Spurgeon: The Day of Atonement

19 12 2011

Thus have I led you to consider the person who made the atonement: let us now consider for a moment or two THE MEANS WHEREBY THIS ATONEMENT WAS MADE. You read at the 5th verse, “And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.” And at the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th verses, “And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” The first goat I considered to be the great type of Jesus Christ the atonement: such I do not consider the scapegoat to be. The first is a type of the means whereby the atonement was made, and we shall keep to that first.

Notice that this goat, of course, answered all the pre-requisites of every other thing that was sacrificed; it must be a perfect, unblemished goat of the first year. Even so was our Lord a perfect man, in the prime and vigour of his manhood. And further, this goat was an eminent type of Christ from the fact that it was taken of the congregation of the children of Israel, as we are told at the 5th verse. The public treasury furnished the goat. So, beloved, Jesus Christ was, first of all, purchased by the public treasury of the Jewish people before he died. Thirty pieces of silver they had valued him at, a goodly price; and as they had been accustomed to bring the goat, so they brought him to be offered: not, indeed, with the intention that he should be their sacrifice, but unwittingly they fulfilled this when they brought him to Pilate, and cried, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Oh, beloved! Indeed, Jesus Christ came out from the midst of the people, and the people brought him. Strange that it should be so! “He came unto his own, and his own received him not;” his own led him forth to slaughter; his own dragged him before the mercy seat.
Note, again, that though this goat, like the scapegoat, was brought by the people, God’s decision was in it still. Mark, it is said, “Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” I conceive this mention of lots is to teach that although the Jews brought Jesus Christ of their own will to die, yet, Christ had been appointed to die; and even the very man who sold him was appointed to it—so saith the Scripture. Christ’s death was fore-ordained, and there was not only man’s hand in it, but God’s. “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” So it is true that man put Christ to death, but it was of the Lord’s disposal that Jesus Christ was slaughtered, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.”
Next, behold the goat that destiny has marked out to make the atonement. Come and see it die. The priest stabs it. Mark it in its agonies; behold it struggling for a moment; observe the blood as it gushes forth. Christians, ye have here your Saviour. See his Father’s vengeful sword sheathed in his heart; behold his death agonies; see the clammy sweat upon his brow; mark his tongue cleaving to the roof of his mouth; hear his sighs and groans upon the cross; hark to his shriek, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” and you have more now to think of than you could have if you only stood to see the death of a goat for your atonement. Mark the blood as from his wounded hands it flows, and from his feet it finds a channel to the earth; from his open side in one great river see it gush. As the blood of the goat made the atonement typically, so, Christian, thy Saviour dying for thee, made the great atonement for thy sins, and thou mayest go free.

read the whole thing here





Spurgeon Part II: How Do We Battle Spiritual Depression?

19 12 2011

Last week I put out a post on a particularly striking sermon of Charles Spurgeon called “Songs in the Night.” I found the sermon not only spiritually edifying but also tremendously practical. Below is a brief attempt to summarize Spurgeon’s thoughts on battling spiritual depression.

Spurgeon says in times of “night”, which he here uses as a metaphor for spiritual depression, we may “sing” about three things to cheer our hearts. “Either we sing about the yesterday that is over, or else about the night itself, or else about the morrow that is to come.”

In times of spiritual depression we may first sing about the “yesterday that is over.” By this Spurgeon means that we take the time to remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past in order that we may gain comfort in our present difficulties.  He writes:

“Christian, perhaps the best song thou canst sing, to cheer thee in the night, is the song of yester-morn. Remember, it was not always night with thee: night is a new thing to thee. Once thou hadst a glad heart, a buoyant spirit; once thine eye was full of fire; once thy foot was light; once thou couldst sing for very joy and ecstacy of heart. Well, then, remember that God, who made thee sing yesterday, has not left thee in the night. He is not a daylight God, who can not know his children in darkness; but he loves thee now as much as ever: though he has left thee a little, it is to prove thee, to make thee trust him better, and serve him more.”

So what kind of things did Spurgeon have in mind when he encourages us to remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past?  We can remember the electing love of God (Eph 1.4), which is a faithfulness to us which began before the foundations of the world.  We can remember his mighty act of redemption in Jesus Christ.  We can remember his giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  But we can also remember when we were first called to Christ.  We can remember times of particularly intense fellowship with him.  We can remember when he has delivered us from evil, temptation or strife.  If for one reason or another we cannot think of God’s faithfulness to us in the past, Spurgeon encourages us to think of God’s faithfulness to others most often applied to the great protagonists in the scriptures.  Spurgeon’s exhortation to remember when we were first called to Christ is particularly moving.  He writes:

What! man, canst thou not sing a little of that blessed hour when Jesus met thee; when, a blind slave, thou wast sporting with death, and he saw thee, and said: “Come, poor slave, come with me?” Canst thou not sing of that rapturous moment when he snapped thy fetters, dashed thy chains to the earth, and said: “I am the Breaker; I came to break thy chains, and set thee free?” What though thou art ever so gloomy now, canst thou forget that happy morning, when in the house God thy voice was loud, almost as a seraph’s voice, in praise? For thou couldst sing: “I am forgiven! I am forgiven:”

“A monument of grace, A sinner saved by blood.”  Go back, man; sing of that moment, and then thou wilt have a song in the night.

We might also sing of “the night itself”.  This is the shortest section of the sermon and perhaps the most brutal in its honesty.  Whatever “night” you and I are enduring, Spurgeon reassures us that things are not as bad as they could be, nor are they as badas we deserve.  Psalm 103 vs 10 reads “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor repaid us for our iniquities.”  The application of this verse is the crux of Spurgeon’s argument in this section.  To make it very simple and very clear, no matter what you are currently suffering through it is not hell.  When describing a particularly trying event people will occasionally say “it was hell.”  But of course it wasn’t.  Hell is a place of unimaginable torment.  Spurgeon’s point here is that you are not in hell, even though you deserve to be.  So take some comfort and derive some joy from the fact that God has indeed had mercy upon you through Jesus Christ.

Finally, Spurgeon says we can sing a song in the night by singing about the day to come.  I was speaking with a man recently who suffers from depression.  He said to me, “at least I know I will one day be happy in heaven.”  This is true!  He will one day be happy in heaven, and he can derive some joy from that now by resting in that hope and allowing some of that future joy to break into his present life.  Perhaps the most ready analogy is that of a pregnancy.  When a family is expecting a child, the day they long for and wait for is the day when their baby is born.  But in the meantime, the imminent birth of that child breaks into their present day lives.  They put together a crib, they paint a nursery, they buy diapers and blankets, they select the perfect teddy bear.  The expectation they have of the future gives them joy and motivates behavior in the present.  So too can our joy and expectation of a future with Jesus in heaven break into our lives now, shaping and affecting us.





Spurgeon Part I: How to use the promises of God

19 12 2011

Perhaps one day I will get tired of bragging on the great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. But for now I’m content to get you reading him! Perhaps some of you know I make it a discipline of mine to read one Spurgeon sermon a week. I found this most recent sermon “Songs in the Night” to be tremendously helpful. Simply posting an excerpt like I usually do will not be enough. Rather, I will post excerpts in three parts and offer my spin and why I personally found them helpful. I hope you enjoy!

The first part of this three part series I would like to focus on an excerpt from Spurgeon’s sermons that illustrates two important points.

  1. You must know scripture well enough to know the promises of God in the Old and New Testaments
  2. You must know the promises well enough that you can apply them to your life in times of need

Here is the excerpt from Spurgeon:

It is marvelous, brethren, how one sweet word of God will make whole songs for Christians. One word of God is like a piece of gold, and the Christian is the gold-beater, and he can hammer that promise out for whole weeks. I can say myself, I have lived on one promise for weeks, and want no other. I want just simply to hammer that promise out into gold-leaf, and plate my whole existence with joy from it.

The topic of Spurgeon’s sermon was the “night of the soul”.  The night of the soul is essentially times of depression, pain, illness, grief etc.  Spurgeon’s sermon seeks to give believers comfort in these difficult times.  So what is his advice?  Read the word!  Know the promises!  Apply them to your life!  The promises he says, are “like a piece of Gold.”  And of course anyone who knows the promises found in the Gospel cherishes them as gold.  Let me list a few wonderful promises found in the New Testament:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5.4)

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10.45)

“Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become  in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4.13-14)

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in yourheart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10.9)

To these promises you can add literally hundreds more, but for time’s sake let’s just try and apply Spureon’s advice to one of these verses.  Spurgeon says that they are like gold, but it is not enough simply to know them.  Spurgeon advises that we must “hammer them out” like a “gold beater” in order to “plate our whole existence with joy from it.”  So how does this work?  Let’s take the promise from Matt 5.4:  ”Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Now Spurgeon rightly says that we could hammer out this promise for weeks and that is absolutely true.  That are many ways this scripture from Matthew could be applied to our life.  But let’s just have a very quick and simple application.

  1. To whom is this promise addressed?  To those who mourn.
  2. To be in mourning is not an enviable position, nevertheless the Lord calls those who mourn blessed. Therefore, when you and I are in mourning we do not look at our grief the way the world looks at grief.  Rather, by faith we look at our grief with hope for the Lord has called us blessed.
  3. Why are they blessed?  Because they shall be comforted.  In this life many unfortunate things will happen to us, and most of the time thankfully we can recover from these things.  However on occasion certain things will happen which we will have a difficult time ever recovering from.  As a pastor, I have sat with families in the midst of their grief and they were inconsolable.  However the promise is that they will be consoled, and at that by the Lord.
  4. Note that this is not a present, nor a timely solution to grief.  Rather, it is the promise of a future comfort.  So how do we “hammer out” this gold?  We allow the hope and joy of future comfort to sustain us in our current grief.

I cannot emphasize the sheer importance for your joy and faith that you read scripture regularly and know it deeply.  If you do not know scripture then you will not know the promises in scripture.  If you do not know the promises you will not be able to apply them to your life.  If you cannot apply them to your life you will have no lasting comfort in sin, sorrow, pain, or despair.  So you see my chief concern here is not one of legalism, but rather for you own good and joy you should spend time in God’s word “hammering out” his promises to your benefit.





What does it mean to preach Christ crucified?

19 12 2011

“My friends, I do not believe it is preaching Christ and him crucified, to give people a batch of philosophy every Sunday morning and evening, and neglect the truths of this Holy Book.  I do not believe it is preaching Christ and him crucified, to leave out the main cardinal doctrine of the Word of God, and preach a religion which is all a mist and a haze, without any definite truths whatsoever.  I take itthat man does not preach Christ and him crucified, who can get through a sermon without mentioning Christ’s name once; nor does that man preach Christ and him crucified, who leaves out the Holy Spirit’s work, who never says a word about the Holy Ghost, so that indeed the hearers might say, ‘We do not so much as know whether there be a Holy Ghost.’  And I have my own private opinion, that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what now-a-days is called Calvinism.  I have my own ideas, and those I always state boldly.  It is a nickname to call it Calvinism.  Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.  I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable conquering love (emphasis mine) of Jehovah; nor, I think, can we preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the peculiar redemption which Christ made for his elect and chosen people; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation, after having believed.”

-Charles H. Spurgeon, Christ Crucified

Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 1, pg 88-89





Spurgeon: Will your life stand the test of eternity?

19 12 2011

A fine little sermon by the famous English Baptist, Charles Spurgeon

NO ONE HERE requires to be told that this is the name of Jesus Christ, which “shall endure for ever.” Men have said of many of their works, “they shall endure for ever;” but how much have they been disappointed! In the age succeeding the flood, they made the brick, they gathered the slime, and when they had piled old Babel’s tower, they said, “This shall last for ever.” But God confounded their language; they finished it not. By his lightnings he destroyed it, and left it a monument of their folly. Old Pharoah and the Egyptian monarchs heaped up their pyramids, and they said, “They shall stand for ever,” and so indeed they do stand; but the time is approaching when age shall devour even these. So with all the proudest works of man, whether they have been his temples or his monarchies, he has written “everlasting” on them; but God has ordained their end, and they have passed away. The most stable things have been evanescent as shadows, and the bubbles, of an hour, speedily destroyed at God’s bidding. Where is Nineveh, and where is Babylon? Where the cities of Persia? Where are the high places of Edom? Where are Moab, and the princes of Ammon? Where are the temples or the heroes of Greece? Where the millions that passed from the gates of Thebes? Where are the hosts of Xerxes, or where the vast armies of the Roman emperors? Have they not passed away? And though in their pride they said, “This monarchy is an everlasting one; this queen of the seven hills shall be called the eternal city,” its pride is dimmed; and she who sat alone, and said, “I shall be no widow, but a queen for ever,” she hath fallen, hath fallen, and in a little while she shall sink like a millstone in the flood, her name being a curse and a byword, and her site the habitation of dragons and owls. Man calls his works eternal—God calls them fleeting; man conceives that they are built of rock—God says, “Nay, sand, or worse than that—they are air.” Man says he erects them for eternity—God blows but for a moment, and where are they? Like baseless fabrics of a vision, they are passed and gone for ever. Read the rest of this entry »