Charles Spurgeon preached a plethora of New Year’s sermons during his pastorate at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. For Spurgeon, the arrival of a new year was a time that brought forth thinking on the Lord’s faithfulness and the Christian’s right response to the Lord in the new year.
Five sermons preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle highlight Spurgeon’s understanding of what the Christian was to do with the new year: Humbly approach the Lord in prayer. Find security in God Himself. Wait expectantly for God’s mercy. Proclaim the gospel to yourself and others. Worship the living God now and forever.
Humbly Approach the Lord in Prayer
Spurgeon’s first evening sermon of 1871 was on Psalm 10:17, declaring, “Lord, thou hast hear the desire of the humble; thou will prepare their heart, thou wilt so use thine ear to hear.” For the Prince of Preachers, this text laid bare “a very blessed fact” that the Lord hears the desires of the humble. For the New Year, Spurgeon exhorted his parishioners at the Metropolitan Tabernacle to not forget their need of God. Spurgeon found great hope in holding a posture of humility in prayer before the Lord because “…it will be a fact all through this year that God will hear the desire of the humble.” But, what is a humble desire? “A humble desire,” Charles stated, “is one which leaves everything in God’s hands.” But, the deeper reality experienced by the humble, whom the Lord hears, is that the Lord “will prepare the heart of the humble to receive Christ [and to]…receive more of Christ.” Charles understood in prayer, “God will prepare our hearts for [the Christian’s service in the New Year].” In the New Year, approach the Lord in humility, and he will hear you and prepare your heart for the days to come.
Find Security in God Himself
On January 6th 1867, Spurgeon preached addressing the Lord’s ever-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful care for his people from Moses’s statement in Deuteronomy, “The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” Spurgeon preached this text that the people of the Tabernacle would know that God is not merely aware of them; deeper still, he knows and cares for his people in all things. According to Charles, “ was, perhaps the most gloomy of our lives,” even describing the newspaper headlines as prophetic scrolls of lamentation. And looking to the New Year, Spurgeon reminded his congregation that no one could know what 1867 was to bring with it. But the Prince of Preachers could find solace in trusting that “[t]he eyes of the Lord are upon the [his people], not to merely see them but to view them with complacency and delight; not to barely observe them, but to observe them with affectionate care and interest.” Deeper still in Christ, Spurgeon declared there was a “blessed meeting of eyes,” in which, “the Lord declares, ‘I love thee,’ and [Christians] answer, ‘We also love thee, O our God.’” In this text, Spurgeon saw not merely the Lord’s omniscience but the saving and sustaining power with which he holds his people, even after the worst of years. Christian, in 2021 find your security in God.
Wait Expectantly for God’s Mercy
From a sick-bed, Spurgeon wrote an exhortation from Jesus’s parable of the barren fig tree in Luke, particularly the planter’s intercession to the vinedresser on behalf of the fruitless tree. The Prince of Preachers distilled that the Christian ought to have an expectant heart for the work and mercy of God in the New Year. Spurgeon explained that the “also” in “This year also” is a retrospective statement of the owner of the fig tree acknowledging, “there had been former years of grace,” in which the vinedresser did not cut the tree down. “This year also,” according to Spurgeon, “makes some of us remember years of great mercy, sparkling and flashing with delight…[and] some of us our years of sharp affliction.” But Spurgeon recognized, “God was doing great things for us…Did we rise from the bed more patient and gentle, weaned from the world, and welded for Christ?” As Spurgeon urged, look to the mercy of God demonstrated to you in all circumstances that you may live from that mercy in the New Year.
Proclaim the Gospel to Yourself and Others
On New Year’s day 1885, the Prince of Preachers brought forth a message from the declaration in Revelation 21:5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Spurgeon highlighted that the newness of the year ought to bring excitement, but, “we ought not, as [those] in Christ Jesus, to be carried away by a childish love for novelty, for we worship a God who is ever the same…” But, as the New Year is the commencement of another “year of grace,” so the Christian ought to, “think about the great and needful change of conversion…[and] press forward into the center of his new creation, that we may feel to the full all the power of his grace.” Spurgeon prompted his congregation to behold their conversion as the Heavenly Father looking at his people and declaring, “Son, thou art ever with me and all that I have is thine.” But the Prince of Preachers also noted that the newness Christians experience daily through the gospel must be proclaimed to those lost in their old, dead selves for, “the Lord can convert those dear friends about whose souls you have been so anxious.” Let the New Year prompt you to declare the once-for-all and daily newness of life in Christ for those who believe.
Worship the Living God
In a sermon intended for January 1st 1893, Charles Spurgeon wrote on Psalm 115:8’s declaration, “But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord,” as the springboard of doxology which the Christian is to jump into the New Year. In the verse’s context, Spurgeon recognized, “during the past year some have been numbered with the dead,” and the pain death brings with it. But, in worshipping the Lord, Christians “take a blessed revenge on death,” and “as God helps us…each of us [is able] to become double what we formerly were in the service of our Master[!]” Despite the pain brought by the former year, Spurgeon declared, “We will bless the Lord.” Spurgeon also saw that Christian worship is both present and eternal. “When is the time to begin to praise God? Now, brethren, now,” declared the Prince of Preachers; he explains further, “…the expression, ‘We will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore,’ means that our praise shall have no end to it.” In the New Year, believer, join the right now and forever song of worship to the Lord.
Dear reader, may you be encouraged and edified by the words of Spurgeon in the New Year that you humbly pursue the Lord in prayer, find true security in God, preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to yourself and others, and praise God