“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” — Hebrews xii. 3.
WHEN the Hebrew Christians were suffering dire persecution the apostle could suggest no better support for their faith than this, “Consider him.” He bade them look to Jesus, and compare their case with that of their Lord. Such contemplations would prove a sovereign balm for their distressed minds. A consideration of our Lord and Master is the best conceivable stay and support during persecution. Let us look into that fact for a few minutes.
The believer under persecution should remember that he is suffering no strange thing, but is only enduring that which fell upon his Master before him. Should the disciple expect to be above his Lord? “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household.” If they had received Christ they would have received us, but since they reject both Christ and his sayings, the followers of Christ must expect that both their persons and their doctrines will be lightly esteemed.
Remember that in addition to his being our Master, Jesus is also God. Shamefully unrighteous was the opposition of mankind to God, whom by all reasons of right and justice they were bound to reverence: yet he endured, with almighty patience, the contradiction of sinners against himself. A word from his lips would have withered them, but, like a sheep before her shearers, he was dumb. One glance of his eye of fire would have consumed their spirits, but that eye distilled a tear instead. Ye are but men, is it much that men should mock at you? If God himself, in the person of his dear Son, has endured the opposition of sinners, who are you, Oh sons of men, that you should wonder, much less should murmur, when you are reviled for Jesu’s sake?
Remember, too, that our dear Lord and Master was perfectly innocent. It was a cruel thing that he should be opposed who had done no harm to anyone. “For which of these works do you stone me”? said he, — a plaintive question, as much as if he had said, “I have healed your sick, I have fed your hungry, I have raised your dead, and do you thus requite me! Are stones the only testimonials of your appreciation?” They called him a drunken man, yet well we know he was temperance itself. They said he had a devil, though he was the Lord of angels. They charged him with treason, and yet he was himself the King of kings and Lord of all. Now, brethren and sisters, in us there is much that is evil, and when men speak evil of us falsely we may say within ourselves, “Ah, had they known me better they might have truthfully found fault with me in some other direction.” Ye are not innocent, beloved, oftentimes ye bring the rebuke upon yourselves; and the contradiction of sinners against your religion is due to your own fault quite as well as to the world’s opposition to the truth which ye love, Therefore if he, the spotless One, endured, should not ye endure who are so far from innocent? Should not ye be willing for his sake to suffer persecution?
Remember, too, the loving mission upon which our Master came. He came into this world on purpose to save men. He had no sinister motive, nor even a secondary aim. The glory of God in the salvation of lost souls was all he lived for, and yet for all that sinners were infuriated against him, and opposed him with might and main. Now, the good ye can confer upon them is slender enough compared with the rich gifts with which the Master’s hands were laden. Ye come, it is true, to tell them of a Saviour, but ye cannot save them. Ye bring glad tidings of good things, but ye are only tiding-bearers of the good things your Master actually brought. If they persecuted him who gave his blood for their redemption, it is not wonderful if you, who can only tell what he has done, should bear some of the reproaches that fell upon him. We remember, dear friends, how bitter were the reproaches that assailed him, how the enmity of man put forth all its cruel force. They were not content with slandering him in life, they must needs hurry him away to death. Reproach broke his heart, and he was full of heaviness; thus they tortured his soul; and ye have not forgotten their cruelties to him in Pilate’s hall, where the mental and physical agonies were blended. Ye cannot forget the nailing to the cross, and the scorn which saluted him in the midst of his dying grief. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. What have ye endured compared with his? As the poet standing upon the desolate mounds of ruined Rome considering the death-throes of an empire, said, “What are our petty griefs? Let me not number mine.” So may ye say, “What are the sufferings of any of the saints compared with the infinite griefs of the eternal Son of God.” His was suffering indeed. “Consider him, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds.”
Yet reflect, beloved, amid all these sufferings, our Lord’s temper remained unruffled. He spoke strong words against hypocrisy and falsehood wherever he beheld them. He spared neither Scribe nor Pharisee, but in those stern denunciations not a single atom of personal anger was blended. He did not denounce them in resentment of their attacks upon himself, but because they deserved to be denounced, and were in themselves too vile to be tolerated. No personal animosity ever ruffled the serenity of our great Master’s spirit. Moreover, he was never moved to take the slightest revenge upon his foes; even for those who nailed him to the wood, he had no return but the prayer, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And, as he had no vengeance against them, so they exerted no evil influence upon him. He persevered in his life work just as much as if he had never been opposed. Like the sun that goeth on in its strength whether there beclouds to hide it or whether it shine out of the blue serene, Christ continued in his heavenward way; coming out of his chamber full of love to his spouse like a bridegroom girded for the race he pursued his mighty journey, tarrying not till he had fulfilled his course. Oh, how strengthening is this contemplation! Let us consider him and reflect, that by reason of his sufferings, and his patience, and his forgiveness, and his perseverance, he achieved a triumph over evil, which was in effect a complete victory of righteousness over sin. If he could have been ruffled he had been defeated, if he could have been angered he had been overthrown, if he could have been stayed in his progress, then had he not been victorious; but he bore and bore and bore again, he suffered and he suffered and he suffered still; like the anvil that replies not to the hammer, he yet wore out those hammers by his patience. Brethren, consider this, and suffer yourselves with a patience like your Master’s. Consider Jesus, and push on in the allotted path of holy service, just as he did. Consider him, and look forward with expectancy to the joy of triumphing over evil, for Christ will in you get the victory over sin again, in you he will again be crowned with many crowns, and in you again his cross shall become the symbol and weapon of victory.
But, now, I must confess I did not take this text with the view of preaching from it as it stands, but from a light which breaks out of it. We have given you an outline of what could have been said upon the text, but the thought occurred to me if the consideration of Christ be a most effectual medicine to the persecuted, so as to prevent their being weary or faint in their mind, doubtless the self-same sacred balm would be beneficial to all other cases of spiritual distress; and as I thought of all the diseases of God’s people, and like a physician tried this prescription upon them, I discovered that it was equally suitable and effectual in every case. So I thought I would speak this Sabbath morning to those souls which most want our care, namely, to those who are seeking Jesus, and longing after salvation, but are filled with doubts and despondencies, and I will say to them “consider him.” I am persuaded, beloved, if I am enabled by God’s Spirit to lead any seeking soul to “consider him,” I shall also lead that soul into liberty. I believe this topic will be the opening of the prison doors to them that are bound. I feel for some of you that God has set before you this morning an open door which no man can shut, and my prayer shall be offered over every syllable that I utter, that God may lead you through that open door at this very moment. So that not twenty or a hundred, but thousands of you may find Christ, and be saved with an everlasting salvation. I know the medicine has power in it if God the Holy Spirit will but apply it.
I shall now speak to the seeking sinner, taking him by the hand and appealing to him in simple but earnest language.
Thou that seekest salvation I say unto thee, in the name of the living God, consider Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the only Saviour of man.
And do this first to meet thine own consideration of thy SIN. You are awakened enough to know that you have sinned against God. Though a little while ago sin seemed a trifle, you now know that it is a terrible thing, a deadly thing, and the thought oppresses your spirit that your sin deserves the wrath of God, that it must be punished, that God would not be a just moral Governor if he were to pardon you absolutely: he must take vengeance upon your inventions and punish you for your iniquity. Now I am glad that you have considered your sin and the heinousness of it; but, poor soul, let me take you by the hand and say to you, consider him— the Saviour, Christ Jesus. For if you will bethink yourself concerning him you will remember that God has been just and has laid the sin of his people upon the Lord Jesus Christ. It was impossible that sin should be wiped out with no remark from God, but he has been pleased to accept a substitute in the person of his only begotten Son, who could lawfully be a substitute because he is the head of his people, and it was natural that in their fall he should take an interest as being to them what Adam was to the whole human race. Now, the Lord need not punish thee, Oh sinner, for sin, for he has punished Jesus Christ in the stead of all believing sinners; he need not visit thee with stripes, for the stripes due to thy sin, if thou believest in Jesus, were laid upon another’s back; thine iniquities were gathered all together in one mighty load and then placed upon the shoulders of Jesus Christ, the great scape-goat for sin. Does not that remove distress from thy mind? If thou considerest thy sin consider also the five wounds, consider the bloody sweat, consider the tortured person of the immaculate Christ, who was God at the same time that he was man, and say unto thy soul, “If Jesus died in thy stead, there is a sufficient recompense made to the injured honour of Almighty God, so that he can be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly.”
But there rises in thy mind this thought, “My sin has placed me in a miserable position, for I am a sinner, and being a sinner I must be obnoxious to the anger of God. It is not possible that a pure God could permit me to dwell in his presence, for he cannot look upon iniquity. How can I hope for acceptance before God when I am defiled?” Now hearken, soul. Thou art a sinner, but “consider him,” ask thyself what is Jesus Christ? I speak with reverence of his name, as our Redeemer, what is he apart from sinners? Is not his name “Jesus, for he shall wave his people from their sins.” If there were no sinners, what could be the value of his name? It would be an empty sounding title without a meaning. How could he save if there were no lost ones to be saved? He could only be called a Saviour by way of compliment and fancy. Bethink thee, what did Jesus come from heaven for if he had not a relation to sinners? “It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” He came for nothing if he does not find sinners and save them; and if you, and such as you, have no right to look to Jesus, then what did he come to earth for? If there be a righteous man here who has no sin, Christ has nothing to do with you, you will perish without a Saviour; but if you are a sinner, you are the kind of person that he came to save, and the fact of your knowing that you are a sinner should give you comfort.
Look at the characters of Christ— “consider him.” Is he not a priest? And what is a priest for, but to make propitiation for the sins of the people? Is not our Lord described as a sacrifice for sin? But to what end is there a bloody sacrifice if there be no sin to put away? Jesus is our advocate. What says the apostle? “If any man sin, we have an advocate.” Who wants an advocate with God, but the man who has offended? Jesus is an intercessor, too, but who wants him to intercede for him if he be innocent? He maketh intercession for the sins of his people. You see, then, if you will consider him, that as a poor man is needful before there can be an almsgiver, as a disconsolate soul is needful before a comforter can exercise his office, so a sinner is necessary before a Saviour can be what he is ordained to be. Jesus needs your sinnership that he may exercise his sacred craft upon it. Put a surgeon down amidst men who are never sick, and what is there for him to do? Tell a physician that in a certain city no one is ever ill, and he will take himself off by the next train. If there were no sinners what use would a propitiation be? Therefore as you consider him, though your sense of sin will not vanish, your despair about it will be driven quite away.
“Yes, but,” saith another, “while I have been considering my sin I have been stunned altogether by a sense of its greatness. Oh, sir, mine has not been mere verbal sin, I have committed crimson transgressions of which it were a shame to speak. I have defiled myself by actual crimes which I cannot efface from my memory.” Be it so, but I bring thee my one remedy, “Consider him.” What sort of a Saviour is Jesus Christ, a little Saviour or a great one? Is he not the Son of God, and himself God? What need of a divine person to be a propitiation for limited sin? It was the infinity of sin that required the Godhead itself to become incarnate, in order that human guilt might be put away. If thou sayest, “I have but little sin;” I tell thee Christ will have nothing to do with thee. He came not from heaven to be a physician to a pin’s prick on a man’s finger which will heal of itself, but he is a physician who delights to heal putrifying sores and gaping wounds, and incurable diseases. And thou, great, big, black, devilish sinner, thou art just the sort of man that Christ delights to operate upon, for in thee will he show his power, his mercy, his grace, his sovereignty. There is room to display the infinity of his mercy in such a one as thou art. Therefore, be not cast down, be not faint and weary in thy seeking after him, but come at once and close in with him who is mighty to save.
“Yes,” said another, “but in turning over my sin I see the peculiarity of it. I believe my case is one by itself. I do not think another man could have committed the sin I have done under the circumstances, and with the peculiar aggravations.” Be it so. Thou art a unique sinner, but “consider him” for he is a unique Saviour. Was there ever such a one as Jesus? Thou art a wonderful sinner, but his name is also called Wonderful. If thou art a sinner of such a class, that, if thou be saved, all the angels will throng the streets to see thee come to heaven and point at thee, and say, “Behold a monstrous sinner, saved”; I say, if it be so thou wilt bring all the more glory to Christ, thou wilt only make his name the more famous through every heavenly street. But I tell thee, however much by thyself thou mayest be Christ will meet thee. If thou hast outsoared all others in the daring flights of thy sin, Jesus has gone beyond thee in the flights of his mercy. Though thou shouldst have gone as near the gates of hell as possible, and have imitated the devil in his worst qualities, yet the Redeemer is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him. He is a Saviour, and a great one. If thou canst ever find such a Saviour as Christ, then I will ask thee to find such a sinner as thyself; but since thou art a nonpareil sinner, since thou must say of thyself, “Ne plus ultra” I will say the same of Jesus, — there is none beyond him. He stands alone and by himself, and so the sinner and the Saviour are well matched. Let thy fears be hushed to sleep, and put thy trust in him.
Now, the same precious sentence will be useful to the seeking soul, if its contemplation should have taken another shape. I can well believe that some of you are grievously oppressed with the sense of the greatness of GOD. You have lived for years negligent of the God who created you and supplied your wants, but now you have been awakened and aroused to the fact that there is a God, a God whom you have despitefully entreated, whom you have shamefully disregarded; and you are shocked to find that it is so, for now you have a sense of the greatness of God, and you are afraid that he will crush you. You know the justice of God, and you are sure that he must avenge the injuries you have done to his holy law, and, therefore, you go about every day with a dreadful sound in your ears, crying, “Whither shall I go from his presence, and how shall I escape from his vengeance?” You are surrounded with God, and in him you live and move and have your being, and this everywhere present God is your enemy, for you have made him so by your rebellions against him.
Now as a cure for all this, I have to say to you “consider him”— Christ Jesus. You are afraid of God because he hates sin. Your fears are based on truth. God hates sin infinitely. If there were only one grain of sin in the whole universe, he would burn it to ashes to get rid of that grain of sin, for it is such a detestable thing in his sight. But now consider Christ Jesus; for sin was laid on him. If thou wilt come now, and put thy trust in Jesus, thou mayest be sure that thy sin was laid on Christ, and the wrath of God concerning sin was spent upon him. The vials of Jehovah’s indignation were poured upon the devoted head of the Great Shepherd of the sheep. God hates sin, but he will not hate thee, for thou hast no sin if thou believest in Jesus, seeing thy sin is transferred to thy surety and laid upon Christ, and thou art clean.
Ah, but thou sayest, “He is such a holy God, how can I approach him?” Well, I will tell thee the most blessed secret out of heaven. It is this — thou canst, by faith, put on the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus, and when thou hast it on thee thou wilt be as holy in the sight of God as Christ is holy. Did not Jesus keep the law? What need was there that he should? He needed not to have become a servant to his father. He has a righteousness to spare, and he gives it to us, for he is made unto us “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” When a soul puts on the righteousness of Christ by faith, even the all-seeing eye of God cannot see a flaw in that righteousness. Adam in the garden had a perfect righteousness, but then it was only a human one; you and I, when we believe in Jesus, have a perfect righteousness which is divine—the righteousness of the Eternal Son of God himself, and so we can come to God as if we had been perfectly innocent, and stand on terms of full familiarity with the thrice holy One.
“Ah,” saith one, “there is good cheer in all this, but still I have some dread remaining, for God is infinitely great.” It is true, it is true, but I would have thee “consider him” for recollect, the God thou hast to do with is not God as seen on Sinai, or rather as obscurely heard amidst the dense darkness of the trembling mountain, but thou hast to do with God in Christ Jesus, and therefore “consider him” Now bethink thee for a minute. Jesus is a strong God it is true. Do you not see him walking the waters of the sea? But why does he pause in the midst of his wondrous marchings over the waves? It is to stretch out his hand and save Peter from sinking, who had said, “Lord save me, or I perish.” The strength of God shall do the same for thee; as thou art sinking and ready to perish, the omnipotent God will put out his hand and snatch thee from the waves of fire, and deliver thy soul from destruction.
Consider Christ Jesus a moment as a strong God, and how he uses his strength. He walks down the streets where the sick folk lie in their beds, and does he trample on them and crush out the last spark of life from those poor wretches? No, but he touches this one and an eye is opened, and he puts his finger on another and an ear is unstopped, he lays his hand on the dead and they arise. Oh, yes, and he will do this to thee. Be thankful for a mighty God, for in Christ Jesus the omnipotence of God will only come to heal thy woes. See this omnipotent One take the loaves and the fishes in his hands and break them, and as he breaks them they multiply till all those thousands are fed out of one basket full of barley loaves and small fishes: — he will feed thy soul with heavenly bread to the full. His greatness will reveal itself in supplying thy great necessities, and blessing thee greatly. Thou wilt see it so, if thou wilt consider Jesus.
“Till God in human flesh I see
My thoughts no comfort find;
The holy, just, and sacred three,
Are terrors to my mind.
But if Immanuel’s face appears,
My hope, my joy begins,
His name forbids my slavish fears,
His grace forgives my sins.”
So I have used the remedy thus far. I dare say I shall be a little tedious— the doctor is always tedious when he has many wounds to bind up.
It may be that some soul here is saying, “You have not touched my difficulty yet. I am troubled about sin, and I am troubled about God, but still my greatest anxiety is this— I know that if I could believe, my Sins would be pardoned, but I am perplexed with UNBELIEF, and I am sore distressed because of the HARDNESS OF MY HEART, which will not let me repent.” Come, then, soul, and “consider him.”
First, thou sayest, “I have little or no faith;” then “consider him.” Did Jesus ever stipulate for great faith before he healed a soul? What trembling faith he accepted in the days of his flesh! The poor leper said, “Lord if thou wilt thou canst make me clean.” You can get as far as that, cannot you? And Jesus Christ said, “I will, be thou clean.” A poor woman came into the crowd, and was afraid to face the Master, but she crept behind him and touched the hem of his garment, and stole a cure, for she said, “If I may but touch the hem of his garment I shall be made whole,” and Jesus did not rebuke her, but he said, “Thy faith hath made thee whole, go in peace.” So Jesus Christ loves little faith, therefore thou, poor Much-afraid, and thou, Despondency, “consider him,” and his gentleness towards the timid and trembling, and let thy fears be gone.
But thou sayest, “Ah, I am afraid, I have no faith at all.” Then, beloved, “consider him,” and among other matters consider well how he deserves thy faith. Tell me, what did Jesus ever do that thou shouldst doubt him? He says he will save thee if thou will trust him. Point to one promise he has broken. I challenge thee, yea, I challenge all the world to point to one word that ever fell from his lips and was not fulfilled. That dear and precious Saviour is truth itself. I feel I can trust him, and whenever I do not trust him it is because I have not considered him. The sight of him makes me feel that I would rush into his arms. What, not trust him who “bears the earth’s huge pillars up?” I must trust him! Son of God and Son of Man, I see both thy strength and thy tenderness, and I must rely upon thee. I pray the man who feels that he cannot believe, to consider Christ Jesus. Think of him in the garden; think of him on the cross. Will not his death suffice? Think of him as rising from the dead and pleading before the eternal throne.
“Venture on him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude,
Sure this Saviour
Can do helpless sinners good.”
Well, then, suppose that after all you should still say, “But I find unbelief my trouble still,” then I ask you to recollect that he was exalted on high on purpose that he might bestow the gift of faith and repentance. Even while he was here on earth, his disciples prayed, “Lord, increase our faith,” and you may without doubt pray to him to give you faith. And you, who mourn a rocky heart, you may say, “Lord, thou art exalted on high to give repentance to Israel, give repentance to me:” for Jesus can touch your heart and make it tender in a moment. Only let that nail-pierced hand be laid upon thy cold, petrified heart, and it will become warm and instinct with heavenly life. If thou lookest to thyself to find repentance, thou wilt look long enough, but if thou wilt look to him, is it not written “They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his first born?” A sight of Christ breeds repentance in the heart. Jesus looked on Peter; Peter’s eyes were dry till then, but Peter saw that look, and it melted Peter’s heart; right through his nature it pierced like some mighty gleam of a ten-fold sun, in a moment it pierced the iceberg of his nature and dissolved his soul. One look at Jesus will melt a heart of stone. “Consider him” then. Come to the point. You cannot believe nor repent, but he can give you both. If you urge yourself to these, you will often make a mistake, and make yourself more unbelieving and more impenitent than before; but if you go to him for every grace that brings you nigh, and ask that without money, he will give you everything, he will freely bestow them upon yon. If you let him be Saviour from top to bottom, from beginning to end, if you will just go to him as helpless, lost and ruined, and confide yourself entirely to him, you shall find he will not and cannot fail you in this the time of your necessity. Thus you see, considering him gets rid of those troubles. May the Spirit of God prove it to be so!
Perhaps YOUR OWN INSIGNIFICANCE causes you to doubt. You complain and say, “I cannot think Christ would save me. I am nobody; I am mean, poor, obscure.” Dear friend, consider Jesus. Did he ever fawn at the great ones’ feet? Did he preach in the royal chapel, and there utter soft nothings, fit for the ears of kings and queens. You know he did not. He wore the smock-frock of the peasantry and called fishermen to be his apostles; thus pouring contempt on princes, for “not many great men, after the flesh, not many mighty are called.” He hath chosen the base things of this world, and the things that are not hath God chosen to bring to nought the things that are.
“Ah,” saith one, “but I mean I have no gift, or knowledge.” Then “consider him,” and let me bring him before your eye. I see him standing with uplifted hands, exclaiming, “Father I thank thee that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.” Does not that settle that question once for all? I am sure it ought to do so.
“Ah,” saith one, “but I am so unworthy.” Yes, and wilt thou tell me where Christ was accustomed to seek out the worthy ones? Did he not go and touch blind beggars’ eyes who were nothing but beggars, and had no recommendation but poverty? Did he not bless those who had no claim by way of righteousness? Does mercy ever ask for merit? Does it not, on the contrary, seek for misery? If an angel of mercy hovered over this congregation, poising himself in mid air, I should know that he did not come with mercy to those of you who are good and have no sin—why should he come to insult you? But if there be a broken-hearted sinner here, I know that the angel has a gracious word for him, from the heart of him who delighteth in mercy. Do not say I am a nobody, and am therefore forgotten. Christ Jesus loves nobodies; he delights to pick up those whom society throws away — the very off-scourings and sweepings are his choice. Solomon built his temple of cedar, but our Lord builds his temple with the meanest woods in the forest. Any jeweller can make a precious thing of gold, but Jesus makes diamonds out of dross, and crowns out of clay.
Yes, but still, perhaps, I have not met the peculiar distress of some; and so let me try again. “Ah,” saith one, “but I feel my POWERLESSNESS for everything that is good; I am sure if I am saved I cannot help in it” Ah, poor soul, it is strange that ever we should think we could help the Lord to save us. Could you have helped in creation? If you had been there when God was making the world, would you have offered to help him? When he said, “Let there be light,” would you have rushed forward with a match and said, “Permit me to add my little spark?” It is insulting to think of such a thing. But salvation is a greater work than creation. Stand back, thou impertinent flesh and blood! thou canst only hinder the great work. God does not need thy help. Abase thyself, and he will glorify himself in thy salvation.
“Still,” saith one, “I feel so feeble in everything I try to do. I tried to pray, but I could not.” What did you do? “I fretted because I could not pray.” Well, you prayed much better than if you had thought you had prayed; for he who groans because he cannot pray has prayed the best prayer in the world. The poor publican did not say much, but when he smote upon his breast, even if he had not added the recorded words, he prayed; that smiting on his bosom meant the true prayer of his soul, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” “Ah,” saith one, “I have been trying to overcome sin lately, and I have been beaten.” Thou shalt overcome by the blood of the Lamb, but all thine own warring against sin will certainly end in defeat. Let the sword of the Lord and of Gideon be laid bare, and the Midianites will soon be put to the rout; but except it be the sword of the Lord there will be no rousing thy foes. “Consider him,” and have hope. “Oh, but if I have any love to Christ it is so little. If I have any faith it is almost unbelief. If I have any life it is but a flicker. How can I be saved?” Now, soul, once for all have done with all this talk. Thy salvation is in Christ, and not in thee. Do not say, “I have little strength:” confess you have none at all, and then you are near the truth. Do not say, “I have little life;” confess that you are dead by nature, and you have hit the mark. Do not say, “I have little virtue say, “All unholy and unclean, I am nothing else but sin.” When you reach the bottom you cannot fall lower, and that is the place where you ought to be, and Jesus will never meet you till you come to the lowest point. Your extremity is his opportunity; when you are a beggarly bankrupt, and cannot pay half a farthing in the pound, then all Christ’s richest treasures shall be yours; but if you have a little to add to help up the Saviour, just so that you may have a side glance at the glory, he will have nothing to do with you. He wants you, but he does not want yours; he wants your emptiness to fill it, but he wants nothing of your own to increase his fulness.
Now, I must hasten on for time fails me. Peradventure, I have some here who say, “My case lies out of your track this morning, for I am the subject of very fierce Satanic TEMPTATIONS. I have lately been met with such blasphemous thoughts and horrible suggestions that I can scarcely conceive any other human being has ever been subjected to them.” Now, at once “consider him.” He was “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” “We have a high priest who can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities,” I want you to recollect this, and so to “consider him.” Now, I know that if a preacher of the gospel has had no temptations nobody ever goes to him with questions of conscience; but if a man of God has been led through great adversity and soul trouble, all the distressed and afflicted people in the neighbourhood are sure to fly to him because he can sympathise with them. Now, our dear Redeemer can sympathise with you who are tempted of the devil, for he was forty days in the wilderness tempted of Satan too. Go to Him. “But I am afraid of the temptations I shall have in years to come.” Are you? Then “consider him,” for “he is able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” What a choice word that was of his to Peter, “Satan hath desired to have thee that he may sift thee as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.” Oh, poor soul, consider Jesus, and remember that if all the devils in hell were to tempt you, and you had but Jesus Christ present with you, you need no more be afraid than if the dogs in the streets barked at your heels when all their teeth were drawn. Jesus has broken the devil’s teeth by the power of his intercession. He has power to howl at us but he cannot bite us; he worries whom he can’t devour with a malicious joy, but the Lord has smitten our enemy upon the cheek bone, and by one tremendous blow of his pierced hand he has broken the teeth of the oppressor.
I hear yet another cry. “Come here,” says one, “I have something to whisper in your ear I can hardly tell. My trouble is about my INWARD CORRUPTION. Oh, if ever there be an unclean heart in all the world I have it, it is like some foul pond which bubbles up with putrid gas. My inmost nature is filled with all manner of filthiness and iniquity, like a mud volcano, which pours forth a horrid stream. Oh, sir, my heart is abominable; a cage of unclean birds is nothing to it, it is a den of devils.” Well, well, “consider him.” You remember how he came into the temple, and there were the buyers and sellers, with their bullocks and sheep and doves. I have often marvelled at the ease with which he drove them forth. He had not even a rope with him, but only a few small cords, but he began straightway to lay about him, and Oh, how they ran. Those money-grubbers, who would not have lost a shekel for their lives, saw their gold and silver spilt on the ground, while the bullocks and the sheep fled from the holy place, and the doves fluttered out into the air. Let Christ come into your heart, and he will soon drive out the buyers and sellers, ay, and the old dragon himself. Remember, too, that Jesus is a creator. He made the heavens and the earth, — cannot he create you anew? Is it not said, “He that sat upon the throne said, behold I make all things new.” Consider his omnipotent power; having given you a new heart, can he not make you completely holy? Oh, think not so continually of your sin and sinfulness and proneness to transgression, but think of Christ, almighty to save, and whether you sink or swim cast yourself upon him; lost or saved, come and cling to his cross this morning, and I warrant you not one of you shall perish, but eternal life shall be the portion of every man that rests in him.
Still somebody says, “I am troubled about THE THREE LAST THINGS, I am afraid of death, and I am afraid of judgment, and I am afraid of hell.” Afraid of death? Well; but if thou wilt but trust the Son of God who died for sinners, thou needest never be afraid to die. Thy little child, when she has run about, and wearied herself, and wants to sleep, is she afraid to fall asleep in mother’s arms, with her head on mother’s breast? And thou, dear child of God, when thou art wearied with thy work, thou shalt go and lay thy head on Jesus’ bosom and fall asleep, and it shall be just as easy, and just as sweet, as for thy little ones to sleep on thy bosom.
“But I am afraid of judgment,” says one. Judgment: but thy judgment is past already. Thy sins were judged in Christ, and punished in Christ, if thou believest in him. The sins of all believers were brought before the bar of judgment and condemned and broken on the wheel in Christ. Let us go back to that famous passage by Paul for a minute; he pictures God's chosen people standing before the throne, and he cries “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Who is afraid of judgment when nobody can lay anything to his charge? And then he goes on to say “Who is it that condemneth?” None can condemn but the judge; and who is he? It is Christ that died, and can he that died for us condemn us? Impossible, he cannot belie himself. So you need not be afraid of judgment.
“But I am afraid of hell” saith one. Ah, and there is good cause to fear it. Fear him who can cast both body and soul into hell, yea, I say unto you, fear him.” But you need not fear hell if you trust in Jesus, for Christ has suffered the punishment of your sin, and as far as you are concerned hell is not. There are no flames of wrath for you, they spent themselves upon the Saviour. When the Jew laid his sin-offering on the altar, and the fire consumed it, the sinful Jew stood there and said, “That bullock stands for me.” When it was all burned, he said, “My sins are burned. And when they took the ashes into an unclean place and utterly consumed them,” he said, “my sin is put away, they have put it outside the camp, it is consumed for ever.” So when we “consider him,” even our dear Lord Jesus on the cross, we see him there a complete sacrifice, the fire of God roasting and burning him up, consuming his reins within him till he is utterly consumed as a sacrifice, and there our sin was annihilated. Every believer may know that there his sin ceased to be, for it is written, “He hath finished transgression. He hath made an end of sin, and hath brought in an everlasting righteousness.”
I do not want to leave off when I have such a subject as this, but I must; only as I leave off it shall be with this earnest prayer that every seeking sinner here may believe in Jesus at once. Oh, weary one, why dost thou not repose upon him? Wanderer, thou wilt never find rest till thou dost come to Jesus! Seeker, vain are thy seekings if thou wilt not have my Lord! Trembler, thy tremblings themselves are to be trembled at, if they keep thee from the cross! There is the Saviour, to be had without money and without price; he is preached to thee. Believe him: that is, trust him and live forever! The Lord bless you now, and constrain you of his mercy so to do for Jesus’ sake. Amen.