Sermon 1466. The Three Whats
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON
"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; hat you may know whiat is he hiope of His calling, and whiat are he richiesof he glory of His inhieritance in he saints, and whiat is he exceeding greatness of Hispower toward us who believe, accordingto the working of His mighty power, which He worked in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own righthand in the hea venly places." Ephesians 1:18-20.
[On a night when the Tabernacle was thrown open to all comers, the ordinary hearers vacating their seats for the occasion.]
You see the text begins with a personal experience within the mind and judgment-"the eyes of your understanding being enlightened."Everything depends upon the opened eyes! The scene may be fair and the light may be bright, but if the sight is gone, allis in vain. Zedekiah had his eyes put out by the king of Babylon and then he was taken down to the imperial city, but as forbeing able to enjoy anything, he might as well have been in a desert. There were vast halls, palaces, hanging gardens anda city wall which was the wonder of the world, so that Babylon is called, by the Prophet, "the glory of kingdoms and the beautyof the Chaldees' excellency"-but the blinded monarch beheld nothing of all the grandeur of the golden city and to him herwealth was as though it had not been.
Thus is it with us by nature-we have no apprehension of spiritual things, no power to discern eternal good-our foolish heartis darkened. Therefore the Lord must first enlighten the eyes of our understanding, or else, however precious the Truth ofGod and however clearly it may be stated, we shall never be able to apprehend it. I find there is a rendering of the textwhich runs thus, "The eyes of your heart being enlightened," and it strikes me that this version has about it the appearanceof being the correct one, because Divine things are usually better seen by the heart than by the understanding.
There are a thousand things which God has revealed which we shall never understand and yet we can know them by a loving, trustingexperience. Our Savior says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." The purifying of the heart is the enlighteningof the spiritual eyes. Strange as it may seem, the true eyes of the renewed man is seated rather in the heart than in thehead-holy affections enable us to see and, as far as possible, to understand Divine things. I pray that in each one of usthe eyes of our heart may be enlightened so that we may know spiritual things as they are best known.
Now, the prayer of our text was offered for Christians-for converted persons, for those who had faith in Christ Jesus andlove to all the saints-yet Paul says that he never ceased to pray that their eyes might be enlightened. Yes, Brothers andSisters, he who sees most needs to have his eyes enlightened to see more, for how little as yet of the Glory of God have anyof us beheld? Even that favored pilgrim who has been led by the shepherds to the top of Mount Clear, to stand there with telescopicglass and gaze into the glories of Immanuel's land has yet only begun to perceive the things which God has prepared for themthat love Him!
I pray God that if we already see, we may see more, until our eyes shall be so strengthened that the light of the New Jerusalemshall not be too strong for us, but amid the splendor of God which outshines the sun, we shall find ourselves at home. Butif Believers need to have their eyes enlightened, how much more must those who are unconverted? They are altogether blindand, consequently, their need of enlightenment is far greater. They were born blind and the god of this world takes care tofurther darken their minds. Around them there broods a sevenfold midnight, the gloom of spiritual death. "They meet with darknessin the daytime and grope in the noonday as in the night."
O blind eyes, may Jesus touch you! May the Spirit bring His sacred eye salve to make you see and, tonight, though it is notours to give you eyes, we will tell you what is to be seen, hoping that, perhaps, while we give the description, God may giveyou eyes with which to verify our report. Perhaps even the reporting of these things may set you longing for them and, whenyou have but a longing, God will hear you! If that longing is turned into a prayer and that prayer is kindled by a spark offaith, that longing shall be the beginning of light to your soul and you shall see the salvation of
Tonight, then, there are two things we shall ask about-what things are to be seen and known according to the text? And, secondly,why it is our anxious desire that every person here should see and know these things?
I. First, then, WHAT IS TO BE SEEN AND KNOWN ACCORDING TO THE TEXT? When you heard me read it, you must have noticed thatit contains three "whats." "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you may know what is the hope of His calling,and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power toward uswho believe." Upon these three "whats" I shall try to speak tonight-may the Holy Spirit speak through me to all your souls.
Our first point is, "What is the hope of His calling?" A great many persons never think about religion because they cannotbelieve that there is much in it. If they had half an idea of what is to be gained by it, even now, and of the unspeakableblessedness which will come of it throughout eternity, surely their own desire to benefit themselves would incline them diligentlyto consider it even if they went no further. So promising a matter is at least worth looking into, for it would be a greatpity to miss present and eternal happiness if it can be had. But no, they suppose it to be a very small and trifling thing,fit only for the thoughts of priests and women and such weak folk-and so they neglect it, despise it and look after otherbusiness.
Tonight, while I try to tell what is the hope of the Christian man's calling, I boldly claim your best consideration! If thepreacher may not request it on his own account, he may assuredly ask it on the ground that his theme deserves it. Perhapswhile we are speaking of the worth of this hope and you are lending an attentive ear, the Lord may lead you to seek His face.Is it not written, "Incline your ear and come unto Me, hear and your soul shall live"? Many a man has been tempted to startupon a voyage by hearing much of the land to which he sails. Praise his goods and you will find buyers for the merchant. Suchis our desire at this time-we would so speak of the hope of our calling as to allure those who are eager after sweets to tasteand see that the Lord is good!
The idea of the text seems to me to be illustrated well by the patriarch Abraham. Abraham was living in his father's housein Ur of the Chaldees when a call came to him. That call came from God. He was to separate himself entirely and to get awayto a land which he had never seen. What was the hope of that calling? It was the hope that God would give him a seed and giveto that seed a land to dwell in. Thus spoke the Lord unto him-"I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you, andmake your name great; and you shall be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: andin you shall all families of the earth be blessed."
The great nation which should spring from him would possess the land in which he was to wander as a pilgrim and a stranger,according to the Word of the Lord-"For all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever." For thesake of that hope Abraham forsook everything and dwelt in tents, a pilgrim and a sojourner with God, living entirely by faith,but living grandly and sublimely-and thus becoming the father of all Believers throughout all ages, greater than a princeamong the sons of men.
Now, there comes to every man who is a true Christian, a call from God. We speak of it by the name of, "effectual calling."The Spirit of God personally applies the Truth of Scripture to the heart and makes the chosen man to feel that it belongsto him. The Believer perceives that he is separated from others by the Sovereign Grace of God and that, therefore, he mustcome out from the world and no longer live according to the sight of the eyes and the hearing of the ears, but by faith uponGod as seeing Him who is invisible.
This makes the Believer very different from the rest of mankind. Those who walk by sight do not understand him. They generallymisrepresent him and frequently they hate him-but he is content to be unknown, for he remembers it is written, "You are deadand your life is hid with Christ in God." "Therefore the world knows us not because it knew Him not." But what is the prospectwhich leads the Believer to this life? What is the hope of his calling? Brothers and Sisters, let me describe the hope ofthose of us who have come out to walk by faith in Christ Jesus!
We have already obtained abundantly enough to reward us for obedience to the call and, even if nothing were shut up in theclosed hand of Hope, her open hand has greatly enriched us! Christian, you already have in possession the forgiveness of yoursins, acceptance in Christ, adoption into the Divine family and the nature, rank and rights of a child of God! You alreadypossess that which makes you among the happiest of mankind and you often feel that if it should turn out that there is nohereafter-and if you should die like a dog-yet still your faith in God has given you such consolation and such strength, suchpeace and such joy that you would bless God that ever you had it! Our hope has not injured us either as to character or tohappiness and even if it turned out to be false, we are at least as well off as the unbeliever!
Still, our main possession lies in hope. We carry a bag of spending money in our hands, but the bulk of our wealth is depositedin the Bank of Hope. What, then, is the Christian's hope? Well, first, he hopes and believes that he shall be under Divineprotection forever and ever; that he shall be the object of Divine Love time out of mind and when time shall be no more. Hehopes that all things shall work together for his good in the future as he perceives they have done in the past and as heis persuaded they are doing now. He expects a stormy voyage, but because Christ is at the helm, he hopes to come to the fairhaven at last.
He expects to be tempted, but he hopes to be upheld. He expects to be slandered, but he hopes to be cleared. He expects tobe tried, but he hopes to triumph. Sustained by this hope he dreads no labors and fears no difficulties-
"He holds no parley with unmanly fears, Where duty bids he confidently steers. Faces a thousand dangers at her call, And,hoping in his God, surmounts them all." His hope is that all through life, whether that is long or short, (and he has notmuch care about the number of his years), underneath him will be the everlasting arms! He hopes that the Lord will be hisshepherd and he shall not want. He hopes that goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life. Therefore he isnot afraid to die, for then he expects to come into actual possession of his best possessions!
He looks for his best things last. He believes that when it is time for him to depart, Jesus will come and meet him- and thethought of that meeting puts aside all idea of the grim terrors of the grave! His hope leaps over the grave and lands himin a glorious resurrection! Does not the hope of our calling open grandly? We hope, also, and have good ground for it, thatafter death at the Day of Judgment we shall have, as we believe we have now, a perfect justification! A dread assize willbe held. Upon a great White Throne reflecting all things and brilliant with its purity, Jesus the Judge of all will sit andHe shall separate the mass of mankind into two portions as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats.
We know that in that day He will discern those who believed in Him and trusted Him and obeyed Him and sought to be like Heand we hope that we shall be of that blessed number! For us there shall be no sentence of condemnation, for it is written,"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." We hope for a sentence of acquittal and we, therefore,challenge the judgment which others dread. Clothed with a Divine Righteousness, we await, with expectation, the day whichshall make the impenitent wish that they had never been born! Hope takes into her consideration the most dreaded of all eventsand weaves it into her song. The end of all things is not the end of hope! Is not this brave hoping?
The hope of a man who sings on forever-living in the circle of Divine Love, dying beneath the protection of Divine Power andabiding in the judgment justified by Divine Justice-accepted in the Beloved and beloved of the Father! What else can we hopefor? We hope for absolute perfection! The God who has changed our hearts will continue the good work of sanctification tillHe has taken every sin out of us, every desire for sin, every possibility of sin! We expect Him to renew our minds and preventour making so many mistakes in judgment. We expect Him to renew our hearts that they may be wholly set on Divine and heavenlythings! We expect Him to renew our entire spirit till, when the prince of this world comes, he shall find nothing in us-notinder for his sparks, no corruption in which to sow his evil seed. We hope to be perfect, even as God is perfect. As Adam,when he came from his Maker's hand, so shall we be and something more, for we shall possess a life in Christ which our unfallenprogenitor knew not in Paradise.
We hope, also, that this body of ours will be perfected. It will lie in the grave and disintegrate into dust unless our LordJesus should come before our death-of this we make small account-having no very intense desire to avoid the
grave wherein our glorious Redeemer lay! We have nothing to lose, but much to gain by dying, for therein we put off our mortalitythat at the Resurrection we may put on immortality-
"Corruption, earth, and worms
Shall but refine this flesh,
Till when the Lord, our Savior, comes
We put it on afresh."
We expect that then our body shall be raised-changed, but still the same as to identity. For us is the promise of the Scripture-"Iwill ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death." When our body awakes, though sown in corruption,it shall be raised in incorruption! Though sown in weakness it shall be raised in power! Though sown a body only fit for thesoul, it shall be raised a body meet for our highest nature, even for our spirit!
As we have borne the image of the earthly we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Our body shall be fashioned like untothe body of Jesus Christ Himself! We are looking forward to a time when we shall have done with aches and pains, with wearinessand decay, with old age and its infirmities and with all liability to death. We expect perpetual youth to be our portion andthat joy shall thrill through every nerve and sinew of our frame, which now, alas, so often becomes the theater of agony!Yes, this is our hope-perfection of spirit, soul and body-for Christ has redeemed the whole and He will have the whole tobe His inheritance! And in the whole of our manhood His glorious image shall be reflected forever!
What else is the hope of our calling? Why, that being thus cleared in judgment and made absolutely perfect, we shall forever-foreternal duration is the glory of our heritage-we shall forever enjoy infinite happiness! We do not know what form, the joysof eternity will take, but they will take such form as shall make us the most happy. We shall have Heaven's best, yes God'sbest, and what that is, who among us can guess, though he uses all his knowledge and gives the reins to his expectancy? "Eyehas not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that loveHim; but He has revealed them unto us by His Spirit."
And, as far as we understand that Revelation, we are taught by it that we shall enter into a state of complete rest and perfectpeace; a state of holy delight and of serene and blissful activity; a state of perfect praise; a state of satisfaction; astate, probably, of progress, but still of completeness at every inch of the road; a state in which we shall be as happy aswe are capable of being, every vessel, little or great, being filled to the brim! We shall be supremely blessed, for at theright hand of God there are pleasures forevermore. This is the hope of our calling!
Nor even now have we come to an end, for something more yet remains. You say, "Can there be more?" Yes, we expect to be foreverin a condition of power, honor and in relationship to God. We hope to be brought so near to God that all the universe shalldistinctly see that we are courtiers of the palace of the great King, yes, princes of the blood royal of the skies! We shallbe very near to God, for we shall be with Jesus where He is and sit upon His throne. We shall serve our God and see His facewhile we serve Him-and His Glory will be reflected upon us and from us-and we shall be His dear sons and daughters in ChristJesus forever and ever!
There is not an angel in Heaven with whom the meanest saint might wish to change estates, for though the angels excel us,now, we shall certainly excel them in the world to come-we shall be nearer the Eternal Throne than any one of them, inasmuchas Christ Jesus is our brother and not the brother of angels. He is God-and-Man in one Person and there was never God andangel in the same union. We shall be next to the Creator-let us speak it with bated breath but leaping heart-we shall be nextto the eternal God, one with His only-begotten Son, who is one with Himself! This is the hope of our calling!
Oh Sirs, is not this worth having? Is not this worth striving for? When you count the cost, what cost is worth the counting?Might not a man, for this, lay down all that he has, yes, and his life, also, to keep this pearl of great price? And whatif you should miss it? What if you should miss it? What if it could be proven, as it never will be, that there are no painsof Hell and no eternal wrath-yet is this not enough-to have lost this immortality of glory, this immortality of honor andof likeness to God? This pain of loss-may none of us ever incur it-for it is Hell to lose Heaven! It is infinite misery tomiss infinite happiness! To be within an inch of an immortality of bliss and honor and to let it slip by-will not this bean endless torment to the soul?
To clutch the pleasures of an hour, all earth-stained as they are, shall we renounce the ecstasies of eternity? To snatchat bubbles which break before we can grasp them, shall we let unfading glories go? For the mere sake of dwelling at ease
by escaping thought shall we let boundless blessings run by us, counting ourselves unworthy of them and so losing them? Ipray that you may know "what is the hope of His calling" and that when you know it, you may cry, "I will have it! If it isto be had, by God's Grace, I will have it now!" So may it be, for Christ's sake.
And now I turn to the second, "what," of the text and that is more marvelous, still! I am sure I cannot preach the text out-itis too great for me, but here it is-"That you may know what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."Mark well that God's people are, by Grace, made to be His saints, His select, His holy ones-and then they are viewed as Hisinheritance! The whole world is God's. The cattle on a thousand hills and all lands and seas are His and yonder starry worldswhich in profusion are sown in space are all His! But He deigns to call sanctified men and women His inheritance in a specialsense! They are His peculiar treasure, His crown jewels, dear and precious to Him. "The Lord's portion is His people, Jacobis the lot of His inheritance."
I want you to think of this grand Truth of God, because practical results flow from it. If you and I are believers in Jesus,we are God's inheritance-and the Lord has what the Apostle calls, "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."But how can God make riches out of poor men and women? They are believers in Jesus, but what is there in them that He countsto be riches-riches of glory, too? We answer, first, He has spent riches of love upon them, for He loves them, poor as theyare and sick and sorry as they often are! He loved them from before the foundation of the world-and you know how preciousa thing becomes when you love it. It is a beloved keepsake and you would not part with it for a mint of gold. It may havelittle intrinsic value, but if you have long set your heart upon it, how dear it becomes to you.
God has loved His people so long and so intensely with such an unbounded love that there is a wealth in them to His heart!Oh, that we knew something of "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" as measured by the gauge of love!Moreover, the Lord has spent a wealth of wisdom on His saints. A material may be almost valueless at first, but when a wiseman has exercised his thought and skill upon it, the value may be enhanced a thousand-fold. But God has thought of His saintsforever! Eternal Wisdom found her delights with the sons of men and occupied herself on their behalf before the foundationof the world! "How precious, also, are Your thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them!"
God's wisdom has exhibited itself at its full in the plan of redemption. I scarcely hear of His deliberating for any purposeexcept for the salvation of His people, but in that matter we continually read of, "the counsel of His will," to show us that,speaking after the manner of man, the Lord has reasoned within Himself how best to save His own people. His thoughts of wisdomand prudence have been exercised upon His saints and, therefore, it is that there is a riches of glory about them. What ismore, when the riches of His love and of His wisdom had been expended, it came to pass that it was necessary that He shouldspend a life of suffering upon them.
Look to the glorious landscapes of rock and hill and dale and mountain-turn your eyes from grassy slope to snowy summit sparklingin the sun-and while you admire all things, remember that God has costlier works than these! None of these cost the Lord anIncarnation and a death! Look, if you will, to all the majestic halls of Heaven where the lamps of Glory are lit with supernalsplendor, but neither angel, nor cherubim, nor seraphim cost their Lord bloody sweat! Then look at His people-view "His inheritancein the saints"-for it is there that the Son of God, taking upon Himself human nature, sighed and groaned and sweat great dropsof blood and felt the agonies of death!
As the Lord looks over all that He has made, He sees nothing that has cost Him suffering and death till He comes to His people!Jesus knows what the saints cost Him. He estimates them at a rate usual among men, for men say, "The price is what it willfetch," and Jesus knows what His people fetched when He redeemed them by giving Himself for them! Measured by that standard,God has, indeed, riches of glory in His inheritance in the saints! And then there comes great glory to God from the workmanshipwhich He puts into His people.
When He made the world it was with a voice. "He spoke, and it was done." When He made the things that are, He had but to willand they stood forth-but in the making of a Christian it needs the labor of the Godhead-Father, Son and Holy Spirit must allwork to create a new creature in Christ Jesus! The Father must beget, the Son must redeem, the Spirit must regenerate-andwhen this is done, the Godhead's Omnipotence must be put forth to keep a Christian alive and to perfect him and present him"faultless before the Presence of God with exceeding joy." An artisan can put into a small piece of iron of no worth at allso much labor that it shall be valued at scores of pounds-and the Triune God can
expend so much workmanship upon our poor nature that a man shall be more precious than the gold of Ophir! Valued thus, theLord may well speak of "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."
Now, as I desire, if I can, to lead you into a sense of this glory for a minute, I should like you to accompany me while Ispeak somewhat carefully but yet enthusiastically about what the Christian becomes when God has perfected His work upon him.Notice, then, that when, at the last, the Believer shall have been perfected by the work of the Spirit, as he will be, manwill be an extraordinary creature! Listen! God has made matter and upon matter has impressed His will and from the tiniestdrop to the mightiest orb matter never disobeys the Law which God imposes upon it. This is a great triumph. Call it, "thelaw of gravitation," or whatever you will, it is quite certain that all inanimate nature is put under law by the Most Highand that it never rebels!
Huge as this great universe is, God has as complete power over it as you have over the ball which you toss in your hand. Thisis glorious, but still it is small glory compared with that which God obtains from His people when they arrive at Heaven,for they will not be merely dead, inert matter governed by laws, but they will be full of life and moral freedom-and yet theywill be as completely subject to the Divine mind as are the atoms of matter. This will be an achievement, indeed-to have producedfree agents which will be under no control of force, but perfectly at liberty and yet will be forever absolutely obedientto the Divine will!
Listen again. The perfected saints will be creatures of a very peculiar form, for they will not be pure spirit, dissociatedfrom matter. I understand yonder spirits before the Throne standing in their obedience because they have no materialism tohamper them and drag them down. Angels are spirits without material bodies and they obey God, listening to His commands, buta perfected saint is a creature in which the material is linked with the spiritual! Such are we now and I suppose, in a measure,such shall we abide-and yet there will be no sin in us, no violation of the Divine command! Man is a strange mixture. He isnext akin to Deity and yet he is brother to the worm!
We are partakers of the Divine Nature and the children of God-and yet as to our bodies we are linked to rocks and stones andgrosser things. Man renewed by Grace touches the center in Christ Jesus, but being man he sweeps the circumference of creatureshipand includes within himself a summary of the whole creation. He has been called a microcosm, or a little world and so, indeed,he is. Such a creature God is now perfecting. A being in whom dust and Deity each own a kindred. Such a being, purified fromtaint of evil, shall greatly glorify God!
Think, again, dear Friends. There once stood a bright spirit in Heaven, leader of the angels, but the place was too high forhim and the Son of the Morning fell from Heaven and dragged others with him. God is making, by His Grace, beings who willstand next to His Throne, but will remain forever reverently loyal. They will be peers in His kingdom, but they will neverbe proud or ambitious. We, my Brethren, though in full possession of our free agency, shall never fall from our eternal glory,but shall be forever faithful! We shall have passed through such an experience of sin; we shall so intensely feel our indebtednessto Grace; we shall so fervently love the dear Redeemer that we shall cast our crowns at His feet and we shall ascribe ourjoy to Him, alone, and so shall never dream of revolting from Him.
God is thus making beings whom it will be safe to exalt to honors so near His own-will not this be a triumph of power andgoodness? Can you think of it, that you will be one of such favored creatures, if indeed you are a Believer? These beingswill have known evil. Think of that! The unfallen angels have never actually known evil, but in restored man shall be fulfilledthe devil's lie made into God's truth-"You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." They shall hate evil as the burnt childdreads fire and they shall love righteousness because by righteousness they have been saved- and in righteousness they havebeen created anew! How wonderful will that creature be which has known sin and remains a free agent-and yet will never yieldto folly but abide forever in holiness held by bonds of love!
Oh, when I think of the destiny of a child of God, my eyes sparkle, but my tongue refuses to utter what I think! What a beingare you, O man! What are you that God should visit you? He has made you "a little lower than the angels," but in Christ JesusHe has crowned you with glory and honor and given you dominion over all the works of His hands, yes, in Christ He has raisedyou up and made you to sit with Him in the heavenly places, far above principalities and powers and your time to reign andtriumph forever is hard at hand! How glorious is God in His people! God in Christ Jesus, seen in the Church, who is like untoyou?
Now, the point is that if this is the riches of God's Glory in His inheritance in the saints, you may read it in another wayand say, "This is the riches of our inheritance, too, for what shall we be if God is to have us for an inheritance?" Will
you miss it? Will you miss it? Will you miss it? If this is a dream, I could wish to die rather than have the illusion dispelled!But it is fact, as God's Word is true! Will you miss it, then? Oh, if there were crowns to be scrambled for, most men areambitious enough to seek for one, though it might be a curse to them! If there is gold, or if there is fame, men have butto hear the chink of the metal or the blast of the trumpet and many stir themselves to win! But here is honor, glory and immortalityin Christ-and it is to be had for the asking, it is to be had by simply believing and trusting in Jesus Christ-will you haveit? Oh, foolish hand that is not stretched out to receive it! Oh, foolish heart that does not pray for it! God grant you toknow what is the "riches of His inheritance in the saints," that you may seek to be a part in that inheritance and seek itnow!
Now, the third "what"-" What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of Hismighty power, which He worked in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlyplaces." I thought I heard somebody saying, "Woe is me! Woe is me! I hear of what man may be. I hear of what God may makeof him, but, woe is me-it will never come to my lot! I am so weak, so fickle, so irresolute, so frail! Woe is me! I am undone.I have no strength!"
Now, the third "what" is this-"that you may know what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us, who believe." Now,learn this and know it, that in the conversion, preservation and salvation of any one person, God exhibits as great a poweras He manifested when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places! The salvationof no man in the world is by his own strength. It is by the power of God, "for we are His workmanship." This fact should greatlyrelieve you who are discouraged-the thing is impossible with you-but it is not impossible, or even difficult with God! Hethat has worked us to the same thing is God and He is quite as able to work it in you, my dear Hearer, as to work it in theApostle Paul himself. God can do all things!
Now, when our Lord Jesus lay in the tomb, He was dead, but God quickened Him. Jesus was imprisoned in the sepulcher and thestone at the grave's mouth was sealed and guarded-but the stone was rolled away, the guards were frightened and the Lord ofLife rose from among the dead! Every sinner is shut up in the tomb of sin by evil habits, but Christ can roll away the stoneand the sinner can come forth a living man! Our Lord continued on earth among men for several days and, despite human enmity,no man hurt Him, for He had received a Life and a Glory which they could not approach. The saints also abide here among menand many seek to destroy them, but God has given them a new life which can never be destroyed, for He has hedged it aboutfrom all its adversaries.
All the powers of darkness fought against the Lord Jesus Christ, but, through the power of God, He conquered them all. I thinkI see Him, now, ascending up on high leading captivity captive in the power of God. So, my Brothers and Sisters, you willbe opposed by the powers of darkness and by your own evil heart, but you shall conquer, for God will put forth the same powerin you which He manifested in His dear Son and you, too, shall lead captivity captive! I see the Lord Jesus entering the pearlygates and climbing to His Throne. There He sits and none can bring Him down! And you, too, believing in Jesus, shall havethe same power to tread down all your foes, your sins, your temptations, till you shall rise and sit where Jesus sits at theright hand of God!
The very same power which raised Christ is waiting to raise the drunk from his drunkenness; to raise the thief from his dishonesty;to raise the Pharisee from his self-righteousness and to raise the Sadducee from his unbelief. God has power among the sonsof men and this power He puts forth in making them to be a people that shall show forth His praise. Oh, that you knew whatis the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, because then you would fling away despair. There remains nothingfor you in this case but to submit to the Divine power! God will work in you-be willing to be worked upon!
O Spirit of the Lord, work in our hearers this good will! Drop yourselves like plastic clay at the Potter's feet and He willput you on the wheel and mold you at His pleasure. Be willing, it is all He asks you-be trustful, it is all His Gospel requiresof you and, indeed, both will and trust He gives you! "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land."Be willing to let go of the sin which ruins you! Be willing to learn the Truth of God which will renew you! Be willing tosit at Jesus' feet; be willing to accept a finished salvation at His hands and all the power that is needed to lift you fromthis place to the starry gates of Heaven is waiting to be shed upon you! God give you to know this and so to rest in Jesusand be saved!
II. The last word is to be upon the second head-WHY WE WISH YOU TO SEE AND KNOW ALL THIS. I have, in effect, been all alongenforcing this second head as the sermon has progressed and so I shall not need to detain you many minutes, except with apractical recapitulation. We want you to know the hope of His calling that you may not neglect it, nor set anything in competitionwith it. I tried, as my poor words enabled me to tell you, what a hope the calling of God gives the Christian. I charge you,do not let it go! I shall probably never meet the most of you again and if any shall say to you
afterwards, "Well, what did the man say?" I would like you to be compelled to say, "He said this-that there is a future beforeus of such Glory that he charged us not to lose it. There are the possibilities of such an intense delight forever and everthat he besought us to ensure that delight by accepting Christ and His way of salvation."
Next we want you to believe the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, that you may see where your hope lies.Your hope lies in not being your own any more, but in being the Lord's and so realizing "the riches of the glory of God'sinheritance in the saints." The saints belong to their Lord-your salvation will be found in experimentally knowing that youare not your own because you are bought with a price-yes, in admitting at this moment that your honor and happiness are foundin being the Lord's! If you are your own, you will spend yourself and be ruined-but if you are Christ's-He will take careof you. Oh, if I thought that I had a hair of this head that belonged to only myself, I would tear it out! But to be ownedby Jesus altogether-spirit, soul and body-to be Christ's man in the entireness of my being, this, I say, is glory, immortalityand eternal life! Be your own, and you will be lost! Be Christ's and you are saved!
The closing thought is this. We want you to know the exceeding greatness of God's power that you may not doubt, or despond,or despair, but come now and cast yourselves upon the Incarnate God and let Him save you! Yield yourselves unto Him that thegreat Glory of His power may be manifest in you as in the rest of His people. I don't want you to go until you have reallyhidden these things in your hearts to ponder them in the days to come. I set bread before you-do not merely look at it, buteat a portion now and carry the rest home to eat in secret! Our preaching is often too much like a fiddler's playing. Peoplecome to see how it is done and then they pass round the question, "What did you think of him?"
Now, I do not care two straws what you think of me, but I do care a whole world what you think of Christ and of yourselvesand of your future state! I pray you forget the way in which I put things, for that may be very blundering and faulty! Butif there is anything in the things, themselves, consider them with care. If you judge the Bible to be a fraud and that thereis no Heaven to be had, then go-sport and laugh as you please-for you will only act consistently with your erroneous imagination!But if you believe God's Word to be true and that there is a glorious hope connected with the Christian's high calling, thenin the name of prudence and common sense why do you not seek it? Give no sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids tillyou find it!
I ask the Lord's people here present and I know that there are many such in the audience tonight, to pray that this appealmay have an effect upon many in this great crowd-that they may seek the Lord at once with full purpose of heart. O Spiritof God, work it, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Ephesians 1; 2:1 HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-176, 757, 728.
LETTER FROM MR. SPURGEON:
DEAR FRIENDS-Accept my most loving salutations. May all Grace abound towards each one of you and may your joy and peace bemultiplied thereby. I feel daily improving in health and strength; only my knees remain feeble. I still adhere to my determination,if the Lord wills, to preach on Lord's-Day, April 13. May His Presence, then, be with us. I earnestly entreat the prayersof all who know how to plead with God that when I return among you it may be in the fullness of the power of the Holy Spiritand that my usefulness may be increased a hundredfold. Surely all the suffering I have endured and all the rest I have enjoyedshould bring forth some fruit unto God! Yet so feeble are we that we profit nothing unless the Spirit of the Lord quickensus. By all the affectionate interest which you have up to now shown in my ministry, intercede for me, I beseech you, thatI may yet be made a blessing to myriads,
Yours in heartiest love, C.H. SPURGEON
Mentone, March 27, 1879