Sermon 1086. Jesus, The King of Truth
A SERMON DELIVERED ON THURSDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 19, 1872,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Pilate therefore said unto Him, Are You a king, then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, andfor this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice."John 18:37.
THE season is almost arrived when by the custom of our fellow citizens we are led to remember the birth of the holy childJesus who was born "king of the Jews." I shall not, however, conduct you to Bethlehem, but to the foot of Calvary. There weshall learn, from the Lord's own lips, something concerning the kingdom over which He rules and thus we shall be led to prizemore highly the joyous event of His nativity. We are told by the Apostle Paul that our Lord Jesus Christ before Pontius Pilatewitnessed a good confession. It was a good confession as to the manner of it, for our Lord was truthful, gentle, prudent,patient, meek and yet uncompromising and courageous.
His spirit was not cowed by Pilate's power nor exasperated by his sneers. In His patience He possessed His soul and remainedthe model witness for the Truth of God-both in His silence and in His speech. He witnessed a good confession, also, as tothe matter of it, for though He said but little, that little was all that was necessary. He claimed His crown rights and,at the same time declared that His kingdom was not of this world, nor to be sustained by force. He vindicated both the spiritualityand the essential truthfulness of His Sovereignty.
If ever we should be placed in like circumstances may we be able to witness a good confession, too! We may never, like Paul,be made to plead before Nero but, if we should, may the Lord stand by us and help us to play the man before the lion! In ourfamilies or among our business acquaintances we may have to meet some little Nero and answer to some petty Pilate-may we betrue witnesses! O that we may have Grace to be prudently silent or meekly outspoken as the matter may require, but in eithercase be faithful to our conscience and our God!
May the sorrowful visage of Jesus, the faithful and true Witness, the Prince of the kings of the earth, be often before oureyes to check the first sign of flinching and to inspire us with dauntless courage! We have before us, in the words of thetext, a part of our Savior's good confession touching His kingdom.
I. Note, first of all, that OUR LORD CLAIMED TO BE A KING. Pilate said, "Are You a king, then?" asking the question with asneering surprise that so poor a being should put forth a claim to royalty. Do you wonder that he should have marveled greatlyto find kingly claims associated with such a sorrowful condition? The Savior answered, in effect, "It is even as you say,I am a king." The question was but half earnest-the answer was altogether solemn-"I am a king." Nothing was ever uttered byour Lord with greater certainty and earnestness.
Now, notice that our Lord's claim to be a king was made without the slightest ostentation or desire to be advantaged thereby.There were other times when, if He had said, "I am a king," He might have been carried upon the shoulders of the people andcrowned amid general acclamations. His fanatical fellow countrymen would gladly have made Him their leader. At one time weread that they would have "taken Him by force and made Him a king." At such times He said but little about His kingdom andwhat He did say was uttered in parables and explained only to His disciples when they were alone.
Little enough did He say in His preaching concerning His birthright as the Son of David and a scion of the royal house ofJudah, for He shrank from worldly honors and disdained the vain glories of a temporal diadem. He who came in love to redeemmen had no ambition for the gewgaws of human sovereignty. But now, when He is betrayed by His disciple, accused by His countrymenand in the hands of an unjust ruler-when no good can come of it to Himself-
when it will bring Him derision rather than honor, He speaks out plainly and replies to His interrogator, "You say that Iam a king."
Note well the clearness of our Lord's avowal! There was no mistaking His words-"I am a king." When the time has come for thetruth to be spoken, our Lord is not backward in declaring it. Truth has her times most meet for speech and her seasons forsilence. We are not to cast our pearls before swine, but when the hour has come for speech we must not hesitate but speakas with the voice of a trumpet, giving forth a certain sound that no man may mistake us. So, though a prisoner given up todie, the Lord boldly declares His royalty though Pilate would pour derision upon Him in consequence thereof. O, for the Master'sprudence to speak the Truth at the right time and for the Master's courage to speak it when the right time has come!
Soldiers of the Cross, learn of your Captain! Our Lord's claim to royalty must have sounded very singular in Pilate's ear.Jesus was, doubtless, very much careworn, sad and emaciated in appearance. He had spent the first part of the night in thegarden in an agony. In the midnight hours he had been dragged from Annas to Caiaphas and from Caiaphas to Herod. Neither atdaybreak had He been permitted to rest, so that from sheer weariness He must have looked very unlike a king. If you had takensome poor ragged creature in the street and said to him, "Are you a king, then?" the question could scarcely have been moresarcastic.
Pilate, in his heart, despised the Jews as such, but here was a poor Jew persecuted by His own people, helpless and friendless.It sounded like mockery to talk of a kingdom in connection with Him. Yet never earth saw a truer king! None of the line ofPharaoh, the family of Nimrod, or the race of the Caesars was so intrinsically imperial in Himself as He, or so deservedlyreckoned a king among men by virtue of His descent, His achievements or His superior character. The carnal eye could not seethis, but to the spiritual eye it was clear as noonday.
To this day, pure Christianity, in its outward appearance, is an equally unattractive object and wears upon its surface fewroyal tokens. It is without form or comeliness and when men see it there is no beauty that they should desire it. True, thereis a nominal Christianity which is accepted and approved of men-but the pure Gospel is still despised and rejected. The realChrist of today among men is unknown and unrecognized as much as He was among His own nation 1,800 years ago! Evangelicaldoctrine is at a discount, holy living is censured and spiritual-mindedness is derided.
"What?" they say, "This evangelical doctrine, do you call it the royal truth? Who believes it nowadays? Science has explodedit! There is nothing great about it! It may afford comfort to old women and to those who have not capacity enough for freethought, but its reign is over, never to return." As to living in separation from the world, it is called Puritanism or worse.Christ in doctrine. Christ in spirit. Christ in life-the world cannot endure as King!
Christ chanted in cathedrals. Christ personified in lordly prelates. Christ surrounded by such as are in king's houses Heis well enough-but Christ honestly obeyed, followed and worshipped in simplicity, without pomp or form-they will not allowto reign over them. Few nowadays will side with the Truth of God their fathers bled for. The day for covenanting to followJesus through evil report and shame appears to have gone by. Yet, though men turn round upon us and say, "Do you call yourGospel, Divine? Are you so preposterous as to believe that your religion comes from God and is to subdue the world?"-we boldlyanswer-"Yes!"
Even as beneath the peasant's garb and the pale visage of the Son of Mary we can discern the Wonderful, the Counselor, theMighty God, the Everlasting Father, so beneath the simple form of a despised Gospel we perceive the royal lineaments of DivineTruth! We care nothing about the outward apparel or the external housing of the Truth of God-we love it for its own sake.To us the marble halls and the alabaster columns are nothing-we see more in the manger and the Cross. We are satisfied thatChrist is the King, still, where He was likely to be king-and that is not among the great ones of the earth, nor among themighty and the learned-but among the base things of the world and the things which are not, which shall bring to nothing thethings that are, for these has God from the beginning chosen to be His own.
Let us add that our Lord's claim to be a king shall be acknowledged one day by all mankind! When Christ said to Pilate, accordingto our version, "You say that I am a king," He virtually prophesied the future confession of all men. Some, taught by HisGrace, shall in this life rejoice in Him as their altogether lovely King. Blessed be God, the Lord Jesus might look into theeyes of many of us and say, "You say that I am a king," and we would reply, "We do say it joyfully!" But the day shall comewhen He shall sit upon His Great White Throne and then, when the multitudes shall
tremble in the Presence of His awful majesty, even such as Pontius Pilate and Herod and the chief priests shall own that Heis a king! Then to each of His astounded and overwhelmingly convinced enemies He might say, "Now, O Despiser, you say thatI am a king," for to Him every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord!
Let us remember, here, that when our Lord said to Pilate, "You say that I am king" He was not referring to His Divine dominion.Pilate was not thinking of that at all, nor did our Lord, I think, refer to it. Yet, forget not that, as Divine, He is theKing of kings and Lord of lords. We must never forget that, though He died in weakness as Man, yet He ever lives and rulesas God. Nor do I think He referred to His mediatorial sovereignty which He possesses over the earth for His people's sake-forthe Lord has all power committed unto Him in Heaven and in earth-and the Father has given Him power over all flesh that Hemay give eternal life to as many as are given Him. Pilate was not alluding to that, nor our Lord, either, in the first place.
But He was speaking of that rule which He personally exercises over the minds of the faithful by means of the Truth. You rememberNapoleon's saying, "I have founded an empire by force and it has melted away. Jesus Christ established His kingdom by loveand it stands to this day and will stand." That is the kingdom to which our Lord's word refers- the kingdom of spiritual Truthin which Jesus reigns as Lord over those who are of the Truth. He claimed to be a king and the Truth which He revealed andof which He was the personification, is, therefore, the scepter of His empire. He rules by the force of the Truth of God overthose hearts which feel the power of right and Truth and therefore willingly yield themselves to His guidance, believe HisWord and are governed by His will.
It is as a spiritual Lord that Christ claims sovereignty among men! He is King over minds that love Him, trust Him and obeyHim because they see in Him the Truth which their souls pine for. Other kings rule our bodies, but Christ our souls! Otherkings govern by force, but He by the attractions of righteousness-theirs is, to a great extent, a fictitious royalty, butHis is true and finds its force in the Truth of God. So much, then, upon Christ's claims to be a king.
II. Now, observe secondly that OUR LORD DECLARED THIS KINGDOM TO BE HIS MAIN OBJECT IN LIFE.
"To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world." To set up His kingdom was the reason why He was born ofthe virgin. To be king of men it was necessary for Him to be born. He was always the Lord of All-He needed not to be bornto be a king in that sense-but to be king through the power of Truth it was essential that He should be born in our nature.
Why so? I answer, first, because it seems unnatural that a ruler should be alien in nature to the people over whom he rules.An angelic king of men would be unsuitable. There could not exist the sympathy which is the cement of a spiritual empire.Jesus, that He might govern by force of love and truth alone, became of one Nature with mankind-He was a Man among men, areal Man-but a right noble and kingly man and so a King of men. But, again, the Lord was born that He might be able to saveHis people. Subjects are essential to a kingdom-a king cannot be a king if there are none to govern.
All men must have perished through sin had not Christ come into the world and been born to save. His birth was a necessarystep to His redeeming death-His Incarnation was necessary to the Atonement. Moreover, truth never exerts such power as whenit is embodied. Truth spoken may be defeated, but Truth acted out in the life of a man is Omnipotent through the Spirit ofGod. Now Christ did not merely speak the Truth-He was Truth. Had He been truth embodied in an angelic form, He would havepossessed little power over our hearts and lives. But perfect Truth in a human form has royal power over renewed humanity.Truth embodied in flesh and blood has power over flesh and blood and therefore, for this purpose was He born.
So when you hear the bells ringing out at Christmas, think of the reason why Jesus was born! Dream not that He came to loadyour tables and fill your cups-in your mirth look higher than all earth-born things. When you hear that in certain Churchesthere are pompous celebrations and ecclesiastical displays, think not that Jesus was born for this purpose. No, but look withinyour hearts and say, "For this purpose was He born-that He might be a King-that He might rule through the Truth in the soulsof a people who are, by Grace, made to love the Truth of God.
And then He added, "For this cause came I into the world." That is, He came out of the bosom of the Father that He might setup His kingdom by unveiling the mysteries which were hid from the foundation of the world. No man can reveal the Counsel ofGod but One who has been with God! And the Son who has come forth of the ivory palaces of gladness announces to us tidingsof great joy! For this cause He also came into the world from the obscure retirement of
Joseph's workshop, where, for many years He was hidden like a pearl in its shell. It was necessary that He should be madeknown and that the Truth to which He witnessed should be sounded in the ears of the crowd.
Since He was to be a King, He must leave seclusion and come forth to do battle for His Throne. He must address the multitudeson the hillside. He must speak by the seashore. He must gather disciples and send them forth by two and two to publish onthe housetops the secrets of the mighty Truth of God! He came not forth because He loved to be seen of men or courted popularity-butfor this purpose-that the Truth being published, He might set up His kingdom. It was necessary that He should come out intothe world and teach, or the Truth of God would not be known and consequently could not operate.
The sun must come forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber or the kingdom of light will never be established. The breathmust come forth from the hiding place of the winds or life will never reign in the valley of dry bones. During three yearsour Lord lived conspicuously and emphatically "came into the world." He was seen of men so closely as to be beheld, lookedupon, touched and handled. He was intended to be a pattern and therefore it was necessary that He should be seen. The lifeof a man who lives in absolute retirement may be admirable for himself and acceptable with God, but it cannot be exemplaryto men. For this cause the Lord came forth into the world-that all He did might influence mankind.
His enemies were permitted to watch His every action and to endeavor to entrap Him in His speech. By way of test His friendssaw Him in privacy and knew what He did in solitude, thus His whole life was reported. He was observed on the cold mountainsideat midnight as well as in the midst of the great congregation. This was permitted to make the Truth known, for every actionof His life was Truth and tended to set up the kingdom of Truth in the world. Let us pause here. Christ is a King. A Kingby force of Truth in a spiritual kingdom. For this purpose was He born. For this cause He came into the world.
Beloved, ask yourself this question-Has this purpose of Christ's birth and life been answered in you? If not, what is Christmasto you? The choristers will sing, "Unto us a Child is born; Unto us a Son is given." Is that true to you? How can it be unlessJesus reigns in you and is your Savior and your Lord? Those who can in truth rejoice in His birth are those who know Him astheir bosom Lord, ruling their understanding by the Truth of His doctrine. He rules their admiration by the Truth of His life.He rules their affections by the Truth of His Person. To such He is not a personage to be portrayed with a crown of gold anda robe of purple like the common theatrical kings of men.
He is one brighter and more heavenly, whose crown is real, whose dominion is unquestionable, who rules by Truth and love!Do we know this King? This question may well come home to us, for, Beloved, there are many who say, "Christ is my King," whoknow not what they say for they do not obey Him. He is the servant of Christ who trusts in Christ, who walks according toChrist's mind and loves the Truths of God which Jesus has revealed-all others are mere pretenders.
III. But now I must pass on. Our Lord, in the third place, REVEALED THE NATURE OF HIS ROYAL POWER. I have already spoken onthat, but I must do so again. We should have thought the text would have run thus-"You say that I am a king; to this end wasI born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should establish My kingdom." It is not so in words, but so it mustmean, for Jesus was not incoherent in His speech. We conclude that the words employed have the same meaning as that whichthe context suggests, only it is differently expressed.
If our Lord had said, "That I might establish a kingdom," He might have misled Pilate. But when He availed Himself of thespiritual explanation and said that His kingdom was Truth and that the establishment of His kingdom was by bearing witnessto the Truth of God, then, though Pilate did not understand Him-for it was far above his comprehension-yet, at any rate, hewas not misled. Our Lord, in effect, tells us that the Truth of God is the preeminent Characteristic of His kingdom and thatHis royal power over men's hearts is through the Truth of God.
Now, the witness of our Lord among men was emphatically upon real and vital matters. He dealt not with fiction, but with facts-notwith trifles, but with infinite realities. He speaks not of opinions, views, or speculations but of infallible verities. Howmany preachers waste time over what may be or may not be! Our Lord's testimony was preeminently practical and matter-of-fact.It was full of verities and certainties.
I have sometimes, when hearing sermons, wished the preacher would come to the point and would deal with something that reallyconcerned our soul's welfare. What concern have dying men with the thousand trivial questions which are flitting around us?We have Heaven or Hell before us and death within a stone's throw-for God's sake do not
trifle with us, but tell us the Truth at once! Jesus is king in His people's souls because His preaching has blessed us inthe grandest and most real manner and set us at rest upon points of boundless importance. He has not given us well-chiseledstones, but real bread! There are a thousand things which you may not know and you shall be very little the worse for notknowing them-but O, if you do not know that which Jesus has taught-it shall go ill with you!
If you are taught of the Lord Jesus you shall have rest for your cares, balm for your sorrows and satisfaction for your desires.Jesus gives sinners who believe in Him the Truths of God which they need to know-the assurance of sin forgiven through Hisblood, favor ensured by His righteousness-and Heaven secured by His eternal life. Moreover, Jesus has power over His peoplebecause He testifies not to symbols but to the very substance of the Truth of God. The Scribes and Pharisees were very fluentupon sacrifices, offerings, oblations, tithes, fasting and the like-but what influence could all that exert over aching hearts?
Jesus has imperial power over contrite spirits because He tells them of His one real Sacrifice and of the perfection whichHe has secured for all Believers. The priests lost their power over the people because they went no further than the shadow-andsooner or later all will do so who rest in the symbol. The Lord Jesus retains His power over His saints because He revealsthe substance, for Grace and Truth are by Jesus Christ. What a loss of time it is to debate upon the fashion of a cape, orthe manner of celebrating communion, or the color suitable for the clergyman's robes in Advent, or the precise date of Easter!Vanity of vanities, all is vanity! Such trifles will never aid in setting up an everlasting kingdom in men's hearts!
Let us take care lest we also set great store on externals and miss the essential spiritual life of our holy faith. Christ'skingdom is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! The power of King Jesus in the heartsof His people lies much in the fact that He brings forth the unalloyed Truth of God without mixture of error. He has deliveredto us pure light and no darkness. His teaching is no combination of God's Word and man's inventions! It is no mixture of Inspirationand philosophy-silver without dross is the wealth which He gives His servants. Men taught of His Holy Spirit to love the Truthof God recognize this fact and surrender their souls to the royal sway of the Lord's Truth-and it makes them free and sanctifiesthem-nor can anything make them disown such a Sovereign, for as the Truth lives and abides in their hearts, so Jesus, whois the Truth, abides also.
If you know what Truth is, you will as naturally submit yourselves to the teachings of Christ as ever children yield to afather's rule. The Lord Jesus taught that worship must be true, spiritual and of the heart or else it would be worthless.He would not take sides with the temple at Gerizim or that on Zion-He declared that the time was come when those who worshippedGod would worship Him in spirit and in truth. Regenerate hearts feel the power of this and rejoice that it emancipates themfrom the beggarly elements of carnal ritualism. They accept gladly the Truth of God that pious words of prayer or praise arevanity unless the heart has living worship within it. In the great truth of spiritual worship Believers possess a Magna Chartadear as life itself. We refuse to be again subject to the yoke of bondage and we cleave to our emancipating King.
Our Lord taught, also, that all false living was base and loathsome. He poured contempt on the phylacteries of hypocritesand the broad borders of the garments of oppressors of the poor. With Him ostentatious alms, long prayers, frequent fastsand the tithe of mint and cumin were all nothing when practiced by those who devoured widows' houses. He cared nothing forwhite-washed sepulchers and platters with outsides made clean-He judged the thoughts and intents of the heart. What woes werethose which He denounced upon the formalists of His day! It must have been a grand sight to have seen the lowly Jesus rousedto indignation thundering forth peal on peal His denunciations of hypocrisy!
Elijah never called fire from Heaven half so grandly. "Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," is the loudest rollof Heaven's artillery! See how like another Samson Jesus slays the shams of His age and piles them heaps upon heaps to rotforever! Shall not He who teaches us true living be King of all the sons of Truth? Let us even now salute Him as Lord andKing. Besides, Beloved, our Lord came not only to teach us the Truth of God but a mysterious power goes forth from Him throughthat Spirit which rests on Him without measure-which subdues chosen hearts to truthfulness and then guides truthful heartsinto fullness of peace and joy.
Have you never felt, when you have been with Jesus, that a sense of His purity has made you yearn to be purged of all hypocrisyand every false way? Have you not been ashamed of yourself when you have come forth from hearing His Word, from watching Hislife and, above all, from enjoying His fellowship-quite ashamed that you have not been more real,
more sincere, more true, more upright and so a more loyal subject of the truthful King? I know you have! Nothing about Jesusis false or even dubious. He is transparent-from head to foot He is Truth in public, Truth in private, Truth in word and Truthin deed. Hence it is that He has a kingdom over the pure in heart and is vehemently extolled by all those whose hearts areset upon righteousness.
IV. And now, in the fourth place, our Lord DISCLOSED THE METHOD OF HIS CONQUEST. "To this end was I born, and for this causecame I into the world, that I should bear witness for the truth." Christ never yet set up His kingdom by force of arms. Mohammeddrew the sword and converted men by giving them the choice of death or conversion. But Christ said to Peter, "Put up yoursword into its sheath." No compulsion ought to be used with any man to lead him to receive any opinion, much less to inducehim to espouse the Truth of God. Falsehood requires the rack of the Inquisition, but Truth needs not such unworthy aid. Herown beauty and the Spirit of God are her strength.
Moreover, Jesus used no arts of priestcraft or tricks of superstition. The foolish are persuaded of a dogma by the fact thatit is promulgated by a learned doctor of high degree, but our Rabboni wears no sounding titles of honor. The vulgar imaginethat a statement must be correct if it emanates from a person who wears lawn sleeves, or from a place where the banners areof costly workmanship and the music of the sweetest kind-these things are arguments with those who are amenable to no other.
But Jesus owes nothing to His apparel and influences none by artistic arrangements. None can say that He reigns over men bythe glitter of pomp or the fascination of sensuous ceremonies. His battle-ax is the Truth of God! Truth is both His arrowand His bow, His sword and His buckler. Believe me, no kingdom is worthy of the Lord Jesus but that which has its foundationslaid in indisputable verities-Jesus would scorn to reign by the help of a lie! True Christianity was never promoted by policyor guile, by doing a wrong thing, or saying a false thing. Even to exaggerate truth is to beget error and so to pull downthe Truth we would set up.
There are some who say, "Bring out one line of teaching and nothing else, lest you should seem inconsistent." What have Ito do with that? If it is God's Truth, I am bound to deliver it all and to keep back none of it! Politics in religion, likea sailing vessel dependent on the wind, tacks about here and there-but the true man like a vessel having its motive powerwithin, goes straight onward in the very teeth of the hurricane. When God puts Truth into men's souls, He teaches them neverto tack or trim but to hold to the Truth of God at all hazards. This is what Jesus always did. He bore witness to the Truthand there left the matter being guileless as a lamb.
Here it will be fit to answer the question, "What Truth did He witness to?" Ah, my Brothers and Sisters, what Truth did Henot witness to? Did He not mirror all Truth in His life? See how clearly He set forth the Truth that God is love. How melodious,how like a peal of Christmas bells was His witness to the Truth that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begottenSon, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life." He also bore witness that God is just. Howsolemnly He proclaimed that fact! His flowing wounds, His dying agonies rang out that solemn Truth as with a knell which eventhe dead might hear!
He bore witness to God's demand for truth in the inward parts-for He often dissected men and laid them bare and opened uptheir secret thoughts and revealed them-and made them see that only sincerity could bear the eyes of God. Did He not bearwitness to the Truth that God had resolved to make for Himself a new people and a true people? Was He not always telling ofHis sheep who heard His voice? Of the wheat which would be gathered into the garner and of the precious things which wouldbe treasured up when the bad would be thrown away? Therein He was bearing witness that the false must die, that the unrealmust be consumed, that the lie must rust and rot-but that the true, the sincere, the gracious, the vital shall stand everytest and outlast the sun. In an age of shams He was always sweeping away pretences and establishing Truth and right by Hiswitness.
And now, Beloved, this is the way in which Christ's kingdom is to be set up in the world. For this cause was the Church bornand for this end came she into the world, that she might set up Christ's kingdom by bearing witness to the Truth. I long,my Beloved, to see you all witness bearers. If you love the Lord, bear witness to the Truth! You must do it personally. Youmust also do it collectively. Never join any Church whose creed you do not entirely and unfeignedly believe, for if you do,you act a lie and are, moreover, a partaker in the error of other men's testimonies. I would not for a moment say anythingto retard Christian unity, but there is something before unity and that is, "Truth in the inward parts" and honesty beforeGod.
I dare not be a member of a Church whose teaching I knew to be false in vital points. I would sooner go to Heaven alone thanbelie my conscience for the sake of company. You may say, "But I protest against the error of my Church." Dear Friends, howcan you consistently protest against it when you profess to agree with it by being a member of the Church which avows it?If you are a minister of a Church, you do in effect say before the world, "I believe and teach the doctrines of this Church,"And if you go into the pulpit and say you do not believe them, what will people conclude? I leave you to judge that.
I saw a Church tower the other day, with a clock upon it, which startled me by pointing to half-past ten when I thought itwas only nine. I was, however, quite relieved when I saw that another face of the clock indicated a quarter past eight. "Well,"I thought, "Whatever time it may be, that clock is wrong for it contradicts itself." So if I hear a man say one thing by hisChurch membership and another by his private protest, why, whatever may be right he certainly is not consistent with himself!Let us bear witness to the Truth of God since there is great need of doing so just now, for witnessing is in ill repute.
The age extols no virtue so much as "liberality," and condemns no vice so fiercely as bigotry-alas-honesty. If you believeanything and hold it firmly, all the dogs will bark at you. Let them bark! They will have done when they are tired! You areresponsible to God and not to mortal men. Christ came into the world to bear witness to the Truth and He has sent you to dothe same-take care that you do it, offend or please-for it is only by this process that the kingdom of Christ is to be setup in the world.
V. Now, the last thing is this. Our Savior, having spoken of His kingdom and the way of establishing it, DESCRIBED HIS SUBJECTS-"Everyonethat is of the truth hears My voice." That is to say wherever the Holy Spirit has made a man a lover of the Truth of God healways recognizes Christ's voice and yields to it. Where are the people who love the Truth? Well, we need not enquire long.We need not Diogenes' lantern to find them-they will come to the light-and where is light but in Jesus?
Where are those that would not seem to be what they are not? Where are the men who desire to be true in secret and beforethe Lord? They may be discovered where Christ's people are discovered-they will be found listening to those who bear witnessto the Truth of God. Those who love pure Truth and know what Christ is, will be sure to fall in love with Him and hear Hisvoice. Judge you, then, this day, Brothers and Sisters, whether you are of the Truth or not-for if you love the Truth, youknow and obey the voice which calls you away from your old sins, from false refuges, from evil habits-from everything whichis not after the Lord's mind. You have heard Him in your conscience rebuking you for that of the false which remains in you.You have heard Him encouraging you for that of the true which is struggling there.
I have done when I have urged on you one or two reflections. The first is, Beloved, dare we avow ourselves on the side ofTruth at this hour of its humiliation? Do we own the royalty of Christ's Truth when we see it every day dishonored? If GospelTruth were honored everywhere, it would be an easy thing to say "I believe it." But now, in these days, when it has no honoramong men, dare we cleave to it at all costs? Are you willing to walk with the Truth through the mire and through the slough?Have you the courage to profess unfashionable Truth? Are you willing to believe the Truth against which science, falsely so-called,has vented her spleen? Are you willing to accept the Truth although it is said that only the poor and uneducated will receiveit? Are you willing to be the disciple of the Galilean whose Apostles were fishermen? Verily, verily, I say unto you, in thatday in which the Truth in the Person of Christ shall come forth in all its glory, it shall go ill with those who were ashamedto own it and its Master!
In the next place, if we have heard Christ's voice, do we recognize our life-object? Do we feel, "For this end were we bornand for this cause came we into the world, that we might bear witness to the Truth of God?" I do not believe that you, mydear Brother, came into the world to be a linen draper, or an auctioneer and nothing else! I do not believe that God createdyou, my Sister, to be merely and only a seamstress, a nurse, or a housekeeper! Immortal souls were not created for merelymortal ends. For this purpose was I born, that, with my voice in this place and everywhere else, I might bear witness to theTruth of God! You acknowledge that-then I beg you, each one, to acknowledge that you have a similar mission. "I could notoccupy the pulpit," says one. Never mind that-bear witness for the Truth of God where you are and in your own sphere. O wasteno time or energy, but at once testify for Jesus!
And now, last of all, do you own Christ's superlative dignity, Beloved? Do you see what a King, Christ is? Is He such a Kingto you as none other could be? It was but yesterday a prince entered one of our great towns and they crowded all their streetsto welcome him-yet he was but a mortal man! And then at night they illuminated their city and made the heavens glow as thoughthe sun had risen before his appointed hour. Yet what had this prince done for them? Loyal subjects they were and that wasthe reason of their joy. But O, Beloved, we need not ask, "What has Christ done for us?"-we will ask, "What has He not donefor us?"
Emmanuel, we owe all to You! You are our new Creator, our Redeemer from the lowest pit of Hell! In Yourself resplendent andaltogether lovely, Your beauties command our adoration! You have lived for us. You have bled for us. You have died for us!And You are preparing a kingdom for us. And You are coming again to take us to be with You where You are! All this commandsour love. All hail! All hail! You are our King and we worship You with all our soul! Beloved, I beseech you, love Christ andlive for Him while you can. Work while opportunity serves.
While I have been laid aside and able to do nothing, the great sorrow of my heart has been my inability to do Him service.I heard my Brothers shouting in the battlefield and I saw my comrades marching to the fight-and I lay like a wounded soldierin the ditch and could not stir-except that I breathed a prayer that you might all be strong in the Lord and in the powerof His might.
This was my thought-"Oh, that I had preached better while I could preach and lived more for the Master while I could serveHim!" Don't incur such regrets in the future by present sluggishness, but live now for Him who died for you! If any presentin this assembly have never obeyed our King, may they come to trust in Him tonight, for He is a tender Savior and is willingto receive the biggest and filthiest sinner who will come to Him! Whoever trusts in Him will never find Him fail for He willsave to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him!
May He bring you to His feet and reign over you in love. Amen.