Sermon 3547. Simple Fact and Simple Faith
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 1917.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins andby Him all that believe are justified from all things from which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses." Acts 13:38,39.
APOSTOLIC preaching was widely different from the common sermonizing of this age. Doubtless, when the Apostles addressed assembliesof Believers, they took distinct subjects and kept to them, opening up and expounding the particular Truths of God they hadin view. But when speaking to the outside world, and making their appeals to unbelievers, they do not usually appear to haveselected any one Doctrine as their topic. The manner in which they preached did not so much consist in inculcating a specificDoctrine and showing the inferences that would naturally arise from it, as it did in declaring certain facts of which theyhad been actual witnesses, themselves, and had been chosen to bear witness to others. Turn to Peter's sermon at Pentecost,or the same Apostle's sermon to Cornelius, or to the record of Paul's preaching at Perga or at Antioch. You will find thesediscourses were an argument from the Scriptures that as God had of old promised to send a Savior, so Jesus Christ had comeinto the world, had lived a holy life, had been put to death, being falsely accused, had been laid in the grave, after threedays had risen again and that afterwards He had ascended, according to the testimony of the Prophets. Of Him they spoke, thatwhoever believed in this Man, who was very God, should certainly be saved by Him. This was the declaration which they made.I do not find them, as a rule, expounding the Doctrine of Election in promiscuous assemblies of unbelievers, or arguing thesubtle questions of free agency and Predestination, or striving about words to no profit, to the subverting of the hearers.Their resolute purpose was to declare those things that pertain directly to the salvation of the soul, this being the all-importantmatter which they would have all men to heed. Thus they charged everyone who heard them, at the peril of his soul, to acceptthe Revelation and embrace the faith of the Gospel!
Listen to the Apostle Paul in that famous 15th Chapter in the First Epistle to the Corinthians which is usually read at funerals.He says there-"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I delivered unto you." Now you expect him to begina long list of Doctrines, but instead of that, he says, "How that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; andthat He was buried, and that on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures." This it is that he emphaticallydescribes as the Gospel! To assert these facts, to exhort men to believe them and to put their trust in the Man who thus lived,and died, and rose again, was the preaching of the Gospel which of old shook the hoary systems of superstition, fastened thoughthey seemed to be upon their thrones most securely! This preaching it is which enlightened the darkness of heathendom andmade, in those first ages of Christianity, the whole world to be astonished with the light and the Glory of Christ!
Let us, then, strive to imitate the Apostles, and endeavor to preach a simple Gospel sermon, if not with their ability, orwith their Inspiration, yet with their earnestness and with the same desire as burned within their bosoms-that men may besaved thereby! We shall accordingly have to deal, first, with the history of Jesus, whom we hold forth as a Savior Secondly,with the claims of Jesus. And thirdly, with the blessings which Jesus brings. In respect to-
I. THE HISTORY OF JESUS, if you will kindly refer to your Bibles, you will find that the Apostle here commenced his sermonby noticing that many Prophets had gone before to speak concerning the coming of Jesus. In the 23rd verse he especially mentionsthe promise made to David, that of his seed God would raise up a Prince and a Savior to the house of Israel. Let me remindyou, Brothers and Sisters, that full often in the world's history, sages have appeared claiming a Divine Inspiration, whoseannouncements fostered the hope of a coming Man who should redeem the world from thrall-dom, and become the Savior of ourrace. All the Seers whose eyes were anointed of God to look into the future, heralded the advent of a Great Prophet, a Princeand a Savior, whose claims to homage it would be alike perilous and preposterous to reject! These Prophets appeared at diverstimes and various places, and without any collusion they have, one and all, proclaimed the same thing! The most of them sealedtheir witness with their blood. "Which of the Prophets did not your fathers slay?" Yet in the teeth of extreme suffering,or of violent death, they seem to have been compelled by a Divine furor within them to proclaim, even to the last, that Onewas coming who would overturn the old reign of terror and the old order of outward ceremonies, to introduce a spiritual kingdom,and to redeem the world from its sins and sorrows!
In the favored land of Judea, that bright star of hope beamed most brightly through the dark night of long years and drearywatches. At length there appeared a remarkable individual who had been foreshown by some of these Prophets. They had signifiedthat before the promised Man, the Messiah, arrived, there would be a harbinger-one like unto Elijah. Elijah would come first.Now the Tishbite, whose career had been so memorable in Israel, was a man of much sanctity, but little polish. His raimentwas rough, his diet frugal, his bearing austere and his address earnest or even vehement. He seemed to be fire embodied, ifsuch a thing could be-so strong was his passion and so dauntless his courage! He laid the axe at the root of every sin, nordid he quail before any man's face, however high his station or lofty his pretensions. Let him but detect a wrong, he denouncedit with all his might! Eighteen centuries have transpired since there appeared in the wilderness, near the river Jordan, aman whose raiment was of camel's hair and whose meat was locusts and wild honey. John the Baptist, a child of the desert,ascetic in his habits, with a ministry all his own, rebuked the vices of the age with a defiant air and summoned men to repentancein trumpet tones till the whole of Judea was startled with the phenomenon-and the multitudes poured forth from town and villageto hear his preaching, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." The one culminating point of his exhortations was this,"Behold the Lamb of God!" Look for Him, gaze at Him, resort to Him. He takes away the sin of the world. John's mission itwas to make straight in the wilderness a highway for the coming of the Lord, whose shoe laces he declared himself not worthyto unloose!
At length the Savior came-the Savior long promised. From the privacy of His home at Nazareth, where He had been brought up,He came to the river of Jordan. Of His miraculous birth and His Infancy I forbear to speak. He appeared in the wildernesswhere John ministered by the fords of Jordan, and demanded Baptism-and as He came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descendedupon Him like a dove, and a Voice was heard by many witnesses, "This is My beloved Son. Hear you Him." This Man, this wonderfulIndividual who had now become openly manifest, lived for three years a public life of extraordinary benevolence in which therewas a combination of deep humility and Divine Power- the most memorable life on record! Imagination has never dreamed itsequal! Those who have thought much on virtue have been utterly unable to construct the story of a life out of their inventionthat could at all resemble it, or compare with it for purity or symmetry-a life in which there was not so much any one prominentvirtue, as all the virtues Divinely blended! As gentle as a lamb, as bold as a lion, stern against hypocrisy, always tendertowards the sinner, especially when the teardrop of repentance glistened in the eyes. A Man who tore to pieces all the oldformalities, denounced the learning of the Rabbis and came, with nothing but His own force of Character and the Witness ofGod, to speak Truths of God which, like light, are self-evident Truths which stand the test of time and weather the changesof circumstance- Truths which will endure unimpaired when this old world has passed away-Truths which have set free humanminds from the shackles of superstition! Truths which have gladdened the daughters of despair! Truths which have always beenmost acceptable to the poor and needy! Truths which have elevated humanity from the very hour in which they were first proclaimed!Truths which have drawn disciples through the ages and have filled Heaven with His admirers who fall down before the gloriousSon of God and worship Him! Truths of God, I say, which will yet make this world bright in the light of Heaven!
Now that Man lived a perfectly blameless life-so blameless that when His enemies sought His death, they could not find anythingto lay to His charge and, therefore, by false witnesses they accused and condemned Him. The great point in His history towhich we always call your most devout attention, and to which the Apostles always bore the most vehement testimony, was this-thatHe was crucified. It would be policy, some suppose, to conceal this. This great Teacher, this Promised One, this Divine Man-forHe was Man, yet God, perfect God and perfect Man-actually died a felon's death! He was taken by wicked hands, scourged, mocked,made to carry His Cross, and then on Calvary was fastened to the tree and there He died. But we must tell you the interpretationwhich lends a charm to the information. He died there as a Substitute for man. He had no guilt of His own, but He was appointedby God to bear all the sins of all His people- of all men, in fact, who will believe on Him! He was punished that they mightnot be punished. He bore the penalty for all Believers, that they might be released from the dread punishment that justicedemanded of them. He did, in fact, go up to that tree with the load of all the guilt of all who had believed and all who shouldbelieve piled upon His shoulders! And owing to the excellence of His Nature, being God, His sufferings made Atonement forall the guilt of all that vast multitude! It was as much a vindication of God's Justice as if all those ten thousand timesten thousand had been cast into Hell forever. Here was the fact. The punishment due to all those souls was put into one bittercup and Jesus, on the Cross, put that cup to His lips and-
"At one tremendous draught of love He drank damnation dry"
-drank to the very dregs all the wrath which God had towards His offending, sinful, guilty and condemned people! And theywere, therefore, clear. This is the great Doctrine of the Cross. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, notimputing their trespasses unto them." When taken down from the Cross, He was laid in a tomb. There His sacred body remainedfor three days but on the morning of the third day, by His own Eternal Power and Godhead, He rose again from the grave, sinceHe could not be held by the bands of death. And now He lives-henceforth He ever lives! At this moment, the Man who was bornof the Virgin at Bethlehem, who was put to death in weakness by Pontius Pilate, but was raised in power having ascended onhigh after His Resurrection, sits at the right hand of the Father, whereas Man, though God, He incessantly pleads with Godfor us, and by His eternal merit saves as many as put their trust in Him. These are historical facts which the Gospel holdsforth to be surely believed. Some think them old wives' fables. Let them think so-they miss the benefit which simple faithwould certainly confer. On their own heads be the blame, for on their own souls will come the smart! Many of us can vouch,with our hands on our breasts, that we have proved the Truth of all that is written in the Book. These precious Truths ofGod have exerted a potent spell over our own lives. Our believing them has enabled us to overcome our passions and it hasbeen the leverage which has lifted us up out of our depravity. These verities are our unfailing solace while as creatureswe are subject to vanity-and in the hour of death they shall be our succor and support as tens of thousands before us havefound them to be! With the history of Jesus thus clearly in our view, let us now ask-
II. WHAT ARE THE CLAIMS OF JESUS?
He claims, as the Ever-Living One, that we should accept Him as being what He professes to be, if we would derive any benefitfrom Him. He professes to be the Messiah, anointed and commissioned of God. Do you believe that? Reading the prophecies concerningHim, can you see how exactly He fits them as the key fits the wards of the lock? If you see that, I am glad. Moreover, Hedemands that you should receive Him as God. This is His profession, that He is God Over All, blessed forever, God Incarnate.He trod the waves of the Lake of Gennesaret. He raised the dead. He healed the sick. He multiplied the loaves and fishes.He stayed the winds. He lulled the storm. He has done all things that only God can do! He was Almighty, even here below asa Man. Accept Him, then, as very God. If you do so intelligently, sincerely, I am glad. And now will you accept Him as yourPriest, and none upon earth beside? To have Him, you must renounce all else, for know of a surety our High Priest will notstand side by side with any other priest! Resort to Him only for Atonement, for intercession, for benediction. He offeredHimself as a Sacrifice, gave Himself up for the sins of His people. Believe in Him as your Priest, and in His sufferings anddeath as your Sacrifice. Away, you priests of Rome! Begone, you priests of every other order! Away with every vain pretenderto the priesthood! To Him who has entered into the holy place not made with hands pertains the exclusive privilege of thepriesthood! Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only Priest over the house of God. His people become priests through Him-everyoneof them. Yes, kings and priests after the Melchisedec type, but we acknowledge no priestcraft now. The religion of Jesus disavowsand denounces all prelatic pretences. It proclaims forever the putting down of the hierarchy of men, with all their emptyconceits and their inflated arrogance, their frocks and their robes, their lawn sleeves and their fine millinery, their vainboasting and their sanctimonious finger play-with all the preternatural influence that is supposed to emanate from a bishop'shands! Jesus is the only Priest!
Will you take Him to be such? Then I rejoice that you are thus enlightened! Yet know that He claims to be your King. You mustdo what He bids you. You must be His subject, observe His statutes and keep His commandments. Are you His subject? He willbe your Friend. You shall even be His brother or sister and you shall live near to Him as one dear to Him, in affectionatecommunion with Him. Though He is in Heaven, yet will He reveal Himself to you on earth. Now, are you willing to accept Himas such-your Prophet, so that you shall believe what He teaches you? Your Priest, so that you shall confide in His mediation.Your King, so that you shall serve Him. And oh, in what accents of tenderness does Jesus claim that we should trust Him! Thisis a blessed message to some of you who may not have heard it before. If you will but trust this glorious Man, this blessedGod, you shall this moment be saved! To trust Him is what He demands. He said, "I am God; rely upon Me implicitly. I am perfectMan. I died for My enemies out of love to them. I have all power given to Me in Heaven and in earth, and with My blood sprinkledon My Father's Throne, I reign supreme in the realm of mercy. Only trust Me, and I will save you-save you from the guilt ofthe past, save you from the power of passion in your soul, save you from the dominion of sin-and in the future I will changeyou. I will make you a new man. I will give you a new heart and a right spirit. All of My Grace shall be yours, if you willbut trust Me."
Even the power to trust Jesus-He gives-for it is all of His Grace from first to last! But whoever trusts Him shall be saved.My Master has a right to this, and nothing short of this will He take, for these are His own words, "Go you into all the worldand preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; He that believes not shall be damned."He does not admit of any medium! You must either believe or not believe-and if you believe not, His wrath falls upon you."He that believes not has made God a liar because he has not believed on His Son, Jesus Christ." "He that believes on Him isnot condemned, but he that believes not is condemned already." "He that believes on Him shall never perish; he shall nevercome into condemnation, for he has passed from death unto life." I do hope I am making this plain. It is my fervent desireand my heart's prayer that you may all know the Gospel if you never knew it before. If you have known it before, I would thatyou might discern it more clearly. Should you reject it, the fault shall not be mine. God is my witness-I have eschewed everyidea of trying to be eloquent or oratorical in my preaching! I care nothing whatever about the gaudy show of speechmaking.I only want to tell you these Truths of God in unvarnished speech. It may be that they awaken prejudice and you who listento them, perhaps, are saying they are dull and trite. Such trite truisms, however, contain the very pith and marrow of theGospel whereby you can be guided to Heaven! Dull as you may account them, if rejected, dark and dreary, indeed, will be theruin of your souls. I charge you, therefore, before Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead, that you rememberthese few simple things, seeing they involve your hope or your despair, your salvation or your condemnation for eternity!Door of Heaven, there is none but this! Gate of Paradise, there is none beside it! "God was in Christ reconciling the worldunto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation." He has devisedfor us a way of redemption. Trusting in Him, we shall be saved! Rejecting Him, we are lost!
Jesus claims of you that you do not trust in yourselves. That you do not think that you are good enough. That you should notimagine that you ever can be good enough of yourselves. That you rely not in any ceremonies. That you will not depend uponany man. That you do not encourage a hope of Heaven by any reasoning or resolution of your own, but that you just put yoursole trust in Him! Though it seems too good to be true, yet true it is, that if you are the worst of sinners, defiled withvilest lusts and degraded with heaviest crimes-though your sins are of scarlet dye, and their remembrance haunts you likeghostly specters-yet if you will trust in Jesus, whom God has set forth for a Propitiation, you shall have perfect forgivenessfrom God, the eternal Father, and power shall be given you to overcome those very trespasses to which you were prone, thatyou fall not into them again! Oh, glorious Gospel of the ever-blessed God! Would that men had hearts to receive and welcomeits gracious provisions!
III. THE BLESSINGS WHICH JESUS CHRIST BRINGS TO ALL WHO TRUST HIM.
This may well exceed our power to enumerate them. "By this Man is preached unto you forgiveness of sins. "Not lenience, butpardon-the forgiveness of all sins! From your childhood to your old age! The sins of fourscore years, if you have lived solong! Your public misdemeanors, your private trespasses, your overt acts, your secret thoughts, your uttered words, your smotheredwishes-the whole catalog all unrolled of your transgressions and obliquities shall be at once blotted out from the book ofGod's remembrance, if you trust in Jesus Christ! They shall not be laid to your charge. However black the list, or long theinventory, do but trust in this Man and they shall be all forgiven you! He that confesses his sin and comes to Jesus shallfind mercy, shall find mercy now! Is there one here who feels his guilt? What grateful news this must be to his aching heart!I wish that you all knew how guilty you have been, and how deeply stained you are. A real broken-hearted sinner is a gem whereveryou meet with him. There is no music in the world like the notes of pardon to the conscience-stricken self-convicted sinner!Jesus gives pardon for all sin. To those that believe in Him, He gives immediate pardon-not pardon in prospective, not pardonto be revealed when you come to die, but pardon now-pardon reaching sins yet to come, pardon comprehending the whole of yoursinful life, given into your hands to be read by the eye of your faith and to be as distinctly known as though it were deliveredto you on parchment written by an angel's hand, sealed with the Savior's blood! Christ Jesus will give a pardon which shallnever be revoked! A pardon that cannot hereafter be cancelled. God never plays fast and loose with men. Whom He once pardons,He never condemns. If He pronounce a man forgiven, forgiven he is and forgiven he shall be when the world is on a blaze! Whatunspeakable joy shall fill the soul of him who hails this hallowed hour a pardon from the skies! His burden gone! His manaclesstruck off! His fetters loosed! The fever cured! His health restored! How he will leap with delight! Dance with pleasure andsing with holy mirth! Believe in the slain but ever-living Son of God, poor Sinner, and this heavenly rapture shall be yoursto prove!
This is a pardon of pure good will that retains no dregs of animosity. A man forgives his child and foregoes the rod, buthe may say, "I shall not forget your conduct, for in the future I cannot trust you." But when God forgives, He does not reproach.He takes the prodigal to His bosom. He does not seat him at the end of the table to remind him of his waywardness, but Hekills the fatted calf for him to convince him of his welcome! In some of us who were the very chief of sinners, He puts suchconfidence that He gives a commission to preach the Gospel to others by which we are saved ourselves-and sends us about thebusiness which lies nearest to His heart-and most concerns His own Glory. Oh, yes, it is a blessed pardon which sweeps thewhole extent of human ruin and redeems us, restores us and recoups us for the losses we sustained by sinning! And not onlyso, but by Him, by Jesus, all who believe are justified as well as forgiven-justified from all things which we could not bejustified by the Law of Moses. Here we have a comparison, or rather a contrast. What does this mean? When men came to thealtar, according to the Law of Moses, they brought a bullock which they offered for their sin. This done, with what feelingswould they depart from the altar? Conscious of guilt the man came- convinced that he had complied with a statute, he wentaway. But his conscience was not cleansed! The stain was not removed. Though the blood of the beast quieted some of his scruplesand eased some of his terrors, it did not, could not, give him perfect peace! He must have known that the blood of bulls andgoats, and the ashes of a heifer could not take away sin, neither could it atone for its guilt or eradicate its venom.
By so much is the Gospel of Christ better than the Law of Moses. If you will come and trust Christ, you shall feel that youare no longer guilty! Up till now you have lived in guilt and sin. Henceforth the whole force of sin upon the conscience shallbe gone! You shall have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord! You shall feel that for the past it is so obliteratedthat you have it no longer on your conscience. You can sing-
"Thro' Jesus' blood, I'm clean." What a mercy this is-this perfect cleansing of the conscience from guilt! He that come tothe altar under Moses' Law did not always feel that he could come to God. The blood was sprinkled and there was the way ofaccess-but only the High Priest went within the veil once in the year. The Law of Moses could not so justify a man as to lethim have access to the Mercy Seat, but Jesus Christ so justifies His people that they come right up to God and speak to Himas a child to a father! They tell Him all their needs and weaknesses, all their gratitude and joy. Into His very ears theypour out their loving hearts. How sweet the access of the creature, man, to his Covenant God, when once he knows Christ! Ido avow that some of us have as truly talked with God as ever we spoke to men-and have been as sure that we were in the Presenceof our heavenly Father, and as conscious of that wonderful overshadowing as ever we have been conscious that we have beenin fellowship with any man or woman born! Oh, if you did but know it, God would not seem far off from you when you once trustedChrist! You would not think of Him as the God of Thunder driving His rattling car over the sky with a flashing spear of lightning,but you would sing of Him-
"The God that rules on high,
And thunders when He pleases,
That rides upon the stormy sky
And manages the seas.
This awful God is ours,
Our Father and our Love-
He will send down His heavenly powers
To carry us above."
You would see Him everywhere about you with the eyes of your spirit and rejoice in Him!
They who came by the Law of Moses to the altar were not justified from apprehensions of the future-but each worshipper, ashe went home after all the killing of lambs, and rams, and bullocks-was afraid to die. But he that trusts in Jesus feels that,as far as the future is concerned, he is perfectly secure. "Now," he says, "God has promised to save those who trust Christ.I trust Christ-God must save me. He is bound by His Justice to do so." On the lion of Justice rides the fair maid of Faith,and she has no fear! While God is just, no disciple of Jesus can be destroyed! What if Justice charges me with being a sinner?I reply, "'Tis true I am, and yet I am not amenable to judgment, for all my sins are taken from me. They were laid on my blessedSurety! I have not one left. Christ has been punished for my sins-shall two be punished for one offense? Shall my Substitutedie, and I die, too? Shall Christ be condemned and I be condemned, too, for the one and same offense? God is not so unjustas to punish first the Substitute, and then the man for whom the Substitute stood."
Oh, this is something to roll back on! This is a pillow for an aching head! This is a safe boat to sail in amidst the stormsof life and across the seas of death. Jesus Christ in my place, outside the gate of the city, poured out His heart's bloodas God's great Victim! I trust in Him. Trusting in Him, I cannot perish! He has sworn and will not change His mind! By twoImmutable things wherein it is impossible for God to lie, He has given strong consolation to them who flee for refuge to thehope set before them in the Gospel! Oh, Beloved, surely we can live on this promise, and on this promise die!
Would to God that you all trusted Him! May full many of you trust Him now for the first time. The preaching of this Gospelis trustworthy because the promise is trustworthy. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God tosalvation to everyone who believes. Do you believe? Say, "Yes," or, "No," for there are signs following in either case. Say"Yes," and say it now! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ACTS 13:14-42.
Verses 14, 15. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath,and sat down. And after reading of the Law and the Prophets. From which there were always two appointed lessons, one fromthe writings of Moses, and another from one of the Prophets. And on this day it was probably the First Chapter of the Bookof Deuteronomy, or the First Chapter of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah-"the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them."
15. The rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, You men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for thepeople, say on. They were seen to be Jews who were traveling, and they were invited by the minister who conducted the service,to stand up and say anything they had to say. "Then Paul stood up and, beckoning with his hand, said-
16. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and you that fear God, give audience. You, who, thoughGentiles, have come to worship Jehovah, God of Israel-"men of Israel."
17. 18. The God ofthispeople ofIsrael chose our fathers, and exalted thepeople when they dwelt as strangers in the land ofEgypt,and with an high arm brought He them out ofit. And about the time offorty years suffered He their manners in the wilderness.You that are familiar with your Bibles will be struck with the great likeness of this sermon by Paul to that of Stephen. Itseems to run on the same lines. Stephen gave the history of Israel to the Israelites. Paul does the same. Ah, we can nevertell how great was the influence of that dying Stephen upon this living Paul! Paul is the continuation of Stephen. His bloodwas not lost in that day when they stoned him to death. From his ashes sprang this mighty preacher of the Word of God!
19-22. And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He divided their land to them by lot And after thatHe gave unto them judges for about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the Prophet And afterwards theydesired a king: and God gave unto them Saul, the Son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space offorty years.And when He had removed him, He raised up unto them, David, to be their king; to whom also He gave testimony, and said, Ihave found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, which shall fulfill all My will All this would be very pleasingto the Jews. They were never weary of hearing the ancient history of themselves as a chosen people. Paul ingratiates himselfwith them. The Gospel that he had to preach was bitter to them, but he gilds the pill!
And we must do what we can lawfully and properly do to win the attention of men and their kindly feeling to us, although wemust faithfully preach the Gospel. Now he got as far as David into history. Now we will step to Christ.
23-25. Of this man's seed has God according to His promise raised unto Israel a Savior-Jesus-after John had first preachedbefore His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom thinkyou that I am? I am not He. But, behold, there comes One after me, whose shoes of His feet I am not worthy to loosen. He bringsin the testimony of John, who was universally respected among them. They regarded him as the last of the Prophets, and soPaul still tries to win their kind feelings.
26, 27. Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whoever among you fears God, to you is the word of this salvationsent For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the Prophets whichare read every Sabbath, they have fulfilled them in condemning Him. Not knowing it, they have fulfilled the prophecies ofold in condemning Jesus, the Son of David!
28, 29. And though they found no cause of death in Him, yet desired they Pilate that He should be slain. And when they hadfulfiled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulcher. You see he has giventhe story of Christ-His life, His death, His burial, His Resurrection.
30, 31. And He was seen many days of them which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses unto thepeople. He does not expect them to believe without proofs, but he adduces the proof of the Resurrection in the many witnesseswho saw Him after He had risen.
32-37. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God has fulfilled the sameunto us, their children, in that He has raised up Jesus again: as it is also written in the Second Psalm, You are My Son,this day have I begotten You. And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption,He said on this wise, I will give You the sure mercies of David. Therefore He also says in another Psalm, You will not allowYour Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, andwas laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption. But He, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. So that David was not speakingof himself, but he was speaking of another and higher David, his greater Son, the Son of God, begotten of the Father!
38. Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins- Now theyhave it. Now he brings it out very clearly, indeed! Glad tidings are now ringing in their ears!
39. And by Him all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses. Thesins which the Law of Moses did not propose to touch, yes-all sins which the Law of Moses could only typically remove-allthese sins are now really taken away by this glorious Son!
40. 41. Beware, therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken of in the Prophets: Behold, you despisers, and wonder,andperish: for I work a work in your days, a work which you shallin no wise believe, though one were to declare it unto you.You cannot imagine anything more appropriate to the occasion, more properly set forth, more bold, more clear-but these menwere not prepared to receive it.
42. And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them thenext Sabbath. They are earnest hearers who want to hear the same sermon again! But perhaps they did not expect to hear thesame words, but to get the same sense and have it explained more fully that they might the better grasp it. Oh, what a mercyit is when the congregation is going away, if there are some that stay behind, anxious to learn more!