Thursday, September 15, 2011

How to become a Christian (via Charles Spurgeon)

From: Charles Spurgeon's Sermon #654 "Memory—The Handmaid of Hope"

III. I must have a few words with SEEKERS. Always in this congregation we have some who are seeking the Lord—would to God we had many more! It were glorious preaching if all were either seeking or had found. If it were not for the mixed multitude who neither seek nor find, our work were easy work, indeed. Some of you are seeking God today and you are very much troubled with the fear that you cannot be saved. I will have a few words with you to recall to mind some common-place Truths of God which may give you hope.   First of all some of you are troubled about the doctrine of election. I cannot, this morning, explain it to you. I believe it and receive it with joy! And you may rest assured, however much it troubles you, it is true. Though you may not like it, it is true! And remember it is not a matter of opinion as to what you like or do not like— as to what you think or do not think—you must turn to the Bible and if you find it there you must believe it.  

 Listen to me. You have got an idea that some persons will be sent to Hell, merely and only because it is the will of God that they should be sent there. Throw the idea overboard because it is a very wicked one and is not to be found in Scripture! There could not be a Hell inside the man’s conscience who knew that he was wretched merely because God willed he should be—for the very essence of Hell is sin and a sense of having willfully committed it. There could not be the flames of Hell if there were not this conviction on the mind of the person suffering it, “I knew my duty but I did it not—I willfully sinned against God and I am here not because of anything He did or did not do, but because of my own sin.” 

 If you drive that dark thought away you may be on the road to comfort. Remember again, that whatever the doctrine of election may be or may not be, there is a free invitation in the Gospel given to needy sinners, “Whoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” Now you may say, “I cannot reconcile the two.” There are a great many other things that you cannot do. God knows where these two things meet though you do not. And I hope you do not intend to wait till you are a philosopher before you will be saved—because it is likely enough that while you are trying to be wise by persistently remaining a practical fool you will find yourself in Hell where your wisdom will not avail you. (my favorite part!)

 God commands you to trust Christ and promises that all Believers shall be saved. Leave your difficulties till you have trusted Christ and then you will be in a capacity to understand them better than you do now. In order to understand Gospel doctrine you must believe in Christ first. What does Christ say, “No man comes unto the Father but by Me.” Now election is the Father’s work. The Father chooses sinners. Christ makes the Atonement. You must go, then, to Christ the atoning Sacrifice before you can understand the Father as the electing God. Do not persist in going to the Father first. Go to the Son as He tells you.  Once more, remember that even if your own idea of the doctrine of election were the truth, yet if it were so, you can 
but perish should you seek the Lord—
“I can but perish if I go, I am resolved to try;  For if I stay away I know I must forever die.  But if I die with mercy sought,  When I the King have tried,  That were to die, delightful thought,  As sinner never died.”  

Trust Christ even if you should perish and you shall never perish if you trust in Him! Well, if that difficulty were removed, I can suppose another, saying, “Ah, but my case is of great sin.” Recall this to mind and you will have hope, namely, that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom,” Paul says, “I am chief.” “I am chief.” Paul was the chief of sinners and he went through the door of Mercy. And now there can be none greater than the chief, and where the chief went through you can go through! If the chief of sinners has been saved, why not you? Why not you?   

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