Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4: 8-11
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…. If they persecuted Me they will persecute you… for they do not know the One who sent Me.” John 15:19-21
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:10
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11″Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12″Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12
“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
Dear Lord: Grant us your strength and boldness to live according to Ephesians 6:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. AMEN
We see the Scripture that even Jesus himself did not rebuke satan (Mt.4:1-11)a. It may be fashionable to learn all the ways one can rebuke him through spiritual warfare seminars but the Bible says nothing about this. Jesus answered the devil‘s temptations by quoting Scripture correctly against the devil’s out of context quotations to him.
It is not necessary for us to rebuke satan for a number of reasons. First satan is a specific fallen angel he cannot be in all places at once , not even two places at once. He is not the one who personally causes every person’s temptations or trouble or sicknesses, many times it is our own flesh. Satan does have a kingdom and many other fallen spirits serve alongside him to deceive and tempt man, they are called demons. They harass believers, yet we are told greater is he who is in us than he who in the world.
We cannot rebuke satan anymore than we can bind satan. If satan is being “bound” by people saying words out loud, their “binding” certainly does not last very long. God has given us His way to withstand the evil from His Word, it is called the Armor of God (Eph.6) . It is by resisting the devil we do this by having the full armor of God, which is knowing the Scripture (Eph.6) it is all about Christ. James 4:7 tells us to submit to God, resist in the Holy Spirit and the devil will flee. Whatever we might be disobedient in, we are to correct ourselves, this is submitting to God, resist any temptations, and the enemy will no longer have a foothold in our lives, no chink in our armor.
2 Cor.10:3-5 tells us that we do not fight with human weapons, plans or methods: 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Prayer and the Word is our weapon when used correctly to what opposes the truth of Christ and the Word. False ideologies and philosophies take people captive and do the same to us. In other words untruth, false patterns of thinking, vain imaginations that capture people.
We resist and the Lord promises us that the devil will flee. Why? Because he sees he cannot penetrate our protection, even our greatest weakness cannot be used against us if we submit to God. The shed blood of Christ Jesus is our covering: pure, perfect sacrifice, sinless, love to the point of death on a cross. Amen
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.
But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
- Matthew 4:1 The Greek for tempted can also mean tested.
- Matthew 4:4 Deut. 8:3
- Matthew 4:6 Psalm 91:11,12
- Matthew 4:7 Deut. 6:16
- Matthew 4:10 Deut. 6:13
11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
YOUR BLESSINGS LORD ARE COUNTLESS!
|Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those
who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is …
//bible.cc/revelation/1-3.htm – 19k
|“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to
the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. …
//bible.cc/revelation/22-14.htm – 19k
|Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. …
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God’s approval. …
//bible.cc/matthew/5-6.htm – 17k
|Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …
//bible.cc/matthew/5-10.htm – 18k
|Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who
walk according to the law of the LORD. …
//bible.cc/psalms/119-1.htm – 17k
|Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the
wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” …
//bible.cc/revelation/19-9.htm – 19k
|Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed
are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” …
//bible.cc/john/20-29.htm – 18k
|“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. … “How
blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered! …
//bible.cc/romans/4-7.htm – 17k
|Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart– … …
//bible.cc/psalms/119-2.htm – 17k
|Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. … “Blessed
are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. …
//bible.cc/matthew/5-4.htm – 17k
|… But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who
hear the word of God and observe it.” …
//bible.cc/luke/11-28.htm – 17k
|Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. … Blessed
are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! …
//bible.cc/psalms/84-4.htm – 17k
|Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. … How blessed are
those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times! …
//bible.cc/psalms/106-3.htm – 17k
|“Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. … “And
now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. …
//bible.cc/proverbs/8-32.htm – 17k
|Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. …
Blessed are those who find strength in you. Their …
//bible.cc/psalms/84-5.htm – 17k
- JUNE 27, 2013 God will guard you from the evil (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
Interpreting The Bible
1.) All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study. 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
2.) Every word must have it’s proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible. Matthew 5:17-18.
3.) Scripture must be it’s own expositor (explainer), since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a minister or teacher to explain it to me, and they should guess at it’s meaning, or desire to have it so on account of their creed, or thought to be wise… then their guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule and not the Bible! Psalms 19:7-11; 119:97-105; Matthew 23:8-10; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16; Ezekiel 34:18-19; Luke 11:52; Malachi 2:7-8.
4.) To understand doctrine, bring all the Scriptures together on the subject you wish to know; then let every word have it’s proper influence, and if you can form your theory without contradiction, you CANNOT be in error. Isaiah 28:7-29; 35:8; Proverbs 19:27; Luke 24:27, 44-45; James 5:19; 2 Peter 1:19-20
5.) Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, nothing wavering. Deuteronomy 29:29; Matthew 10:26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Philippians 3:15; Isaiah 45:11; Matthew 21:22; John 14:13-14; 15:7; James 1:5-6; 1 John 5:13-15.
6.) God has revealed things to come, by visions, in figures and parables; and in this way the same things are often-times revealed again and again, by different visions, or in different figures and parables. If you wish to understand them, you must combine all in one. Psalms 89:19; Hosea 12:10; Habakkuk 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Corinthians 10:6; Hebrews 9:9, 24; Psalms 78:2; Matthew 13:13, 34; Genesis 41:1-32; Daniel 2:7-8; Acts 10:9-16.
7.) Visions are always mentioned as such. 1 Corinthians 12:1
8.) How to know when a word is used figuratively. If it makes good sense as it stands, and does no violence to the simple laws of nature, then it must be understood literally; if not (then it must be understood) figuratively. Revelation 12:1,2; 17:3-7
9.) Figures always have a figurative meaning, and are used much in prophecy to represent future times, and events; such as mountains… meaning governments; beasts… meaning kingdoms; waters… meaning people; lamp… meaning Word of God; day… meaning year. Daniel 2:35, 44; 7:8, 17; Revelation 17:1, 15; Psalm 119:105; Ezekiel 4:6.
10.) To learn the true meaning of figures, trace you figurative word through the Bible, and, where you find it explained, put it on your figure, and if it makes good sense, you need look no further; if not, look again.
11.) Figures sometimes have two or more different significations; as day is used in a figurative sense to represent three different periods of time. 1. indefinite. 2. definite, a day for a year. 3. day for a thousand years. Ecclesiastes 7:14; Ezekiel 4:6; 2 Peter 3:8.
12.) Parables are used as comparisons to illustrate subjects, and must be explained in the same way as figures, by the subject and Bible. Mark 4:13
13.) To know whether we have the true historical event for the fulfillment of a prophecy… if you find every word of the prophecy [after the figures are understood] is literally fulfilled, then you may know that your history is the true event. But, if one word lacks a fulfillment, then you must look for another event, or wait its future development. For God takes care that history and prophecy agrees, so that the true, believing children of God may never be ashamed. Psalm 21:5; Isaiah 14:17-19; 1 Peter 2:6; Revelation 17:17; Acts 3:18.
14.) The most important rule of all is, that you must have faith. It must be a faith that requires a sacrifice, and, if tried, would give up the dearest object on earth, the world and all its desires, character, living, occupation, friends, home, comforts, and worldly honors. If any of these should hinder our believing any part of God’s word, it would show our faith to be vain. Nor can we believe, so long as one of these motives lies lurking in our hearts. We must believe that God will never forfeit His word. And we can have confidence that He takes notice of the sparrow, and numbers the hairs of our head, will guard the translation of His own word, and throw a barrier around it, and prevent those who sincerely trust in God, and put implicit confidence in His word, from erring far from the truth, though they may not understand the Hebrew or Greek.
Rewards by Grace
Jesus, says stewardship theologian T. A. Kantonen (1900-1993), is pointing out in this passage and in the parallel passage in Matthew 19:28-30 that the disciples will have a reward in heaven. He tells the disciples that they will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Mt 19:28).
The Lord first directs the attention of the disciples away from the expectation of an immediate earthly recompense and places the thought of reward in the context of the final consummation of the kingdom. steward of the kingdom, a partner of the Messiah, is not [like a hired laborer waiting to be paid] (Job 7:2). His eye is upon the glorious fulfillment of the divine purpose in which he is privileged to share. The point of this phrase of the reply may be illustrated by the replies of three men engaged in a building project to the question of what they were doing. One said, I am laying bricks. Another said, I am making twenty dollars a day. But the third replied, I am building a church.
While the ultimate goal is the heavenly kingdom, Mark’s version indicates that there is also to be recompense in this present age (Mk 10:30) ”but with persecutions”. Kantonen remarks:
The joys of the kingdom are experienced here and now, not merely in some distant future. But they do not provide a carefree utopia, but strength with which to face the hardships of a hostile world. To emphasize the unique character of the reward as a sovereign gift of God, which does not depend on mens own efforts, both Matthew and Mark conclude with the Lord’s words, But many [who] are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew then proceeds to record the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, in which every trace of merit disappears altogether, and everything, the reward as well as the opportunity to work, is a matter of divine grace. In the light of this teaching it is obvious that the gospel gives the concept of reward a new meaning quite different from its ordinary connotation of compensation or remuneration for services rendered.
Author and personal wealth adviser Alan Gotthardt maintains that this is a vital issue for the Christian steward of material resources: Without question, the rewards for Christians who are faithful in this life will be great. This includes faithfulness with their material possessions. But Gotthardt also asks another question worthy of reflection: Is it selfish for a Christian to seek eternal rewards? It is certainly possible to have wrong motives related to giving or anything else we do as Christians, for that matter. [However Paul] was clear in his writings that salvation is by faith alone. Crowns and other rewards result from our actions here on earth.
Think About It
- Do you think it is selfish for a Christian to seek eternal reward?
- How does knowing you have a reward in heaven affect your actions here and now?
- How easy is it for you to keep your divine purpose in mind?
Pray About It
Thanks for mercies past receive,
Pardon of our sins renew;
Teach us, henceforth, how to live
With eternity in view.
- Jesus Is Always With Us! (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- The cup which my Father has given Me, shall I not drink it? (deweymoede.wordpress.com)
“Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.”
He never deserted them, but they in cowardly fear of their lives, fled from him in the very beginning of his sufferings. This is but one instructive instance of the frailty of all believers if left to themselves; they are but sheep at the best, and they flee when the wolf cometh. They had all been warned of the danger, and had promised to die rather than leave their Master; and yet they were seized with sudden panic, and took to their heels. It may be, that I, at the opening of this day, have braced up my mind to bear a trial for the Lord’s sake, and I imagine myself to be certain to exhibit perfect fidelity; but let me be very jealous of myself, lest having the same evil heart of unbelief, I should depart from my Lord as the apostles did. It is one thing to promise, and quite another to perform. It would have been to their eternal honour to have stood at Jesus’ side right manfully; they fled from honour; may I be kept from imitating them! Where else could they have been so safe as near their Master, who could presently call for twelve legions of angels? They fled from their true safety. O God, let me not play the fool also. Divine grace can make the coward brave. The smoking flax can flame forth like fire on the altar when the Lord wills it. These very apostles who were timid as hares, grew to be bold as lions after the Spirit had descended upon them, and even so the Holy Spirit can make my recreant spirit brave to confess my Lord and witness for his truth.
What anguish must have filled the Saviour as he saw his friends so faithless! This was one bitter ingredient in his cup; but that cup is drained dry; let me not put another drop in it. If I forsake my Lord, I shall crucify him afresh, and put him to an open shame. Keep me, O blessed Spirit, from an end so shameful.
“And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
This woman gained comfort in her misery by thinking great thoughts of Christ. The Master had talked about the children’s bread: “Now,” argued she, “since thou art the Master of the table of grace, I know that thou art a generous housekeeper, and there is sure to be abundance of bread on thy table; there will be such an abundance for the children that there will be crumbs to throw on the floor for the dogs, and the children will fare none the worse because the dogs are fed.” She thought him one who kept so good a table that all that she needed would only be a crumb in comparison; yet remember, what she wanted was to have the devil cast out of her daughter. It was a very great thing to her, but she had such a high esteem of Christ, that she said, “It is nothing to him, it is but a crumb for Christ to give.” This is the royal road to comfort. Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace. “My sins are many, but oh! it is nothing to Jesus to take them all away. The weight of my guilt presses me down as a giant’s foot would crush a worm, but it is no more than a grain of dust to him, because he has already borne its curse in his own body on the tree. It will be but a small thing for him to give me full remission, although it will be an infinite blessing for me to receive it.” The woman opens her soul’s mouth very wide, expecting great things of Jesus, and he fills it with his love. Dear reader, do the same. She confessed what Christ laid at her door, but she laid fast hold upon him, and drew arguments even out of his hard words; she believed great things of him, and she thus overcame him. She won the victory by believing in Him. Her case is an instance of prevailing faith; and if we would conquer like her, we must imitate her tactics.
All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)
- All Glory, Laud and Honor (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- Carissimi; Sunday’s Mass: Palm Sunday (frjeromeosjv.wordpress.com)
- The Door Of Salvation Opened. (savedbygraceblogdotcom.wordpress.com)
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise.3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD’S-DAY, JANUARY 17 1897.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON,
ON THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 21, 1885.
“And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
DURING the waiting period, the wise and foolish virgins seemed much alike, even as at this day one can hardly discern the false professor from the true. Everything turned upon the coming of the bridegroom. To the 10 virgins, that was
the chief event of the night. If it had not been for his coming, they would not have gone forth with their lamps. It was
because they knew he would surely come that they prepared themselves to join in the marriage procession and attend him
with their songs to the place of his abode. Yet, for a while, he did not come. The sun had gone down and darkness had
stolen over the whole landscape, but the bridegroom did not come. The dews of night were falling fast, yet still he did not
come. The hours were long and slowly passed away, one after the other, yet he did not come. It was waxing toward the
middle of the night—a few stars were visible, but there was no lingering light of the day remaining. It was the time of
darkness and the eyes of the waiting virgins grew heavy with watching. Why was the bridegroom so long in coming?
They had been told to look for him. They had fully expected him, yet he had not come. There were whispers that it was all
a delusion and that he would never come. And there was that guilty sense of slumber which stole over them. In the case of
some of the 10, their spirit was willing, but their flesh was weak. But in the case of the others, both flesh and spirit were
perverse, so that their sleep became exceedingly deep, as when a man sleeps even unto death.
But the bridegroom did come, as, Brothers and Sisters, in our case the Heavenly Bridegroom will come! However
long we may have waited for Him, let us rest assured that He will come. As surely as He came once, so, “unto them that
look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” It seems to me that it needs less faith to believe
in the Second Advent of Christ than in His First Advent. He has been here before, so He knows the way to come again. He
has been here before and worked a wondrous work—surely He will come back to receive the reward of His service. The
Good Shepherd came to earth once to lay down His life for the sheep—He will surely come again as the Chief Shepherd
to recompense the under-shepherds who have faithfully kept the night watches for Him. Jesus will come again, as surely
as the bridegroom came at the midnight hour!
Yes, the bridegroom did come. Despite the waiting time, he did come, and then came the dreadful separation between those who had been waiting for his appearing. Scarcely by any act of his, the foolish and the wise were parted, the
one from the other. They were awakened by the sound of his approach—the herald that preceded him cried, “Behold, the
bridegroom comes,” and the sleepers were all aroused. Then the true adherents of the bridegroom, the wise virgins, penitent for their guilty sleep, poured the oil into their lamps, which were burning low, and soon they were blazing up clear
and bright. As the bridegroom’s procession came near, “they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the
door was shut.” But the foolish virgins—those who had despised the secret stores of oil—those who had never gone to
the Divine Spirit for His matchless Grace—were separated from their wiser companions. Not, indeed, by any special act
of the bridegroom, but as the natural result of their own unprepared condition. They had to go away to buy oil from
those who sold it. And when they came back, it was too late for them to go in to the marriage. They came up to the gate
of the palace and found the door fast closed against them—shut forever—and learned that they must abide in the outer
darkness, to weep and lament that they were not found worthy to behold the bridegroom’s face, or to enter into his joy. 2 Number 2500—Or, “Entrance and Exclusion” Sermon #2500
2 http://www.spurgeongems.org Volume 43
I am going to talk to you, dear Friends, as simply as I can, but with deep soul-earnestness, about the two sets of persons mentioned in the text. First, I will speak of the ready and their entrance—“They that were ready went in with him
to the marriage.” And, secondly, I will say something about the unready and their exclusion— “And the door was shut.”
I. First, then, let us think of THE READY AND THEIR ENTRANCE—“They that were ready went in with him to
Let us meditate a little, first, about the entrance, itself, and then talk together about the persons who enjoyed it.
Concerning their entrance, note that it was immediate upon the coming of the bridegroom. As soon as he appeared
there seems to have been no interval, but, at once, “they that were ready went in with him to the marriage.” Beloved
Friends, the manifestation of Christ shall be the glorification of His people! We shall need nothing else but to behold His
face and then our bliss shall be perfect and complete. So each Believer says with Job, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and
that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh
shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” Never entertain the slightest fear
of any such purgatorial state as some have begun to dream of again! That lie, which the Reformers rightly called, “purgatory pick-purse,” which filled the pope’s treasury and was a curse to myriads of immortal souls, was exposed in all its
naked ugliness by the Light which God gave to Luther and Calvin. Yet now, amid the abounding skepticism of these evil
days, there is coming back this foul night-bird, or rather, this dragon of the Dark Ages—and sometimes even the children of God feel the influence of its pestilential presence.
Dear Christian friends, be not afraid of any purgatory! If you die, you shall be absent from the body and present with
the Lord at once, for this shall be your blessed portion in Christ! If you are alive and remain till Jesus comes again, your
body shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and you shall rise to meet your Lord in the air and so shall
be forever with Him. But if you have fallen asleep in Jesus, those who are alive at His coming shall have no preference
over you, but you shall be raised incorruptible—and in the moment of that rising, when your spirit, by the Divine fiat,
shall have been reunited with your perfectly purified and glorified body—you shall go in with Him to the marriage and
be forever with Him and like He is! Do not trouble yourself, therefore, about what is to happen, or what is not to happen. Be confident of this—if you sleep, you shall sleep in Jesus—and when you wake up, you shall wake up in His likeness and you shall never be parted from Him whose company, even now, is your highest source of joy, and whose society
shall be your delight forever and ever!
Notice, next, that the entrance of the wise virgins into the marriage feast was not only immediate, it was also intimate. “They that were ready went in with him to the marriage.” I like that expression, “with him.” I would go nowhere
without Him and, if I may go anywhere with Him, wherever He shall lead me, it shall be a happy day to me! And so it
shall be to all who love His appearing. You know, Beloved, that our Lord Jesus left it in His will that we are to be with
Him in His Glory. Listen to this clause out of His last will and testament—“Father, I will that they, also, whom You
have given Me be with Me where I am; that they may behold My Glory.” O Beloved, you who know what it is to be one
with Jesus, crucified with Him, risen with Him, made to sit together with Him in the heavenlies, you, I am sure, will find
something more heavenly about Heaven than otherwise had been there when that sweet sentence is true of you, “They
that were ready went in with him to the marriage.” Our Lord Jesus, Himself, shall escort us to our place in Glory! He
shall conduct us to the sources of highest blessedness, for as the elder said to John in the Revelation, “The Lamb which is
in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters.”
This, it seems to me, is the very center of the bliss of Heaven. Heaven is like the Eshcol cluster of grapes, but the essence, the juice, the sweetness of the cluster, consists in this fact—that we shall be with Jesus—“forever with the Lord.”
Ah, me! My Brothers and Sisters, how else could we ever hope to go in to the marriage if we did not go in with Him—
hidden behind Him, covered with His righteousness, washed in His blood? John saw a great multitude which no man
could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, standing before the Throne of God, and before the
Lamb—and it was of them that the elder also said, “These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed
their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the Throne of God, and serve Him
day and night in His Temple: and He that sits on the Throne shall dwell among them.”
No one will object to the entrance into Glory of those who go in with Him! Even the pure and holy God will not
raise any question as to our entrance if we enter with His Son! All the demands of Divine Justice will be fully met by the Sermon #2500 Number 2500—Or, “Entrance and Exclusion” 3
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fact that we go in with Him. Covered with His righteousness, adorned with His beauties, inseparably united to His Person, the beloved of His heart, we shall go in with Him to the marriage and none will think of needing to have us excluded.
I am tempted to linger over such a delightful theme as this, but I must not, and I need not, for you can meditate upon
it to your heart’s content when you are at home. To my mind there is indescribable sweetness in these words—“They that
were ready went in with him to the marriage.”
Then, next, notice how exceedingly joyous was the entrance. “They that were ready went in with him to the marriage.” It was not their portion to stand outside the door, to listen to the music and enjoy the light that might come
streaming through when it was opened for a few seconds—they “went in with him to the marriage.” It was not the intention of our Lord to tell us in this parable in what capacity the saints shall enter Heaven. The parable is meant to teach
certain lessons and it explains them very clearly. If it tried to teach us everything, we might miss the most important lesson of all. But from other passages of Scripture we know that we shall go in with Christ to the marriage, not as mere
spectators of His joy, as friends of the Bridegroom who rejoice exceedingly in His gladness, but we shall go in with Him
to share His bliss. Be it always remembered that sinners though we are, and utterly unworthy of so distinguished an
honor, the Lord Jesus says to every believing soul, “I have espoused you unto Myself, to be Mine forever and ever.” Oh,
matchless words! You, Believer, shall go in with Him to that heavenly marriage feast, as part of that wondrous bride, the
Lamb’s wife, who is then to find her bliss forever consummated with her glorious Husband!
What a mercy it is to have Grace enough to be able to believe this, for it needs much faith to believe that such a distinction shall ever be the lot of those who were once heirs of wrath even as others and who, by their sins have deserved to
be cast into the deepest Hell! Yet, Beloved, there are no heights in Heaven which we shall not climb. There are no joys
before the Throne of God of which we shall not be partakers! We shall not be present at that wedding feast merely as
Christ’s servants, or as on-lookers, or as favored guests—we shall be there to partake to the fullest of all the bliss and
Glory, ourselves—all the while the object of that innermost love, that most special, most dear and near and intimate
communion with our Beloved! We shall forever be one with Christ by conjugal bands. No, more than that, for even conjugal bands are only used as a humble metaphor of the eternal union between our souls and Christ. “This,” said the
Apostle Paul, when referring to marriage, “is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” “They
that were ready went in with him to the marriage,” right up to the banqueting table, to partake of all the rare dainties
gathered from all the ages, brought from all the dominions of the great King, to make high festival for that greatest of
all days for which all other days were made, the Day of Judgment, itself, included!
Even on earth we always properly associate the highest degree of joy with a marriage when it is what it ought to be.
If ever there is any joy on earth that belongs naturally to us as beings of flesh and blood, it is upon our marriage day. The
wedding of a loving couple is looked forward to with great expectations and often looked back upon with fond memories. However much of blight and withering blast may, in later life, fall upon that relationship which is commenced upon
the marriage day, yet the day, itself, is always the figure and emblem of joy. See, then, what Heaven is to be to the people
of God—it is a marriage, a perpetual festival, a banishment of everything that is dolorous, a gathering together of all
that is joyous. A marriage on earth—well, we know what that is, but a marriage in Heaven—who can describe that?
The marriage of men and women—we are familiar enough with that, but this union of which I am trying to speak is the
marriage of the Christ of God with His redeemed people! Earthly marriage is contracted between two sinners, but this
heavenly wedding is the marriage of One who is all pure and holy, to another whom He has purified from every stain, or
spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing—and so made ready for this everlasting union!
“They that were ready went in with him to the marriage.” These words sound to my ears and heart like the pealing
of wedding bells. Listen! These people had been in the battle, fighting as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, but, by-and-by,
they “went in with Him to the marriage.” They had been in their Lord’s vineyard, toiling amid the burden and heat of
the day—the sun had looked upon them and they were bronzed and browned with the burning heat. But in due time they
“went in with him to the marriage.” They had sometimes seen their Lord for a season and then they had missed Him for a
while, but they “went in with Him to the marriage.” They had even wandered from Him, sometimes, and darkness had
surrounded them. Yes, and they had wickedly fallen asleep when they ought to have watched—but they “went in with
Him to the marriage.” Oh, the blessedness of being where all evil is forever ended and all joy is begun, never to end—all 4 Number 2500—Or, “Entrance and Exclusion” Sermon #2500
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sin and imperfection blotted out by Christ’s precious blood—and all holiness and perfection put upon us forever and
ever! All this and more I read in the words, “They that were ready went in with him to the marriage.”
Then comes this little sentence which is so terrible to the ungodly, but, oh, so sweet to the gracious—“And the door
was shut.” These words show that the entrance of the righteous into Heaven is eternal. The door was shut for two purposes, but chiefly, as I understand it, to shut in the godly. And before that door can be opened to let in the wicked, it will
have to be opened to let out the righteous. These two declarations of our Lord stand side by side—“These shall go away
into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” If you deny the eternity of the one, you must deny the
eternity of the other, for it is the same word in each case! You must break down the door which is the security of the
saints within, before there can be a change for the ungodly who are outside—and that can never be! The joy of this marriage feast is eternal joy! This is implied in our Savior’s utterance, “They that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
I want you, next, to notice who these people were who went in with the Bridegroom. According to the text they were
a prepared people, a people that were ready—“They that were ready went in with him to the marriage.” There are none
among the sons of men who are naturally ready to go in to that marriage feast. Before they can enter, they must undergo
a wondrous change. They must, in fact, be born again! Think for a moment what creatures we are by nature, quite unfit
to go in with Christ to the heavenly marriage. Then think of what Christ is, so bright, so pure, so holy—who is she who
is fit to go into Heaven, to be forever with this glorious Bridegroom? O my Soul, you are but dust and ashes, and your
Lord is the Sun of Righteousness! O my Soul, you are, through sin, comparable to a dunghill! And your Savior is Infinite
Perfection. Can you ever be “ready” to go in with Him to the marriage? Not unless that same God who became Man that
He might be a fit Husband for you, shall make you holy, that you may be meet to be wedded to Him forever!
A great change has to be worked in you, far beyond any power of yours to accomplish, before you can go in with
Christ to the marriage! You must, first of all, be renewed in your nature, or you will not be ready. You must be washed
from your sins, or you will not be ready. You must be justified in Christ’s righteousness and you must put on His wedding dress, or else you will not be ready. You must be reconciled to God. You must be made like God or you will not be
ready. Or, to come to the parable before us, you must have a lamp—and that lamp must be fed with heavenly oil—and it
must continue to burn brightly, or else you will not be ready. No child of darkness can go into that place of God’s Light!
You must be brought out of nature’s darkness into God’s marvelous Light, or else you will never be ready to go in with
Christ to the marriage and to be forever with Him.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, I pray you often look to your readiness for going in to the marriage. Are
you all ready now? If, at this moment, the archangel’s trumpet voice should sound, or if now, as lately happened to certain dear friends of ours, you should be struck down with paralysis or apoplexy and, in a moment, pass away, are you
ready for the great change? Are you quite ready to go in with Christ to the marriage? I would advise you not only to be
ready in all the great things, but to also be ready in the little things, and in everything that concerns yourself in relation
to your Lord. Perhaps you have not yet publicly put on Christ in Baptism. Then, in that respect, you are not ready. Do
not delay obedience to Christ’s command, remembering His own Words. “He that believes and is baptized shall be
saved.” With your mouth confess the Lord Jesus, if with your heart you have believed on Him. Disregard no commands
Perhaps you have never yet been to His table of communion. If that is the case, I do not think you can call yourself
“ready” to go in with Him to the marriage. Perhaps you call these things little matters—and they are small compared
with that greater matter of which I have already spoken. But I would not wish you to die with a single command of
Christ’s neglected. You have not prayed with your boys and girls yet, have you? Well, then, you are not ready. You have
not made your will, you have not set your house in order—I would have you get all such things quite ready, for a little
unreadiness may greatly trouble you in your departing moments. You have not yet fulfilled what has been very nearly a
vow toward God—you have not yet done what you ought to do of your work for the present generation. You have not
yet been to that ungodly friend and warned him, as your heart a little while ago prompted you to do. I would like to have
you, my Brother, or Sister, in such a state that if you fell down dead on your way home, tonight, others might regret it,
but you would be thankful that for your sudden death was sudden glory. Sermon #2500 Number 2500—Or, “Entrance and Exclusion” 5
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Mr. Whitefield used to say that he did not like to go to sleep at night if he had left his gloves out of his hat where he
might find them in the morning. It is delightful to feel, “All is right between God and my soul, between myself and my
wife and my children and all my surroundings. Now let death come when it will! Let the sweet chariot swing low—as the
Jubilee Singers’ song quaintly puts it—and let it bear my soul away up to the heavenly country where I shall go in with
Him to the marriage.”
Be ready, dear Friends, be ready! Especially be ready in the great matter of salvation, but see that you are ready in
everything. You know that when you are going to see a very special friend, or some person of importance, you put on
your best coat and everything that will make you ready to see him and, afterwards, when you get near the friend’s door,
or the great man’s mansion, I notice that you brush off any little dust from the street that may have been blown upon
your garments—and so you get quite ready to meet him when he appears. So, in spiritual affairs, even if you have on
your best robe, yet there may still be a little brushing needed—and I would have you do it so that it may be said of you
without anything to qualify it—“they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
I read, in an American tract, a little sketch written by a gentleman who, having often to cross the Great Lakes, was
in the habit of providing himself with a life belt in case of need. One night, while he was asleep, an alarm was raised and
he rushed on deck with his life belt round him, but found that there was no cause for fear. He went back downstairs and
as he lay in bed, he had something like a dream, though it was really a waking reverie, and it took this shape. He thought
he was on board the great vessel in which all of us are floating on the broad sea of time and that a great and terrible
storm came on. There were some men on deck with life belts round them. They had been laughed at while the weather was
calm and the sea was smooth, but, as they stood there, with the vessel rocking and the timbers straining, there were none
to mock them, but many who greatly envied the quiet peacefulness which rested on their countenances. You know who
those men are and what is their perfection. Faith in Jesus is the great life belt—let the tempest come when it may, faith in
Christ will enable us to swim through every flood till we reach the happy shores of Heaven!
As this gentleman stood on the deck and looked about him, he heard one man say, “I was going to buy one of those
belts. I lived just opposite the shop where they were sold and I was often told by friends that I had better get one at once,
and I meant to—but I put it off and started just a little too late to get it, so I was obliged to come without it, though I
meant to have one.” The gentleman saw this man washed overboard, as the others were who had not a life belt, and his
good intention could not save him. No doubt there are many here who have meant to get the spiritual life belt and they
mean to do so now, so they say. Ah, Heaven is being filled with people who have believed in Jesus—and Hell is being
filled with people who meant to believe in Jesus, but did not! That is the difference between the two classes, but what a
difference it will make between them when they come to die! These are the people who crowd the corridors of Hell— men
and women who meant to trust the Savior, but who never did. They lived just opposite the places where these life belts
were to be had and they meant to have had them—but they had them not when the last great storm came on—and so
they were lost, and lost forever!
There was another man who said, “I have been across this sea so often without a belt that I thought I would run the
risk once more.” He, too, was washed away. And there are some of you, my Hearers, who say, “I have lived twenty,
thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years and I am not dead yet! I will run the risk for another year.” Really, nowadays,
nobody seems to grow old. You meet a man of 75 or 80, and he thinks that he will be old, some day, but he has known
somebody who lived till he was 99—and he thinks he shall reach the same age. I have heard of an aged farmer who
wanted to buy his neighbor’s field. He was 80 and his neighbor was five years younger, so, when his neighbor would not
sell him the land, he said to him, “Ah, well, never mind. You are an old man and I can buy it when you are dead!” That is
just the way people talk. “All men think all men mortal but themselves.” Here was a man who was five years older than
the other, yet he was going to buy the field after the younger man was dead! It is such people who say, “I have been sailing over this sea so long without a life belt, I will risk it still longer.” Thus they, also, are lost!
There was another man who ran to his trunk to get his life belt—he pulled up the lid and took out the belt—but he
found it was out of order and quite useless. The fact was, it was a bad one when he bought it—and after carrying it about
with him for a little while, he became weary of such a useless appendage, so he threw it into his trunk—and now that he
really needed preservation from the storm, it was of no use to him. You are here, Sir, I know you! You used to make a
profession of religion. You had a life belt once, so you thought, but it was not a good one, or you would have it now. It 6 Number 2500—Or, “Entrance and Exclusion” Sermon #2500
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was one that looked like the right thing and you wore it for a while. You used to be at the Prayer Meeting, you even became a member of the church! You carried your religion for a time, but what has become of it? Where were you last
night? I repeat the question—Where were you last night? If the devil had laid hold upon you and taken you down to his
own dominions, there would have been none who would have cried, “Stop, thief!” when he flew away with you, for they
would have known that he was only taking his own property which he had found on his own premises. Yet you did once
make a profession of religion—you used to sit at the Communion Table. Possibly you were even baptized. But where is
your life belt now? It is gone! God save you who have become backsliders, lest you also prove to be apostates! If you have
turned back, then return, return, return, while yet there is time, while yet there is hope for you! And if you never were
converted, may God begin the gracious work within you even now!
There was another one on board who had a life belt and he seemed very pleased when he put it on, but when the
waves washed him off the vessel, he floated for a few moments and then down he sank. The fact was, his belt was a counterfeit! Somebody had told him that the other sort was so very expensive and here was one that looked even better. True,
there was a whisper that it would not stand the necessary tests, but the man did not care much about that, for his belt
looked as good as the genuine one and he had the credit of standing with those sensible people who had the true thing, so
it answered very well until he came into the surging sea. So there may be some of you here who have counterfeit life belts.
You are members of a church, you come to the Communion Table and everybody respects you. Ah, but with a sham religion, how will you do in the swelling of Jordan? What will you do when heart and flesh fail? Oh, before it is too late, may
God take the sham away from you and give you genuine godliness—a new heart and a right spirit!
As the gentleman looked round him, he saw yet another of the passengers—a young man who was clinging to someone else who had on a life belt. He was crying to him, “Let me lay hold on you! Will not your belt be sufficient to sustain
both of us?” But the other answered, “It will only suffice for one. It will only keep one afloat.” Then the gentleman
thought of our Savior’s parable of the ten virgins and of what the foolish said unto the wise, “Give us of your oil; for our
lamps are gone out.” But the wise answered, “Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you.” So let us remember that
nothing but personal piety will avail—the religion of another can be of no service to you! Our Lord’s message to all is,
“You must be born again,” and there is no such thing as being born again by proxy! You must fly to Jesus for refuge and
there is no one who can do this for you. You must, by the Holy Spirit’s power, trust in Christ for yourselves! No one can
believe for you.
I rejoice that there are so many here who have on the genuine Gospel life belt. Standing in Christ Jesus, they are not
“No condemnation do they dread.
For Jesus is their All.”
They can without a tremor face floods or flames, and the devouring deep! They can even be—
“Fearless of Hell and ghastly death,”
knowing that they shall be safely landed on Heaven’s peaceful shore, to go no more out forever!
II. I am almost thankful that I have only a few minutes to spend upon the second part of my subject—THE UNREADY AND THEIR EXCLUSION. I will try to say much in a few words—and I beg you to let every word abide with
What, then, was this exclusion? “The door was shut.” It was not ajar, it was shut. And it was so tightly closed that
there was a complete severance between the guests inside and the too-late foolish virgins outside.
Yet, this severance was perfectly just. The foolish virgins ought to have been there on time. They ought to have gone
in with the bridegroom. Was it not their very office to attend him and accompany him home? The time for entering in
had fully come—it was the right and proper time. The bridegroom had given them all that night to get ready and they
had even complained of the length of the delay before he came so, when the door was at last shut, it was very late. They
had had all that time in which to get the oil and to trim their lamps. It was not as though the bridegroom had come in
the first watch of the night and they had said, “We had not time to trim our lamps.” No, it was not so. So, dear Friends,
you have had all this life, all these years of your Lord’s long-suffering and patient entreaty—and it will be just that the
door should be shut when your last hour shall come. Oh, be wise before it is too late! Sermon #2500 Number 2500—Or, “Entrance and Exclusion” 7
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When “the door was shut,” the exclusion was final. In all my searching of the Word of God, I have never found any
kind of hope that the door, once shut, will ever be opened again. There may be a “larger hope” indulged in by some, but
I implore you never to risk your souls upon that rotten plank, for there is no Scripture warrant for it whatever! Even if
there were, what larger hope do you need than that which the Gospel itself affords? Why do you not get ready to enter in
with Christ to the marriage? Why be left to tarry outside? What is there in the cold midnight that should tempt you to
delay with the risk of never being able to enter the door? If there were any such larger hope as deludes so many, it still
must be a desperate risk to trust to it. They also who talk about annihilation, or restitution, at any rate offer you nothing that ought to charm you away from immediate faith in Christ and immediate and everlasting salvation by Him. So
far as you, yourself, are concerned, it should cease to be an awful thing that, in the world to come, “There are no acts of
pardon passed.” Why should you throw away the certainty of a present salvation and immediate deliverance from the
curse, which you may have at this moment—which you shall have at once if you believe in Jesus—under some foolish
dream that perhaps the door of mercy may open after ages of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth? No, rather be
ready to enter in with Christ to the marriage, for, as the Lord lives, I cannot clear my soul of all responsibility unless I
tell you that, as I read the Bible more and more, I am more and more certain that when that door has once been shut, it
will never again be opened to any living soul! Where death meets you, judgment will find you, and there you will remain
to all eternity! I pray you, risk not your eternal destiny, but, “Seek you the Lord while He may be found. Call you upon
Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the
Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Who were these persons who were shut out when the door was closed? They bore the name of virgins, yet the door
was shut against them. They were not rank outsiders, nor mere tramps of the street. They were not infidels, not agnostics, but members of the Church! They were called virgins, yet against them the door was shut. They also had lamps—
lamps that once burned as brightly as others. There was, for a while, no difference between the luster of their lamps and
the luster of the wisest, yet they were shut out. They had at least some oil—they were, for a time, companions of the wise
virgins. They went out with them to meet the bridegroom and the wise virgins, probably, never suspected that these others were foolish, until, in the middle of the night, they found, too late, that their lamps were going out. O Sirs! O Sirs,
shall we drink out of the same Communion cup and eat of the same bread at the Lord’s Table, and be reminded of His
broken body and His shed blood, and yet shall some of us be shut in with God forever, and shall some of you be shut out
forever because you have not received the Holy Spirit, because you have not the secret inward store of the oil of Grace?
May God prevent it by His Grace!
Notice that these people acted in much the same way as those acted who went in with the bridegroom. They went
forth to meet the bridegroom, they went on the same road and at the same rate as the others went and they went to sleep,
alas, as the others went to sleep. They awoke as the others awoke and they began to trim their lamps as the others were
trimming theirs. Their spot seemed to be the spot of God’s children and they appeared to have many of the marks of the
election of Grace—yet they were not of it, nor in it, for they had no oil in their vessels with their lamps, no Grace, no
indwelling of the Holy Spirit, no supernatural operation of Him who works in the saints to will and to do of His own
good pleasure. They were so like the real bride of Christ that only the Bridegroom could tell the difference until the midnight came—and then the difference was apparent to all observers!
It seems to me, also, that these persons who were shut out, were people who knew something about prayer. They did
not, that night, for the first time pick up the agonized cry, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” They had probably been habitue’s
of Prayer Meetings. They had been where people called Christ, “Lord,” and they used that formula themselves. Perhaps
they might have said, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? And in Your name have cast out devils? And
in Your name done many wonderful works?” Yet the door was shut against them and they, outside, knew something of
what was going on inside and, therefore, would gnash their teeth all the more because they could not enter! The door was
shut against those who had seen the Light of God, but whose lamps had gone out! They had been carrying in their hands
the very lamps which entitled them to claim a place in the procession, but those lamps had gone out—and, therefore,
they were not entitled to any such place—and the door was shut against them! O you who are only professors of religion,
will you shut yourselves outside the door of mercy? You will do so if you neglect to obtain that secret oil of Grace which
can only be supplied by the Holy Spirit! 8 Number 2500—Or, “Entrance and Exclusion” Sermon #2500
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Before another Sunday comes around, your preacher may be suddenly struck down, as one of our Brothers has been.
I may never have another opportunity of speaking to you who are professors, and warning you to make sure that you are
also possessors and that you really have the Grace of God in your souls. Or, possibly, some of you may be taken away
without a moment’s warning, as one of our friends has been. Suppose that then you could turn round upon me, in another world, and say, “Preacher, we heard you again and again. We listened to all that came from your lips. We even
came out on Thursday nights to listen to you, yet you prophesied smooth things to us and you said, ‘Peace, peace, when
there was no peace.’” I pray God that I may have no man’s blood upon the skirts of my garments in that last tremendous
day and, therefore, I bid you, now, to escape from the wrath to come! Flee to Christ, flee to His dear Cross and look up
to His bleeding wounds, for—
“There is life for a look at the Crucified One.”
Flee from your sins, flee from yourselves! Flee from any worldly pursuits which entangle you and put your trust in
Jesus Christ and Him crucified! And from your heart say—
“Jesus, Your blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress,
“I will go in with You to the marriage, and when the door is shut, I shall be on the right side of it—
“Far from a world of grief and sin,
With God eternally shut in.”
The Lord save us all, for His name’s sake! Amen.
HYMNS FROM “OUR OWN HYMN BOOK”—364, 365, 1043.
N.B.—This Sermon is No. 2,500 in the regular weekly issue, which has been continued without intermission for
more than 42 years. It is especially suitable for widespread distribution among the unsaved and forms a fitting companion to the following discourses previously published in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit—
Number 1,000—Volume 17— “Bread Enough and to Spare.”
Number 1,500—Volume 25—“Lifting up the Brazen Serpent.”
Number 2,000—Volume 33—“Healing by the Stripes of Jesus.”
Number 2,400—Volume 41—“Escape for Your Life!”
All these are admirably adapted for circulation at or before evangelistic services and also for personal presentation
to the anxious or the careless. [By God’s Grace, you may read/download/print each of these sermons, free of charge, at
Adapted from The C. H. Spurgeon Collection, Ages Software, 1.800.297.4307
PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON TO BRING MANY
TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”—2Corinthians 5:10.
HIS MORNING WE preached concerning the resurrection of the dead, and it seems consistent with order to carry forward our thoughts this evening, to that which follows immediately after the resurrection, namely: THE GENERAL JUDGMENT; for the dead rise on purpose that they may be judged in their bodies. The Resurrection is the immediate prelude to the Judgment. There is no need that I try to prove to you from Scripture that there will be a general judgment, for the Word of God abounds with proof-passages. You have them in the Old Testament. You find David anticipating that great assize in the Psalms (especially in such as the forty-ninth and fiftieth, the ninety-sixth Psalm, and the three that follow it), FOR MOST ASSUREDLY THE LORD COMETH: HE COMETH TO JUDGE THE EARTH IN RIGHTEOUSNESS. Very solemnly and very tenderly does Solomon in the Ecclesiastes warn the young man, that, let him rejoice as he may and cheer his heart in the days of his youth, for all these things God will bring him into judgment; for God will judge every secret thing. Daniel in the night visions beholds the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven, and drawing near to the Ancient of Days; then he sits upon the throne of judgment AND THE NATIONS ARE GATHERED BEFORE HIM. It was no new doctrine to the Jews; it was received and accepted by them as a most certain fact that there would be a day in which God would judge the earth in righteousness. The New Testament is very express. The twenty-fifth of Matthew, which we read to you just now, contains language, which could not possibly be more clear and definite, from the lips of the Saviour himself. He is the faithful witness, and cannot lie. You are told that before him will be gathered ALL NATIONS, and he shall divide them the one from the other, as the shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats. Other passages there are in abundance, as, for instance, the one that is now before us, which is plain enough. Another we might quote is in the second epistle to the Thessalonians, the first chapter, from the seventh to the tenth verse. Let Us read it, ” And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” The book of the Revelation is very graphic in its depicting that last general judgment. Turn to the twentieth chapter, at the eleventh and twelfth verses. The seer of Patmos says, ” And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Time would fail me to refer you to all the Scriptures. It is asserted over and over again by the Holy Spirit, whose Word is truth, that THERE WILL BE A JUDGMENT OF THE QUICK AND OF THE DEAD.
Beside that direct testimony, it should be remembered there is a convincing argument that so it must needs be, from the very fact that God is just as the Ruler over men. In all human governments there must he an assize held. Government cannot be conducted without its days of session and of trial, and, inasmuch as there is evidently sin and evil in this world, it might fairly be anticipated that there would be a time when God will go on circuit, and when he will call the prisoners before him, and the guilty shall receive their condemnation. Judge for yourselves: is this present state the conclusion of all things? If so, what evidence would you adduce of the divine justice, in the teeth of the fact that the best of men are often in this world the poorest and the most afflicted, while the worst of men acquire wealth, practice oppression, and receive homage from the crowd? Who are they that ride in the high places of the earth? Are they not those, great transgressors, who “wade through slaughter to a throne and shut the gates of mercy on mankind”? Where are the servants of God? They are in obscurity and suffering full often. Do they not sit like Job among the ashes, subjects of little pity, objects of much upbraiding? And where are the enemies of God? Do not many of them wear purple and fine linen and fare sumptuously every day? If there be no hereafter, then Dives has the best of it; and the selfish man who fears not God, is after all, the wisest of men and more to be commended than his fellows. But it cannot be so. Our common sense revolts against the thought. There must be another state in which these anomalies will all be rectified. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most miserable,” says the apostle. The best of men were driven to the worst of straits in those persecuting times for being God’s servants. How say ye then, “Finis coronat opus,” the end crowns the work? That cannot be the final issue of life, or justice itself were frustrated. There must be a restitution for those who suffer unjustly: there must be a punishment for the wicked and the oppressor.
Not only may this be affirmed from a general sense of justice, but there is in the conscience of most men, if not of all, an assent to this fact. As an old Puritan says, “God holds a petty session in every man’s conscience, which is the earnest of the assize which he will hold by and by; for almost all men judge themselves, and their conscience knows this to be wrong and that to be right. I say ‘almost all,’ for there seems to be in this generation a race of men who have so stultified their conscience that the spark appears to have gone out, and they put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. The lie they seem to approve, but the truth they do not recognize. But let conscience alone and do not stultify her, and you shall find her bearing witness that there is a Judge of all the earth who must do right.” Now this is peculiarly the case when conscience is allowed full play. Men who are busy about their work or entertained with their pleasures, often keep their consciences quiet. As John Bunyan puts it, they shut up Mr Conscience; they blind his windows; they barricade his doors; and as for the great bell on the top of the house, which the old gentleman was wont to ring, they cut the rope of it, so that he cannot get at it, for they do not wish him to disturb the town of Man-soul. But when death comes, it often happens that Mr. Conscience escapes from his prison-house, and then, I warrant you, he will make such a din that there is not a sleeping head in all Man-soul. He will cry out and avenge himself for his constrained silence, and make the man know that there is a something within him not quite dead, which cries out still for justice, and that sin cannot go unchastised. There must be a judgment, then. Scripture asserts it, that would be enough: but by way of collateral evidence the natural order of things requires it; and conscience attests it.
Now we come to consider what our text says about the Judgment. I pray you, brethren, if I should speak coldly tonight on this momentous truth, or fail to excite your attention and stir your deepest emotions, forgive me, and may God forgive me, for I shall have good reason to ask God’s forgiveness, seeing that if ever a topic should arouse the preacher to a zeal for the honor of his Lord and for the welfare of his fellow creatures, and so make him doubly in earnest, it is this. But, then, permit me to say, that, if ever there was a theme quite independent of the speaker, which on its own account alone should command your thoughtfulness, it is that which I now bring before you. I feel no need of oratory or of speech well selected: the bare mention of the fact that such a judgment is impending, and will ere long occur, might well hold you in breathless silence, still the very throbbings of your pulse, and choke the utterance of my lips. The certainty of it, the reality of it, the terrors that accompany it, the impossibility of escaping from it, all appeal to us now and demand our vigilance.
I. Ask ye now, who is it, or who ARE THEY THAT WILL HAVE APPEAR BEFORE THE THRONE OF JUDGMENT? The answer is plain; it admits of no exemption: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” This is very decisive, if there were no other text. We must all appear; that is to say, every one of the human race. We must all appear. And that the godly will not be exempted from this appearance is very clear, for the apostle here is speaking to Christians. He says, “We walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident. We labour” and so on; and then he puts it, “Wemust all appear.” So that, beyond all others, it is certain that all Christians must appear there. The text is quite conclusive upon that point. And if we had not that text, we nave the passage in Matthew, which we have read, in which the sheep are summoned there as certainly as are the goats; and the passage in the Revelation, where all the dead are judged according to the things which are written in the books. They are all there. And if the objection should be raised, “We thought that the sins of the righteous being pardoned, and for ever blotted out, they could never come into judgment,” we have only to remind you, beloved, that if they are so pardoned and blotted out, as they undoubtedly are, the righteous have no reason to fear coming into judgment. They are the persons who covet the judgment, and will be able to strand there to receive a public acquittal from the mouth of the great Judge. Who, among us, wishes, as it were, to be smuggled into heaven unlawfully? Who desires to have it said by the damned in hell, “You were never tried, or else you might have been condemned as we were.” No, brethren, we have a hope that we can stand the trial. The way of righteousness by Christ Jesus enables us to submit ourselves to the most tremendous tests which even that burning day can bring forth. We are not afraid to be put into the balances. We even desire that day when our faith in Jesus Christ is strong and firm; for we say, “who is he that condemneth?” We can challenge the day of judgment. Who is he that shall lay anything to our charge in that day, or at any other, since Christ hath died and hath risen again?It is needful that the righteous should be there that there may not be any partiality in the matter whatever; that the thing may be all clear and straight, and that the rewards of the righteous may be seen to be, though of grace, yet without any violation of the most rigorous justice. Dear brethren, what a day it will be for the righteous! For some of them were—perhaps some here present are—lying under some very terrible accusation of which they are perfectly guiltless. All will be cleared up then, and that will be one great blessing of that day. There will be a resurrection of reputations as well as of bodies. Men call the righteous, fools; then shall they shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. They hounded them to death, as not being fit to live. In early ages they laid to the Christians charges of the most terrible character, which I should count it shame to mention. But then they will all be clear; and those of whom the world was not worthy, who were driven and hunted about find made to dwell in the caves of the earth, they shall come forth as worthy ones, and the world shall know her true aristocracy, earth shall own her true nobility. The men whose names she cast out as evil, all then be held in great repute, for they shall stand out clear and transparent without spot or blemish. It is well that there should be a trial for the righteous, for the clearing of them, the vindication of them, and that it should be public, defying the evil and criticism of all mankind.
“We must all appear.” What a vast assembly, what a prodigious gathering, that of the entire human race! It struck me as I was meditating upon this subject, what would be the thoughts of Father Adam, as he stood there with Mother Eve and looked upon his offspring. It will be the first time in which he has ever had the opportunity of seeing all his children met together. What a sight will he then behold—far stretching, covering all the globe which they inhabit, enough not only to people all earth’s plains, but crown her hill-tops, and cover even the ways of the sea, so numberless must the human race have been, if all the generations that have ever lived, or shall ever live, shall at once rise from the dead. Oh, what a sight will that be! Is it too marvelous for our imagination to picture? Yet it is quite certain that the assemblage will be mustered, and the spectacle will he beheld. Every one from before the Flood, from the days of the Patriarchs, from the times of David, from the Babylonian kingdom, all the legions of Assyria, all the hosts of Persia, all the phalanx of the Greeks, all the vast armies and legions of Rome, the barbarian, the Scythian, the bond, the free, men of every color and of every tongue—they shall all stand in that great day before the Judgment Seat of Christ. There come the kings—no greater than the men they call their slaves. There come the princes—but they have doffed their coronets, for they must stand like common flesh and blood. Here come the judges, to be judged themselves, and the advocates and barristers, needing an advocate on their own account. Here come those that thought themselves too good, and kept the street to themselves. There are the Pharisees, hustled by the Publicans on either side and sunk down to the natural level with them. Mark the peasants rising from the soil; see the teeming myriads from outside the great cities streaming in, countless hosts such as no Alexander or Napoleon ever beheld! See how the servant is as great as his master! “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” are now proclaimed. No kings, no princes, no nobles, can shelter themselves behind their order, assert a privilege or claim an immunity. Alike on one common level they stand together, to be tried before the last tremendous tribunal. There shall come the wicked of every sort. Proud Pharaoh shall be there; Senacherib, the haughty; Herod, that would have slain the young child; Judas, that betrayed his master; Demas, that sold him for gold; and Pilate, who would fain have washed his hands in innocency. There shall come the long list of infallibles, the whole line of popes, to receive their damnation at the Almighty’s hands, and the priests that trod upon the necks of nations, and the tyrants that used the priests as their tools—they shall come to receive the thunderbolts of God which they so richly deserve. Oh, what a scene will it be! These little companies, which look to us so large when they are gathered together beneath this roof, how do they shrink into the drop of a bucket as compared with the ocean of life that shall swell around the throne at the last great Judgment day. They shall all be there.
Now, the most important thought connected with this to me, is that I shall be there; to you young men, that you will be there; to you, ye aged of every sort, thatyou, in propria personae—each one shall be there. Are you rich? Your dainty dress shall be put off. Are you poor? Your rags shall not exempt you from attendance at that court. None shall say—I am too obscure.” You must come up from that hiding place. None shall say, “I am too public.” You must come down from that pedestal. Everyone must be there. Note the word “We”, “We must all appear.”
And still further, note the word, “appear.” ” We must all appear.” No disguise will be possible. Ye cannot come there dressed in masquerade of profession or attired in robes of state, but we must appear; we must be seen through, must be displayed, must be revealed; off will come your garments, and your spirit will be judged of God, not after appearance, but according to the inward heart. Oh, what a day that will be when every man shall see himself, and every man shall see his, fellow, and the eyes of angels and the eyes of devils, and the eyes of God upon the throne, shall see us through and through. Let these thoughts dwell upon your minds, while you take this for the answer to our first enquiry, “Who is to be judged?”
II. Our second question is, Who will be the judge? “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” That Christ should be appointed judge of all mankind is most proper and fitting. Our British law ordains that a man shall be tried by his peers, and there is justice in the statute. Now the Lord God will judge men, but at the same time it will be in the person of Jesus Christ the man. Men shall be judged by a man. He that was once judged by men shall judge men. Jesus knows what man should be; he has been under the law himself in deep humility, who is ordained to administer the law in high authority. He can hold the scales of justice evenly, for he has stood in man’s place and borne and braved man’s temptations; he therefore is the most fit judge that could be selected. I have sometimes heard and read sermons in which the preacher said that a Christian ought to rejoice that his judge is his friend. There may be no impropriety intended, still it seems to me rather a questionable suggestion. I should not like to put it use that way myself; because any judge that was partial to his friends when he sat on the judgment seat would deserve to come off the seat immediately. As a judge I expect no favoritism from Christ. I expect when he sits there he will deal out even-handed justice to all. I cannot see how it is right for any minister to hold it forth that we should find encouragement in the judge being our friend. Friend or no friend, we shall go in for a fair trial every one of us, and Christ will not be a respecter of persons. Of him whom God has appointed to judge the world, it shall not be said when the assize is over that he winked at the crimes of some and extenuated them, while he searched out the faults of others and convicted them. He will be fair and upright throughout. He is our friend, I grant you, and he will be our friend and Saviour for ever; but, as a judge, we must keep to the thought, and believe and maintain it that he will be impartial to all the sons of men. You will have a fair trial, man. He that will judge you will not take sides against you. We have sometimes thought that men have been shielded from the punishment they deserved, because they were of a certain clerical profession, or because they occupied a certain official position. A poor labourer who kills his wife shall be hanged, but when another matt of superior station does the like deed of violence, and stains his hands with the blood of her whom he had vowed to love and cherish, the capital sentence shall not be executed upon him. Everywhere we see in the world that with the best intentions justice somehow or other does squint a little. Even in this country there is just the slightest possible turning of the scale, and God grant that may be cured ere long. I do not think it is intentional; and I hope the nation will not long have to complain about it. There ought to be the same justice for the poorest beggar that crawls into a casual ward, as for his Lordship that owns the broadest acres in all England. Before the law, at least, all men ought to stand equal. So shall it be with the Judge of all the earth. Fiat justia, ruat coelum. Christ will by all means hold the scales even. Thou shalt have a fair trial and a full trial, too. There shall be no concealment of anything in thy favour, and no, keeping back of anything against thee. No witnesses shall be borne across the sea to keep them out of the way. They shall all be there, and all testimony shall be there, and all that is wanted to condemn or to acquit shall be produced in full court at that trial, and hence it will be a final trial. From that court there will be no appeal. If Christ, saith ” Cursed!” cursed must they be for ever. If Christ saith “Blessed!”, blessed shall they be for aye. Well, this is what we have to expect then, to stand before the throne of the man Christ Jesus the Son of God, and there to be judged.
III. Now the third point is, WHAT WILL BE RULE OF JUDGEMENT? The text says that “every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Then it would appear that our actions will be taken in evidence at the last. Not our profession, not our boastings, but our actions will be taken in evidence at the last, and every man shall receive according to what he hath done in the body. That implies that everything done by us in this body will be known. It is all recorded; it will be all brought to light. Hence, in that day every secret sin will be published. What was done in the chamber, what was hidden by the darkness, shall be published as upon the housetop—every secret thing. With great care you have concealed it, most dexterously you have covered it up; but it shall be brought out to your own astonishment to form a part of your judgment. There, hypocritical actions as well as secret sins will be laid bare. The Pharisee who devoured the widow’s house and made a long prayer, will find that widow’s house brought against him, and the long prayer too; for the long prayer will then be understood as having been a long lie against God from beginning to end. Oh, how fine we can make some things look With the aid of paint and varnish and gilt; but at the last day off will come the varnish and veneer, and the true metal, the real substance, will then be seen.
When it is said that everything that is done in the body will be brought up as evidence against us or for us, remember this includes every omission as well as every commission; for that which is not done that ought to have been done is as greatly sinful as the doing of that which ought not to be done. Did not you notice when we were reading the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, how those on the left hand were condemned, not for what they did, but for what they did not do: “I was an hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink.” Where would some of you stand, according to this rule, who have lived in neglect of holiness, and neglect of faith, and neglect of repentance, before God all your days? Bethink yourselves, I pray you.
Recollect, too, that all our words will be brought up. For every idle word that man shall speak he will have to give an account. And all our thoughts, too, for these lie at the bottom of our actions and give the true colour to them good or bad. Our motives, our heart sins, especially, our hatred of Christ, our neglect of the gospel, our unbelief—all of these shall be read aloud and published unreservedly. “Well,” saith one, “who then can be saved?” Ah! indeed, who then can be saved? Let me tell you who will be. There will come forward those who have believed in Jesus, and albeit they have many sins to which they might well plead guilty, they will be able to say, “Great God, thou didst provide for us a substitute, and thou didst say that if we would accept him he should be a substitute for us and take our sins upon himself, and we did accept him and our sins were laid upon him, and we have now no sins; they have been transferred from us to the great Saviour, substitute and sacrifice.” And in that day there will be none who can put in a demurrer to that plea: it will hold good; for God has said, “Whosoever believeth on Christ Jesus shall never be condemned.” Then will the actions of the righteous, the gracious actions, be brought forth to prove that they had faith. For that faith which never evidences itself by good works is a dead faith and a faith that will never save a soul. Now, if the dying thief were brought up, he would say, “My sins were laid on Jesus.” “Ay, but how about your good works? Thou must have some evidence of thy faith,” Satan might reply. Then would the recording angel say, “The dying thief said to his fellow thief who was dying with him, ‘Wherefore art thou railing? In his last moments he did what he could; he rebuked the thief that was dying with him and made a good confession of his Lord. There was the evidence of the sincerity of his faith.” Dear hearer, will there lie any evidence of the sincerity of your faith? If your faith has no evidence before the Lord, what will you do? Suppose you thought you had a faith and went on drinking. Suppose you did as I know some have done here, go straight from this place into the public house? Or suppose you joined the Christian church and remained a drunkard? Ay, and women have done that also as well as men. Suppose you professed to have faith in Christ and yet cheated in your weights and measures and common dealings? Do you think that God will never requite these things at your hands? Oh, sirs, if ye be no better than other men in your conduct, ye are no better than other men in your character, and ye will stand no better than other men in the judgment day. If your actions are not superior to theirs, you may profess what you will about your faith, but you are deceived, and, as deceivers, you will be discovered at the last great day. If grace does not make us differ from other men, it is not the grace which God gives his elect. We are not perfect, but all God’s saints keep their eyes on the great standard of perfection, and, with strong desire, aim to walk worthy of their high calling of God and to bring forth works which prove that they love God; and if we have not these signs following faith, or if they are not put in as evidence for us, at the last great day we shall not be able to prove our faith. It will be proof positive that you hated God; for a man must hate God indeed who will spurn his counsels, give no heed to his reproof, scorn his grace, and dare the vengeance of him who points out the way of escape and the path that leadeth to life. He that will not be saved by God’s mercy proves that he hates the God of mercy. If God gives his own Son to die and men will not trust in his Son, will not have him as their Saviour, that one sin, if they had no other, would at once prove that they were enemies of God and black at heart. But if thy faith be in Jesus, if thou lovest Jesus, if thy heart goes out to Jesus, if thy life be influenced by Jesus, if thou makest him thy example as well as thy Saviour, there will be evidence—thou canst not see it, but there will be evidence—in thy favour. For notice those gracious things, when the evidence was brought, and Christ said, “I was an hungry, and ye gave me no meat, thirsty and ye gave me no drink,” they said, “O Lord, we never knew this.” Should any man stand up here and say, “I have plenty of evidence to prove my faith,” I should reply, “Hold your tongue, sir! Hold your tongue! I am afraid you have no faith at all, or you would not be talking about your evidence.” But if you are saying, “Oh, I am afraid I have not the evidence that will stand me in good stead at the last,” yet if all the while you have been feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked, and doing all you can for Christ, I would tell you not to be afraid. The master will find witnesses to say, “That man relieved me when I was in poverty. He knew I was one of Christ’s and he came and helped me.” And another will come and say (perhaps it will be an angel), “I saw him when he was alone in his chamber and heard him pray for his enemies.” And the Lord will say, “I read his heart when I saw how he put up with rebuke, and slander, and persecution, and would not make any answer for my sake. He did it all as evidence that my grace was in his heart.” You will not have to fetch up the witnesses: the judge will call them, for he knows all about your case; and as he calls up the witness, will be surprised to find how even the ungodly will be obliged to consent to the just salvation of the righteous. Oh, how the secret deeds and the true heart-sincerity of the righteous, when thus unveiled, will make devils bite their tongues in wrath to think that there was so much of grace given to the sons of men, with which to defeat persecution, to overcome temptation, and to follow on in obedience to the Lord. Oh yes, the deeds, the deeds, the deeds of men—not their prating, not their profession, not their talk, but their deeds (though nobody shall be saved by the merits of his deeds)—their deeds shall be the evidence of their grace, or their deeds shall be the evidence of their unbelief; and so, by their works shall they stand before the Lord, or by their world shall they be condemned as evidence and nothing more.
IV. Now the last point is this: What is the object of this judgment? Will sentence of acquittal and condemnation be given, and then the whole thing be over? Far from it. The judgment is with a view to the thereafter—”That every man may receive the things done in his body.” The Lord will grant unto his people an abundant reward for all that they have done. Not that they deserve any reward, but that God first gave them grace to do good works, then took their good works as evidence of a renewed heart, and then gave them a reward for what they had done. Oh, what a bliss it will be to hear it said, “Well done, good and faithful servant,”—and to find that you have worked for Christ when nobody knew it, to find that Christ took stock of it all,—to you that served the Lord under misrepresentation, to find that the Lord Jesus cleared the chaff away from the wheat, and knew that you were one of his precious ones. For him, then, to say, “Enter into the joy of thy Lord,” oh, what a bliss will it be to you.
But to the ungodly how terrible. They are to receive the things that they have done; that is to say, the punishment due,—not every man alike, but the greater sinner the greater doom; to the man who sinned against light a greater damnation than to the man who had not the same light,—Sodom and Gomorrah their place, Tyre and Sidon their place, and then to Capernaum and Bethsaida their place of more intolerable torment, because they had the Gospel and rejected it—so the Lord himself tells us. And the punishment will not only be meted out in proportion to the transgression, but it will be a development of the evil actions done in the evil consequences to be endured, as every man shall eat the fruit of his own ways. Sin, after the natural order, ripens into sorrow. This is not a blind fate, but it is the operation of a divine law, wise and invariable. Oh, how dreadful it will be for the malicious man to have for ever to gnaw his own envious heart, to find his malice come home to him, as birds come home to roost, to hoot for ever in his own soul; for the lustful man to feel lust burning in every vein, which he can never gratify;—for the drunkard to have a thirst, which not even a drop of water can allay;—for the glutton who has fared sumptuously every day, to be in hunger perpetually; and the soul that has been wrathful to be for ever wrathful, with the fire of wrath for ever burning like a volcano in his soul; and the rebel against God for ever a rebel, cursing God whom he cannot touch, and finding his curses come back upon himself.
There is no punishment worse than for a man who is sinfully disposed to gratify his lusts, to satiate his bad propensities, and to multiply and fatten his vices. Only let men grow into what they would be, and then see what they would be like! Take away the policemen in some parts of London, and give the people plenty of money, and let their do just as they like. Last Saturday, it might be, there were half-a-dozen broken heads, and wives and children were in one general skirmish. Keep those people together: let their vigor continue unimpaired by age or decay, while they keep on developing their characters. Why, they would be worse than a herd of tigers! Let them give way to their rage and anger, with nothing to check their passions; let miserly, greedy people for ever go on with their greed. It makes them miserable here, but let these things be indulged in for ever, and what worse hell do you want? Oh, sin is hell and holiness is heaven. Men will receive the things done in their body. If God has made them to love him, they shall go on to love him; if God has made them trust him, they shall go on to trust in him; if God has made them to be like Christ, they shall go on to be like Christ, and they shall receive the things done in their body as a reward; but if a man has lived in sin, “he that is filthy shall be filthy still”; he that has been unbelieving shall be unbelieving still. This, then, shall be the worm that never dieth, and the fire which never shall be quenched, to which shall be added the wrath of God forever and ever. Oh, that we may have grace every one of us to flee to Christ! There is our only safety. Simple faith in Jesus is the basis for the character which will evidence at last that you are chosen of God. A simple belief in the merit of the Lord Jesus, wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, is the rock foundation upon which shall he built up, by the same divine hands, the character which shall evidence that the kingdom was prepared for us from before the foundations of the world. God work in us such a character, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
- Burden-bearing (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)