“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” – 1 Tim. 1:15
Charles Spurgeon’s heart was gripped by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. In his opening remarks he declared “It is my conviction that our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” Furthermore, he believed that “Our Lord in infinite wisdom intends that his ministers should themselves be proofs of the doctrines which they teach.”
Spurgeon delighted to read these words by the apostle Paul precisely because “he preached to others what was seen in himself,” namely that “Christ Jesus must have come into the world to save sinners.” Even though Paul “went to heaven years ago,” Spurgeon rejoiced that “his evidence is not vitiated by that fact; for a truthful statement is not affected by the lapse of time.”
Like to the Apostle Paul, Spurgeon saw himself as a “living witness that Christ Jesus can save sinners.” He rejoiced, saying, “The Lord has forgiven and justified me, and I have found grace in his sight.” But in his rejoicing he also pleaded and prayed “Oh, how I wish that my hearers would believe me!”
In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon answered the question “Who are the chief of sinners?” Now, while Paul claimed the title for himself, Spurgeon asserted that “he was only one of the regiment” before describing different types of “chief of sinners.”
First, Spurgeon addressed those who “have persecuted the church of God.” Here he plainly said, “If you had been willingly and willfully, maliciously and eagerly, a helper in putting a man…to death, you would write yourself down as a sinner of crimson dye[.]” However, persecution was not limited to physical violence. Spurgeon believed that a “man who has willfully and maliciously slandered a servant of God” could be “reckoned among the chief of sinners.”
Second, Spurgeon spoke to “those who are guilty of the coarser and grosser sins.” Here he kept his comments short because “it is a shame even to speak of” such sins. But he did pray “God keep us from unchastity and dishonesty….if we indulge in these – we shall certainly come by them to be number among the chief of sinners.”
Third, Spurgeon warned those “who have sinned against great light.” He warned that “Children of godly parents, who have been brought up and instructed in the fear of God from their youth, are among the chief of sinners if they turn aside from the way of life.” Being privileged with the knowledge of the truth, the gospel, was a weighty reality and not one to be taken lightly.
In the second section of his sermon, Spurgeon answered the question “Why are the chief of sinners so often saved?” In response Spurgeon proclaimed that “grace delights in dealing with great and glaring sin, and putting away the crimes of great offenders.”
Furthermore, Spurgeon observed that “The Lord Jesus not only saved the chief of sinners, but he was related to some of them by blood.” “David” and “Solomon,” “Rehoboam” and “Manasseh,” each of these men had committed extravagant sins. This caused Spurgeon to “Admire the condescension of the Lord in coming of such stock.” Indeed, Jesus “came of sinners, because he came for sinners.”
And so, Spurgeon concluded that “in a great sinner like Paul [God] shows all his long-suffering, not little grains of it, nor portions of it, but all his long-suffering.” To put it another way “Where sin has abounded there is elbow-room for the infinite mercy of the living God.” Indeed, the grand inference was that if God can save Paul “then God cans save me.”
In the third, and final, section of his sermon, Spurgeon focused on “What the chief of sinners say when they are saved.” Here he asserted that “As soon as ever they are saved they begin praising the Lord.” Simply, “they cannot endure to put off glorifying God” because “Grateful love cannot be restrained, it is like a fire in the bones.” Indeed, “The saved sinner can never have enough of glorifying the Lord; he will praise him throughout eternity.”
Why you should take up and read:
Charles Spurgeon’s heart was gripped by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. He cherished the Biblical conviction that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” In this sermon, Spurgeon rejoiced in God’s abounding grace for the worst of sinners and assured his hearers that God’s arm was mighty to save. For those wanting to rejoice in God’s abounding grace please take up and read.
Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week:https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/a-great-gospel-for-great-sinners#flipbook/
Phillip Ort serves as the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City while studying in The Residency Ph.D. program.