23 October 2009

Be Bold

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 "Christ’s People—Imitators of Him," a sermon delivered Sunday morning, 29 April 1855, at Exeter Hall, in the Strand.

Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. This is a virtue nowadays called impudence, but the grace is equally valuable by whatever name it may be called. I suppose if the Scribes had given a definition of Peter and John, they would have called them impudent fellows.

Jesus Christ and his disciples were noted for their courage. "When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Jesus Christ never fawned upon the rich; he stooped not to the great and noble, he stood erect, a man before men,—the prophet of the people, speaking out boldly and freely what he thought.

Have you never admired that mighty deed of his, when going to the city where he had lived and been brought up; knowing that a prophet had no honor in his own country, the book was put into his hands; he had but then commenced his ministry; yet without tremor he unrolled the sacred volume and what did he take for his text?

Most men, coming to their own neighborhood would have chosen a subject adapted to the taste, in order to earn fame. But what doctrine did Jesus preach that morning? One which in our age is scorned and hated—the doctrine of election. He opened the Scriptures, and began to read thus: "Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land, but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none off them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian."

Then he began to tell, how God saveth whom he pleases, and rescues whom he chooses. Ah! how they gnashed their teeth upon him, dragged him out, and would have cast him from the brow of the hill.

Do you not admire his intrepidity? He saw their teeth gnashing; he knew their hearts were hot with enmity, while their mouths foamed with revenge and malice: still he stood like the angel who shut the lion's mouths; he feared them not; faithfully he proclaimed what he knew to be the truth of God, and still read on despite them all.

So in his discourses. If he saw a Scribe or a Pharisee in the congregation, he did not keep back part of the price, but pointing his finger, he said, "Woe Unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites;" and when a lawyer came, saying, "Master, in speaking thus, thou condemnest us also;" he turned round and said, "Woe unto you, lawyers, for ye bind heavy burdens upon men, while ye yourselves will not touch them with so much as one of your fingers."

He dealt out honest truth, he never knew the fear of man; he trembled at none; he stood as God's chosen, whom he had anointed above his fellows, careless of man's esteem. My friends, be like Christ in this. Have none of the time-serving religion of the present day, which is merely exhibited in evangelical drawing rooms—a religion which only flourishes in a hot-bed atmosphere, a religion which is only to be perceived in good company.

No, if ye are the servants of God, be like Jesus Christ, bold for your Master; never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you; take care you never disgrace that. Your love to Christ will never dishonor you, it may bring some temporary slight from your friends, or slanders from your enemies: but live on, and you shall; live down their calumnies; live on and ye shall stand amongst the glorified, honored even by those who hissed you when he shall come to be glorified by his angels, and admired by them that love him.

Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God; so that when they shall see your boldness, they may say, "He has been with Jesus."

C. H. Spurgeon


~Mark said...

Amazing. This very idea was pounding through my skull just 30 minutes ago on my ride home from seminary.

We are so afraid to live boldly before men in the way that God has not only called us to, but empowered us for, because we're afraid of what some people might say!

How many pastors we would lose if the threat was as dire as it were to Peter and Paul, not mere harsh words but stoning.

I certainly look in my mirror on the topic as well, but I still call my brothers and sisters to bold speaking and living of the Gospel of Christ in this world that has NOTHING better and is in need of that very Gospel!

In truth, in love, in fellowship, in stewardship, in recreation, in work, in speech...let's be dedicated to bold and godly witness all day long.

DJP said...

Amen to CHS.

Anonymous said...

What a great message from Mr. Spurgeon.
I know me, and so I know that any real boldness isn't coming from me but from Christ.

A side note about what Jesus taught that day. I'd never noticed that he taught on election, but the further on I travel with the doctrines of grace, the more I see that not only are they true, but every page Scripture is covered with them.

Anonymous said...

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Having personally experienced the "drawing" power of God in my life, I firmly believe that if the Church would wake up to the truth of John 6:44 there would be much less of an emphasis on gimmicks, and there would be more boldness.

I vivdly remember what it was like to be void of a conscience, and to walk alone to Church as a child. I had questions (e.g. Where did my father go after he died...) and God led me to a small, country Church. I am thankful for those who were faithful and boldly shared the Gospel with me. The Word of God was not treated flippantly. More than 32 years have passed since that time. I now live in the heart of the "Bible belt" and continue to be frustrated at the contortions I am expected to go through, as the Church merrily plays a liberal limbo behind the latest author/celebrity - who oftentimes is content in doubt and rebelling a "christian" upbringing. Wake up Church.

Thank you for allowing me to rant in virtual reality.

Craig and Heather said...

Boldness for Jesus is definitely an area in which I struggle. I'm always afraid of sounding self-righteous or pushy.

Then I remember what He said:

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

...and my heart skips a few beats.

I'm thinking it would be wise to ask God for the nerve to live my faith "loudly".


Anonymous said...

Was it election Jesus was teaching on, or was it that Jesus was reproving the people in his audience for their lack of faith in God?

IE. they were as faithless as the people at the time of Elijah and Elisha, when God had to go to Gentiles/Gentile lands to find a faith filled person to show mercy to.

Anonymous said...


Maybe think about that for a bit. God "had to..." because people did something or wouldn't do something?

Is He God or is He not?

It sounds a little bit like parents who say "but what if my kid won't stay in his time-out?"

Anonymous said...

I thought about it and I stand by it; God's justice and mercy compelled Him to go to Gentiles/Gentile lands.

God can do nothing against His very nature. God cannot be unjust, He cannot not love.

Tony Byrne said...

The people of his own town were not so much infuriated by the doctrine of election as by the fact that Jesus pointed to himself as the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy. Therefore they murmered, "Is this not Joseph's son?" etc. They despise and envy the honor that the Father is sovereignly giving His Son, one who appeared to them to be a mere man of very humble and seemingly insignificant origin.

Also, some times the "bold" thing to do in some contexts [i.e. among some Calvinists today] is to stand up and exclaim God's desire to save all men according to His revealed will. For an instance of this virtue, see Dr. Robert Gonzales' [dean at Reformed Baptist Theological Seminary] "God Makes a Wish: That Each and Every Sinner Might be Saved!" He, unlike Phil Johnson, is willing to publically call out James White for denying the well-meant gospel offer [see footnote #8]. Gonzales is both bold to exclaim the truth of election in some contexts and God's wish to save all in other contexts, but in all cases with gentleness and respect. That's consistent and therefore Christlike boldness for which I thank God.

Tony Byrne said...

Whoops. I just noticed "publically" should be "publicly" above ;-)

Tony Byrne said...

And "murmered" above should be spelled as "murmured." Sheesh.

Papa Giorgio said...



I will try and get my weekly dose of Spurgeon... you talked me into it.


Sonia said...

I'm disappointed. From the way Spurgeon is so lauded I would have expected better from him!

What does he mean by saying that Jesus read those words from Isaiah? That is not what he read from Isaiah--rather it is what evidence he gave that 'no prophet is welcome in his hometown.'

How in the world does he conclude that Jesus was teaching the 'doctrine of election' in this passage?!?

Sonia said...

I just read it again to see if I misunderstood something--I don't even know what to say--how does he dare put words in the Master's mouth!

After quoting Jesus, Spurgeon says that He goes on to teach that God saves whom He will ...etc. All I can say is: Where is that in the text??? Spurgeon is making it up! He dares put words in the Lord's mouth!

In fact those words are not even anywhere in the Bible. At least not in mine ... are we looking at the same book?