Sermon 1540. The Mediator-Judge And Savior
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, MAY 30, 1880,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And He commanded us to preach unto the people and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of thequick and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him shall receive remissionof sins." Acts 10:42,43.
THESE two verses are an extract from a very remarkable sermon, a sermon preached by Peter in the house of Cornelius upon theoccasion of the Gentile Pentecost. I think we are entitled to call the event by that name, for then the gift of the Holy Spiritwas poured out upon the Gentiles. Peter preached at the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell upon the company of JewishBelievers and it is remarkable that he should be the preacher at the second Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended uponthose of the uncircumcision while they were listening to the Gospel. Philip was at Caesarea and might have been called in,but God had determined that the strict Peter, the minister of the circumcision, should himself open the door of faith to theGentiles.
Paul was, at that time, converted and it might have seemed to be more appropriate to have used him in enlightening this Italianofficer, but the Lord thought not so-He would send the Spirit upon the Gentiles in connection with the same person who preachedwhen this visitation blessed the converts of Israel. Peter preached, as it were, upon the ruins of the middle wall of partitionwhich once divided the sons of men. The occasion was very special and hence the sermon is the more worthy of our earnest consideration.What kind of discourse is that which is likely to be sealed by the Holy Spirit? We may learn something upon that point fromthe instance before us.
Notice that it was a sermon "preached by request." I have seen those words printed upon the title page of very poor sermons-asa sort of apology for their being printed. I have wondered who it was that requested them and whether the requesters werepleased with what they got by their petition. I should think that they would hardly have asked that the same words shouldbe spoken to them again. But this request was a very honest and hearty one, for Cornelius sent many miles to fetch the preacherand the preacher came a long day's journey in order to deliver his discourse. It were devoutly to be wished that many suchsermons would both be preached and published by request. When men are anxious to hear such discourses and count the preacherto be their benefactor, there is every hope that the Truth of God will work their salvation.
This discourse was delivered to a model congregation. One might be satisfied to preach in the middle of the night to suchan assembly, for a devout family had come together at the earnest request of a leading kinsman to have the Gospel preachedto them. To that assembly not a single person came in late-everyone was there before the speaker arrived. Late attendancefrequently means heartless worship, disturbance and distraction. "Now, therefore," said Cornelius before Peter began, "weare all here present before God." This was well-O that all hearers were punctual, that all worship might be undisturbed! Better,still, would it be if all our audiences felt that they were "before God"-this would create a solemn feeling and ensure devoutattention.
The hearers were all in a waiting and expectant mood and all in a receptive condition, desiring, as Cornelius said, "to hearall things that are commanded you of God." Never was the ground better plowed, nor in a finer condition for receiving theliving Seed. Peter gave them a very plain and simple sermon-you cannot find a flourish in it, nor a metaphor, nor even theleast attempt at oratory as, indeed, you do not find in the sermons of Inspired men. Those gentlemen who preach grandiloquentlyare uninspired, you may depend upon that, or else they would not attempt their high and mighty style. The Inspiration whichthe Holy Spirit gives, leads men to use great plainness of speech. Not in words, only,
was Peter plain, but the Truths of God which he taught were the first principles of the faith and it is generally by thesethat men are saved-points of difficult theology are not often the means of conversion.
What have we to do with the fireworks of rhetoric, or the playthings of controversy when men are anxious to know the way ofsalvation? Simple as the discourse was, it was a very powerful one. So powerful, indeed, that all that heard it were converted!I do not see any intimation that one of them remained unconvinced, for the 44th verse says, "The Holy Spirit fell on all themwhich heard the Word." What a very remarkable occasion was this, when all who heard the Truth of God felt the power of theHoly Spirit! What would I not give to be enabled to preach after that fashion and to see such a result! Peter's sermon, however,was never finished-it remains forever a homiletical fragment, a broken column of the temple of wisdom, a discourse of whichwe shall never know the conclusion intended by its author.
I am sure that Peter felt full of matter that day, for so a minister usually feels when he knows that he is sent by the Lord,Himself, with a special commission and sees a people with open hearts receiving all that he utters. He then feels like a vesselneeding vent, his heart is inditing a good matter, his tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Yet the sermon was never finished,but closed abruptly. Oh that our sermons were incomplete for the same cause that Peter's was, for the Holy Spirit, who speaksbetter by Himself than by the most earnest voice, caused a divinely joyful interruption-"The Holy Spirit fell on all themwhich heard the Word."
The sermon was stopped while they heard the converts speak with tongues and magnify God and the preacher did not return tohis sermon but, together with his converts, attended to Baptism and then enjoyed holy fellowship. Oh that the Spirit of Godwould, in the same manner, interrupt us! We have too much talk and too little of those blessed silences which He is sure tocause. It were better for our lips to be sealed by the hour than for us to speak except as He opens our mouth to show forththe praises of the Lord. A sacred irregularity would be far better in our public services than the prim monotony of death.For all these reasons I think I have a claim upon your very earnest attention while we look at Peter's sermon more intently-surelya sermon produced under such circumstances-leading up to such results and interrupted so Divinely deserves to be reverentlystudied!
What was the subject? What was Peter preaching upon? He was preaching Christ and Him Crucified! No other subject ever producessuch effects as this. The Spirit of God bears no witness to Christless sermons! Leave Jesus out of your preaching and theHoly Spirit will never come upon you. Why should He? Has He not come on purpose that He may testify of Christ? Did not Jesussay, "He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Me and shall show it unto you"? Yes, the subject was Christ and nothingbut Christ and such is the teaching which the Spirit of God will acknowledge. Be it ours never to wander from this centralpoint! May we determine to know nothing among men but Christ and His Cross.
I think there were six heads in the sermon, though he spoke only of one Subject, that is, Christ. The Apostle spoke of theLord's Person. I will not enlarge, but simply give you his words. He said, "Preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord ofall." He did not teach the Socinian Gospel, which sets forth a Christ who is not God. We love "the Man Christ Jesus," butwe cannot endure the doctrine that He is no more than Man! How could He save us? Could a mere man redeem us? "He is Lord ofall" and because He is thus supreme, we feel we can trust Him with the salvation of our souls. Peter is very clear upon theSovereign Godhead of Jesus. His Words are few, but they are exceedingly explicit.
Having spoken of His Person, he then spoke of His life and what a pithy summary it is-"How God anointed Jesus of Nazarethwith the Holy Spirit and with power." There was the spring of His life's power-His anointing from the Holy Spirit, who borewitness of Him in Jordan and at other times. He says, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for the Lord has anointed Me." Thetenor of His life is set out in the next sentence, "Who went about doing good." That one stroke gives a full portrait of Christ!You have summed up, in that sentence, the biography of Jesus as He lived among men! He was an itinerant Missionary, a travelingPreacher, a general Benefactor and "He went about doing good."
Then Peter passed on to his third point, which was the Savior's death, of which he says, "Whom they slew and hanged on a tree."He does not take away the offense of the Cross, nor put it in smooth language, as some would have done. He confesses thatthey hanged Him on a tree. Hanging or crucifixion was an accursed and shameful death in the judgment of all mankind and Peterconfesses that His Lord thus died-there is no concealing, or even veiling of the matter-he acknowledges that He died by hangingupon a tree. I rejoice in this bold telling of the Doctrine of the Cross in what some may call its boldness, but in what wewill regard as its sublime simplicity. In Christ's death the shame is honor
and the disgrace renown-to deck the Cross with flowers and make crucifixion honorable is to rob the august transaction ofits leading element, namely, the endurance of shame because of man's shameful sin.
Then Peter passed on to our Lord's Resurrection, for that is an essential part of the Gospel and the Gospel is not preachedwhere a risen Christ is forgotten. "Him God raised up the third day and showed Him openly." It was no fiction! He was openlyshown on many occasions to those best able to recognize Him. The risen Christ was seen and seen clearly. Yes, and spoken withand touched with fingers and hands by His disciples. He was not shown to all the people, for He was not to be exhibited togratify curiosity, but to secure faith. The evidence of 500 persons is quite sufficient to the establishment of an historicalfact and perhaps better for the purpose than the witness of unnumbered crowds. If you suppose those 500 to have been deceived,you would just as readily believe that a whole nation was mistaken.
Had the nation of the Jews received the truth of Christ's resurrection they could not have given us better evidence than wehave, already, that Christ is risen! It would have been said-"This is all an Israelite fable! The Jewish nation, prejudicedin their own favor, have banded together to maintain the fiction of a risen Messiah in order to add to their own nationalreputation." There is something far more convincing in the testimony of men who, themselves, were persecuted and put to deathfor bearing such witness and died adhering unanimously to the truth of their common testimony. God gave to the whole worldsufficient evidence to establish the Resurrection of Christ, for many did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.
Then Peter came to the last two points of his sermon, which were the judgment, which he felt it necessary to preach-declaringthat Jesus Christ who died and rose again is now designated the Judge of all mankind. And lastly, as the gem of all, Peterpreached salvation by the Lord Jesus most fully and graciously when he said, "Through His name whoever believes in Him shallreceive remission of sins." This was what he was driving at and when he had reached this point, enough Truth of God had beentaught to save a soul and God, the Holy Spirit, at once used it! I propose, this morning, to confine your attention to thoselast two points of Peter's sermon, for I am sure that there is much profitable matter in them. Not that I intend to bringout the meaning of each of these verses separately so much as the connection of the two, to show how Christ's being made Judgeof all mankind has a connection with His being the Savior of all those who believe in Him, to whom He forgives their sins.May God bless the meditation to our souls' profit.
I. OUR DIVINE MEDIATOR'S POSITION INVOLVES TWO OFFICES. We are not now living under the immediate government of God, but underthe reign of Jesus Christ the Mediator, for God has committed all judgment unto the Son. Jesus now reigns, according to theWord of the Psalmist, "You have put all things in subjection under His feet." We are living under a mediatorial dispensationin which all power is delivered unto Jesus in Heaven and in earth. God shines upon us, now, through the Person of His dearSon and not, therefore, with those fierce and strong beams which in justice would have consumed us, but through the mediumof the accepted Person of Jesus-with mild, soft, genial radiance for our comfort and our salvation.
Inasmuch as Christ has thus received mediatorial power in its fullness, there are two offices in it. The first is that ofJudge and the second is that of Savior. First, Jesus Christ as Mediator has become our Judge. "The Father judges no man, buthas committed all judgment unto the Son." "To this end Christ both died and rose and revived, that He might be Lord both ofthe dead and the living, for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Mark that-"of Christ." Jesus of Nazarethhas become "Judge of the quick and the dead." In this capacity He has judicial authority over all mankind. Offenses now areoffenses against Him-transgressions against the royal Son of God. He has authority over men and He will try all of us at theLast Day, as He is, even now, sitting in judgment upon all our acts and thoughts and intents.
We shall all have to stand before Him, "that everyone may receive the things done in the body, according to that he has done,whether it is good or bad." He will sum up the evidence and decide the doom of all. We shall, each one, appear before HisGreat White Throne and He shall divide the nations as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. If any are condemned, Hislips shall say, "Depart, you cursed!" If any are glorified, from His lips shall proceed the sentence, "Come, you blessed ofMy Father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Yes, He that hung upon the Cross sitsnow as King upon the holy hill of Zion and He must reign till all His enemies are made His footstool and He must come a secondtime without a sin-offering unto the judgment of mankind.
That judgment of our Savior's will be authoritative and final and it will concern all the race of Adam. It is of Divine appointingand can never be questioned, for God "has appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Manwhom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead." The Lord Jesusis Judge of the quick, that is, of the living and of the dead. All that will be alive at His coming, kings and peasants, professingsaints and avowed sinners must, alike, stand before His Throne. And all the myriads whose moldering bodies have turned theworld into one huge graveyard must live again and all answer to His trumpet summons.
The Jews that accused Him; the Romans that executed Him; the ancient Gentiles that persecuted His Apostles; the scoffers ofmodern times who ridicule His claims-all kings and patriarchs before the flood with all the numerous host destroyed by thedeluge and the myriads upon myriads of all the nations that have come and gone since then and all that shall come and shallyet go-all must, without exception, put in a personal appearance before the bar of the Nazarene, who is also the Son of God!This is part of His work as Mediator between God and man and well will He discharge the solemn trust.
The second part of His office is to be a Savior, "that through His name whoever believes in Him should receive remission ofsins." He is a Prince and a Savior! Power in Him attends His Grace. He has the sovereign right of condemnation or justification-thefinal judgment is with Him. He says, "Behold I come quickly and My reward is with Me to give every man according as his workshall be." The powers of life and death are entrusted to Jehovah Jesus, the Son of God. He has authority to pass by transgression,iniquity and sin in His own name, as in the name of the Eternal God. His Atonement has made it possible for Him to do thisin perfect consistency with His Character as Judge. He pardons and when He pardons it is as just an act as when He condemns.
If this seem a paradox to you, read the New Testament and see how He can be just and yet the Justifier of him that believes.See how it is that in the atoning Sacrifice, "righteousness and peace have kissed each other," and how God is severely justin all that He does and yet abounds towards Believers in richness of Grace in passing by their sin. It seems to me to be avery blessed thought that the same universality which pervades the Mediator's dignified proceedings as Judge is to be seenin His condescending operations as Savior, for it is not to the Jews, alone, that He has come, though to them He is preached.Would God they did receive Him, but He is come to the Gentiles, also, that "whoever believes in Him shall receive remissionof sins."
Now, there is neither black nor white, male nor female, rich nor poor with Him-humanity is one great fallen family and outof it shall arise a great restored family who come and trust the Savior! Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost allthem that come unto God by Him. As well of the ages past was He the Savior of Believers and of this age and of ages yet tocome. He is mighty always to save-the anointed Savior, yesterday, today and forever the same. See you then, because Christis the Interposer and has intervened between God and man and has royal authority to so do, He therefore takes upon Himselfthe double work of judging and of pardoning. Let the two works dwell together in your minds-
"He is a just God and a Savior."
II. Kindly follow me in the next consideration-BOTH THESE OFFICES REGARD MEN AS SINNERS. I am sick to death of hearing mentalk about the goodness which is latent in human nature. I read, the other day, an instruction to missionaries that when theygo to a foreign land they should always believe that men are good, that there is a natural religiousness in them, which, likesparks in the embers, only needs blowing up a little and will certainly flame up into a wonderful fire of true devotion andso on. Pooh! There is not a word of the Truth of God in all this flattery! No doctrine could be more untrue to the very existenceof Christ! If natural religion would have sufficed, why need a Divine Savior to have descended among us? The best that thelight of Nature can do falls short of righteousness.
The case of Cornelius in the chapter we have been reading makes it evident that the best natural religion needs to be illuminatedby Revelation and instructed by the Doctrine of the Cross, for there is Cornelius, a man worshipping the true God devoutlyand living correctly and yet what must be done for him? Is he to be saved without Christ? Is he to find his own way to EternalLife by the development of his good qualities? No, but he must be told to fetch Peter to tell him about Jesus, the Savior,and if no other means will answer, an angel must descend to guide him to the appointed teacher! When he had gone as far ashe could go, it became essential that he should hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Now, it is clear as noonday that if for this best of cases the Gospel was absolutely necessary, it must assuredly be requiredby the myriads who are not so excellent. Brothers and Sisters, Jesus Christ comes to judge mankind because there are sinnersto be judged! If you find me a nation which has no tribunals, no punishments, no courts of justice, no judges-it must eitherbe the scene of utter anarchy or else a nation where all obey the law and such a thing as a criminal is unknown! The settingup of the last great assize and the making of that assize to have reference to all men, the quick and the dead and the appointmentof the most supreme Person in existence, even the Son of God, to conduct that assize-all these facts imply guilt somewhereand abundance of it! If it is not thereby proved that every one of the quick and the dead have offended, it at least impliesthat they are all under suspicion! But that they are all actually guilty we learn from other portions of God's Word. The judgmentheld by the Mediator is proof that the mediatorial office has reference to sin and deals with men as transgressors of theLaw of God.
The second part of our Lord's mediatorial office implies this most certainly, for He comes as Savior and such an office wouldbe needless if there were no sin and ruin. It is idle to talk of saving those who have never fallen. He comes to remit sin,but there can be no remission of sins to those who have never transgressed. The largeness of the promise here used that, "whoeverbelieves in Him shall receive remission of sins," goes to prove that there is sin in everybody. However wide the, "whoever,"is, it is wide, depend upon it. The remedy measures the disease. Remission is promised upon belief in Jesus Christ becausefallen man needs to be pardoned. Putting the two things together, the very fact that there is a Mediator at all regards manas fallen.
God could have dealt with us immediately, without an Intercessor had we been as the first Adam was before the Fall. It isby reason of sin's influence upon the race, the Fall and corruption of the progeny of Adam, that it became necessary thereshould be a "Daysman that might lay His hand upon both" and deal with God in His Divine Person and yet deal with fallen manin his humanity. Yes, Christ as Mediator deals with sinners on God's behalf and the point I want you practically to note isthis-do not let us get away from the consciousness of being sinners because we must then move away from Christ the Mediator!In proportion as you set up any righteousness of your own, in that proportion you become independent of the Savior and aredivided from Him.
If you deny that you are liable to be judged and condemned, you will deny, also, the necessity of your being forgiven-andwhile denying your guilt you never can be forgiven-for confession of guilt is a necessary preliminary to pardon. "If we confessour sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." Put yourselves, then, with broken hearts, beneath the cover ofthe Savior's wings! Come and stand before His majestic Judgment Seat and plead guilty! Then and there cry, "Remit my sin throughYour great Sacrifice and precious blood." Do not try to disprove the accusation or to extenuate the guilt, but plead guiltyand, as guilty, beg for a free pardon. Do not labor against your conscience to deny your sin, but take the publican's placeand cry, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"
That is the second point of the text and it is clear enough. May we be wise enough to put it into practice. May the Holy Spiritwork in us a tender, humble and contrite spirit.
III. Notice a third consideration-THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED BY OUR LORD AS MEDIATOR TO
FULFILL HIS FIRST OFFICE OF JUDGE MATERIALLY COMFORT US IN LOOKING AT HIM UNDER HIS
SECOND OFFICE AS SAVIOR. Note, then, first, that as Judge, the Lord Jesus has full authority. He is fully commissioned ofGod to acquit or to condemn. Oh, then, if He gives me pardon through His blood, it is an authorized pardon! It is a free pardonunder the King's own hand and seal! I rejoice to think of this. If Jesus the Judge had said, "Depart, you cursed," I shouldbe certain that it was true and sure though I sank into unutterable despair forever.
And even so, when He says, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions and, as a cloud, your sins," I am equallycertain that His sentence is sure and fixed. Therefore, being justified by such a Justifier, we have peace with God throughJesus Christ our Lord! The pardon is as authorized as the condemnation would have been. Is not this sweet to think about?Is not this a solid pillar for hope to rest upon? In order that our Lord might be a competent Judge, He possesses the amplestknowledge. A judge should be the most instructed among men, or otherwise he is not fit to decide in matters of great difficultyand importance. Jesus Christ as Judge is incomparably fit to judge men, for He knows men thoroughly. He is, Himself, a Manand, therefore, He knows our temptations and our weaknesses. In fact, He knows all about us by experience as well as by observation.He carries a man's heart within Him to the Judgment Seat and in man's Nature He sits there to weigh us in the balances ofthe Truths of God. This fits Him to judge the world with equity.
Next, He knows the Law. Has He not said, "Yes, Your Law is within My heart"? No one knows the Law of God as Jesus did, forHe kept it in every point-He did not merely read it and learn it, but obeyed it to the fullest. The Law is written out inliving characters in His holy life and obedient death. How qualified He is to judge, since He is Master of every line in theroyal statute book! Moreover, He knows what sin is-not that He ever sinned-but He has lived among sinners as a Physician andstudied their complaints, making a specialty of the disease of sin. Though He had no sin of His own, yet all sin was laidon Him. "He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
The Lord Jesus also knows the punishment of sin. A judge must know what penalties to award. Jesus knows this well enough,for He, Himself, has once suffered for sin, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God. He knows the deserved penalty ofhuman guilt, for on His shoulders the plowers made deep furrows and His very soul was crushed within Him in the winepressof Divine Wrath. Pause here and think awhile. Inasmuch as this knowledge qualifies Christ to be your Judge, O my Soul, itequally qualifies Him to pardon you, for He knows you thoroughly and can cleanse you thoroughly! He knows sin, dear Brothersand Sisters-your sin and mine-so that when He gives pardon it will be for all our sin. He will forgive all manner of transgressions,iniquities and crimes of which all are open before Him.
He knows the Law and, therefore, He knows how legally to acquit, so that no further question can be raised. He will make nomistake about the matter, for He knows the ways of the courts of Heaven. Since He knows the penalty-because He has borne itall-He will take care that none of it shall ever fall on us. The pardon of Believers is not given by a blind God, nor grantedin error-there are no flaws in the Divine Judgment-no schemes and quibbles by which to evade the meaning of the statute inthat case made and provided, but all is done in justice and equity. The Lord does not keep to the ear that which is avoidedin fact, but all His judgments are done in truth. The Judge of all the earth must do right. If You have pardoned me, my Lord,You have known what You have done and You have done it thoroughly and well and wisely and it will stand in the highest courtagainst all gainsayers!
I shall not be condemned when I am judged, but shall be cleared and justified even before the bar of God, for Jesus Christ,the Judge, Himself, has put away my sin! See here the full remission granted to my faith. Who shall lay anything to the chargeof God's elect since God has justified? Do you see this? Do you not also see, dear Friends, that all the personal qualificationsof our Lord to act as Judge, remarkably tend to make the pardon of His people the more blessedly clear for, first of all,as a Judge He is very just. "You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with theoil of gladness above Your fellows." "He is called Faithful and True and in righteousness He does judge and make war."
He is impartial and unchanging and sitting on the Judgment Seat the highest and noblest qualities of humanity and Deity areconspicuous in Him. Well, then, when He forgives it must be just to forgive and when He pardons us it must be consistent withthe holiness of God for us to be pardoned! Such an One as He whom God accounts worthy to judge the sons of men at the LastGreat Day, when He says, "your sins are forgiven you," has not perverted judgment, nor turned aside from right. Our pardonis affirmed and established by the Wisdom and Truth of the Divine Judge and its authenticity and correctness are proven bythe same attributes. Who can dispute our acquittal since it comes from the Judge Himself?
If you have caught my thought and seen the Truth of God, it must tend to your comfort and delight-all the pomp of judgment,all the authority of the Throne, all the justice of the statute book, all the power of the mediatorial government and allthe holiness of the Judge, Himself, are engaged to maintain the verdict of His Grace and make it as firm as the sentence ofHis wrath. Herein is ground for quiet assurance.
IV. Let us next notice the fact that OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE FIRST OFFICE OF THE MEDIATOR IS EXCEEDINGLY NECESSARY TO OUR ACCEPTANCEOF HIM IN HIS SECOND CAPACITY. This was why Peter
preached it. This was why Paul before Felix reasoned concerning righteousness, temperance and judgment to come. This is whythe Holy Spirit, Himself, convinces the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. Dear Hearer, if you do not believein Christ as your Judge, you will never accept Him as your Savior! Unless you set yourself before that awful Throne, thatGreat White Throne, as John calls it, and realize yourself as standing there to give an account of your sins, you will notfly to the Savior for mercy!
I would have every unconverted person set before his mind the hour of his death, the moment of the appearance of his nakedspirit before the tribunal of Christ and then the resurrection and the solemnities of that great day for which all
other days are made, when Heaven and earth shall pass away and all things melt like dreams and the only real thing shall bethe man, his deeds, his Judge, his future. Oh, think of this! Some of you are unpardoned this morning and as sure as you live,unless you repent, you will stand before God to receive nothing but condemnation-condemnation irreversible and eternal! Letthose who would bewitch you say what they will, you will receive a condemnation which will thunder after you throughout ageswithout end! It will wither all your hopes and dry up the springs of comfort within your nature and leave you in eternal desolation!
I cannot speak upon this topic at any length, the theme is too dreadful. May none of you ever incur the doom of the Last Day.May it never happen that one who sat in the Tabernacle while we tried to preach the Gospel shall be driven by the whirlwindof Divine Justice away from the Presence of God and the glory of His power! And yet it will be so with some of you, I am afraid,for you do not turn to God. You do not seek the Savior and you are as likely as not to die in your sins and, if you do, "thereremains no more sacrifice for sin, but a fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation" which must devour you.Oh that you would feel this and now, under a sense of it, come and trust in Jesus Christ the Savior!
He is never dear to any but to sinners. Christ is never valued by any but the guilty. He came into the world to save sinners-itis well He did, for no one else will have Him but those who feel their sin and condemnation. Oh, come and take Him as yourSavior and let that blessed word, "Whoever believes in Him," be like a wide door to let you in! "Whoever believes in Him shallreceive remission of sins." Why should you not, at this moment, obtain that full remission? Here are some lines which I wouldhave you think upon when you are in your own chambers at home-may their concluding prayer be yours-
"That day of wrath, that dreadful day, When Hea ven and earth shall pass away, What power shall be the sinner's stay! Howshall he meet that dreadful day, When, shriveling like a parched scroll, The flaming heavens together roll? When louder yetand yet more dread, Swells the high trumpet that wakes the dead? O, on that day, that wrathful day When man to judgment wakesfrom clay, Be YOU the trembling sinner's stay, Though Hea ven and earth shall pass away!" V. The last Observation is thatTHE SAVING WORK OF CHRIST'S MEDIATORIAL OFFICE IS THAT WHICH
CONCERNS US MOST AT THIS PRESENT TIME. What does Jesus do as Mediator? He judges, but He also forgives.
Note the words, "Shall receive remission of sins." What is remission of sin? Hear it and be astonished that it is possible!It is the causing of sin to cease to be! Granted that you have sinned-lamented that you have sinned. Granted, also, that yoursin deserves the utmost punishment, yet God, in wondrous mercy, is prepared to forget your sin, to blot it out, to cast itbehind His back, to cast it into the depths of the sea! Many Scriptural expressions go to set forth that He will put it quiteaway so that He will regard you as if you had never offended at all.
Guilty man, do you hear this? You that are not guilty-you self-righteous people-I do not care whether you hear it or not,for Christ did not come to call you since the whole have no need of a physician, but O, you guilty ones who know that youare guilty, listen to this! There is remission and it is preached to you in Jesus Christ's name! God is a God of mercy andHe passes by iniquity, transgression and sin and the guilty can be justly treated by Him as if they were perfectly innocent!Note this grand fact and then observe that this is to be done in Christ's name! There is no other name in which pardon canbe bestowed-but it can come in the name of Jesus! Without shedding of blood there is no remission and this blood is the bloodof Jesus Christ, God's dear Son, which cleanses us from all sin.
It is in the name of Jesus, the Nazarene-despised and rejected of men, who is also Lord of all-it is in His name that pardonis freely presented to the most guilty of the human race! Be they where they may, God is ready to kiss away their sins andto accept them through Jesus Christ. According to the text this is to be had through faith, for the text says, "He that believeson Him." The plan is very simple. Every great discovery is very simple when it is complete. Did you ever
notice that when a machine is complicated you feel sure that it is only in its infancy? The more perfect it becomes the moresimple it becomes till, at last, when there is no improvement to be made, you can see it is so because all complications havebeen removed. Such is the Gospel. It is not a science which needs to be learned at universities. It is not a mysterious doctrinewhich needs the intellect of a doctor of divinity to grasp it. It is just an A B C Gospel which babes often receive when wisemen miss it. It is-trust Jesus Christ-trust God in Jesus Christ and you are reconciled to Him and your sins are blotted outfor Christ's sake!
Lastly, this blessed news has reference to everyone in the whole world that will believe in Jesus. That great, comprehensiveword, "whoever," is worthy of your devout notice. "Whoever believes in Him." This excludes no race of men, neither the mostdegraded Hottentot, nor the most intellectual Hindu. This shuts out no king and no beggar, no moralist and no whoremonger,no adulterer, no swearer, no thief, no murderer! Blessed be the God of all Grace, it does not shut out me! I greatly rejoicein this. I am one of the "whoevers," for I believe in Jesus with all my heart! I have no hope but in Him and, therefore, Iknow that I have remission of my sins. I long for you all to have it, too-not because of any merits of yours; not becauseof any feelings of yours; not because of any works of yours-but for His dear sake who was hanged on a tree you shall haveremission if you believe in Him!
Oh, trust Him! Trust Him and you shall have pardon! My heart longs that you should, at this moment, accept Jesus and live.Why not? Often, when we have spoken like this, the Holy Spirit has cheered the hearts of men and brought them to Christ andwhy should He not do it this morning? Pray for it, Believers! This moment offer your intense prayers to Heaven in silent cries.The Spirit of God is here in this assembly and He will work in answer to our warm desires. I have preached the Gospel. I knowit is the very Gospel of the blessed God! Will He not bear witness to His own Truth? Has He not pledged Himself to do it?I have preached His Truth as well as I can, relying only upon His help and I have earnestly avoided all tawdry speech of humanwisdom. I have told you in all simplicity the old, old story of my blessed Lord and therefore I confidently expect to seethe Word prosper.
The Holy Spirit must bless the preaching of the Cross-it is His office, His Nature, His usual way to do so. He has not changed,nor ceased to be what He used to be and, therefore, He will bless His people and make His Gospel the power of God unto salvation!O my dear Hearer, seize the blessing by an instant faith! God help you to do it, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.