28 September 2008

A Question That Must be Pressed Home

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from the sermon "A Home Question and a Right Answer," preached Sunday evening, February 5th, 1882 at the Met Tab in London. Spurgeon was dealing with Jesus' challenge to the disciples in John 6:67: "Do you also want to go away?"

    say deliberately that if I go away from my Master I can expect nothing but the hottest wrath of God for ever. Unhappy, unhappy wretch, to have preached to such multitudes, if I deny my Lord! Condemned out of my own mouth a thousand times over! I shall be a mark for all the arrows of vengeance.

And what shall I say of my brethren behind me, the deacons and elders of this church? If they go away from Christ and forsake him after their brave professions, who shall apologise for them? Many here are marked men and women. Your experience of Christ has been long, sweet, deep, remarkable, and you have spoken of it to others with much confidence and delight. If you go away you will deserve to be hung up like Haman, on the gallows, fifty cubits high-an exhibition of direct treachery, and a monument of the awful wrath of God against such as trample on the blood of Christ. You will be sinners above all the sinners of your time.

Oh, may it never be, for if one of the twelve shall do it, it will be the greatest sin of all. It will grieve the heart of the Master, it will open the mouths of blasphemers, it will afflict the saints, it will disgrace the apostates, and bring down upon them infinite condemnation.

And yet, do you know, when others are turning aside, the question had need be asked, for apostasy is very contagious. We are called sheep, and it is of the nature of sheep that if one goes right the next will follow; but if they meet with a gap in the hedge and one leaps through it they will all follow the same road. When backsliding and apostasy become fashionable you may ask even the twelve, "Will ye also go away?"

As I have seen, in my short experience, minister after minister turning aside to novelties of doctrine, and especially into the deep pit of modern thought, into which the abhorred of the Lord do fall, I have thought of one and of another, "Will ye also go away?" As men that I have spoken with, and prayed with, and trusted in, have one by one apostatized from the faith of God’s elect, I have been staggered and astounded; surely this fashionable sin has a fascinating influence over many minds, and would delude, if it were possible, the very elect.

How few stand to the landmarks in this age of wandering! How few are found approved in the day of trial! The question is one that must of necessity be pressed home, "Will ye also go away?"
C. H. Spurgeon


Ebeth said...

Perfect fit with the posts on apostasy.

Stefan Ewing said...

In the course of our sermon today, our senior pastor told the story of a pastor on his first day in hell. His congregation follows in behind him. He turns to see them and they say in a shocked and betrayed voice, "You deceived us!"

God, let us not follow down that same path. Should we ever stray into such depths of doubt and despair, hear our prayers, and remind us to seek the counsel of our fellow believers.

archshrk said...

In a recent conversation, I was trying to discuss "the preservation of the saints" but later realized the difficulty of explaining this was not in the idea of grace is a gift, but in the concept of "once saved, always saved" (a slightly different perspective). While I was arguing for the first, they were arguing against the second, which led to confusion. So - if they fall away, can they come back?

My thinking is that if they are/were saved - and they fall away, then this is part of the continuous sanctification process. As one person put it, "God loves a broken man". Therefore, sometimes, falling away is a step towards brokenness which leads to repentance, isn't it?

Of course, sometimes it's just false claims of belief by an unregenerate heart.

Becky Schell said...

Every time I read Spurgeon, I am amazed anew at his eloquence and profundity. His stating that an apostate deserves to be punished in the same manner as Haman was an unexpected comparison.

We hate Haman for his evil plotting against Mordecai. We delight over his shock when he realizes Mordecai will receive the king's honor. We are on the edge of our seats as we watch the drama unfold at Esther's banquets. We’re smug with the satisfaction of knowing that Haman, not Mordecai, will occupy the gallows. There is a reason for this. Our view of Haman is unobstructed. We see him through the eyes of the Holy Spirit and we have full understanding of his wickedness. Haman’s story is a done deal; God’s judgment is sure.

How dreadful to think that the apostate will one day be looked upon with the same righteous indignation we have against Haman. I echo Stefan’s prayer and would add Peter’s admonition (applying it to myself as well): “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you…” 2 Peter 1:10