He Was Everywhere Accessible

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many… – Hebrews 9:28

Our Lord Jesus Christ has once appeared, and though He will appear again, it will not be for the same purpose. On His first appearing fix your thoughts; for the like of it will never be seen again. In the bosom of the Father He lay concealed as God; as the second person of the divine Trinity in Unity He could not be seen, for “no man hath seen God at any time.” It is true that “without Him was not anything made that was made”; and thus His hand was seen in His works; but as to Himself, He was still hidden; revealed in type and prophecy, but yet in fact concealed…In the manger He might be seen with the eyes, and looked upon, and handled; for there the Word was made flesh, and God was incarnate. He whom the ages could not contain, the glorious One who dwelt with the Father for ever unseen, now appeared within the bounds of time and space, and humble shepherds saw Him, and adored Him. By Gentiles he was seen; for wise men from the East beheld and worshipped Him whose star had led them. As He grew up, the children of Nazareth beheld Him as a child obedient to His parents; and by-and-by He was made manifest to men by the witness of John and the descent of the Holy Ghost upon Him at His baptism…He dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory: He was the revelation of God to men, so that He could say, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” He was made still more manifest by His death; for in His crucifixion He was lifted up from the earth, that all might behold Him. He was exalted upon the cross, even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, on purpose that whosoever looked to Him might live…Thus we may look into His inmost heart. High on the cross the Saviour hung, without veil or curtain to conceal Him. “Once in the end of the world hath He appeared.” I know of no appearance that could have been more complete, more unreserved. He moved in the midst of crowds, He spake to men and women one by one. He was on the mountain, and by the sea; He was in the desert, and by the river; He was both in house and in temple; He was everywhere accessible; in the fullest sense “once in the end of the world hath He appeared.” Oh, the glory of this gracious epiphany! This is the greatest event in history: the invisible God has appeared in human form. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Herein is the Life of Our Spirits

“Now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”- Hebrew 9:26-28

The text says, “He hath appeared”; and again, “He shall appear.” Between these two lights-“He hath appeared” and “He shall appear”-we shall sail safely, if the Holy Spirit will direct our way. By faith we first look to Jesus, and then for Jesus; and herein is the life of our spirits. Christ on the cross of shame, and Christ on the throne of glory, we dwell between these two boundaries: these are our Dan and Beersheba, and all between is holy ground. As for our Lord’s first coming, there lies our rest: the once-offered Sacrifice hath put away our sin and made our peace with God. As for His second coming, there lies our hope, our joy; for we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. The glories of His sacred royalty shall be repeated in all the saints; for He hath made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign with Him for ever and ever. At His first advent we adore Him with gratitude rejoicing in “God with us”, as making Himself to be our near kinsman. We gather with grateful boldness around the infant in the manger and behold our God. But in the second advent we are struck with a solemn reverence, a trembling awe. We are not less grateful, but we are more prostrate as we bow before the majesty of the triumphant Christ. Jesus in His glory is an overpowering vision. John, the beloved disciple, writes, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” We could have kissed His feet till He quitted us on Olivet; but at the sight of the returning Lord, when heaven and earth shall flee away, we bow in lowliest adoration. His first appearing has given us that life and holy confidence with which we press forward to His glorious appearing, which is the crown of all. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Longing for that Heavenly Land

Therefore, they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. – Exodus 1:11

If you were put into the conservatory of a gracious providence, you might be content to dwell below always. We soon take root in this soil, for we are earthy by nature, and we cling to earth- like to its like. But when there comes the jeer, the unkind remark, the cruel innuendo, the bitter sarcasm, then we feel, “This is not my rest: I must seek better company than this, a better land, and a better portion than I shall find this side of Jordan.” And then we long for the home-bringing, when the King, the Husband, shall fetch home His spouse, and the marriage shall be consummated in the skies. Oh! how sometimes, when the world has been very cold you have longed for the warm bosom of your Savior! You would have nestled in the world’s bosom if you could, but when she would not receive you but thrust you forth, then you came to your true self, and exercised your right senses, and you said, “I will return unto my husband. It was better with me then than now.” O that our hearts were always set on heaven! There is our treasure: there let our hearts be also. There is our Lord and King: to Him should our hearts fly. There are the best ones of our families, our relations, who are everlastingly our associates, brethren and sisters whose brotherhood and sisterhood no death can bring to an end-

“There my best friends my kindred dwell,
There God my Savior reigns.”

We ought to long for that land: and I say the whip of persecution is helpful, because it makes us learn that this is the house of bondage, and moves us to long after and seek for the land of liberty-the land of joy. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


As Living Sacrifices

But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. – Exodus 1:12

How often have the richest and the ripest fruits of the Spirit been put forth by the Lord’s people when they have been most grieved and smitten! Then the saints have been like clusters thrown into the winepress; but who shall bring forth the red wine? And as with exultation they bruise and trample down, they shall crush nothing in the dust but husks: the living wine shall flow, and God shall receive the whole of it. If you read “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,” or any of the martyrologies of earlier ages, you will find there patience, self-denial, consecration, confidence in God, and all the finer graces of temper in full bloom, perfuming the air with their fragrance. One is astonished at what our poor, weak humanity has been able to endure for the truth, when strengthened by the Spirit of God. Verily, humble and weak and timid women have shown true mettle, waxing valiant, and cheering on men of muscle and sinew, whose hearts had grown faint. We could mention the names of many saints, if this were the time, who have endured torment as severe as inquisitors could devise, or relentless executioners could inflict, and yet they have not denied their Lord. This is the patience of the saints, I think, when the martyrs perished in the Roman Amphitheatre, and the cruel crowd looked down to watch their agonies as their bones were crushed between the jaws of wild beasts; angels gathered in tiers, invisible multitudes of them gathered, and looked on with eyes of admiration at the spectacle of mortal men ravished with the love of God, waving the banner of immortal truth, while from frightful wounds and horrid gashes their life-blood streamed. Oh! what God can do by us when He works in us! Perhaps heaven itself, save when it gazed upon the cross, never saw a nobler spectacle than when men and women, who bore the cross of Christ in their hearts, gave themselves up wholly as living sacrifices unto Him. The church looks fairer and shines brighter when she is in the furnace. Not the smell of fire doth pass upon her. Her Lord is with her, and if the fire be heated seven times hotter, His glory is seven times the brighter…God has blessed the church by her persecution. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


A Blessed Frown

…the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. Exodus 2:23

Often does it happen that the enmity of the world drives the Christian nearer to his God. How many prayers have been offered up as the result of persecution that would never have been offered else, heaven alone can tell! How many a groan, and sigh, and tear, acceptable to God, have been forced from true hearts by their sufferings, God alone knows! Ah! in the soft days, the summer days of peace and prosperity, we are apt to gad abroad after vain delights; but when the winter comes, with its keen and cutting blast, we haste to our own abode, we cleave to our own hearth, we love to dwell with our own kindred. Even so right frequently, with hearts all chill and cheerless, we have sought the house of our Father and our God, drawn near to His altar, and found a refreshment we fain could wish that we might never leave. Why, oh! why, are we so fickle? If we could find succor and solace apart from the Rock, away from the Sun, absent from our Lord, our wayward hearts would do so; but when the waters of affliction have covered all the earth, then we fly back to our Noah, our ark, and find rest for the sole of our foot. The friendship of this world is enmity to God. It rivals God’s friendship, it deceives and deludes many hearts; but when the world frowns, it is a blessed frown that makes me seek my Savior’s smile. Anything that drives me to my knees is good. Anything that makes me trust in the promise and wait only upon God because my expectation is from Him, is healthful to my soul, infuses courage, and inspires confidence, and invests her with fresh strength. O brethren, the very glory of the church is to live nearer to God. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Persecution’s Benefits

“We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” – Acts 14:22

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure. – 2 Thessalonians 1:4

Persecution has a beneficial use in the church of God, and it is this: it may be that the members of the church want it. It is a sorrowful thing that slander should be so often used against God’s people; it is a grievous thing that their little faults should be severely criticised and magnified; but, on the whole, it is good and profitable. It is a great blessing to be made to walk carefully. The Roman who professed that he would like to have a window in his bosom, that everybody might see his heart, would have wished, I should think, before long for a shutter to that window; yet it is no slight stimulus to a man’s own circumspection for him to know that he is observed by unfriendly eyes. Our life ought to be such as will bear criticism. As Christian men we serve a jealous God, and our works will have to stand the test of fire at the last great day. The wood, and the hay, and the stubble that we have builded will be consumed, and only the gold, the silver, and the precious stones will remain. Are we, therefore, to be afraid of the ordinary ordeal of human censure and malignity? If we run with the footmen and they weary us, what shall we do when we contend with horses? And if in this land of comparative peace we are weary, what shall we do in the swelling of Jordan? This is the opposition appointed for us. It is through much tribulation we are to inherit the kingdom; and if we be sincere, and honest and true, we shall not flinch at this: we shall feel that God will overrule it for our sanctification, by making us take heed unto our ways, because the wicked watch our paths. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


The Portion of the Imitators of the Crucified

I am crucified with Christ…  – Galatians 2:20

In these soft and silken days any man may be a Christian professor. Oftentimes it pays well to make a profession of godliness. Men think the better of you: it brings customers to the shop. No one knows how many conveniences may attach to the profession of religion: albeit, if it be pretense without pretext, everlasting destruction awaits such violation of truth, for God will surely avenge hypocrisy. But in days of persecution, to profess Christ is very inconvenient. Then to be baptised in water may involve a baptism of blood. Then for the soul to burn with zeal for Christ would probably be followed with the body being burnt at the stake. Then a word for Jesus would bring a word of conviction from the judge’s mouth, and, close at the heels of that word, death. Then they who loved not Christ betook themselves to the other side; the cowards and the spies shrunk away. Demas went, and Judas went, and all of that brood, to their own company, and then only the true and the brave, the regenerate, the elect of God were left. They stood fast and firm-all the stronger for losing such ill company. Then in those days the church was like a heap of golden wheat, all winnowed and clean grain, fit for a burnt offering to the Most High, to be offered up as a meat offering upon His altar. Her martyrs were amongst her noblest sons, the very glory of the church and of the Lord Jesus Christ. So you see persecution is overruled for this great good. It ought never to be, while there are sinners in this world-it ought never to be that the Christian escapes opposition…It should not be that we should think it an easy thing and a light matter to be a follower of Him whose life was sorrow, and whose death was the death of the cross. If we are to be conformed to Him, it cannot be by ease and sloth. Not the downy couch, but the crown of thorns; not the triumph, but the shame, must be the portion of the imitators of the Crucified. ~ C.H. Spurgeon