Sermon 2169. The Man Who Shall Never See Death
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, OCTOBER 19, 1890,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Verily, verily, Isay unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto Him, Now we knowthat You have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the Prophets, and You say, If a man keep My saying, he shall never taste of death.Are You greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the Prophets are dead: whom make You Yourself" John 8:51-53.
IN the previous part of this chapter we hear the Jews, with malicious voices, assailing our blessed Lord with this bitterquestion, "Say we not well that You are a Samaritan, and have a devil?" How very quietly the Savior answered them! He didanswer them because He judged it necessary to do so, but He did so with great patience and with sound argument-"I have nota devil; but I honor My Father." Clear proof, this! No man can be said to have a devil who honors God, for the evil spiritfrom the beginning has been the enemy of all that glorifies the Father! Paul, who had not read this passage-for the Gospelof John was not written then-was nevertheless so filled with his Master's spirit that he answered after a like manner whenFestus said, "Paul, you are beside yourself; much learning does make you mad." He calmly replied, "I am not mad, most nobleFestus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness."
This was a fine copy of our Savior's gentle and forcible reply-"I have not a devil; but I honor My Father." Brethren, wheneveryou are falsely accused and an evil name is hurled at you, if you must reply, "give a reason of the hope that is in you withmeekness and fear." Be not heated and hurried, for if so, you will lose strength and will be apt to err. Let your Lord beyour model. The false charge was the occasion of our Lord's uttering a great Truth of God. On they rush, furious in theirrage, but He flashes in their faces the light of Truth. To put down error, lift up Truth! Thus their deadly saying was metby a living saying-"Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keeps My saying, he shall never see
Nothing so baffles the adversaries of the faith as to utter with unshaken confidence the Truth of God. The Truth which Jesusstated was full of promise and if they willfully rejected His promise, it became worse to them than a threat. Christ's rejectedpromises curdle into woes. If these men, when He said to them, "If a man keeps My saying, he shall never see death," yet wenton reviling Him, then their consciences, when afterwards awakened, would say to them, "He that believes not shall not seelife, but the wrath of God abides on him." If the Believer shall never see death, then the unbeliever shall never see life.Thus the Gospel itself becomes "a savor of death unto death" to those who refuse it and the very word which proclaims eternallife threatens eternal death to the willfully unbelieving.
I pray that, this morning, we may be put into a gracious frame of mind and may be so helped to keep Christ's saying, thatwe may inherit this wondrous promise-"If a man keeps My saying, he shall never see death." May the Holy Spirit specially aidme while I first speak upon the gracious character-the man who keeps Christ's saying. Secondly, I would dwell upon the gloriousdeliverance-"He shall never see death." Thirdly, taking the two later verses of my text, I would honor the great Quickener,for evidently, according to the Jews, our Lord was making much of Himself by what He said.
And in truth, the fact that the Believer shall never see death does greatly magnify the Lord Jesus. May He be glorified inour mourning hearts while we think of our departed friend as one who shall never see death!
I. First, consider THE GRACIOUS CHARACTER-"If a man keeps My saying, he shall never see death." Observe, that the one conspicuouscharacteristic of the man who shall never behold death is that he keeps Christ's saying or word. He may have other characteristics,but they are comparatively unimportant in this respect. He may be of a timorous nature; he may often be in distress; but ifhe keeps Christ's saying he shall never see death. He may have been a great sinner in his early life but, being convertedand led to keep Christ's saying, he shall never see death! He may be a strong-minded man who keeps a firm grip of eternalrealities and therefore becomes supremely useful-but none the more for that is this promise true to him. The reason for hissafety is the same as in the case of the weak and timorous-he keeps Christ's saying and therefore he shall never see death.Divest yourselves, therefore, of all enquiries about other matters and only make inquisition in your own heart upon this onepoint-do you keep Christ's saying? If you do this, you shall never see death.
Who is this man who keeps Christ's saying? Obviously, he is a man that has close dealing with Christ. He hears what He says.He notes what He says. He clings to what He says. We meet with persons nowadays who talk about faith in God, but they do notknow the Lord Jesus Christ as the great Sacrifice and Reconciler. But without a Mediator there is no coming to God. Jesussays, "No man comes unto the Father, but by Me." His witness is true. Brothers and Sisters, we glorify Christ as God Himself.Truly, the unity of the Godhead is never doubted among us. And while "there is one God," there is also "one Mediator betweenGod and man, the Man Christ Jesus." Forever remember that Christ Jesus as God-Man, Mediator, is essential to all our communionwith the Father. You cannot trust God, nor love God, nor serve God aright unless you willingly consent to His appointed wayof reconciliation, redemption, justification and access which is only through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
In Christ we draw near unto God. Attempt not to approach unto Jehovah, who is a consuming fire, except through the IncarnateGod. Tell me, my Hearer, is your faith fixed upon Him whom God has set forth to be the Propitiation for sin? Do you come toGod in God's own way? He will not receive you in any other! If you reject the way of salvation through the blood of the Lamb,you cannot be keeping the saying of Christ, for He says, "He that has seen Me has seen the Father"-and He says this of noneelse.
These people, next, making the Lord Jesus their All in All, reverenced His word and therefore kept it-they respected, observed,trusted and obeyed it. By keeping His saying is meant, first, that they accept His doctrine. Whatever He has laid down asTruth is Truth to them. My Hearer, is it so with you? With some their great source of belief is their own thought. They judgethe Divine Revelation, itself, and claim the right, not only to interpret it, but to correct and expand it. In the fullnessof self-confidence, they make themselves the judges of God's Word. They believe a Doctrine because the light of the presentage confirms it or invents it. Their foundation is in man's own thought. In their opinion, parts of Scripture are exceedinglyfaulty and need tinkering with scientific hammers.
The light of the Holy Spirit is to them a mere glowworm as compared with the light of the present advanced age. But he thatis to share the promise now before us is one who believes the Savior's Word because it is His Word. He takes the sayings ofChrist and His Inspired Apostles as being true, because so spoken. To him the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit is the warrantof faith. This is a very important matter-the foundation of our faith is even more important than the superstructure. Unlessyou ground your faith upon the fact that the Lord has spoken, your faith lacks that worshipful reverence which God requires.Even if you are correct in your beliefs, you are not correct in your spirit unless your faith is grounded on the authorityof God's own Word.
We are to be disciples, not critics. We have done with quibbling, for we have come to believing. In this our departed deaconstood on firm ground. By him every teaching of the Word was accepted with a lively, child-like faith-and though tempted bythe school of doubt-he was not in the least affected by its reasonings. To him the Gospel was dear as life itself. As he did,so must we believe Christ's doctrines.
Next, the gracious man trusts Christ's promises. This is a crucial point. Without trust in Jesus we have no spiritual life.Say, my Hearer, do you rely upon the saying of the Lord Jesus, "He that believes in Me has everlasting life"? Do you believein the promise of pardon to the man that confesses and forsakes his sin-pardon through the precious blood of the great Sacrifice?Are the promises of Christ certainties to you, certainties hallmarked with His sacred, "Verily, verily,
I say unto you"? Can you hang your soul upon the sure nail of the Lord's sayings? Some of us rest our eternal destiny solelyupon the truthfulness of Christ. When we take all His promises together, what a fullness of confidence they create in us!-
"How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!"
Furthermore, the gracious man obeys His precepts. No man can be said to keep Christ's sayings unless he follows them practicallyin his life. He is not only teacher, but Lord to us. A true keeper of the Word cultivates that spirit of love which is thevery essence of Christ's moral teaching. He endeavors to be meek and merciful. He aims at purity of heart and peaceablenessof spirit. He follows after holiness even at the cost of persecution. Whatever he finds that his Lord has ordained, he cheerfullyperforms. He does not kick at the Lord's commands as involving too much self-denial and separation from the world. He is willingto enter in by the strait gate and to follow the narrow way because his Lord commands him. That faith which does not leadto obedience is a dead faith and a false faith. That faith which does not cause us to forsake sin is no better than the faithof devils, even if it is so good-
"Faith must obey her Father's will,
As well as trust His Grace:
A pardoning God is jealous still
For His own holiness."
So now you see who the man is that keeps Christ's sayings. That man receives, through the Word of God, a new and everlastinglife, for the Word of God is a "living and incorruptible seed, which lives and abides forever." Wherever the seed of the Worddrops into a soil which accepts it, it takes root, abides and grows. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begottenSon, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." It is by Christ's sayings, or by Christ'sWord, that life is implanted in the soul-by that same Word the heavenly life is fed, increased, developed and at length perfected.The power and energy of the Holy Spirit which work through the Word are used as the beginning, the sustaining and the perfectingof the inner life. The life of Grace on earth is the blossom of which the life of Glory is the fruit.
It is the same life all along, from regeneration to resurrection. The life which comes into the soul of the Believer, whenhe begins to keep Christ's sayings, is the same life which he will enjoy before the Eternal Throne in the realms of the blessed.We may know what keeping Christ's sayings is from the fact that He Himself has set us the example. Note well the 55th verse,where Jesus says concerning the Father-"Yet you have not known Him; but I know Him: and if I should say, I know Him not, Ishall be a liar like unto you: but I know Him, and keep His saying." We are to keep our Lord's saying, even as He kept HisFather's saying!
He lived upon the Father's Word and therefore refused Satan's temptation to turn stones into bread. His Father's Word wasin Him so that He always did the things which pleased the Father. When He spoke, He spoke not His own Words, but the Wordsof Him that sent Him. He lived that the Divine Word might be executed-even on the Cross He was careful that the Scripturemight be fulfilled. He said, "He that is of God hears God's Words" and this was so truly the case with Him that He said, "Myears have You opened." The Word was everything to Him and He rejoiced over His Apostles because He could say of them, "Theyhave kept Your Word." He, whose Word you are to keep shows you how to keep it! Live towards Him as He lived towards the Fatherand then you shall receive the promise He has made: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, He shall neversee death."
If love is the fulfilling of the Lord's saying, our dearly-beloved but now departed friend kept the saying of Christ- forin that matter many Believers have done virtuously, but he excelled them all. He has not looked on death.
II. Now we turn to the delightful part of our subject, namely, THE GLORIOUS DELIVERANCE which our Lord here promises-"He shallnever see death." Our Lord did not mean that he shall never die, for He Himself died and His followers, in long procession,have descended to the grave. Some Brethren are cheered by the belief that they shall live until the Lord comes and thereforethey shall not sleep, but shall only be changed. The hope of our Lord's appearing is a very blessed one, come when He may.But I do not think that to be alive at His coming is any great object of desire. Is there any great preference in being changedbeyond that of dying? Do we not read that, "We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent themwhich are asleep"?
This is a great Truth of God. Throughout eternity, if I die, I shall be able to say I had actual fellowship with Christ inthe article of death and in descent into the grave, which those happy saints who will survive can never know. It is no matterof doctrine, but yet, if one might have a choice in the matter, it might be gain to die-
"The graves of all His saints He blessed,
And softened every bed:
Where should the dying members rest,
But with the dying Head?"
How dear will Christ be to us when, in the ages to come, we shall think of His death and shall be able to say, "We, too, havedied and risen again"! You that are alive and remain will certainly not have a preference over us, who, like our Lord, shalltaste of death. I am only speaking, now, of a matter of no great moment, which, as Believers, we may use as a pleasant subjectof discourse among ourselves. We grieve not that our Brother has fallen asleep before the Lord's glorious appearing, for weare sure that he will be no loser thereby.
Our Lord has said, "If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death," and this does not relate to the few who will remainat His Second Advent, but to the entire company of those who have kept His saying, even though they pass into the grave. Whatdoes this promise mean? It means this, in the first place-our face is turned away from death. Here am I, a poor sinner, convictedof sin and awakened to a fear of wrath. What is there before my face? What am I compelled to gaze upon? The Greek is not fullyinterpreted by the word "see"-it is a more intense word. According to Westcott, the sight here mentioned is that of "a long,steady, exhaustive vision, whereby we become slowly acquainted with the nature of the object to which it is directed."
The awakened sinner is made to look at eternal death which is the threatened punishment of sin. He stands gazing upon theresult of sin with terror and dismay. Oh, the wrath to come! The death that never dies! While unforgiven, I cannot help gazingupon it and foreseeing it as my doom. When the Gospel of the Lord Jesus comes to my soul and I keep His saying by faith, Iam turned completely round. My back is upon death and my face is towards eternal life! Death is removed, life is receivedand more life is promised. What do I see within, around and before me? Why, life, and only life-life in Christ Jesus! "Heis our life." In my future course on earth, what do I see? Final falling from Grace? By no means, for Jesus says, "I giveunto My sheep eternal life." What do I see far away in the eternities? Unending life! "He that believes in Me has everlastinglife."
Now I begin to realize the meaning of that text, "I am the Resurrection: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yetshall he live." And again, "I am the Life: he that lives and believes in Me shall never die." The man who has received thesaying of the Lord Jesus has passed from death unto life and shall never come into condemnation! Consequently he shall nevergaze on death. All that lies before the Believer is life, life more abundantly, life to the fullest, life eternal! What hasbecome of our death? Our Lord endured it. He died for us. "He His own Self bore our sins in His own body on the tree." InHis death as our Representative we died. There is no death penalty left for the Believer, for not the least charge can bebrought against those for whom Christ has died. Hence we sing-
"Complete atonement You ha ve made, And to the utmost farthing paid Whatever your people owed: Nor can His wrath on me takeplace, If sheltered in Your righteousness, And sprinkled with Your blood." Shall we die for whom Christ died in the purposeof God? Can our departure out of the world be sent as a punishment when our Lord Jesus has so vindicated justice that no punishmentis required? When I behold my Lord die upon the Cross, I see that for me death itself is dead.
Then comes in another sense of the expression. "He that keeps My saying shall never see death," means that his spiritual deathis gone, never to return. Before the man knows Christ, he abides in death and wherever he looks he sees nothing but death.Poor souls! You know what I am talking about, you that are now under concern of soul, for you try to pray and find death inyour prayers, You try to believe, but seem dead as to faith. Alas, you ungodly ones! Although you know it not, death is everywherewithin you. You are "dead in trespasses and sins." Your sins are to you what grave-
clothes are to a corpse! They seem your natural investiture-they cling to you-they bind you. Little do you know what corruptionis coming upon you, so that God Himself will say of you, "Bury the dead out of My sight."
As soon as ever the Gospel saying of the Lord Jesus comes to a man with power, what is the effect? He is dead no longer-hebegins to see life! It may be that at first it is a painful life-a life of deep regrets for the past and dark fears for thefuture. It may be a life of hungering and thirsting; a life of pining and panting; a life that needs something-it scarcelyknows what-but it cannot live without it. This man sees life and the more he keeps his Savior's Word, the more he rejoicesin Christ Jesus, the more he rests on His promise, the more he loves Him, the more he serves Him, the more will his new lifedrive death out of sight! Life now abounds and holds sway and the old death hides away in holes and corners.
Though oftentimes the Believer has to mourn over the old death which struggles to return, yet he does not gaze upon that deathof sin as once he did. He cannot endure it. He takes no pleasure in the contemplation of it, but cries to God for deliverancefrom it. Grace frees us from the reign of death as well as from the penalty of death-and in neither of these senses shallthe keeper of Christ's saying ever look upon death. "But," cries one, "will not a Christian man die?" I answer, not necessarily,for some will remain at the coming of our Lord-and these will not die. Therefore there is no legal necessity that any shoulddie since the obligation would then rest alike on all. But good men die. The tokens of death are seen in mournful array uponmy pulpit.
Yet our dear Brother did not die as the penalty of his sin. He was forgiven and it is not according to God's Grace or justiceto punish those whom He has forgiven. O my Hearers, if you do not believe in the Lord Jesus, death will be a penal inflictionto you! But death is changed in its nature in the case of a Believer in Jesus. Our death is a falling asleep, not a goingto execution! It is a departure out of the world unto the Father, not a being driven away in wrath. We quit the militant hostof earth for the triumphant armies of Heaven by the gate of death-that which was a cavern leading to blackness and darknessforever has, by the Resurrection of our Lord, been made into an open tunnel which serves as a passage into eternal Glory!As a penal infliction upon Believers, death was abolished by our Lord and now it has become a stairway from the Grace-lifebelow to the Glory-life above.
"If a man keep My saying, he shall never gaze on death," may further mean, he shall not live under the influence of it. Heshall not be perpetually thinking of death and dreading its approach and that which follows after it. I must admit that someChristians are in bondage through fear of death-but that is because they do not keep their Master's saying as they ought to.The effect of His saying upon us is frequently such that instead of being afraid to die, we come to long to depart! In sucha case we should realize the verses of Watts, who tells us that could we see the saints above we should long to join them-
"How we should scorn these robes of flesh, These fetters and this load! And long for evening to undress, That we may restin God. We should almost forsake our clay Before the summons come And pray and wish our souls away To their eternal Home."
I have to check some dear Brethren when they say to me, "Let me die the death of the righteous." No, do not talk as Balaamdid, but rather say, "Let me live, that I may glorify God and help my sorrowing Brethren in the Lord's work." I pray you,do not hasten to be gone-and yet this impatience proves that death has lost its terrors for us. We do not see death loomingbefore us as a coming tempest-we do not gaze upon it as a fascinating horror which makes our faces pale and casts a luridglare on all around us. We see not the darkness, for we walk in the light! We fear not the rumbling of the chariot, for weknow who rides to us therein! We shall never see that which is the reality and essence of death, namely, the wrath of Godin the second death. We have no cause to fear condemnation, for "it is God that justifies." That final separation from God,which is the real death of human nature, can never come to us. "Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in ChristJesus our Lord?" That ruin and misery which the word, "death," describes, when used in relation to the soul, will never befallus, for we shall never perish, neither shall any pluck us out of Christ's hands!
When the Believer dies, he does not gaze on death. He walks through the valley of the shadow of death, but he fears no eviland sees none to fear. A shadow was cast across my road, but I passed through it and scarcely perceived that it was there.Why was that? Because I had my eye fixed upon a strong light beyond-and I did not notice the shadows which otherwise wouldhave distressed me. Believers are so rejoiced by the Presence of their Lord and Master that they do not observe that theyare dying. They rest so sweetly in the embrace of Jesus that they hear not the voice of wailing. When they pass from one worldinto another, it is something like going from England to Scotland-it is all one kingdom and one sun shines in both lands!
Often travelers by railway ask, "When do we pass from England into Scotland?" There is no jerk in the movement of the train.There is no marking of the boundary-you glide from one into the other and scarcely know where the boundary lies. The eternallife that is in the Believer glides along from Grace to Glory without a break. We grow steadily on from the blade to the ear,and from the ear to the full corn-but no black belt divides the stages of growth from one another. We shall know when we arrive,but the passage may be so rapid that we shall not see it. From earth to Heaven may seem the greatest of journeys, but it isended in the twinkling of an eye!-
"One gentle sigh, the fetter breaks, We scarce can say, 'He's gone,' Before the ransomed spirit takes Its mansion near theThrone!"
He shall never gaze on death-he shall pass it by with no more than a glance. He shall go through Jordan as though it weredry land and scarcely know that he has passed a river at all! Like Peter, the departing shall scarcely be sure that they havepassed through the iron gate which shall open of its own accord-they shall only know that they are free. Of each one of themit may be said, as of Peter, "He knew not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision." Fearnot death, for Jesus says, "He that keeps My saying shall never see death."
Follow the soul when it enters upon the other world-the body is left behind and the man is a disembodied spirit- but he doesnot see death. All the life he needs he has within his soul by being one with Jesus. Meanwhile, he is expecting that at thetrump of the Resurrection his body will be reunited with his soul, having been made to be the dwelling and the instrumentof his perfected spirit. While he is absent from the body, he is so present with the Lord that he does not look on death.But the Judgment Day has come, the Great White Throne is set, the multitudes appear before the Judge! What about the keeperof Christ's saying? Is he not afraid?
It is the day of days, the day of wrath! He knows that he shall never see death and therefore he is in no confusion. For himthere is no, "Depart, you cursed." He can never come under the eternal sentence. Look! Hell opens wide her tremendous mouth.The pit which of old was dug for the wicked yawns and receives them! Down sink the ungodly multitude, a very cataract of souls."The wicked shall be turned into Hell and all the nations that forget God." In that terrific hour, will not his foot slip?No! He shall stand in the judgment and shall never see death. But the world is on a blaze! All things are being dissolvedand the elements are melting with fervent heat! The stars are falling like the leaves of autumn and the sun is black as sackclothof hair. Is he not now alarmed?
Ah, no! He shall never see death. His eyes are fixed on life and he himself is full of it. He abides in life! He spends thatlife in praising God. He shall never gaze on death, for Jesus says, "Because I live, you shall live also." O blessed eyes,that shall never look on death! O happy mind, that has been made confident in Jesus Christ of an immortality for which thereis no hazard! Our dear Brother was the embodiment of life in the service of the Lord. Last Sabbath he sat in this seat behindme and responded in his very soul to the Word of the Lord. Last Monday was spent all day in the service of God and this Church,in the most hearty manner. Though a great sufferer, his spirit carried him over his bodily weakness and he constantly exhibitedan amazing zeal for God and the souls of men.
To the last the old ruling passion was strong in him-he would speak for his Lord. He was so struck down that he did not knowthat he was dying. He found himself in Heaven before he was aware and I dare say he said to himself, "I thought I was goingto the Tabernacle, but here I am in the Temple of my God! For many a year I took my seat among my Brethren below, or wentabout serving my Lord among His people and now I have a mansion above! And now I behold His face! But I will now see whatthere is to do." Yes, he will serve God day and night in His Temple, just as he did here, for he was never tired of work forJesus. He was always at it, and always full of life. He never beheld death while he was with us, for he overflowed with life!
And when physical death came, he did not gaze upon it but simply bowed his head and found himself before the Throne. Whata glorious word is this! Alas for you who are ungodly! You are made to look on death. It haunts you now! What will it be inthe hour of your death? "What will you do in the swelling of the Jordan?" Nothing remains for you but the wages of sin, whichis death. The ruin and misery of your souls will be your endless portion. You will be shut in with the finally destroyed,ruined and wretched ones forever! This is a dreadful looking for of judgment. It ought to startle you. But as for the Believer,surely the bitterness of death is past. We have nothing more to do with death as a penalty or a terror any more than we haveto do with spiritual death as the choke-damp of the heart and the mother of corruption.
III. This brings me to the third point-THE GREAT QUICKENER. Those Jews-what a passion they were in! How unscrupulous theirtalk! They could not even quote Christ's words correctly. They said, "You say, If a man keep My saying, he shall never tasteof death." He did not say so. He said, "Shall never see death." We may be said to taste of death as our Master did, for itis written that "He tasted death for every man." And yet in another sense we shall never taste the wormwood and gall of death,for to us it is "swallowed up in victory." Its drop of gall is lost in the bowl of victory.
However, the Lord Jesus did not say that we shall never taste of death-neither did He mean that we shall not die, in the commonsense of the word. He was using, to the Jews, words in that religious sense in which their own Prophets used them. The ancientScriptures so used the word, death, and these Jews knew their meaning right well. Death did not always mean the separationof the soul from the body, for the Lord's declaration to Adam was, "In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die."Assuredly, Adam and Eve died in the sense intended, but they were not annihilated, nor were their souls separated from theirbodies for they still remained to labor on earth. "The soul that sins it shall die," relates to a death which consists ofdegradation, misery, inability, ruin.
Death does not mean annihilation, but something very different. Overthrow and ruin are the death of a soul, just as perfectionand joy are its life forever. The separation of the soul from God is the death penalty-and that is death, indeed. The Jewsrefused to understand our Lord, yet they clearly saw that what Jesus claimed tended to glorify Him above Abraham and the Prophets.Hidden away in their abusive words we find a sense which is instructive. It is not the greatness or the goodness of a Believerthat secures his eternal life-it is his being linked by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is greater than Abraham and theProphets! The man keeps Christ's saying and that becomes a bond between him and Christ-and he is one with Christ.
Because of their Lord, the saints live and the living of the saints by Him brings to Him glory and honor. His life is seenin every one of His people-like mirrors, they reflect His Divine life. He has life in Himself and that life He imparts toHis chosen. As the old creation displays the Glory of the Father, so the new creation reveals the Glory of the Son. Believersfind their highest life in Christ Jesus their Lord-and every particle of it glorifies Him. It is also to our Lord's Glorythat we live by His Word. He does not sustain us by the machinery of Providence, but by His Word. As the world stood out intobeing because God spoke, so do we live and continue to live because of Christ's Word. That which He taught, being receivedinto our hearts, becomes the origin and the nourishment of our eternal life. It is greatly glorifying to Christ that, by HisWord, all spiritual life in the countless myriads of Believers is begotten and sustained. It is clear that the Lord Jesusis far greater than Abraham and all the Prophets. Their word could not make men live, nor even live themselves. But the sayingof Jesus makes all live who receive it. By keeping it they live-yes, live forever! Glory be to the name of Him who quickenswhom He wills!
A sweet inference flows from all this and with that I conclude. The glory of Christ depends upon the not seeing of death byall who keep His saying. If you and I keep His saying and we see death, then Jesus is not true. If you, believing in Jesus,gaze on death, it will be proven that either He had not the power or the will to make His promise good. If the Lord failsin any one case, He has lost the honor of His faithfulness. O you trembling, anxious souls, lay hold on this-
"His honor is engaged to save The meanest of His sheep."
If the saint of God, who has won thousands for Jesus, should, after all, perish, what a failure of Covenant engagements therewould be! But that failure would be just as great if one of the least of all those who keep our Lord's Word should be sufferedto perish. Such a loss of honor to our All-Glorious Lord is not to be imagined! Therefore if one of you who are
the least in your Father's house do really trust in Him-though you are encumbered with infirmities and imperfections-He mustkeep you from beholding death!
His Truth, His power, His immutability, His love are all involved in His faithfulness to His promise to each Believer. I wantyou to take this home with you and be comforted. Yes, and if I have some foul transgressor here this morning- the grossestsinner that ever lived-if you will come to Christ, lay hold upon His gracious saying-keep it and be obedient to it-you shallnever see death! There is not a soul in Hell that can ever say, "I have kept Christ's saying and I have seen death, for hereI am." There never will be such an one, or Christ's Glory would be tarnished throughout eternity!
Keep His saying and He will keep you from seeing death! How eagerly did my departed friend long for the conversion of thosewho came to the Tabernacle! He was never satisfied while any were unblessed. He had great longings. He loved revivals andmissions. Tidings of souls saved stirred his inmost soul. Oh, that his prayers, while he was with us, may be answered nowthat he is gone from us! He not only lived among us, but he lived in our hearts! He needs no praise from me-his praise isin all the Church. He will require no monument-all your hearts are his memorials. Never can I forget my beloved fellow workereither in time or in eternity!
Beloved, the real William Olney has not seen death, although with many tears we must lay him in the grave next Wednesday.Pray much for me-my loss is not to be measured. Pray much for his dear family, whose loss cannot be repaired. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON- Revelation 7.