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.