From the Heart of Spurgeon
The Arrows of the Lord’s Deliverance (S569)

The Arrows of the Lord’s Deliverance (S569)

July 22, 2022

I confess to a soft spot for this sermon. I preached at home a short series of sermons on this passage, eventually repeated at a conference in the US, and still find both the passage itself, and Spurgeon’s treatment of it, sincerely stimulating and spiritually profitable. Spurgeon uses the pathetic king Joash, who failed to shoot his arrows as the ailing prophet, Elijah, required, as a foil for his exhortation to God’s people in a newly-planted church to do all that lies in their power to strive for God’s glory in dependence on God’s promise. His challenge against slack-handedness and his encouragement to wholeheartedness in the service of God still rings true, and still echoes down into our own age with something of its original force and fervour.

 

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Christ is Glorious—Let Us Make Him Known (S560)

Christ is Glorious—Let Us Make Him Known (S560)

July 15, 2022

The preacher starts hot and gets hotter in this stirring sermon, setting Christ before the eyes of faith not only in his humiliation but in his exaltation, challenging us to consider Christ enthroned with as much confidence as we rest on Christ crucified. He sets before us Christ in the perpetual activity of his shepherding of his flock, reigning in majesty and with power. From this he further deduces the endurance of the church as Christ’s kingdom—because of her King, she not only exists but endures, and that with a stately calm and security. And so, says Spurgeon, we anticipate and pursue the glory of Christ across the earth. Here he rises to his crescendo, drawing on the imagery of Gideon’s army, and calling on the saints of God to shine and to shout, that Christ may be magnified in the earth. His closing plea is for the support of those who preach, and for the building of churches in which they can preach, urging every saint to throw themselves into the glorious endeavour of glorifying our glorious Christ. What do we do? What do I do? What do you do, to this glorious end?

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Nothing But Leaves (S555)

Nothing But Leaves (S555)

July 8, 2022

Spurgeon was never merely some genial Victorian pulpiteer. For all his compassionate kindness, for all his practical philanthropy, for all his winsome goodness, he was a faithful preacher to the souls of others. So he notices the glints of justice in the Christ who shows such mercy, in his making the fruitless fig tree of Mark 11 to be an emblem of destruction. Spurgeon talks about the kinds of religious people symbolised by such a tree—those who have leaves but no fruit. He points out that only this fig tree was cursed, and demonstrates the Lord’s patience with those who are not fruit-bearing at this time. He insists upon the Lord’s right to expect the fruit of grace where there are the leaves of profession, showing how these must relate one to the other. He also holds forth the horror of condemnation for those who deceive, who have the leaves but not the fruit. This sermon peels back the heart-layers and brings us to humble, and—we might hope—truly fruitful self-examination.

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Suffering and Reigning with Jesus (S547)

Suffering and Reigning with Jesus (S547)

July 1, 2022

For many years, Spurgeon preached a new year’s sermon from a text which an Anglican friend would supply. For 1864, the text was full of weight and promise: “If we endure [or, suffer], we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us” (2Tim 2:12). Spurgeon divides the text into two simple parts: suffering with Jesus, and its reward, and denying Jesus, and its penalty. He is careful to explain that it is not merely suffering, but suffering with Jesus, which wins the reward of which the text speaks. He explains what such suffering involves. He is briefer but equally forthright with regard to the denying of Christ and the denial by Christ which follows. We might imagine some feeling that it is an inappropriate note on which to begin a new year, but what better way to consider the days ahead than to be faced with such choices and consequences, that all our decisions and actions might be coloured by a sense of commitment to the person of the Saviour, and a desire to follow him wherever he leads, that we might be at last where he is?

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Encourage Your Minister (S537)

Encourage Your Minister (S537)

June 24, 2022

Preaching shortly after the installation of his brother, James Archer Spurgeon, as the new minister at a place called Cornwall Road Chapel, Charles Spurgeon urges God’s people to encourage one another and their minister. Some seem to imagine that ministers do not need encouragement. Some seem persuaded that ministers should actively not be encouraged! Spurgeon gives the lie to both suggestions, encouraging God’s people to encourage their ministers, and offering some concrete ways in which that can be accomplished. Perhaps Spurgeon’s affection for his brother means that his sermon bubbles over with earnestness, sacrificing something in the way of orderliness. It is notable that Spurgeon preaches this for another congregation, saying things that perhaps their own pastor might have been reticent to address. Maybe this sermon will serve the same purpose for Christians and Christian congregations today—calling God’s people to offer legitimate and substantial encouragements to those who care for their souls.

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The Warrant of Faith (S531)

The Warrant of Faith (S531)

June 17, 2022

One of the books which ministers of a certain age credit with having introduced them to Spurgeon is Iain H. Murray’s Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching. This sermon stands very much in the line of Spurgeon’s ministry on this topic. With the divine commandment of 1 John 3:23 as his text—“that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as he gave us commandment”—Spurgeon looks at the truth that we ought to be believe and then at the warrant for so believing. He contends that the very commandment of God is the warrant, which warrant he sets out to demonstrate negatively and positively. Conscious of the damage that misunderstanding here does to the cause of Christ and the souls of men, the preacher demolishes any preaching that demands any warrant beyond the command of God to come to Christ as he is offered in the gospel. Ironically, he does not, in this sermon, leave himself much time to press home Christ upon sinners! Nevertheless, the consequence is clear: Christ must be preached in all his saving fulness; sinners must be commanded and entreated to come to him as his offered in the gospel.

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From Death to Life (S523)

From Death to Life (S523)

June 10, 2022

“The Lord kills and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and brings up” (1Sam 2:6). How are we to take such a text? Spurgeon suggests two senses, the natural and the spiritual. With regard to the former, he urges the mercies of God upon his hearers, reminding them of them favour that they have known in breath granted, life spared, health restored. But he also takes the text as a metaphor for the spiritual experience of a convert, dying to self and sin in order that we might be raised up together with Jesus Christ. Such an approach allows Spurgeon to cast his net wide, making a variety of applications across the spectrum of his hearers, calling us to thankfulness and soberness as we consider in what gracious ways the Lord deals with us. The preacher’s pointed thoughts and plaintive cries are no less valuable to us today—perhaps even more so, as he calls us back to consider just how intimately the God of heaven is involved in our lives, and to remember just how much we depend upon him.

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The Bridgeless Gulf (S518)

The Bridgeless Gulf (S518)

June 3, 2022

This sermon provides us with a further demonstration of Spurgeon’s spiritual awareness. Conscious that he has often blown the silver trumpet of divine mercy, he now seeks to ensure that he is not behindhand in warnings and exhortations. He therefore preaches on the great gulf fixed between heaven and hell. The absolute finality of that great division between everlasting bliss and eternal woe stirs the preacher’s compassion. This is neither a cold theological lecture on the finality of the eternal state, nor a vile railing against God for his injustice in so establishing matters, nor an angry rant against the people the preacher hopes will get what they deserve. With deep feeling and earnest pleading, Spurgeon really and urgently preaches, setting forth the fixed horrors of hell and and the delights reserved for heaven, stirring Christians to speak truth to the unconverted while there is yet a door of mercy open, and urging sinners to turn now to Christ, before the path to happiness is for ever closed off. “I have but preached the law to you out of love,” he concludes: “God knoweth how these hard things, as I speak them, make my heart bleed blood.” If we believe, we too will speak and feel the same; if we do not, such a sermon should persuade us to flee to Christ while we have the opportunity.

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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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