From the Heart of Spurgeon
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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God’s Will and Man’s Will (S442)

God’s Will and Man’s Will (S442)

March 18, 2022

Spurgeon was assaulted both by the Arminians (who typically objected to the vigour of his views on the sovereignty of God in salvation) and by the hyper-Calvinists (who typically objected to the free offer of the gospel in his ministry). Here is an example of Spurgeon speaking both pastorally and polemically, demonstrating and declaring how the will of God and the will of man relate in the matter of salvation. Beginning with the first, he shows from Scripture and experience how salvation must depend entirely upon the will of God. Moving to the second, he then brings particular encouragements to bear upon the hearts of those who desire to know the salvation of God. We do not claim that this is the last word on the matter, or that it is the highest expression of theological nuance, but it is a delightful example of how, pastorally and practically, a preacher of free and sovereign grace can make known the glory of a saving God in calling sinners to come to him.

 

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Life in Earnest (S433)

Life in Earnest (S433)

March 11, 2022

Spurgeon has a powerful little collection of sermons called, Trumpet Calls to Christian Energy. This sermon could easily have found a place in that volume. It is the kind of sermon which both empties and fills the hearer, scouring out our complacency and carelessness, and stirring us to wholehearted endeavour in the service of Christ. Spurgeon hits multiple targets, striking hard and fast into the hearts of the saints, but also challenging those who have never given serious thought to their standing with God, and the prospect of his dealings with them on the basis of their sin. This sermon, then, falls firmly into the category of exhortation, and is an example of the very earnestness which it seeks to cultivate.

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A Psalm for the New Year (S427)

A Psalm for the New Year (S427)

March 4, 2022

This is far from Spurgeon’s most polished sermon, structurally. Some preachers envy Spurgeon’s golden hammer, with which he seems to strike every text so that it falls into three even parts. This one pulls in too many different directions, and its progress is not particularly even. However, it is held together by two threads: adoration of Christ and affection for Christ’s people. That, too, must be recognised. Order and structure, as Spurgeon very much appreciated, are important, and there is no excuse for their neglect in sermon preparation. Nevertheless, even a ragged sermon aimed from the heart to the heart can do much good. That is an encouragement to preachers not to be too much concerned with style and structure over substance, and an encouragement to hearers to be less critics of sermons, more eager hearers of divine truth.

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Abram and the Ravenous Birds (S420)

Abram and the Ravenous Birds (S420)

February 25, 2022

This is the kind of sermon over which people sneer at Spurgeon, and yet I think they may be doing him a disservice. Even the introduction reveals that he believes that there is more than one way to handle his text, and he makes clear that he has chosen to take it in an illustrative sense, as suggesting the challenges of God’s people about the worship of God on the Lord’s day to keep their hearts fixed on their holy business. We might still allow ourselves a smile as regards his exegesis, strictly speaking, but must we not acknowledge the sense and force of the extended simile, and its appropriateness as an illustration for the spiritual battle over undistracted worship? Taking it on its own terms, there is much here to do us much good.

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Fellowship With God (S409)

Fellowship With God (S409)

February 18, 2022

If the last sermon focused on our union with Christ and its fruits, this is on our communion with God, particularly the Father and the Son. In it, Spurgeon gets quite carried away—in a generally helpful fashion!—with the nature of the fellowship we enjoy with the Father, as well as with the Son. He then has a little time about the Christian’s desire arising from such fellowship, which is that others might enter into the same fellowship. Here, the preacher loads himself into the cannon, pleading out of his own experience that others will come to enjoy what he himself has tasted and enjoyed at God’s hand. It is a truly experimental sermon, full of deep feeling and earnest pleading.

 

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The Joint Heirs and Their Divine Portion (S402)

The Joint Heirs and Their Divine Portion (S402)

February 11, 2022

Because of our union with Christ, we are heirs of God together with him. Spurgeon first of all tries to tease out what that means in terms of a judicial reality, its terms and conditions, its certainties and expectations. He then moves on to view the estates we gain, considering the two elements of the inheritance—the more immediate sufferings that we have with Christ, and then the ultimate glories we have in God himself and all that he gives to us. Finally he administers the blessings, calling us to take up both parts of our inheritance, and reminding God’s people that part of our inheritance is gospel labour and fruit. Again, we see a man wrestling to bring high theology into close contact with us as God’s people, both for challenge and for comfort. As so often, there is a careful balance here both in the handling of the text and its application.

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