Archives For Charles Spurgeon

I witnessed something today that I consider a remarkable privilege. It was as if I travelled back in time to colonial New England. And it happened here in the middle of the epicenter if technological development and advancement.

I’m in Los Angeles at Grace Church for the Shepherds’ Conference along with 3,000-plus other pastors, and mid sermon the power went out. The place went black with only emergency lights dimly shining in the cavernous brick auditorium that is Grace Church.

What did John MacArthur do? He grabbed a flashlight and just kept on preaching. He didn’t flinch. He was unflappable.  He literally just kept going. His voice grew with intensity as he unpacked the covenant of redemption. Soon his voice was traveling powerfully to every corner of the room.

Without being trite, let me just say, it was awesome. I felt like I was in an auditorium in Geneva with men leaning in to hear each word Calvin spoke or out in a field in western Massachusettes to hear Whitfield. Dr MacArthur just went on preaching Christ. In Spurgeon fashion he powerfully pleaded with pastors to preach Christ or stop preaching.

Since the power outage prevents access to his words, I’ll give you snippet here:

I just wish that the church would lift up Christ. If anyone would tag your church let it be this, “They were ever and always exalting Christ” you and your church should be known for robust Christology. Do you want to know the secret to Grace Church? These people keep be holding the glory of Christ and they have been and are being transformed! That’s the answer. When I watch TV preachers I yell at the TV. “Stop!! Give them Christ!” A truncated Christology does not help anyone. Men, you need to care less about what people want to hear and more about what they need to hear. Give them Christ.

This power outage served as an illustration for us. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from preaching Christ! What a surprising blessing and timely lesson this was. I’m thankful for the providential feeling of going back in time, while being  greatly encouraged to keep plodding along in faithfulness.

Update: in talking with Phil Johnson today he let me know that the quick thinking pastor Mark Dever grabbed his iPhone and captured the scene described above. Take a listen below:

This sermon and this section in particular was a great blessing to me today. Is Spurgeon’s great longing and prayer beginning to be realized in our day? To some degree you would have to say “yes.”

Read and enjoy! Continue Reading…

From a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon, entitled, He Shall Be Great:

Brothers and Sisters, I admit that there are many points in which He is greater to you than He is to me! But yet, to me He is higher than Heaven, vaster than eternity, more delightful than Paradise, more blessed than blessedness itself!

If I could speak of Him according to my soul’s desire, I would speak in great capital letters and not in the small italics which I am compelled to use. If I could speak as I would, I would make winds and waves my orators and cause the whole universe to become one open mouth with which to proclaim the praises of Emmanuel! If all eternity would speak as though it, too, were but one tongue, yet it could not tell all the charms of His love and the sureness of His faithfulness and His truth! We must leave off somewhere, but, truly, if it is the point of our estimation of Him, we can never express our overwhelming sense of His honor, His excellence, His sweetness!

Oh, that He were praised by every creature that has breath! Oh, that every minute placed another gem in His crown! Oh, that every soul that breathes did continue to breathe out nothing but hosannas and hallelujahs unto Him, for He deserves all possible praises!

Do you hear the crash of the multitudinous music of Heaven? It is like many waters and like the mighty waves of the sea—and it is all for Him! Can you hear the charming notes of “harpers harping with their harps”? Their harpings are all for Him! Can you conceive the unutterable joys of the glorified? Every felicity of eternity is a song to His honor! Heaven and earth shall yet be full of the brightness of His Glory! Who can look the sun in the face in the height of his noontide? Who can tell the illimitable greatnesses of the Son of God?

I am all for communicating sin and the need for Christ. This is biblical. It forms our understanding of the gospel. But sometimes preachers and Christians linger a bit long in the boiler room, inhaling the smoke of the Law without opening the windows of grace. You cannot smile in such a cellar.

Continue Reading…

I am finishing up preaching through the Gospel According to Mark on Sunday mornings. This of course means that I am now knee deep in the cross of Christ. That which has been anticipated is now, in the narrative, being realized.

In my study I have turned to some of my favorite preachers. Incidentally, most of these guys not only have outstanding hair they also lived hundreds of years ago.

As I sat and read John Calvin on the cross of Christ in The Institutes I was reminded again about truth unchanged. I read Calvin and it was like he had done prep work before a morning meeting over coffee. I sat down, opened up my book, and sipped my coffee as the 16th Century stud from Geneva skillfully painted the corners of the theological plate.

Continue Reading…

I was reading The Forgotten Spurgeon the other day and found this quote a tremendous encouragement. It was reportedly spoken by Spurgeon to his friend J.W. Harrald prior to his death:

Ah! the bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. I can hear their trampings now as they traverse the great arches of the bridge of salvation. They come by their thousands, by their myriads; e’er since the day when Christ first entered into His glory, they come, and yet never a stone has sprung in that mighty bridge. Some have been the chief of sinners, and some have come at the very last of their days, but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support; it will bear me over as it has borne them. (The Forgotten Spurgeon, p.164)

-below is a meditation by Charles Spurgeon that I found particularly encouraging…enjoy!!-

“He humbled Himself.”—Philippians 2:8.

JESUS is the great teacher of lowliness of heart. We need daily to learn of Him. See the Master taking a towel and washing His disciples’ feet! Follower of Christ, wilt thou not humble thyself? See Him as the Servant of servants, and surely thou canst not be proud! Is not this sentence the compendium of His biography, “He humbled Himself”?

Was He not on earth always stripping off first one robe of honour and then another, till,naked, He was fastened to the cross, and there did He not empty out His inmost self, pouring out His life-blood, giving up for all of us, till they laid Him penniless in a borrowed grave? How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud?

Continue Reading…

I wish, my brothers and sisters, that during this year you may live nearer to Christ than you have ever done before. Depend upon it, it is when we think much of Christ that we think little of ourselves, little of our troubles, and little of the doubts and fears that surround us.

Begin from this day, and may God help you. Never let a single day pass over your head without a visit to the garden of Gethsemane, and the cross on Calvary.

And as for some of you who are not saved, and know not the Redeemer, I would to God that this very day you would come to Christ. I dare say you think coming to Christ is some terrible thing: that you need to be prepared before you come; that he is hard and harsh with you. When men have to go to a lawyer they need to tremble; when they have to go to the doctor they may fear; though both those persons, however unwelcome, may be often necessary. But when you come to Christ, you may come boldly. There is no fee required; there is no preparation necessary.

You may come just as you are. It was a brave saying of Martin Luther’s, when he said, “I would run into Christ’s arms even if he had a drawn sword in his hand.” Now, he has not a drawn sword, but he has his wounds in his hands. Run into his arms, poor sinner. “Oh,” you say, “May I come?” How can you ask the question? you are commanded to come. The great command of the gospel is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus.”

Those who disobey this command disobey God. It is as much a command of God that man should believe on Christ, as that we should love our neighbor. Now, what is a command I have certainly a right to obey. There can be no question you see; a sinner has liberty to believe in Christ because he is told to do so. God would not have told him to do a thing which he must not do. You are allowed to believe.

“Oh,” saith one, “that is all I want to know. I do believe that Christ is able to save to the uttermost. May I rest my soul on him, and say, sink or swim, most blessed Jesus, thou art my Lord?” May do it! man? Why you are commanded to do it. Oh that you may be enabled to do it. Remember, this is not a thing which you will do at a risk. The risk is in not doing it.

Cast yourself on Christ, sinner. Throw away every other dependence and rest alone on him.

(ht: Austin Nelson)

Justice is Satisfied

Erik Raymond —  December 15, 2010

I have need today to think upon the infinite debt that was paid for me upon the cross. This fictional dialog in the mind of C.H. Spurgeon between the saint and justice hits the mark. Read. Think. Rejoice.

…if you will please for a moment to consider how terrible were the agonies of Christ, which, mark you, he endured in the room, the place, the stead of all poor penitent sinners, of all those who confess their sins and believe in him; I say, when you mark these agonies, you will readily see why Justice does not stand in the sinner’s way.

Doth Justice come to thee this morning, and say, “Sinner, thou hast sinned, I will punish thee?” Answer thus—”Justice, thou hast punished all my sins. All I ought to have suffered has been suffered by my substitute, Jesus. It is true that in myself I owe thee a debt greater than I can pay, but it is true that in Christ I owe thee nothing; for all I did owe is paid, every farthing of it; the utmost drachm has been counted down; not a doit remains that is due from me to thee, O thou avenging justice of God.”

But if Justice still accuse, and conscience clamour, go thou and take Justice with thee to Gethsemane, and stand there with it:—see that man so oppressed with grief, that all his head, his hair, his garments bloody be. Sin was a press—a vice which forced his blood from every vein, and wrapped him in a sheet of his own blood.

Dost see that man there! canst hear his groans, his cries, his earnest intercessions, his strong crying and tears! canst mark that clotted sweat as it crimsons the frozen soil, strong enough to unloose the curse! dost see him in the desperate agony of his spirit, crushed, broken, bruised beneath the feet of the Justice in the olive press of God!

Justice, is not that enough? will not that content thee?

In a whole hell there is not so much dignity of vengeance as there is in the garden of Gethsemane. Art thou not yet satisfied?

Come, Justice, to the hall of Pilate. Seest thou that man arraigned, accused, charged with sedition and with blasphemy! See him taken to the guard-room, spat upon, buffetted with hands, crowned with thorns, robed in mockery, and insulted with a reed for a sceptre.

I say, Justice, seest thou that man, and dost thou know that he is “God over all blessed for ever?” and yet he endureth all this to satisfy thy demands! Art thou not content with that? Dost thou still frown?

Let me show thee this man on the pavement. He is stripped. Stand, Justice, and listen to those stripes, those bloody scourges, and as they fall upon his devoted back and plough deep furrows there, dost thou see thong-full after thong-full of his quivering flesh torn from his poor bare back! Art not content yet, Justice? Then what will satisfy thee?

“Nothing,” says Justice, “but his death.”

Come thou with me, then thou canst see that feeble man hurried through the streets! Seest thou him driven to the top of Calvary, hurled on his back, nailed to the transverse wood?

Oh, Justice, canst thou see his dislocated bones, now that his cross is lifted up? Stand with me, O Justice, see him as he weeps, and sighs, and cries; see his soul-agonies! Canst thou read that tale of terror which is veiled in that flesh and blood? Come, listen Justice, whilst thou hearest him cry, “I thirst,” and whilst thou seest the burning fever devouring him, till he is dried up like a potsherd, and his tongue cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst!

And lastly, O Justice, dost thou see him bow his head, and die?

“Yes,” saith Justice, “and I am satisfied; I have nothing that I can ask more; I am fully content; my uttermost demands are more than satisfied.”

The full sermon is here.

This is a good reminder for preachers who stand behind the sacred desk tomorrow. Let this quote by Spurgeon be a refreshing and motivating mint for your pillow this evening as you prepare to preach tomorrow.

“If ever there should come a wretched day when all our pulpits shall be full of modern thought, and the old doctrine of a substitutionary sacrifice shall be exploded, then will there remain no word of comfort for the guilty or hope for the despairing. Hushed will be for ever those silver notes which now console the living, and cheer the dying; a dumb spirit will possess this sullen world, and no voice of joy will break the blank silence of despair. The gospel speaks through the propitiation for sin, and if that be denied, it speaketh no more. Those who preach not the atonement exhibit a dumb and dummy gospel; a mouth it hath, but speaketh not; they that make it are like unto their idol.

“Would you have me silence the doctrine of the blood of sprinkling? Would any one of you attempt so horrible a deed? Shall we be censured if we continually proclaim the heaven-sent message of the blood of Jesus? Shall we speak with bated breath because some affected person shudders at the sound of the word ‘blood’? or some ‘cultured’ individual rebels at the old-fashioned thought of sacrifice? Nay, verily, we will sooner have our tongue cut out than cease to speak of the precious blood of Jesus Christ.” (Charles Spurgeon, as quoted in Pierced for Our Transgressions)


O Blessed Hurricane

Erik Raymond —  September 21, 2010

“On My arm, they shall trust.” Isaiah 51:5

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone. When his vessel is quickly sinking, and no human deliverance can avail—he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God.

Happy storm—that wrecks a man on such a rock as this!

O blessed hurricane—that drives the soul to God and God alone!

When a man is so burdened with troubles, so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn—he flies into his Father’s arms, and is blessedly clasped therein! Oh, tempest-tossed believer—it is a happy trouble which drives you to your Father! –Charles Spurgeon

Some Book Notes for the Week

Erik Raymond —  September 6, 2010

Here is an update on a few books that I am  reading…

>> The Jesus You Can’t Ignore by–John MacArthur (@ Amazon)

John MacArthur has been preaching for many of his 40 years of ministry through the Gospel narratives. We are the happy beneficiaries of  his careful study, quiet meditation, and faithful preaching.

This book goes through the life and ministry of Jesus and makes the point that you cannot ignore Jesus’ words. So many find themselves comfortable with ideas about Jesus, inspiration by him, or concepts that derive from him. MacArthur would argue that this is foolish because without the heart of who Jesus is (the Son of God) you don’t have him at all. As usual Dr MacArthur serves up read meat for those who are more aggressive toward the left leaning crowd of evangelicalism. But at any rate, he teaches you the Scriptures, provides helpful background and connects contemporary dots. The book is a helpful resource for study in the gospel narratives.

Continue Reading…

Below is a portion of a prayer before one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons. It drips with a love for Christ and a realization of personal sinfulness that does not respond to such infinite grace in kind. Hence the prayer for help.

The words ring true and appropriate in preparation for this Lord’s Day.

We lie in the very dust before Thee in utter shame, to think that we have sometimes heard this story without emotion and even told it without tenderness. The theme truly has never become stale to us. We can say in Thy presence that the story of Christ’s death still brings joy and makes our hearts to leap.

But yet Lord, it never has affected us as we could have expected it would. Give us more tenderness of heart, give us to feel the wounds of Jesus till they wound our sins to death. Give us to have a heart pierced even as His was, with deep sympathy for His griefs, and an all-consuming love for His blessed Person. –Charles Spurgeon, The Pastor in Prayer, p.9

I love this post from my friend Tony Reinke. It ministers to me on a Saturday, the day before preaching Christ’s Word!

The very idea of a “Christless sermon” appalled Charles Spurgeon. It was a plague he confronted repeatedly (and vividly) in his own sermons. Although sometimes overstated to make his point, his words are a healthy challenge today over 100 years after his death. Here’s a small collection of colorful quips:

“The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.” [7/9/1876; sermon #2899]

“Leave Christ out? O my brethren, better leave the pulpit out altogether. If a man can preach one sermon without mentioning Christ’s name in it, it ought to be his last, certainly the last that any Christian ought to go to hear him preach.”[undated; sermon #768]

“Leave Christ out of the preaching and you shall do nothing. Only advertise it all over London, Mr. Baker, that you are making bread without flour; put it in every paper, ‘Bread without flour’ and you may soon shut up your shop, for your customers will hurry off to other tradesmen. … A sermon without Christ as its beginning, middle, and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution. However grand the language it will be merely much-ado-about-nothing if Christ be not there. And I mean by Christ not merely his example and the ethical precepts of his teaching, but his atoning blood, his wondrous satisfaction made for human sin, and the grand doctrine of ‘believe and live.’” [10/23/1881; sermon #1625]

“I know one who said I was always on the old string, and he would come and hear me no more; but if I preached a sermon without Christ in it, he would come. Ah, he will never come while this tongue moves, for a sermon without Christ in it—a Christless sermon! A brook without water; a cloud without rain; a well which mocks the traveler; a tree twice dead, plucked up by the root; a sky without a sun; a night without a star. It were a realm of death—a place of mourning for angels and laughter for devils. O Christian, we must have Christ! Do see to it that every day when you wake you give a fresh savor of Christ upon you by contemplating his person. Live all the day, trying as much as lieth in you, to season your hearts with him, and then at night, lie down with him upon your tongue.” [3/6/1864; sermon #558]

“Sooner by far would I go to a bare table, and eat from a wooden porringer something that would appease my appetite, than I would go to a well-spread table on which there was nothing to eat. Yes, it is Christ, Christ, Christ whom we have to preach; and if we leave him out, we leave out the very soul of the gospel. Christless sermons make merriment for hell. Christless preachers, Christless Sunday school teachers, Christless class leaders, Christless tract distributors—what are all these doing? They are simply setting the mill to grind without putting any grist into the hopper. All their labor is in vain. If you leave Jesus Christ out, you are simply beating the air, or going to war without any weapon with which you can smite the foe.” [2/11/1866; sermon #3288]

“The Spirit of God bears no witness to Christless sermons. Leave Jesus out of your preaching, and the Holy Spirit will never come upon you. Why should he? Has he not come on purpose that he may testify of Christ? Did not Jesus say, ‘He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you’? Yes, the subject was Christ, and nothing but Christ, and such is the teaching which the Spirit of God will own. Be it ours never to wander from this central point: may we determine to know nothing among men but Christ and his cross.” [5/30/1880; sermon #1540]

“Where there is nothing of Christ, brethren, there is nothing of unction, nothing of savor, and a man is quite right not to attend such a ministry as that. Leave Christ out of your preaching, and you have taken the milk from the children, you have taken the strong meat from the men; but if your object as a teacher or preacher is to glorify Christ, and to lead men to love him and trust him, why, that is the very work upon which the heart of God himself is set. The Lord and you are pulling together.” [4/17/1887; sermon #2409]

“Christ not only supplies the necessities of his people, but he gives them abundant and superabundant joy in the luxuries of his grace. You do not really preach the gospel if you leave Christ out; if he be omitted, it is not the gospel. You may invite men to listen to your message, but you are only inviting them to gaze upon an empty table unless Christ is the very center and substance of all that you set before them.” [6/16/1878; sermon #2787]

“Faith is that bunch of hyssop which we dip into the blood, and with it sprinkle the lintel and two side post of the house wherein we dwell, and so we are saved from destruction.”  (Spurgeon, The Annual Atonement)

“The bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. I can hear their trampings now as they traverse the great arches of the bridge of salvation. They come by the thousands, by their myriads, e’er since that day when Christ first entered His glory.

They come and yet never a stone has sprung in that mighty bridge. Some have been the chief of sinners and some have come at the very last of their days but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them, trusting to the same support. It will bear me over as it has for them.” – Charles Spurgeon

This is the type of stuff that I just love to read from Spurgeon.  It is so descriptive, so gospel-saturated, so encouraging, so humbling, so eschatological, and so Christological!

(HT: First Importance)

The Spurgeon Tour

Erik Raymond —  January 15, 2009

On our way back from preaching at a conference in India, Pat Abendroth (Sr Pastor of OBC) and myself were privileged to spend a few days in London with our new favorite British pastor Doug McMasters (from Trinity Road Chapel).  Doug and his wife Royal were gracious and kind hosts to us.

During our stay Doug took us on a day long tour of the life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon.  This was a great highlight of this trip.  We went to his birthplace, early residence, his father’s church, his conversion spot, his home, his church, and his grave site.  I have included some photos here, but the rest are contained at this link.  If you are a Spurgeon fan these may be of some interest.


Sign in front of the church where Spurgeon was converted


Place of Spurgeon's Conversion in Colchester (snowy morning...Methodist Church)


Spurgeon's Home in London


Spurgeon's Grave in London


Doug, me and Pat behind TRC (Doug's Church). Nothing official going on here, just posing. Cool that CHS laid the stone though.

One thing that was so amazing about ‘tracking Spurgeon’ was the man himself. We all know that he was a gifted preacher. However, it was the traces of kindness that characterized this man’s life that show that he not only loved to preach the gospel but also live it. For instance, he gave 250 pounds of his own money to help start the church where Doug is now a pastor. This may have been as much as a year’s wage in his day. Further, he held a benefit for the family of a man who was struck by lightening. This was done in Clapham Common where thousands came and gave to the cause. He also had men living in his house on a regular basis as he trained them for ministry. On and on the list could go. After this tour I am more impressed with the power of the gospel in his life than his obvious oratorical skill. God was at truly at work in and through him. Soli Deo Gloria.

Charles Spurgeon is quoted today in all types of corridors within Christendom. Various statements from within his poetic, powerful, and Christ-centered sermons are lauded by Arminians and Calvinists alike. As a result many today wonder if Spurgeon was a type of third party theologian, devoid of doctrinal controversy and strong theological conviction. Ian Murray aims to bring to light some of the specifics of Spurgeon’s life and ministry that have been strangely overlooked:

“The only way to deal with Spurgeon’s theology is to accept it or forget it: the latter is what I believe has largely happened in the 20th century. And Spurgeon without his theology is about as distorted as the cheap china figures of Spurgeon which were offered for sale by charlatans more than a century ago.”

In The Forgotten Spurgeon Murray interacts with Spurgeon’s thought and teaching. The overt aim is not biographical; however, the historical contexts from which these various scenarios arise cannot be avoided. What follows is an informative and interesting survey of one of history’s most impactful ministries.

The book is centered on three major controversies in Spurgeon’s ministry.

The first was during Spurgeon’s younger years and centered upon his dealing with a diluted gospel message. Spurgeon’s Calvinism sparked outrage among the religious as they had thought such theology was already laid to rest. His popularity only served to fuel this controversy.

The second controversy sprang forth from a sermon that he did on Baptismal Regeneration in 1864. This resulted in a prolonged debate on matters outside of just the role of baptism with respect to salvation.

Finally, Spurgeon encountered, in his later years, what was called the Down-Grade movement. This effort to dilute the gospel of its heavenly distinctiveness served to consume the elder Spurgeon until his death at age 57.

The truth of the matter is that Spurgeon was embroiled in controversy from the day he began preaching. His messages were biblical and so therefore theological. This, along with his corresponding popularity, caused a significant reaction by those around him. The Forgotten Spurgeon is a helpful book in restating the record and helping us to see Spurgeon as more than a happy, soul-winning, quote machine. He was a pastor, a preacher, an ambassador for Christ, and so therefore, a defender of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You may pick up a copy of this (inexpensive) book at Westminster Bookstore or Amazon.

I was reading The Forgotten Spurgeon the other day and found this quote a tremendous encouragement. It was reportedly spoken by Spurgeon to his friend J.W. Harrald prior to his death:

Ah! the bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. I can hear their trampings now as they traverse the great arches of the bridge of salvation. They come by their thousands, by their myriads; e’er since the day when Christ first entered into His glory, they come, and yet never a stone has sprung in that mighty bridge. Some have been the chief of sinners, and some have come at the very last of their days, but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support; it will bear me over as it has borne them. (The Forgotten Spurgeon, p.164)

I came across this gem of devotion in reading a Spurgeon sermon the other day. I am preparing to preach John 10 this weekend and glory of the good shepherd is particularly radiant to my own soul, so this quote sits well with me. I trust you’ll be encouraged too.

My brethren, who can speak of Jesus but himself? He masters all our eloquence. His perfection exceeds our understanding; the light of his excellence is too bright for us, it blinds our eyes. Our Beloved must be his own mirror. None but Jesus can reveal Jesus. Only he can see himself, and know himself, and understand himself; and therefore none but he can reveal himself. We are most glad that in his tenderness to us he sets himself forth by many choice metaphors, and instructive emblems, by which he would make us know some little of that love which passeth knowledge. With his own hand he fills a golden cup out of the river of his own infinity, and hands it to us that we may drink and be refreshed. Take, then, these words as being doubly refreshing, because they come directly from the Well beloved’s own mouth, and contain rich revelations of his own all-glorious self. I feel that I must read them again; . .I am the good Shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.. (C.H. Spurgeon, Our Own Dear Shepherd)