“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Cor. 6:2
For Charles Spurgeon there was no time like the present. Indeed, he believed that “time present is the only time I may ever have.”
Spurgeon tired over the frequent “discussions” as to “which are the best times.” There were those who “[were] perpetually singing the praises of the ‘good old times.’” However, Spurgeon thought that “if one reads any page of history, it does not appear that the old times deserve any special praise,” unless “oppression, ignorance, persecution, and abundant suffering” were fit material.
But, he also demurred those who “are always boasting of the present.” Spurgeon’s day was an “era of invention,” the “age of liberty and light, when slavery must cast away her fetters.” Nonetheless, Spurgeon asserted the present day’s virtues were “counterbalanced by greater sins.” Indeed, the progress towards “liberty” had barely kept pace with the “advance towards licentiousness.” And while “barriers have been broken down,” so too the “bulwarks have fallen.”
Further still, there were those “who with bright eyes are looking forward to the future.” The “age of gold,” that is Christ’s “Advent” was, and is, yet to come and so every heart should cry “Come quickly; yea, come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
But for Spurgeon one thought should never escape attention, namely, “that now, now, just now, this present flying moment…it is the only time which we have to work with.” Indeed, the “Prince of Preachers” knew his limitations. “I can do nothing with the days that are past, I can do nothing with the days that are future.” Rather, “the only time I have is that which is just now passing….Time present is the only time I may ever have.”
In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon first addressed “Now, with the believer.” Here he began by saying that “As a believer, it is well for the Christian to live in the present.” Spurgeon warned that “there is a temptation to make our faith a thing of the past.” In his view, it was imperative to remind the Christian always to look to Christ and remember that “your proper standing is as a sinner saved by blood, looking up to those dear wounds.”
Indeed, looking to “those dear wounds” was the “proper place of a Christian” and he was neve to “get one inch beyond this.” After all, “your safest, happiest, holiest, best position, is at the foot of the cross.” Accordingly Spurgeon asked, “Have ye climbed so high that ye have towered above the place of the poor thief?” If so, Spurgeon called “come back…for thou hast climbed to a dangerous altitude.”
Or perhaps, “thou dived so deep in a sense of thine own depravity, that thou has forgotten to rest on Jesus Christ as able still to save thee?” In both cases Spurgeon cried “away with all but Jesus! None but Jesus: this must be our watchword at the gates of death.”
However, the now for the believer encompassed all of life. Whether “buying sheep,” “using the hammer,” or “working at the plough” if you were a Christian Spurgeon declared “act as a Christian.” Here Spurgeon was emphatic that the whole of life was to be permeated with Christlikeness. After all, "a true Christian cannot shake off his character. He is really what he is.”
In the second section of his sermon Spurgeon examined “‘Now, as it effects the sinner.” Here he began by noting that “the great mischief of the most of men is that they procrastinate.” Indeed, “it is not that they resolve to be damned, but that the resolve to be saved to-morrow.” It was not that they “reject Christ for ever,” but that they “reject Christ to-day.” In light of this Spurgeon declared “Now, then, is thy time to think about eternity, and to prepare thyself to meet thy God.”
Indeed, for those apart from Christ Spurgeon cried “God is angry with thee now.” They were “Now without God.” “Now without hope.” “Now dead in trespasses and sins, [and] now in danger of the wrath to come.”
While there were some who thought Spurgeon’s pleading a “hurry” he exclaimed “A hurry!...when it is a case of life and death, let us fly as swift as lighting.” Spurgeon knew that delay with the call of salvation could only lead to eternal ruin and declared “I would to God that some of you would decide this very morning,” even as he prayed “O Spirit of the living God, waken those whom thou hast chosen and set apart unto eternal life.”
Why you should take up and read:
For Charles Spurgeon there was no time like the present. Indeed, he believed that “time present is the only time I may ever have.” When it came to evangelism he believed that “Now is the accepted time,” and that “Now is the day of salvation.” Accordingly he constantly called his congregation to look, cling, and run to Christ Jesus. For the one wanting to grow in faithfulness to Christ now please take up and read.
Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week:https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/now#flipbook/
Phillip Ort serves at the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City where he is also pursuing a Master of Divinity degree.