Sermon 571. Unbelievers Stumbling-Believers Rejoicing
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 22, 1864, BY THE REV. C, H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"As it is written, Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense: and whoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed."Romans 9:33.
OUR Apostle was inspired of God and yet he was moved to quote passages out of the Old Testament. The Spirit of God might havedictated new words to him. He might have shown him how to confirm the Truth by other arguments, but He is not pleased to doso. He moves His servant to establish the presentTruth by Truths formerly revealed and thus He sets us an example of searching the Scriptures and prizing the ancient Oraclesof God. The passage before us appears to be composed of two Scriptures woven into one, a method not very infrequent with theApostles. A part of the textbefore us is found in Isaiah 28:16.
The Apostle does not quote verbatim, but gives us rather the sense than the words-"Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundationa stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not make haste." But the Apostleinlays this word of Prophecy with another,selecting this time from Isaiah 8:14-"And He shall be for a sanctuary. But for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel." Icannot help making an observation or two upon these passages before I come to the text before us.
In Isaiah 8:14 you will perceive a striking proof of Christ's Divinity. Observe the thirteenth verse-"Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself.And let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread. And He," that is the Lord of Hosts, "shall be for a sanctuary" to Believers,"but a stone of stumblingand for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel." Isaiah utters a prophecy of the Lord of hosts. Paul quotes it inreference to the Lord Jesus Christ, plainly intending us to infer that the Lord Jesus Christ is no other than Jehovah Himself!
We learn from the other passage another Truth of God which serves more closely to illustrate our text. In Isaiah 28:16, we read, "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone." The Apostle has omitted the words "for a foundation," and hasinserted the words of the other passage, "a stumblingstone, a rock of offense." But the original prophecy in Isaiah serves to show us that God's real object in laying Christin Zion was not that men might stumble at Him, but that He might be a foundation for their hopes. The real object of God wasthat Christ might be the cornerstoneof human confidence.
But the result has been that to one set of men, renewed by Almighty Grace, Christ has become a sanctuary of refuge and a stoneof dependence. And to others left to their own depravity He has become a rock of offense and a stumbling stone-thus the remarksupon the primitive Scriptures whichPaul quotes. And now let us come to the verse itself. Our text tells us that many persons stumble at Christ. And, then,secondly, it assures us that those who receive Christ and believe in Him, shall have no cause to be ashamed.
I. The first declaration needs no proof, for observation itself teaches us that MANY STUMBLE AT CHRIST. No sooner was Godmanifest in the flesh, than mortals began to stumble at Him. "Is not this the carpenter's son?" was the question of thosewho looked for worldly pomp and imperial grandeur. "Hisfather and His mother we know, and His brothers and His sisters, are they not all with us?" was the whispered objectionof His own townsmen. In His own country the greatest of all Prophets had no honor. Our Lord was rejected by all sorts of men.They looked at Him from differentquarters, but all with the same scornful eye.
The Pharisee stumbled at Him because He was not superstitions and ostentatious. Indeed, He did not wash His hands before Heate! Nor did He pray at the corner of the streets! Why, He entered into the company of publicans and sinners! He did not makebroad His phylactery. He healed the sick upon theSunday! He had no respect for traditions and therefore every righteous Pharisee abhorred Him. The Sadducee, on the otherhand, much as He hated Pharisaic superstition, despised Christ equally as much. His objections were shot from quite anotherquarter. To him Christ was toosuperstitious, for the Sadducee would not believe in angels or spirits, or the resurrection of the dead-all which beliefsthe Prophet of Nazareth openly avowed.
Philosophical skepticism detested Jesus because His teaching had in it very much of the supernatural element. All His lifelong, in the high courts of Herod or of Pilate, or in the lowest rank of the mob of Judea, Christ was despised and rejectedof men. They had long ago persecuted all theProphets whom the Lord had sent and it was little marvel that they now assailed the Master Himself. "We have piped untoyou and you have not danced. We have mourned unto you and you have not lamented," might all the Prophets of God say, for Israelreceived neither the lonely man,whose meat was locusts and wild honey, nor the more genial Spirit who came eating and drinking.
They put all God's Prophets away and would have none of their rebukes. And when the Son Himself had come, they said, "Thisis the Heir, let us kill Him, that the inheritance may be ours." The Jews, with one voice rejected Him, save only the remnant,according to the election of Grace. But the Jewis not alone in his offense at the Cross. We know that when the Gospel was carried afterwards to the Gentiles, Christ Crucifiedwas a stumbling stone to them. The polished Greeks, with their various systems of philosophy, expected in the Messiah deepthinking and classic taste. Butwhen they heard Paul preach the resurrection of the dead, they saw nothing flattering to their philosophy and thereforethey openly mocked him.
While the Jew gathered up his broad-bordered garment and called Christ a stumbling block, the Greek marched off to his classictemple or to his scientific academe and cried, "Foolishness! The men who talk thus must be mad!" In every age, even to thepresent time, wherever Jesus Christ is preached,the human heart at once has been stirred with wrath against Him. God's ambassador has found men unwilling to receive thepeace which he proclaims. God's dear Son, who came with no words but those of mercy and of tenderness, has been abhorred andrejected by the very men whom He cameto bless. "He came unto His own and His own received Him not."
However, we have very little to do with these past ages-we have far more to do with the present and with ourselves. And itis a sad thing to know that among this assembly, though I suppose we all call ourselves Christians, there are many who stillfind Christ Jesus to be a stumbling stone tothem and a rock of offense. It is a lamentable fact that there are hundreds of thousands in London to whom the Gospel ofChrist is as little known as to Hindus or Tartars. Christ is not a stumbling block to these-they are unaware of Him and thereforethey have not the guiltwhich some of you have-of having heard of Him and having rejected Him.
Among the present assembly there are some who stumble at Christ because of His holiness. He is too strict for them. They wouldbe Christians but they cannot renounce their sensual pleasures. They would be washed in His blood, but they desire still toroll in the mire of sin. Willing enough, themass of men would be to receive Christ, if, after receiving Him, they might continue in their drunkenness, their wantonnessand self-indulgence. But Christ lays the axe at the root of the tree-He tells them that these things must be given up-"becauseof these thingscomes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience," and, "without holiness no man can see the Lord."
Human nature kicks at this. "What? May I not enjoy one darling lust? May I not indulge myself at least now and then in thesethings? Must I altogether forsake my old habits and my old ways? Must I be made a new creature in Christ Jesus?" These areterms too hard, conditions too severe, and so thehuman heart goes back to the flesh pots of Egypt and clings to the garlic and the onions of the old estate of bondage andwill not be set free even though a greater than Moses lifts up the rod to part the sea and promises to give to them a Canaanflowing with milk and honey. Christoffends men because His Gospel is intolerant of sin.
Others stumble at our blessed Lord because they do not like the plan of being saved altogether and alone through faith. HaveI any such here? I suppose I have. They say, "What? Are our good works to go for nothing? Is there nothing that we can doto assist in our salvation? You tell us that it istrusting in Christ alone without anything else which justifies the soul. Then we do not understand it, or if we understandit we do not like it." This is too humbling, too simple, too easy. "Why," says the man who has always been to his parish Churchor to his Meeting House, whoowes nobody anything and is kind to the poor-"Why, then I am no better off than the harlot who walks the pavement at midnight!Or the thief who is spending his month at the treadmill."
You are no better off, my Hearer, as to your eternal salvation if you refuse to believe in Christ! The damnation of the openlyungodly is sure, but so is yours, if, after having heard the plan of salvation you turn upon your heels and despise it becauseyou prefer your own righteousness to therighteousness of God! Ah, how many are shipwrecked upon this rock, swallowed up in this quicksand? They would be saved butthey will not bow the knee. They are not content to take God's salvation by faith in Christ Jesus and so they perish throughtheir willful pride.
I have known others who stumble at Christ because of the doctrine which He preaches, more especially the Doctrines of Grace.There will come into this House, some who, if we preach a sermon upon Christian virtue, will say, "I enjoyed that discourse."But if we preach Christ and begin to talk aboutthe deep doctrines which lie underneath the Gospel, such as election, effectual calling, and eternal and immutable love,straightway they are angry almost to the gnashing of their teeth. They would have Christ, they say, but they cannot acceptthese doctrines. "What? God saves whomHe wills and not so much as ask the creature's permission? Shall He do just as He pleases with us as a potter does withlumps of clay? Are we to be told to our face that it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that showsmercy? We cannot endure this-wewill betake ourselves to some place where man is made more of and where God is not set so high above our heads!"
Ah, but my Friend, Jesus Christ will not shape His doctrine to please you, nor tone down the Truth of Scripture to suit yourcarnal taste. Mark you, it is in the ninth of Romans that my text is found, and in that ninth of Romans you have the mostplain and bold declaration anywhere on recordconcerning the Sovereignty of Divine Grace and if you choose to make that Sovereignty a reason for not believing in Christyou will perish for your pains. And, perish deservedly, too, because you will quarrel with God's Word and damn your own soulto be avenged on God's Sovereignty.
But indeed, my dear Friends, when sinners are resolved to object to Christ, it is the easiest thing in the world to find somethingto object to. I have met with some who stumble at Christ's people. They will say, "Well, I would believe in Christ, but lookat professors! See how inconsistent theyare! See many Church members, in what an unholy way they walk and even some ministers," and then they will begin to quotevarious faults of some of God's eminent servants and they think this is an excuse for going to Hell themselves, because othersdo not walk straight in the way toHeaven!
O, will you send your soul to Hell because another man is not all he should be? What if David falls and David is restored,is this any reason why you should fall and never be restored? What if some pilgrims to Heaven do turn into Bypath Meadow andhave to come limping back into the road-isthis a reason why you should follow the road to the City of Destruction? I think, Man, that this should only make you themore diligent to make your calling and election sure! The shipwrecks of others should make you sail more carefully. The bankruptciesof other men should make youtrade with greater diligence and humility. To quote the defects of others as a reason why you should continue in the errorof your ways is a fool's method of reasoning! Take heed, lest you find out your folly in the flames of Hell!
The real objection of the natural man is not, however, to God's people, nor to the plan of salvation itself, so much as toChrist. The rock of offense is Christ-to the Person of Christ. You will not have this Man to reign over you! You are not willingthat He should wear the crown and haveall the honor of your salvation. You had rather perish in your sin than that Jesus Christ should be magnified in your salvation.This is a severe charge, you will tell me. If it is not true, I pray you prove it false by believing in Jesus! If you haveno objection to Christ, acceptHim! Sinner, I charge you, if you say you do not stumble at Christ, then lay hold upon Him! If He is not obnoxious to you,clasp Him in your arms now!
Why, Man, if you are in your senses, since Christ can save you with an eternal salvation, you will certainly grasp Him, unlessthere is some objection in the way. And because you do not lay hold of Him, I tell you there is some hindrance in your sinfulheart-an offense at Christ which will beyour ruin unless God delivers you from it. Now may God help me to reason a few minutes with those who are not believersin Christ, who have made Him a stumbling stone and a rock of offense.
Dear Friend, let me come close to you and take your hand and talk with you. Have you ever considered how much you insult Godthe Father by rejecting Christ? If you were invited to a man's feast and you should come to the table and dash down everydish and throw them on the ground and trample onthem, would not this be an insult? If you were a poor beggar at the door and a rich man had bid you into his feast out ofpure charity, what do you think you would deserve if you had treated his provisions in this way? And yet this is just yourcase. God owes you nothing. You are apoor sinner without any claim upon Him and yet He has been pleased to prepare a table for you. His oxen and His fatlingshave been killed and now you will not come!
No! You do worse! You raise objections to the feast! You despise the pleasant land and the goodly provision of God! Just thinkat what an expense the provision of salvation has been made! The eternal Father gave His Son. Hark you-His Well-Beloved, theDarling of His heart, His onlySon-He gave Him to DIE, and do you despise such a Gift as this? What do you think? Would it not bring the blood into yourface if you should give your only son to fight for your country and they to whom he was given should despise you and yourgift? If out of some superhumanpatriotism for your country's good you should even slay your son, would it not cut you to the quick if men should laughat you and scoff the deed?
And yet such you do to the eternal Father, who for the love of men has rent His Darling from His bosom, nailed Him to thetree and filled Him with unutterable pains. You despise the unspeakable gift, the richest deed of bounty which even the infiniteheart of God could have imagined, or theinfinite hand of God could have performed! You despise all this! You touch God, let me tell you, in the apple of His eye.You do now wound Him in the most tender part! You might better have run upon the edge of His sword or dashed yourself uponthe bosses of His buckler than todespise and reject His Only-Begotten Son, slaughtered for human guilt!
Think again, what a proof is here of your sinfulness and how readily will you be condemned at the last when this sin is writtenon your forehead. Why, Man, there will be no reason to bring up any other sins against you! The book in which your faultshave been recorded scarcely need be opened, forthis, alone, will be enough! You have made Christ a stumbling block, you have objected to God's dear Son-why need we anyother witness? Out of this one mouth you shall be condemned-"You did abhor the Prince of Glory. You did refuse Him your heart"-takehim back tothe place from where he came. What if he has never been an adulterer or a whoremonger, yet is not this enough? Does notthis show the blackness of the traitor's heart and the vileness of his character? He would not have Christ! He made the foundationwhich God laid in Zion, "a stoneof stumbling and a rock of offense." What do you think of this, my Hearer?
Moreover, as this will be a swift witness to condemn you, how will this increase your misery? Do you think God will be tenderover you when you have not been tender with His Son? When He shall cast you into Hell, will He make the flames less hot? Doyou think His vengeance will be cool towards theman who stumbled at His Son? No! But this shall whet the edge of His sword. "This traitor did do despite unto the bloodof Christ." He will pour oil upon the flames. "This man made My Only-Begotten Son to be a stumbling stone. And now will Iprove to him that whoever stumbles uponthis stone shall be broken and upon whomever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder."
Do you think that a king would be any the more inclined to be merciful towards a traitor if he knew that that traitor haddespised his son? No. I think the sentence would be the more severe. Ah, Sinner! If all other sinners escape, you who haveheard the Gospel shall not. If God's arrows miss othersinners, they shall strike you! You shall be the special object of almighty vengeance because you were disobedient, stumblingat this stumbling stone. Think again, Man, will not this seat the eternity of your woe? How can you escape if you neglectso great a salvation? You havebroken down the only bridge which could have led you into safety! You have pulled down the only refuge which could haveprotected you from Divine wrath-"There remains no more sacrifice for sin."
How can there be? Do you think when you are in Hell that Christ will come a second time to die for you? Will He pour out Hisblood again to bring you from the place of torment? Man, do you have so vain an imagination as to dream that there will bea second ransom offered for those who have notescaped the wrath to come, and that God the Holy Spirit will again come and strive with sinners who aforetime willfullyrejected Him? No, inasmuch as even your Savior is objected to and you put eternal life from you and the foundation itselfis a stumbling stone, there can remainnothing for you but a fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation.
And now one other word with you. Does not this view of the case make your heart tremble? Is it not enough to have broken God'sLaw? Why do you go the length of despising His Son? O my eyes! If you could weep forever you could never weep tears enough,because once you refused to look to Him who isnow your daily joy. Is not this one of the worst sins we shall have to confess? And O Sinner, will not you confess it now?Will not this thought break your heart-that you have up to now despised the altogether lovely and loving One? May the Spiritof God drive that home as anail in a sure place, and I think you will turn to the Redeemer and say, "My Lord and my God, forgive me that I have dealtso un- kindly with You. Accept me, receive me to Your bosom. Wash me in Your blood. Take me to be Your servant and save mewith a great salvation."
Happy is the man who has been brought by Divine Grace thus to confess his fault and stumble no longer. After all, what isthere to stumble at? O my Hearer, why should you reject Christ? He is not a hard taskmaster-"His yoke is easy and His burdenis light." Why should you refuse your ownmercy? To be saved-is that a misfortune? To be cleansed from sin-is this a calamity? To be made a child of God-is that adisadvantage? To escape from Hell and fly to Heaven-is not this the most desirable of all mercies? Why, then, despise Christ?It isunreasonable! God deliver you from this unreasonable sin and bring you now to accept Christ with a perfect heart and Heshall be praised for it forever.
II. I shall now try, by the help of God's Spirit, to explain the second part-the more comforting part of the text, "WHOEVERBELIEVES ON HIM SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED." He shall be ashamed to think he did not believe be-fore-he shall be ashamed to thinkhe does not believe more firmlynow-he shall often feel shame and confusion of face on account of his ingratitude and his sinfulness and his wandering ofheart. But the text means he shall not be ashamed of having trusted Christ. He that believes on Christ shall never have anycause to be ashamed of sodoing.
1. In handling this I shall first of all notice when those who trust Christ might be ashamed of having trusted Him. Well mightthey be ashamed if Christ should ever leave them. If it should ever come to this, that He who is the husband of my heart,should desert me and leave me a lone widow in theworld. If, after having said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," He should after all take Himself away and neverindulge His servant with one smile from His face, I should then, indeed, have reason to be ashamed of having put my trustin such a fickle Savior.
The Arminian's christ is one whom they have good reason to be ashamed of because he redeems men with his precious blood andyet they go to Hell. The Arminian's christ loves today but hates tomorrow. He saves by grace, but that grace is dependentupon man's use of grace. He does bring men out of astate of condemnation and he does justify them-but, after all, he lets them go back into a state of condemnation and theystill perish! But the Christian's Christ is a very different Person, whom once He loves He never leaves, but loves them tothe end. Where He has begun agood work He carries it on and perfects it.
The Christian's Christ can say, "I give unto My sheep eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck themout of My hands." Until the Christian finds that the Grace of God is clean gone, that Christ's love has ceased, he shall neverhave any cause to be ashamed. Again, theChristian would have cause to doubt if Christ were to fail him, either as to Providence or Grace, in his times of trialand temptation. When in the midst of the rivers, if the Lord does not sustain me, I shall have cause to blush for my hope.If, walking through the fires the flamesdo kindle upon me and I do not find the Lord to be my present help in the time of trouble, then I am put to shame.
O Beloved, when will this happen? In six troubles He has been with you and in seven no evil has touched you. You have beenbrought very low! You could not have been much lower unless you had been in your grave. You have been very poor, scarcelyhaving bread to eat, or raiment to put on! Everythingin which you trusted has been cut from under you. You are left orphans in the world, with the exception of your Father whichis in Heaven. But still, for all that, has not your bread been given you? Have not your waters been sure? And today must notyour testimony be concerning Godthat He has been a Friend who sticks closer than a brother? Well, then, you never need be ashamed, because there never shallcome a time when He shall leave you to perish through stress of trials or suffer you to be destroyed by the force of temptations.
Again, a Christian would have cause to be ashamed if Christ's promises were not fulfilled. They are very rich and very fulland there are very many of them-and if I take these promises and act upon God's Word and then, after all, find the promiseto be mere waste paper-if the Lordbreaks His own Oath, then I should be ashamed to have believed in an unfaithful God! But when will that be? Christian, hasthe time come with you yet? You have had promises applied with power to your heart and you have taken them to God in prayer.Let me appeal to your experience!Have they not been fulfilled beyond your expectation or your faith? Has not God done for you exceedingly abundantly abovewhat you can ask or think?
And yet this morning, perhaps, you are afraid His promise will not be kept! You have come here in lowness of spirit, you havehad so many troubles during the week that you really begin to be ashamed of having trusted in God. Be ashamed of yourselffor being ashamed! And depend on it, yourconfidence is not a thing to blush over. But O my Broth- ers and Sisters, how ashamed would the Christian be if when hecame to die he should find no support, no kind angels near his bed, no Savior to bear his head up amidst the billows! Buthave you ever heard of a Christian whowas ashamed in his dying hour? Is it not rather the sure witness of all the departed that their last moments have been gildedwith the sunlight of Heaven?
Have not they snug on their dying beds, with David, "Yes, though I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I willfear no evil: for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff they comfort me"? If, indeed, we could wake up in the resurrectionand find ourselves without a Savior. If we couldstand at the judgment bar of God and find that Christ's blood had not made us clean. If, after all our faith in Him, weshould hear Him say, "Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire," then might we be ashamed! But our text assures us that wenever shall have to suffer this. Let usthen roll ourselves upon this sweet comfort-having believed in Christ we shall never in this life, nor in the life to come-needto be ashamed of our hope.
2. Having noticed when the Christian might be ashamed, let us notice why he might be ashamed if such things were to come.I have sometimes thought, dear Friends, that in some respects, if the Bible were proven to be false, I should never be ashamedof having believed it. If there should be noSavior, I think that when I stand before God's Throne I shall not be ashamed of having believed the Gospel because, I think,I could dare to say even to the eternal God, "Great God, I believed of You that which reflected the highest honor upon YourCharacter. I believed You capableof a great deed of kindness, the giving of Your own Son. I believed You to be so just that You would not forgive withouta punishment and yet so gracious that You would sooner give Your Son than not have mercy upon men.
"I believed of You higher things than either Jew, or Mahommedan, or Heathen-and my soul did love You for it. I did preachwhat I thought would honor Your name and now that it turns out to be a mistake, I am not ashamed of having believed it, forit was such a thing as should have beentrue-Your Nature and your Character made it likely to be true and I mourn to think it is not, but I am not ashamed! I wishit had been. It would make You, great God, even more glorious than You are."
Beloved, we are under no apprehension that it shall turn out to be so, for we know whom we have believed and we are persuadedthat He is able to keep that which we have committed to Him. Why would a Christian be ashamed if the Gospel were untrue? Weshould be ashamed, first of all, because we haveventured our all upon its Truth. We have ventured our all upon Christ. The world says you should never put all your eggsin one basket. And when a man speculates in some one thing and it all comes down, wise people hold up their hands and say,"Ah, very imprudent, very imprudent!Better have three or four strings to your bow! You must not be depending on any one thing."
The world is quite right in human things. But here are we-we are depending everything upon one Man-my soul has not a shadowof a hope anywhere else but in Christ and I know that your spirits have not even the ghost of a shadow of dependence anywherebut in the blood and righteousness ofthat Divine Redeemer who has completed our salvation and ascended up on high. If He can fail us, then all our hopes aregone! We are, of all men, most miserable. If our hope should turn out to be a delusion, we should be foolish, indeed, andhave reason to be ashamed of our hope.
We should be ashamed, again, because we have given up this life for the next-believing in the world to come, we have said,"This is not our rest, we have no abiding city here." The world's proverb is, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."But we, on the other hand, have said that thebird in the hand is nothing at all-that the bird in the bush is everything. Our soul says, "Joy! We do not expect it here,it is there that joy is to be found." "Wealth? No man is rich on earth, riches are in Heaven, the true treasure is in Glory.""Love does not find a fitobject here-our affection is set upon things above, where Christ dwells at the right hand of God."
Now if things should turn out wrong and we have believed in vain, then we shall be ashamed of our hope, but not till then!Not till then, Beloved! And that shall be never! We know whom we have believed and we are confident that in giving up thisearth we have only given up a handful of ashes thatwe may enjoy riches and Glory forever. Again, if Christ should fail us, we should be ashamed because we began boasting beforewe had ended the battle. "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord."
I hope you can say, dear Friends, that though you have not entered Heaven and have not yet seen Christ face to face, yet youhave learned to bask in the Cross of Christ and no man has been able to stop you in your glory. You have boasted in Christ!You have said that He is a sure Foundation, thatHe is a precious Husband, that He is All in All to you and worthy of your best love! But if He should fail you, why then,you would be in the position of a man who boasted before the time. But we shall never be ashamed! We do right to boast witha full mouth! Let us glory in theLord. But oh, if He should fail us-which He never can-then were we ashamed, indeed!
Besides, we have done more than boast! You and I have actually divided the spoil! And oh, if the battle should be lost, thenwe should be ashamed! We are told that in one of the great battles on the continent in the olden times, the French, beforethe battle began, commenced selling the Englishcaptives to one another and calculated how much each man would have of the spoil. But then, fortunately, they never gainedthe victory. But you and I have already entered into our rest-we have had the earnest of our inheritance-we have begun, evenon earth, to eat theclusters of Eshcol. And if it should be a delusion we should be ashamed, but not till then. Courage, dear Friends! We maygo boldly on dividing the spoil! For while Christ is true and God is faithful, there shall be no reason for being ashamed.
I have known some ashamed when they have made a bad speculation because they have induced others to enter into it. They havebeen more ashamed to face their friends who have lost money than they have been to acknowledge that they lost themselves.You and I have been inducing others to embark inthis great venture. We have taught others to believe in Christ. And some of us scarcely spend a day without winning somesouls to confidence in Christ. Oh, sweet Assurance! We have not preached cunningly devised fables and shall never be ashamed!
3. I must crave your patience just a moment while I now pass on to notice who are they who shall never be ashamed? The answeris general and special. The text says, "Whoever believes"-that is, any man who ever lived, or ever shall live, who believesin Christ shall never be ashamed. Whetherhe has been a gross sinner or a moralist. Whether he is learned or illiterate. Whether he is a prince or a beggar, it mattersnot-"Whoever believes in Christ shall never be ashamed." You, Man, over yonder, though you may very seldom come to the Houseof God, yet if you believein Christ today you shall never be ashamed of Him. You who have sat in God's House for years and feel yourselves guiltyof having rejected Christ, yet if now you trust Him you shall not be ashamed.
But there is a specialty, it is "Whoever believes." Others shall be ashamed. There must be a real and hearty believing. Theremust be a simple confidence in the Person and work of Jesus-wherever this is there shall be no shame. "Ah," says one, "butI have such a little faith. I am afraid Ishall be confounded." No, you come in under the "Whoever"- "Whoever believes," though his faith is ever so little, shallnever be ashamed. "Ah," says another, "but I have so many doubts." Still, dear Heart, since you believe you shall not be ashamed.All your doubts and yourfears shall never damn you, for your faith will prevail.
"Oh, but," says another, "my corruption is so strong! I have come this morning lamenting because of my imperfections. Theyhave obtained the mastery of my faith and I have fallen during the week." Yes, Soul, all fallen as you are, yet if you believeyou shall never be ashamed. Does sin stare you inthe face? Do you feel very heavy under a sense of your own unworthiness? Dare to believe in Christ just as you are-sinsand all-venture on Him without any other confidence. When frames are dark and graces dead, when evidences are black, wheneverything gives you a frownand a curse, yet dare to believe in Him!
Now take Him to be your Friend when you have no other! Now flee to this Refuge when every other door is shut! Now that winterhas frozen every brook, now come and drink of this Brook which flows on forever! This Well of Bethlehem which is within thegate can never fail you! And you need not to putyour life in jeopardy to get it, it is free to you this moment! Stoop and drink confidently! Stoop and drink and you shallthirst no more, for, "Whoever believes in Him shall never be ashamed."
4. To conclude, the text means more than it says, for whereas it says they shall not be ashamed, it means that they shallbe glorified and full of honor! If you trust Christ today, it will bring you shame from men, it will ensure you trials andtroubles-but it will also ensure you honor inthe sight of God's holy angels and Glory at the last in the sight of the assembled universe! Where is the man who trustsChrist today? There he stands in the pillory and men say, "Aha! Aha! The fool! The fool! The fool! He trusts a God whom hecannot see! He believes in a Christwhom we have heard of but whom we never heard! He trusts in the blood of a crucified Galilean!
The worldling cries, "We are too wise for that! We will believe geological theories, spiritualism, or metaphysics! We willbelieve the devil himself sooner than we will believe in Christ!" So they scoff at the man who trusts Christ. The scene ischanged, the generation of the living has passed awayand the world has become one great burial field. There they lay.
Innumerable hillocks mark where the bodies of men are sleeping. The trumpet sounds, it rings clear through earth and Heavenand up from the graves rise bodies which have once been worm's meat and souls come back into those frames- and now where isthe man who trusted Christ?
The trumpet has startled them all from their tombs and they awake together-"Where is the man who trusted in Christ?" Who isit that inquires for him? The King Himself upon the Throne has asked the question! King Jesus, sitting on His judgment seat,searches for His friends-"Where is theman who trusted in Me? Bring him here." See the change, no hooting and yelling and laughter and slander now! A triumphantsquadron of bright spirits carry up the Believer to the right hand of Jesus and there he sits enthroned like Christ, sittingwith Him to judge men and angels,reigning upon Christ's Throne in all Christ's splendor!
"Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the King delights to honor," thus shall it be done to the man who puts his trustin Christ! Come, Christian, whatever may be your state today, however the world's mockery may ring in your ears, think ofthat unwilling honor which the crowd of sinners willhave to give you at the Last Great Day! Think of how your fame and reputation shall rise with your bones! And as worms cannotdevour your body to prevent your rising, so shall not slander and rebuke devour your character to prevent its rising, too!Glory shall beyours-everlasting Glory-while your enemies shall be clothed with shame and eternal contempt!
Well, what do you say, dear Hearers? On which side are you this morning? Is Christ a stumbling block to you? Will you go onstumbling at Him and objecting to Him? Do you say rather, "No, we will have Christ and trust Him." Oh, if the Lord has broughtyou to this, I will clap my hands for joy! Andyou, you Angels, strike your harps! You Seraphs! Tune your lyres anew, for there is joy in Heaven as there is joy on earthwhen a soul comes to put its trust in Christ! The Lord bring every one of us, for His name's sake. Amen. Amen.