Sermon 1945. Christ's Work No Failure
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JANUARY 30, 1887,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"He shall not fail nor be discouraged till He has set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His Law." Isaiah 42:4.
PREVIOUS verses at the close of the 41st Chapter indicate the utter failure of the hope of man from man. God Himself lookedand behold, "there was no man; even among them, and there was no counselor that, when I asked of them could answer a word."How often it is so in human history-man fails to find leadership and help in man! Great men are raised up, now and then, andthe tendency is to make idols of them and so to trust in an arm of flesh. These die and then their fellows look out in theChurch and in the world for other men upon whom they may dote after the same manner. But it sometimes happens that they lookin vain-none arise whom they can elect for leaders. Just now I think it is so in more departments than one. Look where youmay, where will you see the man who is equal to the crisis? Somehow or other, in the Providence of God, every hour has, indue time, had its man, but if our hopes are fixed in men, we must feel at this time sorely pressed.
In expounding the one verse which I have selected for a text, I shall need to open up the whole passage. Follow me, therefore,with opened Bibles and obey the first word of the Chapter, which is, Behold.
We are commanded at all times to behold the Son of God. There is never a season in which He is not a fit subject for contemplationand expectation. "Behold the Lamb of God" is the standing rule from generation to generation, from the first of January tothe last of December. But specially in cloudy and dark days ought we to behold Him. When after having looked and looked long,you see no man and no counselor, then this precept has an emphatic force about it, "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; My elect,in whom My soul delights." When all other saviors fail, look to the Savior whom God has set up! The darker all things become,the more eagerly look for His appearing, whose coming is as a morning without clouds! When the lower lights are burning dim,behold the lamp above!
Our great comfort is that the Lord Jesus Christ is always to be beheld. He always lives and always works for His people. Wemust view Him not merely as One who appeared upon the scene years ago, but as still living. He died in the heat of the battle,but He rose again to secure the victory! We do not found our hopes of a brighter future upon a dead Savior-our hopes for thefuture of the world and for the accomplishment of God's gracious purposes hang upon One who always lives and is, at this time,in the place of vantage, carrying on His great work and warfare at the right hand of God. My text says, "Behold My Servant"-andthat matchless Servant of God is to be beheld-not with the eyes of sense-that were little worth-for men saw Him in that wayand crucified Him! But He is to be beheld with the eyes of faith and this is a noble sight, for those who look to Him in thatmanner are lightened and their faces are not ashamed. At the commencement of my discourse, I beseech you, dear Brothers andSisters, to look to Jesus Christ the ever-living Worker. If you have been troubled and fretted by peering into these gloomytimes and perceiving nothing that can raise your spirits, I pray you look about you no longer, but look up! There He sitsat the right hand of God, even the Father, the appointed Man, the glorious, chosen Deliverer. Behold Him and your fears andsorrows will fly away!
The text declares concerning our Lord that "He shall not fail nor be discouraged." This leads us to consider what is the workwhich Jesus Christ has undertaken in which He will not fail nor be discouraged. Our text directs us in this matter, for ittells us that He has come to "set judgment in the earth" and that "the isles shall wait for His Law." The earth is to be deliveredfrom misrule and sin-and men are to be submissive to His instruction and direction. There are some who doubt it, but I stillbelieve in that verse which we sang just now-
"Jesus shallreign wherever the sun Does his successive journeys run. His kingdom stretches from shore to shore, Till moonsshall wax and wane no more." Our Lord has come to save His elect and He will save every one of them! No soul for whom He stoodas Surety and Substitute shall ever be cast away. The sheep shall pass again under the hand of Him that counts them and theyshall all be there. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged," but He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied.
As for the Lord's Second Coming, we know not when it shall be. Shall the world grow darker and darker till He comes? It maybe so. There are passages of Scripture and signs of the times which may be taken to indicate it. On the other hand, shallthe age grow brighter and brighter till He appears to bring the perfect day? Through the preaching of the Gospel shall thereyet be periods in which multitudes shall be converted and whole nations shall be saved? I do not know-there are texts thatseem to look that way and many a brave worker hopes as much. There are some who can map out unfulfilled prophecy with greatdistinctness, but I confess my inability to do so. They get a shilling box of mathematical instruments. They stick down oneleg of the compasses and describe a circle here and a circle there-and they draw two or three lines-and there it is! Can younot see it, as plain as a pikestaff? I am sick of diagrams! I have seen enough of them to make another volume of Euclid. Myimpression is that very little is to be learned from the major part of these interpretations or speculations. I do not thinkthat anybody can map out the future so as to be absolutely sure of anything definite except certain great clearly-stated facts.
It is certain that the Lord will come, that He will come in such an hour as the most of men look not for Him-and that Hiscoming will be a surprise even to many of His own Church. He may come at this moment while yet I am speaking to you, but Hemay delay His coming, if it so pleases Him, through many a century. It may sound strange for me to say so, but if our Lordwere not to come for ages, we should not be justified in saying, "My Lord delays His coming" nor would any prophecy of Scripturebe broken. Furthermore, it seems to me pretty clear that truth and righteousness are to win the day upon the earth-the idolsare to be abolished, war is to cease and the great Jehovah is to be called "the God of the whole earth." Either before orafter His Second Advent-I am not going into that question this morning-this polluted earth is to be cleansed and this roundplanet of ours, which today is darkened by sin, shall yet shine out, like a new-born sun in all the pristine light which beamedfrom it when first it came from its Maker's hands! The Lord shall reign over all mankind and a period of peace, rest and holinessshall be the fruit of His blessed sway! The Lord Jesus will not rest till He has subdued all things unto Himself and put downall the spiritual wickednesses which now tyrannize over the world.
I do not think it necessary for me to go further into detail as to all that our Lord is resolved to do. What I have to sayis this-whatever He has undertaken, He will perform-whatever commission He has received He will fulfill. "He shall not failnor be discouraged" till all His work is done. Brothers and Sisters, we get to doubting sometimes. We ask, Is it all right?Are matters moving on? Behold Him who is at the head of all affairs, the Director of the high politics of Heaven, the GreatOne upon whose shoulders rests the business of God in the salvation of men! Behold Him and be comforted! You and I may fail-shameon us if we do! We may be discouraged-it will be our sin if we are. But He shall not fail nor be discouraged till He shallhave worked out every point of the promises of Grace and shall have accomplished every iota of the eternal purpose of love!
I believe in the final perseverance of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe in the final perseverance of every saint as an individual.Furthermore, I believe in the final perseverance of the saints as a body-the Church of God shall live and continue her worktill she has accomplished it! "The gates of Hell shall not prevail against her." But far more Divine is the thought to meof the final perseverance of the Christ of God! If He were to lay down the task and say it is impossible, woe worth the dayto us! If He were to turn His back upon His high enterprise and say, "I will save no more of these rebellious beings. I willattempt no more to shed the Light of God into the darkness which comprehends it not. I will give up the task in which menso madly oppose Me"-then were hope blotted out of the language of men! But while this text stands true, the door of hope isopen! We need not fail or be discouraged, since He will not.
This morning I shall speak to you in the hope that the Spirit of God may fire you with new courage for the holy war. First,let this Truth of God be considered and believed. And then, secondly, let this Truth of God be believed and enjoyed.
I. First, then, LET THIS TRUTH OF GOD BE CONSIDERED AND BELIEVED.
Will you now thoughtfully turn it over in your minds? It is certainly a very marvelous enterprise which our Lord Jesus Christhas undertaken. The salvation of a single soul involves a miracle. The salvation of myriads upon myriads of the human race-whatshall I call it but a mountain of marvels? The removal of the darkness which has settled over mankind in tenfold night-whata Divine labor! The ending of the enmity which exists between man and God, the reconciling of man unto his Maker-what a design!The redeeming of this world from the bondage of corruption, the setting up of a Kingdom of truth and holiness-what an enterprise!Such wonders has Jesus undertaken and such wonders He will achieve! He died to lay the foundation of His all-conquering Kingdomand He still lives that this Kingdom may be established in its supremacy and all nations may flow to it. Beloved, I fail toconceive, much more to express, the vastness of the task which He has undertaken! Those of you who love your fellow men oftenmourn your powerlessness with a single individual. What hard work it is to deal with our own countrymen! How are we baffledby their poverty, their ignorance, their misery, their sin! You have only to battle with a single vice, drunkenness, for example,to feel what a monster is to be overcome! Only think for a moment of the social impurity of this city and you are sick atheart as you remember it. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ has come to cleanse this Augean stable and He will cleanse it. The streamof the River of Life shall run through the foulest parts of the earth till even those horrible regions which are comparableto the Dead Sea shall be reclaimed!
The problem staggers us. The systems of evil are colossal. The hold of evil on the race is terrible. Man is inveterately asinner. You cannot cure him of rebellion-he is desperately set on mischief. Even when the consequences of his sin wound andafflict him, he still returns to it. If you prove to him to a demonstration that a thing is right and profitable, he doesnot, therefore, love it. If you prove it to be injurious, he chooses it! By the use of an accursed logic, he puts darknessfor light and light for darkness and thus stultifies his conscience and hardens his heart. If, perhaps, you convince his judgment,you have not won his affection, you have not carried his will, you have not subdued his mind. Nothing but Omnipotence itselfcan save a single soul! What must be that mighty power which shall cause nations to run unto the Lord! They that dwell inthe wilderness are to bow before Him and His enemies are to lick the dust. What a conquest is this! How shall Ethiopia bemade to stretch out her hands to Him? Look how black are the hearts of her inhabitants, as well as their faces! How shallChina and India, beclouded by their false philosophies, be led to acknowledge the Truth of God? Look, Sirs, look at this greatmountain and do not underestimate its mass-and then remember that before our Zerubbabel it must and shall become a plain!The stone mentioned by Daniel, cut out of the mountain without hands, smote the monstrous image and broke it and, in due time,filled the whole earth! In the night visions the same Prophet saw the Son of Man having dominion, glory and a Kingdom, thatall people should serve Him. So must it be. But how great a thing it is!
The task is rendered the more severe because our Lord Jesus, at this present time, works largely by a Church which is a poorand faulty instrument for the accomplishment of His purpose. I sometimes think there are more difficulties connected withthe Church than with the world, for the Church is often worldly, faithless, lethargic and, I was about to add, inhuman. MightI not almost say as much, for she seems at times well near destitute of tender sympathy for the lost and perishing. The Churchat one hour receives the light and reflects it like the full moon, so that you have hope of her enlightening men. But soonshe wanes into a mere ring of light and becomes obscured. She declines from the Truth. She forgets the glorious Gospel entrustedto her and she seeks after the rotten philosophies of men. How many times since Pentecost has the Church started aside afterthe wisdom of men and, after a while, painfully returned to her first faith?
At the present moment there is just that kind of wandering going on and this hinders the work of the Lord. If a man has todo a work, he says to himself, "Give me good tools, at any rate. If I have to strike a heavy blow, do not trouble me witha broken hammer. If I have to write, give me a pen that will not hinder my hand." But alas, the Church is too often falseto her Master's purpose and traitorous to His Truth! Yet, Brothers and Sisters, the Lord will largely do His work and accomplishHis good pleasure by such means as these! He will not fail nor be discouraged. If all Christians should become lukewarm tillthe whole Church became nauseous, as the Church of Laodicea, yet still the Lord Jesus will not fail nor be discouraged. Thedisciple may sleep, but the great Savior agonizes over men. Let this battalion and the other waver as it may, He who holdsthe banner in the very center of the fight will never be moved-He will hold the field against all comers, for the AltogetherLovely One is the Standard-Bearer among ten thousand! Though you mourn over the disciples, rejoice over their Master. Theyfaint or fly, but, "He shall not fail nor be discouraged."
To help you to believe this great Truth of God, I beg you to notice who He is that has undertaken all this. Kindly read atthe commencement of the chapter-"Behold My Servant, whom I uphold, My elect, in whom My soul delights." I am sure that Hewho is thus spoken of will not fail nor be discouraged, for, first, He is God's own special Servant. God has many servants,but the Christ is, above all others, called of God, "My Servant." He is a Son far excelling all other sons and, in the samesense, He is a Servant far exceeding all other servants. He took upon Himself the form of a Servant and was made in the likenessof sinful flesh. He is a Servant as none of us can ever hope to be in so high and wonderful a sense-He performs all the willof the Father! If He that was Lord of All became a servant, do you think He will not accomplish His service? If He that madethe heavens and the earth laid aside His splendor and veiled Himself in our inferior clay, do you think He will fail in thepurpose for which He did this? Can the Incarnation of God be a failure? Can the life of the Son of God among men end in defeat?Your heart gives immediate answer-God's own Servant will fulfill His service.
Then the great God says of Him, "My Servant whom I uphold." If God upholds Him, how can He fail? Though God upholds all Hispeople, yet beyond all others He is upholding His own chosen Son and Servant-how then, can He fail? Is it possible with theDivine Power perpetually streaming into Him and abiding in Him, that He should fail, or be discouraged? The text may be read,"Behold My Servant upon whom I lean," and the picture is of a great Oriental monarch who comes forth leaning upon a favoritelord whom he honors by placing him in that position, indicating thereby that he trusts his affairs with him and regards himas his right hand man, a very pillar of the State. Yes, we say it with reverence, God the Father leans on Jesus the Christ!He rests His honor and Glory with the Person of the Incarnate God-and now He comes before us as God in Christ Jesus, revealingHis Glory through the Mediator, putting His own sovereign power into the keeping of His Son whom He has appointed heir ofall things. Can that Glorified One fail? Has the Father trusted His Kingdom of Grace with One who will be overcome? How canHe fail, whom the Father upholds, and upon whom the Father leans all the dignity and Glory of His moral government? "He shallnot fail nor be discouraged."
Then the Scripture adds this very significant word, "My elect in whom My soul delights." The chosen of God, the most choiceOne that God knows, shall He prove a failure? Not only does God delight in Him, but it is put still more strongly-"In whomMy soul delights." Do you taste the marrow of the expression? It seems to me to be exceedingly full. The chief delight ofGod is in His Son, as Mediator. God said of the world, that it was very good, but we read not that His soul delighted in it!But, look, the very soul of the Godhead is moved and filled with delight because of the Savior commissioned to redeem! BlessedFather, we do not wonder that You are taken up with delight in Jesus, for even we, ourselves, when we get a sight of Him,are ravished with His charms. There is none like He! He is Your Only-Begotten, the Son of Your heart-well may You be wellpleased with Him. How, then, is it possible that One whom the Lord loves so well, in whom His soul delights, should be putupon a work in which He can fail, or should be left in that work to be discouraged? It is impossible! The connection of Jesusof Nazareth with Jehovah, God of All, makes it absolutely certain that the Divine enterprise to which He has pledged Himselfshall assuredly succeed. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged."
Furthermore, our Lord is the abiding place of the Holy Spirit. The text says, "I have put My Spirit upon Him"-the Holy Spirit,to whom is Glory and honor forever! The Holy Spirit, very God of very God, dwells in Christ! Upon us He comes in measure.We sometimes receive a large portion of His power, but still we are not capable of receiving all the fullness of the HolySpirit. But Christ has the residue of the Spirit abiding in Him. The Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon Him-andit still rests upon Him. My Brothers and Sisters, do you dream that He on whom the Holy Spirit always rests can fail or bediscouraged? Do you believe that the Gospel system is to die out? Is it going to be throttled by philosophy? Strangled bymodern thought? Or trampled down beneath the hoof of anarchy? No, while the Holy Spirit abides upon the great Servant of Jehovah,we cannot know a fear! The anointing on the Head will descend to the skirts of the garments and as He cannot fail nor be discouraged,neither shall we be dismayed. He who is acknowledged, honored, trusted, sustained, loved and anointed of God cannot but besuccessful! Jesus must persevere successfully to the end.
Notice yet further, that the success of Jesus is guaranteed by the decree of God. It is written, "He shall bring forth judgmentto the Gentiles." Oh, those blessed "shalls" and "wills"! Some people make little of them, but I make everything of them.Here my heart rests, for if God says "shall," then it shall certainly be! "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit at
My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool." Do you think He spoke in vain? Turn to the second Psalm and read,"I will declare the decree: the Lord has said unto Me, You are My Son; this day have I begotten You. Ask of Me, and I shallgive You the heathen for Your inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them witha rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Shall this solemn proclamation of Jehovah be mere wastepaper? My Brothers and Sisters, the sun may forget to shine, the eyes of the world may be darkened. Yon mighty ocean may ceaseto ebb and flow and the heart of the earth may die. All nature may be driven on the rock of fate in general wreckage and confusion,but no Word of God shall fall to the ground, for that Word is essential life and power! If Jehovah has spoken, it is done!If He declares it, it shall be! Therefore the Christ must and shall succeed, for His work is the subject of a Divine Decree.
Yet, Brethren, it may be that at times we fear that the Gospel is not prospering nor fulfilling the purpose for which Godhas sent it. Looking back on past history and looking out upon the present state of affairs, we are afraid that things arenot going well. Possibly this may arise out of our Lord's way of working which is so different from what our minds would choose.It is written in the second verse, "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street." You arein an awful hurry, are you not? But He is never in haste. You would make a great stir and noise, I know, but Jesus will notthus spread the Gospel. You would go out and fight all the enemies of truth and set clamor against clamor, cry against cry-but,"He shall not strive."
You would shout, rage and rave-but He shall not cry. You would advertise to the ends of the earth, but He shall not causeHis voice to be heard in the street. When Mohammed commenced his enterprise, he announced that Paradise was to be found beneaththe shadow of swords and numbers of brave men rushed to the battle. They swept everything before them and stained continentswith blood! They carried the name of Allah and Mohammed over Asia and Northern Africa-and seemed intent on conquering Europe-andyet the work done will not endure. The Prophet and his caliphs did, indeed, strive and cry, and cause their voices to be heardin the street-but Christ's system is the very reverse of that-His weapons are not carnal. Behold His battle-axe and weaponsof war! Truth divinely strong with no human force at the back of it but that of holiness and love! A Gospel full of gentlenessand mercy to men, proclaimed not by the silver trumpets of kings, but by the plain voices of lowly men!
The Gospel seeks neither prestige nor patronage from the State, nor does it ask to be advocated by scholastic sophistry, orhuman eloquence. It does not even aim at becoming predominant by force of the learning or talent of its teachers. It has neitherpomp to commend it, nor arms to enforce it. It finds its strength rather in feebleness than in power! The Kingdom comes bythe Holy Spirit dropping like dew on human hearts and fertilizing them with a Divine life. Christ's Kingdom comes not withobservation, but in the stillness of the soul. All that is really the work of God is worked in the silence of the heart bythat wind which blows where it will. Sweetly the Holy Spirit constrains all things by His own power-and the day of His poweris not with roar of tempest, but with the noiseless fall of the dew. You, ardent spirit that you are, are all in a hurry!You are going to push the Church before you and drag the world after you. Go and do it! But if the Lord works not after yourfashion, be not greatly surprised, for it is written, "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in thestreet."
His purpose shall stand and He will do all His pleasure. He will do His work all the more surely because He sets about itquietly. I always delight in a man who can afford to go about his life-work without fuss, bluster, or loud announcement. Seehow a master-workman lays down his tools! He arranges his plan, sketches his ideal and then begins as he means to go on. Hewill do the thing in that way, depend upon it. Another fellow flings his tools about, rushes at the work without system, makesthe dust fly, litters the place with chips, spoils the work and leaves it in disgust! Our Savior works not so. He calmly,deliberately, resolutely pursues His mighty plan and He will perform it. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged."
Note well the spirit in which He works. He is gentleness itself and that always-"A bruised reed shall He not break, and thesmoking flax shall He not quench." You cannot work in hot haste in this spirit. Gentleness makes good and sure speed, butit cannot endure rashness and heat. We know reformers who, if they had the power, would be like bulls in a china shop-theywould do a great deal in a very short time. But the world's best Friend is not given to quench and bruise. Here is a bruisedreed and it is of no use to anybody-you cannot even get music out of it, much less lean upon it-yet He does not break it.Here is a smoking flax, a wick with an offensive smell, containing very little heat and no
light-yet He does not put it out. This oft quoted text is used, as you know, in the New Testament, in reference to the Pharisees-theythought themselves strong pillars, but the Lord knew that they were only bruised reeds. They thought themselves great lights,but He knew that they were only as smoking flax-and yet He did not go out of His way to snuff them out. Even to them, thoughoften righteously indignant, He was yet gentle and only assailed them when they put themselves in His way and forced a verdictfrom Him. The Lord Jesus was too good and great to be irritated by Pharisees.
Lions do not hunt for "rats and mice, and such small deer." Great principles are laid down which, in due time, destroy theevil which is not worth while to attack in detail. The smoking flaxes of error and the bruised reeds of pretence go in dueseason, but the gentle Lord is not in hot haste to put them out of the way. Hence we grow discouraged. But He will not failnor be discouraged any the more because of His gentleness. No, let me tell you, Brothers and Sisters, it is the quiet man,the meek man, who is always hard to be turned aside from his purpose. When a man is passionate and easily excited, you haveonly to wait a while and he will cool down-perhaps chill down below zero. These fiery fellows will be easily managed by thedevil, or somebody else after the flame is over. Give me a man who deliberately makes up his mind, calmly sets to work andpatiently bears all rebuffs-and I know that what He sets himself to do will be done! He will work in God's way and will notput forth his hand to snatch a premature success at the expense of principle. He is quiet because he is sure, patient becausehe is strong, gentle because he is firm. The man who cannot be provoked is the man who cannot be turned aside. You cannotdiscourage him-he will go through with his work even to the end-you can be sure of that.
As you look at our blessed Master, patient and immovable amidst all the battle and the strife, you may assure yourself thatHe will not fail nor be discouraged. I do not admire Napoleon except in the matter of his cool courage, but for that he wasnoteworthy. They always represent him in the midst of the battle with folded arms. His eagle eyes are on the conflict, buthe is motionless as a statue. Every soldier in the imperial army felt that victory was sure, for the captain was so self-possessed.If he had been hurrying to and fro, rushing here, there and everywhere, and making a great fuss about everything, they wouldhave inferred that defeat was impending. But see him yonder! All is well. He knows what he is doing. It is all right, forhe does not strive, nor cry, nor cause his voice to be heard. He is calm, for he can see that all is well.
There stands the Crucified this day, upon the vantage ground, at the right hand of God-and He surveys the battlefield in calmexpectancy until His enemies are made His footstool. Tender towards the weakest of the weak and kind even to the unthankfuland the evil, we may see in all this mercifulness the pledge of His success. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till Hehas set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His Law."
Consideration of the statement leads us to believe it firmly.
II. I want you to give me a few minutes while I say, LET THIS TRUTH BE BELIEVED AND ENJOYED. I want
you to enjoy the fruit of this Truth of God and to be made glad by it.
First, enjoy it by recollecting that Jesus has finished the work for His people-that first work wherein He brought in everlastingrighteousness, bore the penalty of human guilt and laid the foundation whereupon should be built the Temple of God. Jesushas done all things well. He persevered in His life-labor till He could say, "It is finished." From the hour when, as a Child,He said, "Know you not that I must be about My Father's business?" All through the contradiction of sinners and the weakness,the poverty and the shame in which His life was spent, you never see about our Divine Master any indication of failing orof being discouraged. We sorrowfully cry, "I am almost ready to give up," but He never spoke in that fashion, nor even thoughtit! He had reckoned upon all the toil and the grief. He had foreseen it all- He had taken it into His calculations and, therefore,He was not surprised and downcast. He determined to go, for our sakes, to death and the grave-and to bear the shame of oursin and the curse of our guilt-and even to be put by the Father into darkness on our account. He set His face like a flintand like a flint His face remained to the bitter end. He never turned aside. Let us bless Him this day for His perseveringlove. It is not a half-finished salvation that we behold on yonder bloody tree! It is not an incomplete redemption that wesee in that rising again of Jesus from the dead! When we look up to Him in His Glory we know and feel that through all theagony and death He did not fail, was not discouraged and that He has set up a Kingdom which cannot be removed forever. Therelet us rest with peaceful confidence.
The next reflection which I want you to enjoy is this-He will finish the work in His believing people. He will not fail norbe discouraged until He has completely saved you and me! If I had been my own savior, I would have given up the
work long ago. We meet now and then with supposed perfect people, but the most of us dare not whisper the word, perfection.When I have overcome a whole body of sin and have risen to be somewhat like my Lord, it seems to me as if a new body of deathwere formed about me. I kill one dragon, and lo, his body yields a crop of monsters! My evil nature seems to have coats likean onion-and when I have taken off one of them-it only lays bare another quite as offensive. Will it not be so to the endof the chapter? You may be growing better-I hope you are-but I shall be all the more hopeful that you are so if you fear thatyou are growing worse! If you think less and less of yourselves, it is probably true that you are growing in Divine Grace.But if you think more and more of yourselves, it is highly probable that you are growing in pride! There is a great differencebetween being puffed up and being built up.
I can clearly see that I shall fail and be discouraged if salvation rests with me. But here is my comfort-He will not failnor be discouraged! If my Lord begins with me, He will never be beaten off from His purpose. What bad stuff is our humanity!What wretched raw material for sainthood! It must be hard, treading and pounding such gritty clay, and I wonder not that boththe hands and the feet of the great Worker were sorely wounded since He had such clay to deal with. When He fashions us onthe wheel and we begin to assume somewhat of the form which He intends for us, yet we crack and spoil when we come to theoven-and all His work upon us seems lost. He has to grind us down, again, to a powder-and begin with us again de novo andfashion us once more. It would have been an easier work to have created new beings altogether than to take us poor fallenones and lift us up to become sons of God! The Almighty Lord had only to have said, "Let a Church be!" and a Church most fairand spotless would have leaped into being! But instead thereof, He works upon us sinful ones and undertakes to make us perfectlypure-and present us to Himself without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. What a marvel of Divine Grace!
He will do it, Brother! He will do it, Sister! He has not grown weary of the work, neither is He discouraged by all our evilbehavior. Before He began, He knew all about it. Had He not been a far-seeing Christ, able to foresee all our shortcomingsand backsliding, He might have been surprised into weariness. But He says, "I knew that you are obstinate." And again, "Iknew that you would deal very treacherously." He foreknew all our ingratitude, backsliding, unbelief and unworthiness and,therefore, He will not fail nor be discouraged till His work in us is done and we are fit for Heaven!
Again, dear Friends, He will finish His work by His people. Whatever the work is that is to be done by the Church, He willnot fail nor be discouraged until it is performed. I do not know whether any of you have noticed in my text a very singularthing. If you have the Revised Version, the margin will give you some rather singular information. The text might be readthus, "A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: yet He shall not burn dimly nor be bruised."Though He deals with bruised reeds and smoking flaxes, yet He, Himself, is not crushed, nor does His light become a mere glimmer.To my mind, this is a deeply interesting use of words and should not be allowed to slip. Christianity just now, they say,is a mere smoke, the old-fashioned doctrine, especially, burns very dim. Do not believe it-the light of Jesus shall not darkenor grow less! Those souls that can see His light will tell you that His face still shines like the sun. There is a Glory aboutHim that is undiminished and undiminishable. He does not glimmer and He is not crushed! He is no reed-His enemies will oneday find that He carries a rod of iron! He is a pillar of the house of our God-He bears up all things, for He is strong andmighty and He cannot fail. I want you to eject at the back door every suggestion that enters your house as to the defeat ofthe Christ and the failure of the Gospel! It is not possible! It cannot be. You may smoke like the flax. You may be brokenlike the reed but He will never glimmer nor be a crushed reed, even to the end-therefore comfort one another with these words.
And to conclude, I would not have treated the text properly if I did not say that it has in it great comfort to those of youwho are, as yet, outside of the Church of God and are not numbered with His people. Will you kindly read the sixth and seventhverses? "He shall not fail nor be discouraged," till He has done-what?-the Divine will. And this is a part of it-"To openthe blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." "Oh," sayyou, "I cannot see Christ!" He has come on purpose to make you see. Turn your sightless eyeballs this way. Breathe this prayer,"Son of David, have mercy on me." And if He says, "What will you that I should do unto you?" answer, "Lord, that I might receivemy sight." In one single moment, yes, while the clock is ticking, Jesus Christ can take the scales from a blind man's eyesand let in such a flood of daylight that he shall see Heaven itself! Lord, do it this morning! O dear Hearts, will you not,each one, cry, "Lord, do it to me"? Are you saying that, my Friend? He will do it. He
loves to hear a blind man's cry. Do you not remember in the New Testament how often He stood still when He heard a blind man'scry? Poor blind Soul, cry to Him now! He shall not fail nor be discouraged, He will come to you and save you!
"Ah," says one, "but I am worse than that, I am shut up in prison." Kindly read the seventh verse again-"To bring out theprisoners from the prison." You are miserable, without hope, shut up in an iron cage. He has come who will not fail nor bediscouraged! He has come on purpose to fetch you out of the cage. Ask Him to break the bars in sunder. I see Him lay His piercedhands to that iron bar. You have filed it a long while and it has broken the teeth of your file. You have tried to shake itin its place, but you could not stir it in the least. See what He does! He plucks bar after bar out of its place, as if theyhad been so many reeds-and you are free! Arise and take your liberty! The Son of God has made you free. If you have trustedHim, He has broken the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in sunder-you are free-enjoy your liberty!
"Oh, but," says one, "in my case it is blindness and slavery united." Listen, then. He has come to "bring them that sit indarkness out of the prison house." You cannot see the bars that shut you in, nor even mark the limits of your narrow cell-butHe has come who will give eyes to you and light to those eyes-and liberty to your enlightened sight! Only trust Him! All thingsare possible to Him that believes when Christ is near-you know not, you who are now at the bottom of the sea-how high He canlift you in an instant! Out of the belly of Hell, if you will cry, He can lift you in a moment to the very heights of Heaven!I say no more of my Lord than He deserves to have said of Him. No, nor yet half as much! Try Him and see if He will fail.Try Him now, you in the worst and lowest of all circumstances-you devil-bound and devil-tortured spirit! Dare to believe thatJesus can do all things for you! Leave yourself with Him!
Go your way, for as you have believed so shall it be unto you. To the name of Him that will not fail nor be discouraged beglory forever and ever! Amen.