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The Blood of Sprinkling (Second Sermon.)
Delivered on Lord's-day Evening, February 28th, 1886, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
"Ye are come . . .. to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh."—Hebrews 12:24, 25.
IN THE FORMER part of this sermon the text grew upon me so largely that it was quite impossible to express all its meaning. In as condensed a manner as possible I explained what was meant by "the blood of sprinkling," and I also enlarged upon the high position which this precious blood occupies in the gospel dispensation; but I was obliged to leave for this second occasion two practical questions which the text is sure to raise if it be carefully thought upon.
The doctrinal portion of our meditation was greatly blest to our hearts, for God the Holy Ghost refreshed us thereby: may he now fulfill his sacred office with equal power, by revealing the things of Christ to us in a way which shall cause self-examination, and arouse us to give more earnest heed than ever to the voice of him that speaketh from heaven. No theme can excel in value and excellence that of the precious blood of Jesus. Unless the Holy Spirit shall prepare our hearts, even with such a topic as this before us, we shall be nothing profited; but if he will show these choice truths unto us, we shall be comforted, quickened, edified, and sanctified by them.
It is a considerable disadvantage to some of you that you have not heard the former part of the sermon; but I hope you will read it at your leisure, and then, if you read this in connection with it, the whole subject will be before you. Not that I can set it all out in words: I only mean that it will be before you as the ocean is before us when we sit on the beach, or as the heavens are before us when we gaze upon Arcturus with his sons. Finite language fails to convey the infinite; and if ever there was a text which deserved to be called infinite, it is that which is now before us.
Having touched, as with a swallow's wing, the surface of our great theme under the first division of the sermon, I have now to speak with you upon the second, which is this: Where are we with reference to this blood of sprinkling? The text says, "Ye are come." We are not come to Mount Sinai, but we are come to Mount Zion; to angels and their God; to saints and their Mediator, and to the blood of sprinkling. This having had its share of our thoughts, we are to conclude with the question, What then? If we have come to this blood of sprinkling, what then? The answer is, "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh." Let us give to the wondrous truths revealed to us by the sacrifice of Jesus the most earnest heed, that our souls may hear and live. May the Holy Spirit enable us to hear the heavenly voice at this hour! "Faith cometh by hearing; may it come at this time by our reverently hearing the voice of the blood of sprinkling!
II. My business under the second head of my discourse is to answer the question, WHERE ARE WE? I have to explain what is meant by the expression which is found in the twenty-second verse of the chapter "Ye are come." Link the twenty-second verse with this twenty-fourth, and read, "Ye are come to the blood of sprinkling."
Well, first, ye are come to the hearing of the gospel of the atoning sacrifice. The Israelites left Egypt, and, having passed the Red Sea, they entered the desert, and at length came to the mount of God, even to Sinai, that terrible mountain. In the valley around that throne of God they were gathered together in their thousands. What a sight that vast multitude must have been! Probably two millions or more were encamped before the mount. Then, "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from Mount Paran; and he came with ten thousands of his saints; from his right hand went a fiery law for them." Israel crouched in the valley below, subdued by the terrible majesty of the scene, and overawed by the trumpet voice which pealed forth from the midst of the thick darkness. The Lord spake with them, but their uncircumcised ears could not bear his glorious voice, and they entreated that Moses might act as mediator, and speak in God's stead.
You and I have not come to such a terrible sight at this hour. No quivering mountain smokes before you, no terrible lightnings appall you, no thunders distress you.
"Not to the terrors of the Lord,
The tempest, fire, and smoke;
Not to the thunder of that word
Which God on Sinai spoke:
"But we are come to Sion's hill
The city of our God,
Where milder words declare his will,
And spread his love abroad."
Among the great things which you are called upon to consider under the gospel is "the blood of sprinkling." Count yourselves happy that you are privileged to hear of the divinely appointed way of reconciliation with God. You are come to hear, not of your sin and its doom, not of the last judgment and the swift destruction of the enemies of God; but of love to the guilty, pity for the miserable, mercy for the wicked, compassion for those who are out of the way. You are come to hear of God's great expedient of wisdom, by which he, by the same act and deed, condemns sin, and lets the sinner live; honors his law, and yet passes by transgression, iniquity, and sin. You are come to hear, not of the shedding of your own blood, but of the shedding of his blood who, in his infinite compassion, deigned to take the place of guilty men—to suffer, that they might not suffer, and die, that they might not die. Blessed are your ears, that they hear of the perfect sacrifice! Happy are your spirits, since they are found where free grace and boundless love have set forth a great propitiation for sin! Divinely favored are you to live where you are told of pardon freely given to all who will believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. You hear at this hour not law, but gospel; not the sentence of judgment, but the proclamation of grace. "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh." It is no small thing for the kingdom of God to have come so nigh unto you. Awake to a sense of your privilege: you do not sit in heathen midnight, nor in Popish gloom, nor in Jewish mist; but day has dawned on you: do not refuse the light.
In a better sense, going a little further, we have not only come to the blood of sprinkling by hearing about it, but we have come to it because the great God now deals with us upon methods which are founded and grounded upon the atoning sacrifice of Christ. If God were to deal with us upon the terms laid down at Sinai, he need not be long in finding the "two or three witnesses" to prove that we have broken his law. We should be ourselves compelled to plead guilty; no witnesses would be required. Truly, he hath not dealt with us after our sins. We are so faulty that we can draw no comfort from the prospect of judgment by law; we appeal to mercy alone; for on any other ground our case is hopeless. "This do, and thou shalt live" is a covenant which brings us no ray of comfort; for its only word to us is that thunderbolt—"The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
By the works of the law none can be justified, for by that law we are all condemned. Read the Ten Commandments, and pause at each one, and confess that you have broken it either in thought, or word, or deed. Remember that by a glance we may commit adultery, by a thought we may be guilty of murder, by a desire we may steal. Sin is any want of conformity to perfect holiness, and that want of conformity is justly chargeable upon every one of us. Yet the Lord does not, under the gospel dispensation, deal with us according to law. He does not now sit on the throne of judgment, but he looks down upon us from the throne of grace. Not the iron rod, but the silver scepter, is held over us. The long-suffering of God rules the age, and Jesus the Mediator is the gracious Lord-lieutenant of the dispensation. Instead of destroying offending man from off the face of the earth, the Lord comes near to us in loving condescension, and pleads with us by his Spirit, saying, "You have sinned, but my Son has died. In him I am prepared to deal with you in a way of pure mercy and unmingled grace."
O sinner, the fact that you are alive proves that God is not dealing with you according to strict justice, but in patient forbearance; every moment you live is another instance of omnipotent long-suffering. It is the sacrifice of Christ which arrests the axe of justice, which else must execute you. The barren tree is spared because the great Dresser of the vineyard, who bled on Calvary, intercedes and cries, "Let it alone this year also." O my hearer, it is through the shedding of the blood and the mediatorial reign of the Lord Jesus that you are at this moment on praying ground and pleading terms with God! Apart from the blood of atonement you would now be past hope, shut up for ever in the place of doom. But see how the great Father bears with you! He stands prepared to hear your prayer, to accept your confession of sin, to honor your faith, and to save you from your sin through the sacrifice of his dear Son.
Through our Lord Jesus sovereign grace and infinite love find a free way to the most undeserving of the race. Through the divine sacrifice the Lord saith, "Come now and let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;" "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Thus the rebel is treated as a child, and the criminal as a beloved one. Because of yonder death on Calvary's cruel tree, God can invite guilty men to come to him, and he can receive them to the bosom of his love. O my dear hearers, do remember this! I am not sent to scold you, but to woo you, not sent to thunder at you, but to let the soft cleansing drops from the heart of Jesus fall upon you. I beg you not to turn away, as men may well do when the tidings are heavy; but hearken diligently, for the message is full of joy. You are now in the house of prayer, addressed by one of the Lord's ambassadors, and the tidings are of peace through a propitiation which God himself has provided and accepted. We cry not to you, "Prepare for vengeance;" but we proclaim, "a God ready to pardon." We do not threaten that he will no more have mercy upon you; but we tell you that he waiteth to be gracious. If I had to say, "You have provoked him past bearing, and he now means to destroy you," what a miserable man should I be! How could I bring such evil tidings to my fellow-creatures? Then would it have been woe to me that my mother bare me for so hard a fate. Thank God, it is not so. By virtue of the blood of sprinkling the language of boundless love is heard among our apostate race, and we are entreated to acquaint ourselves with God, and be at peace.
No, my hearer, the day of grace is not over: you are not come to Sinai. No, you are not yet condemned past all hope; for you are still within reach of Jesus the Mediator. There is forgiveness. The fountain which was opened of old for sin and for uncleanness is open still. If you have sinned like David, if you will but accept the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, I am able to speak to you as Nathan did to the guilty king, and say, "The Lord hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." At any rate, God is dealing with you now on gospel terms; he sits on Zion, not on Sinai; he pronounces invitations of grace, and does not utter the stern sentence of justice.
Further, there is a far more effectual way of coming to the blood of sprinkling than this—when by faith that blood is sprinkled upon our souls. This is absolutely needed: the blood shed must become to each one of us the blood sprinkled. "How can I know," says one, "that the blood of Christ is upon me?" Dost thou trust thyself with Christ? Dost thou believe that he made an atonement on the cross; and wilt thou venture thy eternal destiny upon that fact, trusting in what Jesus did, and in that alone? If thou dost thus trust, thou shalt not trust in vain. Dost thou apply thy heart to the precious blood of Jesus? Then that precious blood is applied to thy heart. If thine heart bleeds for sin, bring it to the bleeding heart of Jesus, and it shall be healed. I showed, in the early part of this discourse, that the blood sprinkled on the lintel and the two side-posts of the door preserved the Israelites on the night of the Passover: it shall also preserve you. The blood sprinkled upon the defiled made them ceremonially clean: it shall cleanse you. Have I not often quoted those blessed words: "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin?" That blood put upon the sons of Aaron dedicated them to God; and if it be applied to you, it shall consecrate you to God, and you shall become the accepted servant of the Most High. Oh, what a blessed thing to know assuredly that we have come to the blood of sprinkling by a true and humble faith! Canst thou say that thou dost alone rely on Jesus for salvation? Canst thou call heaven and earth to witness that thou hast no other confidence? Then remember the word of the Lord: "He that believeth in him hath everlasting life. He that believeth in him is not condemned." "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God." Are not these words full of strong assurance? Indeed, we have not come to Mount Sinai, the place of trembling; but to Zion, the place which is beautiful for situation, the joy of the earth; the vision of peace, the home of infinite blessedness. Conscience no longer thunders at you for your sins, for your sins are gone. The expiation has covered them: the sprinkling of the blood has put them all away. Your iniquities are cast into the depths of the sea; God has cast them behind his back. The handwriting of ordinances that was against you Christ has taken away, nailing it to his cross, as a record in which there is no more condemning force. The debt is paid, the bill is receipted. Who can lay anything to the charge of God's elect? O beloved! it is a most blessed thing to come to the blood of sprinkling.
"The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view."
The act of faith, whereby we accept and trust in the Lord Jesus as our Mediator and Sacrifice, is the true and effectual coming to the blood of sprinkling. May none of us forget thus to come! He is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, and those who come to him shall be led into full salvation. Have you thus come? If you have not, why do you delay? He saith, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Come to him, for he is calling you; come to him, even as you now are, and he will receive you without fail.
Further, to come to this blood of sprinkling means thankfully to enjoy all that comes to us through the blood of sprinkling. I have intruded upon this somewhat already. Brothers and sisters, if you have come to the blood of sprinkling, believe in the full pardon which God has given you, and in your consequent peace with God. It is a blessed word in the Creed, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins." Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins? I have seen some of the children of God who have believed in Jesus, but it has been with a faith which did not realize the full blessing promised to it; for they were as troubled about their sins as if they had never been forgiven. Now, a man who receives a free pardon from the Queen, and goes his way out of prison, rejoices in that pardon as a reality, and therefore walks abroad without fear. You must believe in the pardon of God as a reality, and act accordingly. If he has absolved you for Jesus' sake, then you are absolved. Why tremble like a guilty wretch waiting for the verdict? Why talk about fearing divine wrath? If you are pardoned, the deed of grace is done, and can never be undone; for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance on his part. His remission of sin is a clear gaol delivery, a sure plea, a full quittance.
"Oh! how sweet to view the flowing
Of our Lord's atoning blood,
With divine assurance knowing
He has made my peace with God!"
I want every child of God in his inmost soul to come to the blood of sprinkling by full assurance of his justification, and then to go on to enjoy constant access to the mercy-seat, and communion with the Lord God. We may now with holy boldness speak with God in prayer, for the mercy-seat is sprinkled with the blood. O pardoned one, be not backward to enjoy thy liberty of fellowship! Thou art clean through the blood, and therefore thou mayest enter into the closest communion with the divine Father; thou art consecrated by the blood, and therefore thou mayest abound in the service of thy God. Treat thy God as a child should treat a father, and be not so awed by his majesty as to be cast down and distressed because of past sin, seeing it is pardoned. Take the good that God provides thee; enjoy the peace the blood has bought thee; enter into the liberty that thy ransom price has ensured thee. Do not stand in feelings, and fears, and dreams; but come unto this blood of sprinkling, and rest there, and be filled with joy and peace through believing. With such a ransom found for thee, dream not of going down into the pit, but ascend with gladness into the hill of the Lord, and stand in his holy place.
I think, once more, that this coming to the blood of sprinkling means also that we feel the full effect of it in our lives. The man who knows that Jesus shed his blood for him, and has had that blood applied to his conscience, becomes a sin-hating man, consecrated to him who has cleansed him. "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." I believe that there is no fruitful source of virtue like faith in the precious blood of Jesus. I hope your conduct will always support me in this assertion. Those who are debtors for salvation to their dying Lord should be the most holy of men. You people who think that you will get to heaven by some other way than by "the blood of sprinkling" have no sure bonds to hold you to holiness. You trust partly to your own works, and partly to what Jesus has done. Well, you do not owe him much, and therefore you will not love him much, and therefore you will not feel bound to live strict, holy, gracious lives. But the man who knows that his many sins are all washed away through the blood of Jesus, and that thus he is saved, he is the man who will serve the Lord with all his heart. He who has received a finished righteousness and complete salvation is under boundless obligations of gratitude, and the force of these obligations will urge him to a consecrated life. Over him the supreme power of gratitude will exert its sacred influence, and he will be not only carefully obedient, but ardently zealous in the service of his Redeemer. We know it is so, and we mean to prove it by our daily conduct. Brethren, I would have you exhibit more and more the influence of the precious blood in sanctifying your lives. Are there not Christians who hold the doctrine of the atoning blood, and yet are no better than others? Alas! it is so. But it is one thing to hold a doctrine, and another thing for that doctrine to take hold upon your heart and influence your life. Oh, if we believed practically what we believe professionally, what manner of persons should we be in all holy conversation and godliness! Hear me, my brother, and answer the appeals I make to thee as in the presence of the Lord. Blood-bought; canst thou live for thyself? Blood-washed; canst thou defile thy garments? Marked with the King's own name, in the King's own blood; how canst thou yield thyself to other rulers? God grant that we may come unto the blood of sprinkling till it shall purify our nature, and fill us with an all-consuming enthusiasm for him whose heart was pierced for us!
I ask you, then, to put the question closely home, "Have I come unto this blood of sprinkling? If not, why should I not come at once?" I read the other day an imaginary story, which describes the need of looking well to this great business. Receive it as a parable:—A little daughter of the house of Israel, had heard the commandment concerning the Passover night, and as she lay ill in her bed she cried, "Father, have you sprinkled the blood upon the lintel and the two side-posts?" Her father answered, "Not yet, my child. It shall be done." The daughter was distressed, and filled with fear. After waiting a little while she again cried, "Father, father, have you sprinkled the blood upon the door?" He answered carelessly, "Child, I have told Simeon to sprinkle it, and I have no doubt it is done." "But, father," cried she, "it is near midnight, and the destroying angel will soon be abroad; are you sure that the blood is over the door? Jehovah our God hath said that we must sprinkle the blood upon the lintel and the two side-posts, or else the destroyer will not pass over us. Father, are you sure it is done?" The father passed over her enquiry: he had been eating of the lamb with his friends, and thought that this was sufficient; he did not care to give too much prominence to the ghastly idea of blood. He was of a liberal mind, and would not believe that a merciful God would smite his household for so small an omission.
Then his daughter arose from her bed, made strong by the God of Israel. Nothing would content her until she had been outside into the street, and seen for herself whether the saving mark was over the door of her father's house. It was almost midnight, but by the light of the moon she looked, and no blood-mark was there! How great was her distress! "Father," she cried, "make haste and bring the basin." There it stood, filled with blood; for the Paschal Lamb had been slain. The father, at her entreaty, dashed the hyssop into it, struck the lintel and the two side-posts and shut the door, and as he did so, the midnight hour arrived. They were saved so as by fire. The daughter's obedient care and reverence of the Lord had warded off the sword of the destroyer. Oh that the holy anxiety of some one now present would work the like blessing for other households! Ask, dear child, ask the question, "Father, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? Is the blood of the Lamb above your head, between you and God? Is it on both sides of you, when you come in and go out?" O soul, be thus anxious about thyself, and rest not till thou hast by faith been purged with hyssop, and cleansed by the blood of the one sacrifice for sin.
III. The last part of our subject is this: WHAT THEN? According to our text, the blood of Jesus is the voice of the new dispensation. It is the blood which speaks, and it speaks better things than the blood of Abel. What then is our duty? How doth the apostle express our obligation? "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh."
I would have a quarter of an hour's very quiet talk with you, without excitement or quibbling debate. Lend me your ears, for I speak in all love for your souls. I want, dear friends, that this great truth of atonement which I so often preach may have a fair hearing, and not be left to lie among the number of forgotten things.
Do not refuse the voice of Jesus by cold indifference. God was made flesh, and dwelt among men, and in due time he took upon himself our sin, and suffered for it in his own body on the tree, that sin might be put away by the sacrifice of himself. By his death upon the cross our Lord made atonement for the sin of man, and those who believe in him are delivered from evil and its consequences. The main point is that Jesus died for us, the just for the unjust. His atoning blood has a voice: "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh." The text says: See to it; look to it; make sure of it; be careful about it. Do not miss the salvation of your Lord through neglect; for he who dies by neglecting the healing medicine will as surely perish as he who stabs himself. Be in earnest to accept the Savior: I beseech you so to do, for I am afraid that many refuse him that speaketh, because they never think of him, or of his sacrifice. It seems to me that if I were a young man I would give this matter very early notice. However deeply I might be engaged in business, I should feel that my first concern ought to be to set myself right with God. Other matters would be sure to drop into order if I could be right with the Lord of all. If I heard it said that salvation came by the blood of Christ, I think I should pull myself together and resolve to understand this singular statement. I would not let it go by me, but would endeavor to reach the bottom of it, and practically understand it. I would meditate much upon teaching so wonderful as this—that the Son of God in man's stead honored the justice of God by death, and so put away sin.
When I was a youth I had a great longing to begin life on right principles: I longed to find deliverance from sin. I would wake up with the sun in summer time to read my Bible, and such books as Bunyan's "Grace Abounding," Baxter's "Call to the Unconverted," Alleine's "Alarm," and Doddridge's "Rise and Progress of. Religion in the Soul." In these books I tried to spell out the way of salvation; but the chief thing I longed to know was, "How can man be just with God? How can God be just with man, and yet put away his sin?" Do you not think that these questions are of high importance? I beg that they may not have the cold shoulder from you. Give this question due space. I know that a great many things demand your attention nowadays; but I claim for this, which is the innermost revelation of God that it should have an early and earnest hearing. God incarnate in Christ Jesus bleeding and dying for human sin is a marvel of love too great to be passed over without thought. I pray you, therefore, "refuse not him that speaketh." Do not say, "I pray thee, have me excused." I do not suppose that you will become an infidel or act as a blasphemer towards this grand truth. I will not accuse you of denying the fact of the atonement; but my great fear is lest you should be indifferent to it. If it be so, that God himself has come to earth to bleed and die to save guilty man, it is the greatest, gladdest news that ever came to our poor erring race, and every member of that race should receive it with hopeful attention.
When you resolve to study the doctrine, do not approach it with prejudice through misapprehension. Those that hate the gospel of Christ are very busy in caricaturing the doctrine of the atonement. They assert that we preach that God was not merciful by nature, but must needs be appeased by the blood of his own Son. They charge us with saying that Jesus by his death made God loving. We distinctly teach the very opposite of that statement. What we do say is this, that God is infinitely loving—that, in fact, God is love; but that love does not cause him to be unjust or unholy; for that in the long run would not be love. God is the Judge of all the earth, and he must do right. The Lord, as the great moral governor, if he makes a law, and threatens a penalty, must execute that penalty, or else his law will lose its authority. If the penalty threatened be not executed, there is a tacit acknowledgment that it was threatened in error. Could you believe in a fallible God? The Lord has made a law which is perfect, and just, and good. Would you rather be without law? What reasonable person desires anarchy? He has backed up that law with a threatening. What is the use of a law if to break it involves no evil consequences? A government that never punishes offenders is no government at all. God, therefore, as moral ruler, must be just, and must display his indignation against wrong and evil of every kind. It is written on the conscience of men that sin must be punished. Would you have it go unpunished? If you are a just man, you would not. To meet the case, therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ, by himself bearing the penalty of death, has honored the divine law. He has shown to all intelligences that God will not wink at sin, that even his infinite mercy must not come in the way of his justice. This is the doctrine: do not listen to those who twist and pervert it. It is the love of God which has provided the great atonement by which, in a judgment better than ours, the law finds a glorious vindication, and the foundation of moral government is strengthened. Do consider this matter, and judge it fairly, with candid minds. We do assure you from God's Word that apart from the atonement of our Lord Jesus you can never be saved either from the guilt or power of evil. You will find no peace for your conscience that is worth having, no thorough and deep peace, except by believing in this atoning sacrifice; neither will you meet with a motive strong enough to rescue you from the bonds of iniquity. Therefore "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh." Hear, and your soul shall live. Cavil, and you will die in your sins.
Do not refuse the voice of the Lord Jesus by rejecting the principle of expiation. If God is content with this principle, it is not for us to raise objection. The Lord God is infinitely more concerned to fix matters on a right foundation than ever we can be, and if he feels that the sacrifice of Jesus meets the case at all points, why should we be dissatisfied with it? If there were a flaw in the proceedings his holy eyes would see it. He would not have delivered up his own Son to die unless that death would perfectly fulfill the design intended by it. A mistake so expensive he would never have perpetrated. Who are you to raise the question? If God is satisfied, surely you should be? To refuse the atonement because we are too wise to accept so simple a method of mercy is the utmost height of folly. What! will ye refuse him that speaketh because the present phase of human madness dares to dispute the divine way of human redemption? I pray you, do not so.
Once more. Do not refuse this voice of mercy by preferring your own way of salvation. You have, no doubt, a way of salvation in your own mind, for few men have given up all hope. Perhaps your chosen hope is that you will be saved by doing your best. Alas! no man does his best; and the best acts of a rebel must be unaccepted of his king. So long as he is a rebel his acts are those of a rebel, and of no esteem with his prince. Perhaps your hope lies in saying so many prayers, and going to church, or attending chapel; or you are so unwise as to trust to a minister or priest. Now, we beseech you, hear the witness of God which he has given us in this book, and learn that other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ the righteous. There is one salvation, and there can be no other; all other hopes are lying vanities, and arrogant insults to Jesus. God hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation for sin. There is no other propitiation, or atonement, or way of acceptance; and if you reject this way, you must die in your sins.
I cannot help it if you do not like this teaching, although I shall be grieved if you refuse it. I can only tell you the truth, and leave it with your own hearts. Do not wilfully refuse it. When I meet you face to face in that last day, to which we all must come, I shall not be clear of your blood unless I tell you what is assuredly the truth—that in the precious blood of Christ is the only cleansing from sin, and the only acceptance with God. By believing in Jesus, as slain for you, you shall be saved; but do what you may, pray as you may, fast as you may, give alms as you may, you shall not enter heaven by any other road. The way to glory is by the way of the cross. "Without shedding of blood there is no remission." Look to him whom you have pierced, and mourn for your sins. Look not to any other, for no other is needed, no other is provided, no other can be accepted. Jesus is the sole messenger of the covenant of life and peace. "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh."
"See that ye refuse not." Then there is a choice about it. If you had never heard the gospel, you could not have refused it; but now that you have heard the message, it lies within your power, and it is an awfully dangerous power, to refuse him that speaketh. Oh, can you, will you, dare you refuse my bleeding Savior—refuse the Lord of love? I see him now. The thorn-crown is about his brow. He is hanging on his cross expiring in unutterable pangs! Can you refuse him while he presents such a spectacle of sacrifice? His eyes are red with weeping; have you no tears for such sorrow? His cheeks are all distained with the brutal soldiers' spittle: have you no love and homage for him? His hands are fastened to the wood—his feet the same: and there he hangs to suffer in the sinner's stead. Will you not yield yourselves to him? I could joyfully bow before that cross-foot to kiss his dear feet distained with blood. What a charm he has for me! And you—do you refuse him?
He is no mere man. It is God himself who hangs upon the cross. His body is that of a man, but it is in union with the Godhead. He who died at Calvary is God over all, and this makes his death so effectual. He whom you have offended, in order to be justly able to pardon you, hangs there and dies for you: and do you turn your back on him? O sirs, if you be wise you will come, as I said I fain would come, and kiss those bleeding feet, and look up and say, "My Lord, I am reconciled to thee—how could I be otherwise? My enmity is dead. How can I be an enemy to him that died for me? In shame, and scorn, and misery, Jesus dies that I may live. O Lord Jesus, thou hast wrought in me, not reconciliation merely, but full submission and hearty love. I joy to sink myself in thee, and to be thine for ever." See that ye refuse not my Lord. May the sweet Spirit who loves the cross, and, like a dove, hovers round it now, descend upon you all who hear my message! May the Holy Ghost apply the blood of sprinkling to you; and may you feel that, instead of refusing him that speaketh, you rejoice in his name!
When the text says, "See that ye refuse not," it tacitly and pleadingly says, "See that ye accept him." Dear hearers, I trust you will receive my Lord into your hearts. When we read of refusing, or receiving, we perceive an action of the will. Jesus must be willingly received: he will not force himself upon any man. Whosoever accepts Jesus is himself accepted of Jesus. Never was there a heart willing to receive him to whom Jesus denied himself. Never! But you must be willing and obedient. Grace works this in you; but in you this must be. Till the heart entertains Jesus gladly nothing is done. All that is short of a willing hearing of Jesus, and a willing acceptance of his great atonement, is short of eternal life. Say, wilt thou have this Savior, or dost thou decline his love? Wilt thou give him a cold refusal? Oh, do not so; but, on the contrary, throw open the doors of thy heart, and entreat thy Lord and Savior to come in.
I do not wonder that the Israelites asked that they might no longer hear the voice of thunder from the top of Sinai; it was too terrible for human ear; but you have no such excuse if you refuse him that speaketh; for Jesus speaks in notes more sweet than music, more tender than a mother's sonnet to her babe. Let me remind you, that he was wont to say, "come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." He declared that all manner of sin and of blasphemy should be forgiven unto men. He stood and cried, on the last day of the feast, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." I am telling you no fables; for Christ, who was born at Bethlehem and died on Calvary, by his own blood which he shed for many, assures you that there is forgiveness for every man of you who, confessing his sin, will come and put his trust in him.
"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh;" for though you hear only my poor feeble voice pleading with you, with an honest, loving heart at the back of it, yet God the Holy Ghost is speaking, and Jesus Christ himself is speaking to you. Refuse me if you please, but do not refuse my Lord. The blood of Jesus says, "I was poured out for the guilty. I was shed to manifest divine love. I am sprinkled to cleanse from sin." Each drop as it falls creates peace of heart. Stand where that blood is falling. Let it sprinkle you.
Thus the blood speaks. Will you not answer, "Lord, we come to thee, for thou hast drawn us. Thy wounds have wounded our hearts. Thy death has killed our enmity. Sprinkle us unto thyself. Bedew us with thy blood. Let us be accepted in the Beloved?" Amen. So may God hear us!
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON—Hebrews 10.
HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"—302, 294, 580, 288.
See "The Blood of Sprinkling," No. 1,888.
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