05 March 2010

Thursday's Spurgeon (on Friday)

The following is excerpted from a sermon entitled The Peculiar Sleep of the Beloved and was delivered on March 4, 1855.
Do you seriously and solemnly believe that you belong to the "beloved" here mentioned? I may be impertinent in asking such a question; I have been accused of that before now, but I have never denied it. I rather take the credit of it than not. But seriously and solemnly I ask you—Do you know yourselves to be amongst the beloved? And if it happens that you want a test, allow me to give you three tests, very briefly, and I have done. It has been said that there are three kinds of preachers—doctrinal preachers, experimental preachers, and practical preachers. Now I think there are three things that make up a Christian—true doctrine, real experience, and good practice.
    Now, then, as to your doctrine. You may tell whether you are the Lord's beloved partly by that. Some think it matters not what a man believes. Excuse me: truth is always precious, and the least atom of truth is worth searching out. Now- a-days the sects do not clash so much as they did. Perhaps that is good; but there is one evil about it. People do not read the Bibles so much as they did. They think we are all right. Now, I believe we may be all right in the main, but we cannot be all right where we contradict one another; and it becomes every man to search the Bible to see which is right. I am not afraid to submit my Calvinism, or my doctrine of believer's baptism, to the searching of the Bible. A learned lord, an infidel, once said to Whitfield, "Sir I am an infidel, I do not believe the Bible, but if the Bible be true, you are right, and your Arminian opponents are wrong. If the Bible be the Word of God, the doctrines of grace are true;" adding that if any man would grant him the Bible to be the truth, he would challenge him to disprove Calvinism. The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this—it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before you enter heaven. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, he will wash your brains before you enter heaven. He will make you right in your doctrines. But I must inquire whether you read your Bibles. I am not finding fault with you this morning for differing from me, I may be wrong; but I want to know whether you search the Scriptures to find what is truth. And, if you are not a reader of the Bible, if you take doctrines second-hand, if you go to chapel, and say, "I do not like that:' what matters your not liking it, provided it is in the Bible? Is it Biblical truth, or is it not? If it is God's truth, let us have it exalted. It may not suit you; but let me remind you, that the truth that is in Jesus never was palatable to carnal men, and I believe never will be. The reason you love it not, is because it cuts too much at your pride; it lets you down too low. Search yourselves, then, in doctrine.
    Then take care that you remember the experimental test. I am afraid there is very little experimental religion amongst us; but where there is true doctrine, there ought always to be a vital experience. Sirs, try yourselves by the experimental test. Have you ever had an experience of your wretchedness, of your depravity, your inability, your death in sin? Have you ever felt life in Christ, an experience of the light of God's countenance, of wrestling with corruption? Have you had a grace-given Holy Ghost-implanted experience of a communion with Christ? (My note: Spurgeon is not here speaking of a New Age experience of "sitting in the silence" and "going within yourself" to find and talk to the Christ within you. He is speaking of that moment of conversion when, in our wretched sinfulness God grants us faith, grace, and forgiveness and seals us permanently with the seal of the Holy Spirit. This is the moment that you begin your life in Christ. It is not announced with a fanfare of tongues and ostentatious miracles, only the inward miracle of regeneration, renewal, and reconciliation with our God through Jesus Christ). If so, then you are right on the experimental test.
    And, to conclude, take care of the practical test. "Faith without works is dead, being alone." He that walketh in sin is a child of the devil; and he that walketh in righteousness is a child of light. Do not think, because you believe the right doctrines, therefore you are right. There are many that believe right, act wrong, and they perish. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."
    I have done. Now let me beseech thee, you, by the frailty of your own lives—by the shortness of time—by the dreadful realities of eternity—by the sins you have committed—by the pardon that you need—by the blood and wounds of Jesus—by his second coming to judge the world in righteousness—by the glories of heaven—by the awful horrors of hell—by time—by eternity—by all that is good—by all that is sacred—let me beg of you, as you love your own souls, to search and see whether ye are amongst the beloved, to whom he giveth sleep. God bless you.
To read this sermon in its entirety on The Spurgeon Archive, click here.

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