From the Heart of Spurgeon
The Power of Prayer and the Pleasure of Praise (S507)

The Power of Prayer and the Pleasure of Praise (S507)

May 27, 2022

Having recently returned from a visit to the Netherlands in which he was busily-employed, well-received, and much-blessed, Spurgeon calls his people to prayer and to praise. The Scriptures warn us to think soberly of ourselves—no proud boasting, and no false humility. Spurgeon here makes claims that might sound arrogant to us, but he makes them disingenuously, without any hint of arrogance. Taking the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:11–12 to heart, and speaking with a simple sincerity on his own behalf and on the behalf of other ministers, Spurgeon calls upon the saints to give themselves to united prayer, not least for their pastors and preachers, and to offer united prayer, not least for those same gifts of Christ to his church. Finally, he presses home those joyful claims on the hearts of Christ’s people by taking Paul’s language concerning service to himself. Our egalitarian age may well buck at Spurgeon’s sense of pastoral dignity; our anti-authority spirit may well bridle at the notion that a minister is entitled to particular prayer, thanking God for him. But even if we might imagine that Spurgeon over-reaches in one direction, it is at least likely that we fall short in the other. Here is a potent corrective, and an encouragement to God’s people to value the gifts Christ gives to the church.

 

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Strong Meat (S506)

Strong Meat (S506)

May 20, 2022

Spurgeon is aware of the tides and currents of his public ministry, its particular aspects and emphases. The sermons he selects for printing show the same awareness. He has been trying to address particular pastoral concerns, then moves on to broader themes, and now—in this striking and stimulating sermon—he speaks of the spiritual food given to the spiritually mature. There is some helpful instruction here, some useful prompts to self-examination, and gentle rebuke if we have not used the means God has given, nor attained to the heights to which the diligent might have reached. Here, then, is Spurgeon in a different vein to his more deliberately and directly evangelistic labours, showing his sensitivity to his duty and the different needs of the vast congregation gathered to hear God’s Word. Incidentally, for those reading regularly, this week carries us to the five-hundredth printed sermon, one which Spurgeon marks with a particular address on the word, Ebenezer—thus far has God helped us.

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The Gladness of the Man of Sorrows (S498)

The Gladness of the Man of Sorrows (S498)

May 13, 2022

This bubbling sermon draws on imagery of the royal wedding of 1863 to remind God’s people of the glory of their Prince. Spurgeon considers the Lord Jesus as full of joy both in his relation to God—anointed by him—and in relation to the church—deriving joy from them. He is pastorally sensitive both to the occasion which would have filled the people’s minds, and to the balance of the ministry they have recently enjoyed, with its concentration on some of the weightier elements of Christ’s sufferings. This sermon, then, points them and us toward the joy of Jesus the Redeemer as he not so much anticipates what will come, but revels in what has come, through the appointment of God and his own saving labours. And, of course, Spurgeon wants us to respond to the love and joy of Jesus our Deliverer with love and joy of our own.

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Gracious Renewal (S490)

Gracious Renewal (S490)

May 6, 2022

Another lovely sermon which both probes and pleads, which urges and entreats, which challenges and invites. Spurgeon’s capacity to blend such elements together is masterful! In the aftermath of a happy church members’ meeting, Spurgeon encourages God’s people to seek God for grace, that he would renew a right spirit within them. Perhaps this is the key to that balance of tone? He does not urge the saints to renew their own spirits, but to seek that blessing from God. At the same time, he urges upon them various reasons to do it, and so stirs up their hearts. Thus the heart is directed outwards, but it looks to God with vigorous faith. God’s grace is honoured, man’s duty is enforced. May we grasp both as we read and hear these words!

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Life and Walk of Faith (S483)

Life and Walk of Faith (S483)

April 29, 2022

This sweet sermon has an interesting structure: Spurgeon begins with exposition, unpacking the text phrase by phrase, even word by word. As he does so, he begins to sow in some pointed, practical comments about what it means to receive Christ Jesus the Lord, and to walk in him. Then he moves to advocacy, pleading reasons why having come to Christ, we should cling to Christ, in all aspects and every season of life. Then, finally, there are applications: although he has been practical throughout, now he identifies particular groups who need to hear and heed this message: those who lack communion with Christ, those who lack comfort in Christ, those who fall short in consistency in their walk with Christ, and those who need to close with Christ by faith for the first time. Here is Spurgeon digging into his Bible and bringing forth Christ as its great treasure, and advocating for him, preaching home the blessings of a continually close relationship with the Bridegroom of our hearts.

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Self-Delusion (S475)

Self-Delusion (S475)

April 22, 2022

Spurgeon addresses Christians, urging them to make their calling and election sure. He speaks much to and of ‘professors’—that is, professing Christians, those who think or imagine themselves to be saints, but are only so outwardly. He hangs his concerns on one text, but really deals with a theme of Scripture, drawn especially from various parables, about the importance of being sure that you belong to Christ. His aim, carefully pursued and pastorally sensitive, is not to create doubts and fears, but to clear away falsehoods, so that those who are saints may be sure that they are so, and those who are not, but for whatever reasons imagine themselves to be so, may no longer deceive themselves, but abandon vain hopes and seek after Christ alone. It is a searching sermon, demonstrating something of Spurgeon’s pastoral faithfulness, seeking to be true to Christ and to the souls of men.

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What Meanest Thou, O Sleeper? (S469)

What Meanest Thou, O Sleeper? (S469)

April 15, 2022

Spurgeon takes Jonah asleep in the boat as an emblem of both slumbering saints and sleeping sinners, and puts himself to wake both. He is lovingly blunt with both classes of hearer, reminding the Christian that a man who is not wakeful and working when the boat is in the storm can hardly consider himself a healthy believer, and perhaps has even mistaken his own salvation. He calls to the unbeliever to wake from the sleep of death, to remember all those things which demand an immediate response to the heavenly demand to come to Jesus Christ. Spurgeon is the kind of preacher who many know by reputation and imagine that they would enjoy unalloyed bliss sitting under his ministry. However, his is a ministry that searches and stirs as much as it helps and heals, that burns away dross as much as it hammers out the gold. Here we are called to look into the mirror of the Word of God, and ask ourselves if we are truly awake to the Lord’s glory and the concerns of Christ’s kingdom.

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Repentance and Faith Inseparable (S460)

Repentance and Faith Inseparable (S460)

April 8, 2022

This sermon is a very sweet blend of doctrinal accuracy, evangelistic zeal, and pastoral concern. It is one of those sermons where the preacher seems eager to get to the substance: after a very brief introduction, he dives straight in to the command which Christ issues to repent and believe the gospel. But he does not leave the command lying cold on the slab: he shows how the command explains itself, with regard both to repenting and believing. Here Spurgeon is thorough and careful, distinguishing between the true and the false in connection with repentance and faith. Then he seeks to show the reasonableness of the command, and here he begins to press more closely upon the soul. He closes with an extended enforcement of the immediacy of the matter: Christ’s command allows for no delays from us. Sometimes we separate, or even set against one another, doctrinal precision, gospel fervour, and pastoral wisdom, as if they can barely abide together. Spurgeon shows us not only that this is not so, but that—standing together—these are a potent force.

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Sunshine in the Heart (S454)

Sunshine in the Heart (S454)

April 1, 2022

True religion is no dark road of self-denying misery, says Spurgeon, however much the worldling may imagine it so, or even hope it to be so. Rather, it brings profound happiness to the man whose own will is sweetly wedded to God’s will. Under God, Spurgeon can bring men to the heights of delectation as well as to the depths of conviction, and here he aims at the former. From Psalm 37:4 the preacher provides us with a sparkling precept and a priceless promise. He urges us to find true and lasting joy as believers in God himself, and then presses upon us the expectation of blessings that accord with our appetites for God’s glory. If the holy demands of previous sermons have left us somewhat breathless, here is sweet air to fill our lungs afresh.

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An Exhortation and A Salutation (S450)

An Exhortation and A Salutation (S450)

March 25, 2022

This is a little curio amidst the sermons, in that it records an interesting voice alongside that of Spurgeon himself. On this particular Lord’s day morning, Spurgeon first delivered an exhortation from 2 Samuel 11:1, warning individual Christians and churches as a whole against the pernicious effects of spiritual lethargy, which leaves us open to temptation and prone to succumb to it. To those of us sunk in the inertia and coddled in the passivity of the present age, it is a needful word. Then, at the end of a sermon, Spurgeon introduces a friend, the Genevan minister and historian Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné, whose magisterial historical treatments of the Reformation remain in print, and are wonderful examples of the fruits of diligence over lethargy. Principle and example, blended by friendship, are at the fore on the sober but happy occasion.

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