam of that glory is his
wisdom. In the east, and I think I may say in the west, it still remains a
proverb, "To be as wise as Solomon." No modern philosopher or learned monarch
has ever divided the fame of the son of David, whose name abides as the
synonym of wisdom. Of no man since could it be said as of him, "And all the
kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that
God had put in his heart." He intermeddled with all knowledge, and was a
master in all sciences. He was a naturalist: "and he spoke of trees from the
cedar trees that are in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of
the wall: he spoke also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and
of fishes." He was an engineer and architect, for he wrote: "I made me great
works; I built me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and
orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools
of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees." He was one
who understood the science of government- politician of the highest order. He
was everything, in fact. God gave him wisdom and largeness of heart, says the
Scripture, like the sand of the sea: "and Solomon's wisdom excelled the
wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezralite, and Heman, and
Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round
about." Yes; but our Savior knows infinitely more than Solomon. I want you
tonight to come to Him just as the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon, only for
weightier reasons. You do not want to learn anything concerning architecture
or navigation, agriculture or anatomy. You want to know only how you shall be
built up a spiritual house, and how you shall cross those dangerous seas
which lie between this land and the celestial city. Well, you may come to
Jesus and He will teach you all that you need to know, for all wisdom is in
Christ. Our divine Savior knows things past and present and future: the
secrets of God are with Him. He knows the inmost heart of God, for no one
knoweth the Father save the Son and He to whom the Son shall reveal Him. To
Him it is given to take the book of prophetic decree and loose the seven
seals thereof. Come, then, to Christ Jesus if you want to know the mind of
God, for it is written that He "is made unto us wisdom." Solomon might have
wisdom, but he could not be wisdom to others; Christ Jesus is that to the
full. In the multifarious knowledge which He possesses-the universal
knowledge which is stored up in Him-there is enough for your guidance and
instruction even to the end of life, however intricate and overshadowed your
path may be.
Solomon proved his wisdom in part by his remarkable inventions. We cannot
tell what Solomon did not know. At any rate, no man knows at this present
moment how those huge stones, which have lately been discovered, which were
the basis of the ascent by which Solomon went up to the house of the Lord,
were ever put into their places. Many of the stones of Solomon's masonry are
so enormous that scarcely could any modern machinery move them; and without
the slightest cement they are put together so exactly that the blade of a
knife could not be inserted between them. It is marvelous how the thing was
done. How such great stones were brought from their original bed in the
quarry-how the whole building of the temple was executed-nobody knows. The
castings in brass and silver are scarcely less remarkable. No doubt many
inventions have passed away from the knowledge of modern times, inventions as
remarkable as those of our own age. We are a set of savages that are
beginning to learn something, but Solomon knew and invented things which we
shall, perhaps, rediscover in 500 years time. By vehement exertion this
boastful nineteenth century, wretched century as it is, will crawl towards
the wisdom which Solomon possessed ages ago. Yet is Jesus greater than
Solomon. As for inventions, Solomon is no inventor at all compared with Him
who said, "Deliver him from going down into the pit, for I have found a
ransom." O Savior, didst thou find out the way of our salvation? Didst thou
bring into the world and carry out and execute the way by which hell-gate
should be closed, and heaven-gate, once barred, should be set wide open?
Then, indeed, art thou wiser than Solomon. Thou art the deviser of salvation,
the architect of the church, the author and finisher of our faith.
Solomon has left us some very valuable books-the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and
the matchless Song. But, oh, the words of Solomon fall far short of the words
of Jesus Christ, for they are spirit and life.. The power of the word of
Jesus is infinitely greater than all the deep sayings of the sage. Proverbial
wisdom cannot match His sayings, nor can "The Preacher" rival His sermons,
and even the divine Song itself would remain without a meaning-an allegory
never to be explained-if it were not that Christ Himself is the sum and
substance of it. Solomon may sing of Christ, but Christ is the substance of
the song. He is greater than Solomon in His teachings, for His wisdom is from
above, and leads men up to heaven. Blessed are they that sit at His feet.
Again, Solomon showed His wisdom in difficult judgments. You know how he
settled the question between the two women concerning the child; many other
puzzles Solomon solved, and many other knots Solomon was able to untie. He
was a great ruler and governor-a man wise in politics, in social economy, and
in commerce-wise in all human respects. But a greater than Solomon is present
where Christ is. There is no difficulty which Christ cannot remove, no knot
which He cannot untie, no question which He cannot answer. You may bring your
hard questions to Him, and He will answer them; and if you have any
difficulty on your heart tonight, do but resort to the Lord Jesus Christ in
prayer, and search His word, and you shall hear a voice as from the sacred
oracle, which shall lead you in the path of safety.
My point at this time, especially as we are coming to the Communion table, is
this: I want you that love the Lord Jesus Christ to believe in His infinite
wisdom, and come to Him for direction. I fear that when you are in trouble,
you half suppose that the great keeper of Israel must have made a mistake.
You get into such an intricate path that you say, "Surely, my Shepherd has
not guided me aright." Never think so. When you are poor and needy still say,
"This my poverty was ordained by a greater than Solomon." What if you seem to
be deprived of every comfort, and you are brought into a strange and solitary
way, where you find no city to dwell in? Yet a guide is near, and that guide
is not foolish; but a greater than Solomon is here. I think I look tonight
into a great furnace. It is so fierce that I cannot bear to gaze into its
terrible blaze. For fear my eyeballs should utterly fail me and lose the
power of sight through the glare of that tremendous flame, I turn aside, for
the fury of its flame overpowers me. But when I am strengthened to look again
I see ingots of silver refining in the white heat, and I note that the heat
is tempered to the last degree of nicety. I watch the process to the end, and
I say, as I behold those ingots brought out all clear and pure, refined from
all dross, and ready for the heavenly treasury, "Behold, a greater than
Solomon was in that furnace work." So you will find it, O sufferer. Infinite
wisdom is in your lot. Come, poor child, do not begin to interfere with your
Savior's better judgment, but let it order all things. Do not let your little
"Know" ever rise up against the great knowledge of your dear Redeemer. Think
of this when you wade in deep waters and comfortably whisper to yourself-"A
greater than Solomon is here."
I have not time to enlarge, and therefore I would have you notice, next, that
our Lord Jesus Christ is greater than Solomon in wealth. This was one of the
things for which Solomon was noted. He had great treasures: he "made gold to
be as stones, and as for silver it was little accounted of," so rich did he
become. He had multitudes of servants. I think he had 60,000 hewers in the
mountains hewing out stones and wood, so numerous were the workmen he
employed. His court was magnificent to the last degree. When you read of the
victuals that were prepared to feed the court, and of the stately way in
which everything was arranged from the stables of the horses upwards to the
ivory throne, you feel, like the queen of Sheba, utterly astonished, and say,
"The half was not told me." But, oh, when you consider all the wealth of
Solomon, what poor stuff it is compared with the riches that are treasured up
in Christ Jesus. Beloved, He who died upon the cross, and was indebted to a
friend for a grave; He who was stripped even to the last rag ere He died; He
who possessed no wealth but that of sorrow and sympathy, yet had about Him
the power to make many rich, and He has made multitudes rich-rich to all the
intents of everlasting bliss; and therefore He must be rich Himself. Is He
not rich who enriches millions? Why, our Lord Jesus Christ, even by a word,
comforted those that were bowed down. When He stretched out His hand He
healed the sick with a touch. There was a wealth about His every movement. He
was a full man, full of all that man could desire to be full of; and now,
seeing that He has died and risen again, there is in Him a wealth of
pardoning love, a wealth of saving power, a wealth of intercessory might
before the Father's throne, a wealth of all things by which He enriches the
sons of men, and shall enrich them to all eternity.
I want this truth to come home to you: I want you to recognize the riches of
Christ, you that are His people; and, in addition, to remember the truth of
Since Christ is rich can I be poor?
What can I want besides?
I wish we could learn to reckon what we are by what Christ is. An old man
said, "I am very old; I have lost my only son; I am penniless; and, worst of
all, I am blind. But," added he, "this does not matter, for Christ is not
infirm; Christ is not aged; Christ has all riches; and Christ is not blind;
and Christ is mine; and I have all things in Him." Could you not get hold of
that somehow, brothers and sisters? Will not the Holy Spirit teach you the
art of appropriating the Lord Jesus and all that He is and has. If Christ be
your representative, why, then you are rich in Him. Go to Him to be enriched.
Suppose I were to meet a woman, and I knew her husband to be a very wealthy
man, and that he loved her very much, and she were to say to me, "I am
dreadfully poor; I do not know where to get raiment and food." "Oh," I should
say, "That woman is out of her mind." If she has such a husband, surely she
has only to go to him for all that she needs. And what if nothing is invested
in her name, yet it is in his name, and they are one, and he will deny her
nothing." I should say, "My good woman, you must not talk in that fashion, or
I will tell your husband of you." Well, I think that I shall have to say the
same of you who are so very poor and cast down, and yet are married to Jesus
Christ. I shall have to tell your Husband of you, that you bring such
complaints against Him, for all things are yours, for ye are Christ's and
Christ is God's; wherefore, "lift up the hands that hang down, and confirm
the feeble knees"; use the knees of prayer and the hand of faith, and your
estate will well content you. Do not think, that you are married to Rehoboam,
who will beat you with scorpions, for you are joined to a greater than
Solomon. Do not fancy that your heavenly Bridegroom is a beggar. All the
wealth of eternity and infinity is His; how can you say that you are poor
while all that He has is yours?
Now, thirdly, and very briefly indeed. There was one point about Solomon in
which every Israelite rejoiced, namely that he was the prince of peace. His
name signifies peace. His father, David, was a great warrior, but Solomon had
not to carry on war. His power was such that no one dared to venture upon a
conflict with so great and potent a monarch. Every man throughout Israel sat
under his vine and figtree, and no man was afraid. No trumpet of invader was
heard in the land. Those were halcyon days for Israel when Solomon reigned.
Ah, but in that matter a greater than Solomon is here; for Solomon could not
give his subjects peace of mind, he could not bestow upon them rest of heart,
he could not ease them of their burden of guilt, or draw the arrow of
conviction from their breast and heal its smart. But I preach to you tonight
that blessed divine Man of Sorrows who has wrought out our redemption, and
who is greater than Solomon in His peace-giving power. Oh, come and trust
Him. Then shall your "peace be as a river, and your righteousness like the
waves of the sea." Am I addressing one of God's people who is sorely
troubled, tumbled up and down in his thoughts? Brother or sister, do not
think that you must wait a week or two before you can recover your peace. You
can become restful in a moment, for "He is our peace"-even He Himself, and He
alone. And, oh, if you will but take Him at once, laying hold upon Him by the
hand of faith as your Savior, this Man shall be the peace even when the
Assyrian shall come into the land. There is no peace like the peace which
Jesus gives; it is like a river, deep, profound, renewed, ever flowing,
overflowing, increasing and widening into an ocean of bliss. "The peace of
God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your heart and mind, through
Jesus Christ." Oh, come to Him. Come to Him at this moment. Do not remain an
hour away from your Noah, or rest, for with Him in the ark your weary wing
shall be tired no longer. You shall be safe and restful the moment you return
to Him. The fruit of the Spirit is joy. I want you to get that joy and to
enter into this peace. Blessed combination, joy and peace! Peace, peace,
there is music in the very word: get it from Him who is the Word, and whose
voice can still a storm into a calm. A greater than Solomon is here to give
you that peace; beat the sword of your inward warfare, into the plow-share of
holy service; no longer sound an alarm, but blow up the trumpet of peace in
this day of peace.
A fourth thing for which Solomon was noted was his great works. Solomon built
the temple; which was one of the seven wonders of the world in its time. A
very marvelous building it must have been, but I will not stay to describe
it, for time fails us. In addition to this he erected for himself palaces,
constructed fortifications, and made aqueducts and great pools to bring
streams from the mountains to the various towns. He also founded Palmyra and
Baalbed-those cities of the desert-to facilitate his commerce with India,
Arabia, and other remote regions. He was a marvelous man. Earth has not seen
his like. And yet a greater than Solomon is here, for Christ has brought the
living water from the throne of God right down to thirsty men, being Himself
the eternal aqueduct through which the heavenly current streams. Christ has
built fortresses and munitions of defense, behind which His children stand
secure against the wrath of hell; and He has founded and is daily finishing a
wondrous temple, His church, of which His people are the living stones,
fashioned, polished, rendered beautiful-a temple which God Himself shall
inhabit, for He "dwelleth not in temples made with hands, that is to say, of
this building"; but He dwells in a temple which He Himself doth pile, of
which Christ is architect and builder, foundation, and chief corner-stone.
But Jesus builds for eternity, an everlasting temple, and, when all visible
things pass away, and the very ruins of Solomon's temple and Solomon's
aqueduct are scarcely to be discerned, what a sight will be seen in that New
Jerusalem! The twelve courses of its foundations are of precious stones, its
walls bedight with diamonds rare, its streets are paved with gold, and its
glory surpasses that of the sun. I am but talking figures, poor figures, too;
for the glory of the city of God is spiritual, and where shall I find words
with which to depict it? There, where the Lamb Himself is the light, and the
Lord God Himself doth dwell-there the whole edifice, the entire New
Jerusalem-shall be to the praise and the glory of His grace who gave Jesus
Christ to be the builder of the house of His glory, of which I hope we shall
form a part for ever and ever.
Now, if Christ does such great works, I want you to come to Him, that He may
work in you the work of God. That is the point. Come and trust Him at once.
Trust Him to build you up. Come and trust Him to bring the living water to
your lips. Come and trust Him to make you a temple of the living God. Come,
dear child of God, if you have great works to do, come and ask for the power
of Christ with which to perform them. Come, you that would leave some
memorial to the honor of the divine name, come to Him to teach and strengthen
you. He is the wise master-builder; come and be workers together with Christ.
Baptize your weakness into His infinite strength, and you shall be strong in
the Lord, and in the power of His mind. God help you to do so.
Once more. I draw the parallel upon the fifth point, and I have done with it.
Solomon was great as to dominion. The kingdom of the Jews was never anything
like the size before or after that Solomon made it. It appears to have
extended from the river of Egypt right across the wilderness far up to the
Persian Gulf. We can scarcely tell how far Solomon's dominions reached; they
are said to have been "from sea to sea, and from the river even unto the ends
of the earth." By one mode or another he managed to bring various kings into
subjection to him, and he was the greatest monarch that ever swayed the
sceptre of Judah. It has all gone now. Poor, feeble Rehoboam dropped from his
foolish hands the reins his father held. The kingdom was rent in pieces, the
tributary princes found their liberty, and the palmy days of Israel were
over. On the contrary, our Lord Jesus Christ at this moment has dominion over
all things. God has set Him over all the works of His hands. Ay, tell it out
among the heathen that the Lord reigneth. The feet that were nailed to the
tree are set upon the necks of His enemies. The hands that bore the nails
sway at this moment the sceptre of all words: Jesus is King of kings, and
Lord of lords! Hallelujah! Let universal sovereignty be ascribed to the Son
of man: to Him who was "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief." Tell it out, ye saints, for your own comfort. The
Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice, let the multitude of the isles be glad
thereof Everything that happens in providence is under His sway still, and
the time is coming when a moral and spiritual kingdom will be set up by Him
which shall encompass the whole world. It does not look like it, does it? All
these centuries have passed away, and little progress has been made. Ah, but
He cometh; and when He cometh, or ere He cometh, He shall overturn, overturn,
overturn, for His right it is, and God will give it Him. And, as surely as
God lives, unto Him shall every man bow the knee, "and every tongue shall
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Do not be
afraid about it. Do not measure difficulties, much less tremble at them. What
is faith made for but to believe that which seems impossible? To expect
universal dominion for Christ when everything goes well is but the
expectation of reason; but to expect it when everything goes ill, is the
triumph of Abrahamic confidence. Look upon the great mountain and say, "Who
art thou, 0 great mountain? Before the true Zerubbabel thou shall become a
plain." In the blackest midnight, when the ebon darkness stands thick and
hard as granite before you, believe that, at the mystic touch of Christ, the
whole of it shall pass away, and at the brightness of His rising the eternal
light shall dawn, never to be quenched. This is to act the part of a
believer; and I ask you to act that part, and believe to the full in Christ
the Omnipotent. What means this stinted faith in an almighty arm? What a
fidget we are in and what a worry seizes us if a little delay arises!
Everything has to be done in the next ten minutes, or we count our Lord to be
slack. Is this the part of wisdom? The Eternal has infinite leisure, who are
we that we should hasten Him?
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour.
A day is long to us: but a thousand years to Him are but the twinkling of a
star. Oh, rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him, for the time shall
come when the God of Israel shall put to rout His adversaries, and the Christ
of the cross shall be the Christ of the crown. We shall one day hear it said-
The great Shepherd reigns; and His unsuffering kingdom now hath come, Then
rocks and hills, and vales and islands of the sea shall all be vocal with the
one song, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor and glory and
power and dominion and might forever and ever!"
Thus have I tried to draw the parallel, but I pray you to see the Lord Jesus
for yourself, and know whether I have spoken the truth about Him. You have
heard the report; now, like the Queen of Sheba, go and see for yourself. Get
to Christ, as to His dominion, come under His sway and own His sceptre. Go
and trust your King; love your King; praise your King; delight in your King.
How courtiers delight to be summoned to court! How glad they are to see the
queen's face. How pleased they are if she gives them but a kindly word!
Surely, their fortune is made, or at least their hopes arc raised and their
spirits lifted up. Shall we not sun ourselves in the presence of the blessed
and only Potentate? Let us come into the presence of our King tonight, or
else let us sit here and weep. Let us come to His table to feed upon Himself.
Let us live on His Word. Let us delight in His love; and we shall surely say,
"A greater than Solomon is here."
II. I shall not detain you longer than a minute or two while I remark that we
must rise beyond all parallels, if we would reach the height of this great
argument, for BETWEEN CHRIST AND SOLOMON THERE IS MUCH MORE CONTRAST THAN
COMPARISON-much more difference than likeness.
In His nature the Lord Jesus is greater than Solomon. Alas, poor Solomon! The
strongest man that ever lived, namely, Samson, was the weakest of men; and
the wisest man that ever lived, was, perhaps, the greatest, certainly the
most conspicuous, fool. How different is our Lord! There is no infirmity in
Christ, no folly in the incarnate God. The backsliding of Solomon finds no
parallel in Jesus, in whom the prince of this world found nothing though he
searched Him through and through.
Our Lord is greater than Solomon because He is not mere man. He is man,
perfect man, man to the utmost of manhood, sin excepted; but still He is
more, and infinitely more, than man. "In him dwelleth all the fullness of the
Godhead bodily." He is God Himself, "The Word was God." God dwells in Him,
and He Himself is God.
As in nature He was infinitely superior to Solomon, and not to be compared
with him for a moment, so was He in character. Look at Christ and Solomon for
a minute as to real greatness of character, and you can hardly see Solomon
with a microscope, while Christ rises grandly before you, growing every
moment till He fills the whole horizon of your admiration. Principally let me
note the point of self-sacrifice. Jesus lived entirely for other people; He
had never a thought about Himself Solomon was, to a great extent, wise unto
himself, rich unto himself, strong unto himself; and you see in those great
palaces, and in all their arrangements, that he seeks his own pleasure,
honor, and emolument; and, alas! that seeking of pleasure leads him into sin,
that sin into a still greater one. Solomon, wonderful as he is, only compels
you to admire him for his greatness, but you do not admire him for his
goodness. You see nothing that makes you love him, you rather tremble before
him than feel gladdened by him. Oh, but look at Christ. He does not have a
thought for Himself. He lives for others. How grandly magnificent He is in
disinterested love. He "loved his church and gave himself it." He pours out
even His heart's blood for the good of men: and hence, dear friends, at this
moment our blessed Lord is infinitely superior to Solomon in His influence.
Solomon has little or no influence today. Even in his own time he never
commanded the influence that Christ had in His deepest humiliation. I do not
hear of any that were willing to die for Solomon; certainly nobody would do
so now. But how perpetually is enthusiasm kindled in 10,000 breasts for
Christ! They say that if again there were stakes in Smithfield we should not
find men to burn at them for Christ. I tell you, it is not so. The Lord Jesus
Christ has at this moment a remnant according to the election of His grace
who would fling themselves into a pit of fire for Him, and joy to do it. "Who
can separate us"-even us poor pygmies-"from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord?" "Oh," says one, "I do not think I could suffer
martyrdom." You are not yet called to do so, my brother, and God has not
given You the strength to do it before the need arises; but you will have
strength enough if ever it comes to your lot to die for Jesus. Did you never
hear of the martyr who, the night before he was to be burnt, sat opposite the
fire, and, taking his shoe off, he held his foot close to the flame till he
began to feel the burning of it? He drew it back and said, "I see God does
not give me power to bear such suffering as I put upon myself, but I make
none the less doubt," said he, "that I shall very well stand the stake
tomorrow morning, and burn quick to the death for Christ without starting
back." And so he did, for he was noticed never to stir at all while the
flames were consuming him. There is a great deal of difference between your
strength today and what your strength would be if you were called to some
tremendous work or suffering. My Lord and Master, let me tell you, wakes more
enthusiasm in human breasts at this moment than any other name in the
universe. Napoleon once said, "I founded a kingdom upon force, and it will
pass away"; but "Christ founded a kingdom upon love, and it will last forever
and ever." And so it will. Blot out the name of Christ from the hearts of His
people? Strike you sun from the firmament, and quench the stars; and when you
have achieved that easy task, yet have you not begun to remove the glory of
the indwelling Christ from the hearts of His people. Some of us delight to
think that we bear in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus. "Where?" says
one. I answer, it is all over us. We have been buried into His name, and we
belong to Him, in spirit, soul, and body. That watermark, which denotes that
we are His, can never be taken out of us. We are dead with Him, wherein also
we were buried with Him and are risen again with Him; and there is nothing at
this moment that stirs our soul like the name of Jesus. Speak for yourselves.
Is it not so? Have you never heard of one who lay dying, his mind wandering,
and his wife said to him, "My dear, do you not know me?" He shook his head;
and they brought near his favorite child. "Do you not know me?" He shook his
head. One whispered, "Do you know the lord Jesus Christ?" and he said, "He is
all my salvation and all my desire." Oh, blessed name! Blessed name! Some
years ago I was away from this place for a little rest, and I was thinking to
myself, "Now, I wonder whether I really respond to the power of the gospel as
I should like to do? I will go and hear a sermon and see." I would like to
sit down with you, in the pews sometimes and hear somebody else preach-not
everybody, mark you, for when I hear a good many I want to be doing it
myself. I get tired of them if they do not glow and burn. But that morning I
thought I would drop into a place of worship such as there might be in the
little town. A poor, plain man, a countryman, began preaching about Jesus
Christ. He praised my Master in very humble language, but he praised Him most
sincerely. Oh, but the tears began to flow. I soon laid the dust all round me
where I sat, and I thought, "Bless the Lord! I do love Him." It only wants
somebody else to play the harp instead of me, and my soul is ready to dance
to the heavenly tune. Only let the music be Christ's sweet, dear, precious
name, and my heart leaps at the sound. Oh, my brethren, sound out the praises
of Jesus Christ! Sound out that precious name! There is none like it under
heaven to stir my heart. I hope you can all say the same. I know you can if
you love Him; for all renewed hearts are enamored of the sweet Lord Jesus. "A
greater than Solomon is here." Solomon has no power over your hearts, but
Jesus has. His influence is infinitely greater; his power to bless is
infinitely greater; and so let us magnify and adore Him with all our hearts.
Oh, that all loved Him! Alas that so many do not! What strange monsters! Why,
if you do not love Christ, what are you at? You hearts of stone, will you not
break? If His dying love does not break them, what will? If you cannot see
the beauties of Jesus, what can you see? You blind bats! O you that know not
the music of His name, you are deaf. O you that do not rejoice in Him, you
are dead. What are you at, that you are spared through the pleadings of His
love, and yet do not love Him? God have mercy upon you, and bring you to
delight yourselves in Christ, and trust him! As for us who do trust Him, we
mean to love Him and delight in Him more and more, world without end. Amen.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Luke 11". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany