Sermon 2066. Our Place-at Jesus' Feet
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ONLORDS-DAYEVENING, JUNE 8,1879
"At His feet." Luke 7:38.
THE Easterns pay more attention to posture than we do. They are demonstrative and express by outward signs much which we donot express, or express less energetically. In their courts certain positions must be taken up by courtiers. Oriental monarchsare approached in positions which indicate the greatness of the king and the submissiveness of the petitioner. So, in theirworship, the Easterns abound in postures significant of the humility which should be felt in the Presence of God. The mostof us think very little, indeed, of outward postures. Perhaps we do not even think enough of them. Inasmuch as in devotionwe think little of the position of the body, let us pay all the more attention to the posture of the soul.
And if it seems to us to be a matter of indifference whether a man prays standing as Abraham did, or sitting as David did,or kneeling as Elijah did. Yet let us take care that the posture of the soul is carefully observed. One of the best positionsin which our heart can be found is at Jesus' feet. Here we may fall, or here we may sit and follow excellent examples to ourexceeding benefit.
The first thing that is necessary to spiritual life at all is to recognize the Presence of Jesus and to come into relationshipwith Him. To look at Him is salvation. As to look at the brazen serpent was healing, so to look at Jesus Christ brings lifeeternal to the soul. After we have come to look at Jesus and so there is a connecting link between us and Him through whichsalvation comes to us, we are described as being in various positions with regard to our Lord. We are on His heart. Just asthe priest of old carried the names of the twelve tribes, so does Jesus carry all His people on His heart- and that is wherewe are at this time.
There are favored times when, like John, we are on His bosom. We feel His heart beating with true affection to us. We notonly believe His love but there is a kind of sense-which I may not call sense either, for it belongs not to the grosser formsof sensation-but there is a kind of spiritual sensitiveness which causes us to feel that Jesus loves us. We seem to say, "Godis love, I know, I feel." For in our very hearts the love of God is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit. Then are we raised toHis bosom. And it is a blessed posture to be in-
"Oh, that we could with holy John Forever lean our heads upon The bosom of our Lord!"
We are described, also, as being in the hands of Christ. All His saints are in His hand. He gives unto them eternal life andthey shall never perish, for He Says, "none shall pluck them out of my hand." See your position in the hollow of His hand,while in the Father's hand the hand of Christ is embraced and He tells us "none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
Then, too, we are described as being on His shoulders. Does not the Good Shepherd, when he finds the strayed sheep, cast itupon His shoulders and carry it home? When Aaron stood pleading before the Lord he not only carried the names of the tribesupon his breastplate but he had them in of gold upon his shoulders. Christ carries us on the heart of His love and on theshoulders of His power. Thus are we perfectly safe.
You see, then, where we are. And I do not want you to forget this, while I urge upon all the Lord's people that they shouldseek to be "at His feet." You can keep all the other positions and this, too. Though that were impossible for the body, itis quite possible for the spirit. The highest delight and the fullest assurance are perfectly consistent with the lowliestreverence. You may rise even to the Master's lips, until you can say with the spouse, "Let Him kiss me with the kisses
of His mouth, for His love is better than wine." And yet you may still be lying at His feet, conscious of your unworthinessand bowed into the very dust under a sense of His love.
We must leave those other positions and consider the one in our text. And we have only two remarks to make- namely, first,that at His feet is a becoming posture. And, secondly, at His feet is a helpful posture.
I. First, AT HIS FEET IS A BECOMING POSTURE. This is proper because of the majesty of His Person. As He is Divine, "at Hisfeet" is the creature's becoming place. Jesus is "God over all, blessed forever." Let us exhibit the lowliest reverence wheneverwe think of Him. He comes very near us and we sing at the communion table-
"His sacred name a common word On earth He loves to hear; There is no majesty in Him Which love may not come near."
But there is majesty-there is Divine majesty. Jesus is our Brother but He is the first-born among many Brethren. He has ahuman head but on that head are many crowns. He wears a nature like our own but that Nature is in union with His Godhead andwe cannot think of Him without bowing with lowly adoration before Him. The sun and the moon and the eleven stars make obeisanceto this star of Bethlehem. All the sheaves bow before this Joseph's sheaf, as it stands upright in the midst. Jesus, You areHe whom Your Brethren shall praise! All Your mother's sons shall bow down before You, for You are exceedingly glorious. Behold,every tongue shall confess that You are Lord and every knee shall bow before You. Therefore with glad prostration of spiritwe bow at Your feet even now.
We may well bow at His feet when we remember the unworthiness of ourselves. We are insignificant creatures. That is sayinglittle. We are sinful creatures. Even though we have been redeemed by His precious blood and shall never come into condemnationif we are, indeed, Believers, yet we "were by nature children of wrath, even as others." Undeserved mercy has made us whatwe are. And if, even now, His Grace were withdrawn from us, we are fit fuel for the fires of Hell. There is nothing in ourselvesof which we can glory. And, when we come near to Jesus, our place is "at His feet."
There may be some-no, I think there cannot be among His people any that would aspire to any higher position than "at His feet"when they think of their sinnership-when they even think of their wanderings since they have known His love, of their shortcomingsand coldness of heart towards Him. But if there are any that can take a higher place, I know that I cannot. Oh, if I may butsit forever at His feet! If I may only look up and bless Him, that He loved me and gave Himself for me, it shall be everlastinglyHeaven to my spirit! And do you not say the same?
Oh, utter nothingness, you are something as compared with us. For we are less than nothing! The blank of nothingness stoodnot in God's way when He came to create. But in us there was an opposition to the Divine will-a something, I say, which wasworse than nothing-which resisted our Lord's Grace. But He has triumphed, and He has saved us and now it is ours, with deephumiliation, to lie "at His feet."
"At His feet," again, is a place well suited to us, because of His well-beloved claims upon us. As many of us as have beenrenewed by Divine Grace we have been rescued from the slavery of Satan. And we have come into the sweet service of Christand now it is our great joy to call Him Master and Lord. When we are right-minded we make a full submission of everythingto Him. We place "at His feet" all our time, our talents, our substance. We desire to bring every thought into captivity toHis dear sway.
Our ambition is that He would rule us entirely. It is a scepter of Divine Grace with which Jesus reigns over His trustingpeople, but it is quite as powerful as the iron scepter. Oh, that He would use it and crush our lusts with it and break oursinful desires with it like potter's vessels, till we should be wholly given up to Him!-
"In my spirit rule and conquer,
There set up Your eternal throne;
Wean my heart from every creature,
You to love and You alone."
This is the Christian's desire. He would lie joyfully submissive at the Savior's feet, completely subjected by the conqueringLord.
Once more-He is All in All and we would lie at His feet to find salvation in Him and seek it nowhere else. Perhaps I am speakingto those who long after eternal life and are crying after salvation. Come, beloved Friend, I do not know you, but my Lorddoes. Come and lie at His feet and cry, "I never will depart until You speak peace to me." You are not
far from finding peace in Christ when you are satisfied that you cannot find it anywhere else. When you are weaned from everyhope except that which is found in Jesus, you will soon have a hope in Him.
Come, lie prostrate there and say, "If I perish here, I will perish 'at His feet.' " None perish there. Beneath the Cross,where the full sacrifice was offered, there I cast myself. I will never stir an inch beyond this. If the eternal thunderboltscan smite the Cross, they shall blast me at the same time, for here I will stay. At Jesus' feet, I lie, in despair as to allelse but with strong resolve never to go away from Him, resolved with Him to live or die. This is what I mean, then, by theposture of being at Jesus' feet.
But now remember, dear Friends, that at Jesus' feet is the position which the very brightest of the saints delight to takeup. When John was in the Isle of Patmos and saw His Master whom he loved, he did not essay to place his head upon His bosom.Remember his words-"And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead." Now if such a one as John the Divine lay there, thatis a high enough place for you and for me. "At His feet." Oh, let us get there! Down, down, down, high looks! Proud thoughts,down with you! Legal hopes, self-confidence, down with you! Away, away, with everything that lifts up man. And may Christ,alone, be exalted while we lie at His feet. For if we do not bow willingly, we shall have to come to it by a humbling experience.
The Lord has put all things under His feet. Let us put ourselves "at His feet." If we will not accept Him now to be our Masterand Lord, we shall be flung into the winepress of the wrath of God and then shall He trample upon us in His wrath and crushus in His sore displeasure. God save us from such a doom and may we rejoice to be at His feet.
II. Now we shall attend to our second observation. We have shown, I think, that it is a becoming posture. But now, secondly,IT IS A VERY HELPFUL POSTURE.
Turn to my text and see that it is a very helpful posture for a weeping penitent. "Behold, a woman in the city, which wasa sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment and stood atHis feet behind Him weeping." It helps us to repent. Do not go and stand at Moses' feet. You will never repent there. To standat the foot of Sinai and tremble may have its uses. But Gospel repentance does not spring from legal terror. Gracious tearsare wept at Jesus' feet.
Oh, if you would have your heart broken till the rock shall gush with rivers of repentance, stand at Jesus' feet. Stand therenow. If you would have a tender heart, think of the Beloved who died for you! Think of how those feet were pierced. This womancould not see that, for it was not then done. But you can see it and mark where the nail has bored each blessed foot.
"At His feet" is the best place for a penitent, for it helps faith. For as you look down at those dear feet and think, "Heis God and He became a Man to suffer in my place and those dear feet were pierced that my heart might be delivered from death,"you will find faith spring up in your soul at the sight of the great Substitute. Such faith will bring with it pardon. Standingat His feet, you will find Him turn His head and say to you what He said to the woman, "Your sins, which are many, are forgivenyou. Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Repentance, apart from Christ, will need to be repented of. Repentance at Christ's feet is the only repentance worth having.When you weep for sin, so that you cannot see Christ through your tears, away with them! Unbelieving tears are not such asGod delights in. But it is a sweet, sweet thing to taste a salt repentance and then to taste the honey of a honeyed pardon-tohave the soul smarting and then to have it rejoicing, too, because it stands at Jesus' feet.
And let me say to all weeping penitents-Get away to Jesus' feet, because it is there your love will flow and there you willbegin to think of doing something for Him who will blot out your sin. Did not this woman unbind the luxuriant tresses of herhead to make a towel? Did she not, instead of pitcher and basin, use the fountains of her eyes, no, the fountains of her heart,with which to bathe His feet? And then for ointment she broke the alabaster box and kissed, and kissed, and kissed, and kissedagain, those dear, dear feet of Him who had brought salvation to her.
O Penitents, I pray you stand not outside in the cold porch with Moses but come indoors, where Jesus welcomes you. And standat His feet and He will give you that blessed repentance after a godly sort, which shall bring you an answer of peace andshall nourish life in your soul. "At His feet," then, is a helpful posture to the weeping penitent.
Now you have got your Bibles open at Luke's seventh chapter, turn over to the eighth chapter and the thirty-fifth verse. Youknow the story of the man that had a legion of devils in him who used to cut himself and who lived among the
tombs. Now we read, "They went out to see what was done. And came to Jesus and found the man, out of whom the devils weredeparted, sitting at the feet of Jesus."
At Jesus' feet is the best place for a new convert. What a state of mind and body this poor man must have been in who waspossessed of devils that carried him over hedge and ditch and field and flood-he knew not where! Men bound him with chainsbut like another Samson, he snapped them. He tore himself with flints and knives and thorns. Poor wretch! He rested not daynor night. And ever with his dolorous cry he made nights hideous, so that they that passed by the cemeteries startled, feelingthat they had come near the gates of Hell.
A whole legion of devils dwelt within this poor wretch. And when Christ cast all the devils out of him, he must have beenspent and exhausted, just as after a delirium there seems no life left. He wanted rest. Where was he to get it? He sat atJesus' feet. Do you know why he rested there? It was because he felt the devils could not press on to Jesus' feet. He feltquite sure the devils would never enter into his body again while he sat at Jesus' feet. Why, no, the devils had been afraidof Jesus and had gone into the swine and rushed into the sea to escape from Him.
While he sat at the feet of that great One who had rescued him from so terrible a fate, he seemed to feel, "I am safe here."At Jesus' feet he plucked up courage and gathered strength! With his new clothes on (he had not worn any for many a day) andhis tangled hair combed out again and his poor face, that had been covered with filth, all cleansed again, I can hardly imaginethe pleasurable sensation and the happiness that he felt! Except I remember how I have sometimes felt myself, after sharppains and long diseases, when I have come forth to breathe the air again, free from pain. Convalescence is very sweet andfairly pictures how souls feel when they get Christ at last. "He has saved me but, oh, I am weary, I am weary. I will sitat His feet." And as we sit at His feet, we feel all weariness pass away.
"Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new." We see a new Heaven and a new earth and we are made completelynew creatures. Where should we sit but at His feet who makes all things new? You that have found Christ and now greatly needrest, do not try to find rest anywhere but in Him. Come and sit "at His feet." Have no more cries, no more fears, no moredoubts, no more despairs. Christ has saved you. Sit still and remember what He has done and what He is doing. Sit still andlook up at His dear face and say, "Blessed be the altogether lovely One who plucked me out of the jaws of Hell and deliveredme from between the teeth of the dragon." O dear Friends, there is no rest like resting at Jesus' feet!-
"Here it is I find my Hea ven While upon the Cross I gaze."
Now, turn with your finger a little farther to the forty-first verse of the same chapter and you will find out that "at Jesus'feet" is a very helpful posture for a pleading intercessor-for one who is himself saved and is pleading for others. "Behold,there came a man named Jairus and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet and besought Him that Hewould come into his house: for he had only one daughter, about twelve years of age and she lay a dying."
Many of us know what it is to intercede with God for others. But there is no interceding that is so efficacious as that whichis done at Jesus' feet. When your heart breaks-when you feel that you do not deserve the mercy that you are seeking for-when,like Abraham, you cry, "I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes," it is then that you prevail.Lie "at His feet." But do not lie there as if it were somebody else's feet. Let it be Jesus' feet, the feet of your dear Lord,who came to save you. Lie there and say, "Lord, save my daughter. Lord, save my wife," or, "Lord, have mercy upon my wandering,willful boy and save him, for Your mercy's sake." Plead with your whole soul. Plead importunately. But do not plead despairingly.
If you are at Jesus' feet, you are near to the Fountain of help. You are near to Him who tenderly loves you, One who wouldnot have had feet if He had not loved mankind, for He took His body upon Him out of love and His feet are a part of His frame.Oh, to realize the presence of Christ when we pray, for if not, we pray out into the open common, or across the cruel sea.I like praying right into the Mediator's ear. It is grand praying when Jesus is near and you speak to Him as a man speaksto his friend. Thus do I pray now-"Lord, have mercy upon my congregation. Save the people. Lord, have mercy upon those whomI have prayed for many a time, who still are not renewed in heart."
We always prevail when we pray so. When I know that I have gained Christ's ear I look out for the answer as confidently asI expect an answer to a letter that I send by post. Some of our prayers do not go that way for want of our believing thatHe is and that He is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. But when we believe that He will hear us, He
does hear us. So, Jairus, if your daughter is sick, pray for her, but do it "at Jesus' feet." You have an ungodly relativeand you have prayed often but perhaps you have not prayed at Jesus' feet and I urge you now to try that hallowed place.
This fourth time will you turn a little farther, to Luke 10:39. "She had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word." So that "at Jesus' feet" is the fittingplace for a willing learner. A lowly sense of our own ignorance so that we do not dare to sit higher than "at His feet," buta believing confidence in His infinite wisdom so that we sit "at His feet" to learn of Him-this is suitable. How much betterscholars we should be if we tried to learn at Jesus' feet! Some even of the Lord's people are a deal too knowing. Many a boyat school does not learn anything of an excellent master, for he is conceited-he knows nothing and he teaches himself.
I am afraid we are like that scholar. We know nothing and we teach ourselves. We have prejudices-opinions of what the Truthsof God ought to be. This is evil-but, oh, it is very sweet to feel, "I do not know anything. I come and take the Bible andask it to photograph itself upon my heart"! Some minds are like stained glass windows. They shut out much of the light andthe little light that does struggle through, they color after their own manner. It is better to be plain glass so that theLord's light, with all its color and delicacy of shade, may come in just as it comes from Heaven, with nothing gathered fromourselves. Beloved, I pray the Lord to free us all from prejudice, from self-conceit and from opinions which originate withothers.
We must learn at Jesus' feet. Not at the feet of man, when man goes away from Christ. At times the Lord may send a man whomHe teaches and what we gather from him may be God's own voice to us. Still we must always be ready to discriminate betweenwhat the man says of himself and what he says in his Master's name. For there is a grave difference. "At Jesus' feet" we musttake up our seat. Dear young men that are beginning to study theology and that wish to become teachers of others, do not giveyourselves up to any system and say, "I follow this doctor, or that."
John Wesley is not our master-but Jesus Christ is. John Calvin is not our Master, but Jesus Christ. It does not matter howgreat and good these men were-they were worthy of the love of all the Church of God but we call them not Rabbi. We may followthe man as far as the man follows Christ but not an inch farther. We must sit at Jesus' feet, humble, teachable, child-like,confidently believing what Jesus says but having no "know" of our own-taking it all from Him.
But my time fails me and so I must take you to the last instance that I will give you in Luke. Look at Luke 17-and the sixteenth verse-the chapter which I read to you. We find that the Samaritan who had been healed fell down on hisface at His feet, giving Him thanks. Well, then, that position is most helpful to every grateful worshipper. I think I seethe angels and the blood-bought ones commencing one of their celestial chorales. The eye of my imagination is almost smittenwith blindness as I gaze upon the scene. They are all brighter than the sun and the whole company shines with the light ofmore than a thousand fold midday.
Hear them as they commence the rapturous strain! Their notes-how sweet, how seraphic-as they praise the eternal Father andthe glorious Lamb of God! We hear the song. How it swells! Hearken to the soft touches of the harpers harping with their harps!Do you note how the singers and the players of instruments seem caught up in the ecstasy? But mark! As the song rises theybegin to bow. As it rises higher they bow lower and lower and lower. Hark! The enthusiastic fervor of their love has madethem lift their loudest hallelujah.
And lo, they cast their crowns at His sacred feet! The whole company is still lifting up the song to its utmost glory butsoon they fall on their faces, prostrate before the Throne. "At His feet" is their loftiest position. Let us imitate them,and making the worship more ecstatic than before, bow before Him-
"Lo, at His feet, with awful joy The adoring armies fall! With joy they shrink to nothing there, Before the eternal All."
So let us praise Him for all that He has done for us. And, as we praise Him, let us sink lower and lower and lower, till inourselves we are nothing and Christ alone lives in us. Let no thought of self, nor wish for self, nor dream of self intrudebut let Jesus be All in All. "At His feet." There shall our Heaven be found. When our soul is deepest bathed in grateful praisewe shall fall down on our faces and worship the Lamb. The Lord bless you, and keep you at His feet forever. Amen.