Sermon 3282. Preparing for the Week of Prayer
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 26, 1911.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JANUARY 3, 1864.
"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and then was given unto him much incense, that heshould offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incensewhich came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." Revelation 8:3,4.
I SUPPOSE that there will be very little doubt among you that the "Angel" mentioned here was either our Lord Jesus Christ,Himself, or a special angelic messenger sent to represent Him. You remember that under the Mosaic dispensation, there wasto be an altar of shittim wood, overlaid with pure gold, and that Aaron was to burn sweet incense thereon every morning andevery evening. In like manner, our Great High Priest is here represented as standing at the golden altar which is before theThrone of God, having in His hand a golden censer full of incense, the fragrance of which would give acceptance to the prayersof the saints for His sake-
"Great Advocate, almighty Friend, On Him our humble hopes depend- Our cause can never, never fail, For Jesus pleads and mustprevail."
I am going to talk to you, first, concerning the prayers of the saints. Secondly, concerning the intercession of Christ Andthen we shall notice the result of the sending of Christ's intercession with the saints 'prayers.
I. So first, I am to speak about THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS. What a very interesting and delightful spectacle the ChristianChurch will present during the coming week of united prayer! It is an everyday sight to see Christians at prayer, for Believersare to "pray without ceasing." But doubtless, as long as the Church exists and men and women are what they are, there alwayswill be special seasons when the fervor of the suppliants becomes more ardent than at ordinary times, when their desires growmore intense and their prayers, therefore, ascend in a greater volume before the eternal Throne of God. We sing that-
"Satan trembles when he sees, The weakest saint upon his knees- then how much more must he tremble when he sees thousandsupon thousands of the people of God drawing near with one heart to the Throne of the heavenly Grace! Next to the angels inHeaven praising God, I think the fairest sight that ever was seen is that of the saints of earth, of almost all names anddenominations, gathered in concert around the Mercy Seat! Notwithstanding all the divisions among Christians, there are certainTruths upon which they are all agreed, and this will be plainly manifested during the coming week. We shall see, met togetherin the same House of Prayer, Brothers and Sisters holding various sentiments. We shall see some who love the Lord Jesus Christin the Established Church and others who are outside the establishment uniting heartily in prayer. We shall see those whoworship God in a liturgical sense and those who worship Him without a liturgy, joining with one heart and mind in imploringa blessing upon the one common cause of Jesus Christ and upon the world at large.
Moreover, these united prayers will be going up all over the world-at least it will be so to a very large extent. You mayjourney round the globe with the sun, and wherever you go you shall see Brothers and Sisters assembled in prayer. It is saidof the Queen's dominions that the sun never sets upon them-and it may be said this week of the earnest united cries of theLord's people that they will arise from practically every land on which the sun shall shine! God shall be worshiped day andnight, not merely by a few stragglers here and there, but by the great bulk of the-
"One army of the living God."
This is true every day, to a greater or lesser degree, but it will be made more apparent during the days of this week, andI, for one, rejoice that the prayers of the saints shall thus together ascend before the Throne of God!
It is interesting, too, to notice the subjects that have been selected as themes for special prayer. I think the Lord hasguided the committee of the Evangelical Alliance in the selection. We are requested on Monday to present "penitential confessionof sin and the acknowledgment of personal, social, and national blessings, with supplication for Divine Mercy through theAtonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ." This is a good beginning for the week of prayer-it should rightly commence with repentance.The salty tears of penitence will be an acceptable offering, just as, under the Levitical Law it was commanded, "with allyour offering you shall offer salt." Then on Tuesday we are asked to pray for the conversion of the ungodly, for the successof missions among Jews and Gentiles, and for a Divine Blessing to accompany the efforts made to evangelize the unconvertedof all ranks and all around us." What a comprehensive subject, taking in both Jews and Gentiles, both bond and free, and includingthose who are abroad with those who are around us at home! Then on Wednesday our supplications are asked "for the ChristianChurch and ministry; for Sunday schools and all other Christian agencies; and for the increase of spiritual life, activityand holiness in all Believers." Here again is a comprehensive subject. How much we who are in the ministry need your prayers!"Brethren pray for us." The whole Church needs prayer, but especially the captains in the Lord's ranks who have to be in thethick of the fight with the shots of the enemy flying all around them! Then on Thursday the subjects for intercession are"for the afflicted and oppressed; that slavery may be abolished; that persecution may cease; and that Christian love may expandto the comfort and relief of the destitute in all lands." I do not know how some professing Christians will be able to joinin the supplication that slavery may be abolished, but we can fervently unite in it with a pure heart! May the Lord graciouslyhear that prayer. And if He shall hear it from the battlefields of America, we shall bless his name even for the scourge ofwar if that accursed slavery can be ended! Then on Friday we are urged to pray "for nations, for kings, and all who are inauthority; for the cessation of war-for the prevalence of peace; and for the holy observance of the Sabbath." And then toconclude, on Saturday, "generally for the large outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the revival and extension of pure Christianitythroughout the world."
Now when the Church comes before God with such large requests as these, I do earnestly trust that the united supplicationwill be the means of bringing down one of the greatest and richest blessings that the world has ever received! God grant thatit may be so!-
"Who but You, Almighty Spirit, Can the heathen world reclaim? Men may preach, but till You favor, Heathens will be still thesame. Mighty Spirit,
Witness to the Savor's name! All our hopes, and prayers, and labors, Must be vain without Your aid, But You will not disappointus. All is true that you have said- Gracious Spirit,
O'er the world Your influence spread."
But turning away from that aspect of the Church's prayers which will be presented during the coming week, I want you to noticesome points suggested by the text concerning the prayer of the saints. The first is the communion of all prayer. What doesthe angel do with the prayers of all saints? Does he put one of them here and another there? Does he put one on the altarand another under the alter? No, no-he puts them all into the golden censer! Here comes a prayer full of faith from a warmand loving heart filled with ardent desires for God's Glory! And behind it comes another, a poor starveling prayer. It issincere, but it comes from the lips of Mr. Little Faith. There is not much fervor about it, but it is as much as that feebleBrother could pray. Both these prayers are put into the some golden censer. Some of you Christian people have believing friendsin Australia-they pray, and their prayers get into the censer. You pray, and your prayers get there, too. Our fathers prayed,and their prayers were put into the golden censer. We pray, and our
children will pray after us, but our prayers and theirs and our fathers' shall all go into the same censor! What communionthere is here, then, among all Believers in Jesus! When you really draw near to God and other saints draw near to Him, youalso draw near to them. No, more, since Jesus Christ, Himself, prays when you pray, you have fellowship with Him! And as theHoly Spirit inspires your prayers if they were according to the mind of God, you also have fellowship with the Spirit andthrough Him with the Father! Thus prayer becomes a glorious bond which binds God and all His people together in one sacredbundle of life! And to be without prayer is to be outside that blessed bundle.
The next thing I ask you to observe is the universality of prayer. The incense was given to the angel "that he should offerit with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne." I have already pointed out to you thatJesus Christ takes the prayers that come from all sorts of saints. Now I want you to notice that he takes all the true prayersthat come to Him. There are some prayers that are so little and so feeble that you would think that they never could get toGod at all-but it is with them as it was with some of the creatures in Noah's Ark. I never can comprehend how the snails managedto get into the ark, yet they did. They must have started very early. There are some people's prayers which seem to travelalmost as slowly as those snails did, yet they do get to Heaven and they are presented by Christ with all the rest of thesaints' prayers before His Father's Throne. If you take a single drop of water from the sea and analyze it, you will findthat the same elements are in it that are in the whole ocean. So if I can breathe but one sincere desire towards Heaven, ifmy prayer is merely-
"The upward glancing of an eye When none but God is near"- all the elements of prevailing prayer are in that one desire orthat one childlike glance! A diamond is a diamond be it ever so small. It may be so tiny that the Queen would not put it intothe most prominent place in her crown, still it might be permitted to glitter somewhere. Being a diamond, it must not be thrownaway, for it has its value. So, my Brother, your prayer may never edify your Brothers and Sisters. It may not be suitableto be presented in public, but if your soul is in it, if your heart goes out towards God through your poor feeble prayer,it will be so precious in His sight that He will not have it thrown away! In the day when Christ makes up His jewels, thattiny gem shall be presented to His Father as well as the greatest and costliest jewels under His charge! I say this becauseI am aware that there are many Christians who think their prayers are not heard because they are such poor things. But weare not impartial or wise judges of the value of our own prayers. I am persuaded that often, when we think we have prayedas we ought, we have only been feeding our own vanity-and that at other times, when we have found that we could not pray,that we could hardly express a single desire, but could only sigh and groan before the Lord-then we have really prayed andGod has heard our prayer! Whatever our own feelings may be about the matter, it is certain that every true prayer gets intothe golden censer that our Great High Priest swings before the eternal Throne of God. There is not one of those birds thatwe send up towards Heaven which does not really reach its destination. If its own wings are not strong enough to bear it upso high, Christ reaches His almighty hand down and lifts it all the rest of the way! Somehow all the true prayers of all thesaints must get into the golden censer in Christ's hand.
Note also the acceptability of prayer. God has made provision for ensuring the acceptance of His people's prayers. "Therewas given unto the angel much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar whichwas before the throne." It is that incense which makes our poor prayers acceptable to God-it is not the merit of our prayersthat secures the gracious answers to them, but the power of Christ's prevailing intercession! Our pleas would be useless ifthey were presented by themselves-it is His plea that always avails with His Father. Jesus Christ has been appointed to thishigh office so that He may take our supplications and present them before the Throne of the Most High. When our governmentappoints certain officers to look after the affairs of the poor people of this land, there ought not to be any needy onesapplying in vain to them for help. And, Christian, as Jesus Christ has been entrusted with the task of presenting your prayersacceptably before His Father, you may rest assured that He will accomplish it-so be of good courage and know assuredly thatHe will add the "much incense" of His intercession to your supplications-and so shall they ascend acceptably before God ina cloud of sweetly smelling smoke! No true prayer from the heart of a true child of God shall miss its mark-all shall reachthe heavenly target. Your petition, my Brother or Sister, shall meet with acceptance as well as mine. Do not think, Believer,that God will ignore your heartfelt supplications even though you are almost unknown among your fellow Christians and youfeel yourself to be the least of all saints. If you dare to
think that you are numbered among the saints at all, do not imagine because you could not put two sentences together at thePrayer Meeting that, therefore, your prayers do not reach the ear and heart of God. I can assure you that your petitions areput into the golden censer just as surely as were those of John, the beloved Apostle to whom this wondrous Revelation wasgiven! And when the sacred fire is applied to them, they yield as sweet a fragrance to the Most High as do the supplicationsof the greatest and noblest of the Lord's children. According to the text, the smoke of the incense ascended up before Godwith the prayers of all the saints-none of them would have been acceptable without the incense-but with the incense all ascendedup before God.
II. Now, secondly, I must speak briefly concerning JESUS CHRIST'S INTERCESSION.
And first I beg you to notice what a fit Person Jesus Christ is to intercede for us. He is Man. He knows the imperfectionof our prayers, He understands our needs and frailties and can sympathize with us in presenting our petitions before His Father'sThrone. He is Man who has finished His own work and can, therefore, take our work into His hands and bring it to perfection.He is always acceptable to His Father, so that when He presents our case before His Father's Throne, He has such a claim tobe heard because of all that He has done and suffered-that His advocacy of our case must prevail! Moreover, He is also God,"the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth." If I can have the well-beloved Son of God to plead for me, whatother intercessor can I need? Is He not the best Advocate of whom your heart can conceive? No, more-if He had not told youthat it is so, could you have ever dreamed that He, who is the brightness of His Father's Glory and the express image of HisPerson, would have condescended to become intercessor for such worthless worms as we are? O You glorious Christ, in Your wondrousPerson as both Man and God we worship You with all our hearts! And we bless the Lord that You are our Great High Priest withthe golden censer, into which our poor prayers shall be put and then, when perfumed with the much incense of Your wondrousintercession, shall be presented acceptably before Your Father in Heaven!-
"Immmense compassion reigns
In ourImmnanuel's heart!
He condescends to act
A Mediator's part.
He is our Friend and Brother, too,
Divinely kind, Divinely true!" Having noticed the fitness of our Intercessor's Person, consider next, the fitness of the placewhere He pleads. He is represented as standing at the altar when He pleads for us with His Father. It is on the ground ofHis own atoning Sacrifice. When He stands at the altar He does, as it were, say to His Father, "I am He that lives, and wasdead. My hands and feet were pierced by the nails and My side by the soldier's spear. Hear Me on behalf of those for whomI laid down My life." Thus our great Intercessor speaks with authority when He pleads for us before His Father's Throne. Believer,you are never so prevalent in prayer as when you stand at the altar of Atonement! Your supplications are sure to succeed whenyou plead the precious blood of Jesus! So you may be certain that Jesus will not stand at the altar in vain. Shall the Fathersee His Son's blood shed for many for the remission of their sins, and yet not yield to His intercession? O God, can You rememberYour Son's agonies and groans in Gethsemane and yet refuse His requests? Can You think of all that He endured at Golgothaand yet not hear Him when He intercedes for those for whom He there laid down His life? Oh, no, that is impossible! Jesusmust succeed when He stands at the altar and presents the prayers of His people before His Father's Throne-
"Jesus, my Great High Priest,
Offered His blood, and died!
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside.
His powerful blood did once atone;
And now it pleads before the Throne." Note next how Christ presents the prayers of the saints to His Father. He does not offerthem just as they are, but He adds to them that "much incense" which makes them acceptable to God. One thing that Jesus doeswith our prayers is to make them correct where they are in error. Sometimes, dear friends come to me and ask me to send petitionsfor them to certain people who may be able to help them. But I often find that the words are not spelled correctly, the grammaris
faulty, and the petition, itself, is not very plain. So I say to the petitioners, "I know what it is that you need, so I willwrite out your petition and add my own name to it, and then it may succeed." So, dear Friends, we bring to Christ our poorpetitions, all blotted and misspelled, but He does not present them as they are-He knows what we mean and what we need-soHe writes them out for us, puts His own signature at the bottom and thus they become prayers upon which God can look withapproval!
The text says that there was given to the angel "much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints uponthe golden altar which was before the throne." There is little enough of our prayers in the golden censer that is in Christ'shand, but He adds much of His merit to them and so makes them acceptable to His Father. As the smoke of the incense ascendsup before God, perhaps you say, "I never thought that my prayer would smell as sweetly as that." No, it would not have doneso by itself, but Jesus Christ added the "much incense" to it and thatmake it so fragrant. When you say, "My prayer is sopoor that it will never prevail with God," you do not know what it will be when Christ has added His intercession to it! Ifyou could pray a prayer that seemed to you a thousand times better than those you now present, I am not sure that it wouldnot really be any better. If you said to yourself, "There, that prayer will do, it will find its way to God all by itself,"I am certain that it would never reach the Throne of God! But if, when we have prayed, we feel that we must have Christ'sintercession to make our prayers acceptable, He will add the "much incense" to our poor petitions and so they shall prevailwith God!
III. Now, lastly, and very briefly, notice THE RESULT OF THE BLENDING OF CHRIST'S INTERCESSION WITH HIS PEOPLE'S PRAYERS.
When the "much incense" was offered with the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar which was before the Throne of God,we are told that "the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God." And, Christian,you may have what you will of God if you know how to get the "much incense" of Christ's intercession put with your prayers!Church of God, you may utterly rout your foes if you can pray after this fashion! If our prayers have prevailed with God,they will certainly prevail against all our adversaries! The Spartans called their spears their walls, and Christians maywell call their prayers their walls. There is a secret of prevailing in prayer which you may know to your heart's comfortif you will learn the lesson of our text, and then, as your prayer is presented by Christ to His Father, the answer will comedown in blessings which many others will be glad to share with you.
I want, in closing, to remind you of the remarkable verses that follow my text. The saints have been praying and Christ haspresented their petitions to His Father-what will be the result of their praying and His intercession? If you did not knowthe context, you would probably answer, "We expect the whole world to be converted." But you know that this was not the case.The first of the seven angels blew the trumpet "and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood." Then the second angelsounded, "and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea." And so it goes on with woe, upon woe,woe upon woe. Is this the answer to the saints' prayer? Yes, it is even so. Whenever the saints are especially earnest inprayer, and whenever their prayers rise up acceptably to God, you may depend upon it that their great adversary, the devil,will not remain quietly at home. What then? Shall we therefore go in fear of the adversary? By no means! He will have allthe greater wrath as his time becomes shorter and shorter, but our trust is in Him who is mightier than all the powers ofdarkness and who will overthrow them all at the appointed time. So be not troubled as you read of all the woes following theblowing of the six trumpets, but go on reading until you come to the seventh! There you will get the true answer to the saints'prayers-all those woes must come first to prepare for the Glory that is to follow! At the 11th Chapter, and the 15th verse,you will read, "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world havebecome the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever." So you see that there shall be aglorious end to the prayers of the saints and the intercession of their Great High Priest! He shall be proclaimed "King ofkings, and Lord of lords," "and He shall reign forever and ever." If, during this coming year, we should see more sin, moresuperstition, more Popery and more infidelity then we have ever seen before, shall we say that God did not hear His people'sprayers? Oh no! All these evils must reach their climax and then shall come their downfall! It is not altogether an evil thingto have the devil thoroughly awakened. If we should again have a time of persecution, with more blasphemy and more wickednessthan we have ever yet known, the Lord's people would be stirred up to pray more earnestly than ever, to work with greaterzeal for His cause and to fight the good fight of faith as they have never yet done! Sound the trumpet, wake up the warriorsof the Cross, let Volume every good soldier of Jesus Christ gird his sword upon his thigh, for the first result of prayeris battle, storm, terror, earthquake and woe upon woe! But the end is that to which the eye of faith looks forward when thereeling, and the shaking, and the tempest, and the whirlwind are all over! Then shall come the everlasting calm and the triumphantreign of Jesus. "The Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hasspoken it." "Therefore, my beloved Brothers and Sisters, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of theLord, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." And also, "continue in prayer and watch in the same withthanksgiving."
There may be some here, and doubtless there are some who have never truly prayed in their lives. What a blessed beginningit would be to the week of united prayer if they would begin to pray tonight! But, my Brother, or my Sister, it is no usefor you to attempt to pray without faith, "for he that comes to God must believe that He is" and that He is a re-warder ofthem that diligently seek Him." And what is faith? Why, faith is trust, confidence, reliance upon Christ! If anyone amongyou will trust the Lord Jesus Christ tonight. If you will put your whole confidence in Him. If you will rely upon Him fortime and eternity-especially if you trust to the merit of His great atoning Sacrifice, He will prove Himself to be worthyof your trust and He will save you with His everlasting salvation! No, more than that, for if you trust Christ, you are saved,for, "he that believes on the Son has everlasting life." Then when you are saved, you can join your believing prayers to theprayers of all the rest of the saints-and your prayers shall be put with theirs in the golden censer in the hand of our GreatHigh Priest-and He will add to them the, "much incense," of His intercession and so they shall ascend acceptably before theThrone of God! May the Lord graciously teach you the holy arts of faith and prayer for His dear name's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: REVELATION21:22-27; 22
Verse 22. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it It has a temple, that betterstate, that land of the Well-Beloved, but not a material temple that John could see, yet he knew that it had a temple "forthe Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." Where They are is the holy place where all the tribes of the spiritualIsrael shall be gathered at the last, to go no more out forever. "The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb" have a Glory far greaterthan Solomon's Temple ever had and far greater even than that later Temple which excelled even his in Glory!
23. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it for the Glory of God did lighten it, and theLamb is the light thereof We have need of both the sun and the moon while we are in this world. If it were not for the greatcentral luminary, the solar system would cease to be and this earth and the moon and all their sister planets would die outin darkness. But when the sun has been turned into darkness and the moon into blood, it shall still be said of this holy city,the New Jerusalem, that the Glory of God does lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. See how blessedly God and theLamb are linked together, for Father and Son are truly One. It is also pleasant to reflect that He who is "the light of theworld" is also the light of the world that is yet to be revealed-"the Lamb is the light thereof."
24. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it and the kings of the earth do bring their gloryand honor into it This is the Church of the latter days-the beginning of the heavenly state, a true type of what the eternalGlory of the saints will be. The Church will no longer, like her Lord, be despised and rejected of men, but the highest andgreatest among men shall count it an honor and glory to be permitted to share its blessings and triumphs.
25. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. Well did Dr. Doddridge sing-
"No rude alarms of raging foes No cares to break the long repose! No midnight shade, no clouded sun But sacred, high, eternalnoon."
The saints will then be able to bear that eternal noontide, for the sun shall not smite them by day. And they will have noneed of the night which is now so necessary for resting our wearied bodies and minds, so "there shall be no night there."There will also be no night of sorrow, no night of sin, no night of death in that blessed land of light!
26, 27. And they shall bring the glory andhonor ofthe nations into it. And there shallin no wise enterinto it anything thatdefiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of
Life. [See Sermon #1590, Volume 27-THE BARRIER.] That holy city would
itself be defiled if anything that defiles could enter into it. Only they who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life shallbe found in the glorious city of which He is the light-
"Those holy gates forever bar
Pollution, sin, and shame.
None can obtain admittance there
But followers ofthe Lamb."
Revelation 22-Verse 1. And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the Throne of God and of theLamb. Here again we have God and the Lamb uniting in giving that "water of life" which flows down to us by God's Grace throughthe atoning Sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God.
2. In the middle of its street, and on either side ofthe river, was the Tree of Life, which bore twelve fruits, each treeyielding its fruit every month. The leaves ofthe tree were for the healing ofthe nations. [See Sermon #1233, Volume 21-healing
LEAVES.] The fruit of this "Tree of Life" is for all those who have
partaken of the water of life-and the tree provides medicine as well as food-"the leaves of the tree were for the healingof the nations."
3-5. And there shall be no more curse: but the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serveHim: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be on their foreheads. And there shall be no night there, and they needno candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light and they shall reign forever and ever This is the climaxof the saints' blessedness-"they shall reign forever and ever." Thus are they to be like their Lord, for "He shall reign foreverand ever." As they shared His reproach, they shall also share His Glory.
6-9. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God ofthe holy Prophets sent His angel to showunto His servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keeps the saying of theprophecy of this book. And I John saw these thing, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship beforethe feet ofthe angel which showed me these things. Then said he unto me, See you do it not for I am your fellow servant, andof your brethren the Prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this Book: worship God. It was a pardonable mistake thatJohn made, but it was a mistake, for even the highest angel in Heaven must not be accorded the worship that is due to Godalone!
10, 11. And he said unto me, Seal not the sayings ofthe prophecy of this book for the time is at hand. He that is unjust,let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still:and he that is holy, let him be holy still If your character is not what it ought to be, you must not delay your appeal toHim who alone can change it, "for the time is at hand" when your character and state will be fixed forever. As when thereis a sharp frost, the water in the brooks are soon congealed, so are there influences at work which are consolidating character.Beware lest Christ's coming or the summons through death should find you unprepared and so cause you to remain forever justas you now are.
12. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. There will beno change possible when Christ comes as the Judge of all mankind! If you are then filthy, you will be filthy forever! If youare then holy, you will be holy forever! The delusion of universal salvation must be banished from the minds of all who believethe Word of God!
13-17. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are they that do His commandments,that they may have a right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For outside are dogs, andsorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and make a lie. I, Jesus, have sent My angelto testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning StarAnd the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whoever will,let him take the water of life freely. [See Sermons #279, Volume 5-come and welcome;
#1331, Volume 22-THE TWO "COMES"; #1608, Volume 27-THE DOUBLE "COME" and #2685, Volume 46-THE OFT-REPEATED INVITATION.] This"Come" seems to sound both ways-from Heaven to earth, and from
earth to Heaven. Christ says to us, "Come," and we cry to Him, "Come." Oh, that sinners would be obedient to the Divine "Come,"and "take the water of life freely," for then would the Second Coming of Christ be full of joy to them and not a matter ofdread!
18, 19. For I testify unto every man that hears the word of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things,God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the bookof this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things whichare written in this book God's Revelation is perfect-to add to it or to take from it would equally mar it-and the terriblethreats here given concerning those who do either the one or the other ought to prevent so great a crime against high Heaven!Yet, alas, many have dared and still dare to commit it.
20. He which testifies these things says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus. All those centuries ago,Jesus said, "I am coming quickly." How much nearer His coming must be, and how earnestly we, too, should cry, "Even so come,Lord Jesus."
21. The Grace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you all Amen. The Old Testament ended with a curse, the New Testament endswith benediction. Oh, that we might all have a share of it!