Sermon 1112. Soul-satisfying Bread
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, MAY 18, 1873,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger; and he that believes on Me shallnever thirst." John 6:35.
OUR Savior used expressions concerning Himself which might be turned to another meaning than He intended. He did not guardHis words by saying, "I am like bread, and faith is like eating and drinking," but He said, "I am the bread of life," and,"except a man eat My flesh and drink My blood there is no life in him." He did this not only because from His own sincerityof heart it was not in Him to be forever fencing around all His speeches, but also with a set purpose, because His speechwas so plain that if any man misunderstood Him it would be the result of his own perversity of mind and not the effect ofany obscurity in the Lord's language. Thus by fixing a low and sensual meaning upon elevated spiritual language the men ofHis time would be discovered to be none of the Lord's chosen-and the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed.
While He was preaching, His words were like a refiner's fire, bringing out the pure metal, but separating it from the drossand making that dross to appear the worthless thing which it really was. It would clearly appear that men hated the lightwhen they perverted the clearest expressions of the Lord of Light into foolishness or mystery. Our Lord's mission was notso much to save all whom He addressed as to save out of them as many as His Father gave Him. And He used His mode of speakingas a test-those who were His understood Him. Those who were not His and were not taught of the Father, viciously put a literalmeaning upon His spiritual words and so missed His Divine teaching. To this day the memorable expressions of our Lord in thischapter remain a stumbling block to some, while they are full of glorious instruction to others!
We see the world every day parting more and more definitely into two camps-the camp of the chosen of God, to whom is madeknown the mystery of the kingdom, the babes in Grace who read the simple teaching of the Gospel and rejoice in it-and on theother side the carnal host who hear the Word, but look no deeper than its outward letter, to whom it becomes a "savor of deathunto death," because they pervert the Lord's spiritual Word to a carnal meaning and straightway heap unto themselves aboundingceremonies and pierce themselves through with deadly errors. I scarcely think that the prominence of Sacramentarianism nowadaysis to be altogether regretted-it is only a more clear and manifest severing of the precious from the vile.
There is a division as marked as between death and life, and as deep as Hell, between the spiritual Church which believesin Jesus and the carnal Church which believes in sacraments-between the regenerate who look to Christ upon the Cross-and thetwice dead who believe in a piece of bread and pay reverence to a wine cup. The Savior spoke in symbols, that the proud mighthear in vain-that hearing they might not hear and seeing they might not perceive- executing upon that self-conceited generationwhich rejected Him the judicial sentence of the Lord, for their hearts were waxen gross, their ears were dull of hearing andtheir eyes had they closed.
But now, speaking to those to whom the Lord has given to understand His meaning, let me say our Savior uses very simple figures.Think of His calling Himself bread! How condescending, that the most common article upon the table should be the fullest typeof Christ! Think of His calling our faith an eating and a drinking of Himself! Nothing could be more instructive! At the sametime nothing could better set forth His gentleness and humility of spirit that He does not object to speak thus of our receivingHim. God be thanked for the simplicity of the Gospel! The longer I live the more I bless God that we have not received a classicalGospel, or a mathematical Gospel, or a metaphysical Gospel! It is not a Gospel confined to scholars and men of genius, buta poor man's Gospel, a plowman's Gospel-and that is the kind of Gospel which we can live upon and die upon.
It is to us not the luxury of refinement, but the staple food of life. We need no fine words when the heart is heavy, neitherdo we need deep problems when we are lying upon the verge of eternity, weak in body and tempted in mind. At such times wemagnify the blessed simplicity of the Gospel! Jesus in the flesh made manifest becomes our soul's bread. Jesus bleeding onthe Cross, a Substitute for sinners, is our soul's drink. This is the Gospel for babes-and strong men need no more.
Again, it strikes me as being very noteworthy, and especially very worthy of thanks, that our Savior has taken metaphors ofa very common character so that if our hearts are but right we cannot go anywhere but what we are reminded of Him. At ourtables we are very apt to forget the best things. The indulgence of the appetite is not very promotive of spirituality, yetwe cannot sit down to table but what the piece of bread speaks to us and says, "Poor Soul, you need even bread to be givenyou. You are so needy that your bread must be the gift of heavenly charity. Jesus has come down from Heaven to keep you fromabsolute starvation. He has come down to be bread and water to you." As you take up that loaf and think of the processes throughwhich it has passed before it has become bread, it preaches a thousand sermons to you!
The sowing of Jesus as a grain of wheat in the earth. His grinding between the millstones of Divine wrath. His passing throughthe fiery oven. We see the sufferings of Jesus in every crumb we put into our mouths. Why, the Lord has hung the heavens withHis name and made them tell of His love! Yon sun proclaims the Sun of Righteousness and every star speaks of the Star of Bethlehem.You cannot walk your garden, or go into the streets, or open a door, or put on your clothes without being reminded of theLord Jesus!
I remember once visiting a poor Christian in the hospital who had often attended my ministry, and he said, "Why, Sir, youhave given us so many illustrations, that as I lie in bed everything I see, or hear, or read of, brings to mind somethingin your sermons." How much more true is this of our Great Teacher! We are glad that He has hung up the Gospel everywhere tillevery dewdrop reflects Him and every wind whispers His name. Day and Night talk to each other of Him and the hours communeconcerning things to come.
With this as a preface, let us come to our subject. Our text in a very simple way tells us, first, that Jesus Christ is tobe received. That reception is here described-"I am the bread of life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger; and he thatbelieves on Me shall never thirst." The second doctrine of the text is that when Jesus Christ is received, he is superlativelysatisfying to the soul-"Shall never hunger"-"Shall never thirst."
I.THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS TO BE RECEIVED BY EACH ONE OF US PERSONALLY FOR HIMSELF. An unappropriated Christ is no Christto any man. Bread which is not eaten will not stop our hunger. The water in the cup may sparkle like purest crystal, but itcannot slake thirst unless we drink it. To get a personal hold of the Savior is the main thing and the question is how isthis to be done. How is Jesus Christ to become a Savior to me? You will observe that in this chapter and, indeed, everywhereelse, the mode of obtaining an interest in Christ is never mixed up with the idea of fitness, merit, preparation, or worth.
The text says, "He that comes to Me." It says nothing of preparation before coming, nor of any meritorious actions. It isa simple coming, as a beggar for alms, or a child for its father's help. The other description is, "He that believes on Me."There is nothing there of merit. In fact, faith stands in direct opposition to meritorious working. And if we read of eatingChrist and drinking Christ, the act is entirely a receptive one, nothing given forth, but everything received, reminding usof that memorable passage, "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them thatbelieved on His name." It is all a matter of receiving, not of bringing to Christ! We come to Him empty-handed. We believein Him without any deserving of our own and in that way, and in that way only, Jesus Christ becomes our Savior.
Let us dwell on these expressions for a few minutes. The first is, that we come to Him. "He that comes unto Me shall neverhunger." I suppose this represents the first act of faith by which men enter into spiritual life-we are alienated from Christ,but after hearing the Gospel we are, by the Holy Spirit, led to think of Him, to consider Him, to study Him and to judge thatHe is the Savior whom we need. Our alienation from Him is turned into desire for Him and we come to Him beseeching Him tobe our Savior. We come to Him. It is a motion of the heart towards Him, not a motion of the feet, for many came to Jesus inbody and yet never came to Him in truth. They were close to Him in the crowd, but they never touched Him so that virtue cameout of Him. The coming here meant is performed by desire, prayer, assent, consent,
trust, obedience. It means that I hear what Christ is and learn what God says He is-that He is God and that He is Man-thatHe came into the world to take the sins of men upon Himself and to be punished in their place.
I hear all this and assent to it. I believe in Jesus and I say, "If He died for all those who trust Him, I will trust Him.If He has offered so great a Sacrifice upon the tree for guilty men, I will rely upon that Sacrifice and make it the basisof my hope." That is coming to Jesus Christ! The term is very simple, yet it is not so very easily explained to others becauseof its being so simple. If you are taught of the Father you will know full well what it is, but if not I fear that the mostplain words will not make you understand. Perhaps I may illustrate coming to Jesus by an incident connected with the hymnwhich we sang just now.
I think I have read somewhere that Mr. Wesley was one morning dressing. His window looked out towards the sea and there wasa heavy wind blowing. The waves were very boisterous and the rain was falling heavily. Just then a little bird, overtakenby the tempest, flew in at the open window and nestled in his bosom. Of course he cherished it there, and then bade it goon its way when the storm was over. Impressed by the interesting occurrence, he sat down and wrote the verse-
"Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to your bosom fly While the raging billows roll, While the tempest still is high. Hide me,O my Savior, hide me Till the storm of life is past."
Imitate that poor little bird if you would have Christ-fly away from the wrath of God, fly away from your own convictionsof sin, fly away from your dark forebodings of judgment to come-right into the bosom of Jesus which is warm with love to sinners-
"Come, guilty souls, and flee away Like doves to Jesus' wounds; This is the accepted Gospel day Wherein free Grace abounds."
The second description given us of the way in which Christ becomes ours is by believing on Him. Here, again, I have to explaina word which needs no explanation except one flash of light from the Holy Spirit. And I question whether any other light wasever sufficient to make it clear. And that not because of any real obscurity, but because of the willful blindness of unrenewednature. To believe on Christ means to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of men. But it includes farmore than that. You may be very orthodox in your notions about Christ. In fact, you may believe what the Bible states aboutHim and yet you may not have saving faith in Him. "He that believes on Me." What if I put the word "trusts" instead? "He thattrusts in Me." Or he who leans all his weight on Me, who, knowing such and such things to be true, acts as if they were trueand shows the reality of his belief by the simplicity of his reliance.
Knowing that Christ came to save sinners, the Believer says, "Then I depend upon Him to save me." Knowing that Jesus was theSubstitute for human guilt, he says, "He is the Substitute for my guilt. If He came and took sin upon Himself, then I trustHim and therefore know that He took my sin, that He bore, that I might never bear, His Father's righteous ire." And is Christreally a man's Savior the moment he believes? Yes, the moment he believes! But suppose his former life has been scandalous?It is forgiven him for Christ's name sake. But suppose that the moment before he so trusted Christ there was no good thingin him whatever?
Jesus Christ died for the ungodly and He is "able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him." But suppose heshould be imperfect afterwards? It is no supposition, he will be! But, "the blood of Jesus Christ, God's dear Son, cleansesus from all sin." A very blessed text assures us that, "There is a fountain opened for the house of David and for the inhabitantsof Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." It is not a fountain merely for common sinners, but for those who are God's peopleand yet sin. They still find cleansing where they found it at the first. "If any man sins, we have an Advocate with the Father,Jesus Christ, the Righteous." Faith is an act of reliance upon Christ's great Sacrifice and wherever the Holy Spirit worksit in men it makes Christ to be theirs-so that they shall never hunger and shall never thirst.
But I pass on to the third way in which we are said to receive Christ. It is not in the text in so many words, but we mustconsider it, because, though not there literally, it is there spiritually. It is eating and drinking. We are to eat Christand to drink Christ. Oh, it is monstrous, it is monstrous that out of bedlam there should live men who should dream that Jesustaught us literally to eat His flesh and to drink His blood! I am more and more astounded at this 19th century. I have heardit praised for its enlightenment and progress till I am sick to death of the 19th century and am right glad that it is nearingits close. I hope the 20th century will be something better. Surely no period of time has been more given to superstition!
Even the age of witchcraft bids fair to be outdone by the age of Ritualists. Here you have idiots in high places- absolute,stark, staring idiots-who preach to men that they are to turn cannibals in order to be saved. Surely such an act, if it couldbe perpetrated, must rather be the nearest way to be damned! What greater crime could there be than for men literally to eatthe flesh of their own Savior? I cannot speak too strongly against so extraordinary, so monstrous a perversion of the teachingof our Lord. What He meant by our eating His flesh and blood is just this-we believingly receive Him into our hearts and ourminds feed upon Him. We hear of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as the Substitute for sinners-we believe it and so receivethe Truth of God as men receive bread into the mouth.
Now, in eating we first put the food into our mouths. As a whole it goes into the mouth and even thus, as a whole, ChristJesus is received into our belief and trust. The food being in the mouth, we proceed to chew it. It is broken up, it is dissolved.Our taste finds out its secret essence and flavor-and even in this way the believing mind thinks of Jesus, contemplates Him,meditates upon Him and discovers His preciousness. We see far more of our Lord after conversion than we did at first. We havebelieved in Him knowing but little of Him. But by-and-by we comprehend with all the saints what are the heights and depthsand know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. Jesus becomes more comforting, and more delightful as we comprehend moreclearly who and what He is. Our faith, which we placed implicitly upon Him, now sees a thousand reasons for a yet fuller confidenceand so is strengthened.
For instance, the ordinary Believer believes in Jesus Christ because He is a Divine Savior. But the instructed Believer seesin Jesus Christ fitness, fullness, variety of offices, glory of Character, completeness of work, Immutability and a thousandother things which endear Him. In this way the Truth concerning the Lord is, as it were, masticated and enjoyed. But the processof eating goes further-the food descends into the inward parts to be digested-and there is a further breaking up and dissolvingof it. So the great Truths of Incarnation and Sacrifice are made to dwell in the memory, to lie upon the heart, to rest inthe affections till their essence, comfort and force are fully drawn forth. Oh, it is unbelieveably refreshing to let thesegrand Truths of God dwell in us richly, to be inwardly digested!
Have you ever chewed the cud with the Truths of the Gospel, turning them over, and over, and over again as delicious morselsfor your spiritual taste? Can you say with David, "How precious, also, are Your thoughts unto me, O God"? If so you know whatspiritual eating is. When that is done the food is next assimilated and taken into the substance of the body. It passes fromthe digesting organs to those which assimilate it. Each portion of the body draws forth, in its turn, proper nutriment fromthe food and so the whole man is built up. It is just so with the great Truths, that Christ became Man and died in man's place-theseare inwardly received by us till our whole nature draws from them a satisfying and strengthening influence. By a sort of mysticsympathy the Truth of God is being fitted to the mind and the mind requiring just such Truth, our whole nature drinks in Christ,and His Person and work become our mind's joy, delight, strength, and life. As a man thinks in his heart so he is, and thereforeour thoughts of Jesus, and faith in Him, build us up into Him in all things.
Now, as a man who has feasted well and is no more hungry, rises from the table satisfied, so we feel that in Jesus our entirenature has all that it needs. Christ is All and we are filled in Him, complete in Him. This is to receive Christ. Beloved,if you want to have Christ altogether your own, you must receive Him by this process. Merely to trust Him gives you Christas food in your mouth. To contemplate, to meditate, to commune with Him is to understand Him, even as food is digested andis ours. Further prayer and fellowship and meditation assimilate Christ so that He becomes part and parcel of our very selves.Christ lives in us and we in Him! We ought not to forget, as we are dwelling upon this, that the two points about Jesus Christwhich He says are to us meat and drink, are His flesh and his blood.
We understand by His flesh, His Humanity-our soul feeds upon the literal, real, historical fact that "God was in Christ."That, "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us"-and men beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Only-
Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth. My soul's main comfort today is not a doctrine. I get a great deal of comfortout of many doctrines, but the bottom comfort of my soul is not a doctrine but a fact. And it is this fact-that He who madethe heavens and the earth, and without whom was not anything made that was made, was born of the Virgin Mary at Bethlehemand for 30 years and more did actually, not in fiction or romance, but in very deed, dwell as a Man among men! That fact ismy soul's food!
The historical fact that Christ Jesus was flesh and blood, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, a Man like ourselves- this,I say, is nourishment to our spirits, and believing it we feel a joy unutterable, for we know that He who sits upon the Throneof God is a Man. Jesus was made "a little lower than the angels," but now, in the Person of Christ, He is crowned with gloryand honor! We now know that God cannot hate manhood, because Christ is a Man. Christ has reconciled God to manhood becauseHe represented manhood and the thoughts of God towards man are, for Christ's sake, thoughts of love and not of evil!
The other point in which Jesus is food to our mind is His blood. This most clearly refers to His sufferings and to His vicariousdeath. Bread and wine are put upon the communion table as separate symbols-not bread and wine mixed together-that would destroythe teaching. The wine is distinct from the bread, because when the blood is separated from the flesh there is before youthe sure evidence of death. Now the true drink of a thirsty sinner is the fact that Christ died in his place. I will repeatwhat I said-my great hope as a sinner does not lie in a doctrine and my consolation as a trembling criminal before the barof God is not founded in any opinion or doctrinal statement-but in a FACT.
He who is very God of very God did hang upon a Cross of wood, upon the little mount of Calvary just outside the gates of Jerusalem,and there in unutterable agonies beneath the wrath of God made expiation for the sins of all who believe in Him! There ismy hope! There is yours, my Brothers and Sisters. Yes, there is all our hope. Very well, then, do you not see that the wayto obtain the benefits of the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe in His being God and Man, to believe in His dying as the God-Man,and to rest upon this, and to contemplate this, and to turn to it again and again and again, so that, having marked and learned,you may also inwardly digest those unspeakably glorious mysteries of Incarnation and of Sacrifice?
I have set the Gospel before you now, for if any man among you will do this, Christ is yours! Here is Christ to be had fornothing! Christ to be had simply by trusting Him, by coming to Him! As the vessel obtains its fullness by its emptiness beingplaced under the flowing stream. As the beggar's needs are relieved by putting out his empty hand to accept an alms, so youare to obtain Christ by coming to Him as empty sinners. He is given to you for nothing-freely given to you of God-and whoeverwill, may have Him! And if you have Him not, it is not because He has rejected you, for He has never rejected one that hascome to Him, but because you have rejected Him. Dear fellow Sinners, may God the Holy Spirit grant you Grace to receive Jesusand to be saved by Him!
II. The second part of our subject is this. WHERE JESUS IS RECEIVED HE IS SUPREMELY SATISFYING. He is supremely satisfying,mark you, to our highest and deepest needs, not to mere fancies and whims. Christ compares the needs of men to hungering andthirsting. Now hungering is no sham. Those who have ever felt it know what a real need it indicates and what bitter pangsit brings. Thirst, also, is not a sentimental matter, it is a trial, indeed. What pain can be worse beneath the skies thanthirst?
Now Jesus has come to meet the deep, real, pressing, vital needs and pains of your nature. Your fear of Hell, your terrorof death, your sense of sin-all these Jesus has come to meet and all these He does meet in the case of all who come to Him-aseveryone who has tried Him will bear witness. Jesus Christ meets the hungering of conscience. Every man with an awakened consciencefeels that God must punish him for sin, but as soon as he perceives that the Son of God was punished instead of him, his conscienceis perfectly appeased and will never hunger again. Until men know the Truth of the Substitution of Jesus you may preach tothem what you will and they may go through all the sacraments, and they may suffer many bodily mortifications-but their consciencewill still hunger.
My God, whom I offended, became a Man and for my sake He suffered what I ought to have suffered. Therefore my conscience restsgratefully contented with so divinely gracious a way of satisfying justice. Men, when once awakened, have a hunger of fear.They look forward to the future and they scarcely know why, but they feel a dread of something indefinable and full of terror.And especially if they are near to die, horror takes hold upon them, for they know not what is yet to come-but when they findthat Jesus Christ, who is God, became Man and died for men, that whoever
trusts Him might be saved-then fear expires and love takes its place. The dove in the cleft of the rock feels no more rudealarms. Terror cannot live beneath the Cross, for there hope reigns supreme. Nor shall fear ever return, for the work of Jesusis finished and, therefore, no hiding place for fear is left.
The heart, also, has its hunger, for almost unknown to itself it cries, "O that someone loved me and that I could love someonewhose love would fill my nature to the brim." Men's hearts are gluttons after love. Yes, like death and the grave they areinsatiable. They hunt here and there, but are bitterly disappointed, for earth holds not an object worthy of all the loveof a human heart. But when they hear that Jesus Christ loved them before the world was, and died for them, their roving affectionsfind rest. Like as Ruth found rest in the house of a husband, do we come to peace in Jesus. The love of Jesus casts out allhankering for other loves and fills the soul! He becomes the Bridegroom of our heart, our best Beloved, and we bid the meanerthings depart.
In the love of the Father and the Son we dwell in sweet content, hungering and thirsting no more. If the ocean of Divine Lovecannot fill us, what can? What more can a man need or wish for?-
"My God, I am Yours.
What a comfort Divine,
What a blessing to know
That my Sa vior is mine!
In the Heavenly Lamb
Thrice happy I am,
And my heart it does dance
At the sound of His name."
The heart's hunger is removed eternally by Jesus. Then there are vast desires in us all and when we are quickened those desiresexpand and enlarge. Man feels that he is not in his element and is not what he was intended to be. He is like a bird in theshell, he feels a life within him too great to be forever confined within such narrow bounds. Do you not, dear Friends, feelgreat longings? Does not your soul seethe with high ambitions? Our immortal nature frets beneath the burden of mortality!Its spiritual nature is weary of the chains of materialism.
That hungering will never be hushed into content till we receive Christ, but when we have Him we learn that we are the sonsof God, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ and that it does not yet appear what we shall be, but when He shall appear weshall be like He is, for we shall see Him as He is. This opens up before us a splendid future of unfading glory and unboundedbliss-and we feel that we need no more. Since we are Christ's and Christ is God's, all things are ours and our hunger is foreverover. The only contented man in the whole world is he who has believed in Jesus and he is contented just because he has obtainedall that his nature needs-
"Let others stretch their arms like seas,
And grasp in all the shore,
Grant me the blessings of Your Grace,
And I desire no more." Because I could not desire more than all and Christ is All in All.
My Beloved, this perfect satisfying of our nature is to be found nowhere else but in Christ. Some have tried to be satisfiedwith themselves and their own doings. They have despised the bread of Heaven, for they dreamed that they could live withoutbread-they would be self-contained men-they would make themselves happy with themselves. But it is a wretched failure. Thepoor Bushmen, when they have nothing to eat, tie a girdle around them and call it the hunger belt. And when they have gonea few days they pull it tighter and tighter still, in order to enable them to bear hunger-so any man who has to live uponhimself will have to draw the hunger belt very tight, indeed. A soul cannot be persuaded by philosophy to content itself withoutits necessary food. Eloquence may try all its charms to that end, but it will be in vain.
Who can convince a hungry man that he needs not eat? Some have gone to Moses for bread and, mark you, the two greatest bread-giversin the world are Moses and Christ. Moses fed the tribes in the wilderness for 40 years and Jesus feeds His people always.But Moses' bread never satisfies. Those who eat it, before long call it light bread. And if they have been satisfied withit for a time, yet there is the mournful reflection that their fathers did eat it and are dead. There is no life in the breadof the Law. But he who gets Christ has a bread of which he shall eat forever and ever, and shall never die.
I am told that there is country-I think it is Patagonia-where men in times of need eat clay in great lumps. They fill themselveswith it, so as to deaden their hunger. I know that many people in England do the same.
There is a kind of yellow clay which is much cried up for staying spiritual hunger-heavy stuff it is, but many have a vastappetite for it. They prefer it to the choicest dainties. When a man fills his heart with it, it presses him down to the veryearth and prevents his rising into life. Some have tried to stay their hunger by the narcotics of skepticism and have dosedthemselves into lethargy. Others have endeavored to get ease through the drugs of fatalism. Many stave off hunger by indifference,like the bears in winter which are not hungry because they are asleep. Such persons come to the House of God asleep. Theywould not like to be aroused, for if they were to do so they would wake up to an awful hunger. I wish they could be awakened,for that hunger which they dread would drive them to a soul-satisfying Savior. But, depend upon it, the only way to meet hungeris to eat bread, and the only way to meet your soul's need is to get Christ in whom there is enough and to spare, but nowhereelse.
I shall close by saying that all Believers bear witness that Jesus Christ is satisfying bread to them. When do you get mostsatisfied on a Sunday, Beloved? I do not know whom you may happen to hear, but what Sundays are the best to you? When yourminister rides the high horse and gives you a splendid oration, and you say, "Dear me, it is wonderful"-have you ever feltsatisfied to think it over on Monday? Have you ever felt satisfied with sermons composed of politics and morality, or verynice essays which would suit the Saturday Review if they were a little more caustic? Do you enjoy such meat? I will tell youwhen I enjoy a Sunday most-when I preach Christ most-or when I can sit and hear a humble village preacher exalt the Lord Jesus.
It does not matter if the grammar is poor, so long as Jesus is there! What some call platitudes are dainties to me if theyglorify my Lord Jesus Christ. Anything about Him is satisfying to a renewed spirit-cannot you bear witness to that? When Ihave preached up Jesus Christ-and I think I generally do so, for the fact is, I do not know anything but Him, and I am determinednot to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Then, I say, I know you go away and say, "After all, thatis what we need-Christ Crucified, Christ the sinner's substitutionary Sacrifice, no sham Christ, no mere talk about Christas an example, but His flesh and blood, a dying, bleeding, suffering Christ-that is what we need." Now I have the witnessof every Christian here to that! You are never satisfied with anything but that-are you? No matter how cleverly the doctrinemight be analyzed, or however orthodox it might be, you cannot be content with it-you must have the Person of Christ, theflesh and the blood of Christ-or else you are not content.
And, Beloved, those who have once eaten and drunk Christ never seek additional ground of trust beyond Christ. They never say,"I am resting upon Christ, but still I should like to be able to depend a little on my Baptism." I never heard a Christiantalk in that fashion in my life! I never heard a man say, "I rest in the blood of Jesus, but still, I wish that I could havea bishop's hands put upon my head so as to give me a confirmation of my faith." I never heard that in my life and I do notexpect I ever shall! We are perfectly satisfied without priests, and without sacraments! Jesus Christ is the one sole Foundationupon which we build!
Again, I have never found those who rest in Christ needing to shift their confidence. Those who need something new every Sundayare those who know not the Savior. Truly, if you have not the bread from Heaven, you may well cry out for all manner of dishes,for each one will soon spoil. But if you have the bread of Heaven, you need Christ on the first of January and every day tillthe last of December. I have never heard a Christian assert that Christ did not satisfy them in the days of sickness or inthe hour of death. I came to you this morning fresh from the sick bed of a venerable Christian man, close upon his 80th year,and I said to him, "Now, dear Sir, here are three or four young people around your bed. We are going forth on our pilgrimagerelying on Christ, believing that He is faithful and true. You have gone a great deal further than we have. Will you, therefore,kindly correct us if we are under a mistake? Have you found that the Lord has not fulfilled His Word? Have you found thatHe has not been true?"
It was a blessed sight to see the man of God and hear him say, "Not one good thing has failed of all that the Lord God haspromised." And then he added, "I will sing of mercy, for it has been mercy, all mercy, all the way through." "Do you feelany fear about departure?" I said to him. "Oh! dear, no," he said. "I am willing to wait, or willing to go. But I am fullof the expectation of beholding Him who loved me and gave Himself for me." Ah, the bridge of Grace will bear your weight,Brothers and Sisters! Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yes, tens of thousands have gone over it! I canhear their tramping, now, as they traverse the great arches of the bridge of Salvation.
They come by the thousands, by the myriads! Ever since the day when Christ first entered into His Glory, they come, and yetnever a stone has sprung in that mighty bridge. Some have been the chief of sinners and some have come at the very last oftheir days, but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight! I will go with them trusting to the same support! It willbear me over as it has borne them! They who have eaten Christ and drunk Christ shall not hunger or thirst in their last hour,trying as it will be.
Saints have died saying, "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are withme. Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my headwith oil. My cup runs over." God grant us Grace to live upon Christ evermore. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-John 6:26-63.