Sermon 589. Jesus Meeting His Warriors
DELIVERED ON LORD'S DAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 11, 1864, BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed himand said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of Heaven and earth: and blessed be the Most High God, which hasdelivered your enemies into your hand. And he ga vehim tithes of all." Genesis 14:18-20.
What a splendid type is Abram, in the narrative before us, of our Lord Jesus Christ! Let us read this story of Abram in connectionwith our Savior and see how full of meaning it is. Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the abundance of His love, had taken us to beHis brothers. But we, through our sin, hadgone into the land of Sodom and Jesus Christ dwelt alone in His safety and His happiness, enjoying the Presence of God.The hosts of our enemies, with terrible force and cruel fury, carried us away captives. We were violently borne away, withall the goods which we possessed, into aland of forgetful-ness and captivity forever.
Christ, who had lost nothing by this, nevertheless being a "brother born for adversity," pursued our haughty foes. He overtookthem. He struck them with His mighty hand-He took their spoil and returned with crimsoned vesture, leading captivity captive.He restored that which He took not away.I think, as I see Abram returning from the slaughter of the four kings, I see in him a picture of a greater than Abram,returning "from Edom, with dyed garments from Boz-rah, traveling in the greatness of His strength" who answers to my inquiryof who is he? "I that speak inrighteousness, mighty to save." Abram was that righteous man raised in the East, to whom God gave his enemies as drivenstubble to his bow.
And so the Lord Jesus has driven our enemies like chaff over to the wind, for they fled at the Presence of Jehovah Jesus,and by the valor of the atoning Lamb they have been utterly broken in pieces forever. Let that thought dwell with you-it mayfurnish you with matter for meditation at yourleisure. We shall this morning rather consider Abram as the type and picture of all the faithful. He was the father of thefaithful. And in his history you have condensed-as I think- history of all faithful men. You will scarcely find a trial whichwill befall you whichhas not in some respect happened to Abraham.
I will not say that he was tempted in all points like as we are, but he was tempted in so many points that he well deservesto be called the father of the faithful-being partaker of flesh and blood even as all the children are who belong to his faithfulfamily. Observe then, in handling oursubject in this manner, that Believers are frequently engaged in warfare. Notice, secondly, that when they are thus engagedthey may expect to be met by their Lord, the great Melchizedek! And remember, thirdly, that when they are favored with aninterview with Him and are refreshedby Him as with bread and wine, then, like Abram, they consecrate themselves anew and as Abram gave tithes of all, even sodo they.
I. We mention, then, what you must all know right well by experience-you who are God's people-that the Believer is often engagedin warfare. This warfare will be both within and without-within with the innumerable natural corruptions which remain-withthe temptations ofSatan, with the suggestions of his own wicked heart. And without he will frequently be engaged in warfare, wrestling "notagainst flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, againstspiritual wickedness in highplaces."
The peculiar case of Abram leads me to remark that sometimes the Believer will be engaged in warfare, not so much on his ownaccount as on the account of erring Brethren who, having gone into ill company, are by-and-by carried away captive. It wasno quarrel of Abram's-it was Lot's matter.Lot had gone to Sodom. Instead of standing in the separated path of the true Believer he had joined himself to the world.And when evil days came Lot was carried away captive with the rest.
Abram cared little enough for the king of Sodom-I do not suppose he would have taken his sword from the sheath for all themen who dwelt in Admah or Zeboim. But for Lot's sake, seeing him in ill company and in danger, he draws the sword. And sometimes,Brethren, when we see those who areGod's servants putting themselves into alliance with evil systems, we find them carried away captive and taken where webelieve their hearts would never go. And so we feel compelled to come out and draw the sword against the common enemy of Christand of all His people. And thoughthey may heartily wish that we would let them alone in their sin and let them be quiet in their evil union, we see intowhat spiritual capacity it leads them and we cannot be silent. We must draw the sword when conscience and when God demandit and never sheath it until God's workis done.
However, this rarely occurs. For the most part the Christian spends his sword's edge upon his own spiritual foes- and trulywe have enough of these. What with pride, sloth, lust-what with the arch enemy of souls and his insinuations and blasphemies-thelust of the eyes, thepleasures of this world and the pride of life-what with enemies who come upon us even from Providence in the shape of temptationsarising out of our trials and our vocations, we ought to carry our sword always drawn! And, above all, we should ever carrythe shield of faith andtake the weapon of all-prayer.
The Christian is never to feel himself at ease so long as he is on this side of Jordan. This is an enemy's land. Expect afoe behind every bush. Look to hear the shot come whistling by and each night adore almighty Grace that you have not fallenprey to your cruel and remorseless foes. TheChristian is engaged throughout his whole life as a soldier-he is so called in Scripture-"A good soldier of Jesus Christ."And if any of you take the trouble to write out the passages of Scripture in which the Christian is described as a soldierand provision is made forhis being armed and directions given for his warfare, you will be surprised to find there are more of this character thanconcerning any other metaphor by which the Christian is described in the Word of God!
His chief and main business seems to be, like his Master, to bear witness for the Truth of God. "For this purpose was I bornand sent into the world." And though in himself a man of peace, yet he can say with his Master, "I came not to send peacebut a sword." Wherever he goes he finds that hispresence is the signal for war-war within him and war outside him-he is a man of peace and yet a man of war because a manof peace. The Christian is engaged in warfare with sin, Satan, error and falsehood and sometimes he is called to fight forerring friends.
Observe that this war is one against powerful odds. The four kings mentioned in this chapter were all great sovereigns. Fromwhat little we can glean from profane history, they appear to have been very mighty monarchs and they must have been assistedby very valiant armies to have struck the giantswhose names are mentioned in the opening verses. They appear to have carried away the five kings of the plain with the greatestpossible ease. Yet here is Abram, who has little more than three hundred of his own armed servants at his call-and yet heventures against theembattled thousands of the kings of nations!
Such is the warfare of the Christian-he has to contend against foes far too many for him-he is like the worm that is to ariseand thrash the mountain. He is little and despised and if he measures his own strength he will find it to be perfect weakness.And yet, for all this, heanticipates a victory and like Abram hastens to the holy war. Carefully notice that as it is a battle of fearful odds, itis one which is carried on in faith. Abram did not venture to this fight with confidence in his own strength, or relianceupon his own bow. He went in the nameof the Lord of Hosts. Faith was Abram's continual comfort. Sometimes his faith failed, as it will in the best, but still,the spirit of the man's life was a simple confidence upon God-whom he had not seen-but whose voice he cheerfully obeyed.
The Christian is to carry on his warfare in faith. You will be vanquished, indeed, if you attempt it by any other method!Brethren, there is not a sin in your heart which will not master you if you seek to fight it by resolutions of your own. Faithin the precious blood of Christ must win you thevictory and the world will laugh you to scorn if you assail it with any other weapons than such as Calvary will furnishyou. "This is the victory which overcomes the world, even our faith." And if you ask Faith what weapon she uses, her replyis, "They overcame through the blood ofthe Lamb." Live near to Jesus Christ. Rest upon the power of His Atonement and the prevalence of His plea-and then go forwardagainst every enemy without and every foe within-and you shall be more than a conqueror!
In this great battle, carried on by faith, Abram had a right given him from God and the promise of God's Presence virtuallyin that right. What business had Chedorlaomer to come to Canaan? Had not Jehovah said to Abram, "All this land will I giveunto you"? Therefore he and his confederate monarchswere neither more nor less than intruders. For thirteen years they might have exercised sovereignty over the cities of theplain, but those cities and everything around them belonged virtually to Abram. It is true they would have laughed at thevery idea of Abram's claiming thewhole land of Canaan, but that claim was nevertheless valid in the court of Heaven and the Patriarch, by Divine right, washeir of all the land.
Christian, you are, by virtue of a Covenant made with you to drive out every sin as an intruder. "Sin shall not have dominionover you: for you are not under the Law, but under Grace." You are to drive out every error, for you are a servant of theTruth of God and the Truth alone has a right tolive and a right to exist. And in fighting this lawful warfare you may expect that the right arm of the Most High God-thePossessor of Heaven and earth-will be bared that He may show Himself strong on behalf of all those who are valiant for HisTruth and for His name.Fear not! The battle is not yours, but God's. You go not to a warfare at your own charges. And though Hell may roar, asit will, and earth be all in arms-and your own heart may fail you and your flesh, when you take counsel with it, makes youfeel a coward- yet say, "Inthe name of God will I destroy them," and go forward and conquer! "They compass me about like bees," said David, "yes, likebees they compass me about: but in the name of God will I destroy them." And what David did you shall do through David's God!
Yet more-the Christian is engaged in a conflict in which he walks by faith and leans upon God. But yet it is a conflict inwhich he uses all means, calls in all lawful assistance and exerts himself with all vigor and speed. Abram did not sit stilland say, "Well, God will deliver Lot. He haspromised to keep His servants as the apple of His eye." Oh, no, that is not faith-that is foolish presumption! Abram didnot take his time about it and go marching leisurely after the foe, nor did he go without the assistance of his friends, Anerand Eshcol and Mamre. So theChristian, if he sees any method by which he may be assisted in overcoming sin or promoting the Truth of God, uses it withwisdom and discretion. He trusts in God as though he did nothing himself and yet he does everything as if all depended uponhimself. He knows that good workscannot save him and he equally knows that he is not saved unless there are some fruits of good works.
He understands that the means of Grace cannot of themselves convey Grace to him and yet at the same time he never despisesthem but looks to find a blessing in the use of them. He understands that the ministry and private prayer and the searchingof the Scriptures cannot save him-but he alsounderstands that thus using them helps which God has given him and diligently pressing forward and setting a bold face beforethe foe-he is in the path of God's ordinances and may expect to have God's help. And do observe, dear Friends, yet again,that Abram marching on thuswith activity and using discretion-by attacking his enemies at night rather than by day-did not cease until he had gaineda complete victory over them.
It was not enough to strike them at one corner of their host, nor merely to deliver Lot. Now that he is come out against themhe will win a sure and decisive victory. O Beloved, you and I are never to sit still and say, "It is enough." Have I struckmy drunkenness? Have I overcome by blaspheminghabits? Am I delivered from Sabbath-breaking? Have I become honest and chaste? Yet this is not where I should stop. HaveI sought to bring down my self-conceit, my pride, my sloth? It is well and good but let me never be satisfied with any attainmentshort of absolute perfection. Wedo not believe we shall be perfect in this life, but we will never be satisfied until we are. "Onward," is the Christian'smotto! As long as there is one sin which is not removed we will fight and cry and groan and go to the Cross concerning it.
As long as there is one soul in this world unsaved, we will wrestle with the Mighty One of Jacob to stretch out His hand tosave it! So long as there remains one error upon earth-so long as we have a tongue to speak and God gives us Grace-we willbear our witness against it. In thisbattle there is no keeping back our hand till the victory is wholly won. We must bring back the goods and the men and thewomen and Lot and the whole company-the victory must be complete. More than conquerors must we be through Him who has lovedus. Let us anticipate the timewhen it shall be so.
O Brethren, I think I see the victors ascending the starry steeps in triumphal state! Christ at their head rides gloriously!He who loved them leads the van. The gates open to Him as the great Conqueror who has led their captivity captive. I thinkI see the glad faces of all those soldiers of theCross as they enter the portals of eternal peace-
"I ask them where their victory came. They with united breath, Ascribe their conquest to the Lamb, Their triumph to His death."
See, then, Beloved, you are this morning soldiers! You are to fight by faith in God. However tremendous the power of youradversaries, you are not to fear since God is with you. You are to fight using discretion as your armor-bearer, but you arealso to couple this with perseverance, continuingfaithful to the end, for only those who overcome shall sit upon the Throne of God forever!
We have thus, perhaps, said enough concerning this first point and now may the Holy Spirit bedew with His holy influenceswhile we talk of the second, for otherwise it will be only talk.
II. While engaged in such earnest spiritual contention the Believer may expect to see his Lord. When Shadrach, Me-shach andAbednego were fighting Christ's battles in the fiery furnace, then the Son of Man appeared to them. As in the building ofJerusalem in troublous times they had the sword inone hand and the trowel in the other, so our Lord Jesus Christ, while He teaches us to use the sword, takes care to edifyand build us up in the faith at the same time! He understands that warriors require strengthening meat and that especiallywhen they are under stern conflictthey need extraordinary comforts that their souls may be stayed and refreshed.
Why does Jesus Christ, as set forth here under the type of Melchizedek, appear unto His children in times of conflict? Answer-Hecomes to them, first, because they are weary. In every conflict which the child of God has to wage, it is not the privateperson who goes to the warfare-itvirtually is Christ fighting-Christ contending. It is a member of Christ's body laboring against Christ's enemy for theglory of the Head. Christ the Head has an intense feeling of sympathy with every member, no matter how humble. Since thereis a vital union between Christand every member, there is also an undying sympathy. And whenever, Brothers and Sisters, you contend for the faith tillyou grow weary, Jesus Christ will be sure to give you some proof of His close communion with you.
The martyrs proclaim that they never had such communion with God anywhere as among the caverns of the hills, or the swampsof the woods to which they were exiled for Christ. And even on the rack, in extremity of torture, or even upon the gridironin the heat of the fire-even there the sweetPresence of Christ has been overpoweringly delightful to them so that they almost lost the sense of pain! You, Lord, dosend a plenteous rain whereby You refresh Your heritage when it is weary! Spend your strength for God, Brothers and Sisters,for when fainting seems inevitable,then shall come such a sweet renewing of your strength that, like an eagle, you shall stretch your wings and mount aloftto commune with God in solitary joys! Christ, your Melchizedek, will meet you in your conflicts if He never did before!
The King of Peace met the returning warrior for another reason. Abram was probably flushed with victory and this is a verydangerous feeling for any child of God. When the seventy disciples returned to Christ they said, with evident exultation,"Lord, even the devils are subject unto us." But JesusChrist sweetly and gently rebuked them by saying, "Nevertheless, rejoice not in this, but rather rejoice because your namesare written in Heaven." The true secret of a Christian's joy is not to be his conquest over sin or over error, but the Personof his Lord Jesus Christ! TheLord knows that His people, if they are successful even in spiritual warfare-when they have used the best of means and feltthe best of motives-are, nevertheless, very liable to the intoxication of pride. And therefore He either sends "a thorn inthe flesh," or else,what is better still, He comes Himself!
I am persuaded, Beloved, that the best cure for pride is a sight of Christ. Oh, when your eyes see Him, then your own loathsomeness,blackness and deformity are clearly revealed. I am fair until I see the sun-then-then am I black, indeed! I think myself pureuntil I see Him whiter thanany fuller could make Him and then I fall down and cry, "Unclean, unclean, unclean!" "Now my eye sees You," said Job, "whyI abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Down go your flaunting banners and your lofty plumes when you have a sightof Christ! No humbler man than GeorgeHerbert-no humbler man than Samuel Rutherford-and these were men who lived close to Christ. Christ's Presence is a cure-all.
When Melchizedek comes every spiritual disease flies before Him. The Church at Laodicean was very far gone and how did theMaster propose to cure it? Here it is-"Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hears My voice and opens the door,I will come into him and will sup with him."What? Lord, is this Your delightful treatment of Your sick Church? "Yes, My communion with you, poor lukewarm Laodicean,will revive you." Truly that is a most suggestive figure by which John describes the countenance of Christ-he says, "His countenancewas as the sun shiningin his strength." So, Lord, it does not matter how dark I am, the moment You show Your face, all must be light! This, Ithink, was the reason why the King of Righteousness met Abram-to turn away his thoughts from the tempting joys of victoryto his sure portion in the MostHigh God, possessor of Heaven and earth.
Yet again, was not this visit bestowed because Abram was about to be tried in a yet more subtle manner than he had been before?It is easier to fight Chedorlaomer than to resist the King of Sodom. Joshua down in the plain never grew weary when he wasfighting the Amalekites, but Moses on themountain felt his hands grow heavy. Why? Because the more spiritual the exercise, the more apt are we to grow weary in it.And so the more spiritual the temptation the more likelihood of our becoming a prey to it and the more strength do we needto overcome it. That was a verysubtle temptation to Lot, by the King of Sodom. Why it looked so right-perfectly right. Abram has brought back these captives-he has a right to the spoil-he ought, therefore, to take it. If he had done so, no one would blame him on ordinary rules.But there is ahigher rule for Believers than for other men!
Brethren, I contend that the common rules of morality are binding upon all-but that a supernaturally high rule of moralityshould regulate the Christian! The Christian is not allowed to wink at an evil because he has educated his conscience notto think it so-but he shall so act thatthere shall not be any wrong in the action upon the common judgment of any unbiased spectator. He who is of the King's Councilmust walk very daintily lest he offend his Master. I tell you, from experience, that the nearer you come to Christ and themore you have of communion withHim, the more jealous you must be of yourself, or else, if other men escape the rod you will not-you will have to smartfor it behind the door where another may not see nor understand your grief.
Beloved, it is well to have communion with Christ to prepare us against subtle temptations, for to feed us upon Mel-chizedek'sbread and wine is to make us more than a match for the King of Sodom. O Jesus! When I have seen Your face, my soul beholdsnot the dazzling beauties of earthly excellence.Brothers and Sisters, if ever you have seen Christ's face, that painted harlot, the world, will never win your love again!Did you ever eat the pure white bread of Heaven? Then the brown gritty bread of earth will never suit you but will break yourteeth with gravel stones. You willnever care to drink earth's sour and watery wine if you have once been made to drink of the wines on the lees well refined-thespiced wine of Christ's pomegranate. If you want to be strengthened against the most subtle worldly temptations, cry, "LetHim kiss me with the kissesof His mouth: for Your love is better than wine." And you may go forth to conflicts of every kind more than a conqueror,through Him that has loved you!
Thus we have spoken upon the fact that Melchizedek met Abram and the reasons. Now, let us look a little more closely at whathe did. In what character did he meet Abram? The reply is easy-he met him as one possessed of a royal priesthood. Christ meetsus, Brethren, as a Priest and a King inall our battles. What a mercy it is that Christ visits us as a Priest, for we never fight against sin without being in somemeasure partakers of it. I do not believe there ever was a controversy for the Truth of God upon which any gracious man, thoughengaged upon the right side,could look back without some regrets and some tears.
I much believe that even Martin Luther or John Knox, when upon their dying beds, though never regretting that they contendedearnestly for the faith yet felt that while they were in the flesh something of flesh mingled with all that they did. Thusit will be to the end and even when contendingagainst our own sins and lusts. Yet, Beloved, our very repentance has something in it to be repented of and our very flyingto the Cross has something in it of a lingering from the Cross and therefore something of evil. Jesus, all hail! How muchI need to meet You as a priest! Andyou, Beloved, do you not feel that you need Him, too? Do you not, as you look upon Calvary and the flowing blood, confessthat you need, in all spiritual conflicts, to meet Christ?
But Melchizedek was also a king and truly thus we want to view our Lord whenever we are fighting His battles. "The Lord reigns,"is perhaps one of the most comforting texts in the compass of God's Word to the contending Christian. "Ah," says the poorsoul, "I am trod under foot of Satan, butrejoice not over me, O my enemy-though I fall, yet shall I rise again, for the Lord reigns!" Oh, that is our consolationwhen at any time we think we are routed! When we see our Church dismayed and our banner trailed in the mire-we then rememberJesus, for Him has Godthe Father exalted, "and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, ofthings in Heaven and things in earth and things under the earth."
Hail, King of Righteousness and Peace, much do we need to meet You! Come, mount Your glorious chariot, ride forth conqueringand to conquer drawn by Your three white horses, Meekness, Truth and Righteousness! Heaven adores
You, earth obeys You, Hell trembles at Your Presence! Gates of brass must burst at Your touch and bars of iron snap at YourWord! O King Immortal, ride gloriously and let Your people behold You and rejoice in You. But we must see Christ, see Him,by close communion with Him. You cannot see Him bymy description. Melchizedek met Abram and Jesus Christ must meet you. He must stop you all of a sudden, when you least expectit, and reveal Himself to you as He does not unto the world.
Jacob, before wrestling, was met by hosts of angels at Mahanaim-but what are these when compared with the Lord Himself? Thereis a high blessing in being met by angels-do not mistake me there-but oh, to be met by the Angel of the Covenant, the Michaelthe Archangel, to be met byHim! Ah, what comfort is here! And will He meet me? Will He meet you? Yes, we can answer, He will-for we have met with Him."My eyes have seen the King in His beauty." Many of us can say that and our souls are exceedingly comforted and full of holyjoy because we have beheldHim as Priest and King.
The next inquiry is what did he do for him? He brought him bread and wine, precisely setting forth what Jesus does, who bringsus His flesh and His blood. Carnal people say in order to understand Christ's words, that when you eat bread and drink wineat the Lord's Table, there is His flesh in thebread, or that the bread is transubstantiated into flesh and the same with the wine. But the spiritual mind understandsthat these emblems awaken the spiritual powers and that the spiritual powers-not the lips and the stomach, but the spiritualpowers-do really andspiritually feed upon the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ and so the Word is fulfilled-"Except you eat My flesh and drinkMy blood, there is no life in you."
I do not know that Christian people feed altogether on doctrine. I know that the Truth of God is food, but Believers get richernourishment than even this affords. When I am very gloomy I like to take down some work upon the high doctrines-God's Sovereignty,election, perseverance-and Iget comforted. But there are other times when I am brought very low and that kind of food will not suit me. I am obligedthen to turn to my Lord Himself. There is, I believe, in times of conflict, no food which can be the stay of an immortal soulexcept the MasterHimself-communion with Him-a putting of the fingers into the print of the nails and a thrusting of the hand into the side.This is the sovereign remedy for unbelief and the best food for faith. His manifest Presence is our noblest nutriment.
When Christ reveals Himself, all grows calm and peaceful. But until we can get Him we still abide in darkness and we see nolight. The worshiper who came up to the temple could not live upon the brazen laver, nor the golden snuffers, nor even uponthe cherubic emblems-he must partake with thepriests of the lamb offered in sacrifice! And so the true food of the child of God is Jesus Christ Himself-not so much ordinancesand doctrines, which are only the utensils and the vestments-but Christ Himself! The very Christ, made flesh for us, receivedwith joy intoour soul and fed upon, until, like Abram, we go on our way rejoicing. That is what the royal priest did for the Patriarch.
Bear with me patiently while I remark what Melchizedek said to him. First he blessed him and then he blessed God and thatis just what we need our Lord to do for us. We want our Lord Jesus Christ first to bless us. "Blessed be Abram of the MostHigh God, possessor of Heaven and earth." We need ablessing upon our own persons and especially upon our own works. What are our works when we have done them all but futilevanity until God comes to strengthen us? Beloved, you and I may contend for Christ until we are dumb but not a soul will seethe light or know the Truth of Godby our witness of itself! We may go with tender hearts and seek to bring sinners to the Cross of Christ, but we shall neverbring a sinner unless God's own arm is revealed.
We shall come back like the Prophet, saying, "Who has believed our report?" And feeling that the arm of God has not been revealedunto men. But when, on the other hand, the Possessor of Heaven and earth has blessed us, then our earthly substance is blessedand our earthly words are blessed and thenwe get a heavenly blessing! Heaven's rest and peace-Heaven's Omnipotence rest upon us and in the glory of a Heaven-givenstrength we go forth confident of victory. We want a blessing from Christ. Ask for it now, Beloved! Ask for it now, you whoare weary with last week'sfighting, you who can scarcely endure any longer by reason of your trials and troubles! Say to Him now, "Melchizedek, blessme! O Jesus, bless me now!"
Possessor of Heaven and earth, forget not one of us, Your beloved ones, but give us a blessing! Beloved Brethren, Melchizedekdid not stop there, but he fulfilled another part of his priestly office-he blessed God. Whenever we are singing here, whenI am in right order, my soul takes wing andwants to fly to Heaven! When we all sing with power and force there is a sweetness and grandeur about the song which wedo not often meet. Yet I am always conscious that we cannot praise God as He deserves to be and herein I bless the great Melchizedekthat though we cannot blessGod as He should be blessed, yet He can! Jesus Christ presents the praises of His saints before God as well as their prayers.He is the Intercessor and while He has the vials full of odors sweet to present, He also presents the music of our harps.Both our offerings come up acceptedin the Beloved.
Now what do you say, Brethren? Have you done anything this week that is of good repute? Has God given you any success? DearSister, have you won any souls for Christ? I know you have! Dear Brother, has God blessed you in any witness-bearing? Haveyou felt that God has been with you? Well now, comeand lay your honors down at His feet, whatever they may be! Put them there and pray the great Melchizedek to take out ofyour heart every particle of self-glory and every atom of self-exaltation and ask Him to say for you in a higher sense thanever you can say it, "Blessed be theMost High God, possessor of Heaven and earth who has delivered my enemies into my hand." Thus you shall be glad that thegreat Melchizedek has met you!
I have talked thus, but truly one word from the lips of Christ will be worth ten thousand of mine! And if you ever have seenHim, you will think me a very dauber when I try to paint Him. If you get this day so much as ten minutes real fellowship withJesus, you will wonder how it is, that I, if Iknow anything about Him, could talk in this cold way! Go your way, Brethren, and pray Melchizedek will meet you!
III. Lastly, and very briefly, indeed, since our time is gone-when a wrestling Believer is favored with a sight of the greatMelchizedek-voluntarily and yet necessarily he makes a new dedication of himself to God. You see Abram does not appear todelay a moment but he gives toMelchizedek a tithe of all, by which he seemed to say, "I own the authority of my superior liege lord, to all that I amand all that I have." There is one of our hymns which says-
"Hail, Melchizedek Divine! You, great High Priest, shall be mine. All my powers before You fall Take not tithe, but take themall." And truly our holy faith deserves that we should give all to Christ!
I would that some Christians, however, practiced the rule of giving a tenth of their substance to the Lord's cause. The Lord'sChurch need never lack if you had a bag in which you stored up for Christ-when you gave anything, you would not feel it wasgiving of your own-your left handwould not know what your right hand did, for you would be taking out of the Lord's stock which you had already consecratedto the Lord's cause. Not less than one-tenth should be the Lord's portion, especially with those who have.
And more than this, I think, should be expected of those who have wealth. But there is no rule binding with iron force uponyou for we are not under Law in Christ's Church, but under Grace and Grace will prompt you to do more than Law might suggest.But certainly the Christian should reckon himselfto be not his own and that he has nothing to retain for his own private account. I pray God if I have a drop of blood inmy body which is not His, to let it bleed away! And if there is one hair in my head which is not consecrated to Him, I wouldhave it plucked out-for it mustbe the devil's drop of blood and the devil's hair. It belongs to either one or the other-if not to God, then to Satan. No,we must, Brethren, have no division of ourselves-no living unto this world and unto God, too.
Mark Anthony yoked two lions together and drove them through the streets of Rome-they do strange things at Rome and thereare many people who can yoke two lions together and drive towards Rome. But you will never be able to yoke the lion of thetribe of Judah and the lion of Helltogether-they are at deadly antagonism and Christ will not have you for His servants if you seek to serve two masters. Iknow that any talk of mine here will be in vain, but if, Beloved, you should see Christ and have communion with Him, yourconsecration to Him will be amatter of course. I will suppose that this afternoon one of you should sit down in your arm chair and, as you are sittingthere, you will be thinking, "How little I have been giving of late to the cause of Christ! How seldom I have opened my mouthfor Him!"
Perhaps you will think, "I have got on in the world, too, but I really cannot afford it! My expenses are so great!" Supposethe Lord Jesus Christ should come into the room with those pierced hands and bleeding feet-suppose He were to remind you ofwhat He has done for you-how He visitedyou in your low estate when your heart was breaking under a sense of sin? You would not tell Him you could not afford togive to His cause! Suppose our Lord Jesus Christ should look you in the face and say to you, "I have done all this for you.What will you do for Me?" What wouldbe your answer? Why, you would say, "Take it all, my Master, take it all, all that I am and all that I have shall be foreverYours."
Or, if you felt niggardly-supposing He should say to you, "If you will never ask anything of Me, I will never take anythingfrom you." Would you agree to that? No! Because you still will have immense demands to make upon His liberality cease notto give your whole spirit, soul and body as awhole burnt-offering unto God. As Abram did before Mel-chizedek so you do in the Presence of Christ. Admit that you areHis and give yourself to Him. My dear Brethren, I pray God that this may stir you up to seek a high grade of piety and tolive in daily communion with a livingSavior and He will bless and keep you.
But there are some of you who are not like Abram. You need not hope, yet, to see Melchizedek. There are some of you strangers,far off. Ah, I may rather compare you to the men of Sodom! Christ has done something for you as Abram did for Sodom. You knowit was only for the sake of Lot that Hebrought them back, but He did bring them all back and for the sake of Lot gave a respite to them all-although a few yearsafter they had grown so wicked that they were all destroyed. My Master has given a respite to free you all. While His greatwork was the salvation of Hisown chosen, yet He has spared you all in the land of the living. Take heed lest you do as did the men of Sodom, for thena hail more fiery, a destruction more terrible must come upon you, seeing that you turn not aside from your evil ways, norseek His face.
Trust Christ and you are saved! Believe in Him and your sins are forgiven. But if you refuse, beware lest that come upon youwhich is written in the Prophets, "Behold, you despisers and wonder and perish!" The Master now send us away with His benediction.Amen.