Sermon 1971. The Blood Shed For Many
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JULY 3, 1887,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matthew 26:28.
THE Lord Jesus Christ was then alive, sitting at the table and yet, pointing to the cup filled with red wine, He said, "Thisis My blood, which is shed for many." This proves that He could not have intended that the wine was literally His blood. Surelyit is no longer necessary to refute the gross and carnal dogma of transubstantiation which is obviously absurd! There satthe living Lord at the supper, with His blood in His veins and, therefore, the wine could not literally be His blood! Valuethe symbol, but to confound it with the thing symbolized would draw into the idolatrous worship of a piece of bread!
Our Lord spoke of His blood as shed when as yet the nails had not pierced His hands and feet. And the spear had not broachedHis side. Is not this to be accounted for by the fact that our Lord was so taken up with the thought of our redemption byHis death that He speaks of that as done which He was so resolved to do? Enjoying loving communion with His chosen disciples,He spoke freely. His heart did not study accuracy so much as feeling and so, in speech as in feeling, He antedated His greatwork of Atonement and spoke of it as done. To set forth the future intent of the blessed ordinance of the Lord's Supper Hemust, of necessity, treat His death as an accomplished fact. And His complete absorption in His work made it easy and naturalfor Him to do so. He ignores moods and tenses. "His work is before Him."
By the use of such language, our Lord also shows us the abiding presence of the great Sacrifice as a power and an influence.He is the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" and, therefore, He speaks of His blood as shed. In a few hours itwould be literally poured forth, but long ages before, the Lord God had regarded it as done. In full confidence in the greatSurety, that He would never draw back from the perfect fulfillment of His engagements, the Father saved multitudes in virtueof the future Sin-Offering! He communed with myriads of saints on the strength of the purification which would, in the fullnessof time, be presented by the great High Priest. Could not the Father trust His Son? He did and by this act set us a greatexample of faith. God is, in very deed, the Father of the faithful, seeing that He, Himself, reposed the utmost confidencein Jesus! And because of what He would yet do in the pouring out of His soul unto death, He "opened the Kingdom of Heavento all Believers." What, My soul? Can you not trust the Sacrifice, now that it has been presented? If the foresight of itwas enough for God, is not the consummation of it enough for you? "Behold the Lamb of God," who even before He died was describedas taking away the sin of the world! If this was so before He went to Calvary, how surely is it so now that He has said inverity and truth, "It is finished"!
Dear Friends, I am going to preach to you again upon the cornerstone of the Gospel. How many times will this make, I wonder?The doctrine of Christ Crucified is always with me. As the Roman sentinel in Pompeii stood to his post even when the citywas destroyed, so do I stand to the truth of the Atonement though the Church is being buried beneath the boiling mud showersof modern heresy. Everything else can wait, but this one Truth of God must be proclaimed with a voice of thunder! Others maypreach as they will, but as for this pulpit, it shall always resound with the Substitution of Christ. "God forbid that I shouldglory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Some may continually preach Christ as an example and others may perpetuallydiscourse upon His coming to Glory-we also preach both of these, but mainly we preach Christ Crucified, to the Jews a stumblingblock and to the Greeks foolishness-but to them that are saved Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God!
You have before you a cup, filled with wine, which Jesus has just blessed and presented to His disciples. As you look intoits rosy depths, hear Him speak of the cup as His blood, for thus He would teach us a solemn lesson!
I. Note, first, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST. The vital importance of the great Truth of God of the deathof Christ as a vicarious Sacrifice is set before us in this cup, which is the memorial of His blood shed for many.
Blood represents suffering, but it goes further and suggests suffering unto death. "The blood is the life thereof" and whenblood is too copiously shed, death is suggested. Remember that in the sacred Supper you have the bread as a separate emblemof the body and then the wine as a separate symbol of the blood-thus you have a clear picture of death, since the blood isseparated from the flesh. "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death." Both acts areessential.
Upon the death of Christ you are invited to fix your attention and upon that only. In the suffering of our Lord unto deathwe see the boundless stretch of His love. "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."Jesus could not be more loving to us than to yield Himself unto death, even the death of the Cross. O My Lord, in Your bloodysweat and in the piercing of Your hands and feet and side, I see the highest proof of Your love! Here I see that Jesus "lovedme and gave Himself for me." Beloved, I beg you to consider often and lovingly the sufferings of your Redeemer unto the pouringout of His heart's blood. Go with Him to Gethsemane and then to the house of Caiaphas and Annas. And then to Pilate's halland Herod's place of mockery! Behold your Lord beneath the cruel scourges and in the hands of the executioners upon the hillof shame. Forget not one of the sorrows which were mingled in the bitter cup of His crucifixion-its pain, its mockery, itsshame. It was a death reserved for slaves and felons. To make its deep abysses absolutely bottomless, He was forsaken, even,of His God! Let the darkness of, "Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabachthani," bear down upon your spirit till, as you sink in awe, youalso rise in love! He loved you better than He loved Himself! The cup means love, even to the shedding of His blood for you.
It means something more. We have called our Lord, in our hymn, "Giver of life for life," and that is what this cup means.He gave up His life that we might live! He stood in our place and stead in the day of Jehovah's wrath, receiving into Hisbosom the fiery sword which was unsheathed for our destruction! The pouring out of His blood has made our peace with God.Jehovah made the soul of His Only-Begotten an offering for sin, that the guilty might be cleared. "He has made Him to be sinfor us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." That is what the wine in the cup means-itmeans the death of Jesus in our place. It means the blood poured out from the heart of the Incarnate God that we might havefellowship with God-the sin which divided us being expiated by His death.
Our blessed Savior would have us hold His death in great reverence-it is to be our chief memory. Both the emblems of the Lord'sSupper set forth the Savior's death. This peculiarly Christian ordinance teaches nothing if it does not teach this. Christ'sdeath for men is the great doctrine of the Church. We profess ourselves partakers of the merit of His death when we come tothis table. Our Lord's death is then remembered, shown, declared, testified and trusted in. Evidently the Lord Jesus meansus to treat the fact of His death as a Truth of God to be made pre-eminently prominent-He would not have instituted an ordinanceespecially to remind us of the shedding of His blood if He had not regarded it as the forefront of His whole earthly career.
The other ordinance of our holy faith also sets forth our Lord's death. Are we not, "Buried with Him by baptism into death?"Is not Baptism an emblem of His being immersed beneath the waves of sorrow and death? Baptism shows us that participationin Christ's suffering by which we begin to live-the Lord's Supper shows us that participation in Christ's suffering by whichthat life is sustained. Both institutions point to His death.
Besides, Beloved, we know from Holy Scripture that this doctrine of the death of Christ is the very core of Christianity.Leave out the Cross and you have killed the religion of Jesus. Atonement by the blood of Jesus is not an arm of Christiantruth-it is the heart of it! Even as the Lord said of the animal, "The blood is the life thereof," so is it true of the Gospel-thesacrificial death of Jesus is the vital point of our profession. I know nothing of Christianity without the blood of Christ.No teaching is healthy which throws the Cross into the background.
The other day, when I was enquiring about the welfare of a certain congregation, my informant told me that there had beenfew additions to the church, although the minister was a man of ability and industry. Furthermore, he let me see the reasonfor failure, for he added, "I have attended there for several years and during all that time I do not remember hearing a sermonupon the Sacrifice of Christ. The Atonement is not denied, but it is left out." If this is so, what is to become of our churches?If the light of the Atonement is put under a bushel, the darkness will be dense. In omitting the
Cross you have cut the Achilles tendon of the Church-it cannot move, nor even stand when this is gone. Holy work falls tothe ground! It faints and dies when the blood of Jesus is taken away. The Cross must be put in the front more than ever bythe faithful, because so many are unfaithful. Let us endeavor to make amends for the dishonor done to our Divine Master bythose who deny or dishonor His vicarious Sacrifice. Let us abide steadfast in this faith while others waver! Let us preachChrist Crucified if all others forbear. Grace, mercy and peace be to all who exalt Christ Crucified!
This remembrance of the death of Christ must be a constant remembrance. The Lord's Supper was meant to be a frequent feastof fellowship. It is a grievous mistake of the Church when the communion is held but once in the year, or once in a quarterof a year-and I cannot remember any Scripture which justifies once in the month. I should not feel satisfied without breakingbread on every Lord's Day. It has come to me even more often than once a week, for it has been my delight to break bread withmany a little company of Christian friends. Whenever this Supper is celebrated, we declare that "Christ died for our sinsaccording to the Scriptures." We cannot think of that death too often! Never was man blamed in Heaven for preaching Christtoo much, no, not even on earth to the sons of God was the Cross ever too much spoken
Outsiders may say, "This man harps only upon one string." Do you wonder? The carnal mind is enmity against God and it speciallyshows its hatred by railing at the Cross. Saintly ones find here, in the perpetual monotony of the Cross, a greater varietythan in all other doctrines put together. Preach Christ, and Christ, and Christ, and Christ and nothing else but Christ-andopened ears shall find in your ministry a wondrous harmony of linked sweetnesses, a charming per-fectness of all manner ofdelicious voices! All good things lie within the compass of the Cross-its outstretched arms overshadow the whole world ofthought-from the east even unto the west it sheds a hallowed influence. Meanwhile, its foot is planted deep in the eternalmysteries and its top pierces all earth-born clouds and rises to the Throne of the Most High. Christ is lifted up upon theCross that He may draw all men unto Him. And if we desire to draw them, this must be our magnet.
Beloved, the precious blood of Christ should be had by us in vivid remembrance. There is something to me most homely aboutthat cup filled with the fruit of the vine. The bread of the Supper is the bread of our common meal and the wine is the usualattendant of feasts. That same pure blood of the grape which is set on our sacramental table I drink with my friends. Lookat those ruby, ruddy drops, suggesting your Lord's own blood. I had not dared to invent the symbol, nor might any man of mortalmold have ventured on such a thing, lest he should seem to bring that august death down to our lowly level! But in infinitecondescension Jesus, Himself, chooses the symbol and while by its materialism He sets forth the reality of the Sacrifice,by its commonness He shows how freely we may partake of it! He would not have us know Him after the flesh and forget the spiritualnature of His grief. And yet He would have us know that He was in a real body when He bled-and that He died a real death andbecame most truly fit for burial and, therefore, He symbolizes His blood, not by some airy fancy, or mystic sign-but by commonwine in the cup! Thus would He reach us by our eyes and by our taste, using two gates of our nature which lead up to the castleof the heart, but are not often the King's roadway thereto. O blessed Master, do You arrange to teach us so forcibly? Thenlet us be impressed with the reality of the lesson and never treat Your passion as a thing of sentiment, nor make it a myth,nor view it as a dream of poetry. You shall be in death most real to us, even as is that cup of which we drink.
The dear memorials of our Lord's blood-shedding are intended for a personal remembrance. There is no Lord's Supper exceptas the wine touches the lips and is received into the communicant's own self. All must partake. He says, "Drink you all ofit." You cannot take the Lord's Supper by deputy or representative-you must each of you approach the table and personallyeat and drink. Beloved, we must come into personal contact with the death of Christ. This is essential. We must, each one,say, "He loved me and gave Himself for me." In His blood you must be personally washed. By His blood you must be personallyreconciled to God. Through His blood you must personally have access to God and by His blood you must personally overcomethe enemy of your souls. As the Israelite's own door must be smeared with the blood of the Paschal lamb, so must you individuallypartake of the true Sacrifice and know, each one for himself, the power of His redemption.
As it is personal, it is a charming fact that it is a happy remembrance. Our remembrance of Christ is chastened with repentance,but it is also perfumed with faith. The Lord's Supper is no funeral meal, but a festival! Most fitly do we begin it with thegiving of thanks and close it with a hymn. It is called by many the "Eucharist," or the giving of thanks. It is
not a fast, but a feast. My happiest moments are spent with the King at His table when His banner over me is love. The deathof Christ is a wellspring of solemn joy. Before our great Sacrifice died, the best token of His death was the blood of bullsand of goats. See how the victims writhe in death! The sacrificial knife does terrible work at the foot of the altar. It ishard to stand by and see the creatures bleed. After our Lord's death was over, the blood of animals was not the type, butthe blood of the grape. That which was terrible in prospect is joyous in remembrance! That which was blood in the sheddingis wine in the receiving! It came from Him with a wound, but it comes to us with a blessing. His blood is our song in thehouse of our pilgrimage and it shall add the best music to our heavenly harmonies as we sing before the throne, "Unto Himthat has loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood; to Him be glory forever and ever." If our Lord Jesus hasmade the memory of His love to be more sweet than wine, let us never turn from it as though it had become a distasteful theme.Let us find our choicest pleasures at the Cross!
Once more, our Savior meant us to maintain the doctrine of His death and the shedding of His blood for the remission of sins,even to the end of time, for He made it to be of perpetual remembrance. We drink this cup "until He comes." If the Lord Jesushad foreseen with approbation the changes in religious thought which would be brought about by growing "culture," He wouldsurely have arranged a change of symbols to suit the change of doctrines! Would He not have warned us that towards the endof the 19th Century men would become so "enlightened" that the faith of Christendom must of necessity take a new departureand, therefore, would He have appointed a change of sacramental memorials? But He has not warned us of the coming of thoseeminently great and wise men who have changed all things and abolished the old-fashioned Truths of God for which martyrs died!
Brethren, I do not believe in the wisdom of these men and I abhor their changes, but had there been any ground for such changes,the Lord's Supper would not have been made of perpetual obligation. The perpetuity of ordinances indicates a perpetuity ofdoctrine! But hear the moderns talk-"The Apostles, the Fathers, the Puritans-they were excellent men, no doubt, but then,you see, they lived before the rising up of those wonderful scientific men who have enlightened us so much." Let me repeatwhat I have said. If we had come to a new point as to believing, should we not have come to a new point as to the ordinancesin which those beliefs are embodied? I think so. The evident intent of Christ in giving us settled ordinances and especiallyin settling this one which so clearly commemorates His shedding of His blood, was that we might know that the truth of HisSacrifice is forever fixed and settled-and must unchangeably remain the essence of His Gospel!
Neither 19 centuries, nor 19,000 centuries can make the slightest difference in this Truth of God, nor in the relative proportionof this Truth to other Truths of God so long as this dispensation lasts. Until He comes a second time without a sin offeringunto salvation, the grand work of His first coming must be kept first and foremost in all our teaching, trusting and testifying!As in the southern hemisphere the cross is the mariner's guide, so, under all skies is the death of our Redeemer the polestarof our hope upon the sea of life. In life and in death we will glory in the Cross of Christ and never be ashamed of it, bewe where we may!
II. Secondly, note well THE CONNECTION OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST WITH THE COVENANT. Read the
text again-"This is My blood of the new testament." The translation would be better, "This is My blood of the Covenant."
What is this Covenant? The Covenant is that which I read to you just now in Jeremiah 31:33-"This shall be the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days, says the Lord, I will put My Lawin their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people." See also Jeremiah 32:40-"And I will make an everlasting Covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will putMy fear in their hearts; that they shall not depart from Me." Turn also to Ezekiel 11:19-"I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh."Look in the same prophecy at 36:26-"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will takeaway the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." What a Magna Charta is this! The old Covenantsays, "Keep the Law and live." The new Covenant is, "You shall live and I will lead you to keep My Law, for I will write iton your heart." Happy men who know their standing under this Covenant!
What has the blood of Jesus Christ to do with this Covenant? It has everything to do with it, for the Covenant could neverhave been made, apart from the blood of Jesus! Atonement was taken for granted in the establishment of the Cove-
nant. No one else could have stood as our Representative to fulfill our side of the Covenant, except the Lord Jesus Christ.And even He could only have performed that Covenant by shedding His blood. In that cup you see the emblem of the blood whichmade the Covenant possible.
Moreover, the blood of Jesus makes the Covenant sure. His death has fulfilled man's side of the Covenant and God's part standssure. The stipulation of the Covenant is fulfilled in Christ and now the tenor of it is pure promise. Note how the "shalls"and "wills" follow each other in quick succession. An arrangement of absolute Grace on God's part towards the undeservingsons of men is now in full action through the Sacrifice of Christ!
This Covenant of Grace, when rightly understood, exerts a blessed influence over the minds of men conscious of sin. The chaplainof a jail, a dear Friend of mine, once told me of a surprising case of conversion in which a knowledge of the Covenant ofGrace was the chief instrument of the Holy Spirit. My friend had under his charge a man most cunning and brutal. He was singularlyrepulsive, even in comparison with other convicts. He had been renowned for his daring and for the utter absence of all feelingwhen committing acts of violence. I think he had been called "the king of the garrott-ers." The chaplain had spoken to himseveral times, but had not succeeded, even, in getting an answer. The man was sullenly set against all instruction. At lasthe expressed a desire for a certain book, but as it was not in the library, the chaplain pointed to the Bible which was placedin his cell and said, "Did you ever read that Book?"
He gave no answer, but looked at the good man as if he would kill him. The question was kindly repeated, with the assurancethat he would find it well worth reading. "Sir," said the convict, "you would not ask me such a question if you knew who Iwas. What have I to do with a book of that sort?" He was told that his character was well known to the chaplain and that forthis very reason he recommended the Bible as a book which would suit his case. "It would do me no good," he cried, "I am pastall feeling." Doubling up his fist he struck the iron door of the cell and said, "My heart is as hard as that iron! Thereis nothing in any book that will ever touch me." "Well," said the chaplain, "You need a new heart. Did you ever read the Covenantof Grace?" To which the man answered sullenly by enquiring what he meant by such talk. The chaplain replied, "Listen to thesewords-'A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.'" The words struck the man with amazement,as well they might!
He asked to have the passage found for him in the Bible. He read the Words again and again and when the chaplain came backto him the next day, the wild beast was tamed. "Oh, Sir," he said, "if He gives me a new heart it will be a miracle of mercyand yet I think," he said, "He is going to work that miracle upon me, for the very hope of a new nature is beginning to touchme as I never was touched before." That man became gentle in manner, obedient to authority and childlike in spirit! Thoughmy friend has nothing left of the sanguine hopes he once entertained of converted criminals, he yet believes that in thiscase no observer could have questioned the thorough nature of the work-and yet the only means was the Doctrine of the Covenant!
My rebellious heart is not affected by the fact that God commands me to do this or that, but when He declares free and fullforgiveness and goes on to promise love and favor and renewal of nature, I feel broken down! How can I rebel against One whodoes such wonders in me and designs such great things for me?-
"Dissolved by His goodness, I fall to the ground And weep to the praise of the mercy I've found." How dear and precious thismakes the blood of Christ, since it is the blood of the Everlasting Covenant! Coming under this blessed Covenant, we henceforthadore the fullness of that Grace which, at the cost of the most precious of all lives, has made this arrangement for unworthymen!
You will perhaps say to me, "Why did our translators use the word, 'testament' in our Authorized Version? "They were hardlyso wise as usual in this instance, for, "covenant" is the better word of the two to set forth the original, but the idea ofa testament is there also. The original may signify either or both. The word, "settlement," which has dropped out of use,nowadays, was often employed by our Calvinistic forefathers when they spoke of the everlasting arrangement of Grace. The word,"settlement," might take in both covenant and testament-there is a Covenant of Grace, but the Covenant stipulation being fulfilledby our Lord Jesus, the arrangement becomes virtually a testament through which, by the will of God, countless blessings aresecured to the heirs of salvation. The blood of Jesus is the seal of the Covenant and transforms its blessings into bequestsof love entailed upon Believers. The settlement or arrangement by which God can be just and yet the Justifier of the ungodly-andcan deal with Believers, not on terms of Law, but on terms of pure
Grace-is established by the Sacrifice of our Lord. O my Brothers and Sisters, as God's covenanted ones, drink of the cup withjoy and renew your pledge with the Lord your God!
III. A third point comes up in the text very manifestly-THE BLOOD HAS AN INTIMATE CONNECTION WITH REMISSION. The text says,"This is My blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Jesus suffering, bleeding, dying,has procured for sinners the forgiveness of their sins!
Of what sins? Of all sins of every sort and kind, however heinous, aggravated and multiplied! The blood of the Covenant takesevery sin away, be it what it may. There was never a sin believingly confessed and taken to Christ that ever baffled His powerto cleanse it! This Fountain has never been tried in vain. Murderers, thieves, liars, adulterers and what not, have come toJesus by penitence and faith-and through the merit of His Sacrifice their sins have been put away.
Of what nature is the remission? It is pardon, freely given, acting immediately and abiding forever, so that there is no fearof the guilt ever again being laid to the charge of the forgiven one! Through the precious blood our sins are blotted out,cast into the depths of the sea and removed as far from us as the east is from the west. Our sins cease to be-they are madean end of-they cannot be found against us any more forever. Yes, hear it, hear it, O wide earth! Let the glad news startleyour darkest dens of infamy-there is absolute remission of sins! The precious blood of Christ cleanses from all sin! Yes,it turns the scarlet into a whiteness which exceeds that of the newly-fallen snow-a whiteness which never can be tarnished!Washed by Jesus, the blackest of sinners shall appear before the Judgment Seat of the all-seeing Judge without spot!
How is it the blood of Jesus effects this? The secret lies in the vicarious or substitutionary character of our Lord's sufferingand death. Because He stood in our place, the justice of God is vindicated and the threats of the Law are fulfilled. It isnow just for God to pardon sin. Christ's bearing the penalty of human sin instead of men has made the moral government ofGod perfect in justice, has laid a basis for peace of conscience and has rendered sin immeasurably hateful, though its punishmentdoes not fall upon the Believer. This is the great secret, this is the heavenly news, the Gospel of salvation-that throughthe blood of Jesus sin is justly put away! Oh, how my very soul loves this Truth of God! Therefore do I speak it in unmistakableterms.
And for what end is this remission of sins secured? My Brothers and Sisters, if there were no other end for the remissionof sins but its own self, it would be a noble purpose and it would be worth preaching every day of our lives! But it doesnot end here. We are mistaken if we think that the pardon of sins is God's ultimatum. No, no! It is but a beginning, a meansto a further purpose. He forgives our sins with the design of curing our sinfulness. We are pardoned that we may become holy!God forgives the sin that He may purify the sinner. If He had not aimed at your holiness, there had not been so imperativea necessity for an Atonement-but to impress you with the guilt of sin, to make you feel the evil which sin has worked, tolet you know your obligation to Divine Love-the Lord has not forgiven you without a Sacrifice. Ah, what a Sacrifice! He aimsat the death of your sinfulness, that you may henceforth love Him, serve Him and crucify the lusts which crucified your Lord.The Lord aims at working in you the likeness of His dear Son! Jesus has saved you by His self-sacrificing obedience to Justice,that you may yield your whole soul to God and be willing to die for the upholding of the Kingdom of Love and Truth.
The death of Christ for you pledges you to be dead to sin, that by His Resurrection from the dead you may rise into newnessof life and so become like your Lord. Pardon by blood aims at this. Do you catch the thought? If you believe in the Lord JesusChrist, God's intent is to make you like the Firstborn among many brethren and to work in you everything that is comely andof good report. But this is not all-He has a further design to bring you into everlasting fellowship with Himself. He is sanctifyingyou that you may behold His face and that you may be fit to be a comrade of His only-begotten Son throughout eternity! Youare to be the choice and dear companion of the Lord of Love. He has a throne for you, a mansion and a crown for you-and animmortality of such inconceivable glory and blessedness that if you did but form even a distant conception of it, no goldenapple of earth would turn you aside from pursuing the prize of your high calling! Oh, to be forever with the Lord! Foreverto behold His face! I fail to reach the height of this great argument! See, my Brothers and Sisters, to what the blood ofyour Lord destines you! O my Soul, bless God for that one cup which reminds you of the great Sacrifice and prophesies to youyour glory at the right hand of God forever!
IV. I cannot forget to notice, in closing, THE CONNECTION OF THE BLOOD WITH MEN. We are told in the
text that this blood is shed "for many for the remission of sins." In that large word, "many," let us exceedingly rejoice.
Christ's blood was not shed for only the handful of Apostles. There were but eleven of them who really partook of the bloodsymbolized by the cup. The Savior does not say, "This is My blood which is shed for you, the favored eleven," but "shed formany." Jesus did not die only for the clergy! I recollect in Martin Luther's life that he saw, in one of the Roman churches,a picture of the Pope, the cardinals, bishops, priests, monks and friars all on board a ship. They were all safe, every oneof them. As for the laity, poor wretches, they were struggling in the sea and many of them drowning! Only those were savedto whom the good men in the ship were so kind as to hand out a rope or a plank. That is not our Lord's teaching! His bloodis shed "for many," and not for the few. He is not the Christ of a caste, or a class, but the Christ of all conditions ofmen. His blood is shed for many sinners, that their sins may be remitted.
Those in the upper room were all Jews, but the Lord Jesus Christ said to them, "This blood is shed for many," to let themsee that He did not die only for the seed of Abraham, but for all races of men that dwell upon the face of the earth. "Shedfor many." His eyes, I doubt not, glanced at these far-off islands and at the vast lands beyond the western sea. He thoughtof Africa, India and the land of Sinim. A multitude that no man can number gladdened the far-seeing and foreseeing eyes ofthe Redeemer! He spoke with joyful emphasis when He said, "shed for many for the remission of sins." Believe in the immeasurableresults of Redemption! Whenever we are making arrangements for the preaching of this precious blood, let us make them on alarge scale. The mansion of love should be built for a large family. Let us not sing-
"We are a garden walled around Pray keep the walls most tight and sound," But let us expect to see large numbers brought withinthe sacred enclosure! We must yet break forth on the right hand and on the left. The masses must be compelled to come in!This blood is shed for many.
A group of half-a-dozen converts makes us very glad and so it should, but oh, to have half-a-dozen thousand at once! Why not?This blood is shed "for many." Let us cast the great net into the sea. You young men, preach the Gospel in the streets ofthis crowded city, for it is meant for many! You who go from door to door, do not think you can be too hopeful, since yourSavior's blood is shed for many and Christ's, "many," is a very great many! It is shed for all who ever shall believe in Him-shedfor you, Sinner, if you will now trust Him! Only confess your sin and trust Christ-and be assured that Jesus died in yourplace! It is shed for many so that no man or woman born shall ever trust Christ in vain, or find the Atonement insufficientfor him. Oh, for a large-hearted faith, so that by holy effort we may lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes, expectingto see the household of our Lord become exceedingly numerous! He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied!By His righteousness shall He justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities! Dwell on that word, "many," and let it nerveyou for far-reaching labors.
V. Now note THE CONNECTION OF THE BLOOD WITH OURSELVES. Dear Hearer, are you among the many?
Why are you not? May His Grace bring you to trust in Him and you may not doubt that you are among the many. "Ah," you say,"that is what I am listening for! How can I partake in the effect of this Sacrifice?" Do you see that wine cup which I setbefore you just now? How are you to enjoy that wine which fills the cup? Its ruddy drops-how are they to be yours? The matteris very simple. I think I see you take the chalice in your hand and raise it to your mouth. You drink and the deed is done!This is no mystery. Bread and wine are ours by eating and drinking. Christ is ours by our receiving Him. The merit of Hisprecious blood becomes ours by that simple childlike faith which accepts Jesus to be our All. We say, "Here it is. I believein it. I take it. I accept it as my own." It is yours. No man can take from you that which you have eaten and drunk. Christis yours forever if you receive Him into your heart.
If you have any question as to whether you have drunk, I will tell you how to solve it-drink again! If you have been eatingand you have really forgotten whether you have eaten or not-such things do occur to busy men who eat but lit-tle-if, I say,you would be sure that you have eaten, eat again! If you will be assured that you have believed in Jesus, believe again! Wheneveryou have any doubt about whether Christ is yours, take Him again! I like to begin again. Often I find the best way of goingforward is to go back to my first faith in Jesus and, as a sinner, renew my confidence in my Savior. "Oh," says the devil,"you are a preacher of the Gospel, but you do not know it yourself." At one time I used to argue with the accuser, but heis not worth it and it is by no means profitable to one's own heart. We cannot convert or convince the devil-it is betterto refer him to our Lord. When he tells me I am not a saint, I answer, "Well, what am I, then? "A sinner," he says. "Well,so are you!" "Ah," he says, "You will be lost!" "No," say I, "that is why I shall not be
lost, since Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and I, therefore, trust in Him to save me." This is what MartinLuther calls cutting the devil's head off with his own sword and it is the best course you can follow!
You say, "If I take Christ to myself as a man takes a cup and drinks the contents, am I saved?" Yes, you are. "How am I toknow it?" Know it because God says so! "He that believes in Him has everlasting life." If I did not feel a pulse of that life,(as I did not at first), I, nevertheless would believe that I had it simply on the strength of the Divine Assurance. Sincemy conversion I have felt the pulsing of a life more strong and forcible than the life of the most vigorous youth that everran without weariness-but there are times when it is not so. Just now I feel the heavenly life joyously leaping within me,but when I do not feel it, I fall back on this-God has said, "He that believes in Him has everlasting life." God's Words againstall my feelings! I may get into a fainting fit and my circumstances may operate upon my heart as this hot weather operatesupon my body and make me feel dull and sleepy, but this cannot make the Word of God of no effect! I go back to the Book andbelieve the bare Word of the Lord, "He that believes in Him has everlasting life." That is enough for me! I believe and, therefore,I live! Our inward experience is fine corroborative evidence, but God's testimony is the best foundation our confidence canhave!
I recollect a story told of William Dawson whom our Wesleyan friends used to call Billy Dawson, one of the best preachersthat ever entered a pulpit. He once gave out as his text, "Through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins."When he had given out his text he dropped down to the bottom of the pulpit, so that nothing could be seen of him-only therewas a voice heard saying, "Not the man in the pulpit, he is out of sight, but the Man in the Book! The Man described in theBook is the Man through whom is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins."
I put myself and you and everybody else out of sight, and I preach to you the remission of sins through Jesus only! I wouldsing with the children, "Nothing but the blood of Jesus." Shut your eyes to all things but the Cross. Jesus died and roseagain-and went to Heaven-and all your hope must go with Him! Come, my Hearer, take Jesus by a distinct act of faith this morning!May God the Holy Spirit grant you Grace to do so and then you may go on your way rejoicing! So be it in the name of Jesus!